The dubiously named “Geekess” explains the process of social justice convergence in open source projects:
There’s been a lot of discussion in my comment sections (and on LWN) about what makes a good community, along with suggestions of welcoming open source communities to check out. Your hearts are in the right place, but I’ve never found an open source community that doesn’t need improvement. I’m quite happy to give the Xorg community a chance, mostly because I believe they’re starting from the right place for cultural change.
The thing is, reaching the goal of a diverse community is a step-by-step process. There are no shortcuts. Each step has to be complete before the next level of cultural change is effective. It’s also worth noting that each step along the way benefits all community members, not just diverse contributors.
Level 0: basic human decency
In order to attract diverse candidates, you need to be known as a welcoming community, with a clear set of agreed-upon social norms. It’s not good enough to have a code of conduct. Your leaders need to be actively behind it, and it needs to be enforced.
Level 1: on-boarding
The next phase in improving diversity is figuring out how to on-board newcomers. If diverse candidates are only 1-10% of newcomers, but you have a 90% fail rate for people who try to make their first contribution, well, you can’t expect many diverse newcomers to stick around, can you? It’s also essential to explain your unwritten tribal knowledge, so that diverse candidates (who are more likely to be afraid of upsetting the status quo) know what they’re getting into.
Level 2: meaningful contributions
The next step is figuring out what to do with these eager new diverse candidates. If they’ve made it this far through the gauntlet of toxic tech culture, they’re likely to be persistent, smart, and seeking a challenge. If you don’t have meaningful bigger projects for them to contribute to, they’ll move onto the next shiny thing.
And it just gets worse, until the whole thing is run by non-white women, food served at conferences is vegetarian, drinking is banned, and the code of conduct explicitly acknowledges the spectrum of privilege. And while she left out literal self-flagellation, there is no doubt that the metaphorical form will be expected of any white male contributors that remain.
I am beginning to wonder if Microsoft and the other software vendors are behind this open source code-of-conduct campaign, because nothing short of special ops assault teams could destroy their OSS competitors more effectively.