The CTC Way

The CTC Way

As you make friends on CTC, please try to keep in mind the way we like to act toward one another. These aren't strictly rules, but we hope they portray the kind of community we are trying to build here, and how we're trying to make this place great for everyone.

1. Inclusive Behavior

Being inclusive is not always easy. In order to be great at this, we need to consider at least the following about the people we interact with and the words we choose:

  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Economic Background
  • Disabilities
  • Gender Identity
  • Age
  • Political Beliefs
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Trauma
  • The history behind the words we choose

Our goal is not to punish people for genuinely trying their best and missing the mark sometimes. We want to treat communication like a skillset to be improved and NOT a ruleset to be followed. This way, we can strengthen our healthy communication skills with each other and grow as a community, together.

Here are some guidelines to help you be more inclusive, which we hope will help outside the scope of Colorado Tech Community too!

2. Know your audience

Not everything you say in every context has to be inclusive to everybody in the entire world, but make an effort to know who you're talking to, and make sure you're being inclusive to them.

Scenario: you're bringing up an advanced topic with a junior developer, such as pointers (opens in a new tab), or the fast inverse square root algorithm from Quake III (opens in a new tab)

  • 🧠 In your brain: You may think you are bestowing knowledge upon them and helping them grow as a developer.
  • 🥺 Reality: You might not be helping them, and you might be aggravating their imposter syndrome.
  • ✅ To fix this: Listen and see if anything they say indicates that they are actually soaking in the information you are giving out. In an education environment, we call this a "check for understanding."

Scenario: You're going into the weeds in a public channel with a senior developer of eight years about the intricacies of a popular web framework.

  • 🧠 In your brain: This conversation is between you and them, and you're trying to defend a good opinion you are passionate about.
  • 🥺 Reality: While you're totally in your right mind to be having a discussion like this, you may also be making the thread hard to follow. People with less experience in these areas may be scared off or find it intimidating to engage with the community in the future.
  • ✅ To fix this: Consider moving the conversation to a new thread (opens in a new tab). This way, you can continue going down your rabbit hole without taking up all the energy in the main channel. You could also consider going out of your way to make sure juniors know that this is some pretty advanced stuff and that it's totally OK to not understand the conversation. Finally, you could consider how you engage with juniors outside of that one specific conversation. If you are someone who frequently collaborates in other contexts, people might find you approachable and ask you to help them understand something complex.

3. Be kind and clear

Since communication can be easily misinterpreted over a screen, it can be hard to judge intent or attitude. Be polite and friendly when you meet someone for the first time. Prefer being clear to being expressive if you don't know how something will make another person feel.

Be careful with sarcasm. In many cultures, sarcasm can be a form of endearment, but as a conversational tool you should wield it carefully. Often someone's background might not make them as receptive to sarcasm. Remember to know your audience, armed with the knowledge that these things can affect whether or not your sarcasm is actually received as sarcasm:

  • Language barriers
  • Mental predispositions
  • Cultural differences

4. Be supportive

When someone is struggling, offer to help. Remember to be respectful and not patronizing.

Scenario: "I'm stuck trying to start my Discord bot and I don't know what to do."

  • ❌ "Did you even try checking the readme?"
  • ❌ "You should just Google it"
  • ❌ "Geez, let me Google that for you..."
  • ✅ "Can you show me what came up through a quick Google search so we can grok through it together?"
  • ✅ "Could you share the error messages you see, and we can try to figure out what's going on?"

Scenario: "I had a really rough weekend, someone close to me is very ill"

  • ❌ "ooh that sucks"
  • ✅ "I'm really sorry to hear that, I'm here for you if you need to talk"

5. Use inclusive language

Try to use language that isn't accidentally exclusionary. There's a ton of this baked into our day to day dialect, and while unlearning it can feel uncomfortable, once it becomes habit you will barely notice the difference.

  • ❌ "Hey guys!"
  • ✅ "Hey everybody!"
  • ✅ "Hey folks!"

This extends to the memes/gifs you share as well. If you're not sure if something is offensive, please don't share it.

  • Avoid offensive slang and idioms: The English language is massive, and there may be words in your vocabulary you had no idea were even offensive! When you're not sure, find a similar word or phrase that feels safer.
  • Avoid "well, actually": This is an unkind way to correct someone which tends to hurt peoples' feelings.
  • Avoid subtle -isms or microaggressions: For example, the phrase, "it's so easy my grandmother can do it," exhibits both sexism and ageism.
  • Avoid exclusionary language: Strive to avoid anything else that makes other people feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unwanted.

6. Keep it civil when you disagree

We're all on the Internet and sometimes things can get heated. It's up to each of us to keep things kind and civil.

  • Name-calling and personal insults. It's not bad to attack logic or ideas, but it's not okay to attack people. If you're not sure if something is an attack, ask yourself: "Is this something I would say to someone's face?" If the answer is no, it's probably not okay to say it online.
  • Unwanted or unwelcome interaction. When someone asks you to leave them alone, respect their wishes. Most of the time, not respecting someone's wishes is considered Being a Jerk.