Culture Offset Pledge

The Problem

On 3/14/14, Julie Ann Horvath (@nrrrdcore) announced her decision to leave GitHub. She is the first developer to voluntarily leave the company. Horvath cited years of gendered harassment as a motivating factor in her decision.

GitHub's internal culture has been widely criticized by STEM feminists for years, though it has made some attempts to improve both its image and its reality - notably through Horvath's Passion Projects speaker series.

Many have responded to Horvath's account of her treatment by urging people to switch to Bitbucket for their repo hosting. However, this is an imperfect solution. We frankly have no reason to believe that Atlassian's internal culture is any better than GitHub's with regard to diversity. (Indeed, Atlassian's slow response to the C+= fiasco indicates that there are some axes under which they are actively worse than GitHub.)

Self-hosting is a good solution for some people and organizations, but not all, and many organizations currently have workflows that are specifically dependent on GitHub & therefore cannot feasibly make an immediate switch.

Harm Reduction

We encourage those who can't move to self-hosting their git projects, now or long-term, to participate in active harm reduction efforts. We specifically encourage individuals and organizations who rely on GitHub for critical infrastructure to begin donating an equal or greater amount of money to projects which work to counter institutional injustice in tech, or which use tech to counter institutional injustice.

Like carbon offsets, culture offsets are a limited tool. These donations cannot fully ameliorate the harm done by financially supporting an organization whose culture problems have harmed both their employees and the tech industry as a whole. However, all of the projects listed below could use the money. It's a start.

Organizations

  • Callback Women works to promote gender diversity at tech conferences, and to support female speakers.
  • Ada Academy provides tuition-free programming education for women transitioning into web development.
  • Refuge Restrooms helps transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people find safe, accessible restrooms.
  • TransH4CK supports trans* people in tech, and facilitates tech projects which support trans* people.
  • Black Girls Code teaches girls of color, ages 7 - 17, to code. They're not on gittip, and therefore technically outside the scope of this project (which is about recurring rather than one-time donations), but we highly encourage one-time donations to them anyway.
  • LGBTech.org is an advocacy, education, and outreach organization for LGBTQ* people who work in technology.
  • The Ada Initiative works to support women in open technology and culture.
  • PHP Women is an inclusive and global network providing diversity support within the PHP community.
  • Trans_: An Anthology of Trans People & the Internet, the first anthology collecting the voices of trans people on how the Internet has impacted them and how they've impacted the Internet.

If you have suggestions for other individuals or organizations that should be on this list, please send an email to suggestions@cultureoffset.org.

The Pledge

To add your name to this pledge, please fork the pledge repository, add your name and (optionally) your GitTip URL to _includes/pledge.md, and submit a pull request. (We are aware of the irony of this system.)