How To Build an Inclusive Community in Web3
By: Taofik Kolade, Community Advisor
Web3 is predominantly white and male. Whew. There. I said it. The cat is out of the bag. The elephant in the room has been positively identified. I’ve finally said the thing that we all in the collective Web3 consciousness have been thinking. Blog post done. Except, jk, lol, like no one has actually been thinking about this because we’re all just a bunch of white dudes, right brah? Nah.
That italicized statement is a personal opinion, not a fact. However, it is a sentiment that I’ve heard voiced from other non-whites and non-males in Web3. One of Story DAO’s most ambitious community-building goals is the formation of an online creative community that successfully represents and satisfies a global audience. In order to achieve this, we must create a diverse portfolio of creative tastes. We need a wide breadth of world views that are all unified by their love of story. Art is subjective. We want to decentralize subjectivity. You can learn more about Story DAO’s mission and vision here.
The argument for creative diversity is simple. If every community member has the same background, ideas and perspectives, creativity will suffer. Homogeneity robs us of the healthy conflict that breaks ground for progress and innovation. However, getting to know your community members on a more intimate level requires users to volunteer personal information in a realm where many may desire to preserve their anonymity. So how do you achieve decentralized subjectivity when you’re primarily marketing to a space dominated by anonymous white men?
Committing to this goal means considering it at every step along the path of the organization’s growth. Diversity is like a tamagotchi. If you nurture it and give it constant attention, it will thrive, grow and evolve into its most advanced form. But if you don’t do anything, it’ll annoy you incessantly, get sick, stop eating and yet somehow continue to just poop everywhere. In the end, it just a big mess.
Here are six steps Story DAO is taking to accomplish our community-building goal:
- As Story DAO assembles a small cohort of Producer Token holders, as well as our larger community of creative contributors, qualifications are always the primary consideration. That said, here are some other factors we’re taking into account: Location, Age, Sex / Gender Identification, Sexual Orientation, Race / Ethnicity, Disability, Cultural, Religion, Education, Socioeconomic Status / Class.
- Location — We ask our members to let us know their local timezone. Looking at a visual distribution of time zones is a simple way to get a sense of how our members are spread across the globe.
- Age, Sex / Gender Identification, Sexual Orientation, Race / Ethnicity, Disability, Cultural, Religion, Education, Socioeconomic Status / Class — This is all information that must be provided voluntary. While we will never mandate members sharing their intimate personal details, our token holder allowlists provide a space for members to share anything that will help us get to know them a little better. Members who desire the best of both worlds, representation and anonymity, can sign up using a pseudonym. Go ahead and use a burner wallet if you’re extra cautious about personal privacy. We’re not picky.
- Diverse Writers’ Rooms — Community members will be connected with a Story Architect, an A-list Hollywood writer who leads the community along with an established writing team, in a virtual writers’ room. Together, they will create a new narrative-based story franchise or “universe” that will live within its own DAO. Story Architects are held responsible for hiring diverse writers.
- Having Story DAO token holders go through a selection process means we need a diverse group of selectors. This is our Core Team. If we want to fill our community with reputable creative specialists, we need selectors who can identify potential within each specialty. As a screenwriter, I can analyze television and film credits, but I may not be able to pinpoint the best business builders.
- Diverse Outreach — When it comes to outreach, it’s the exploration-exploitation tradeoff. How much time and energy do we devote to marketing to the web3 community versus marketing to those in traditional entertainment? How many friends do we shill to? How many strangers? When considering collaborating with other DAOs, we have to pay attention to the makeup of their communities. How diverse are they?
Why go through all the effort? If everyone is anonymous, doesn’t that make diversity irrelevant?
My response to this question is another question: have you ever even heard of tamagotchi? The anonymity question is my fear, because it almost sounds somewhat logical. This fear makes me curious about how other DAOs are approaching diversity within their communities. It it doesn’t just happen on it’s own. Diversity is only achieved with intentionality.
Building a creative community where everyone feels represented sounds great in theory, but in actuality it will take too long and be too difficult to achieve.
This is a fair assessment. Relying solely on voluntary information means we won’t have a fully-formed picture of every community member. This plan isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s a start. It will take some time to execute. We’ll have to return to it regularly with new information, knowledge and insights that we can use to reassess how to better accomplish our goal. I’d love to hear some counter-arguments to our approach. Conflict of thinking could lead to further innovation and progress. Consider this the start of the conversation. I welcome any and all responses.