This December — Squash Open Source Inclusion Bugs!

Emma Irwin
3 min readNov 29, 2018


Open Source has a diversity problem…yeah we know. That’s not news anymore.

What’s newsworthy for 2018, is that through a collaboration of open source projects, institutions and initiatives we have, for the first time ever, created real and sustainable momentum to evaluate, understand and address issues of diversity and inclusion in open source.

Is this you?

“ I care a lot about diversity in open source, but I don’t know what to do, or if I am the right person, or if I have time, or if my motivations will be questioned” —majority of people I talk to

Good news! Caring is the first step! Keep reading to learn about simple ways you can contribute D&I in Open Source.

(And by the way, you are the right person)

You’re might be thinking: “Applying D&I metrics to an open source project sounds hard…”

Right? But, it’s a reality emerging from thoughtful and determined collaboration in the CHAOSS D&I Working Group . The initial areas of focus include: governance, leadership, recognition, project & community, events, contribution and communication. Each of those have an identified set of questions to answer: objectives strategies, and sample success metrics for answering.

At Mozilla we’re already leveraging many of these metrics in projects and initiatives as Inclusivity Bugs. I’m also testing out this label!

Inclusion bugs deserve their own label

There are some truly simple ways to get started.

You’re in? Great!

The good news is that starting December 1st, you can learn about, and practice filing bugs through 24 Contributions initiative. And to make that count as a day’s contribution!

The new, and more inclusive 24 Pull Requests, recognizes the importance of non-technical contribution and will enable tracking of all the ways you can help open source projects — including reporting of Inclusivity Bugs. Yay!

Also you can leverage Mozilla’s ‘Basic Inclusive Governance Checklist’ as a head-start

NOTE: Please avoid projects where you suspect toxic, or other negative behavior. Contribute with a buddy. We want you to stay safe as part of this.

If your project sees a bug report...

While you definitely owe someone a very big thank you for caring about your project, also consider it an honour that someone is trusting you to work on inclusion.

The next steps depending on what that bug is, and your level of confidence — know that you can drop into our D&I in Open Source list to ask questions. You are not alone.

What matters is your intention to open up the conversation about how to resolve those bugs.

One of the ways I am addressing bugs in leadership is by using the inclusive leadership standards as discussion points with community, and to empower technical women in maintainer roles.


Privacy, ethics and accountability are central. At Mozilla, we have things like ‘Best Practices’ for Handling Diverse Data (you can use them too), and we’ll contribute these to CHAOSS ongoing. CHAOSS working group goals for 2019 will include intention in the area of ethics.

We welcome your ideas, and (kind) challenges in the CHAOSS Working Group, or Mozilla Diversity repo.

“Inclusion Bug” credit to a talk I heard from Anita Sarma about Gendermag



Emma Irwin

Open Source Programs Office, Microsoft. Previously @Mozilla, @Benetech