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Building welcoming and equal communities

by Ashley | 21st, November 2014

At Scirra, we have always believed that everyone deserves equal welcome and respect, in both online and offline communities. We hope that we achieve this with our own community, and that it continues to be a vibrant and inclusive place that makes it a joy to work at Scirra. However we recognise that there is still much progress to be made towards making this a reality for everyone, particularly in the wider gaming, software, and technology communities.

While equality is by no means limited to gender, according to our Facebook page's insights around 90% of our audience identify as male. (We use Facebook's data because we don't have any such information ourselves - all we ask for when registering a user account is a username, email and password, and we plan to keep it that way.) There are likely deep and complex reasons behind this. However inequality - including discrimination, harassment, bullying, unfair treatment, negative expectations and uncomfortable atmospheres - could have a lot to do with it. This is just one example of inequality based on gender. However we believe it clearly demonstrates that whatever our approach to our own community is, we are significantly affected by these issues, and we cannot ignore that.

In some cases this issue can reach extremes. It is a terrible thing if anyone feels compelled to bully, intimidate or threaten others. There are always better, more constructive ways to resolve differences and conflicts. There can never be an excuse for wilful escalation or outright hostility. There are no issues that justify that. Nor should perceiving that you have received the same be used to justify returning it. Hostility can have a profound effect on a person, whether or not you see who says it or hear it said in person. People have - and will - quit projects, change careers, or otherwise leave to escape hostility or discrimination. This can still also happen when less extreme forms of discrimination are sustained over time. And when it disproportionately affects specific groups of people it likely also contributes to the inequality we see in our communities.

We must recognise this as a serious issue that affects us all. We urge readers to be proactive about bringing about change, and to try to make changes constructively. It won't happen by itself, and being a passive bystander may simply allow the current situation to propagate further. We hope you agree that it should not. We must all be vigilant about these issues and insist on better from our communities.

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