Does your software project play favorites? We don't like it when our parents or managers do, so why would we develop software in a way that does?
An inclusivity bug is a type of issue in software projects that creates unnecessary obstacles for whole classes of stakeholders to equitably participate.
Inclusivity bugs can crop up in code as well as artifacts related to the development of code, such as accompanying documentation, on-boarding and meeting processes, resource access, communication modalities, etc.
If you've ever been the one and only remote teleconference participant in a hybrid team meeting where everyone else is gathered around a table in some meeting room, you will no doubt easily identify with how an inclusivity bug can impact participation. If the audio is working poorly, or members around the table are too far from the mic, or if the current slide number being viewed isn't mentioned verbally, or if the network is slow, or for a whole host of other reasons you are unable either to hear everything or be heard, you have experienced an inclusivity bug in your team's meeting processes.
If you identify as a women but are asked to write documentation in which users are exclusively referred to with male pronouns, or if you identify as African American but are asked to sponsor numerous software projects that make extensive use of 'masters' and 'slaves', or if you are a person with color vision deficiency and are constantly presented with information in inappropriate color schemes, you have experienced inclusivity bugs.
We have compiled here a list of resources about inclusivity bugs. Most are oriented towards gender. More work is needed to cover the gamut of inclusivity bugs that can arise in software projects.
|Article title||Fixing Inclusivity Bugs for Information Processing Styles and Learning Styles|
|Author(s)||Zoe Steine-Hanson, Claudia Hilderbrand, Lara Letaw, Jillian Emard, Christopher Perdriau, Christopher Mendez, Margaret Burnett, Anita Sarma|
The above resource discusses inclusivity bugs arising out of gender bias.
|Article title||Squashing inclusivity bugs in open source software|
The above resource discusses methodologies for identifying gender bias in software tools to help eliminate it.
|Article title||How to Debug Inclusivity Bugs? An Empirical Investigation of Finding-to-Fixing with Information Architecture|
|Author(s)||Guizani, Mariam; Steinmacher, Igor; Emard, Jillian; Fallatah, Abrar; Burnett, Margaret; Sarma, Anita|
The above resource discusses some of the bug fixes applied to address inclusivity bugs related to gender bias.
AID: An Automated Detector for Gender-Inclusivity Bugs in OSS Project Pages;
|Author(s)||Amreeta Chatterjee; Mariam Guizani; Catherine Stevens; Jillian Emard; Mary Evelyn May; Margaret Burnett; Iftekhar Ahmed|
The above resource discusses an automated tool for finding inclusivity bugs related to gender bias.
|Article title||Engineering Gender-Inclusivity into Software: Ten Teams’ Tales from the Trenches|
|Author(s)||Claudia Hilderbrand, Christopher Perdriau, Lara Letaw, Jillian Emard, Zoe Steine-Hanson, Margaret Burnett, Anita Sarma|
The above resource discusses experiences of various teams designing for inclusivity.
|Podcast title||How Men and Women Approach Open Source Differently|
The above resource discusses how gender differences lead to differences in approach to open source software contributions.
|Article title||How to Apply Metrics for Inclusion to your Open Source Project|
The above resource is quick look at some inclusivity metrics for open source projects.
Inclusivity Bugs and The Language We Use;
|Author(s)||Mark C. Miller|
The above resource discusses inclusivity bugs stemming from the use of commonly used language idioms.