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Inclusion Bot

An inclusive culture is built one interaction at a time, and language is the foundation. Inclusion Bot is one of the tools we use to help us live our values here in TTS.

To quote Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg: “If a culture’s language is full of pejorative metaphors about a group of people, that culture is not going to see those people as fully entitled to the same inclusion as people in a more favored group.”

Inclusion Bot is integrated into the TTS Slack and passively listens for words or phrases that have racist, sexist, ableist, or otherwise exclusionary or discriminatory histories or backgrounds (see full list here). When it hears those words, it quietly lets the speaker know and offers some suggested alternatives:

Slack screenshot. Inclusion bot responds with a message only the user can see: Hello! Our inclusive TTS culture is built one interaction at a time, and inclusive language is the foundation. This bot helps us practice our inclusive values here in TTS. Some of your message could be unintentionally non-inclusive. Here are some alternatives that might work better. Instead of saying 'dumb,' how about 'foolish?' Instead of saying 'guys,' how about 'yall?'
Inclusion Bot responding to the words "dumb" and "guys."

The bot’s message includes a button someone can click to get more information about the words or phrases that it’s responding to. This can include historical context to explain why the language can be non-inclusive to help us all learn and grow. An emoji is also added to the message that included the words, to indicate the Inclusion Bot was triggered and sent a message to the writer.

Slack screenshot. Inclusion bot responds with a message only the user can see: 'Dumb' arose as a derogatory reference to people with intellectual disabilities. We want to avoid stigmatizing disabilities. 'Guys' is commonly used to refer to groups of people, but it is a gendered pronoun. It can make people who do not identify as 'guys' feel excluded, even if that's not the intent. Regardless of cultural background or innocent intent, we recommend alternative language that makes it clear everyone is included in the conversation! Consider a word like 'yall' or 'folks' instead!
Inclusion Bot providing more context for its message about the words "dumb" and "guys."

Inclusion Bot is not a disciplinary tool. When the bot alerts someone to potentially non-inclusive language, that person is not in trouble! The bot doesn’t exist to punish anyone, but rather to help us live up to our stated values of inclusion and respect. If someone is using disrespectful language intentionally or is otherwise creating a hostile working environment, that should be escalated to a supervisor.

Inclusion Bot is one of the features of our general-purpose Slack bot called Charlie, source code on GitHub. A full list of language that Inclusion Bot listens for can be found here.

Questions?