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:
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.
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.