We wish there existed a forum to talk about things that we run into during early careers in visualization research, and, more specifically, where we could talk with other people on the same boat. So we created a discussion group, which we will call “early-careers-in-vis”.
We want this group to be as open as possible, but we want it to be a safe place. “Safe” doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want: safe means we assume and expect (and hold you to it!) that you will do your best to speak candidly, and you can assume and expect (and hold us to it!) that we will do our best to listen and engage. But safe places are also places for delicate discussions, so we are all also expected to be mindful of everyone’s positions and status, and our own privileges as well.
In addition, discussions in this group are expected to be private. Please remember that.
We want this group to be as inclusive as possible, but we want it to be about junior people working in visualization research (we want to define this term as broadly as possible; we expect people to self-regulate).
We want to remove obstacles to contribution, and so we want to institute some social rules. Adding rules to remove obstacles can seem backward: still, we believe we all carry baggage that is ultimately unconducive to participation. This is not necessarily anyone’s fault, but it exists so we acknowledge it.
We particularly like the Hacker School social rules, which we essentially copy here.
We will keep the group invite-only to begin with, but feel free to suggest people to add. You can do it in-band in the group or if you’re uncomfortable with the person possibly seeing the discussion after they join, go ahead and email any of the group members directly.
The first rule means you shouldn't act surprised when people say they don't know something. This applies to both technical things and non-technical things. Feigning surprise has absolutely no social or educational benefit: When people feign surprise, it's usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse.
A well-actually happens when someone says something that's almost - but not entirely - correct, and you say, "well, actually…" and then give a minor correction. This is especially annoying when the correction has no bearing on the actual conversation.
it can be rude and disruptive to half-participate in a conversation. This isn't to say you shouldn't help, offer advice, or join conversations. It just means that when you want to help out or work with others, you should fully engage and not just butt in sporadically.
Our last social rule bans subtle sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. This one is different from the rest, because it's often not a specific, observable phenomenon ("well-actually's" are easy to spot because they almost always start with the words, "well, actually…").
Early-careers-in-vis is not a place to publicly debate whether comment X is sexist, racist, etc. If you see something that's unintentionally sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. at early-careers-in-vis you're welcome to point it out to the person who made the comment, either publicly or privately, or you can ask someone else you trust [[Hacker School rules say “Hacker School faculty”, but we don’t have that notion here. What do we do?]] to say something to that person. Once the initial mention has been made, we ask that all further discussion move off of public channels. If you are a third party, and you don't see what could be biased about the comment that was made, feel free to talk to faculty. Please don't say, "Comment X wasn't homophobic!" Similarly, please don't pile on to someone who made a mistake.
We want early-careers-in-vis to be a space with as little bigotry as possible in it. Therefore, if you see sexism, racism, etc. outside of early-careers-in-vis, please don't bring it in. So, for example, please don't start a discussion on the mailing list of the latest offensive comment from Random Tech Person Y.
Why don't we want public discussions of sexism, racism, etc. at early-careers-in-vis? For many people, especially those who may have spent time in unpleasant environments, these conversations can be very distracting. At early-careers-in-vis, we want to remove as many distractions as possible so everyone can focus on visualization research and career issues. There are many places in the world to discuss and debate the problems above, but there are precious few where people can avoid them. We want early-careers-in-vis to be one of those places.
There is no such thing as no structure in an organization. The best we can aspire to do is to be transparent, for everyone to work under (and be held to) the same values, to accept that we all screw up every now and again, and to continually improve ourselves and the group in the process.
We would love if the above rules were so obviously right and simple that no one would want to change them, but we do not want to impose. There's a Google Docs document that everyone can add to.
Our best hope is that everyone here gets promoted, tenured, etc. We ask you to leave the discussion group when you no longer consider yourself a junior person. We do this because we do not believe the issues new researchers will face will stay the same, but we do believe that new researchers will always want a safe place to talk. (Yes, this does mean that the people who created this thing will leave the group.)
We don’t know yet.
Whoever is willing to. We’ll add anyone who wants to do so.