Guide to Communication

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The IFF is an international, multidisciplinary festival. There will be people speaking multiple languages and using terms from various fields of study. English will often be the language we are using, and people who are fluent English speakers will have an advantage over less fluent English speakers.

We encourage all participants to approach the event with open and positive attitudes, and to engage constructively with others at all times. Please see our full Code of Conduct [1] for more information.


Together, we can make sure that we don’t miss out on valuable insights from our amazing participants:

1. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace.

2. Be an active listener, and be patient with people who are speaking their second (or third, or fifth!) language.

3. Use the session role cards when appropriate.

4. Avoid jargon. Assume that people don’t use the same terms, and explain them.

5. Address the idea, don’t attack the person.

6. Disagreements happen; it’s okay to walk away from a conversation that isn't fruitful or is becoming tense.

7. Your personal choice of technology doesn’t fit all users’ needs. There is space for different devices, software, tools, operating systems, programming languages, and licenses. Focus discussions on tools, whether closed source and commercially supported or open source, on the needs of users.

8. If you do not like a solution someone else is proposing, explain why, and state an alternative.

9. If you aren't having success on your own, ask for help from the session leader if you are in a session. Remember, if someone is breaking the code of conduct, you can make a report [2].

10. Remember that any group identity is complex and includes many different groups. Don't ask anyone to represent an entire group.

11. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health status, etc

12. Make sure to refer to people by their preferred gender pronoun. Some people don't identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, and others may prefer gender-neutral pronouns. You can ask people what their preferred gender pronoun is. Also, if you are unsure, address them by their name.

Guide to Communication Last Updated: 2 March 2017