Community Culture

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The IFF is a space where individuals working on different aspects of Internet Freedom can gather to build solidarity and support each other cross regional and professional lines.

Through collaboration, the IFF is designed to be a community-run event that prioritizes the needs of the community over the needs of any specific organization, entity or individual. It also cultivates a culture of inclusivity where new voices, particularly those from underrepresented communities, can feel welcomed, supported, and empowered.

In addition, the IFF is a space where we take the time to celebrate each other and our accomplishments, and work hand-in-hand to collectively produce solutions to the most pressing censorship and surveillance challenges our communities face worldwide.

At the same time, it is a space to learn and practice how to overcome cross-cultural challenges that are inherent to working in an international, multidisciplinary space like ours, and push the social progress we would would like to see in our world.

Ultimately, the IFF is meant to be a safe, creative and warm environment where community members can feel respected and treated with dignity, and remind each other that they are not alone - they are part of a thriving, large international community where individuals across the globe are eager and ready to support each other.

Solidarity In the last few years, our work has gotten significantly more difficult because of recent socio-political changes. More than ever, it is incredibly important that we stand side-by-side and provide each other with the support and warmth we need to move forward. Our adversaries are large and well funded. However, our network can be even stronger and resilient if we take the time to build bridges with each other. While you are at the IFF, we ask you that you practice solidarity. Assume good faith, and remember that everyone is trying their best. We need each other to move forward.

Relaxation & Celebration Our work requires a deep level of emotional, psychological and physical commitment, with some participants. We encourage you to think about others, and help create an environment where creativity and positivity can both flourish.

Language & Cultures 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. Ask a lot of questions, and learn to listen. Don’t assume you know what someone thinks or feels. Instead take the time to learn about each other’s experience and background.


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 [1].

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