Laying Out the Welcome Mat for Online Communities

👋 I'm Ian Linkletter, I work at UBC in the Faculty of Education as a Learning Technology Specialist 👋

Follow along with my presentation:

Online Communities

not new, but...

easier than ever to create

Follow along with my presentation:

Does this look familiar?

(Slack + Mattermost)




Public channels

Private channels

Direct messages

Multiple Teams

Emoji and reactmoji

File/image upload

Ian is typing...

@ mentions

Status indicators

Easy invites

that's a lot of features

I feel dizzy

People at our organizations are making A LOT of teams!


  • Courses
  • Community hubs (ETUG and OpenETC)
  • Teaching and research
  • Student cohorts
  • Learning communities
  • Clubs
  • Support groups
  • Alumni


How can we support them?

Existing community principles still apply

How do we support the communities forming all around us?

Three things to discuss

  • Inclusive outreach
  • Effective codes of conduct
  • Maintaining respectful environment

how to spread this knowledge

what we can learn from each other

Inclusive Outreach

Companies will try to do this for you, so do it better

Slack Discovery

No hard feelings...

Things to consider

Who is this community for?
What is this community for?
Who is missing?

On Inclusivity

Inclusivity doesn’t mean every conversation is for everybody.



Meet Indie

Based on open source Wheelie, Indie is a helpful Slackbot to moderate access to  private channels

Safe, inclusive spaces for:

Health / Wellbeing
Mental Health

From XOXO Festival Slack:

Why You Want a Code of Conduct

  • Sets expectations
  • Makes safety #1
  • Specific about what is OK and what to do if something isn’t
  • Empower community to take care of each other

This essay by Erin Kissane is excellent and contains many resources!

be sure to read it 👀

Embrace the specifics

A good code of conduct defines harassment
Safety over comfort

A living document co-created by community

it's good to spark conversations

about your code of conduct

A living document co-created by community

This policy was based on resources provided by, and borrows heavily from similar open source policies authored by JSConf AU and Django.

🔎 go check it out

Maintaining respectful environment

It’s nice to be nice!
Model behavior
Understand bullying


Coordinate with your organization’s procedures/policy

We are all figuring this out

  1. Inclusive welcomes
  2. Effective codes of conduct
  3. Maintaining respectful environment
  4. How we can support each other

Our organizations need us to support

the growth of all these communities

Let's discuss:

ETUG Fall Workshop 2018

By Ian Linkletter

ETUG Fall Workshop 2018

Ian Linkletter's lightning talk at ETUG Fall 2018 Workshop at Emily Carr.

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