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Open demographics

What is this?

Open Demographics is a recommended set of questions that anyone can use to ask community members about their demographics.

Why did this start?

When talking about the makeup of the people in their (open source) community, I hear project leaders say a variation of "I'd like to ask about it but I don't know the right way and I don't want to mess up."

So it felt like a logical next step to standardize the ways that we ask questions about peoples' identities and demographic data.

The content and format of these questions were initially crowdsourced as part of the demographics of the web survey, run with support from Pantheon.

What is the point?

Part of the challenge with measuring "diversity" in an open-source community is the very poor data from community to community. If we can standardize the questions that we use, the answers (or range of answers) can be valid across communities.

What do we need?

This project isn't ethically complete - I have concerns about storing this data alongside a user's federated identity. As one example, it's possible that people identify as LGBTQIA but are not or cannot be public about that for Reasons. Thus, in its current state, it is not a recommendation for storage, only for the text of questions and some variations depending on level of detail.

Further plans:

  • Recommend field name and data storage formats
  • Recommend linking or not to user's identity
  • Recommend workflows for anonymous storage
  • Make this survey less US-centric and provide translations and additional questions appropriate for other countries.
  • Get more contributors

Please get involved in improving our website via our github repository!


Open Demographics Initiative: An open standard for collecting identity/demographic data in open source communities.



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