The following is a workshop held during the 2014 CIRN conference and includes the abstract, agenda, and notes from the workshop. The result of this workshop and the preceding workshop held 2013 at CIRN is An Expansive List of Ethics and Diversity Principles & Practice Standards. This page is maintained for archival purposes, but subsequent work will be completed using the Expansive List wikipage. For further questions regarding these workshops and the process being used for developing a CI practitioners list of ethics and practice standards, please contact Martin Wolske (mwolske at

Photos from CIRN 2014 Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion Workshop

In 2005 Randy Stoecker critiqued community informatics as underdeveloped as a field of practice due to the lack of a codified set of ethics and practice standards. During a workshop at the CIRN 2013 conference, there was consensus that the work of a cohort from the Pluralizing the Archival Curriculum Group might serve as a model to establish such a set of ethics and practice standards for community informatics. This year's workshop will have the goal of establishing and outlining the framework for a working group to advance a community informatics publication on ethics, diversity, and inclusion.

Workshop Agenda
Develop a set of social ethical principles that guide if, when, how to ethically and sustainably implement technology that is based on the conversations that happen around the lunch table and in the various sessions of CIRN

1:30-2:00: Post any model principles/ethics/inclusion statements that have not already been posted. Then, walk around for 30 minutes putting post-it notes responding to these and voting for items of special applicability (arrow stickies)

2:00-2:40: Group discussion (25 min. small group; 15 report back)
  • What are we missing?
  • What did you respond to especially strongly, whether positively or negatively?
  • Are there threads between these principles?
  • Who should be the audience?

2:40-3:00: Discussion of steps forward. One possible approach would be as follows:
  1. The initial documentation on this wiki page today
  2. Invite all current and past attendees of CIRN to join in editing of wiki page
  3. At X point in time, close edits and open up for final comment
  4. At Y time, we will assume Lazy Consensus
  5. Continue to develop these principles in collaboration with community partners as we ask if this is appropriate to guide our engagement with them. Bring this feedback to CIRN next year. For those with established engagement relationships, bring to CIRN next year ways in which current research applies these newly developed principles or responds to these principles.

Additional Frameworks

Report Back (Notes) from Group Discussion

1st Group
  • Takeaways: (1) knowledge translation (relevant to the community). (2) Socio-political context, and (3) moral issues, ethics of care.
    --> It has to embody a position on the role of technology and community to distinguish between CI and other fields.
    --> All of these points could apply to a union meeting or a community platform where people could articulate their vision. How is this community different? The capacity and power of technology and diffusion of information. Technology can disenfranchise, that is one of the powerful things that is a part of the CI community. Technology is not apolitical.

2nd Group
  • Takeaways: (1) idea of mutual respect (is that the right word?), romanticism of communities, communities are not homogeneous, (2) partnership: is this the right word? Collaboration might be a better term to be more equal and address power issues. (3) researchers defining agenda? Shift power relations to make sure that communities are defining the relationships
    --> Being transparent, defining roles, how will the process be transparent?
    --> Additional: Acknowledgement of the diversity within communities, "othering" needs to be addressed in CI.

3rd Group
  • Takeaways (1) What are communities anyways? People belong to overlapping communities. Communities themselves are multivariate, (2) We need to be open to being transformed by the experiences of doing the research, as well as communities, partners however they are defined. Need to be open to transformation process. This leads to discussion of partnerships and how people work together. How do we work with communities who have been oppressed in their experiences working with researchers/academics. How do we build trust? Organic community formation could be a pathway towards trust building, (3) recognizing power relations (and differences between power), acknowledge terms like Community Informatics and the blind spots within them. Terminology is determined by academics. How do we address this within the communities with whom we are working. Possible solution: writing principles in numerous languages to address these disparities.

Follow-up Conversation
  • This will take time to develop
  • How can community "partners" inform the direction of these guidelines/partnerships?
  • There needs to be a transformation within the university to accommodate and respect our students' backgrounds and traditions.
  • There will always be power relations and we need practices to equalize these relationships.
  • Need: stating social justice principles more explicitly in CI.
  • There is a real need to de-colonialize our work. This is a process, not an end.
  • We should produce a reflective document, not a final document.

Next Steps
  • We will give this reflective document some time and then we will close and say this is what we will use for this year (until next gathering).
  • How might you make use of some of these points? Consider coming back to share how you have made use of these principles.