The words we use to talk about different situations, companies, and people have a huge impact on what we think. While style guides like the Associated Press Stylebook are used in newsrooms and public relations offices alike, they don’t cover identity well — if they mention topics like gender or race at all, they just touch on the surface. Identity is a crucial topic for anyone writing today to get right, especially in fields like technology, where we need to talk about our users and audience in a way they find inclusive and understanding.
We’re running this Kickstarter to fund the resource we need in our own work. The Responsible Communication Style Guide will cover how to write about five key topics:
- Health and Well-Being
We'll also cover how this approach fits into the work The Recompiler does, and how we can write about technology in the most welcoming and accessible way.
Who are we and why are we qualified to create this style guide?
Audrey Eschright is the founder and publisher of The Recompiler, a feminist hacker magazine launched last year. She’s been looking at the underlying structures that inform our technology and improve our communities for far longer than that, with a decade-long career as a software developer and community organizer.
Thursday Bram has been writing online professionally for over a decade. She writes about business and technology primarily, but has written about everything, including reviews of kitchen sinks. Her first step with many of her clients is creating a style guide from scratch.
We’re equipped to edit and publish this style guide, but we aren’t the right subject matter experts to write many of the sections this guide will contain. It needs to be written by people with the lived experience to provide context. We’re finalizing the section editors we’ll be working with and will announce their names during the Kickstarter, so stay tuned for those updates!
Who is this style guide for?
We’d love to create a style guide that covers every relevant topic for every industry, but we’re going to do something a bit more specialized for the first iteration. The Responsible Communication Style Guide will focus on covering our five topics within the context of technology. We both work in technology and know the gaps in resources firsthand. We’re also starting with technology because we both see the discussions taking place in tech communities as having an outsized impact on other communications. After all, can we build inclusive and accessible tools if we don’t even have the words to discuss inclusion or accessibility?
The Responsible Communication Style Guide isn’t just for writers. Podcasters, vloggers, speakers, and media creators of all kinds have to think carefully about word choice to make sure an audience gets exactly the intended message. We see a clear business case for the many journalists and marketers working around tech in different media: if only because there’s a clear business case for not alienating or offending sections of your customers.
What do we need?
We’re asking for $20,000. With that money, we’ll cover the cost of paying contributors, printing copies of the style guide, and sending rewards out. Even if everyone were to choose the e-book option for the style guide, paying contributors, editors, and designers, plus other necessary expenses to create a project of this scale, will require about 60% of our budget. The rest goes toward the physical costs of delivering the project rewards you’ll select.
We know it's a long shot, but we have 9 more hours left. If we get to $25,000 before the end of the campaign, we'll add on creating videos of our on-site training. Right now the training is only available to backers at the $1,800 level, but if we hit the stretch goal we can make videos available to anyone backing at the $35 level. Let's see how far we can push this!
We need you to back this project to make it successful. Even a small pledge will make a world of difference for us, though we’re hoping you’ll consider backing at least the $15 level so that you’ll be able to start using the style guide in your work as soon as possible.
We also want you to share this Kickstarter project with anyone you know who has to write or create other media. Help us reach the people who really need this guide.
Thank you for supporting our Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
The work required to finish the Responsible Communication Style Guide breaks down into three categories: writing, printing, and shipping.
We're finalizing our section editors now and they'll be able to start work right after this Kickstarter ends. One of the biggest risks in this project is that an editor will not be able to complete a section. However, we have a list of alternative section editors and writers who we can work with in the event of a problem.
Because the Recompiler publishes a quarterly print edition, we already have an existing relationship with printers and a fulfillment system. While there are always unexpected bumps in any creative project, we've mitigated our risks by working with established vendors. We're confident in our team's ability to produce the Responsible Communication Style Guide.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (23 days)