Building an Inclusive Codebase - Deepstash
Building an Inclusive Codebase

Building an Inclusive Codebase

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Creating an inclusive engineering culture

Creating an inclusive engineering culture

In the world, there is continued violence and prejudice against under-represented groups that undermine belonging and equality.

Airbnb Engineering strives to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere. Team members worked with employees from affected communities to address non-inclusive terminology in their codebase.


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Building new habits

Airbnb wants to eliminate non-inclusive terminology. So they measured the usage of non-inclusive terminology in the code, then addressed the problem in two ways:

  • Preventing new additions of these terms. They rolled out a linter to flag pull requests that introduce non-inclusive terms.
  • Driving down existing terms.


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Strengthening the approach

For the initial terms, members of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) sourced offensive word lists and implemented these improvements. ERGs provided a dedicated space for employees to join around shared characteristics, interests, and life experiences. For example, Black@ represents African-American and Black employees, and Able@ supports people with disabilities, chronic conditions, or mental health conditions.

To help everyone feel like they belong when working on Airbnb code and systems, they created an anonymous feedback form that any engineer can use to surface their thoughts.


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Sharing their work

Driving non-inclusive terminology is part of a larger effort in the technology community to make engineers from all backgrounds feel heard and valued.

By eliminating non-inclusive terminology that does not reflect the values of Airbnb, they show that everyone belongs and that they are seen and respected. To support similar efforts, Airbnb made public the list of terms they consider non-inclusive.


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Holiday representative


Driving down non-inclusive terminology.

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