Created by Coraline Ada Ehmke


Meritocracy is a founding principle of the open source movement, and the ideal of meritocracy is perpetuated throughout our field in the way people are recruited, hired, retained, promoted, and valued.

But meritocracy has consistently shown itself to mainly benefit those with privilege, to the exclusion of underrepresented people in technology. The idea of merit is in fact never clearly defined; rather, it seems to be a form of recognition, an acknowledgement that “this person is valuable insofar as they are like me.”

(If you are not familiar with criticisms of meritocracy, please refer to the resources on this page.)

It is time that we as an industry abandon the notion that merit is something that can be measured, can be pursued on equal terms by every individual, and can ever be distributed fairly.

What does a post-meritocracy world look like? It is founded on a core set of values and principles, an affirmation of belonging that applies to everyone who engages in the practice of software development.

Our Values

These core values and principles are:

  • We do not believe that our value as human beings is intrinsically tied to our value as knowledge workers. Our professions do not define us; we are more than the work we do.
  • We believe that interpersonal skills are at least as important as technical skills.
  • We can add the most value as professionals by drawing on the diversity of our identities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Homogeneity is an antipattern.
  • We can be successful while leading rich, full lives. Our success and value is not dependent on exerting all of our energy on contributing to software.
  • We have the obligation to use our positions of privilege, however tenuous, to improve the lives of others.
  • We must make room for people who are not like us to enter our field and succeed there. This means not only inviting them in, but making sure that they are supported and empowered.
  • We have an ethical responsibility to refuse to work on software that will negatively impact the well-being of other people.
  • We acknowledge the value of non-technical contributors as equal to the value of technical contributors.
  • We understand that working in our field is a privilege, not a right. The negative impact of toxic people in the workplace or the larger community is not offset by their technical contributions.
  • We are devoted to practicing compassion and not contempt. We refuse to belittle other people because of their choices of tools, techniques, or languages.
  • The field of software development embraces technical change, and is made better by also accepting social change.
  • We strive to reflect our values in everything that we do. We recognize that values that are espoused but not practiced are not values at all.

Signatories

To add your name to the list of signatories, sign this form.

  • Coraline Ada Ehmke
  • Aurynn Shaw
  • Timothy Caleb Nordloh
  • Nick Wilde
  • Dax Murray
  • Franzi Trabold
  • Kevin Laude
  • Sareh Heidari
  • Tim Chevalier
  • Tobias Goeschel
  • Samir Talwar
  • Christoph Neuroth
  • Sonia Gupta
  • Steve Huff
  • Brad Grzesiak
  • Vrinda Malhotra
  • Daniel Núñez
  • Brad Fults
  • Sophie Déziel
  • Jennifer Lyn Parsons
  • Jenna Charlton
  • Kathy Heffern
  • Jessica Kerr
  • Danielle White
  • Jordan Rose
  • Joshua Zimmerman
  • Rachel Chalmers
  • Ryan Mitchell
  • James Socol
  • Jameson Hampton
  • Paul Hinze
  • Jacob Walker
  • Greg Dunlap
  • Leon Miller-Out
  • Matthew Boeh
  • Florian Gilcher
  • Joseph Miller
  • Marc Drummond
  • Beth Debertin
  • Bruno Albuquerque
  • Henry Smith
  • Lucas Moore
  • Benjamin Kampmann
  • Yuvi Panda
  • Derek Pennycuff
  • Gavin van Lelyveld
  • Brittany McCullough
  • Nat Dudley
  • jo flynn
  • Min Ragan-Kelley
  • Michael Carius
  • Jer Lance
  • Alex O'Neal
  • Steph Nagoski
  • Mark Nicol
  • Brion Vibber
  • Paul Tyng
  • Julian Simioni
  • Eric Stiens
  • Adrian Cheater
  • Matt Boehm
  • Klaus Purer
  • Joshua Bartz
  • Duilio Ruggiero
  • Evelyn Klein
  • Conrad Heiney
  • Jeff Hoover
  • Billie Alice Thompson
  • sam raker
  • Dave McPherson
  • Carina C. Zona
  • Jonathan Mezach
  • Brent Miller
  • Jacob Lukas
  • Mark Nicol
  • Guillaume Gay
  • Benjamin Dumke-von der Ehe
  • benjamin melançon
  • Michael Cook
  • Danielle Grace Jackson
  • Guido Vilariño
  • Dana Scheider
  • Jennifer Konikowski
  • Ricardo Yasuda
  • Christoph Grabo
  • Benjamin Lippi
  • Frederick Wells
  • Joe Carnahan
  • Alex Kitchens
  • Matt Beland
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  • Alex Wynter
  • Aaron Weiss
  • Brant Bobby
  • Michael Hunger
  • Carly Ho
  • Nathan L. Walls
  • Claudius Link
  • Kai Dalgleish
  • Mickie Betz
  • Matt Mills
  • Dave Latham
  • Kate Taggart
  • Brian Dorsey
  • Rich Burroughs
  • Erik Foss
  • JoseLuis Torres
  • Isabella Rebel
  • Nick Morgan
  • Madalyn Parker
  • Nora Howard
  • Katherine Prevost
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