For a while I didn’t really feel a need to write a blog post for 2020. As far as I can tell we the Rust Community are doing a great job, and I just want us to keep doing what we’ve been doing. My biggest worry is that the people who contribute the most are dangerously close to burning out and I made a tweet much to that effect.

But I was talking with someone recently about what makes Rust great, the language and the community, and that ultimately boiled down to how inclusive and accessible we are, and it made me think saying more than just “keep doing what we’re doing and take care of yourselves” is in order.

To me, Rust is fundamentally a language of accessibility. I mean, the byline on the main webpage for the lang is literally “A language empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.” And if you look, you’ll notice that everything we’ve done up to today shows a commitment to this idea.

  • Cargo is all about making it easy to share and reuse code and setup projects.
  • The community was built around a strongly inclusive Code of Conduct and it shows.
  • Async functions are all about making it easier to write futures and high performance async io code.
  • Our compiler errors are famous for being incredibly helpful, frequently linking directly to guides that help you understand the issue you’re running into fully.
  • The compiler team views confusing compiler errors as a bug and it shows in how helpful they are.
    • I mean this very seriously, just interact with Esteban once and you’ll fall in love with opening issues for confusing compiler errors, he and everyone else involved are SO NICE AND HELPFUL omg I love them.
  • It’s a meme that our community is run by queers because of how inclusive we are of lgbt people.

Every point here has one thing in common, and that’s accessibility. I think the most important thing going forward is to keep focused on what made us great in the first place. Shiney new tech is great but it’s even better when everyone gets to use it.

Now, I don’t really have any examples of people going against accessibility, thankfully, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have room to improve! To get you started here are some ideas I was able to come up with on what we can all do to keep working on accessibility.

  • Write tutorials and docs that help people use your projects/tools/libraries so that more people can jump in and use / contribute.
  • Write blog posts so people know what you’re working on and can get excited about it.
  • Focus not just on adding new features, but on making those features easy to use.
  • Work on accessibility for our webpages and localization so other natural language speakers can get involved at the same level as english speakers.
    • The replies to this tweet have helpful suggestions on how to make your webpages accessible.
  • Think about mentoring people or getting a mentor.
  • And many more ideas that I’m sure other wonderful Rustaeceans will come up with.
    • Seriously though, if you have any more ideas on accessibility please @ me on twitter and tell me, I’ll add your ideas to this list.
  • [From @Sunjay03] Add a code of conduct to your project, heres why.
  • [From @Sunjay03] Contribute to other projects to help them be more accessible, rather than putting all the burden on the maintainer.
  • [From @timClicks] Prefer shorter sentences in blog posts about Rust. Many (majority?) of the community use English as a second language. Shorter sentences are much easier to translate.
  • [From @TheWholeDavid] Engage with the dyslexic community on new language features and syntax, library API names, etc. Dyslexic people, for the most part, make the same mistakes when reading things that everyone does at least occasionally, but the difference is we make them almost every time.

I want nothing more than to see rust continue to grow and continue to be the amazing lang/community it is today, and I think the key to this is a continuing focus on accessibilty. Be kind, be helpful, stay accessibilty.

PS: And of course postfix macros are CRITICAL, someone please, my CLOC is dying.