Two weeks ago, I did something really stupid. I tweeted that Naomi Wu, @realsexycyborg, was not who she claimed to be, pointed to a conspiracy theory on that subject on Reddit. That would be wrong in any circumstance, but I’ve come to realize a couple of important things about this particular interaction: my response reflected my unconscious biases; and the negative impact of my tweets was amplified by the fact that I, a white, Western, male CEO of a key company in the Maker community, publicly questioned a young, female, self-employed Chinese maker. I specifically apologize for the tactless use of quotes around “her” in a tweet of mine that was offensive to Naomi and all women.

It was completely inappropriate of me to question Naomi’s identity. My reference to a web page that claimed that a white male was responsible for her projects was insulting to Naomi, to women, and to the technical and creative capabilities of the Chinese people. Naomi is what she says she is – an authentic maker who receives no more assistance from others than is customary in a traditional makerspace – and she discloses such assistance when she receives it. Naomi’s results both when working as an individual and when working with Chinese engineers on her sino:bit project demonstrate that she and other Chinese makers are every bit as capable and creative as their Western counterparts. I deeply regret what I have done to suggest otherwise. I apologize to Naomi and the entire Maker community around the world.

Naomi shared pointed criticism around diversity at Maker Faire Shenzhen, including the very important issues of not being sufficiently inclusive of female makers, and the over-representation of foreign-born makers. I should have put more effort into addressing those issues myself and I fully accept responsibility for not doing so. I realize that I contributed to the marginalization of women and local makers in China and I apologize for that.

With feedback from Naomi, we are working on a set of actions Make: will take to address her concerns.

  • With permission from Naomi, we will feature Naomi and her work on the cover of the next issue of Make: along with a full-length story about her work.
  • We will invite her and help her obtain a VISA to a USA Maker Faire in 2018, covering her travel and expenses.
  • We will be publishing a diversity audit of Make: as a company and our properties, and will be setting goals to drive progress on these issues.
  • We will be assembling advisory boards to work with our Maker Faire organizers to ensure our events are representative of our entire community. We will invite Naomi to be part of any advisory board for events in China.

We have learned a lot in the past week here at Make:. Learning and growth are not always easy and we appreciate how Naomi and the Maker community have pushed us and held us accountable. Inclusion, be it gender, culture or technology, is a core value of ours and in this situation, I fell short of living that ethos. While I grapple with that, Make: is committed to carrying on this conversation and affecting change across our community.

We also want to hear from you, our community. What conversations are you having around issues of inclusion in the maker movement? What are your challenges and concerns? Would you like to write on this topic, or recommend diverse makers for us to cover online or the magazine? Please send us your input at [email protected]  This is just the first step in a series of discussions around these topics we plan to host on the pages of Make:, in online communities, and in person at Maker Faires around the world.

Chinese Version

两个礼拜前,我干了一件非常愚蠢的事情。我在推特上说Naomi Wu, @realsexycyborg,她不是别人想象中那样的人,还听信了Reddit捏造抹黑她的所谓阴谋论。在没有证据的情况下就污蔑别人,无论如何我的所作所为都是错误的。特别是在这次的互动中我似乎明白了几件重要的事情:我当时的回复其实有是带着有色眼镜看别人,没有意识到自己其实做出了有偏见的决定。因为我一名西方白人男性CEO作为创客社区核心成员,在推特上面公开质疑了这名来自中国的年轻女性自由职业者的言论,严重地损害了她的个人名声和加大了事件对她的负面影响。我还要特别为我那句不得体的在“her”加双引号的暗示她是变性人言论抱歉,这不仅冒犯到Naomi而且对其他女性来说也是不公平的。

因为我个人原因而去质疑Naomi的身份是完全不合理的。我引用别人造谣写的那篇她所做的项目仅仅归功于她身后的白人男性的文章去贬低她的办事能力。无论对她,对其她女性,对其他中国有技术背景的人或者其他有创造能力的中国人来说都是赤裸裸的侮辱。Naomi其实就是她口中所描述的那个人-一名真正的创客,得到的帮助只是跟通常其他人在传统创客空间的差不多,绝无谣言所传的额外帮助。不管是Naomi自己独立制作的结果还是和其他中国工程师合作完成Sino:bit的种种迹象都表明了对比西方人这一端,中国人也是可以有才华的,有创造力的。我为我的所作所为深感忏悔,如果时光倒流我会做出不一样的决定。在此我对Naomi和世界上所有创客社区的成员致歉。

Naomi分享了对深圳制汇节的想法,批评其不够多元化,特别指出了几个显著的问题,例如缺乏女性创客代表,过于频繁地使用在国外出生的人作为创客代表。我一开始就应该关注处理这些问题,因为没有尽职尽责,所以现在我会完全承担没有做好本职工作的后果。我意识到我是女性创客和其他中国创客边缘化的源头之一,为此我再次道歉。

对于Naomi的反馈,我们在商讨Make对这件事需要执行的实际行动。

-得到Naomi的准许后,我们将会把她设定为下一期Make杂志的封面人物,同时会以几个叙述篇幅去展示她所做的一些项目。

-我们将会邀请和帮助她获取2018年参加美国制汇节的签证,也会负担旅行的所有支出。

-我们会出版一份经过审计后Make的多元化程度数据:作为本公司和我们的旗下产物的导向,我们将会制定目标努力改善这些问题。

-我们将会组建提议委员会与制汇节的组织者交流以确保我们这些活动上面的创客能代表当地的整个社区。我们将会邀请Naomi作为在中国举办活动的提议会员。

在过去两个礼拜中我们Make:学习了不少:学习与成长的道路不总是一帆风顺的,我们感激Naomi和整个创客社区的人推动我们做正确的事情,对我们的行为问责。具备包容性,面对任何性别,文化还是技术背景,都是我们的核心价值观而且在这种情形下更特显其意义。感觉我们的确缺少那种社会思潮。我们也在想方设法应付这种情况,Make:会继续公开讨论这类的话题,也希望能够帮助改善影响社区。

我们也希望能听到来自我们社区的意见。在创客运动中你听过哪些关于被排挤的对话?你面临着什么挑战和什么担忧?你愿意站出来写一些关于这个内容的文章吗?或者给我们推荐一些多元化的创客让我们在网上或者在杂志里面介绍他们。请把你的建议发到这个邮箱[email protected]。这只是我们围绕这个类型的话题展开一系列讨论后打算在Make:杂志里面展示出来所迈出的第一步,无论在网络社区,或是在世界上任何一个制汇节都希望大家继续讨论的话题。