Peer-Support Slack Community
Who is the Slack Community for?
The Reasonable Access Slack community is a peer-support networking space (for disabled people and proxies* only) to share advice, information and solidarity with one another around disability access rights.
* A proxy is someone who acts on behalf of a disabled person (e.g. a parent or carer) including children under 18, disabled people with limited or no legal capacity or people who need extensive assistance to deal with disability discrimination.
Purpose of Community
The purpose of this community includes but is not limited to:
- Learning about legal rights.
- Sharing constructive tactics for dealing with discrimination.
- Helping one another to deal with the impact of discrimination on our lives.
- Empowering each other to explore different activism strategies.
All members will be asked to:
- Read the community rules.
- Complete a joining form confirming that you are a disabled person or proxy and agree to follow the rules.
- Engage with a welcome-interview in an accessible format (e.g. text, video, email).
These steps are in place to keep this community space as safe for everyone as possible given the personal and sensitive nature of the information that members may choose to share.
Reasonable Access – Slack Community Rules
Who the Slack Community is for – more detail
The Reasonable Access Slack Community “Slack Community” is primarily as a majority-disabled, disability safer space for disabled people to develop and share constructive strategies of all kinds to deal with disability discrimination in the UK.
Some members may not be disabled people themselves, but want to join this community as a parent, carer or supporter (what we call a ‘proxy’) for a disabled person who is unable to take action in their own right e.g because they are under 18 or do not have legal capacity.
Ethos and Purpose of the Slack Community
The aim of the Reasonable Access Slack Community “Slack Community” is to build each other up and support each other’s actions towards a more welcoming world for disabled people.
Laws and policies relating to disability rights usually put the responsibility for enforcement onto individuals. We know this is not fair and burdens disabled people and proxies with the practical, emotional and financial responsibility to get disabled people’s basic needs and rights met. This Slack community has been created as a safer space for disabled people and proxies to support one another.
Challenging discrimination and using the law, whether with professional representation (e.g. lawyers/advocates) or not, can be very difficult at times and wonderful at others. We hope the Slack community will create a space that makes every member feel less alone.
Dealing with disability discrimination often involves people sharing extremely sensitive personal information. For this community to be a useful and supportive space, it is essential that the confidentiality of all members is an extremely high priority.
Keeping confidentiality means that:
- You must not identify other members of this group to people outside the group.
- You will not share any of the content from the group without express permission.
- You cannot talk about anything shared within this group (even anonymously) without express permission from relevant people.
- You must not show the group space to anyone who is not a member except where someone is providing essential personal care assistance or communication support to you, and you have strict confidentiality agreements with them in place.
- If you download any data to your computer to legitimately access it, you will delete it when you are finished.
- You understand any data you post to slack as messages may remain there indefinitely unless you delete it.
- Where there is a legal requirement not to talk about any legal-matters discussed, you must not do so.
Moderators will take breaches of confidentiality very seriously. If in doubt that something is a breach, please avoid doing that thing and seek advice from the Moderators.
Lawyers and Journalists
If you are a lawyer who happens to be a disabled person (or proxy) challenging discrimination or using the law; you are a member of the Slack Community on the same terms as everyone else. You are not permitted to tout for business or offer legal advice. Equally you should not be asked for, or pressured to give legal advice by any other members.
If you are a journalist, you are welcome to be a member of the Slack Community as a disabled person or proxy, but you are not permitted to use this space to find stories or use any information shared by others for journalistic work.
If in doubt about these boundaries, please ask for advice from the Moderators.
I don’t know how to use Slack
If you need more support to manage accessing Slack, please let us know in your joining form or by emailing hello at reasonableaccess.org.uk.
We have a #slack-help channel where people can help once you have joined. We also find Googling “how do I do X in Slack” can often be effective as there are a lot of options which can be confusing at first, but also means it’s potentially very flexible!
Accessibility of the Slack Community
Most people in the Slack Community are disabled and will have a range of access needs relating to information and communication.
We encourage all members to try and make your contributions as accessible as possible while recognising some things are difficult or tiring to do. If someone flags up an access issue, try to listen to them and follow any advice.
Equally, if someone is struggling to make their contributions accessible, please consider offering to assist them. We encourage members to ask for community help in making your contributions accessible e.g. “Can someone help me do a visual description for this image?”. Between us we have a lot of knowledge and skills.
For accessibility, as a minimum we ask all members to:
- Add alt text to images and briefly describe images, audio information or videos (or request assistance) so that people who experience barriers to access, have some information.
- Avoid using colour or formatting like bold or italics as the only way of highlighting important information.
- Please avoid correcting anyone’s typos, spelling, grammar or punctuation unless proofreading has been requested, as not everyone can do these things easily and correcting can make people feel self-conscious or anxious. If you don’t understand someone, we encourage you to ask them to explain again or clarify.
- Be friendly if asked what something means or what an acronym means and expand it (you can also expand someone else’s acronym if they are asked and not around). Not everyone knows the same things or acronyms.
More advanced accessibility which we recognise not everyone can always do:
- Try to use text formats rather than PDF for sharing documents/attachments where possible e.g. Google docs, and or ask for help to convert anything which is poorly accessible.
- Where you are writing your own documents, try to use headings for documents longer than 1 or 2 pages as that makes them easier to navigate
- If you are creating tables, keep the same number of columns and rows throughout the table (avoid merging cells or nesting tables within tables).
- Ensure video has accurate captions and a transcript, and audio has an accurate transcript. Even reasonable quality automated captions are better than nothing and someone may be able to help you get them improved or corrected if you ask.
Diversity of tactics
We believe in supporting a diversity of constructive tactics to challenge discrimination and make the world more accessible. However, we will not support harmful tactics such as someone intentionally misusing legal processes or abusing other people (within, or outside of our Slack Community).
We encourage members of the Slack Community to think of your contributions as a gift to the group which helps all members have the opportunity to learn and become effective activists on their own terms. We encourage members to share your process and learning, including when you mess up and what you might do differently if you could deal with that situation again. We recognise that learning is life-long and people with different levels and types of experience can learn from one another.
Please assume positive intent from others, as not everyone has the same knowledge, experience or way of thinking and engaging with the world. Prioritise having a positive intent in your own contributions. If someone indicates that your input is not helpful, please try to listen to that. We will inevitably experience clashes of communication styles and needs, hopefully we can navigate those by careful listening and willingness to resolve any conflict.
Different experiences of disability discrimination
Different personal characteristics or experiences such as:
- Gender and gender presentation.
- Physical attributes like height, weight, appearance.
- Accent or speech attributes (or having a speech impairment).
- Impairment type.
- Where we spend our time.
- … and other factors.
can drastically change how discrimination manifests and is experienced. These factors can also change how challenging disability discrimination is reacted to. The tactics that work for one of us, may not work for others, for the above and other reasons.
We encourage members to be aware of these differences and to avoid dismissing or minimising other people’s experience, or being too-pushy with any suggested tactics.
There are a broad range of people who have used different access and discrimination management tactics in the Slack Community. We believe this enables members to have the opportunity to explore their own potential options, while respecting other members’ different views and choices.
Limitations of the Slack Community support
We cannot guarantee you will get the specific support, advice or input that you are looking for. We recommend that you do not use the Slack community as your only support or input when you are challenging discrimination, doing activism or taking legal action, as we are unlikely to be able to provide all of the support you need.
Members of the Slack community and Reasonable Access are not lawyers. No one in the Slack community is allowed to give legal advice. Any members who have any kind of legal training are not here as anyone else’s lawyer, but as a disabled person or proxy taking actions in their own right. Anything that seems to be legal advice should not be taken as such, and we ask that members alert a moderator to attempted legal advice you see so it can be deleted or edited.
People in the Slack Community may share thoughts on risks or benefits of ideas, but all decisions about your situations have to be your own. Anything you decide to do in asserting your rights or in legal matters, is entirely at your own risk.
You are responsible at all times for your own behaviour.
Moderation of the Slack Community
Moderators are members of the community who have volunteered to help all members follow the guidelines and ethos as well as dealing with practical Slack issues.
These rules and guidelines are not exhaustive, over time unexpected things may crop up. Moderators may intervene to ask members to change behaviour, delete content or other things as needed. Moderators will try to explain why a request is being made, however, the priority will be the safety and comfort of the wider membership and disability rights as a whole.
If a member has been asked to modify their behaviour and does not do so, or behaves in a harmful way towards others; the Moderators may restrict or remove that member’s access to the Slack Community. Any decision to permanently remove a member will be made by at least 3 moderators and may be kept on permanent record.
The current Slack Community moderators are listed in a pinned post inside the Slack #Intro channel.