Discussion:
Just a single Question for the Candidates
(too old to reply)
Amaya
2004-03-03 00:12:11 UTC
Permalink
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.

I would be very interested in knowing what's is each candidate's plan or
ideas on this subject, how to get more women involved, and what (in
their opinion) would be the benefits.

I hope I am not firing a big flame war here. This is not what I intend.
I just want to hear (read) what kind of tama Gergely Nagy has in mind :-)

Thanks for the input.
--
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Zenaan Harkness
2004-03-03 00:28:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.
Not a candidate but...

I don't see Debian as primarily, significantly, or anything like
"exclusive" with respect to gender. Quite the opposite.

Perhaps there is room for advocacy in that regard though,

but I tend to think it's the old adage "show us the code" - doesn't
matter whether you're male, female, whatever, if you're interested,
and can hack good code, Debian wants you!

(There's probably some punch line about "show us the women", but I
can't think of it...)

So, welcome, take heart, and viva la female hackers!

cheers
zenaan
Martin Michlmayr
2004-03-03 02:49:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned
about the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User community. How
can we say make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to
half the population of the world... I think we all agree we want to
see more women involved in or using Debian.
At the Open Source World Conference in Spain two weeks ago, someone
from the audience asked the same question. I said that it would
certainly be good to get more women involved in Debian and free
software, but I don't really have a good solution how this can be
achieved. Furthermore, I showed the map of Debian developers,
http://www.debian.org/devel/developers.loc, and pointed out that it's
not just women who are under-represented in Debian. There are, for
example, many parts of the world who don't have many Debian developers
(especially Asia and Africa).

As a matter of fact, I was surprised at the large number of women
attending the conference. The percentage of women at the conference
in Spain was much higher than what you'd see at a conference in
Germany or the UK. (I also pointed out that our most active female
developer is from Spain; they were quite happy to hear that ;).

Someone (I think it was Bdale) said that IT in India had a much larger
percentage of women than in western countries. I have heard similar
things about Malaysia. Also, someone claimed that the percentage of
women in free software is even lower than in computer science/IT in
general, but it was not clear why this is the case.
Post by Amaya
I would be very interested in knowing what's is each candidate's
plan or ideas on this subject, how to get more women involved, and
what (in their opinion) would be the benefits.
I think it's good to get more women involved, just like I think it
would be good to get more people from other countries, etc, involved.
However, I also think we should make sure that we are not encouraging
a certain group to join Debian just because they are under-represented.
Joining Debian should be based on merit, and we should not forget that
ideal. So if there are technically excellent women who want to
contribute to Debian, great! (But the same goes for anyone else.) One
thing I can assure is that our New Maintainer process is blind to
gender/sex, nationality, religion, etc - only factors which make a
difference in whether or not somebody can be a successful contributor
to Debian are taken into account.

Back to your question on how to get women involved: I think it's a
fine line between promoting women to get involved and having more
diversity, and getting women involved in Debian simply for the sake of
them being women. I fear that it might be misperceived if I, as a
male, would actively search for women joining Debian. I think that
you (Amaya) can do a much better job at that, and I encourage your
recent efforts. For those who don't know, Amaya approached me
recently because she would like to organize a meeting between female
developers or prospective developers at DebConf. I gave her a listing
of the female (prospective) developers I know of. Amaya also looked
at the Debian communities on Orkut, and since then has sent one
prospective developer my way, and I had a discussion with her. I'm
happy to talk to prospective female developers and to give advice, but
then again, I'm happy to do the same for anyone else.

In summary, I think getting more women and more under-represented
folks involved is a good thing, but it should be done on technical
merit. Finally, to answer your question fully, I think that women
could help us with communication in the project.
--
Martin Michlmayr
***@cyrius.com
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 07:41:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.
(Since you and I have had a little bit of personal conversation about
this subject before, I hope you'll forgive me if I draw on it a little.)

I do agree, but I hope you're not saying that there are particularly
female needs that aren't being satisfied by the Debian OS.

If there are, and we're not meeting them, then there's no reason to keep
software of particular interest to females out of the distribution. I
think this issue was pretty definitively decided a few years ago, a
discussion to which I'm proud to have contributed[1].

At any rate, I think whether Debian is *useful* to women is orthogonal
to the question of the sex ratio of Debian's developers.

I would agree with the statement that we should serve woman as we should
serve any other audience.
Post by Amaya
I would be very interested in knowing what's is each candidate's plan or
ideas on this subject, how to get more women involved, and what (in
their opinion) would be the benefits.
I'm not sure what to do about the strikingly low proportion of women who
become developers. I'm afraid I don't have answers. Is Debian a
hostile place for women? I sure hope not, though I recall a certain
presentation at DebConf 3 last year that could conceivably have been
thought of as a little exploitative (I'm not making this up, this
opinion was shared with me by another person) -- or at least as
reinforcing certain irrational notions about what women should look like.

But on balance I think even that was pretty mild. I very seldom see
overt hostility towards women in Debian. I think I have seen more
towards gays, and we appear to have more gay and bi male developers than
women of any orientation.

So, I find myself wondering, if there's a hostile environment, why
aren't more gay men dissuaded from joining our ranks? It don't buy any
crap about women being the "weaker sex", so that's no explanation. Is
it that we have subcultures within Debian, and the gay/bi male one has
reached a critical mass that enables new ones to be assimilated into our
group more easily? Is it simply that the female subculture has not
reached critical mass?

I find speculations grounded on a hostile environment difficult to
sustain, however. I think I've spent more words taking shots at members
of the U.S. Republican Party on our lists than I've ever seen directed
against women, gays, or even the French[2].

Maybe the problem is that we have so many young, straight, lonely, and
socially awkward male developers that potential women developers are,
well, flirted to death? Maybe we just don't give our geek females time
to remember that (or act as if) they're geeks first and women second.
Maybe they really do end up feeling objectified -- even if they aren't
treated as potential objects of sexual conquest, they simply tire of
being sniffed out as potential romantic partners. In fact, if the
latter is the case, that may have more explanatory value. After all, I
can imagine a lot of women who'd bristle with resentment at being
treated as a mere sex object, and would probably flame the guys away,
set their jaws in determination, and even more firmly establish their
geek credentials in defiance. But what is a person to do if all the
attention they're getting seems well-meaning, sincere, and not
objectionable on a case-by-case basis, but is simply too much to cope
with in the aggregate?

If that theory is correct, then I suspect the phenomenon has more to do
with why celebrities keep their distance from their fans ([5] >;-) ),
than with any sort of prejudice against women in the Debian Project, or
cultural sex roles that discourage women from becoming computer
professionals.

I'm sorry, Amaya; I have more questions than answers to offer you.
Maybe Biella Coleman, who has both experience and training directly
relevant to this sort of issue, could offer better insights.

Finally, I'll note that I don't think there's very much of
Branden-the-DPL-candidate in this reply. It's pretty much just Branden
cogitating (probably to no productive end, as usual :) ).
Post by Amaya
I hope I am not firing a big flame war here. This is not what I intend.
I just want to hear (read) what kind of tama Gergely Nagy has in mind :-)
Thanks for the input.
[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2002/debian-devel-200203/msg01667.html
[2] Oh, man, I'm gonna pay for that one, aren't I? It's just a joke[3]. :)
[3] By the way, have you seen this[4]? I could use some help finishing it!
[4] http://people.debian.org/~branden/dpl/campaign/2004/platform.xhtml.fr
[5] http://www.amayita.com/index.php?section=branden
--
G. Branden Robinson | No executive devotes much effort to
Debian GNU/Linux | proving himself wrong.
***@debian.org | -- Laurence J. Peter
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Ben Burton
2004-03-03 11:34:28 UTC
Permalink
Ah right, I'll chime in.
Post by Branden Robinson
But on balance I think even that was pretty mild. I very seldom see
overt hostility towards women in Debian. I think I have seen more
towards gays, and we appear to have more gay and bi male developers than
women of any orientation.
It's possible that it's all relative (tm). Given the amount of overt
anti-gay rhetoric that we still hear today, debian appeared to me as
having very little hostility towards lesbians/gays/etc. Certainly it
was a much less hostile environment than the place where I was living at
the time [1]. Hell, even in Australia where same-sex couples can get
immigration visas (with a large amount of red tape), we still have our
prime minister traipsing about arguing against same-sex marriage because
"it does nothing to support the survival of the species" [2]. If only the
world were ruled by the Dutch. :)

Anyway, I have never though of debian as hostile towards gays/etc at
all, certainly compared with the world at large.
Post by Branden Robinson
Is it that we have subcultures within Debian, and the gay/bi male one has
reached a critical mass that enables new ones to be assimilated into our
group more easily?
FWIW, I wasn't aware of such a subculture when I joined back in 2001,
and even now I'm finding it hard to think of more than a couple of other
lesbian/gay/bi DDs. Though of course you don't wear your sexuality in
the From: line the way you wear your gender, but still - I wouldn't
really have said there was a lesbian/gay/bi subculture in debian as such.
Maybe I'm just not paying attention. :)

I do think you have it right when you observe that there is seldom overt
hostility towards women in debian. I think the issues are more subtle
than that, which can in fact make the problems harder to address.

As an example, I'd say that debian, as with several open source
projects, does have a bit of a "bullying" culture (certainly not pushed
by everyone, or even by a majority, but certainly not invisible either).
And for whatever reason, I think males often thrive better in that
culture (look at debates regarding single-sex vs co-education schools).
This may or may not deter some people from participating - this is all
just wild speculation.

Anyway, just thoughts on the issue. Like everyone else I have no good
solutions.

Ben.

[1] http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/oklahoma/oklahoma.htm
[2] God bless Howard, the dear thing
Branden Robinson
2004-03-03 19:33:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
Post by Branden Robinson
But on balance I think even that was pretty mild. I very seldom see
overt hostility towards women in Debian. I think I have seen more
towards gays, and we appear to have more gay and bi male developers than
women of any orientation.
It's possible that it's all relative (tm). Given the amount of overt
anti-gay rhetoric that we still hear today, debian appeared to me as
having very little hostility towards lesbians/gays/etc. Certainly it
was a much less hostile environment than the place where I was living at
the time [1]. Hell, even in Australia where same-sex couples can get
immigration visas (with a large amount of red tape), we still have our
prime minister traipsing about arguing against same-sex marriage because
"it does nothing to support the survival of the species" [2]. If only the
world were ruled by the Dutch. :)
Anyway, I have never though of debian as hostile towards gays/etc at
all, certainly compared with the world at large.
I agree, and that's why I discarded that thesis.

I was attempting to work through a number of hypotheses that could
explain the scenario. The only one I have much confidence in was the
final one I reached.
Post by Ben Burton
Post by Branden Robinson
Is it that we have subcultures within Debian, and the gay/bi male one has
reached a critical mass that enables new ones to be assimilated into our
group more easily?
FWIW, I wasn't aware of such a subculture when I joined back in 2001,
and even now I'm finding it hard to think of more than a couple of other
lesbian/gay/bi DDs.
If there is one, I don't know about it, and I haven't been invited to
join. :)

900 people might not really be enough to sustain any proper
"subcultures" in any event. It's below the treshhold where everyone in
a community can no longer know everyone else, according to Jared
Diamond's metric in the book _Guns, Germs, and Steel_, which has some
interesting speculations on this subject.
Post by Ben Burton
I do think you have it right when you observe that there is seldom overt
hostility towards women in debian. I think the issues are more subtle
than that, which can in fact make the problems harder to address.
Yes; it's harder to treat an ailment in the absence of a correct
diagnosis.
Post by Ben Burton
As an example, I'd say that debian, as with several open source
projects, does have a bit of a "bullying" culture (certainly not
pushed by everyone, or even by a majority, but certainly not invisible
either). And for whatever reason, I think males often thrive better
in that culture (look at debates regarding single-sex vs co-education
schools). This may or may not deter some people from participating -
this is all just wild speculation.
...and when we're not bullying, we're territorial. :)

Sure fits the male stereotype, doesn't it? :)
--
G. Branden Robinson | There's something wrong if you're
Debian GNU/Linux | always right.
***@debian.org | -- Glasow's Law
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Helen Faulkner
2004-03-03 12:11:46 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Ben that the problems are more subtle than overt. I have
never noticed overt sexism in my dealings with debian, though maybe I
haven't been looking awfully hard either.

I think that on average, women are likely to be not so confident that
their skills will allow them to survive in an environment like debian,
compared to their male counterparts. I don't know why this is true, but
I experience it all the time. My only guess is that it's basically
cultural, and that it's deeply rooted even in someone who is generally
sure of her technical/learning skills, as I am.

I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still feel
really unconfident when I interact with the debian community, even if
it's only posting a bug report. I don't understand why this is so, but
it's very real. Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a
man (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm doing,
and he may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a result.

I think getting over this hurdle is probably hard for a great many
women. I know it puts me off thinking about becoming a debian
developer, even though I could probably technically manage it. I'm only
writing this post at the prompting of a male friend. If he hadn't
hassled me about it, I would not have posted this, incase those "scary"
debian guys laugh at me, or I make a mistake in posting, or something.

To overcome the problem (and yes, I do believe lack of input from half
of humanity is a problem), I think debian needs to get less "scary"
towards women. Maybe if the word went out that women would be actually
welcomed, people would be more interested. Something on the website,
possibly? I also think that all debian people could bear in mind that
when a woman is interacting with you, it's likely that she's nervous
about doing so. That's not your fault, but it's helpful if you are
sensitive to the possibility, Remember that women in western countries
spend their whole lives getting told that they are not supposed to be
any good at computers, and some of that sticks subconciously, even when
we don't believe it really.

This is my opinion, anyway :)

Helen Faulkner
Kalle Kivimaa
2004-03-03 13:13:19 UTC
Permalink
website, possibly? I also think that all debian people could bear in
mind that when a woman is interacting with you, it's likely that she's
nervous about doing so. That's not your fault, but it's helpful if
you are sensitive to the possibility, Remember that women in western
countries spend their whole lives getting told that they are not
supposed to be any good at computers, and some of that sticks
subconciously, even when we don't believe it really.
Let's see, on a quick overview I know:

1 female hardware wizard (if I need to buy some PC hardware, I will
ask her what to buy)
2 female computer scientists
2 female web usability architects
3 competent female software designers

This list includes only my friends (and my girlfriend who uses SuSE
exclusively). So, anyone blindly assuming that a female Debian user is
automatically in the "luser" category is a fool.

I think your message is a good one. Debian is an international
community. Don't categorize people based on assumptions.

Followups should probably go to -project.
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Helen Faulkner
2004-03-03 14:12:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kalle Kivimaa
So, anyone blindly assuming that a female Debian user is
automatically in the "luser" category is a fool.
I wasn't assuming that. I'm technically not that bad myself. That's
not the point. The point is that *on average* I believe a woman is
going to feel less confident about this stuff than a man with similar
skill. Do you have anoher suggestion as to why women don't get involved
in debian, given that, as you point out, there are people out there with
the skill to do so?

This kind of situation also applies in the other field I know something
about - academic physics. Same thing - male dominated field, where most
women feel less confident of their skill than their male colleagues.
Especially when they are starting out in the area and haven't gained
much experience yet (eg postgraduate students). It has nothing to do
wih their actual level of skill. It's something else, and in my
experience (I've talked to lots of people in different institutions and
countries), it's so widespread as to be almost across the board.
Post by Kalle Kivimaa
I think your message is a good one. Debian is an international
community. Don't categorize people based on assumptions.
I wasn't :) Hence the qualifiers in my post.
Post by Kalle Kivimaa
Followups should probably go to -project.
Sorry - don't know where you mean. Hope this will do.

Helen.
Adam Majer
2004-03-04 06:03:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
I wasn't assuming that. I'm technically not that bad myself. That's
not the point. The point is that *on average* I believe a woman is
going to feel less confident about this stuff than a man with similar
skill. Do you have anoher suggestion as to why women don't get
involved in debian, given that, as you point out, there are people out
there with the skill to do so?
This kind of situation also applies in the other field I know
something about - academic physics. Same thing - male dominated
field, where most women feel less confident of their skill than their
male colleagues. Especially when they are starting out in the area and
haven't gained much experience yet (eg postgraduate students). It has
nothing to do wih their actual level of skill. It's something else,
and in my experience (I've talked to lots of people in different
institutions and countries), it's so widespread as to be almost across
the board.
Being very frank here, I *really* do not think that changing the social
demographic is in any way related to the Debian project. People either
think they can or they think they can't join Debian.

Currently most of the developers in the western world are men. Currently
most of the new teachers in the USA are women. DPL can't be asked to
change that. [Normal] Governmental policies can't even change that.

So in a nutshell, I think that this point in moot. DPL can't really
affect the DD demographics - it is up to the actual societies (ie. the
world *outside* Debian and GNU :)

- Adam

PS. Just a small note; since the Internet is rather anonymous, if a
woman would feel apprehensive in posting a bug report, whatever, due to
the fact the she may be identified as a women, well, just change the
name to 'Bob' or something. No one will know!
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 16:10:51 UTC
Permalink
Being very frank here, I *really* do not think that changing the
social demographic is in any way related to the Debian
project. People either think they can or they think they can't join
Debian.
The primary motivator of the world outside debian, at least in
wester societies, is the profit motive. One works to make money. To
put bread on the table.
Currently most of the developers in the western world are
men. Currently most of the new teachers in the USA are women. DPL
can't be asked to change that. [Normal] Governmental policies can't
even change that.
Even if the DPL can't, raising awareness of the issue so
people themselves can change is certainly something the DPL can
do. Or do you really think that as a whole the debian developers are
irredeemable? That we can not take care of the few bad apples in the
basket that are poisoning the table?
So in a nutshell, I think that this point in moot. DPL can't really
affect the DD demographics - it is up to the actual societies
(ie. the world *outside* Debian and GNU :)
Oh yeah, we in Debian can't possibly be any different from the
societies we live in. Hmm. How much is my hourly rate to
answer questions oin -user now?
PS. Just a small note; since the Internet is rather anonymous, if a
woman would feel apprehensive in posting a bug report, whatever, due
to the fact the she may be identified as a women, well, just change
the name to 'Bob' or something. No one will know!
Yup. Just hide yourself. Buy a burka while you are at it, we
men just can't bring ourselves to change our behaviour in any way --
did I mention beetling brows?

manoj
--
"We have met the enemy and he is us" Walt Kelly (in POGO)
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Michael Banck
2004-03-04 20:12:48 UTC
Permalink
Well, you missed that point *completely*.
Talk about who's missing points here.


Michael
--
Michael Banck
Debian Developer
***@debian.org
http://www.advogato.org/person/mbanck/diary.html
Adam Majer
2004-03-04 20:07:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Adam Majer
Currently most of the developers in the western world are
men. Currently most of the new teachers in the USA are women. DPL
can't be asked to change that. [Normal] Governmental policies can't
even change that.
Even if the DPL can't, raising awareness of the issue so
people themselves can change is certainly something the DPL can
do. Or do you really think that as a whole the debian developers are
irredeemable? That we can not take care of the few bad apples in the
basket that are poisoning the table?
What? Irredeemable? "Few bad apples"? What are you talking about? AFAIK,
people in the Debian project are quite progressive. It is even part of
the DFSG (#5).
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Adam Majer
So in a nutshell, I think that this point in moot. DPL can't really
affect the DD demographics - it is up to the actual societies
(ie. the world *outside* Debian and GNU :)
Oh yeah, we in Debian can't possibly be any different from the
societies we live in. Hmm. How much is my hourly rate to
answer questions oin -user now?
Unless I'm completely off the wall here, most DD *donate* their time to
Debian. Just like people can volunteer to work at a local hospital,
library, etc.. There is a certain percentage of the society that does
volunteer.

Now, there is a certain amount of people in a society that are "computer
savvy". Last time I looked, the majority of these are (still) men. A
percentage of that use Debian and a percentage of these can do at least
some sort of coding (eg, shell scripts). Then there is a certain
percentage of these are people that volunteer. And a certain percentage
of these volunteers will join Debian. So, unless there is discrimination
allong the way, most of the volunteers that can pass the NM process will
be men. The only way to actually change it is to have more women that
are "computer savvy".

Any demographic change like that can take *decades*. It *will* change,
but it takes a lot of time.

BTW, my def. of "computer savvy" would be people that can actually use a
computer slightly beyond the basic things like word processing and
e-mail. This demographic is changing, (look at the last 10 years), but
it will take time until the change gets "filtered down" to the DD level.
In 50 years 50% of DD might just be women. And yes, I said 50, not 5 :)
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Adam Majer
PS. Just a small note; since the Internet is rather anonymous, if a
woman would feel apprehensive in posting a bug report, whatever, due
to the fact the she may be identified as a women, well, just change
the name to 'Bob' or something. No one will know!
Yup. Just hide yourself. Buy a burka while you are at it, we
men just can't bring ourselves to change our behaviour in any way --
did I mention beetling brows?
Well, you missed that point *completely*.

- Adam
Simon Law
2004-03-03 16:13:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
This is my opinion, anyway :)
I'm glad you expressed your opinion. I was going to posit it
myself, based on conversations with my girlfriend, but hearing it from a
woman is much better.

There's no rational reason why women should be made to feel less
confident than men. But that's not a useful argument to make, so I
think we should constantly encourage everyone to participate.

We're not really scary at all, and I hope that your continued
interaction with Debian will assauge your fears. Welcome to the Debian
Family!

Simon
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-03 16:23:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
I agree with Ben that the problems are more subtle than overt. I
have never noticed overt sexism in my dealings with debian, though
maybe I haven't been looking awfully hard either.
Well, at least that sounds positive.
Post by Helen Faulkner
I think that on average, women are likely to be not so confident
that their skills will allow them to survive in an environment like
debian, compared to their male counterparts. I don't know why this
is true, but I experience it all the time. My only guess is that
it's basically cultural, and that it's deeply rooted even in someone
who is generally sure of her technical/learning skills, as I am.
Conversely, my wife opines that men tend to be more
aggressive, and this may be an inherent characteristic of the
species (human nature, in other words). From what the two of you are
saying, it seems that it is a combination of these aspects of the
so called human nature that is creating this barrier. I am not sure
I understand this, but I keep being told this.
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still feel
really unconfident when I interact with the debian community, even
if it's only posting a bug report. I don't understand why this is
so, but it's very real. Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be
dealing with a man (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't
know what I'm doing, and he may put me down or be condescending or
unkind as a result.
I hope that if any of this ever happens in the future, you
would be so kind as to point it out to us, so that we may point
fingers and laugh at him. ;-)
Post by Helen Faulkner
To overcome the problem (and yes, I do believe lack of input from
half of humanity is a problem), I think debian needs to get less
"scary" towards women.
Umm. This a characterization that I have a problem with.
Firstly, this is still a matter of choice, and we are, after all, a
purely volunteer organization. There are large categories of people
who choose not to volunteer and we are being deprived of their input,
which could all be potentially valuable.

Should we be targeting any of these groups of people who do
not yet choose to volunteer for Debian and/or free software? (The
young republicans? Greenpeace? environmentalists? the NRA?). If
Debian is a hostile environment towards any of the groups that have
not yet chosen to join us in significant numbers, yes, that would be
a problem. Any overt acts of hostility should be reacted to.

However, if changing the status quo involves changing human
nature, I am not sanguine about the efficacy, or even the wisdom, of
such an action. Also, should we be selecting which one of these
groups of individuals that do not yet participate in our volunteer
activity, and trying to make them change their minds? Would having
more activists in Debian be a good idea?
Post by Helen Faulkner
Maybe if the word went out that women would be actually welcomed,
people would be more interested. Something on the website,
possibly? I also think that all debian people could bear in mind
that when a woman is interacting with you, it's likely that she's
nervous about doing so. That's not your fault, but it's helpful if
you are sensitive to the possibility, Remember that women in western
countries spend their whole lives getting told that they are not
supposed to be any good at computers, and some of that sticks
subconciously, even when we don't believe it really.
I have always done women the courtesy of not treating them
like hot house flowers, I assume that they are my equals, and
interact with them as such. I'll try and be extra "unscary", to the
best of my ability to do so.


manoj
who is probably gonna be labelled misogynist now
--
Satellite Safety Tip #14: If you see a bright streak in the sky coming
at you, duck.
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Mike Beattie
2004-03-03 21:08:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Conversely, my wife opines that men tend to be more
aggressive, and this may be an inherent characteristic of the
species (human nature, in other words). From what the two of you are
saying, it seems that it is a combination of these aspects of the
so called human nature that is creating this barrier. I am not sure
I understand this, but I keep being told this.
By the very nature of acknowledging this so called 'human-nature-induced'
barrier even exists, its power as a barrier appears to be null and voided
in my mind....

I'd hope that most people are able to dismiss things that are 'offshoots', if
you like, of primordial instincts when they're really not a big deal. This is
where I feel that so called feminists fail - not that they're totally wrong,
but more that they go overboard with some things that in the grand scheme of
the world, don't mean squat.

All IMHO, etc etc.

Mike.
--
Mike Beattie <***@ethernal.org> ZL4TXK, IRLP Node 6184

"This isnt Mission Difficult Mr Hunt, this is Mission Impossible.
Difficult should be a walk in the park for you." -- MI:2
Jaldhar H. Vyas
2004-03-03 22:04:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still feel
really unconfident when I interact with the debian community, even
if it's only posting a bug report. I don't understand why this is
so, but it's very real. Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be
dealing with a man (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't
know what I'm doing, and he may put me down or be condescending or
unkind as a result.
Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem isn't that
you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male. The problem is
you are a flake. (No that wasn't an attempt to put you down or be
unkind. It's simply the most accurate word I can think of. If
anyone knows a proper psychological term for what I'm describing I'll
use that.) Vague fears of persecution are a sign of mental
instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free or otherwise.

I don't think is a particularly female problem either. I maintain
the webmin web-based system administration tool which caters mainly to
newbies and I notice a lot of men who are hesitant to interact for fear of
being laughed at. Neither do I think it is cultural. My wife (like me) comes
from a highly traditionalist strict gender role based culture but that
hasn't stopped her from being a vi/ksh/elm-using unixhead who when we met
was working with AIX graphic card driver developers at IBM. There does
seem to be a divide between the hacker mentality and that of normal
people. I've tried to get my wife involved in Debian but at the end of
the day she likes to put the computer away instead of obsessing over it
every waking minute like me. But I don't see what Debian can do about this.
Either you are a hacker or you're not. Asking a totally hackerish
community to act differently is just going to end in tears.
--
Jaldhar H. Vyas <***@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/
Ben Burton
2004-03-03 23:04:09 UTC
Permalink
The problem is you are a flake.
$ dict flake
...
4. a person who behaves strangely; a flaky[2] person.
[Colloq.]
[PJC]
...
2: a person with an unusual or odd personality [syn:
{eccentric}, {eccentric person}, {oddball}, {geek}]
...

Your yourself say you notice a lot of people exhibiting similar
behaviour, so it doesn't appear particularly strange, unusual or odd to
me.
(No that wasn't an attempt to put you down or be
unkind. It's simply the most accurate word I can think of.
Colloquialisms are frequently both unkind and inaccurately applied, and
regardless of your intentions, your use of "flake" comes across as no
exception. Saying "you're a flake, but that's not meant unkindly" is
like saying "I'm not homophobic, I just don't want gays teaching my
children."
Vague fears of persecution are a sign of mental
instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free or otherwise.
Vague fears?? I don't think it would take either of us very long to
find examples of rude, dismissal and condescending behaviour in the BTS
or mailing lists.

Claiming someone who hesitates to jump into a social environment that is
sometimes friendly but sometimes hostile to be mentally unstable is not
really the most eloquent way to make your point. At the very least, it
certainly helps make these "vague" fears more realistic.

Ben.
Jaldhar H. Vyas
2004-03-04 00:08:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
Your yourself say you notice a lot of people exhibiting similar
behaviour, so it doesn't appear particularly strange, unusual or odd to me.
Having read a lot of Phillip K. Dick lately, that there are a lot of
flakes out there doesn't seem odd to me. :-)
Post by Ben Burton
Colloquialisms are frequently both unkind and inaccurately applied, and
regardless of your intentions, your use of "flake" comes across as no
exception.
Fine. suggest a better word. I was going to use paranoid but that
probably has a precise technical meaning I don't know of so it would only
obfuscate my point to use it.
Post by Ben Burton
Saying "you're a flake, but that's not meant unkindly" is
like saying "I'm not homophobic, I just don't want gays teaching my
children."
Ok put it this way. Unkindness wasn't the point of using the word. But
I'm questioning a persons sanity so that's going to be unkind no matter
how much you sugarcoat it.
Post by Ben Burton
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Vague fears of persecution are a sign of mental
instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free or otherwise.
Vague fears?? I don't think it would take either of us very long to
find examples of rude, dismissal and condescending behaviour in the BTS
or mailing lists.
The original poster said "I have never had a hostile experience with
debian but I still feel really unconfident" That indicates the problem is
with her not with Debian. Honestly out of all the flame wars we've had
can you think of any where being a yucky girl was an issue?
Post by Ben Burton
Claiming someone who hesitates to jump into a social environment that is
sometimes friendly but sometimes hostile to be mentally unstable is not
really the most eloquent way to make your point.
A little trepidation in a new environment is normal. When it becomes
disabling then it is indeed mental illness. The sane need not and should
not cater to it. As the father of an inquisitive and active 2 year old
girl who already knows what Debian is, I'd hate for her to grow up
thinking hacker society is out to get her.
--
Jaldhar H. Vyas <***@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/
Ben Burton
2004-03-04 00:59:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Honestly out of all the flame wars we've had
can you think of any where being a yucky girl was an issue?
I suspect you've missed the point somewhat. AIUI she does not fear that
people will bully her because she's female. She simply fears that
people will bully her (as they bully others, male or female), and her
claim is that males (by social training or otherwise) are better suited to
such environments than females are.

Consider for instance the form of democracy in which the person who
shouts loudest wins. This is one of several forms of democracy that
actively operate within debian (others being the person who writes the
code wins, the package maintainer(s) win, and person receiving the most
votes wins). I want to claim that this first form of democracy is a
particularly male thing, others may disagree.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
A little trepidation in a new environment is normal. When it becomes
disabling then it is indeed mental illness.
Disabling?? I expect it's more like she occasionally considers become
more significantly involved in development, but for reasons above
decides her efforts are probably better spent elsewhere. At least
that's how I read it. I don't expect she's lying awake at nights trying
to summon up the courage.

I expect she's simply trying to add some personal insight into the issue
that started this thread, i.e., why aren't there more female DDs. And
to me this seems a perfectly good reason for why people might choose to
expend their energies elsewhere. Certainly within the realm of "sanity",
whatever that might be.

b.
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 02:59:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
people will bully her because she's female. She simply fears that
people will bully her (as they bully others, male or female), and her
claim is that males (by social training or otherwise) are better suited to
such environments than females are.
I think there's something sexist there--not in you, but in her. If
there is any truth to the notion that men are better at being bullied,
then I think it is only because men get bullied more and have had to
learn to deal with it. That's not an excuse for the bullies, but I
don't believe there is an constitutional difference.

Nobody likes being bullied; perhaps Helen reacts to it in such a way
that she needs to avoid any risk of it. But if so, that's because
she's Helen, and has nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman.

Thomas
Raul Miller
2004-03-04 20:02:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
I think there's something sexist there--not in you, but in her. If
there is any truth to the notion that men are better at being bullied,
then I think it is only because men get bullied more and have had to
learn to deal with it.
This looks to me like a gross overgeneralization. Furthermore, it's a
rather dismissive overgeneralization (since it is, in essence, a claim
that no other information exists, relevant to this context).

I also believe it to be a false overgeneralization -- for example, women
tend to get significantly stronger negative feedback for being assertive
than men do.

FYI,
--
Raul
Raul Miller
2004-03-04 21:00:17 UTC
Permalink
As I said, "if there is any truth to the notion that men are better at
being bullied". I suspect there is not really much truth to that.
Either "men are better at being bullied" a strawman (irrelevant to the
thread), or you're doing the overgeneralization thing again.
--
Raul
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 21:10:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
As I said, "if there is any truth to the notion that men are better at
being bullied". I suspect there is not really much truth to that.
Either "men are better at being bullied" a strawman (irrelevant to the
thread), or you're doing the overgeneralization thing again.
Helen said "women are likely to be not so confident that their skills
will allow them to survive in an environment like debian, compared to
their male counterparts". And then, her explanation of what that
"environment" amounted to, was that it was bullying and condescending
to women.

Now what's weird is that she says she has "never noticed overt sexism
in my dealings with debian", and has "never had a hostile experience
with debian."

So she thinks that Debian bullies people (true). But I do not believe
there is truth to the notion that men are better at being bullied, I
reject the idea that bullying is some kind of gender-based problem.

Moreover, she criticizes Debian without *ever*, she says, having had
any experience. What is the basis of her criticism and fear then?
Well, she says she doesn't understand, but then adds: "Partly it's
knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a man", and that man will
"be condescending or unkind".

So she is assuming that men, because they are men, will be
condescending and unkind, though she's never actually *seen* any such
thing on Debian: sexist. And she says that women, because they are
women, will find bullying harder than men do: sexist.

Thomas
Raul Miller
2004-03-04 21:39:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Helen said "women are likely to be not so confident that their skills
will allow them to survive in an environment like debian, compared to
their male counterparts". And then, her explanation of what that
"environment" amounted to, was that it was bullying and condescending
to women.
After going back and rereading what she wrote, I think that your
summarization of her explanation is a strawman (not an accurate potrayal
of the argument, but a restatement which is easier to argue against).
--
Raul
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 21:52:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Helen said "women are likely to be not so confident that their skills
will allow them to survive in an environment like debian, compared to
their male counterparts". And then, her explanation of what that
"environment" amounted to, was that it was bullying and condescending
to women.
After going back and rereading what she wrote, I think that your
summarization of her explanation is a strawman (not an accurate potrayal
of the argument, but a restatement which is easier to argue against).
Well, then I would appreciate it if you could clarify it for me. I
also went back and re-read it, and it seemed sensible to me.

Does Debian have a problem with misogyny? YES! But that doesn't make
someone's criticism sensible when it's based only on the gender of
most of Debian, and explicitly not on any bad experience with Debian.

Thomas
Ben Burton
2004-03-04 22:07:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Helen said "women are likely to be not so confident that their skills
will allow them to survive in an environment like debian, compared to
their male counterparts". And then, her explanation of what that
"environment" amounted to, was that it was bullying and condescending
to women.
Not bullying and condescending to women. Just bullying and condescending.
Note that it doesn't take very many people of this type to create an
impression.
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Now what's weird is that she says she has "never noticed overt sexism
in my dealings with debian",
Indeed, which is why she talks mainly about covert sexism, i.e., people
being treated the way men are taught to interact with men, and assuming
that women will react the same way. (Of course people are individuals
and gender is not a one-and-only determinant of behaviour, but I'd say
the trends [and social training] are certainly there.)
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
and has "never had a hostile experience
with debian."
...
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Moreover, she criticizes Debian without *ever*, she says, having had
any experience.
I'd wager she's observed it though. It's like saying, "I have a fear of
being mugged, yet I've never been mugged myself." Perfectly rational IMO.
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
So she is assuming that men, because they are men, will be
condescending and unkind, though she's never actually *seen* any such
thing on Debian: sexist.
Ah yes, if you just replace "experienced" with "seen" (and emphasise it,
no less), it becomes a lot more convenient for you to argue against.
Unfortunately this is not at all what she said.

b.
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 20:44:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
I think there's something sexist there--not in you, but in her. If
there is any truth to the notion that men are better at being bullied,
then I think it is only because men get bullied more and have had to
learn to deal with it.
This looks to me like a gross overgeneralization. Furthermore, it's a
rather dismissive overgeneralization (since it is, in essence, a claim
that no other information exists, relevant to this context).
As I said, "if there is any truth to the notion that men are better at
being bullied". I suspect there is not really much truth to that.
And I agree completely that it would be a gross overgeneralization.
Helen's complaint seemed to be: "I don't know much about Debian, but I
know they'll be mean to me, because they're boys".

I think her complaint is very poor. But I agree quite a lot with some
of the other things people have said here that Debian *does* have a
problem about mysogyny, and I think we should try if we can to figure
out some ways of dealing with it.
Post by Raul Miller
I also believe it to be a false overgeneralization -- for example, women
tend to get significantly stronger negative feedback for being assertive
than men do.
This is certainly true. I don't think, however, that it's connected
to bullying.
Jaldhar H. Vyas
2004-03-04 03:55:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
I suspect you've missed the point somewhat. AIUI she does not fear that
people will bully her because she's female.
I think instead of guessing at what we think Helen is saying we should
just go by what she actually did say and let her respond to any
misrepresentations on her own.

It's the gentlemanly thing to do :-)

[...]
Post by Ben Burton
I expect she's simply trying to add some personal insight into the issue
that started this thread,
And so am I.
--
Jaldhar H. Vyas <***@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/
Mike Beattie
2004-03-04 00:52:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
Colloquialisms are frequently both unkind and inaccurately applied, and
regardless of your intentions, your use of "flake" comes across as no
exception. Saying "you're a flake, but that's not meant unkindly" is
like saying "I'm not homophobic, I just don't want gays teaching my
children."
No offence Ben, but I'd like to add my take to what you're trying to express
here.

I'd probably say "I'm not homophobic, I just don't want a gay teaching my
child, IF, and ONLY IF, they're one of the ones that feels it's necessary to
preach every five seconds that being gay is all about being persecuted."

I don't honestly give a rats ass about what sexuality a person is, but I get
seriously pissed off when the 'We're a minority, we're special' card gets
pulled. It's the whole PC thing going overboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not just homosexuals that fit into this gripe, it's
also african-americans, .nz's Maori, various religions, and Australians..

Mike.
--
Mike Beattie <***@ethernal.org> ZL4TXK, IRLP Node 6184

Spock, the women on your planet are logical. No other planet in the
galaxy can make that claim. -- Capt. James T. Kirk
Ben Burton
2004-03-04 01:10:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Beattie
I don't honestly give a rats ass about what sexuality a person is, but I get
seriously pissed off when the 'We're a minority, we're special' card gets
pulled.
Whilst I see what you're saying, I fail to see how my post could
possibly be read as pulling the minority card. The quote I gave was
simply an example of an "I mean this nicely, but here's an insult"
phrase that came easily to mind. Beyond its use in a phrase of this
type, the sexuality issue had nothing whatsoever to do with my post.

And my other post on the sexuality issue was about persecution regarding
sexuality because that was the _precise_ issue that Branden raised. And
my conclusion was actually that debian does not visibly persecute on this
basis.

So I'm not entirely sure what prompted your reply, though of course
you're welcome to send it.

b. :)
Mike Beattie
2004-03-04 01:48:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
Whilst I see what you're saying, I fail to see how my post could
possibly be read as pulling the minority card. The quote I gave was
simply an example of an "I mean this nicely, but here's an insult"
phrase that came easily to mind. Beyond its use in a phrase of this
type, the sexuality issue had nothing whatsoever to do with my post.
Hmm, I think this is more a case that I was responding to your comment
directly... rather than as an addition to the thread.

[Damn, I've tried to write the next paragraph to this response about 4
times... it's not working :/ ]

I *think* what I'm trying to say, is that I feel that your interpretation of
that comment is different to what I'd see it as. The way you see it casts an
image that I'd be loathe to be associated with... Then, of course, it
entirely depends on who says it.

I know that doesnt make much sense, so further discussion of this should
probably be taken to private mail, if you want.
Post by Ben Burton
And my other post on the sexuality issue was about persecution regarding
sexuality because that was the _precise_ issue that Branden raised. And
my conclusion was actually that debian does not visibly persecute on this
basis.
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree.

Mike.
--
Mike Beattie <***@ethernal.org> ZL4TXK, IRLP Node 6184

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 03:01:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Beattie
I don't honestly give a rats ass about what sexuality a person is, but I get
seriously pissed off when the 'We're a minority, we're special' card gets
pulled. It's the whole PC thing going overboard.
Since nobody in my opinion has ever said that...what are you
complaining about?

Personally, I think it's time to stop having special rights for
heterosexuals. Indeed, we have a president who thinks it's worth
amending the US Constitution to try and enshrine special rights for
heterosexuals. What I hear is:

"We're a minority, please treat us equally", from one side, and
"We're the majority, so we get special rights", from the other.

Thomas
Mike Beattie
2004-03-04 03:44:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Since nobody in my opinion has ever said that...what are you
complaining about?
...
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
"We're a minority, please treat us equally", from one side, and
"We're the majority, so we get special rights", from the other.
Again, perhaps this is purely a facet of my experiences... Currently in .nz,
we are facing some interesting times, regarding the native population and
what's call the Treaty of Waitangi. With this, I see a lot of:

"We're a previously persecuted minority, dammit, treat us special, we
deserve the land you have worked hard for. even though we sit on our asses."
from one side, and

"We're the majority, back off already, you're not that special" from the
other.

I'd be willing to bet this has rubbed off a bit, and leaked into my thoughts
on this discussion.

Mike.
--
Mike Beattie <***@ethernal.org> ZL4TXK, IRLP Node 6184

The first 90% of the code in a project takes 90% of the time.
The next 10% of the code will take another 90% of the time.
-- J. S. Labuschagne
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 19:23:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Beattie
"We're a previously persecuted minority, dammit, treat us special, we
deserve the land you have worked hard for. even though we sit on our asses."
New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States all have some
similarity vis-a-vis native populations. But what you quote above
sounds a little like you think "We stole this land fair and square".

I mean, if the native peoples did in fact own the land, then it's
theirs, and they are allowed to do nothing with it if they choose, and
there is something wrong with someone coming in, stealing it, working
on it, and then claiming it's now theirs.

None of this means that *today's* Europeans have any blame, but our
ancestors surely did. The land I am on was not merely "worked for",
but also "stolen".>

Thomas
Craig Sanders
2004-03-04 20:05:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Mike Beattie
"We're a previously persecuted minority, dammit, treat us special, we
deserve the land you have worked hard for. even though we sit on our asses."
New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States all have some
similarity vis-a-vis native populations. But what you quote above
sounds a little like you think "We stole this land fair and square".
I mean, if the native peoples did in fact own the land, then it's
theirs, and they are allowed to do nothing with it if they choose, and
there is something wrong with someone coming in, stealing it, working
on it, and then claiming it's now theirs.
None of this means that *today's* Europeans have any blame, but our
ancestors surely did. The land I am on was not merely "worked for",
but also "stolen".>
well said!

craig
Mike Beattie
2004-03-06 00:12:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Mike Beattie
"We're a previously persecuted minority, dammit, treat us special, we
deserve the land you have worked hard for. even though we sit on our asses."
New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States all have some
similarity vis-a-vis native populations. But what you quote above
sounds a little like you think "We stole this land fair and square".
Well no, I believe that our ancestors did though.
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
None of this means that *today's* Europeans have any blame, but our
ancestors surely did. The land I am on was not merely "worked for",
but also "stolen".>
Precisely, exactly what's happening here - No-one currently alive is to
blame for 'stealing' land... Anyway, this is all more centred around the
Treaty, and the allowance for 'grievance claims'.

This is all wildly OT though, so I won't post again.

Mike.
--
Mike Beattie <***@ethernal.org> ZL4TXK, IRLP Node 6184

Contentsofsignaturemaysettleduringshipping.
Craig Sanders
2004-03-04 06:15:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Beattie
Don't get me wrong, it's not just homosexuals that fit into this gripe, it's
also african-americans, .nz's Maori, various religions, and Australians..
this "We're a minority, we're special" card you mention is used by those who
feel marginalised or persecuted, i.e. in an inferior social position.

i don't think any of the australians in this forum could be accused of feeling
that :)

we all seem to be arrogant bastards with a fine sense of superiority(*).

craig

(*) for which we'd like to thank all the Yanks - you make it all too easy.
Adam Heath
2004-03-04 06:29:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Craig Sanders
this "We're a minority, we're special" card you mention is used by those who
feel marginalised or persecuted, i.e. in an inferior social position.
i don't think any of the australians in this forum could be accused of feeling
that :)
Aren't your neighbors sheep lovers? Doesn't that invalidate the austrailians
by association?
Josip Rodin
2004-03-04 13:56:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Burton
Vague fears of persecution are a sign of mental instability which can't
be fixed by an operating system free or otherwise.
Vague fears?? I don't think it would take either of us very long to
find examples of rude, dismissal and condescending behaviour in the BTS
or mailing lists.
Claiming someone who hesitates to jump into a social environment that is
sometimes friendly but sometimes hostile to be mentally unstable is not
really the most eloquent way to make your point. At the very least, it
certainly helps make these "vague" fears more realistic.
I agree, though it should be noted that Debian at least tries to be an
"equal opportunity" hostile place -- _everyone_ gets abused :)
--
2. That which causes joy or happiness.
Raul Miller
2004-03-04 20:07:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josip Rodin
I agree, though it should be noted that Debian at least tries to be an
"equal opportunity" hostile place -- _everyone_ gets abused :)
Not really equally, however -- more visible people tend to get more
abuse than less visible people. [Consider James Troup as a rather recent
example of this.]

Personally, I think we'd be way ahead if we focussed our abuse on more
specific things, such as incidents and technologies, instead of on people.
--
Raul
Josip Rodin
2004-03-04 21:47:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raul Miller
Post by Josip Rodin
I agree, though it should be noted that Debian at least tries to be an
"equal opportunity" hostile place -- _everyone_ gets abused :)
Not really equally, however -- more visible people tend to get more
abuse than less visible people. [Consider James Troup as a rather recent
example of this.]
Yeah, but we don't put newbies in such a position.
--
2. That which causes joy or happiness.
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 03:02:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still
feel really unconfident when I interact with the debian
community, even if it's only posting a bug report. I don't
understand why this is so, but it's very real. Partly it's
knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a man (almost
certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm doing, and he
may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a result.
Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem isn't
that you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male. The
problem is you are a flake. (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
down or be unkind. It's simply the most accurate word I can think
of. If anyone knows a proper psychological term for what I'm
describing I'll use that.) Vague fears of persecution are a sign of
mental instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free
or otherwise.
Heh. Seems tome that you are merely displaying your
inexperience and ignorance (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
down or be unkind -- there is no shame in not knowing stuff yet).

What Helen mentions is not a feeling that is an isolated case,
and felt just by her. This is a wide spread phenomena. My wife has a
Ph.D., and is widely published, and has landed two tenure track jobs
(which, in biology, is quite a feat). And yet, she says she still has
to struggle with exactly the same feelings that Helen describes. It
is not inexperience, and it seems unrelated to the skill set.

My wife also has been involved in Women in Science groups on
three separate campuses across the country, and stories and
experiences like this abound. Another facet is the this is the
absolute denial by the their male colleagues that any such feelings
could ever exist, which I think is horribly short sighted behaviour
for these guys -- considering that they are not women.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
I don't think is a particularly female problem either. I maintain
the webmin web-based system administration tool which caters mainly
to newbies and I notice a lot of men who are hesitant to interact
for fear of being laughed at.
Aha. The short sighted denial in action. You think the
experience of skilled, experienced women who feel intimidated in an
arena funtioning with the male orieted mind set is the same as the
natural hesitation in face of new things? Heh.

Men and women have different reactions to stimuli, and
fight-or-flight situations. They have entirely different group
dynamics from what men do. In my experience, women have very
different interpersoanl communication strategies as compared to men.
You think that going into a male dominated culture, which functions
entirely differently from how women interact, may have something to
do with the hestitation, hmmm?
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Neither do I think it is cultural.
Oh, riiiight. These are not all patriarchal societies we are
dealing with, no sireee.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
My wife (like me) comes from a highly traditionalist strict gender
role based culture but that hasn't stopped her from being a
vi/ksh/elm-using unixhead who when we met was working with AIX
graphic card driver developers at IBM.
Heard of Grace Hopper? Know whom the language Ada is named
for? You think that in any way changes the differences in the way men
and women behave and interact?

Not having a an intuitive feel for the working model the other
person is using in an interaction can lead to misinterpreted
signals. Misunderstandings, espescially if you are already nervous,
can lead to feelings of being unwilling to caterpult oneself into a
forum like this, where for even expressing these feeling insensitive
clods shall call you a flake.

Yes, I did call you an insensitive clod. So sue me.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
There does seem to be a divide between the hacker mentality and that
of normal people. I've
Of all the stupid things to say, perpetuating this idiotic
stereotype, and implying mere grrrrls can be 31337 hacker dudes is
one of the stupidest I can think of.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
tried to get my wife involved in Debian but at the end of the day
she likes to put the computer away instead of obsessing over it
every waking minute like me.
I posit she is doing her very best to protect your fragile
male ego.
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
But I don't see what Debian can do about this. Either you are a
hacker or you're not. Asking a totally hackerish community to act
differently is just going to end in tears.
Yup. We are just big bags of dripping hacker testosterone, and
our beetling brows shall never allow us to change. Faugh.

manoj
--
If you want to know what god thinks of money, just look at the people
he gave it to. Dorthy Parker
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Jaldhar H. Vyas
2004-03-04 05:22:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Heh. Seems tome that you are merely displaying your
inexperience
Could be. Given there are half a billion women in the world it could take
me a while to get the requisite experience.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
What Helen mentions is not a feeling that is an isolated case,
and felt just by her. This is a wide spread phenomena. My wife has a
Ph.D., and is widely published, and has landed two tenure track jobs
(which, in biology, is quite a feat). And yet, she says she still has
to struggle with exactly the same feelings that Helen describes. It
is not inexperience, and it seems unrelated to the skill set.
I'm not denying the feeling exists. I'm saying it is the experiencer has
to deal with it. And you know what? some of them I dare say most actually
do. It's a different situation from institutional discrimination where
only other people have the ability to solve the problem.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
My wife also has been involved in Women in Science groups on
three separate campuses across the country, and stories and
experiences like this abound.
ok. Are there any Men in Science groups we can compare experiences with?
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Aha. The short sighted denial in action. You think the
experience of skilled, experienced women who feel intimidated in an
arena funtioning with the male orieted mind set is the same as the
natural hesitation in face of new things? Heh.
Yes I do. Or rather I think it could be. As anecdotal evidence mine is
as good as yours. Let me ask you then, how would you go about setting up
an experiment to test the hypothesis that Debian is scary to women?
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Men and women have different reactions to stimuli, and
fight-or-flight situations. They have entirely different group
dynamics from what men do.
Furthermore they are from Venus while men are from Mars. Please.

_People_ have different reactions to stimuli, fight-or-flight situations
and group dynamics.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
In my experience, women have very
different interpersoanl communication strategies as compared to men.
You think that going into a male dominated culture, which functions
entirely differently from how women interact, may have something to
do with the hestitation, hmmm?
No kidding. But do you think a man with a "different interpersonal
communication strategies" would have any easier time of it? Look at our
demographics. We hardly have a representative cross-section of the male
gender either.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Heard of Grace Hopper? Know whom the language Ada is named
for? You think that in any way changes the differences in the way men
and women behave and interact?
No of course a sample of one couldn't change that. But why are you
assuming a sample of one (or two including your wife but then I'm
including mine) implies anything?
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Not having a an intuitive feel for the working model the other
person is using in an interaction can lead to misinterpreted
signals. Misunderstandings, espescially if you are already nervous,
can lead to feelings of being unwilling to caterpult oneself into a
forum like this, where for even expressing these feeling insensitive
clods shall call you a flake.
Yes, I did call you an insensitive clod. So sue me.
Careful Manoj you're scaring away the women.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
There does seem to be a divide between the hacker mentality and that
of normal people. I've
Of all the stupid things to say,
Oops another non-nurturing comment from Manoj.

perpetuating this idiotic
Post by Manoj Srivastava
stereotype,
Number three

and implying mere grrrrls can be 31337 hacker dudes is
Post by Manoj Srivastava
one of the stupidest I can think of.
Four.

Nope no big bags of dripping testerone here.

But see ladies! When someone says hurtful things to you, you can just
laugh them off.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
I posit she is doing her very best to protect your fragile
male ego.
Yeah she's very nice to me that way. (5)
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Yup. We are just big bags of dripping hacker testosterone, and
our beetling brows shall never allow us to change.
Evidently not. And as the father of a possible female hacker of the
future I don't mind a bit.

--
Jaldhar H. Vyas <***@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 07:36:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Yes I do. Or rather I think it could be. As anecdotal evidence
mine is as good as yours. Let me ask you then, how would you go
about setting up an experiment to test the hypothesis that Debian is
scary to women?
OK. Last I heard, irc.debian.org #debian is a project
resource. Here is an example of how women are treated in Debian; and
helix tells me that this is how they are treated all the time
(dismayingly enough, I got responses that ranged the spectrum from
"boyz ill be boyz", "But .. he apologized and all", "You should not
make trouble for some one who actually apologized", "well, it was
just a joke, and then helix over reacted. There are problems on both
sides" [blaming the victim, heh heh]).

I should say, though, that the ops did handle the situation,
and promised to take action if they notice such behaviour in the
future. The policy is taht anyone delibrately offensive to anyone
else , or persistent about non-delibrate offensiveness, will be
removed from the channel.

However, #debian on irc.debian.org has become a very
unfriendly place, and not just for women.

manoj

http://cytosine.org/debian-channel:

23:15 * TMM_ wonders if there really are girls here.
23:15 <Penix> TMM_: helix claims to be one
23:15 <TMM_> seems a tad unlikely for some reason... :)
23:15 <helix> TMM_: they're probably just pretending
23:15 <Penix> TMM_: probably is. never know though
23:16 <dondelelcaro> helix: pretending to be boys?
23:16 <Piggy> TMM_: A/S/L!!!!!!!!
23:16 <helix> Penix: hey, i've had my key signed. i've proven it
23:16 <Penix> helix: hehe
23:16 <TMM_> helix, well, if that IS you in the pictures on your computer maybe, but I suspect
it's your girlfriend or something :)
23:16 <TMM_> Piggy, w000t :) debian-dating ;)
23:16 -!- tam [~***@linuxrulesthe.net] has joined #debian
23:16 <helix> TMM_: well, i'd prefer idiots like you to think i'm a guy anyway. it works out
in the end..
23:16 <Penix> if helix was a guy with a girlfiend using her pic, why would he bother doing it.
he's got a girlfiend
23:17 <TMM_> helix, now I'm an idiot, why?
23:17 * TMM_ was just kidding
23:17 <zeeble> TMM_ well, now that you know that helix's statement did'nt make sense, you can
be sure it was a girl :)
23:18 <mwilson> helix: ATTACK!
23:18 <helix> mwilson: it's not worth it
23:18 <helix> but goddamn it's annoying
23:18 <helix> fucking idiots wonder why there aren't more women
23:18 * tam9 thinks helix reckons she gets the 'girl' treatment and throws a wobbler if
anyone criticises it
23:19 <TMM_> helix, it was just a joke, sorry
23:19 <tam9> point proven
23:19 <helix> TMM_: let me tell you something about you and your pathetic jokes - you aren't
fucking original
23:19 <helix> TMM_: i get this shit almost daily
23:19 <tam9> TMM_: yo, nothing to do wiht you, she's probaby on her bad week
23:19 <Penix> should I treat her like all the moron males in the channel then?
23:19 <peterS> tam9: you're not helping
23:19 <TMM_> helix, I shall take me and my shovinistic pic assumpions and leave you alone?
thank you!
23:19 * tam9 doesn't care if helix is a girl
23:20 <tam9> Penix: suppose so, woman won't the same right as men
23:20 <tam9> but then you get those stupid woman activists also saying that there shouldn't be
any woman boxers, hah!
---------------------------

20:38 <tam> helix: you are female?
20:38 <helix> tam: OMFG I AM!!
20:39 <tam> helix: god damn. do you use debian lesbien?
20:39 * helix sighs..
20:39 <tam> helix: please don't sigh >:->
20:40 <mhall> tam WOW HOW MAZNG1!!! OMG WTF HELIX IS A FEMAEL LINUX US3R!1!!! OMG WTF LOL WUT
A REVELATION1!1!!! WTF LOL
[...]
20:45 <tam> helix: the point was. i was being ironic of you being female and wondering if you
had ever used debian lesbian. so have yah?
20:46 <helix> tam: that's only a male fantasy
--
"To vacillate or not to vacillate, that is the question ... or is it?"
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Adam Majer
2004-03-05 00:14:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Yes I do. Or rather I think it could be. As anecdotal evidence
mine is as good as yours. Let me ask you then, how would you go
about setting up an experiment to test the hypothesis that Debian is
scary to women?
OK. Last I heard, irc.debian.org #debian is a project
resource. Here is an example of how women are treated in Debian; and
helix tells me that this is how they are treated all the time
(dismayingly enough, I got responses that ranged the spectrum from
"boyz ill be boyz", "But .. he apologized and all", "You should not
make trouble for some one who actually apologized", "well, it was
just a joke, and then helix over reacted. There are problems on both
sides" [blaming the victim, heh heh]).
Pretty much everyone would agree that "tam" is a moron. Period.

The problem is that IRC is not exactly the most friendly place and
personally I never even go to #debian (#debian-devel seems much more
profesional ;).

The bottom line is that problems here are larger than can be dealt by
just the DPL (original question was to the candidates, right?); everyone
has to get involved and even then we might not see any immediate change
in the number of women joining the project. And discrimination is not
limitted to men - there are barriers in other fields for men like ballet
in US/Canada (I am not talking about the professional level here, but
the ballet introductory/intermediate classes).

Let's face it; women in the OSS community, especially in the western
world, are pioneers. There are advantages *and* disadvantages that come
with that title. Sexism *will* occur and it is up to all of us, not just
the DPL, to make sure that such behaviour will not go unnoticed.

- Adam
Branden Robinson
2004-03-05 01:15:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
OK. Last I heard, irc.debian.org #debian is a project
resource. Here is an example of how women are treated in Debian; and
[...]
Post by Manoj Srivastava
I should say, though, that the ops did handle the situation,
and promised to take action if they notice such behaviour in the
future. The policy is taht anyone delibrately offensive to anyone
else , or persistent about non-delibrate offensiveness, will be
removed from the channel.
However, #debian on irc.debian.org has become a very
unfriendly place, and not just for women.
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
#debian as a Project resource.
--
G. Branden Robinson | Yesterday upon the stair,
Debian GNU/Linux | I met a man who wasn't there.
***@debian.org | He wasn't there again today,
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | I think he's from the CIA.
David Nusinow
2004-03-05 02:02:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
#debian as a Project resource.
Well, given that the number of actual Debian Developers who hang around
in there regularly is two (Laurence Lane/ljlane and David Harris/ElectricElf) and neither is in
there that frequently these days in my experience. joshk is there from
time to time, but I feel like I'm the only one with a package in the
archive who's actually present frequently and for long periods of time.
Basically there is no help from those officially involved in the
project, which is unfortunate in my opinion.

Instead what has happened is that bitter users have largely taken over
the channel, mwilson being the most notable of those, and they tend to
piss off more new users than they help. There are very notable
exceptions to this (Rob Weir/bob2, Peter Samuelson/peterS, Don
Armstrong/dondelelcaro, Simon Raven/simonrvn) but they are often drowned
out by the angry users.

I think that having #debian as an official resource should not go away.
There is no better way to find out what users on the frontline are
having troubles with. The problem is a lack of involvement from people in
the project who are well connected to what's going on. I've thought
about creating a "#debian strike force" for a while now (we almost have
one in a way) but I haven't figured out a good way to do it. If anyone
is interested in setting this up, I think it'd be worthwhile. #debian
should still remain a part of the project.

- David Nusinow
David Moreno Garza
2004-03-05 03:05:01 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 20:15:25 -0500
Post by Branden Robinson
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
#debian as a Project resource.
Couldn't it be a good idea to form a Debian-specific IRC network? I'm
just wondering it, not use FreeNode, but an specific network.

I could think in Debian IRC as GNOME IRC where they have #gimp, #mono,
#etc... Over here it could be #es, #fr, #boot, #devel, #xfree,
##ppc-port, #Your_favorite_Debian_project.

It is just an idea.
--
David Moreno Garza <***@damog.net>
http://www.damog.net/
PGP 1024D/356E16CD - 84F0 E180 8AF6 E8D0 842F B520 63F3 08DB 356E 16CD
John Goerzen
2004-03-05 03:36:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Moreno Garza
On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 20:15:25 -0500
Post by Branden Robinson
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
#debian as a Project resource.
Couldn't it be a good idea to form a Debian-specific IRC network? I'm
just wondering it, not use FreeNode, but an specific network.
What about OFTC, which already exists, is another SPI project, has a
democratic process similar to Debian, and seems to generally be run by
stable people with a clue?

-- John
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-05 14:26:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
Post by Branden Robinson
debian as a Project resource.
Fair enough. Do you think that hosting it on any other irc
network is likely to change matters, though? The issue seems to be
the people who flock to the channel; and unless there are volunteers
to help regulate the activity on the channel, based on some ogjective
policy/guidelines, I am afraid the same situation would soon arise no
matter _which_ network hosts the channel.

Of course, we could wash our hands of the irc channels in the
first place, but having restarted visiting #debian, I can say that a
lot of people are being helped there as well.

manoj
--
On-line, adj.: The idea that a human being should always be accessible
to a computer.
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 15:42:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Branden Robinson
Perhaps we need to reconsider our official recognition of Freenode's
Post by Branden Robinson
debian as a Project resource.
Fair enough. Do you think that hosting it on any other irc
network is likely to change matters, though?
You have to realise that "host on another network" is a euphemism for
"hostile takeover [by me/us] because I think I could run it better".

Both are completely insane notions. A channel is not formed from a
declaration by some random person, it is comprised entirely from the
people that occupy it. You can't "move a channel", and you can't "take
it over", all you can do is persuade the people in it to (a) join a
different channel, and (b) leave the original one. That's an exercise
in herding pigeons.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-04 05:27:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still
feel really unconfident when I interact with the debian
community, even if it's only posting a bug report. I don't
understand why this is so, but it's very real. Partly it's
knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a man (almost
certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm doing, and he
may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a result.
Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem isn't
that you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male. The
problem is you are a flake. (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
down or be unkind. It's simply the most accurate word I can think
of. If anyone knows a proper psychological term for what I'm
describing I'll use that.) Vague fears of persecution are a sign of
mental instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free
or otherwise.
Heh. Seems tome that you are merely displaying your
inexperience and ignorance (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
down or be unkind -- there is no shame in not knowing stuff yet).
What Helen mentions is not a feeling that is an isolated case,
and felt just by her. This is a wide spread phenomena. My wife has a
Ph.D., and is widely published, and has landed two tenure track jobs
(which, in biology, is quite a feat). And yet, she says she still has
to struggle with exactly the same feelings that Helen describes. It
is not inexperience, and it seems unrelated to the skill set.
My wife also has been involved in Women in Science groups on
three separate campuses across the country, and stories and
experiences like this abound. Another facet is the this is the
absolute denial by the their male colleagues that any such feelings
could ever exist, which I think is horribly short sighted behaviour
for these guys -- considering that they are not women.
<dark> "hysterical" is actually an interesting word, it basically
means "having a womb". Psychologists once thought it was something
women did naturally.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 19:25:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
<dark> "hysterical" is actually an interesting word, it basically
means "having a womb". Psychologists once thought it was something
women did naturally.
Sort of. They thought it was something that happened to women, and
not men, and was caused by their uterus. But it was always regarded
as pathological, and not normal.
Anthony Towns
2004-03-04 03:57:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still feel
really unconfident when I interact with the debian community, even
if it's only posting a bug report. [...]
Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem isn't that
you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male. The problem is
you are a flake. [...]
Vague fears of persecution are a sign of mental
instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free or otherwise.
I think there's something sexist there--not in you, but in her. [...]
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called a
flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.

Seems like all those responses do is demonstrate she was completely
rational and correct in the first place about Debian being unnecessarily
hostile.

Cheers,
aj
--
Anthony Towns <***@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 05:06:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Post by Helen Faulkner
I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still
feel really unconfident when I interact with the debian
community, even if it's only posting a bug report. [...]
Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem
isn't that you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male.
The problem is you are a flake. [...] Vague fears of persecution
are a sign of mental instability which can't be fixed by an
operating system free or otherwise.
On Wed, Mar 03, 2004 at 06:59:57PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
I think there's something sexist there--not in you, but in her.
[...]
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called a
flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.
Seems like all those responses do is demonstrate she was completely
rational and correct in the first place about Debian being
unnecessarily hostile.
Indeed. For once I am ashamed to be a member of such a narrow
minded, bigoted group.

Helen, please accept my apologies; we are not quite grown up
enough to be able to interact with women yet.

manoj
--
"*Real* wizards don't whine about how they paid their dues." Quentin
Johnson (***@atanasoff.cs.iastate.edu)
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Remi Vanicat
2004-03-04 07:50:28 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Indeed. For once I am ashamed to be a member of such a narrow
minded, bigoted group.
Helen, please accept my apologies; we are not quite grown up
enough to be able to interact with women yet.
I don't like to make me too post, but I've to agree with you. I just
hope that the majority of the debian developer don't react like this.
--
Rémi Vanicat
--
To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-project-***@lists.debian.org
with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact ***@lists.debian.org
Jonas Smedegaard
2004-03-04 10:41:51 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Remi Vanicat
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Indeed. For once I am ashamed to be a member of such a narrow
minded, bigoted group.
Helen, please accept my apologies; we are not quite grown up
enough to be able to interact with women yet.
I don't like to make me too post, but I've to agree with you. I just
hope that the majority of the debian developer don't react like this.
Me too!

- Jonas

P.S

Why is this cross-posted to several public lists?

P.P.S.

A: Because I just follow the pattern of others instead of acting on my
own, but I don't know what is The Correct Way(tm) to correct it.
Pointers to some policy on the subject, anyone?
--
* Jonas Smedegaard - idealist og Internet-arkitekt
* Tlf.: +45 40843136 Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

- Enden er nær: http://www.shibumi.org/eoti.htm
Branden Robinson
2004-03-04 11:17:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Indeed. For once I am ashamed to be a member of such a narrow
minded, bigoted group.
Helen, please accept my apologies; we are not quite grown up
enough to be able to interact with women yet.
Speak for yourself, sir.

The interactions I've had with female Debian developers have uniformly
been positive; these include Susan G. Kleinmann, Amaya Rodrigo Sastre,
C.M. Connelly, and Genise Pearce.

I enjoy good working relationships with women in my workplace as well;
one has forgotten more mathematics than I'll ever know, and another can
most certainly leave me bleeding and broken if we had a copy-editing and
English-usage throwdown. :)

And I don't think I'm at all unique in this regard. I refuse to
characterize Debian by anyone's rash actions, or even by our rashest
members. To do so deeply devalues our better-behaved comrades, who are
in the majority.

I, for one, see a distinction between problem-solving and
self-flagellation. In my view, the latter is of extremely questionable
utility.
--
G. Branden Robinson |
Debian GNU/Linux | If ignorance is bliss,
***@debian.org | is omniscience hell?
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 16:04:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Indeed. For once I am ashamed to be a member of such a narrow
minded, bigoted group.
Helen, please accept my apologies; we are not quite grown up enough
to be able to interact with women yet.
Speak for yourself, sir.
The interactions I've had with female Debian developers have
uniformly been positive; these include Susan G. Kleinmann, Amaya
Rodrigo Sastre, C.M. Connelly, and Genise Pearce.
I see. So, since you did nothing wrong, does that mean that
obviously Debian is not a hostile environment for women? That we have
nothing to address?
Post by Branden Robinson
I enjoy good working relationships with women in my workplace as
well; one has forgotten more mathematics than I'll ever know, and
another can most certainly leave me bleeding and broken if we had a
copy-editing and English-usage throwdown. :)
http://p12n.org/misc/sexism/
Post by Branden Robinson
And I don't think I'm at all unique in this regard. I refuse to
characterize Debian by anyone's rash actions, or even by our rashest
members. To do so deeply devalues our better-behaved comrades, who
are in the majority.
This is hilarious. I have one counter example, so all the
reports and evidence of a hostile environment must be
untrue. I have personally never killed anyone, so of course
there are no murders -- how can there be?

I do not mistreat women, so obviously women do not have a
harder time interacting with people in Debian -- and no way am I, a
project member, responsible for their experiences. Just wonderful. I
ain't doing it, so it ain't happenin' and I certinly ain't
responsible, so no need to apologize.

You should read the following chapter, that addresses
particularly your brand of protest:

http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/x28.html#AEN41

Such a wash of illogic from someone normally ground in logic
smacks of denial.
Post by Branden Robinson
I, for one, see a distinction between problem-solving and
self-flagellation. In my view, the latter is of extremely
questionable utility.
Ah yes. Deny the significance of the of the problem. Anyone
who openly acknowledges that a problem exists, castigate them for
self flagellation. Quietly sweep it all under the rug. Move along,
folks. Every thing's fine and dandy. Nothing to see here.

Really, read up on
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/index.html

manoj
--
"Athens built the Acropolis. Corinth was a commercial city,
interested in purely materialistic things. Today we admire Athens,
visit it, preserve the old temples, yet we hardly ever set foot in
Corinth." Dr. Harold Urey, Nobel Laureate in chemistry
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 02:07:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
You should read the following chapter, that addresses
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/x28.html#AEN41
Such a wash of illogic from someone normally ground in logic
smacks of denial.
Hey, I remember that incident, and the author of the HOWTO has blown
it out of all proportion. Try talking to the people involved.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Michael Banck
2004-03-05 08:37:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/x28.html#AEN41
Hey, I remember that incident, and the author of the HOWTO has blown
it out of all proportion. Try talking to the people involved.
Huh? She modified the web archives?


Michael
--
Michael Banck
Debian Developer
***@debian.org
http://www.advogato.org/person/mbanck/diary.html
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 09:25:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/x28.html#AEN41
Hey, I remember that incident, and the author of the HOWTO has blown
it out of all proportion. Try talking to the people involved.
Huh? She modified the web archives?
"Gee, surprise, these two responses are enough to drive her away"

"the result of their actions is that women are leaving Linux"

Bull.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-05 14:21:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/x28.html#AEN41
Hey, I remember that incident, and the author of the HOWTO has
blown it out of all proportion. Try talking to the people
involved.
Huh? She modified the web archives?
"Gee, surprise, these two responses are enough to drive her away"
"the result of their actions is that women are leaving Linux"
Bull.
You have an alternate theory explaining the low incidence of
women in male dominated activities like Debian, free software coding,
coding in general, and CS overall?

Also, it is easy for those not in the target group to dismiss
the reports experiences that members of the target groups are having,
but not, in my eyes, with much credibility.

manoj
--
If all be true that I do think, There be five reasons why one should
drink; Good friends, good wine, or being dry, Or lest we should be
by-and-by, Or any other reason why.
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 15:35:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
You have an alternate theory explaining the low incidence of
women in male dominated activities like Debian, free software coding,
coding in general, and CS overall?
Sunspots. It's at least as convincing.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
David Nusinow
2004-03-05 18:16:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
You have an alternate theory explaining the low incidence of
women in male dominated activities like Debian, free software coding,
coding in general, and CS overall?
Sunspots. It's at least as convincing.
Way to completely ignore the problem, as well as testimonials by those
involved. What a productive attitude.

- David Nusinow
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 19:58:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
You have an alternate theory explaining the low incidence of
women in male dominated activities like Debian, free software coding,
coding in general, and CS overall?
Sunspots. It's at least as convincing.
Way to completely ignore the problem, as well as testimonials by those
involved. What a productive attitude.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
David Nusinow
2004-03-05 20:08:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
True, but then what would you suggest as an alternative means of
gathering data? Should we stick the users in a set of test tubes,
complete with positive and negative controls? I'd rather take what
information is out there (including my own observations, and observation
is the most critical aspect of data gathering) and use it.

- David Nusinow
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 20:54:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
True, but then what would you suggest as an alternative means of
gathering data? Should we stick the users in a set of test tubes,
complete with positive and negative controls? I'd rather take what
information is out there (including my own observations, and observation
is the most critical aspect of data gathering) and use it.
Absence of evidence is not justification for inventing evidence. If
you can't prove something, that doesn't mean you should lower the
standards for proof, it means that you can't prove it.

The anecdote presented was grossly mischaracterised and not an example
of what it claimed to be.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
David Nusinow
2004-03-05 21:02:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Absence of evidence is not justification for inventing evidence. If
you can't prove something, that doesn't mean you should lower the
standards for proof, it means that you can't prove it.
Just because you can't prove something doesn't mean that you can't work
with what's available. I can think of countless examples in biology
where people go on working assumptions because something isn't proven.
I'm sure you can too. Your excuse is amazingly flimsy.
Post by Andrew Suffield
The anecdote presented was grossly mischaracterised and not an example
of what it claimed to be.
There are other anecdotes. See Manoj's mail with the log in it, or the
various logs at http://www.p12n.org/misc/sexism/. Compounded evidence
certaintly lends weight to a hypothesis.

- David Nusinow
Andrew Suffield
2004-03-05 21:10:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
Absence of evidence is not justification for inventing evidence. If
you can't prove something, that doesn't mean you should lower the
standards for proof, it means that you can't prove it.
Just because you can't prove something doesn't mean that you can't work
with what's available. I can think of countless examples in biology
where people go on working assumptions because something isn't proven.
I'm sure you can too. Your excuse is amazingly flimsy.
There is a massive difference between "working assumption" and
"proven".

"To use plausible arguments in place of proofs, and henceforth to
refer to these arguments as proofs" was, I believe, originally
referring to physics, but it was not intended as an example of what to
do.
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
The anecdote presented was grossly mischaracterised and not an example
of what it claimed to be.
There are other anecdotes.
Which I was not talking about. Pay attention to the mails you are
replying to.
--
.''`. ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
: :' : http://www.debian.org/ |
`. `' |
`- -><- |
David Nusinow
2004-03-05 21:28:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
There is a massive difference between "working assumption" and
"proven".
"To use plausible arguments in place of proofs, and henceforth to
refer to these arguments as proofs" was, I believe, originally
referring to physics, but it was not intended as an example of what to
do.
You've still not presented an alternative. The working hypothesis stands
simply because that's where the evidence points. The burden of
disproving it is on the naysayer. That's what science is, disproving
hypotheses by observations. Go for it.
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
The anecdote presented was grossly mischaracterised and not an example
of what it claimed to be.
There are other anecdotes.
Which I was not talking about. Pay attention to the mails you are
replying to.
You replied to Manoj's mail, which was in the context of the larger
discussion. In addition to that, the example you cite is in the HOWTO,
which is a document written by a number of women who all share this
opinion completely outside of the specifics of the Debian proeject. Your
advice goes both ways.

- David Nusinow
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-05 21:21:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
True, but then what would you suggest as an alternative means of
gathering data? Should we stick the users in a set of test tubes,
complete with positive and negative controls? I'd rather take what
information is out there (including my own observations, and observation
is the most critical aspect of data gathering) and use it.
I agree that Debian has a problem in this area and that it's worth
worrying about and trying to fix. I do not think that Helen has given
us any information about it; she is guessing at what men usually do,
and imputing that to us, and guessing about how women feel. Not even
an anecdote.

If we want to solve the problem, we may need to look beyond
stereotypes and guesswork.
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-06 00:33:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
True, but then what would you suggest as an alternative means of
gathering data? Should we stick the users in a set of test tubes,
complete with positive and negative controls? I'd rather take what
information is out there (including my own observations, and
observation is the most critical aspect of data gathering) and use
it.
I agree that Debian has a problem in this area and that it's worth
worrying about and trying to fix. I do not think that Helen has
given us any information about it; she is guessing at what men
usually do, and imputing that to us, and guessing about how women
feel. Not even an anecdote.
I don't think she is guessing. Indeed, the men here have done
exactly what she thought they would -- calling her a flake,
mentally unstable, inexperieiced, and sexist.

And I suspect, from the other reports that I have been
getting, that she was merely being polite in not naming names.
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
If we want to solve the problem, we may need to look beyond
stereotypes and guesswork.
If you pull your head out of the sand for a moment, you'll
notice it is not just stereotypes and guesswork; there is a chronic,
systemic, harrassment which is the bloody norm.

manoj
--
Freed by full realisation and at peace, the mind of such a man is at
peace, and his speech and action peaceful. 96
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-06 00:26:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by David Nusinow
Post by Andrew Suffield
Post by Manoj Srivastava
You have an alternate theory explaining the low incidence of
women in male dominated activities like Debian, free software coding,
coding in general, and CS overall?
Sunspots. It's at least as convincing.
Way to completely ignore the problem, as well as testimonials by
those involved. What a productive attitude.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
Yes, very clever. And also very silly. When collated in large
numbers, anecdotes _do_ become data -- ask any psychologist or
sociologist. And there have indeed been documented studies of the
barriers women face breaking into male dominated institutions and
workplaces -- and debian certainly qualifies as the former.

I acknowledge that burying ones head in the sand is one way of
dealing with the issue, and I really should not be preventing you
from doing that.

I shall not, however, try and dig a hole next to yours out in
the sand.

manoj
--
optimist, n: A bagpiper with a beeper.
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-04 19:25:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Towns
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called a
flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.
Well, she said that she doesn't participate because boys will be mean
to her. Sounds sexist to me.
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-04 21:32:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Anthony Towns
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called
a flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.
Well, she said that she doesn't participate because boys will be
mean to her.
That is a lie. She did not say that. Twisting what people say
is par for the course, but does you little good.
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Sounds sexist to me.
Now this is stupid enough to border on being downright
moronic. She came in, and expressed her opinion that women are less
sure of themselves, and have a fear (justified in this case) of a
male dominated forum being mean and calling her names.

She expressed that there are gender indexed differences in
the way that people behave -- and that, sir, if well documented fact,
with any number of scientific studies to vouch for it.

Saying someone who refers to these gender based differences in
interaction is sexist is indeed moronic.


manoj
playing with the neanderthals
--
Sam: What do you know there, Norm? Norm: How to sit. How to drink.
Want to quiz me? Cheers, Loverboyd Sam: Hey, how's life treating you
there, Norm? Norm: Beats me. ... Then it kicks me and leaves me for
dead. Cheers, Loverboyd Woody: How would a beer feel, Mr. Peterson?
Norm: Pretty nervous if I was in the room. Cheers, Loverboyd
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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Anthony Towns
2004-03-05 05:22:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Anthony Towns
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called a
flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.
Well, she said that she doesn't participate because boys will be mean
to her. Sounds sexist to me.
There are other ways of responding to that sort of claim than accusing
people of being sexist, flakey or mentally unstable. That you've chosen
that particular way says something about you, and says something about
the project's culture.

Considering claims of being flakey, mentally unstable and sexist are
particularly likely to be offensive given the topic of this thread and
Helen's reason for participating, I don't really see how you can claim
the thesis you're attributing to her is anything but dead-on. That rather
than address the issue and see if we can find some way of resolving it
to Helen's satisfaction, you're choosing to dismiss it as being sexist,
says even more about both you and the project, really.

Cheers,
aj
--
Anthony Towns <***@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-05 20:01:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Towns
Post by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Post by Anthony Towns
So, Helen is kind enough to summarise her views on why she doesn't
participate in the project as fully as she might, and she's called a
flake, mentally unstable and sexist for her beliefs.
Well, she said that she doesn't participate because boys will be mean
to her. Sounds sexist to me.
There are other ways of responding to that sort of claim than accusing
people of being sexist, flakey or mentally unstable. That you've chosen
that particular way says something about you, and says something about
the project's culture.
I don't think she's flaky or mentally unstable. I think she
approached a concrete group of people by assuming they would fit a
stereotype she had in mind, and that's a bad thing to do.

Thomas
Raul Miller
2004-03-03 18:14:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
I think that on average, women are likely to be not so confident that
their skills will allow them to survive in an environment like debian,
compared to their male counterparts. I don't know why this is true, but
I experience it all the time. My only guess is that it's basically
cultural, and that it's deeply rooted even in someone who is generally
sure of her technical/learning skills, as I am.
I've heard that [culturally] men tend to get encouraged to be assertive
and outspoken, while women get encouraged to wait for someone else to
do the outspoken bit.

I'm not sure if that's true, but in otherwise anonymous gaming
environments I've noticed that a female persona gets treated much
differently than a male persona. Females get lots of encouragement,
and tend to feel that they're doing something wrong if they don't get
that kind of feedback. Males tend to get left alone much more and thus
are less likely to be swayed by encouragement [or its lack].
Post by Helen Faulkner
To overcome the problem (and yes, I do believe lack of input from half
of humanity is a problem), I think debian needs to get less "scary"
towards women. Maybe if the word went out that women would be actually
welcomed, people would be more interested. Something on the website,
possibly?
And a few role models wouldn't hurt, either...

Thanks,
--
Raul
Brian May
2004-03-03 22:06:28 UTC
Permalink
Helen> I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I
Helen> still feel really unconfident when I interact with the
Helen> debian community, even if it's only posting a bug report.
Helen> I don't understand why this is so, but it's very real.
Helen> Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a man
Helen> (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm
Helen> doing, and he may put me down or be condescending or unkind
Helen> as a result.

I don't know you are how long you have been with Debian or what your
contributions are, but are you sure that this lack of confidence isn't
due to inexperience?

I know when a friend first installed Debian on my Linux computer,
years ago, I was really hesitant to file bug reports or say things on
the mailing lists (what if I am wrong? what if the issue is not
reproducible? what if I haven't given enough details? what if some of
the details I gave were misleading? what if the sky should fall? what
if ...?)

Then I considered the worst that could happen, I could make a total
fool of myself and nobody would appreciate me in this
community. Considering I was new to this community, that wouldn't be
any great loss, I would simply be back where I started from. Strangely
enough, this worst case never took place, and even stranger, I have
had a recent employer praise me based on some of the messages I have
sent. Now thats weird...

Then I see other family members (both male and female) who use private
email all the time to talk to friends, but it is a real struggle to
get any of them to file bug reports when they identify a
bug. Typically it is easier to use google to find information, but
nobody even thinks of sending an email to an expert in the field if
the required information cannot be found.

So I think there is a learning curve to get into Debian, regardless of
sex (I am Male); however, I find it hard to think of the issues I have
faced in the past since I have come so far. So, for example, it is
difficult for me to help others file bug reports, because to me, it
just comes naturally (now).
--
Brian May <***@debian.org>
Bob Hilliard
2004-03-03 23:09:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be dealing
with a man (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm
doing, and he may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a
result.
The first newbie question I asked on a debian list in 1997 was
answered (quickly and accurately) by Susan Kleinmann, one of the [few]
female developers. I have never had occasion to feel condescending
toward female Debianers.

Regards,

Bob
--
_
|_) _ |_ Robert D. Hilliard <***@debian.org>
|_) (_) |_) 1294 S.W. Seagull Way <***@bobhilliard.net>
Palm City, FL 34990 USA GPG Key ID: 390D6559
Simon Law
2004-03-03 23:55:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Hilliard
Post by Helen Faulkner
Partly it's knowing that I'm going to be dealing
with a man (almost certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm
doing, and he may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a
result.
The first newbie question I asked on a debian list in 1997 was
answered (quickly and accurately) by Susan Kleinmann, one of the [few]
female developers. I have never had occasion to feel condescending
toward female Debianers.
I had the honour of meeting Susan at Debconf 2, and she is
awesome. I wish I could tell you her story of writing the manpages for
the GNU Accounting Utilities, but I only remember that it was eloquent
and funny.

Simon
Jeroen van Wolffelaar
2004-03-04 00:16:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
I agree with Ben that the problems are more subtle than overt. I have
never noticed overt sexism in my dealings with debian, though maybe I
haven't been looking awfully hard either.
I think that on average, women are likely to be not so confident that
their skills will allow them to survive in an environment like debian,
compared to their male counterparts. I don't know why this is true, but
I experience it all the time. My only guess is that it's basically
cultural, and that it's deeply rooted even in someone who is generally
sure of her technical/learning skills, as I am.
I believe this is partly caused by the continuous mostly unmeant and
unintentional, subtle and less subtle women-unfrienly behaviour by the
male-dominated linux-community.

Some interesting reading I stumbled upon in the past:

Typical real-world story about how women are approached in Free/Open
source environments:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2001/10/11/womhackers.DTL

There is even a Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO:
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/index.html

And the LinuxChix organisation is also a good resource for women
interested in Linux, Open Source and Free Software:
http://www.linuxchix.org

I think that many men on this list if they read for example the
mentioned 'HOWTO' (how silly its name may sound, it is quite
insightful), will be pointed to the fact they do expose women-unfriendly
behaviour from time to time, without realizing it.

Hope this helps,
--Jeroen
--
Jeroen van Wolffelaar
***@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)
http://Jeroen.A-Eskwadraat.nl
Gergely Nagy
2004-03-03 17:31:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.
Indeed, we do! All these Debian parties seem to look like gay parties
(not that I have anything wrong with gay people, as long as they don't
try to molest me. Even more, I definitely would not have any problem
looking over the lesbian movie collection the all-time DPL has access to
- as some nasty rumours say)

Besides, women just look better, so they are obviously better
representatives of Debian on conferences where we should convince PHBs
to use Debian. Imagine a good looking girl with a swirl tattod on her
belly! Lets face it, if you're a PHB, you'd just listen to her with more
pleasure than to a long haired, bearded guy with a pair of thick
eyeglasses, wouldn't you?
Post by Amaya
I would be very interested in knowing what's is each candidate's plan or
ideas on this subject, how to get more women involved, and what (in
their opinion) would be the benefits.
We should start a great campaign to recruit beautiful babes. However,
until the time this campaing can be sucessful, we have a lot of things
to do. We have to make Debian attractive to these young and
horny^Wdedicated ladies! First, we need to figure out what female
hackers find attractive. However, as women are an unresolved mistery to
any man on earth, we need women to do this job for us. Thus, we need a
female delegation, whose only purpose would be to interview all lady
geeks around the globe and summarise what we need to do.

On the other hand, leaving this tedious task only to our beloved ladies
would be just unfair, so we, male beings, should take our share too, and
brainstorm a little about this problem.

Or rather, experiment. We could - for example - radically change the
Debian website, to be more attractive to girls. Like have a pink
background, lots of flowers and.. and.. half-naked bodybuilders in each
corner, a flash game of feed-the-kitten (of course, this would be
running a flash version of tama!), and stuff like that. I'm open to all
good ideas.

Some of the benefits, I outlined above. However, while writing this few
paragraph, I've got another idea, that might be good as a feature to
make Debian more attractive to ladies, and as a side effect, would be a
benefit to most of our existing developer base too. We could set up an
online geek-dating system: imagine! Debian's density of geeks is most
probably the highest, and many of us are young and single, aspiring for
a geekis significant other! Registration in the dating database would
involve going through the NM process, and bingo! We have lots of females
wanting geek boyfriends. I'm amazed how brilliant I can be at times.
Post by Amaya
I hope I am not firing a big flame war here. This is not what I intend.
I just want to hear (read) what kind of tama Gergely Nagy has in mind :-)
Ooooh! There's another idea! We can feed Gone with the Wind (iirc that
was the title), th script of Titanic and other stuff to a megahal, put a
tama frontend on it, dress it up as a girl, then feed it our
constitution, policy and -devel without the flamewars, and we have a
new, female developer!

Thanks Amaya!
Post by Amaya
Listening to Pearl Jam - Ten - 3 - Alive
That's some good stuff there.
--
Gergelybrush Nagywood
Scott James Remnant
2004-03-03 17:34:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gergely Nagy
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.
Indeed, we do! All these Debian parties seem to look like gay parties
(not that I have anything wrong with gay people, as long as they don't
try to molest me. Even more, I definitely would not have any problem
looking over the lesbian movie collection the all-time DPL has access to
- as some nasty rumours say)
You *PROMISED* me that I could molest you in return for my vote! I feel
BETRAYED!

Scott
--
Have you ever, ever felt like this?
Had strange things happen? Are you going round the twist?
Gergely Nagy
2004-03-03 18:17:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott James Remnant
Post by Gergely Nagy
Post by Amaya
As a female hacker/geek/DD I find myself more and more concerned about
the gender ratio in the Debian Developer/User comunity. How can we say
make a "Universal" OS when it's do scarcely related to half the
population of the world... I think we all agree we want to see more
women involved in or using Debian.
Indeed, we do! All these Debian parties seem to look like gay parties
(not that I have anything wrong with gay people, as long as they don't
try to molest me. Even more, I definitely would not have any problem
looking over the lesbian movie collection the all-time DPL has access to
- as some nasty rumours say)
You *PROMISED* me that I could molest you in return for my vote! I feel
BETRAYED!
You *TOLD* me you were a bi-girl! Stupid internet thing! I'm sooo going
to drag it into the recycle bin..! I will DELETE ALL OF YOU! HA!

Now apologize! Or else...!1!! (I'll do the developer dance)
--
Gergely `Ballmer' Nagy
Helen Faulkner
2004-03-04 00:24:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brian May
I don't know you are how long you have been with Debian or what your
contributions are, but are you sure that this lack of confidence isn't
due to inexperience?
I've been using debian increasingly for about 4-5 years now, and have used it
almost exclusively for the last couple. I don't think I'm especially
inexperienced. On the other hand the battle I'm currently having in installing
it onto my new laptop might suggest otherwise ;)

I observe that a number of people have commented on this thread suggesting that
one shouldn't really feel worried/intimidated/nervous about dealing with the
debian people because
a) it's hard at first for everyone (I am sure it is)
b) if you're going to worry about that you're pathetic anyway (well I disagree
with that personally, but it takes all kinds...)

I am more interested in the comments that suggest either first or (mainly)
secondhand (people's female partners and/or friends) that other women have this
experience, and that there is, as a result, a genuine "hidden" discrimination
against the average woman, that could be part of why there are so few female
debian developers (how many are there anyway - does anyone know?) By "hidden"
discrimination, I mean that although anyone who demonstrates suitable skills and
inclination can be accepted as a new developer, some (many?) women with suitable
skill and the appropriate interest believe they will have a difficult time
dealing with the hostile/scary/condescending guys, who will greatly outnumber
them. So they don't apply to become a developer, so the situation doesn't change.

Note that this situation existing doesn't mean that there necessarily are
hostile/scary/condescending guys about, and it isn't the fault of
anyone in particular. Blame it on our societies, if you like, or on our
biology, or whatever theory you subscribe to :) But the situation existing does
mean that if people want to do something about it, saying "well I treat everyone
the same" may not mean very much, because you are treating everyone the same in
a situation that inherently, for reasons beyond your control, favours one group
of people (men) over another group (women). In that situation, if you want
things to change, you may have to consider altering your tactics somewhat. I
suggest that being aware that the problem exists is a good start :)

Helen.
Michael Banck
2004-03-04 14:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Helen Faulkner
Note that this situation existing doesn't mean that there necessarily are
hostile/scary/condescending guys about, and it isn't the fault of
anyone in particular. Blame it on our societies, if you like, or on our
biology, or whatever theory you subscribe to :) But the situation existing does
mean that if people want to do something about it, saying "well I treat everyone
the same" may not mean very much, because you are treating everyone the same in
a situation that inherently, for reasons beyond your control, favours one group
of people (men) over another group (women). In that situation, if you want
things to change, you may have to consider altering your tactics somewhat. I
suggest that being aware that the problem exists is a good start :)
+5, Insightful.

To that end, would it make sense to have *additionally* a closed/private
mailing-list exclusively for women, so they could discuss Debian related
things and express themselves freely without the fear of potentionally
being put down by men?

Note that I don't want to put women in a ghetto here, I'd applaud any
effort to ease the life for women in Debian on the existing channels,
but such a list might drop the entry barrier for women a bit.


Just a thought,

Michael
--
Michael Banck
Debian Developer
***@debian.org
http://www.advogato.org/person/mbanck/diary.html
Anthony Towns
2004-03-04 15:48:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
To that end, would it make sense to have *additionally* a closed/private
mailing-list exclusively for women, so they could discuss Debian related
things and express themselves freely without the fear of potentionally
being put down by men?
Note that I don't want to put women in a ghetto here,
Sounds more like you're leaving the rest of us in the ghetto to me...

Cheers,
aj
--
Anthony Towns <***@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we could.
http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
Craig Sanders
2004-03-04 20:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Banck
Post by Helen Faulkner
Note that this situation existing doesn't mean that there necessarily are
hostile/scary/condescending guys about, and it isn't the fault of
anyone in particular. Blame it on our societies, if you like, or on our
biology, or whatever theory you subscribe to :) But the situation existing does
mean that if people want to do something about it, saying "well I treat everyone
the same" may not mean very much, because you are treating everyone the same in
a situation that inherently, for reasons beyond your control, favours one group
of people (men) over another group (women). In that situation, if you want
things to change, you may have to consider altering your tactics somewhat. I
suggest that being aware that the problem exists is a good start :)
+5, Insightful.
insightful, except for one important detail.

the situation does not discriminate against women, in particular, it
discriminates against a particular personality trait - meekness.

meekness is found in both men and women, and meek men are discouraged from
participating in debian (and other groups) just as much as women are. men
suffer from meekness and have to go through all the stress and trauma of
overcoming it, just as women do.

i think one of the major difference in responses to meekness is that men are
taught that being meek is 'wrong' for them, while women are taught that being
meek is 'proper' - so men are more likely to fight it directly when they see it
in themselves because it makes them feel ashamed and inadequate.


craig

ps: dunno about you, but i don't find meekness to be an appealing trait in
anyone and rather than encourage and foster it, i'd rather encourage people to
overcome it.

there is a time and a place for a group to be especially welcoming and
friendly, and there is also a time and place for recognising the nature of an
environment and understanding that if you want to partcipate you're going to
have to dive in.....
Branden Robinson
2004-03-05 01:17:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Craig Sanders
the situation does not discriminate against women, in particular, it
discriminates against a particular personality trait - meekness.
meekness is found in both men and women, and meek men are discouraged from
participating in debian (and other groups) just as much as women are. men
suffer from meekness and have to go through all the stress and trauma of
overcoming it, just as women do.
We also have our fair share of people with an excess of the polar
opposite of meekness.
--
G. Branden Robinson | Any man who does not realize that
Debian GNU/Linux | he is half an animal is only half a
***@debian.org | man.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | -- Thornton Wilder
John Goerzen
2004-03-05 02:14:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
Post by Craig Sanders
meekness is found in both men and women, and meek men are discouraged from
participating in debian (and other groups) just as much as women are. men
suffer from meekness and have to go through all the stress and trauma of
overcoming it, just as women do.
We also have our fair share of people with an excess of the polar
opposite of meekness.
There has *got* to be a great joke out there, seeing the two of you
discuss meekness. :-)
Craig Sanders
2004-03-05 04:36:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Branden Robinson
We also have our fair share of people with an excess of the polar
opposite of meekness.
really?

i never noticed.


craig

:)
Manoj Srivastava
2004-03-05 14:32:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Craig Sanders
insightful, except for one important detail.
the situation does not discriminate against women, in particular, it
discriminates against a particular personality trait - meekness.
meekness is found in both men and women, and meek men are
discouraged from participating in debian (and other groups) just as
much as women are. men suffer from meekness and have to go through
all the stress and trauma of overcoming it, just as women do.
i think one of the major difference in responses to meekness is that
men are taught that being meek is 'wrong' for them, while women are
taught that being meek is 'proper' - so men are more likely to fight
it directly when they see it in themselves because it makes them
feel ashamed and inadequate.
Quite. But you too are ignoring one detail: that behavioral
trait is expressed preferentially in one gender; perhaps due to
cultural indoctrination, perhaps due to inherent biology.

The issue was not whether one should welcome meekness. The
issue was whether we think that the missing representatiopn of 51% of
humanity lessens Debian as a project, and whether we feel that is a
situation that needs be rectified. We may collectively decide that
changing the modus operandi is more trouble than the benefits of this
added participation are worth.

I do not believe so, but I speak only for myself here.

manoj
--
Love is always open arms. With arms open you allow love to come and
go as it wills, freely, for it will do so anyway. If you close your
arms about love you'll find you are left only holding yourself.
Manoj Srivastava <***@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05 CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B 924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C
Thomas Bushnell, BSG
2004-03-05 20:03:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Manoj Srivastava
Quite. But you too are ignoring one detail: that behavioral
trait is expressed preferentially in one gender; perhaps due to
cultural indoctrination, perhaps due to inherent biology.
I have no idea if this is true. Moreover, I don't think it matters
much. We should stop penalizing meek people no matter what gender
they are. Debian should do less bullying, period. If that has the
effect of making some women feel more comfortable here who would not
otherwise take part, all the better.
Post by Manoj Srivastava
The issue was not whether one should welcome meekness. The
issue was whether we think that the missing representatiopn of 51% of
humanity lessens Debian as a project, and whether we feel that is a
situation that needs be rectified. We may collectively decide that
changing the modus operandi is more trouble than the benefits of this
added participation are worth.
I agree with you here, and I agree it's worth the effort to try.
Helen Faulkner
2004-03-04 09:53:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaldhar H. Vyas
Post by Ben Burton
I suspect you've missed the point somewhat. AIUI she does not fear that
people will bully her because she's female.
I think instead of guessing at what we think Helen is saying we should
just go by what she actually did say and let her respond to any
misrepresentations on her own.
It's the gentlemanly thing to do :-)
:)

I initially meant something more like what Ben says: that women are going to be
worried more about subtle sexism than overt sexism in debian.

However, after reading over some of the posts to this thread, I think that was
probably wrong. Both kinds of sexism are evidently around and healthy in this
environment. Of course not coming from all, or even the majority of people. It
doesn't take many idiots in the community to put your average interested woman
off, if we're going to have to deal with that kind of attitude. And you wonder
why there are few female debian developers?!

People who haven't already, could learn from reading:
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/index.html
especially the section about the problems women face in approaching linux
communities.

Helen.
Kalle Kivimaa
2004-03-04 11:03:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeroen van Wolffelaar
http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/index.html
especially the section about the problems women face in approaching
linux communities.
For those of us who read that HOWTO and say "come on, that's not
true", I offer this entirely unscientific study I just conducted.

Out of three female friends chosen randomly two said that most of the
chapter two is true and one said that some of it is true. These three
included one biologist, one theologist, and one software designer.

One male friend read it and his reaction was "no way can it be
true"...
--
* Sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology (T.P) *
* PGP public key available @ http://www.iki.fi/killer *
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Brian May
2004-03-04 22:20:45 UTC
Permalink
Helen> However, after reading over some of the posts to this
Helen> thread, I think that was probably wrong. Both kinds of
Helen> sexism are evidently around and healthy in this
Helen> environment. Of course not coming from all, or even the
Helen> majority of people. It doesn't take many idiots in the
Helen> community to put your average interested woman off, if
Helen> we're going to have to deal with that kind of attitude.
Helen> And you wonder why there are few female debian developers?!

I personally don't recall any sexism on/at any Linux forums. Possibly
this is because I have forgotten. Are the following statements
true/false?

* The majority of Debian developers do the right thing, the problem is
with the minority that don't.

* The majority of Debian fans do the right thing, the problem is with
the minority that don't. (same as above, but including non-Debian
developers).

* Sexism is more likely to occur in IRC and E-Mail then real life
conversations.

Helen> People who haven't already, could learn from reading:
Helen> http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/index.html
Helen> especially the section about the problems women face in
Helen> approaching linux communities.

Seems sensible reading, and could be beneficial even if only read by
people who already try to do the right thing.
--
Brian May <***@debian.org>
Amaya
2004-03-04 23:42:56 UTC
Permalink
Manoj, here I came ;-)

I really have no time to get this flamewar alive ;-) but, I promise I'll
summarize and see if we get constructive ideas out of it.

Sincerely, I only wanted candidate's input, but this is Debian :-)

* I don't think debian is specially hostile on a gender basis.
I agree with Branden that Debian is more liberal than the real world
(take sexual behaviour, it's a good example, as he stated).
* I don't think women need pink desktops, special lists or things like
that to get encouraged/involved.
* I wasn't only talking about DD. I think we need more users, and
members of the comunity. Contributors in a way or another.
* I don't think we need to lower our NM quality standards to become a DD
for female applications. I don't believe in that kind of positive
discrimination. I don't even believe it will ever be necessary.
We all want the best developers we can get :-)
* What I think is that we need a bigger female userbase (and I'm glad
tbm brought up the isue of other minorities in Debian), that will lead
to a bigger Female DD. I would also like to see more mulattos, but
read below. Let's keep lust out of it, please, gents .-)
Post by Brian May
* The majority of Debian developers do the right thing, the problem is
with the minority that don't.
I mostly agree.
Post by Brian May
Seems sensible reading, and could be beneficial even if only read by
people who already try to do the right thing.
I don't specially like that paper, anyway.

What I want to say to females reading all this is "don't take attacks as
personal, using/developing Debian is a big joy, and I wouldn't want to
get more women into it if it weren't".

I feel terrible that while trying to get more females interested about
Debian I may have managed to scare off some of them with the flame I
originated. I was just asking for candidate's input.

My questions, at a very personal level are, in a way, a quest to
understand my own identity and choices. Quoting from a mail I sent to
tbm:

"Because (nobody mentioned that in the DPL thingy, and it is something
I will never forgive :-), as we are going to have thousands of female
users in Spain soon) we want more women in Debian. Not for lust, but
for input, hard work, commitment and a stop to flames. Girls are very
good at that. We are more collaborative, less competitive, very into
social networks (and Debian is one). I think it suits the Debian way
of working together fine.
Fuck, I'm giving you all the answers to the question I just asked."

So why if women are supposedly well equipped for the cult^Wbazaar, there
are so few of us? I am seeking constructive thoughts.

BTW, I think this doesn't belong in d-vote anymore. Please let's move
this to d-project or wherever.
--
All the pictures have all been washed in black. Tattooed everything.
.''`. All the love gone bad turned my world to black. Tattooed all I see.
: :' : All that I am. All I'll be. -- Perl Jam - Ten - 5 - Black --
`. `' Proudly running Debian GNU/Linux (Sid 2.4.20 Ext3)
`- www.amayita.com www.malapecora.com www.chicasduras.com
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