Discussion:
Question for DPL candidates: Teetotaler outreach
(too old to reply)
Adrian Bunk
2017-03-31 14:36:15 UTC
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Hi,

first of all thanks a lot for running.

Both of you consider outreach important.

People not drinking alcohol are half of all adults in the world, but
we are under-represented in free software. Unfortunately far too many
people mistake alcohol for a social lubricant, and might not even notice
that for many people terms like "beersigning" do not at all sound like fun.

How do you plan to create a more welcoming environment for people not
drinking alcohol, and reach out to teetotalers?

Thanks
Adrian

- --

"Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
"Only a promise," Lao Er said.
Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed
Chris Lamb
2017-03-31 18:31:44 UTC
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Dear Adrian,
Post by Adrian Bunk
How do you plan to create a more welcoming environment for people not
drinking alcohol, and reach out to teetotalers?
Great points, Adrian. Whilst not as rife in the free software word, alcohol
is almost used as a currency within Silicon Valley tech circles to bribe or
entice employee, with beer fridges listed as a perk and social events
happening at bars.

Whilst I've learnt over the years to accept that terms such as "go for a
pint" aren't meant to be taken 100% literally and — at least in the UK —
not drinking alcohol at social functions is becoming less of of a big deal,
I can totally relate that terms like "beersigning", the generic "I'll buy
you a beer" thank-you response and the general assumption that you would
imbibe can be a little frustrating and possibly even triggering.

In Debian, it would seem difficult to rename cherished events such as the
"Cheese & Wine BoF", but we could always advertise and underline ahead of
time that non-alcoholic beverages are available and actually ensure a
sufficient and interesting variety actually are. After all, not drinking
alcohol hardly implies a diet consisting entirely of Coca-Cola.

However, moderating the atmosphere so that non-drinkers do not feel like
they are unwelcome, perhaps by curbing excess in some of the drinkers, might
be the key here. In addition, not making it the assumption that you would
drink at waitered meals (and thus requiring special attention or "fuss"
when one declines) would seem to to make a big difference.

What do you think? Are there specific things you would be looking for?


Best wishes,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Steve Langasek
2017-04-01 00:22:23 UTC
Permalink
Hi Chris,
Post by Chris Lamb
Post by Adrian Bunk
How do you plan to create a more welcoming environment for people not
drinking alcohol, and reach out to teetotalers?
Great points, Adrian. Whilst not as rife in the free software word, alcohol
is almost used as a currency within Silicon Valley tech circles to bribe or
entice employee, with beer fridges listed as a perk and social events
happening at bars.
Whilst I've learnt over the years to accept that terms such as "go for a
pint" aren't meant to be taken 100% literally and — at least in the UK —
not drinking alcohol at social functions is becoming less of of a big deal,
I can totally relate that terms like "beersigning", the generic "I'll buy
you a beer" thank-you response and the general assumption that you would
imbibe can be a little frustrating and possibly even triggering.
In Debian, it would seem difficult to rename cherished events such as the
"Cheese & Wine BoF", but we could always advertise and underline ahead of
time that non-alcoholic beverages are available and actually ensure a
sufficient and interesting variety actually are. After all, not drinking
alcohol hardly implies a diet consisting entirely of Coca-Cola.
However, moderating the atmosphere so that non-drinkers do not feel like
they are unwelcome, perhaps by curbing excess in some of the drinkers, might
be the key here.
As DPL, what standard will you use to determine that some developers are
drinking to excess?
--
Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer http://www.debian.org/
***@ubuntu.com ***@debian.org
Chris Lamb
2017-04-01 07:55:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Langasek
Post by Chris Lamb
However, moderating the atmosphere so that non-drinkers do not feel like
they are unwelcome, perhaps by curbing excess in some of the drinkers, might
be the key here.
As DPL, what standard will you use to determine that some developers are
drinking to excess?
I think I overspoke with my "curbing excess" sub-phrase; what I really
meant to convey was just like ensuring there are real options for
people choosing not to drink, simply adjusting the framing can make a
genuine change to the atmosphere.

(For example, referring to a meetup as "we're going to meet at The Golden
Hinde afterwards… would you care to join us?" lands — in my experience —
quite differently from "we're going for a few pints at..")

Defining a "standard" would not be very useful, both practically-speaking
(breathalysers?!) and would quickly start to look like the act of a
killjoy. Besides, being a nuisance to others is not and should not be
tolerated anyway, regardless of blood alcohol content - we need no special
rules in this area AFAICT.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Ian Jackson
2017-04-03 10:21:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Langasek
Post by Chris Lamb
However, moderating the atmosphere so that non-drinkers do not
feel like they are unwelcome, perhaps by curbing excess in some of
the drinkers, might be the key here.
As someone who likes a drink, I endorse this latter point. Being
sober around people who are actually drunk can be quite tiresome.
Post by Steve Langasek
As DPL, what standard will you use to determine that some developers are
drinking to excess?
I don't think Chris meant that he would be issuing ex-cathedra
denunciations of bibulous individuals, or that _someone else_ would be
curbing people's excesses. I read it as an exhortation for people to
curb their own excesses.

The DPL has a lot of social legitimacy. That social influence can be
used to encourage people to behave better.

Ian.

Adrian Bunk
2017-04-01 15:10:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Lamb
...
Whilst I've learnt over the years to accept that terms such as "go for a
pint" aren't meant to be taken 100% literally and — at least in the UK —
not drinking alcohol at social functions is becoming less of of a big deal,
I can totally relate that terms like "beersigning", the generic "I'll buy
you a beer" thank-you response and the general assumption that you would
imbibe can be a little frustrating and possibly even triggering.
...
After all, not drinking
alcohol hardly implies a diet consisting entirely of Coca-Cola.
...
When something is advertised as "beersigning" on a Debian mailing list,
what non-alcoholic beverages can one expect to be available at the venue?

cu
Adrian

- --

"Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
"Only a promise," Lao Er said.
Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed
Chris Lamb
2017-04-01 17:48:49 UTC
Permalink
Adrian,
Post by Adrian Bunk
Not drinking alcohol hardly implies a diet consisting entirely of
Coca-Cola.
When something is advertised as "beersigning" on a Debian mailing list,
what non-alcoholic beverages can one expect to be available at the venue?
Well, I don't know — that would depend on the venue, surely? What you
seem to be referring to are typically ad-hoc events rather than part of
a DebConf or BSP.

I would therefore be far more reticent to "police" these beyond perhaps
encouraging these terms are not used, or suitable caveats are appended
to accomodate non-drinkers.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Gunnar Wolf
2017-04-02 00:37:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Adrian Bunk
When something is advertised as "beersigning" on a Debian mailing list,
what non-alcoholic beverages can one expect to be available at the venue?
Hi Adrian,

I understand you want to raise awareness about this issue, as
consciousness on the sexism inherent in technical communities was
raised in Debian and many other free software communities over the
last... 15 years?

But... This is a point that should be made on each of us as
individuals. I think it is valid and appreciated rising the issue at
the DPL-wannabe debates, but... I suggest you to bring the issue now
to a less person-bound thread/list — I invite you to move the talk to
debian-project, or (as it has been done on several other issues in the
past) monitor calls for beersigning and such. DebConf is a meeting
where alcohol is abused in the eyes of many of us (even some, like
myself, that do enjoy drinking), and your opinion would surely have
some resonance there.

Anyway — I do not think this is a point where Mehdi's and Chris'
campaigns will differ. It is not a point that has been brought up
AFAICT, and I don't think it's an issue where an individual as a
Leader will make much difference. Bring it to discussion on one of the
more general project spaces.
Nicolas Dandrimont
2017-04-02 11:48:51 UTC
Permalink
Hey,
Post by Chris Lamb
In Debian, it would seem difficult to rename cherished events such as the
"Cheese & Wine BoF", but we could always advertise and underline ahead of
time that non-alcoholic beverages are available and actually ensure a
sufficient and interesting variety actually are. After all, not drinking
alcohol hardly implies a diet consisting entirely of Coca-Cola.
[Actually, renaming the C&W BoF has been in the back of my mind for a while,
I'll see what I can come up with for DC17 :P]

I think non-grapey, non-alcoholic and non-lactose-based options were plentiful
for the DC16 party, but if they didn't suit you, or weren't advertised enough,
let me know so we can improve.

Cheers,
--
Nicolas Dandrimont
DebConf Cheese Wrangler

BOFH excuse #412:
Radial Telemetry Infiltration
Russ Allbery
2017-04-01 02:17:02 UTC
Permalink
(We're at that time of the year when I'm never sure whether to take
anything on the Internet seriously, but since this affects me personally,
I'll go ahead and post a serious response.)
Post by Adrian Bunk
first of all thanks a lot for running.
Both of you consider outreach important.
People not drinking alcohol are half of all adults in the world, but
we are under-represented in free software.
I'm not sure it's possible to know that. It's not very visible, and most
of us who don't drink don't particularly draw attention to it.

FWIW, I've never had even a moment of awkwardness around Debian or Debian
events (or, for that matter, around Silicon Valley, although I avoid
companies that seem to be more of a frat than a workplace) from not
drinking. I usually just get something non-alcoholic or note that I don't
drink, and no one has ever cared.

There are, of course, social activities that seem primarily focused on
getting drunk together, and I skip out on those because it's not
particularly fun to be the sober person around a bunch of drunk people,
but that's not any different than skipping the marathon runs or the
bicycling or the football games or any other social activity that I don't
personally enjoy.
--
Russ Allbery (***@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>
Mehdi Dogguy
2017-04-01 22:58:40 UTC
Permalink
Hi Adrian,
Post by Adrian Bunk
Hi,
first of all thanks a lot for running.
Both of you consider outreach important.
People not drinking alcohol are half of all adults in the world, but
we are under-represented in free software. Unfortunately far too many
people mistake alcohol for a social lubricant, and might not even notice
that for many people terms like "beersigning" do not at all sound like fun.
How do you plan to create a more welcoming environment for people not
drinking alcohol, and reach out to teetotalers?
First, thanks for asking this question!

I do not drink alcohol myself. And I have to admit that I never felt
unwelcome during Debian events or even those advertised as "beersigning".
I've always substituted "beer" with "beverage" in mind when reading it in
announces. Event organizes have been careful enough to provide non-alcoholic
alternatives, even during "Cheese and Wine" parties.

I agree that we should avoid advertising events by highlighting the fact
that there will be beers (or other sorts of alcohol). We should not be
encouraging drinking alcohol, nor use it to attract people to social events.
--
Mehdi
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