Not just the trolls' fault
Posted Oct 5, 2007 17:33 UTC (Fri) by wilck
In reply to: I wonder how it's possible to misread it so bad...
Parent article: Yet another male perspective on women in free software
Very good point. Women are used to experience rudeness and sexism in almost every area of society. Whether or not that drives women away is a function of how attractive the activity itself is. Work, for example, isn't easy to avoid, and (using your example) discos attract more women than FLOSS forums.
I agree that rudeness itself is not the main problem. However, if someone is being rude, the reactions of the others matter a lot - it's good if many participants express their dissent. Otherwise, it's natural for the victim to interpret the silence as consent, and, consequently, feel attacked by the community as a whole.
What else? Besides the trolls, there's less evident sexism in the behavior of the majority of FLOSS participants. It's probably harder for female contributors to get appreciation for their work, and get respected as a hacker, not a woman in the first place.
Even that disregarded - it's possible that the resasons why people participate in our community simply don't appeal much to women.
The main motivations I can think of: dislike for proprietary software, enthusiasm for hacking, desire for the rewards the meritocracy has to offer (mainly respect from other members) - at least for the latter two, it seems plausible that they appeal more to men than women, in the social environment that most people are living in today.
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