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What should be said instead of, "You're better at it" is that "The community could improve on it."
Women don't have the same passion for open source men do? Really??
Posted Aug 28, 2009 18:18 UTC (Fri) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
I can't take the time to put the male programmers in the company through whatever training (or is it therapy) they need to fill this role properly. Nobody would pay for it.
So, the short-cut is to look for someone who already doesn't base his/her ego on his/her code and doesn't view communication as conflict, and who has long experience with difficult communication. Such a person often turns out to be a woman who has brought up teenagers. It works.
This isn't to say that males can't or shouldn't solve this problem.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 0:33 UTC (Sat) by maco (guest, #53641)
You end up with an inflated sense of what he knows. He ends up thinking you knows less than you do. And well...maybe you're just not 1337 enough for this group he's in. Maybe this isn't right for you. I mean, jeez, you're the same age and he's so much more advanced! You must not be good at this. That's it, this just isn't your thing. Hmm...maybe you'll go become a math teacher...
If you get past that point, you'll learn that in geek circles, overconfidence is the rule in stating your skills. You have to talk yourself up like it's a job application instead of being politely humble. It's intimidating until you realize this.
I spent the first year of university being intimidated of a group of guys in my class. Turns out we're pretty close in programming skills, and for Linux skills there's a range that I'm somewhere in the middle of.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 0:45 UTC (Sat) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 13:34 UTC (Mon) by Skud (guest, #59840)
One very important one is to allow women to behave and communicate in ways that men do -- being assertive, self-promoting, having vigorous disagreements with people, etc -- without applying a double standard and saying that they should be nicer or watch their tone.
Another is to call out people who silence and discourage women, including people who expect women (and girls) to behave nicely as above. (This goes right down to early childhood, btw, so watch how people act around their kids!)
Another is to proactively seek out women doing good stuff and help promote their work to others, by writing about them, nominating them for awards, offering them speaking engagements, etc.
Another is to donate money or time to organisations working with girls and women who are into technology.
Now you know four more ways :)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 14:41 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
allow women to behave and communicate in ways that men do - being assertive, self-promoting, having vigorous disagreements with people, etc
Eek, no! We need to *raise* the bar for communication - not encourage others to drop theirs.
Posted Aug 31, 2009 21:16 UTC (Mon) by njs (guest, #40338)
"Raising the bar for communication" is not the same as "subject everyone to the current feminine bar" -- personally, I'm all for assertiveness, self-promotion, and vigorous disagreements, so long as they're carried out in a way that respects everyone involved. The full rules for female/feminine behavior are weird and nasty -- disagreement may have to be expressed as ostensible agreement, misunderstandings are the woman's fault, things like that. I don't think anyone wants those to be universal, least of all the women who know them best.
And the double-standard is enforced by men (mostly) who freak out if women break the rules -- i.e., men who aren't meeting reasonable standards for respectful communication. Raising the bar for them, and fixing the double standard, work out to be the same thing.
Posted Aug 31, 2009 23:22 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
"Raising the bar for communication" is not the same as "subject everyone to the current feminine bar". ... The full rules for female/feminine behavior are weird and nasty
No doubt there are many subtleties of the rules of female discourse that yet escape me, but in general it seems that females are slightly less inclined toward destructive, aggressive argumentation than men (particularly younger men). So to improve the tone in free software online communication from the (generally) young-male-like level to the female level would be an improvement. Perhaps that level again could be improved, but that's beside the point. The point is we should improve, not find a way to get women (and perhaps others) to be more comfortable with the current level.
personally, I'm all for assertiveness, self-promotion, and vigorous disagreements, so long as they're carried out in a way that respects everyone involved.
Ok, that's interesting. Why do you think that? I used to think that too, and I used to be *very* assertive and vigorous in my disagreements with people. However, with time, I've come to see these traits as actually being destructive to good debate. They tend to poison things and increase the risk that people start taking things personally. Further, these traits, I have come to think, do not bring anything positive to a debate.
Assertiveness of personality is a poor substitute for sound reasoning with supporting data, such that the argument asserts itself (to right-thinking observers at least). Vigorous disagreement (as in "direct", "forthright") has a high risk of stimulating egos into taking offence, compared a more indirect and less confrontational approach (no matter how much we'd like to ignore egos, it seems they'll always be with each of us). Etc.
However, I am probably misunderstanding your point. ;) Overall, I do not disagree with your more central point that we should be working toward some higher bar of respectful communication.
Posted Sep 1, 2009 8:17 UTC (Tue) by njs (guest, #40338)
The complaint about the double-standard has nothing to with whether women are comfortable with the current rough-and-tumble of FOSS discourse; it's about men being uncomfortable with women who are half as outspoken as the men themselves are.
Re: assertiveness, self-promotion, vigorous disagreement: Yeah, I think we're talking at cross-purposes a bit. By assertiveness I mean, for instance, speaking up when one has something to say; there's nothing wrong with pointing out one's accomplishments when relevant (rather than as a way to knock others down); and as for vigorous disagreement, it is entirely possible to present one's thoughts in a forthright manner without attacking anyone's ego. "Thanks for the patch! The current version has a few problems that prevent me applying it as is; could you look over the following and see what you think? ..." All those are, I think, good things.
OTOH, there are some people who delight in turning fact-based disagreements into personal fights, and are happy to win through logical rudeness and gratuitous nastiness. One of the usual ways to pick up social status in geek circles, for instance, is by flaming people to a crisp -- these are scored not on whether you happened to be right or wrong, but on how thoroughly the recipient is ground into dust, and how entertaining bystanders find their destruction. Many communities have designated targets for their members to practice on.
All that is just obnoxious, and goes *way* beyond "vigorous disagreement". Often someone who gets called on such behavior will start waving around terms like "free speech", "healthy debate", "vigorous disagreement", as a way to deflect criticism, but pff. That's just more of the rudeness that got them into the mess in the first place, and I'm under no obligation to buy into their self-serving redefinition :-).
One more point about the idea of raising the bar for men rather than lowering it for women: In addition to my concerns about whether that's an accurate description of what we want, it seems to me that by framing it that way, you run the risk of providing comfort to those who *don't* want to give up the double-standard -- you may give them an excuse to stop worrying about habitual sexism while feeling virtuous about working on the "real problem" (whether they accomplish anything or not). I assume that's not your intention, but the possibility makes me uncomfortable, and might be off-putting to other potential allies as well.
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