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The dark side of open source conferences

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 4, 2010 22:25 UTC (Sat) by graydon (guest, #5009)
In reply to: The dark side of open source conferences by alankila
Parent article: The dark side of open source conferences

You certainly do possess the tact necessary. It's not hard, I've given you direct instructions in every message I replied to about things not to do in such conversations, and you're adapting your tone fine. Thank you for doing so. I'm trying to adapt mine to match.

The "words on a screen" are the action I'm responding to. I realize that you have a "point of view" and, to be blunt once more, it matters less than what you choose to do and say (or not say) in the future. People feeling marginalized, harassed, trivialized and insulted by this community aren't at any loss for understanding or hearing our points of view. We broadcast them like a fog-horn.

You -- we -- need to hear and listen to their points of view. That means clamming up and reading-or-listening. Not having a debate. Not demanding people listen to your defensiveness or confusion. Not turning every related experience into a 250-message argument thread.

Speech matters, as does the assumption of whose job it is to speak, be listened-to, or be taken-seriously. You buy a phrasebook and learn the local etiquette if traveling to another country. You study legalese if going to court. You suppress your tendency to swear around your elder family members. You don't raise your voice around kids. You realize when you're angry or drunk that some of the things you have an urge to say are best suppressed, as you'd regret them. In all these cases you recognize the onus is on you for adapting your speech quietly and on your own dime. The situation is the same here.

I'm not trying to paint you into a corner of being an enemy, or the Bad Prejudiced Guy. Everyone has prejudices. I'm plenty sexist, racist and classist myself. I trip up all the time. But while reflecting on those thoughts and informing myself of the perspectives of those I'm prejudiced against, I read and adapt my speech behavior to avoid the worst parts I've seen described, that I recognize in myself. I've only been telling you to do the same.

That's really it. It's not hard, you can do it too. You'll do fine. There's an absolute ocean of ink spilled on these topics to guide you. If you want to spend the afternoon reading a far more nuanced and detailed meta-analysis about the issues of privileged speech, assumptions of authority and relevance, topic derailment and reframing, try this:

(Read the whole thing, and any links you disagree with. Bookmark any wikis or FAQs that you have residual confusion about. Don't stop at the first thing you disagree with. Suppress your defensiveness enough to finish it.)

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