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Quotes of the week

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 19:07 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359)
In reply to: Quotes of the week by geofft
Parent article: Quotes of the week

I *like* the quotes, and the last was the one that made me chuckle. I take them with a grain of salt and a sip of coffee and move on.

This intolerance thing seems to be largely an american/australian problem.

Even when Debian voted about the diversity statement, *every* European DD I talked to was like “why T F do we even *need* something like that?”, and several didn’t even vote. And the attempt to introduce creepy cards at the CCC congress was not only an absolute fail but also a door opener to trolls, in a climate that does *not* need it.

Current culture, over “here”, is *not* “women are weird beings from some other planet, unless they solder with us”, it’s “huh, man, woman, who cares, just do your stuff well”.


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Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:16 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

> Current culture, over “here”, is *not* “women are weird beings from some other planet, unless they solder with us”, it’s “huh, man, woman, who cares, just do your stuff well”.

There's ample evidence that that's not true.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:19 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

Over “here”, it’s true.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:21 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

The only way that could be true is if "over here" is inside your imagination.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:36 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

Right, and you can divine that, from hundreds of kilometres away.</sarcasm>

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:55 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

I've no idea where you live. It doesn't matter. Nobody has so far created a society free of prejudice or bias. There's nowhere you can live and be assured that you'll be treated equally regardless of race, gender or sexuality. Ironically, by insisting that there's no problem, you're telling all of those groups who experience systematic prejudice that their opinions aren't worth anything, proving them right.

There are documented cases of sexist behaviour at CCC. The only way you can ignore them is to classify the victims as oversensitive, and then you have to come up with an argument for why women are so much more oversensitive than men are without compromising your claimed freedom from sexism.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:36 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

I’d like to know where I “insist” that there is “no” problem. I just notice that the problem seems to be _largely_ american/australian.

Actually, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to discuss on this endlessly. And feel free to not read the Quotes of the Week any more if you don’t like them. This is generally recommended, e.g. with Fanfic: don’t like, don’t read; but especially, don’t flame.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:39 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

The bit where you said 'Current culture, over “here”, is *not* “women are weird beings from some other planet, unless they solder with us”, it’s “huh, man, woman, who cares, just do your stuff well”'. That's pretty explicitly saying that there isn't a problem where you are.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:44 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

Ah well. That *is* true in the circles I normally move. (The CCC explicitly is no part of it ☺ after attending four congresses and also otherwise seeing more, I decided I’m not CCC “affine”.)

I’ll now shut up and hack. I’ve got better to do than this. And I suggest you do, too. Just, dear LWN editor, keep us the quotes.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:51 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

No, it's not. You've just all deluded yourselves into thinking it is.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:58 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

(Hmpf, the hard part about having enabled email notifications is it’s hard to actually ignore a thing, even after exiting the GUI webbrowser…)

You know, that sole statement of yours is enough to ridicule yourself. I used to take statements of yours, like the tytso thing, serious (although I did check the sources), but now, I cannot take anything you say serious any more.

“You've just all deluded yourselves into thinking it is.” is accusing me of lying and an unasked-for ad-hominem attack (not just at me but also at my friends, from a person hundreds of kilometres away who even CANNOT know). It just shows you’re… psychic, in lack of a better English word for what I wanted to say. Obsessed, maybe. I don’t even *want* to know why, but this says enough.

End of thread, now definitely. I see no reason to talk with you.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 22:14 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

You're not lying about your belief that there's no problem. You're just not seeing it, and then assuming that you can't see it it's not there. I don't think you're likely to engage in overtly sexist behaviour, and I doubt that most of the people you work with are either. But the problem isn't so much the individual acts of overtly sexist behaviour. Low level sexism is still endemic in society as a whole (advertising may well be less sexist than it was in, say, the 60s, but look at the extent to which gender roles are still used to sell things), and even if you're actively aware of it then you *will* occasionally find yourself interacting with a stereotype of a person rather than the person themselves.

I'm not calling you sexist. I'm not calling any of the people you associate with sexist. I'm saying that you (like everyone, including me) will engage in occasional acts of sexist behaviour, and unless you're able to see that this is what's happening it provides an environment where people feel safe in engaging in overtly sexist acts.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 12:03 UTC (Wed) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> You're not lying about your belief that there's no problem. You're just not seeing it

If he's not seeing it, then there's no problem "over here" as he said, period. I can attest that it's the same in the circles I move (meaning: all the people I know in person).

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 8:34 UTC (Thu) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

I have to disagree with that, or else I'm misunderstanding you.

Are you really saying that if some person does not see a problem, then this by itself is proof that no problem exists ?

It is true that sexism is far from constant, and I agree with the assessment of others that women clearly aren't rare or considered outsiders by default at CCC, I attended their camp in Berlin a few years back, and though women where a minority, they where not a tiny minority. There was also several women among those leading workshops and giving lectures, and I do think that overall the atmosphere was inclusive and welcoming.

But that's not to say that there was no problems, there sure was. Was there *less* of a problem than in many other locations and environments ? Yes ! Was there "no problem" ? No !

I'm pretty sure that's true globally. Levels of problems vary wildly, yes, but I don't think it's plausible that there's anywhere where it's a fair description to say "problem solved".

And I say that coming from one of the countries on the planet that consistently score top on equal rights.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:53 UTC (Tue) by andresfreund (subscriber, #69562) [Link]

Uhm, what? There's no sexism/intollerance in Europe/Germany? I (or you?) must live in a parallel universe. And yes, I include the Kongress in that.

And while I am not a DD I *certainly* welcome the diversity statement. Even if it were redundant "over here" - which I obviously don't think - I don't see the problem of making some implicit rules explicit.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:28 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

There's probably not “none”, but it doesn’t appear to be an issue that much. Also, there’s a trend to throw too many things under the same umbrella/name…

And I didn’t say I didn’t welcome the diversity statement; in fact, I asked those who didn’t vote to change and sign it, even though we think it implicit (no harm in explicitly stating the obvious, but a good reference/remember for later on).

I didn’t attend the congress and can only point out http://blog.fefe.de/?ts=ae1a50a0 for that, but I’ve attended lots of conferences myself, know lots of conference staff, and haven’t noticed things of the sort that’s quoted in e.g. mjg59’s articles (which, you might want to know, I also disagreed with). I’m just saying that you shouldn’t over-hype the problem (or just shout “sexism!” (or some other prestressed word) at every corner), and that one shouldn’t assume things are the same all over the world: Differentiate. There’s a difference (hah…) between discrimination and differentiation. Not all countries are equal. A man and a woman aren’t equal. Neither are my brothers and I. This, of course, doesn’t mean they have different rights, value, whatever, but equalising everything is bad. As is going into emotional (irrational; the planet-thread starting at http://ramblingfoo.blogspot.de/2012/12/faulty-logic-confu... was a good example, even with possibly bad taste, of why that's not good) modes.

As for talking to DDs, well, that just happened to happen in IRC at that time. I’m not even sure who exactly was part of the conversations. But that doesn’t disprove my point either.

Argh! This is not easy to express in English for me because I’m not sure which words or wording may be taboo or trigger for you all.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I can more easierly just chuckle-and-go-on on the “morons” quote. It’s no word of my native language, and I just know it as generic insult, not even its dictionary translation (although I maybe should look it up now), so it’s more abstract. Add to that the proverbial politeness of the Brits and the prudeness of the Americans (the whole “swear words” thing, which is to Germans like being from another galaxy – which is not to say we don’t regard language, but not like THAT, and it’s more than just the letters of a word) which may make them have a different threshold for sensing things as offensive, and you get two effects on it.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 20:30 UTC (Tue) by BenHutchings (subscriber, #37955) [Link]

You obviously didn't talk to me. I'd also be interested to know whether there were any women among those European DDs you talked to.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 21:33 UTC (Tue) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

See my other answer… it just came up in IRC, I didn’t specifically talk with people about it, and I don’t even remember with whom. Probably the “usual suspects” (who, interestingly enough, hang out in the mbsd channel socially) and/or the Grml crowd.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 8, 2013 23:51 UTC (Tue) by geofft (subscriber, #59789) [Link]

Hey. I will be frank and say that my first instinct to this was to interpret this as trollish, since it is so foreign to my experience, but I respect you and your work a lot technically and so I will take what you say seriously.

I can only speak from my experience in Boston and in the Bay Area, but "the intolerance thing" is definitely a problem here. Maybe it isn't in Europe -- I haven't been there, so I don't know. (I'd love to live there some time!)

But the problem we have is that there are, in fact, people who honestly believe that other types of developers -- whether women, or driver developers, or web programmers, or whatever it is -- are lesser people who are not worthy of that sort of respect. And so when people make these sorts of jokes, on the assumption that everyone around them knows it's a joke, it only convinces the people who actually behave that way that other people share their beliefs.

And if you have people -- driver developers, women, etc. -- who have been told, in seriousness, "oh, you're a driver developer, that means you're not good enough for real programming," or "women aren't as smart as men, scientifically", or whatever it is, any jokes along those lines also serve to convince _them_ that this is normal and this is what the community truly believes.

I agree that in an ideal world, the Debian diversity statement isn't needed, and we ought to be able to make these sorts of jokes. But we live (at least I live) in a non-ideal world, and there is value in saying, clearly and with no chance of confusion based on context, that we do value diversity and that we don't actually think that driver authors are lesser people.

Here's an article that makes the point that I'm trying to make, more elegantly, in a context that has nothing to do with programming: http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-puppy-and-maybe-...

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 0:10 UTC (Wed) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

“But the problem we have is that there are, in fact, people who honestly believe that other types […] are lesser people who are not worthy of that sort of respect. And so when people make these sorts of jokes, on the assumption that everyone around them knows it's a joke”

Right, that’s a problem. The case more common here is that you say something, like the aforementioned driver programmers are “all” morons (I looked it up by now, and it sounds like the almost-not-an-insult „Depp“ would be it), ⓐ you don’t believe they’re not worth $something (respect, or whatever), and ⓑ (orthogonally from ⓐ above), you still respect that person for doing what they’re doing in their area and saying something like “they’re all morons” isn’t meant insulting.

Add to that, *looks in bookmarks* http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/tact.html

Us “computer freaks” often grew up picked on by classmates, and as such, we have “input filters” on communication that add politeness or, as giraffedata said in the other comment, makes us “nice guys” and take things tongue-in-cheek, whereas “the establishment” has grown up picking on people like us and, on the other hand, being polite and even politically correct in their high society, and thus have “output filters” on what they think, before they say.

I’ve seen enough BSD-versus-Linux and lots and lots and lots of BSD-versus-BSD (or FreeBSD, which isn’t really a BSD *g*) trench warfare, but it’s been a long time since I recall someone _really_ thinking someone (a member of the other party, or, say, a woman) wasn’t worth any respect. (We do state that we think “Aunt Tilly” shouldn’t be root on their own computer; they should instead pay a student to administer it and support them, and be mere users. But that’s just another façette of: people are *not* equal, and thus should *not* be treated equally, just with equal spirit/respect. They may be absolutely great at, for example, painting. And I’m not bad at cooking, playing the flute and, although I didn’t practice for a decade, crotchet (never knitting though, so don’t expect any Stricktux or knitted dæmon from me ☺). It would be boring if people were all the same. We *did* teach a female coworker who used to be helpless in the kitchen a bit of cooking ;-) (she’s very good at tech stuff though) But the end is, that people complement each other and thus can help each other.)

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 0:26 UTC (Wed) by geofft (subscriber, #59789) [Link]

Huh, the tact filter point is a good one. I'd read that essay before, but never connected it. I don't think it would be a particularly inaccurate summary of the diversity conversation to say that the community should be open to people who weren't picked on as kids as well as people who are (and that one easy way to do that is to change the assumption of the default filter -- you don't insult anyone by having too much "tact", but you do insult them by having too little).

I do personally know dozens of people (mostly women, as it turns out, but several men) who are all quite competent programmers, but have gotten the impression somehow that the community they want to participate in does, in fact, look down on them, or that they're not "hardcore" or knowledgeable or accomplished enough to participate in that community. I agree with you that in almost all cases, this isn't true. But it only takes one person saying "yes, I actually look down on you" to make someone think this is representative of the community. Going back to the tact filters, it's very easy to convince someone that "they don't really mean it" is untrue. And then the tact filter crumbles, and everyone else is interpreted as if they do really mean it.

There is arguably something of a correlation with the tact filters, come to think of it. People who have the tact filter installed in the picked-on-nerd direction will just go ahead and do or say something, assuming that other people will ignore them at their own discretion. People who have the tact filter installed "correctly" will feel presumptuous participating somewhere where they think they shouldn't, absent a clear statement that they should.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 0:37 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> There is arguably something of a correlation with the tact filters, come to think of it. People who have the tact filter installed in the picked-on-nerd direction will just go ahead and do or say something, assuming that other people will ignore them at their own discretion. People who have the tact filter installed "correctly" will feel presumptuous participating somewhere where they think they shouldn't, absent a clear statement that they should.

I think you are correlating to somewhat unrelated things

1. the filter direction (and the probability of feeling offended)

2. reluctance to participate.

I have seen a lot of people with their tact filters in the "correct" direction who can be extremely pushy about getting involved with something, so I don't think this is a very good correlation.

The "tact filter" explination does go a long way towards explaining the offense that some people take over comments that were not meant to be offensive. Not just related to "nerds" but also in other fields

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 21:00 UTC (Thu) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

It’s not something people choose, after all… but it makes for some interesting explanation models of observed behaviour and difference in interpretation of such.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 1:12 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

"We do state that we think “Aunt Tilly” shouldn’t be root on their own computer; they should instead pay a student to administer it and support them, and be mere users."

This is a perfect example of what I was talking about. In an environment where women are stereotyped as having little technical knowledge or ability, having the prototypical clueless user be a woman is a problem. It's not a huge thing. It's unlikely to leave anyone hugely offended or upset. It is, however, something that helps perpetuate that stereotype. Using it doesn't mean that you hate women or think that they're unlikely to be technically competent, but it helps create an atmosphere where people who actually are overtly sexist feel supported in their sexism and it contributes to women feeling that they're going to have to work harder to gain the same level of recognition.

Communities that feel comfortable behaving like this are creating problems. If they're unable to see them, it's because they haven't learned to look properly.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 7:57 UTC (Wed) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

Would it change anything if it was "Uncle Joe" ? I'm sure you know you only have two choices for the sex here, and you must choose one arbitrarily here for the choice of your archetypal "clueless user" ? Throw a coin each time or throw a coin once for all, but don't read anything in the result...

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 9:32 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

My preferred formulation is J. Random User.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 9:59 UTC (Wed) by dark (guest, #8483) [Link]

Well... isn't it odd how the coin comes up "woman" every time an archetypical clueless user is needed? It's always "aunt", "grandmother", "girlfriend", "mother". Can you show me even one example of "It's so simple, even your father could use it!"?

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 9, 2013 11:07 UTC (Wed) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

> Can you show me even one example of "It's so simple, even your father could use it!"?

If I were to search for an example of a clueless user, I'd fo for my father instead of my mother, because that's the say things are.

Actually, I don't even do that because I don't feel the need to give an identity to archetypes apart those that define the archetype. If I need to talk about the clueless user, I'll say "clueless user".

It's not often that I see girlfriend and mother, I suppose they're really a problematic cliché, but I find it rare.

I'm also sure you can find many biases that are not sexist biases. For the grandmother, well, I'd think that it's an image of demographics. What's your image of elderly people ? For me it's a woman (I have two of those alive, but no grandfathers, in my country there's a 7 years difference between male and female expectancy).

Not that I deny sexism, but I think some people see too much of it where it's not necessarily there.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 11, 2013 9:32 UTC (Fri) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

google "even your mother could use it" => 300K results. "even your father could use it" gives 2 results, one of which is this thread.

Yes, "Aunt Tillie" by itself, is harmless. But she's part of a trend. A trend where females are used as stand-ins for "generic clueless person".

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 17:27 UTC (Thu) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

And if you know where "Aunt Tilly" came from (esr, hint, hint), she is not meant to be "a woman". She's just your typical, usually elderly, user. So saying she shouldn't be root on her own system is just recognising most *users* shouldn't *need* to administer the system.

Cheers,
Wol

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 22:00 UTC (Thu) by jubal (subscriber, #67202) [Link]

So? We don't need to revere esr's /self/importance just as much.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jan 10, 2013 19:33 UTC (Thu) by mirabilos (subscriber, #84359) [Link]

I specifically used “Aunt Tilly” – and put it into quotation marks – because this is LWN, and the term *comes* from the LKML (or at least, that’s where I’ve learned it). I’m not aware of a stereotypical non-tech user name in my own language, even ;) and I’m not even prejudiced against older people wrt. tech skills, so the “Uncle” part would be equally incorrect. (But, honestly! Did your parents compile you with -pedantic or something? I hope not ☺)

I just used it here so people like certain Linux kernel programmers *ahem* know what I’m talking about.


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