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Re: Debian for kids

First off, Kyle, I want to thank you (yes thank you) for your trolling.
As far off the mark as you are, it is often in the face of criticism
that one can most clearly collect their thoughts and articulate exactly
what it is that they passionately believe in.  For those readers out there
who are tired of this troll and just want him silenced, read no more.
Just press "D".  I'm breaking one of the cardinal rules of discussion
groups here "don't feed the trolls".  Be that as it may, I find it a
useful exercise to rehearse out loud once again what I am aiming for
by forming Debian-kids, so here goes ...

On Sat, 12 Feb 2000, Kyle Sallee wrote:
> > This is lacking in compassion and respect?
> You have a compassionate idea to make debian more user friendly for beginners,
> novices, etc...

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I have an idea to make Debian something my kids
*enjoy*.  Something my *kids* enjoy.  This is a point that Bdale made,
that I agree with, and you simply ignored.  I could care less about
beginners, novices, etc.  I am not a computer trainer.  I am a parent. 

> No doubt a first time installation or even usage of debian linux for a computer
> newbie would
> be daunting and frustrating.

Now who is showing his bigotry by assuming that this is what I'm about? 
You assume bigotry everywhere (even in parents, who are the most likely to
understand and stand up for children who are the victims of ageism).  And
then you set out to shoot it down before you've even identified whether
it is present.  That is a bigotry in and of itself -- to assume "parents
who care about their kids and want to do something" are bigots -- a
bigotry about bigotry.

On the contrary, children do not find computers daunting or frustrating
nearly as much as adults because they are not already socially conditioned
to view computers with fear and trepidation.  Therefore, "ease of use"  is
not as big of an issue as you make it out to be.  Please see the
debian-kids goals post I made earlier today for a clearer statement of
what we're about.  Take your pre-conceived notions of what this project is
aiming for elsewhere.  Read and understand what is written here. 
Re-evaluate your motives for tearing down a worthy project.  Find out what
it is that really bothers you and attack *it*.  You are completely barking
up the wrong tree here.

> > I may well work on Debian for the Blind at some point.  How discriminatory
> > of me!  ;>
> Debian for blind is not descriminatory.  Your analogy is excellent if one
> assumes that everyone
> labeled 'kid' is by definition handicapped.

I don't even know if someone *born* blind would label themselves as
handicapped.  They came into the world with different abilities from the
"norm", which is a world full of sighted people.  Similarly, children are
born into the world with different (and smaller set of) "abilities" from
the "norm", the world of older people (I speak merely of *numbers* of
people, the norm in the statistical sense). The only difference is that
the blind pereson may never acquire sight, whereas the child is likely to
flourish and develop as their years mature them.  They are not born
knowing how to drive, nor how to spend money, keep house, and so forth. 
Each new skill is learned. Childrens' sense of humor, taste in colors and
other stimuli evlove over time.  What is wrong with noticing the
difference and accomodating for it? This is a perverse world that labels
every *difference* between people as a handicap.  By presuming that
parents who are compassionately moved to build something of value for
their kids *because they are kids* are bigots against their own children,
you not only show your stupidity, but also do insult to every parent on
this list.

> > You* are offended.  I don't think my kids (oops, progeny) are.
> Why aren't they, or you, and why me?  Could it be that most people too easily
> accept
> the roles and labels placed upon them?

I told my kids I was doing something for them on the computer ...
something that was just for kids.  What's more, I involved them in
the process ... asked them questions, listened, and had them draw
pictures.  Their faces lit up with excitement and interest through
this process.  You are telling me that they should have gravely
rebuked me for my bigotry?  They *are* children.  It's not a matter
of me *labelling* them as children.  They are children and they
have unique, childlike qualities that I adore, nourish, and help
develop.  This is the joy of parenthood.  This is something you apparently
haven't an inkling of a clue about.

> Acquiring two decades of age does not automatically endow a person with
> intelligence or wisdom.

I can see that.

> Everyone has disabilities and abilities.  Many
> disabilities
> are not age related.  Being young isn't a disability.  Most people just treat
> it like it is.

Then take issue with those who have mistreated you personally, or who have
mistreated children you know on the basis of their age.  Just don't bring
your trolling here.  In my book, discrimination *robs* people of
something: their dignity, their right to work, their right to vote or be
employed, their personhood.  I see none of that here.

> When socialization is lax, young minds can teach themselves that what most
> adults misbelieve
> to be beyond a young person's zone of proximal development.  The fact that the
> same boring
> math is taught from 1st grade to 8th grade, before algebra is taught,
> explicates the apathy that
> most adults have towards seeing adolescents as fully functioning persons.

You don't think I'm aware of this?  Perhaps I want to equip my children
with tools to think with, a world of numbers, algorithms and so forth
precisely so they *will* develop a keen love of these things which the
system so clearly falls short of providing.  Having a computer that is not
just "eye candy" like so many Windows systems are ... systems that are
built as much by the almighty dollar as they are of a sense of what
children ought to have and be able to experience through them -- this is
what I am aiming for for my children.  But at the same time children
*want* computers to talk, to be brightly colored, to be fun and funny.
What is wrong with that?  Do I condescend to them by providing them with a
computer experience that delights their senses, their tastes, and their

> Let's not foolishly treat and misbelieve that all young people are handicapped,
> due to their age,
> and not their social and societal influences.  I was probably a better 8086
> assembly language
> programmer as an adolescent than are most professional programmers today.

You are preaching to the converted.  I started programming myself on a
PDP-8 before there were PC's.  When the first PC arrived in the house
it did not satisfy me to just program it in BASIC.  I, too, delved into
the "guts" of the machine on a quest to find out just "what made it tick".
I spent countless hours poring over manuals, digging through magazines,
soaking up everything I could.  But is this the *only* route to discovery
through computers?  Perhaps my daughters, skilled in story-writing and
story-telling, drama, drawing, all sorts of pursuits which can be enriched
through computers, will experience computers in an entirely different, but
equally valid way.  I won't "cubbyhole" them as young geeks, like I was.
I'm not going to "cubbyhole" everyone's kids into the same little boxes
just because they're kids.  But I will seek out the commonalities, and
explore the wide range of wants and needs of different children and try to
pull them together into a coherent work that is Debian-kids.  This robs
nobody of choices or rights.  This work does not demean or discriminate.
It is about giving *more* choices, providing a *richer* environment for
kids and parents alike to explore, discover, and delight in.

> I'm not against a debian for dummies, a high security debian, debian for blind,
> or
> crayon colored debian.  But having 'debian for kids' is as prejudicial as
> having
> 'debian for geriatrics.'

You're beginning to sound like the Grinch who Stole Christmas.

> I doubt these thoughts will dissuade you.  Nor will they dissuade a USA full of
> people
> completely accepting of agism.  Slavery, racism, and sexism in recent years
> were just
> as accepted.  Fortunately, some people can recognize those social ills, now.
> Someday agism will be recognized.

And undoubtedly ageism does occur.  I've seen the sidelong and distrustful
glances of bus drivers as teens get on the bus, *just because they are
teens*.  It doesn't matter that it's only a few unruly teens that cause
the trouble on busses.  They are labelled as a whole on the basis of age.
Am I denying that this happens?  No.  But judge the fruit of the effort
... on the one hand you have a cantankerous curmudgeon of a bus driver who
dislikes having youth on his bus ... on the other hand you have a
(misguided and bigoted) bunch of parents who love computers and love their
kids and want to do something that involves both, that benefits their
kids, and benefits other peoples' kids.

> Are you going to discuss debian for kids or just act like kids?  *lol*
> I'm using that as an example of the deragatory connotation of the word 'kids.'

I *am* a kid at heart.  And that includes the negative traits as well as
the positive ones.  I am human ... a funny mixture of everything that
happened to me since I was born up until now.  I have passions and foibles
and am as prone to use invectives as anyone else when someone stirs up

> Everyone stay calm.  :)  Let's enjoy the discussion and not loose any tempers.
> *grin*chuckle*

I have used this opportunity to turn your negative trolling into a
positive reaffirmation of my belief in what I am doing.  Showing you
my displeasure at your unwarranted and off-the-mark attack of this
work is a perfectly natural response.

Having said all this, Kyle, I think I have spent enough breath.  Anything
more beyond this note would be giving your comments more of an importance
than they deserve, and would only encourage further trolling and tittilate
your ego.  Now I'm moving on ...

    nSLUG       http://www.nslug.ns.ca      synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
    Debian      http://www.debian.org       synrg@debian.org
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