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Re: db.debian.org (and related infrastructure) updates

On ke, 2007-01-03 at 13:47 -0500, Kevin Mark wrote:
> I have yet to see a use case for this LDAP item. Is it strictly for a
> male/femaie survey that other FLOSS projects will join? Does this mean
> that people who dont self-identify as male or female are just not
> counted? According to some stats that could be 100 people.  Is there any
> ISO standard that is inclusive of those uncounted people?

You have reached the Debian Oracle. Please allow the Oracle to translate
Steve's message to plain English. Steve is a great guy, but he
occasionally uses difficult words and constructs of grammar, and those
can sometimes confuse the rest of us. He is the victim of a childhood
spent in a Catholic orphanage run by Latin-speaking priests, so he grew
up thinking "alea iacta est" was a normal way of saying "yes, sir, I
will fix a release critical bug at once, sir, thank you sir".

The key phrase in Steve's verbiage is "I think we'll be able to make do
with an opt-in binary gender classification". 

"I think" is a pair of words that is often used to indicate personal
opinion, so Steve uses it to say that what he says next is what the
project should do as far as he is concerned, but that it isn't official
Debian policy.

"Make do" is another important word pair, which means "manage to suffer
without excessive or undue pain". Here Steve indicates that although the
solution chosen is not perfect, it is good enough at least for now, and
gives the implication that we have more important things to worry about.

The third really significant part is "opt-in binary gender

"Binary gender classification" is Steve's Latinesque way of saying
"there are two genders to choose from". In this case, there's two
choices; by implication, they are "male" and "female" rather than "C"
and "C++".

With "opt-in" Steve means that Debian developers may opt, er, in, into
telling everyone whether they're male or female. That means they can do
it if they want to, or not do it if they don't want to. In some cases,
if the other available choices are inappropriate for them, the might not
be able to fill it in, but "opt-in" covers that, too. So those who want
to, and are able to, to choose from the two gender options can do so,
and everyone else can choose neither. So actually there are three
values: male, female, and unspecified.

This should cover the central part of your message: people who do not
identify themselves as "male" or "female" can choose "unspecified".

>From a vast experience in dealing with humankind, the Debian Oracle
further provides the following statements to further respond to your
question: The use case for this field is purely statistical, but it is
in no way tied to any existing or planned FLOSS surveys or other
projects than Debian. The ISO does not have a non-binary gender
classification system that Debian could use. If we want to make the
statistics classify every person's gender exactly, the field needs to be
free-form text.

I hope that this explains everything, Kev. You owe the Oracle an e-mail
quotation trimming device.

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