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Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

On Wed, 3 Mar 2004 17:04:36 -0500 (EST), Jaldhar H Vyas <jaldhar@debian.org> said: 

>> > I have never had a hostile experience with debian, but I still
>> > feel really unconfident when I interact with the debian
>> > community, even if it's only posting a bug report.  I don't
>> > understand why this is so, but it's very real.  Partly it's
>> > knowing that I'm going to be dealing with a man (almost
>> > certainly), and he may assume I don't know what I'm doing, and he
>> > may put me down or be condescending or unkind as a result.

> Helen I hope you don't take this the wrong way but the problem isn't
> that you're a woman or nearly all Debian developers are male.  The
> problem is you are a flake.  (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
> down or be unkind.  It's simply the most accurate word I can think
> of.  If anyone knows a proper psychological term for what I'm
> describing I'll use that.)  Vague fears of persecution are a sign of
> mental instability which can't be fixed by an operating system free
> or otherwise.

	Heh. Seems tome that you are merely displaying your
 inexperience and ignorance (No that wasn't an attempt to put you
 down or be unkind -- there is no shame in not knowing stuff yet).

	What Helen mentions is not a feeling that is an isolated case,
 and felt just by her. This is a wide spread phenomena. My wife has a
 Ph.D., and is widely published, and has landed two tenure track jobs
 (which, in biology, is quite a feat). And yet, she says she still has
 to struggle with exactly the same feelings that Helen describes. It
 is not inexperience, and it seems unrelated to the skill set.

	My wife also has been involved in Women in Science groups on
 three separate campuses across the country, and stories and
 experiences like this abound. Another facet is the this is the
 absolute denial by the their male colleagues that any such feelings
 could ever exist, which I think is horribly short sighted behaviour
 for these guys -- considering that they are not women.


> I don't think is a particularly female problem either.  I maintain
> the webmin web-based system administration tool which caters mainly
> to newbies and I notice a lot of men who are hesitant to interact
> for fear of being laughed at.

	Aha. The short sighted denial in action. You think the
 experience of skilled, experienced women who feel intimidated in an
 arena funtioning with the male orieted mind set is the same as the
 natural hesitation in face of new things? Heh.

	Men and women have different reactions to stimuli, and
 fight-or-flight situations. They have entirely different group
 dynamics from what men do.  In my experience, women have very
 different interpersoanl communication strategies as compared to men.
 You think that going into a male dominated culture, which functions
 entirely differently from how women interact, may have something to
 do with the hestitation, hmmm?

> Neither do I think it is cultural.

	Oh, riiiight. These are not all patriarchal societies we are
 dealing with, no sireee.

> My wife (like me) comes from a highly traditionalist strict gender
> role based culture but that hasn't stopped her from being a
> vi/ksh/elm-using unixhead who when we met was working with AIX
> graphic card driver developers at IBM.

	Heard of Grace Hopper? Know whom the language Ada is named
 for? You think that in any way changes the differences in the way men
 and women behave and interact?

	Not having a an intuitive feel for the working model the other
 person is using  in an interaction can lead to misinterpreted
 signals. Misunderstandings, espescially if you are already nervous,
 can lead to feelings of being unwilling to caterpult oneself into a
 forum like this, where for even expressing these feeling insensitive
 clods shall call you a flake.

	Yes, I did call you an insensitive clod. So sue me.

> There does seem to be a divide between the hacker mentality and that
> of normal people.  I've

	Of all the stupid things to say, perpetuating this idiotic
 stereotype, and implying mere grrrrls can be 31337 hacker dudes is
 one of the stupidest I can think of.

> tried to get my wife involved in Debian but at the end of the day
> she likes to put the computer away instead of obsessing over it
> every waking minute like me.

	I posit she is doing her very best to protect your fragile
 male ego.

> But I don't see what Debian can do about this.  Either you are a
> hacker or you're not.  Asking a totally hackerish community to act
> differently is just going to end in tears.

	Yup. We are just big bags of dripping hacker testosterone, and
 our beetling brows shall never allow us to change. Faugh.

If you want to know what god thinks of money, just look at the people
he gave it to. Dorthy Parker
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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