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Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

[Andrew Suffield]
> Psychology and sociology are fuzzy "sciences" for the most part,
> where very little is proven. That does not mean that the standards
> for proof should be lowered, it means that their conclusions should
> be treated with the usual skepticism and not as things which have
> been conclusively proven.

As may be.

All your pontificating about data and proof is a fine way to avoid the
actual issue under discussion, which is that a social system (the
Debian Project) is exhibiting the same symptom (fairly extreme
under-representation of women) as other systems which have been studied
and are similar to the Project in other ways.

I think it is more than reasonable to entertain the possibility that a
similar cause is, in the present case, responsible for a similar
result.  And even to take action based on that assumption.  Or do you
always wait for perfect information before making a decision?

> Correlation across a large number of systems does *not* demonstrate
> that the same thing will happen in any individual system.

Is this just a game to you?  Did you think there were judges on the
sidelines keeping notes about who was using the wrong standard of
proof, or making unwarranted assumptions?  It's not a game to the ones
who started this thread.  If you'll recall, this started with a simple
question about what can and should be done about the gender imbalance
in the Project.  Surely it would be more productive to search for
hypotheses about the causes for this imbalance, than to offer silly
theories like sunspots to illustrate your point that, because the
science is inexact, the real causes can never be known.

If you say "nothing should be done, because the essential nature of the
Project is conflict, and those who cannot deal with conflict would be
best advised to stay away from the Project in any case" - then that's
at least taking a stance.  Likewise if you say "nothing *can* be done,
because enforcing a more civilised standard of behavior on our
developers and members of our support channels is effectively
impossible."  Alternatively, you might say "what should be done is to
take surveys and collect anecdotes of people's experience interacting
with the Project, so as to form a clearer picture."

Any of those would be preferable to "insufficient data, therefore we
have no choice but to ignore the issues".


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