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Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

On Thu, 4 Mar 2004, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

> 	OK. Last I heard, irc.debian.org #debian is a project
>  resource. Here is an example of how women are treated in Debian;

Ok at last we're at least moving into the realm of empirical data and I
thank you for that but I must say you are engaging in a little rhetorical
sleight of hand here over the words "in Debian"  It has already been
mentioned by others that very few Debian developers (arguably one good
definition of what comprises Debian) ever go there.  One could also note
that a high proportion of IRC users in general are asshats and women get
that sort of treatment almost everywhere.  Which still makes it a problem but
not a Debian specific one.

Here are some other examples of how women are treated in Debian.

In January 2003 (picked at random) there were 1601 posts to the
debian-user mailing list.  55 of those (3.5%) were from female-sounding
names as far as I can tell.  No incidents of harrasment or condescencion
occurred.  Is this the true face of Debian?

In the same month 2002 posts were made to debian-devel.  1 was by a woman.
This month was notable for the "Jack Howarth is a fucking idiot" thread.
Is this the true face of Debian?

During the time period including this month Karolina Lindqvist made .debs
for KDEs' CVS snapshots.  This was done outside the official Debian
framework altogether but they were very popular with Debian KDE users
(including myself.)  Is this the true face of Debian?

I haven't kept any hard figures on it but in the four years I've been at
the Debian booth at LinuxWorld in New York we've consistently had greater
than 3.5% of the visitors be women (I would estimate about 20% but see
caveat above.)  None of them to my recollection have ever been snubbed or
talked down too.  Is this the true face of Debian?

The fallacy in your use of Debian is that you assume there is a fixed idea
of the boundaries of Debian and that everyone thinks it is at the same
place as you.

Lastly, since you mentioned it (and mentioned it, and mentioned it) In the
month of November 2003 (I'd had a hard drive crash earlier that year that
makes January data unavailable) I wrote or responded to 125 emails in
relation to Debian matters.  Of those 4 were from women (Curiously also
3.5% statistical fluke or trend?)  Actually one woman but the thread
included "aw, you're a dear" and "I'm delighted it was resolved so
quickly."  Pretty good for a neanderthal eh?

You are welcome to do additional research along these lines.  I for one
conclude there is no problem that concerns me.  If you on the other hand
still do, don't wait for Debian, have at it!  You can solve it right now
by signing Helens or some other womans GPG key, and sponsoring them
through the new maintainer process.  Or by setting an example as a paragon
of politeness and civility.  Sure I won't lift a finger to help but I
won't lift one to hinder either so I shouldn't bother you because it's
just as much an instance of "Debian" solving problems as anything else.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/

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