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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

On Sat, Aug 07, 2004 at 09:38:53AM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 22:11:55 +1000, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> said: 
> > On Fri, Aug 06, 2004 at 10:56:49PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> >> On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 10:41:33 +1000, Matthew Palmer
> >> <mpalmer@debian.org> said:
> >> > On Fri, Aug 06, 2004 at 01:47:51PM -0400, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> >> >> Or is the contention that there is some barrier to involvement
> >> >> by women (and only women) in the project itself?  Because such
> >> >> an allegation should be backed up with some solid facts.
> >>
> >> > Barrier to involvement by anyone who doesn't feel keen on getting
> >> > involved with a percieved bunch of rowdy social-teenagers.  Which
> >> > happens to primarily be women (although I know several men who
> >> > have declined active participation in Debian, despite definitely
> >> > being technically qualified).
> >>
> >> I strongly suspect that this is not limited to women -- indeed,
> >> people raised in the occidental tradition, regardless of gender,
> >> may be better able to deal with the culture in Debian than
> >> societies where one role in the group is percieved to be more
> >> important than individual beliefs and views.
> > So you think that changing our culture to be less confrontational
> > would be beneficial to encouraging participation by multiple groups?
> > Excellent.
> 	Well. Being less confrontational can lead to a more productive
>  dialogue, yes, and stop wasting our time in flamefests.  But a number
>  of such confrontational interactions in the past have challenged what
>  used to be well established ideas, and thus mitigated against group
>  think; any evolution away from the current norm should consider what
>  would be lost.

Do you think we can challenge the well-established ideas in the project and
move forward without long flamefests?  I'm quite sure we've had plenty of
forward-movements without associated roastings, but I'm curious as to
whether you think some of the progress we've made could have been
accomplished without the benefits of a heat engine.  <g>

> 	The free software world has always benefited from selection
>  pressure and competition between opposing solutions; when some thing
>  does not work as you like, you are encouraged to change it to your
>  liking, and if there are different viewpoints, well, projects get
>  forked, and we have a broader solkution base that caters to both view
>  points (ideally speaking).
> 	This culture of create a solution to meet your own needs, and
>  let the best solution win (suboptimal solutions lose mind share) is
>  one of the major strengths of free software.  We may find, however,
>  that this also engenders a certain competitiveness, especially in
>  grabbing mind share; and you can't totally eliminate one without
>  harming the other.

I totally agree with you, and I doubt that there are too many people who
would disagree that the competitive nature of Free Software is one of it's
greatest strengths (just as it's supposed to be one of pure-capitalism's
strengths).  The question is: can we keep the competitive spirit while
losing some of it's more unpleasant artefacts?

>  "not everything is either black or white"

I'm a campaigner for the middle ground in this issue, which I hope I'm
making clear in my messages.

- Matt

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