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Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

On Wed, Mar 03, 2004 at 10:34:28PM +1100, Ben Burton wrote:
> > But on balance I think even that was pretty mild.  I very seldom see
> > overt hostility towards women in Debian.  I think I have seen more
> > towards gays, and we appear to have more gay and bi male developers than
> > women of any orientation.
> It's possible that it's all relative (tm).  Given the amount of overt
> anti-gay rhetoric that we still hear today, debian appeared to me as
> having very little hostility towards lesbians/gays/etc.  Certainly it
> was a much less hostile environment than the place where I was living at
> the time [1].  Hell, even in Australia where same-sex couples can get
> immigration visas (with a large amount of red tape), we still have our
> prime minister traipsing about arguing against same-sex marriage because
> "it does nothing to support the survival of the species" [2].  If only the
> world were ruled by the Dutch. :)
> Anyway, I have never though of debian as hostile towards gays/etc at
> all, certainly compared with the world at large.

I agree, and that's why I discarded that thesis.

I was attempting to work through a number of hypotheses that could
explain the scenario.  The only one I have much confidence in was the
final one I reached.

> > Is it that we have subcultures within Debian, and the gay/bi male one has
> > reached a critical mass that enables new ones to be assimilated into our
> > group more easily?
> FWIW, I wasn't aware of such a subculture when I joined back in 2001,
> and even now I'm finding it hard to think of more than a couple of other
> lesbian/gay/bi DDs.

If there is one, I don't know about it, and I haven't been invited to
join.  :)

900 people might not really be enough to sustain any proper
"subcultures" in any event.  It's below the treshhold where everyone in
a community can no longer know everyone else, according to Jared
Diamond's metric in the book _Guns, Germs, and Steel_, which has some
interesting speculations on this subject.

> I do think you have it right when you observe that there is seldom overt
> hostility towards women in debian.  I think the issues are more subtle
> than that, which can in fact make the problems harder to address.

Yes; it's harder to treat an ailment in the absence of a correct

> As an example, I'd say that debian, as with several open source
> projects, does have a bit of a "bullying" culture (certainly not
> pushed by everyone, or even by a majority, but certainly not invisible
> either).  And for whatever reason, I think males often thrive better
> in that culture (look at debates regarding single-sex vs co-education
> schools).  This may or may not deter some people from participating -
> this is all just wild speculation.

...and when we're not bullying, we're territorial.  :)

Sure fits the male stereotype, doesn't it?  :)

G. Branden Robinson                |     There's something wrong if you're
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     always right.
branden@debian.org                 |     -- Glasow's Law
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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