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Re: Clarification about krooger's platform

MJ Ray <mjr@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
>> Given the relatively short period of time that debian-women has existed,
>> it's unsurprising that most of their work is still located on their own
>> site rather than integrated into the main suite of pages. It's hardly a
>> problem that's limited to debian-women - how many useful pieces of
>> documentation are scattered over mailing lists, people.debian.org and
>> random other parts of the web?
> Yes, sure. I don't think that debian-women get to take the high
> ground on secrecy/transparancy, though, as one poster seemed to
> be claiming. They're as good as many parts of the project, but
> not really Best Practice.

Are they ideal? No. However, I think it's clear that they're *better*
than many parts of the project, and getting everything to that level
would be a good start.

> We need to make clear that it is not acceptable to discriminate
> or to make secret decisions in this field. I am concerned that
> the "directed promotion" supporters in that group still haven't
> managed to deal with the "positive discrimination" and think a
> DPL could address it as part of a more general inclusion policy:
> but do any of these candidates feel it's important enough? Where
> does it come on your TODO?

I don't like where you're going with this "discrimination" argument.
Debian inherently needs to discriminate. We discriminate on technical
grounds, and we discriminate on social grounds. We discriminate against
people because of acts they perform, and we discimrinate against people
because of opinions they hold. That's entirely acceptable. As a project,
we should not discriminate against people because they posess
characteristics that they are unable to change. But that's it.

However, remember that someone's ability to perform a job may well be
influenced by their nationality, sex or language. If we had a
debian-japan project to encourage use of Debian in Japan, my ability to
provide useful input would be impaired by my complete lack of knowledge
of Japanese culture and language. Similar arguments apply to certain
debian-women activities.

>> When people refuse to speak to me, I generally interpret that as meaning
>> that they don't want to speak to me. Saying nothing is preferable to
>> responding in a way that's likely to result in continued argument. We
>> have enough pointless arguments in Debian already, and could certainly
>> do without them in a forum that's intended to present a welcoming
>> atmosphere.
> Does this mean that you want more "walls of silence" within the
> project?

No. If someone is doing a job, then it is important that communication
is maintained (well, within limits - if someone is actively harassing a
delegate, then there's no reason why they should be expected to reply
every time). debian-women is a self-organised group with no official
delegated powers. They have no obligation to engage in discussion if
they feel that it would be fruitless. If they held official
responsibilities, then my answer might well be different.

>> Mark, you're entirely within your rights to disagree with the aims of
>> the debian-women project. However, it would be nice if you sounded a
>> little less openly dismissive of the entire thing. A group of people
>> have started working on something that they think needs changing. If you
>> don't like their goals or the way that they're going about them, then
>> try voicing those opinions in a somewhat more reasonable way.
> Hooray for "reasonable" - the truly versatile word.
> If one voices those opinions in a more reasonable way, one is
> called "troll" and "pseudo-troll" straight off the bat and the
> first thing #debian-women do is question your competence.

Having read the posts in question, I wouldn't be inclined to classify
them as "reasonable" (though I will grant that they're more reasonable
than the message I replied previously). 

> If I build a bonfire, at least some people will look and wonder
> what annoyed me enough to light it. These days, there are few
> things which I hate for no reason and I'm usually honest that
> those are just prejudice-based.  Gender sterotyping is not one
> of my prejudices, though, although I know it exists locally.
> So why did I light it? I am a white working-class christened
> European male, but I will not accept discrimination against me
> on that basis, nor do I accept suggestions that that heritage
> predicts my beliefs. For example, I suspect that krooger and
> asuffield both share some of those attributes, but our beliefs
> are different about many things, as far as I can tell.

Strangely, as a white christened European male, I haven't seen any signs
of discrimination. Having read
http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2004/07/msg00223.html (which is
what you seem to be referring to here), I think your accusations of
prediction of belief are entirely unfounded - the statement is that
Jonathan's beliefs suggest that he's a white middle class christian
male, not that all white middle class christian males hold those

I'm still not seeing a great deal of evidence of discrimination against
men. Remember that discrimination against someone who is a man does not
imply that all men are discriminated against. The Debian project
discriminates against men who believe that we should put non-free
software in main, but isn't generally accused of sexism for that reason.

> I'm not dismissive of the idea that debian should work towards a
> more representative demographic: I am dismissive of the current
> configuration of the debian-women effort. Whether it would be
> better to change the configuration or change the effort, I don't
> know and don't have much leverage. The DPL has more leverage, so
> what do the candidates think is the right way to approach this?

If you believe that the proposals that the debian-women project are
making to deal with the gender imbalance are the wrong approach, then
put forward proposals of your own. They have no special status, but
currently they're the ones doing the most to address the problem.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.vote@srcf.ucam.org

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