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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

On Fri, Aug 06, 2004 at 01:09:23PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> There are 3 questions in this email and a lot of explanation.
> When almost all of a population is divided into two classes, 
> "postitive discrimination" in favour of one class is usually 
> indistinguishable from "negative discrimination" against the other. A 
> discriminatory list has been created on lists.debian.org. The creation 
> of debian-women was mentioned in the depths of the last "bits from the 
> listmasters" 

It looks like you missed the fact that the debian-user-icelandic was
also created. That list is even worse. Not only does it discriminates
against non-icelandic speakers, it also discourages from people posting
in english there. At least men are still allowed to post on

> http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2004/07/msg00013.html 
> having previously been bug 252171. Sadly, I didn't spot those, so was 
> unable to try to fix this new bug before now. There is no equivalent 
> encouragement list for men, nor any attempt to address any other 
> unrepresentative demographics. Those of you who read a lot of email 
> may remember discrimination was discussed a bit (not always usefully) 
> in the DPL elections: thread starting 
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2004/03/msg00017.html and 
> others.

While it currently doesn't appear to be possible to subscribe to a
pseudo-package, you can always subcribe to debian-bugs-dist if you wish
to follow what's happening there.

There's no equivalent list for men because no one has requested it. I
suggest you have a look at http://lists.debian.org as this will not only
let you know how to request a new list should you feel it's required but
will also point out to you some unrepresented demographics that have
lists. For example, debian-accessibility, debian-lex, debian-hams or 

> I only found out about this after Amaya emailed me questions about why 
> I think debian-women is important and useful. I replied that I think 
> it is important as a symbol of rampant sexism in debian and not useful 
> at all in the long term. I don't know the sex of some of my debian 
> collaborators and I do not see why it is so important. Of course, my 
> views have not appeared on 
> http://debian-women.opensource-knowhow.com/supporters.html - it seems 
> there are only positive views there, even if some mention other skews. 
> (I can't decide if Matthew Wilcox is being funny or serious, BTW.) 
> Does debian really support sexism this much?

What does Amaya's website have to do with anything?

> This new bout of sexism seems to have been triggered by Erinn Clark's 
> pro-discrimination talk at debconf4. Slides might be 
> http://cytosine.org/~helix/women_in_debian.pdf (no HTML version?) but 
> ICBW. "Workshops for young girls" is discrimination, pure and simple. 
> As the slides note, the DFSG say we don't allow copyright licences to 
> discriminate against groups of people: should we allow the project to 
> discriminate against men?

Where does it discriminate against men? Looking at the subscriber list,
I'd say between 1/3 and 1/2 of subscribers are men. A number of posters
on the list are men. Where is the discrimination?

> To me, the most obvious fix is to replace debian-women with something 
> like debian-equality or debian-welcome, to try to get people active 
> against discrimination rather than actively promoting blatent sexism. 
> The mailing list howto is clear on how to create lists, but not on the 
> appropriate method for fixing bugs in list creation. What are the 
> mechanics to do this?

Build concensus on the list in question, then file a bug on the lists 
package, or get a listmaster to agree with you. If neither works, I
guess you'll have to call a GR. ;-)

> I expect some flames for even asking about this, as the debian-women 
> list seems to have attracted some aggressive sexists from other 
> software-related groups already. I hope that people won't feed the 
> trolls and it results in debian doing something better to tackle 
> inequalities.

Yes... it's a pity that krooger decided that this was a good place to
spam with his 'marriage counseling services' ad. Hopefully, this won't
happen again.

Pasc (with his listmaster hat on)
Pascal Hakim                                          +61 4 0341 1672
Do Not Bend

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