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Re: Core KDE member about HIG^W female contributors

On Sun, May 15, 2005 at 04:45:54PM +0200 or thereabouts, Herman Robak wrote:
> On Sun, 15 May 2005 14:40:26 +0200, Adeodato Simó <asp16@alu.ua.es> wrote:
> >
> >    http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/view/1051
>  Thus it spurs a debate we may not really want: The importance
> of social skills, compared to other skills.  Coding skills and
> social skills should not be regarded as opposites, but the linked
> article has implied that there is a negative correlation between
> the two.  Now, what matters more to a free software movement?
> Clever coders, or well-rounded personalities that get along well
> with the opposite sex?

Anne Østergaard made what I think is a really good point in an 
email to Gnome's foundation-list:

  One of the main reasons that women are not attracted to IT might be
  simply because we- not unlike men -  do not like that all the things
  that we know to do well are lower ranking and sometimes considered only
  as services to the leading hackers. 


She's right. I wanted to contribute and give something back to a 
movement that has given me a lot. And it's a movement that probably
needs Telsa the writer or Telsa the bug-finder or even Telsa the
approver-of-posts-held-for-moderation a lot more than Telsa the
trying-to-write-code. And I understand that. 

But damn, the idea that all of this is completely and utterly subordinate
to your "clever coders" galls me. 

(The 'discussion' that took place on foundation-list galled me, too. 
Seen it all before, but it's even less nice when it's in a project 
you had hitherto thought was worth being part of.)

On "clever coders", btw, it is not an either-or choice: "clever coders" 
can be "well-rounded personalities that get along well with the opposite 
sex" too. In fact, I'd say most of the really cool hackers I have met 
have excellent social skills. 

This is an entirely separate rant, but I think that the Jargon File
did more than anything else to crystallise the idea that all hackers
are incompetent in social situations. It was publicised around the 
time that net access was becoming more common. And with its discussions 
about how hackers cut straight to technical details and were not 
over-concerned with social niceties, it provided a nice cop-out for 
people who found this whole "getting to know people in real life"
and "learning social skills" hard and scary.

It -can- be hard and scary, and you -will- make a fool of yourself 
at some stage (and I still do that now). But it's a necessary part
of life. 

Deciding to be a programmer and that "therefore" you don't need social 
skills is, to me, just wrong, and I fear that this is what actually 
goes on. 

I think that article by Scott Wheeler is very sensible. Thanks 
for the link to it. (I do like the comment about activism being 
more fun when it's not just bitching on Slashdot, too :)) 


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