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Re: Welcome to DW (was: Re: DW (was: Re: [gnome-women] Getting a Web Site Up & Logo Contest status)

* Clytie Siddall <clytie@riverland.net.au> [2005:08:12 16:40 +0930]: 
> I said, specifically (entire post, in response to Gnome Women queries  
> about getting started, website etc.):
> >One thing that doesn't work for D-W is that it has become a far too  
> >vehement site, where newbies and many women in general don't feel  
> >comfortable posting. I would really like to see this group stay low- 
> >key in that respect: yes, we can discuss technical issues and  
> >social issues affecting us, but let's give people a bit of elbow- 
> >room, be tolerant of mistakes and encourage new people.
> I really don't see that as insulting D-W.

Well, let me clarify then. 

You claimed that we are "vehement" and newbies and many women don't feel
welcome, but provided no evidence to support your claim. It was,
somehow, supposed to stand on its own. That is insulting, primarily
because it is not true across the board even if it's potentially true
for some people. The other issue is that it was said elsewhere and
people may believe you and therefore not even attempt to get involved in
DW. So: insulting, untrue, AND bad publicity. 

> >There were several discussions about the wiki and website translations
> >which discovered issues we were unaware of but appear to have been
> >rectified in a pleasant enough way:
> >
> >http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2005/05/msg00160.html
> In general, yes. I repeat, this is not about just me. Why would it  
> be?? <puzzled>

There aren't any other concrete examples of DW being difficult to get
involved with that I can think of. I'm taking issue with your claims and
providing evidence to the contrary; if you have other examples to prove
your point, I would be happy to hear them.

> >The main issue (I think?) has been your trouble with baz for comitting
> >changes to the website:
> >
> >http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2005/06/msg00232.html
> >Given the distributed nature of website commits and so forth, I think
> >baz is pretty OK, but darcs may be easier? We could think about that.
> I repeat, this is not about just me. It's not about what technology  
> we use. It's about how we encourage people to participate.

Eh? Is the technology we use irrelevant then? Because it made it
difficult for you to contribute, so it's possible it makes it difficult
for other people too. All I'm asking for is concrete examples of why
we're difficult to get involved with and you are not giving me any.
I'm not convinced that we need to send greeting cards to people to
encourage them; indeed, if people are intimidated by DW, they will
probably have a very hard time getting involved in the rest of Debian.

And as I referenced, if something like baz really is making it hard for
people to contribute, then I am open to changing that. 

> >As well as people being curious about your reasoning for wanting a new
> >list:
> >
> >http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2005/07/msg00188.html
> I did find that difficult. I had a positive suggestion, and had found  
> a need for it, but when I asked for help here on setting it up, the  
> responses were confusing, and, it seemed to me, far stronger in tone  
> than made sense, certainly far stronger than I was comfortable with.  

Well, my interpretation was that you asked for a list and when people
asked you for some justification, you provided none then went and
created a Google group to rectify the situation. I suspect a lot of us
were just as confused as you were. 

> It took me several goes before anyone even answered my question.  
> People are probably not going to make suggestions, and be willing to  
> back them with personal effort, when they get a response like that. I  
> still have no idea where most of that was coming from. What's wrong  
> with setting up a small sub-list enough people want? Beats me.

Yes, and how should we deal with people who will not back up their
ideas? Giving people whatever they want is _not_ the answer. That is
coddling, not encouraging. 

When DW was created, we had to justify its existence -- it took plenty
of threads, me going to Brazil to give a talk about it, then requesting
a list and getting a bunch of people to follow up saying they agreed,
/then/ requesting space for a website and continually dealing with
people who disagreed with our fundamental purpose. It was not a simple

The other issue is that asking other people do stuff for you, in
general, will not work. You often have to do it yourself.  Waiting for
others to see the light is an exercise in futility, but attempting to
convince them will occasionally work.

> >So fwiw, it doesn't seem like the issue of whether we're welcoming to
> >newbies has been approached in a very head-on way, so I'm not entirely
> >sure what you're talking about here. Indeed, your experiences differ
> >from what I'd expect from someone who's making these claims.
> It's not culturally appropriate for me to approach things in a head- 
> on way, but I will try to do so if it helps. (We do need to bear in  
> mind that people from different cultures have different values and  
> behaviours. It is extremely inappropriate in my culture to say, "I'm  
> not happy with this, specifically, and I want change." The  
> appropriate thing to do is to make alternative suggestions, reinforce  
> positive behaviour, and try to improve the social environment  
> without, ever, confronting anyone. I'll do my best, however.)

OK, well in my culture we prefer things to be dealt with head-on; the
behavior you describe strikes me as being passive aggressive and

> I wish I could explain this better. :(  Women in my culture, for  
> example, even if I can get them here, will probably not come back.  
> This grieves me. I want it to work for them. I can try to do it  
> myself, but a list is judged on majority behaviour. I would (if I  
> hadn't already tried this) suggest forming a sub-list for my culture,  
> to mentor people into the main list. It would most likely work.  
> However, I am not game to try suggesting something like that again. :(

It's possible that what you really need is some kind of support group.
DW functions as one at times, but that is not its primary goal. I
suspect LinuxChix would be more appropriate for dealing with these kinds
of things. Please remember that our goal is to get women involved in
Debian -- we are not an online LUG and it is unfair to try to repurpose
us as one.

> >You also claimed a few times (in the baz thread) that some of the
> >problems were related to your illness -- so I'm not sure what level of
> >encouragement we should give to people across the board when their  
> >needs
> >differ so much.
> I am not making claims, Erinn. I have no axe to grind here, nothing  
> that will help me. I am personally uncomfortable here, but I keep on  
> trying. Please look at what I do, and stop trying to pick holes in  
> what I say.

Sure, but what you do has very little to do with what you say, IMO. I
would never have guessed you were uncomfortable here based on your
behavior. As far as picking holes in what you say, well. If you make
what I consider to be false claims, I am not going to let them slide. 

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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