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Re: Debian's Freenode IRC channels

* Melissa Draper <melissa@meldraweb.com> [2008:01:12 18:04 +1100]: 
> As part of my NY Resolutions, I decided it was time to get more 
> involved in Debian, which involves hanging out in Debian channels 
> more. Apart from rejoining the OFTC Debian channels, I also joined 
> the Freenode ones since they are still the more populous. The 
> channels I joined included #debian-offtopic - a 'secret' channel 
> which they freely redirect offtopic conversation to if they are 
> asked for an offtopic channel.
> I am starting to wish I had not.
> Aside from the channels in general being more hostile which I knew 
> to expect, I find a complete disregard for decency towards women. 
> From just a week in #debian on freenode, greps for 'girl' and 'women 
> have some really degrading comments: http://pastebin.ca/LfFsZYkV 
> (encrypted post, password: debian)

A few years ago, this came up for the (then official) #debian channel on
freenode and a few things happened: since it was the official support
channel, a bunch of DDs joined the channel, more ops were appointed, and
things got better (in ways -- it was probably nicer for women but was
still as hostile as most people expect user channels to be). Some of the
list discussion begins here:


(As a side note, this was also the impetus to begin DW.)

Anyway, time passed, we changed our official servers, and a lot of users
did not follow from freenode. The women who used to be in #debian on
freenode left (including myself, though I may still have op privileges
there) and I didn't even know #debian-offtopic was still around, but I
got the impression that it was more a 'group of friends' rather than
something random people joined -- I was around when it started, and I
recall that being how it was used...

So that's the history, but since you're concerned with the present and
future... I don't know what to tell you. As Vid says, anyone can create
channels for anything there -- they are not officially sanctioned in any
way, they are not officially supported, and very few official Debian
types hang around there. I think the crux of your argument -- which I'm
sympathetic to since I once made the same one -- is that user
communities are the first exposure many people have to free software
projects and, as such, they should be more welcoming / more friendly.

I agree with you, and I wish it were that way -- ideally there would be
a contingent of DW (or Debian in general) who felt responsible for such
things, or had time to dedicate to them. I suspect there are very few
people in DW who fit either criteria, much less both. 

Right now, anyone who connects to irc.debian.org -- which is the default
for irc clients in Debian -- will go to OFTC and find that support

> As an active Ubuntu-Women member, I've many times been told to come 
> to Debian and the Debian-Women project whenever someone in Ubuntu 
> slips up, because D-W have had more success with the overall Debian 
> community. Quite frankly, I'm at a loss for what to think, because 
> I'm not really seeing it :(

Well, to reiterate Miry's comment: DW has never been about users, it has
always been about developers. It has also never been about unofficial
areas with a tenuous connection to Debian. Maybe if you stick to the
official areas you'll have more luck. I'm not trying to sound dismissive
here, but if you're taking part of things that actually *aren't* Debian,
it's hard to hold them to any kind of standard. They are the community
equivalent to fake Gucci bags. If they're of lower quality, that's why.

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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