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RE: Debian and Politeness

Hi all

Delurking for a fast minute.................

Also, too: the way I understood it is possibly or amongst other things as a reference to an article published in New Media & Society which was mentioned on this list I think a few months ago. The article (whose exact title and author evades me right now but I could produce it if required) said that while FOSS is _supposed_ to be purely meritocratic a case could be made that arguments are won not just on the merits but also because of the more or less vehement / aggressive style of the communication. So meritocracy was said to be inflected by traditional male communicational values (prove your worth through verbal jousting etc).


From: little.miry@gmail.com [little.miry@gmail.com] on behalf of Miriam Ruiz [miriam@debian.org]
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 3:07 PM
To: debian-women
Subject: Re: Debian and Politeness

2013/5/20 Angela Fuß <angela.fuss@das-netzwerkteam.de>:
> Hej Miriam,
>> Free Software is about meritocracy and elitism, or at least it
>> pretends to be.
> Can you explain that part a bit more?
> Is that something that you sense or think how it is?
> Or is it something that people say about Free Software or Debian?
> Does Debian want to be a community with meritocracy and elitism in your point of view?
> I think I do not really get what you want to say with that sentence. And as I consider it a very interesting statement I thought I better ask....

Well, it is generally considered that Free Software projects are a
meritocracy [1], meaning that "an elite group of people whose progress
is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or
wealth" [2]. Ideally, whenever a project is ruled by pure meritocracy,
people would occupy a position in it according to their capacities,
work, effort and results, instead of being randomly positioned.

As nice as this idea might be, there's a big part of it that it's just
part of a myth [3]: "If you have the right background, and contribute
in the right area in the right way,
 FOSS actually can act as a meritocracy, and frequently does".
Meritocracy in Free Software is a myth in the same sense as fairness
and equality in occidental societies, or objectivity in science.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meritocracy#Free_.2F_open_source_software_projects
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meritocracy
[3] https://observatorio.iti.upv.es/resources/new/6565


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