I’m personally very interested in the gender dynamics of code. Not just coding, but writing righteous code. Certainly there’s a great amount of social apparatus that reinforces the idea that computers are something that menfolk are really good at and womenfolk… not so much.
Here’s another chapter in the “let’s make sure geek land is guy space”saga. Some guy posts a supposedly “funny” comment to a Debian Developers mailing list (and he does this, by his own admission, just to get a rise out of people). Both male and female developers state that the comment is sexist, and the discussion devolves, as they always do, into why feminists have no sense of humour.
Miriam Ruiz says:
“ I have said a few times lately, even in some interviews, that I felt that the level of sexism and misogynia in Debian was below the average in the Free Software world, and that I was proud of it. Sadly I have to rectract myself from those words. I was wrong, totally mistaken. ”
She points out that some open source communities, such as Ubuntu, have codes of conduct for its members. This was stuff that Emma Jane Hogbin was talking about in the presentation that I linked to awhile ago.
Here are some additional quotations that are interesting:
“ Debian is behaving like any other boys club: as long as you behave and willingly accept their sexism it’s OK, but whenever you stand up against it, it’s all at once against you. I’m vulnerable, so what? I don’t need nor want to develop a thick skin, and as things are now it obviously needed. If you’re planing to join Debian don’t forget to turn off your trusty mode and turn on the wary one. Would I recommend any of my female friends to enter Debian as things are now? certainly not, sorry. ”
“ Even though I have nothing at all to say to Joss from now on, this is not about his joke but about how the rest of the project handled it. We’re doing a lot of work to try to get more women into Debian, and then something like this spoils it all. How would you like that happening to something you’re interested in, if someone did it “just for fun”, as Joss said in his blog? ”
“ I’ve finally decided to step out of the Debian Community. I simply cannot stand the situation anymore.[…]
Apart from that, I’ve decided to try to join Ubuntu as a developer. For what I’ve been told, it’s community is more friendlier. I have to really really thank the Ubuntu Women community for all the support I’ve been receiving from them.
I find this sort of situation hugely unfortunate. It seems like the only good outcome is that the original troll lost his posting privileges to the Debian developers list.