[Techtalk] [OT] HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux

Val Henson val at nmt.edu
Fri Aug 30 13:17:14 EST 2002

(Wickedly top-posting)

Argh, I sent off the HOWTO to the LDP a few hours before this. :) I'll
see how easy it is to make revisions.

Thanks for the input, Dave.

A general question: I want to define very clearly who my intended
audience is, but several people have said that they think people will
stop reading once they discover they aren't part of that intended
audience, or don't fit exactly into my discription.  I don't know
about you, but I wouldn't stop reading.  Do y'all really think people
would stop reading in the middle of the "Audience" section?


On Thu, Aug 29, 2002 at 04:36:00PM -0700, Dave North wrote:
> Jenn:
> > [Val] explicitly asked permission to post it to techtalk
> > because it's the busiest list and most likely to get a wide range of
> > opinions.
> Got it.
> > Maintain the subject heading, though, please. It -is- technically
> > off-topic for techtalk & I want the thread to remain easily deleteable.
> Good plan. Got it.
> First, I'd like to point out I think the howto is chock full o' good
> stuff, and should serve its purpose. But I'll confine myself only to those
> parts that, for one reason or another, I suspect might profit from a
> little tweaking.
> 	I also prefer to address things a section at a time, to avoid
> "chunking things together" too much and confusing the various main points.
> 	That said,
> Section: Audience
> "This document is intended mainly for the enlightened male Linux
> enthusiast who would genuinely like to see more women involved in Linux
> because both women and Linux would benefit from it."
> Two words here are a bit challenging for us guys: "enlightened" and
> "genuinely." This puts us to a test that, I suspect, few of us are
> confident we pass. I even propose that, the more those shoes fit, the more
> doubt we will have!
> 	I would also suggest it's a bit too confining anyway. I doubt --
> other than the most cretinous -- there are many men who could not learn
> from this document, and chasing them away before they get through the door
> is, perhaps, not the road to broader readership (and, as yoda might put
> it, enlightenment. But I use sawfish or just the console...)
> 	One might consider just deleting those two words and just let
> folks go forth.
> It goes on to say: "because both women and Linux would benefit" (the "from
> it" is unnecessary but perhaps a nice stylistic grace note).
> 	Hey, a lot of guys are selfish or shy, and might be a bit more
> encouraged if their benefit is served too! So I see little harm in being
> inclusive with something like "women, Linux and even men would benefit."
> Or just "everyone" (my favorite, but I'm just dull sometimes).
> 	Small point, perhaps subtle. But being inclusive might help.
> "This HOWTO is definitely not intended to help male Linux geeks find
> female Linux geeks to date."
> With that in mind, I suggest that this sentence (from, admittedly, the
> next section):
> "Note: I would consider dating the man who wrote the above post. What a
> guy!"
> ...might strike some folks as being a bit inconsistent.
> I would point out too, that the entire paragraph after "geeks to date" is
> perhaps not serving a useful purpose _to the intended readership_. The
> first sentence makes the point quite clearly; the rest merely confuses me
> by raising the general issue of "motive" in a tricky way -- with many
> strange permutations possible.
> Besides, I'm not sure "motives" _are_ that important at this point. How
> many of us started into things we now love because of "the wrong motive?"
> Unfortunately, asking folks to inspect their motives -- at this point in
> the work -- may turn away people whose ideas may actually be quite
> different by the time they get to the end of the document. That could be a
> bad thing.
> 	Which is not to say that such comments are inherently a Bad Idea.
> Maybe, however, they're better placed later in the document, after
> enlightenment has loaded.
> I take back what I said earlier, now that I think about it. Even my most
> cretinous brothers could learn from reading this HOWTO. Why tell them not
> to?
> d
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