[Techtalk] [FAQ] Techtalk Meta FAQ

LinuxChix FAQs lcx.faqs at linuxchix.org
Wed Nov 20 19:01:20 EST 2002

LinuxChix: Techtalk Meta-FAQ

Val Henson

Revision History                                                                
Revision 0.1                            January 2002                            
Sent out to issues at linuxchix.org for initial comments                           
Revision 1.0                            April 2002                              


Techtalk Meta-FAQ

The latest version of this FAQ can be found at http://www.linuxchix.org/content

Discussion of this FAQ is welcome on the <issues at linuxchix.org> list. It is
offtopic for the techtalk list itself, please do not direct such discussion to
the techtalk list.

The purpose of the LinuxChix project is to provide a friendly, woman-oriented
environment to discuss Linux. The techtalk mailing list exists primarily as a
place for female geeks to ask technical questions and get answers from other
female geeks. Many women posting to this list aren't just looking for answers
to their technical questions, they're also looking for a peer group and a sense
of community with other technical women.

While techtalk welcomes helpful and considerate people of any gender, it's easy
for the mailing list to become overwhelmed by male voices. As long as Linux
geeks are mostly male, mailing lists about Linux will be mostly male, so
members of the list should expect to see a lot of male voices. But then, how do
we fulfill the original purpose of the techtalk list? We don't want to kick out
all the men, who are productive and helpful members of the list. One way to
keep the list female-oriented is for the men on the techtalk list to
self-moderate themselves to some degree.

How do you self-moderate? When you see a question, stop and think for a minute
before answering. Wait a few hours and give other people a chance to answer
first. It's unlikely that the poster needs an answer within a few minutes.
Consider responding off list, or not at all. If you've been answering questions
a lot lately, take a break and let other people answer. Examine your motives:
Could it be that you race to answer questions mostly because you want to look
smart, and only partly because you want to help people?

When you do answer a question, include how you discovered the answer. Did you
read a man page? A web page? A book? Did you do a web search? Did the
programmer in the cubicle next to you tell you the answer? Suggest ways to find
out more about the topic under question, independently of the mailing list. If
you were once embarrassed by not knowing the answer to this question, tell your
story. It helps to remind people that even the gurus were once clueless

Finally, every time you think about posting, remember that if every question on
the list is answered in 5 minutes or less by a guru, that discourages every
single other person on the list from even attempting to answer a question. By
the time other people have finished reading the email, the guru has already
sent a detailed, jargon-filled answer. We want to encourage people to
participate, not discourage them.

The reason the LinuxChix lists are so popular, techtalk in particular, is that
they do have a lot of women subscribed and as a result, have a different "feel"
to them then normal Linux lists. We all like this and want to keep it that way.
If the list appears to be too male-dominated, the women who make techtalk what
it is will stop participating and start leaving. Help us keep techtalk a
friendly and helpful place!

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