[Techtalk] Politeness and the purpose of Techtalk

David Sumbler david at aeolia.co.uk
Fri Oct 29 08:25:22 EST 2004

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004, Terri Oda wrote:

> On Oct 28, 2004, at 9:42 AM, Conor Daly wrote:
>> On a related note, should I avoid pointing male newbies at linuxchix.org?
>> Given the level of helpfulness here, it seems like such a good resource
>> but I don't want to send guys here if they'll discourage the women...
> Perhaps hold off on referring guys for a bit, at least 'till we've re-thought 
> how we want to handle things.  There must be some other newbie-friendly 
> places that aren't gender-based -- can anyone recommend some that they've 
> liked?
> Responses to this effect should go to grrltalk rather than techtalk.  I've 
> set the reply-to for this message.
> Also, if those not on grrls-only would like to make further 
> comments/suggestions about community behaviours, please post them to issues 
> or grrltalk.

Sorry, I'm not on grrls-only or grrltalk, 'cos I'm not a grrl; I'm not
sure what 'issues' is/are, and linuxchix.org seems to be temporarily
inaccessible so I can't find out.  So I'm replying here.

If one or two list subscribers have upset some of the others, then
that is certainly something that must be dealt with.  But if these one
or two happen to be male, then please don't think of penalising all
the males on the lists - we're not all neanderthals.  If I'm one of
the offenders (which obviously I hope I'm not), then please tell me
about it.

It's not impossible that there could some day be a female subscriber
who upsets people.  In such a case, you would deal with the particular
problem.  Please do the same in this case.

The reasons I subscribe to some of the Linuxchix lists are mostly the
same as everyone else's, regardless of sex (or gender, if you prefer):
OK, I am not on the receiving end of the "oh, she's only a girl so she
must be clueless about computers" attitude, nor are most males likely
to talk to me because they think I look or sound attractive.

But I object to the "macho" attitude of quite a few regular
contributors to the Linux newgroups, who try to show their superiority
by "putting people down" who have asked perfectly genuine questions.
And those who try to show their brilliance by "blinding you with
science", giving answers which clearly cannot possibly be understood
by the person who asked the original question, as well they know.  The
poor questioner goes away feeling even more bewildered and 'clueless'
than they did before they asked.

I know, I've been on the receiving end of this treatment; then one day
I suddenly realized what was going on, and what pathetic idiots these
guys are.

That's why I value Linuxchix.  Not because most of you are female, but
because of your ethos of trying to be polite, helpful and encouraging.
It's sad that it takes a mostly female group to insist on behaviour
which, I should have thought, ought to be the norm.  But there it is.

At the same time, I can see that it is just possible that there might
be a few female LinuxChix subscribers who actually do not like having
answers from males, however well-intentioned.  If that is the case
then, in order to be true to the original purpose of LinuxChix, you
might just have to ban males from answering queries.  If that is the
case, it's a shame, but so be it.  But perhaps we could still be
allowed to ask questions?



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