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The Empathy Gap and Why Women Are Treated So Badly In Open Source Projects (perens.com) 786

Bruce Perens writes: There's no shortage of stories of horrible treatment of women in Open Source projects. But how did we get here? How did we ever get a community where a vocal minority of males behave in the most boorish, misogynistic, objectifying manner toward women? I have a theory: "It’s unfortunately the case that software development in general and Open Source communities are frequented by males who have social development issues. I once complained online about how offended I was by a news story that said many software developers were on the autism spectrum. To my embarrassment, there were many replies to my complaint by people who wrote 'no, I really am on the spectrum and I’m not alone here.'

It’s still an open issue whether males and females have built-in biases that, for example, lead fewer women to be programmers, or if such biases only develop as a response to social signals. There is more science to be done. But it’s difficult to do that sort of science because we can’t separate the individuals from the social signals they’ve grown up with. Certainly we can improve the situation for the women who would be programmers except for the social signals."

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The Empathy Gap and Why Women Are Treated So Badly In Open Source Projects

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  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:37PM (#51221931) Homepage Journal

    The summarry makes it look like I'm blaming folks with Asperger's, which is not the case. It's a social development issue but not attributed to the people with pathology.

    Click through the link to get the whole story.

    • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:45PM (#51221991)

      "It’s unfortunately the case that software development in general and Open Source communities are frequented by males who have social development issues"

      What about the women who have "social development issues" that draw them to the field, or do they get off with a wink and a nod?

      I love ya, Bruce, but this is bullshit.

      • I'm missing what makes this comment insightful.

        Bruce's argument is that the so men with social development issues can't empathize with women, and that the men can empathize with other men enough to get along. Presumably, the women with social development issues can empathize with the women, and aren't part of the issue of integrating non-issue women into software development. So I would say that for the time being, the women with issues probably get a wink and a nod, as they aren't as big a part of the
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:01PM (#51222089)

      You're still blaming men with unspecified "social development issues", which is politically correct for now.

      In five years time, when "social development issues" become a protected class, I'm going to remind Slashdot and your employer that you posted this.

      Anonymous SJW

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:36PM (#51222303) Journal

      I'm genuinely curious why women's standards of behavior and empathy are the norm to which we ascribe? Why do they get to set the standard definition?

      Perhaps male behaviors with a lack of empathy, etc are the norms to which women need to conform?

    • by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:00PM (#51222463) Homepage
      As a woman & part of a minority who has been in and around open source projects, video games and what not for most of her life, I am frankly flabbergasted at articles and wild accusations like these.

      The supposition is that there is a problem 'we women' suffer at the hands of males. The reality is that there are trolls and bullies who just pick on the weak. What I have also found is that said trolls and bullies are generally rapidly expunged from tech & gaming circles as they are unpleasant to deal with.

      I have always found both the video gaming and open source/tech communities to be the most pleasant and welcoming of all. Am I doing something wrong here? Am I internalising misogyny, or some such nonsense?

      Please, stop making up non-existing problems. We got enough real problems as-is already, including radicalised feminists and the media harassing us female gamers and geeks for not adhering to outdated and/or ridiculous stereotypes. Now there's a target to focus on for some real research on an actual problem. I won't stop you.
    • "Mobbing" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Guppy ( 12314 )

      I"ve sometimes wondered if this behavior is similar to the mobbing behavior you see in certain species such as Monk Seals:
      http://www.pinnipeds.org/seal-... [pinnipeds.org]

      "Mobbing" refers to a pathological behavior that occurs when the gender ratio becomes skewed, with an excess of males versus females. The adult males become increasingly aggressive towards females (and immature pups), and will injure and even kill them, as multiple males gang up to play out a violent parody of their normal mating behavior. This problem

    • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:05PM (#51222839)

      I understand your intention, but I would urge you to change your mindset to focus less on stereotypes and more on behavior.
      I often find this kind of study/summary to be of the greatest irony.

      Person complains men are insensitive or make assumptions about women, which is a great irony because that just making an insensitive assumptions about men.

      Let me try another example.
      You are trying to point out problems within a group. Yet, you have chosen the word 'male' to represent this group.

      Suppose we wish to talk about problems in urban Detroit (gangs, single motherhood...)

      Would you state the problem in any way as:
      Black people are prone to violence and broken families?

      No, because that would be so insensitive. You'd probably call that person a bigot.

      You'd have to make it more specific. People in poverty, certain urban centers, certain historical background...

      I was born in Apartheid South Africa. I know a little more about racial grouping. I also see the reverse now where the groupings and power plays have shifted. It's always tempting, but if you want to be better than a bigot, you have to check yourself and not fall into 'my tribe' thinking.

      Now this is always a tricky area as how do you talk about systemic problems without 'grouping' people.

      Well as I say, take two minutes and make sure you've tried your best to narrow your group as much as possible. You might not get it perfect, but at least you made the effort and can offend fewer people AND be more accurate.

      It's almost pointless to talk about 'black' people as that is such a large group. Neil Degrass Tyson is black. Condoleeza Rice is black. One of the best IOS programmers I know is black. These people bare no resemblance to the image people have when they talk about 'black problems' perpetuated by both bigots and SJW. There are upscale blacks. There are ghetto blacks and every other subgrouping in between.

      It's just as pointless to talk about 'white' people. There are rich white folk and downright poor ghetto white folks. You can for example talk about 'white privilege' but you better be careful about it. Tell some poor white kid from a broken home that he has 'white privilege'. Do you have any idea how harmful that is to that person?

      Now ponder your choice of groups. You chose to group humans into two of the biggest groups possible. Male and Female.

      And you make grand stereotypes about both, lumping in everyone. You insult anyone who identifies with either being male or female. You insult the female who prefers direct talk or believes she should fight the fight. You insult the male who prefers social grace.

      Did it ever occur to you that many men get turned off by poor social behavior?

      Perhaps the issue is less that of men vs women, but of people who lack social grace.

      I would also imagine with all the tools available in the open source world, it might be interesting to find out why other open source cultures haven't developed. Or maybe they have? I haven't studied it. I'm generally just a deep user, as opposed to an active contributor, but I generally find people quite helpful. There are some assholes, but I've also had some very good conversations and help from a lot of people. Every open source project is started by someone.

      Basically, take two minutes.
      Check your groupings.
      Even if you go in depth with nuance in the research, check your summary. Just do the black test. Change the 'bad' group to 'black' and see how it reads.

      How does this read to you Bruce:
      How did we ever get a community where a vocal minority of males behave in the most boorish, misogynistic, objectifying manner toward women?

      How did we ever get a community where a vocal minority of blacks behave in the most boorish, misogynistic, objectifying manner toward women?

      Even masked with the words minority, it still stings doesn't it? No matter how your phrase it, it stings a little doesn't it.

      So for someone complaining about insensitive men ... you might want to check yourself.

    • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Saturday January 02, 2016 @11:04AM (#51226569)

      Most of this was sent to me by a 3rd party with a sharper gaze than I....if I didn't know better, I'd think Bruce's account had been hacked and is now being used by a clever troll. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

      Here are a few things Bruce has said that people might find interesting:

      Bruce Perens: I'll tell you another secret then. Open Source was a mistake. I am not a Freetard any longer.

      I know that there's a good chance that some folks will not believe this was a quote from him, but it was. Others might suggest that it is taken out of context, but it isn't, and I'll cite it here:

      This is the relevant link [slashdot.org]. (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8501517&cid=51150923)

      And then there's this:

      Bruce Perens: Yes, I would take your gun. I hope to do so someday.

      And, again, a citation [slashdot.org] for those who would insist on evidence. (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8501517&cid=51147449)

      Note: None of that is edited, taken out of context, or reworded. It's all easily verified by simply clicking the provided links and looking at what he's written. There are multiple comments that may be of interest.

      Bruce, basically, has used the FOSS community as a springboard and now has decided to abandon them, claim he doesn't believe in them, and now uses the term as a derogatory phrase - "freetard" a pejorative.

      In other words, he's basically pulled a great troll and is now in the process of abusing the people that he used to get the small measure of fame that he does have.

      I've admired Bruce's commentary in the past, but it's hard for me to reconcile any of this recent stuff with the person I thought I knew.

  • Ye gods (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:37PM (#51221935)
    This crap again?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:38PM (#51221941)

    Gender has no role in online interactions unless you make it.

    We're all pixels. we have no race. no nationality. no gender. no sexuality.

    I'm not sure what online community you're taking part in, that this is happening in but i suggest you leave it =)

  • There's no shortage of stories of horrible treatment of women in Open Source projects. Liar.
  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:43PM (#51221971)

    It’s still an open issue whether males and females have built-in biases that, for example, lead fewer women to be programmers,

    I disagree that it's still open. We all know that the built in biases are there. Where do you think the "social stigma" would have come from?

    • We had a whole lot of social pressure for women to stay at home with the kids which went by the wayside during World War II, where Rosie went to be a welder (not a riveter) in the Kaiser shipyard. Then the war ended and we sent the women back to the home for a generation. But it's not really the same today, nobody blinks at women in the workplace. So, is that socialized because of a need to protect childbearing women centuries past, or is it inbuilt?

  • Stop Hazing Us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:47PM (#51221999)

    Stop Editors. Stop Slashdot. Stop Dice. Stop Bruce Perens. Stop This.

    Stop hazing the tech sector. Stop making us out to be hostile to women, or racists, or all white male misogynerds. We're just regular people, regular geeks. Yes we like to play D&D, and pretend we're dwarves, or warlocks, or elf-maids, but that does not make us supporters of rape culture. Yes we like to write computer programs and make geeky websites about science stuff or cat videos. But that does not makes us anti-immigrant bigots. Yes we disagree with you and politely explain our reasons why, but that does not make us harassing MRA online stalkers.

    The lies and hazing have to stop. The tech sector does not have a problem with women. The media has a problem with the tech sector.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Learn. To. Read.

      He said "a vocal minority", never implying it was all men or you in particular.

      Stop being an SJW and taking offence at everything, and then trying to shut down the debate for those interested in having it.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:52PM (#51222029) Homepage Journal

    There are some people who really are awful to women, and they're often (but not always) really awful to work with in other ways too. Finding ways to get them to either improve or get out is tricky because they exist in the same career ladders as people who want a decent place to work.

    Then there's a subset of people opposing them who insist on overly narrow notions of how people should be allowed to act, talk, and think. They take it on themselves to police speech and behaviour far more than is reasonable or necessary. In their effort to deal with a legitimate problem, they become another kind of problem.

    Making all this less clear is that the boundaries between these are unclear and they tend (but don't always) to line up with political views, and political witchhunts in the workplace (or broader society) are dangerous and ill-advised.

    It's messy enough that it'd be tempting to just step back from the whole thing, but the stakes are too high for that. We neither should want to waste the potential of half our population (or other subsets of the population) nor should we create a work environment or society where most kinds of differing views on gender or jokes are curtailed. So navigating this is damned tough.

    • +1MIL, Insightful

      You took the words right from my head.
  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <rodrigogirao@@@hotmail...com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:56PM (#51222055) Homepage

    "It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what." -- Stephen Fry

  • General problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Britz ( 170620 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @01:57PM (#51222057)

    I disagree. I don't think the open source community, or rather nerds in general have a special problem with sexism or racism or homophobia for that matter.

    Society has a problem. There is a vocal minority of assholes everywhere. Including in technology.

    Also there is generally a healthy dose of racism and sexism in all of us. Is it natural? I dunno. But I do believe it can really hurt people and it does cloud our judgement. We deal with it in different ways. Some recognize it, try to be educated about it and try to avoid expressing it and keep it from clouding their judgement. Some others don't even see it. Some even celebrate it.

    But no matter if you see something or not. Or if you ignore it. It doesn't go away. And it doesn't help victims, if you tell them that it doesn't exist. Every time there is a story on sexism on Slashdot, most comments are either outright sexist or they deny the existence of sexism. That is the problem, IMHO.

    Case in point:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

    http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

    • The problem is blaming a bunch of powerless computer nerds. But, since they're nerds, they're easy to bully and it's fun, too. Who doesn't enjoy shoving a nerd's face into the mud, be it literal or figurative (online)?

      This is just the "confess! confess!" kind of Spanish inquisition that goes on today in the SJW crowd. They could address real problems, but those are hard. It's much more entertaining to bash people who don't fight back.

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:02PM (#51222093)

    Women are about 50% of the population and the majority of college graduates. Women could easily create women-dominated computer science programs, companies, and open source projects, run according to whatever preferences they have, if they wanted to. When it comes to open source development, none of the usual barriers feminists postulate to explain underrepresentation of women in certain fields apply: if pimply maladjusted male teenagers living in their mom's basement can create open source projects, surely intelligent, educated, empathetic women can do so as well. And if women's empathetic and communication styles result in superior project performance, they'd quickly take over the open source world.

    Instead, Perens seems to view women as so weak and inferior that the only way they can create open source software is under male guidance and tutelage, within male-dominated projects. Perens and people like him are the real misogynists and sexists, because he obviously deep down still believes that women are the weaker sex and need protection and help from males like him.

    And the real irony behind arguments like Perens's is that on the one hand, he acknowledges deep biological differences between men and women, but then thinks that society should somehow shoe-horn and reeducate people in such a way that despite those differences, outcomes are still statistically equal in a few select areas that he happens to care about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:04PM (#51222101)

    where the man is an evil thing and the woman is the pristine victim of the bestial male. This doesn't make man a beast or a women virginal purity.

    There's no "Empathy Gap". There's a story being written and the geek is the least protected class, male, weak, strange and acts mostly alone, and this is a valuable target.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:16PM (#51222189)

    No, really it is. You don't need to look far for piles and piles of peer validated, long running, empirical studies showing how women get the short end of the stick in lots of social, economic, and employment situations.

    I knew all of the above but the clue bat really didn't knock my personal set of teeth out until early in 2015.

    I work for a small-ish nonprofit providing all kinds of IT services, but in a small outfit you end up wearing all kinds of hats. I was asked to move my office to one adjoining a large floor that's essentially free public access computers for job search.

    Why? The reason that was literally told to me was "We need a male presence out there"

    Nonprofit public service tends to attract a lot of female employees, so my workplace is about 95% female. (And working there almost 15 years gives you some real insights in to the dynamics of women in the workplace) Having the above told to me verbatim by the female director of our organization was eye-opening to say the least.

    But not as eye opening as what I experienced in the first week in my new office.

    As you might imagine from what I've said above, the staff helping job seekers on the floor are women. They're all wonderfully qualified and extremely patient. They deal with everyone off the street - From the homeless to the people shunted over from the practically un-staffed unemployment office to the old men who lost their lifetime jobs at the lumber mill that just closed and found that their pension has been raided. (They're unhappy is the point I'm trying to make)

    Some people, a surprisingly large number of people, simply do not respect women. At all. Even other women.

    Sometimes my job is to simply pick up my cup off coffee, walk out on to the floor, and just stand there. When things are getting out of hand, everybody calms down. Sometimes my job is to repeat exactly what my co worker said to an upset job seeker - And suddenly they believe it. Sometimes a troubled soul will come into my office (The door is always open), sit down in a chair, and vent his or her troubles. I listen and nod politely and then direct them back to the people that were helping them 10 minutes ago. (And this works!)

    It's creepy. I'm just the IT guy. When I'm done doing my new job as Y chromosome holder I go back to my desk and resume testing backups and managing EC2 instances and updating the website.

    Women do get treated poorly, even in 2016. Just .. Be aware.

    • by west ( 39918 )

      Boy, does this ring a bell. I remember one job where we had a good number of extremely competent women programmers, albeit non-nerds. I was there as a contractor for another project, but I'm an obvious geek.

      It was really horrifying how often in meetings one of the women would say something pertinent which would generally get ignored. But when I repeated it, suddenly the management would start to discuss it. Part of it was cultural ("he's a geek, so listen to him on technical issues") and part of it was

  • Manners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:19PM (#51222213) Homepage

    Being autistic (or on the spectrum somewhere) is no excuse for deliberately being a cock towards women.

    I'm almost certainly autistic, I have all the possible traits of it. But I'll be fucked if I judge a woman coder over any other. Hell, if anything, the social aspects of such conditions mean that you wouldn't conform to such obvious social stereotypes and prejudices.

    Nobody can stop you being a cock, overall. But being a cock towards women rather than men is just a deliberate, targeted prejudice no matter what you claim to be suffering from.

    Stop conflating "autism" with certain social disorders or with racist / sexist / ageist dickheads. If anything, people like myself treat all people equally - with complete apathy.

    • Re:Manners (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:34PM (#51222293)


      Autism may lead to a certain level of social 'clumsiness'. And the subsequent behavior might be misread by some women. But by and large, autism is being used as an excuse for being an asshole. And some guys just figure they can get their way on the job by being assholes. These guys do it to other men as well as women, but men know how to deal with it as a part of their upbringing.

  • Why was he embarrassed? Was he embarrassed because he was wrong or because he believed that those who claimed to be on the autism spectrum were wrong? I've read the paragraph a number of times and I'm just can't tell what the source of his embarrassment was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:24PM (#51222239)

    There are certainly plenty of odd developers, and although we might seem rude or argumentative to outsiders, on the whole I'd actually say that women tend to get better treatment from technical people. Some people just get offended by everything these days. People who have been stuck talking to computers for ten or fifteen years are going to become slightly literal, pedantic, or concise in their method of communication. This may not aways appeal to very sociable young women, but women when they are interested, can be excellent developers too. Just don't read hostility into communication where it wasn't intended. Software is an area where we do sacrifice time on social graces for quick and productive decision making - although that doesn't mean that anyone should be individually victimised, which is definitely unacceptable, and sackable, or that there should be deliberate nastyness.

  • by Suffering Bastard ( 194752 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:30PM (#51222273)

    What's with all the Bruce hate? What is wrong with discussing a "gender empathy gap", why it might exist and what we might do about it? If you disagree with his point then offer sensible counterpoints of your own, but when you insult him or his ideas you're just reinforcing his point that the tech world is full of socially challenged asshats.

    I would also think that Bruce's contributions to open software would merit some reflective humility, to maybe sit back and think a bit about what he's saying. Haven't you seen misogynistic behavior online? Why do you think that exists? Are you okay with it? If not, what can be done about it?

    Thank you Bruce for openly speaking your concerns and ideas. I hope we can find a way to foster a more humane and empathetic open source community.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

      What's with all the Bruce hate? What is wrong with discussing a "gender empathy gap", why it might exist and what we might do about it? If you disagree with his point then offer sensible counterpoints of your own, but when you insult him or his ideas you're just reinforcing his point that the tech world is full of socially challenged asshats.

      While I agree that hating on him isn't the right call, I can see why people would do that. We're hearing about "Waaah tech is hostile to women!" and "Nerds are mean to women!" and so on every week. People are quite frankly exasperated with the constant berating that's largely baseless or restricted to a tiny minority that everybody would rather see disappear, women treatment or not, but who're extremely difficult to dispose of. It's not because suddenly women are involved that excising those rotten apples b

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:33PM (#51222283)

    Being an expert in a particular area means that you have neglected learning in other areas. You only have so much time to learn things. To many technically oriented people all of the vagueness of social interactions is not logical, it cannot be derived from first principles. If is culture and it is that way because that is the way it is. This isn't interesting to many technical people so we spend our time on more interesting things. So while you may bitch that technical people don't have social skills what you really mean is that instead of learning social skills they spent that time becoming an expert in a technical field. You have spent your time learning social skills and then complain the reason you don't have technical skills is because those with them are mean. That's like me after spending my life learning English moving to a Spanish speaking country and bitching that I could learn Spanish much easier if all of these people would just learn English to help me. Sorry but that's not how it works.

    I am an excellent mechanical design engineer that has spend over 20 years learning and honing my skills. This includes studying in my spare time and even my hobbies contribute in some way. Even entertainment I like watching "How it's made" so I can see examples of automation equipment for ideas. Some bosses have asked me to put together a 30 minute talk to help people learn to become a good design engineer. I laugh (maybe my lack of social skills) and say I only need a minute. I'd tell the people to dedicate their lives and spend 20 years learning this stuff and you can be just like me! Most people don't want to do that and spend their time with other things. That's fine, but don't come complaining that I lack budgeting or scheduling skills. No kidding, I have no interest in management. That's your job.

  • by PrimeNumber ( 136578 ) <PrimeNumber@NospaM.excite.com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:39PM (#51222315) Homepage

    Safe spaces are a symptom yes, but you're wrong about the disease.
    The disease: Raising kids to believe that women are always right and men are always wrong, giving every kid a trophy just for showing up, and helicopter parents holding kids' hands their entire lives. We know have a generation of legal adults that require "trigger warnings" before they hear anything the least bit upsetting during university lectures.

    So why are you carrying water for a group that prefer to whinge, complain, and force others to act the way they want, instead of getting off their ass and downloading source to start their own projects?

    Cover your ears (trigger warning): You're too old to buy into this bullshit, and I believe this is a troll to get back in the headlines.

  • Lack of empathy isn't just the fault of autism, it's also due to the nature of the business.

    When I'm coding I'm in a creative, but heavily logical space. My brain is just crunching paths, 1s and 0s and firmly sat on the reptile side of the fence. If I want to go out and socialise with people and relax the mammalian, emotional, side will need some warming up, especially after 9 hours of heavy logical, reptile thinking.

    This is the nature of normal people's brains, male or female.

    To have someone firmly using t

  • Enough with this... If people want to get ultra sensitive about gender then we can point out that women are often insensitive to male behavior patterns. Do we want to go over that or is this only a problem when men don't automatically take their coats off and let the ladies walk over puddles?

  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @02:56PM (#51222437) Journal

    But as men we have to deal with it. If this is a feminist issue, then a logical consequence might be that women need protecting from men because they are too weak to protect themselves, i.e. men and women aren't equal... but this exactly the opposite of most lines of feminist thinking. Smells like a proof by contradiction.

  • by CAOgdin ( 984672 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:01PM (#51222479)

    As a woman who's been in the electronics/computer field for more than 55 years, now, I read with much disgust the attempts by some in this thread to discount women, and then claim that, somehow, "It ain't true."

    Believe me, I've been there. After three books, hundreds of published papers and articles, and decades of consulting to Fortune 500 firms, I have been on the receiving end of the misogynistic "swinging dicks" who couldn't write a competent subroutine or draw a working circuit if their lives depended on it. I can (and, in the past, have) named names and identified organizations where women dare not go. What's interesting is having the CEO of a Fortune 500 company hire me (at $2,500/day) and then have twerps three years out of school decide they know more than I and refuse my counsel because my anatomy is different from theirs. Usually, there's a competent male around who steps in and shuts the abuse down. When there's not, I have developed a strong skill in suckering such blithering idiots into cul de sacs of their own ignorant reasoning, until they are reduced to mumbling to themselves. But, why should I ever have had to DEVELOP that skill?

    We are all born the same way, and discover our gender as we grow up...but, due to family influences (e.g., drunken men abusing their wives, "men of the house" who want their women "barefoot and pregnant"), some males grow up with a tacit belief that women are, somehow, inferior to men. There's a name for these people: They are BIGOTS (and it often extends to other differences, like cultural heritage, skin color, education, that are patently irrelevant to judging whether the person is "human" or not).

    Fortunately, not all men are chained to this philosphers' wall, drawing conclusions from shadows and accepting them as fact. There are many men who exhibit humanity and treat ALL others with respect and dignity...and they are a delight to work alongside. Unfortunately, they are outnumbered by the dolts, in my experience.

    • by west ( 39918 )

      Amazing. A post about actual experience, and an instant chorus appears of "you think *you* have it bad, try being male!"


      Let's try simple logic:

      "Programmers who are jerks towards everybody" + "Programmers who are jerks only towards women" > "Programmers who are jerks towards everybody"

      And the set of "Programmers who are jerks only towards women" is not particularly small. I'm not particularly perceptive, but even I couldn't help but notice a pretty pervasive bias against women in my programming

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitZtream ( 692029 )

      Believe me, I've been there. After three books, hundreds of published papers and articles, and decades of consulting to Fortune 500 firms, I have been on the receiving end of the misogynistic "swinging dicks" who couldn't write a competent subroutine or draw a working circuit if their lives depended on it. I can (and, in the past, have) named names and identified organizations where women dare not go. What's interesting is having the CEO of a Fortune 500 company hire me (at $2,500/day) and then have twerps three years out of school decide they know more than I and refuse my counsel because my anatomy is different from theirs. Usually, there's a competent male around who steps in and shuts the abuse down. When there's not, I have developed a strong skill in suckering such blithering idiots into cul de sacs of their own ignorant reasoning, until they are reduced to mumbling to themselves. But, why should I ever have had to DEVELOP that skill?

      You think that has anything to do with you being female? If you do, you really aren't that smart. A large portion of 23-28 year old * will behave that way towards *.

      Its not your vagina, its that they are immature young adults fresh out of a university and even without the university they think they know everything, certainly far more than you would (so they think).

      I'm male and go through the same shit regularly since I work at a company that pride itself on hiring people fresh out of school (we're on camp

  • Credentials. (Score:5, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:10PM (#51222545)

    Who is Bruce Perens?

    Bruce Perens.... created The Open Source Definition and published the first formal announcement and manifesto of open source. He co-founded the Open Source Initiative (OSI) with Eric S. Raymond.

    The original announcement of The Open Source Definition was made on February 9, 1998 on Slashdot and elsewhere.

    Perens is an amateur radio operator, with call sign K6BP [who] promotes open radio communications standards.

    Perens founded No-Code International in 1998 with the goal of ending the Morse Code test then required for an Amateur Radio license. His rationale was that Amateur Radio should be a tool for young people to learn advanced technology and networking, rather than something that preserved antiquity and required new hams to master outmoded technology before they were allowed on the air.

    Perens worked for seven years at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab. After that, he worked at Pixar for 12 years, from 1987 to 1999. He is credited as a studio tools engineer on the Pixar films A Bug's Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999).

    From 2002 to 2006, Prentice Hall PTR published the Bruce Perens' Open Source Series, a set of 24 books covering various open source software tools, for which Perens served as the series editor. It was the first book series to be published under an open license.

    Bruce Perens [wikipedia.org]

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:28PM (#51222643)

    First of all, don't postulate something without proof. In other words, first you show THAT women are treated badly in OSS projects. Then I read the rest of that diatribe.

  • by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:54PM (#51223127) Homepage

    not this again :/

    Recent talk by Sheldon Cooper sums this topic pretty nicely (around 35.30 minutes in) https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    We DONT CARE about feelings, we care about absolutes. I wont cater to some alien (to me) social norms just because you are a precious snowflake, I will tell you outright what is wrong ('this code is garbage' etc).

    This is also pretty good and on topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by An dochasac ( 591582 ) on Saturday January 02, 2016 @05:16AM (#51225829)

    Even before Bruce wrote this timely article, I wondered whether more women in open source might be a cause or an effect of better moderation. My brief time working with the late Telsa Gwynn [gnome.org] at GUADEC 2003 suggested that moderation was one of her under-appreciated roles. But she was attacked by the misogynistic mob (AKA the open source community.) Were it not for Telsa's thick skin and an overdeveloped sense of forgiveness, none of us would have benefited from her work. Many other women and others outside of a particularly narrow age/race/religion/gender profile have experienced similar when attempting to contribute and most gave up. We tolerate Linus's rantings and ignore that only timing and humility separated Linus from countless other early *nix hackers. We tolerate Gangolf Jobb's [sciencemag.org] racist license and Trumpish rantings because he is a good coder. My family and remote team members met at GUADEC Istanbul where a very well-known opensource developer spewed misogynistic rantings that embarrassed and offended me, projected a terrible impression of Christians and Euro/American society to my global team who were experiencing western society for the first time. He came very near to inspiring at least one person to push him into the Bosporus. Why does this happen? Part of it is the same reason Whitney Houston and other rock , movie and sports superstars are bat shit insane. Society should be a counterbalance to the Id, but when we worship people as superstars, there is no counterbalance and Id rules. The defence mechanism takes over when the inner demons unleashed by bad decisions are externalized, possibly as police brutality. [slashdot.org] Similar forces were at play when Hans Reiser [slashdot.org] became our OJ Simpson.

    In the past that role of moderation was performed by a central government (e.g. the FCC), a tight group of highly educated individuals, a class/caste system. Twitter and Facebook use something close to a democracy but the S/N ratio can quickly fall to the level of CB radio, AOL and usenet. The more sophisticated merit-based moderation system used by Slashdot, some opensource projects and creative sites such as worth1000 works well, at least above a certain threshold. But these systems must be designed to prevent individuals or small groups from becoming immune to criticism. Within government legal frameworks the censor or impeachment is a mechanism for moderation. We could do something within opensource communities where an individual's ethics could taint their contributions. Each of us would be able to choose whether we want to contribute or use ethically-tainted patches.

    Back in the 1980s when I may have been the last male to wirewrap a PDP-11 core memory board, a friend commented, "Did you ever notice that men in the comp-sci program are (80s equivalent of "Meh") but the women are brilliant?" Yes, I did notice that. But whatever happened to Karen Norwood, Maureen T, Kathy Christiansen, Norah K, and the sole woman in our Physics program?

    This is where overloading the == operator comes in. Equality is an overloaded word. Here in Ireland, the word was a slogan for LBGT marriage rights which passed referendum with an overwhelming majority. But the word "equality" doesn't apply to gender, race, religion or immigration issues here. But do we really want women to become equal to 20-something males who live in their parent's basement who have the moral and emotional depth of comic book and video game heros? I don't. Let's take the best woman have to offer and not try to force them into our broken mold.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson