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Show HN: A platform for women to crowd-source advice in confidence (shello.com)
20 points by sanchitasaha 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

Creator here: as a female tech founder since 2009 I found it tough finding a network of women to share my experiences with. More recently but for a while now I've been a member of a bunch of women-only groups across FB, linkedin and a couple forums too and trying to stay on track with whats going on on each platform has got out of control.

So I created Shello to cut down on time spent across multiple plaforms and where women could ask questions on any topic from a single app experience, get great advice and build new female connections in the process. You can find out more about it at: https://www.shello.com/about-us/

Please let me know any questions, we're just starting out so any feedback as well would be super helpful.

I don't get it, what problem is this app solving by excluding men from giving or asking for advice as well?

What problem does a college or high school solve by being for girls? What problem does a women's only fitness club solve? What problem does a women's shelter solve? A women-only train car in Japan? A women's washroom or changeroom? Etc.

I get what you're saying, but nobody knows you're a dog on the Internet. The only implicate exclusions are those outside the scope of asking questions, women, and subtopics.

It's about setting a tone and building a culture.

Hey blueadept11, women have very different experiences and challenges to men when it comes to most aspects of their lives, from careers, to body matters and relationships. So the advice we look for and share is often only relevant to other women. The way we talk in person with other women can be different to how we talk in public, much more personal way. So Shello aims to be bring that intimacy and freedom to talk and ask questions openly online and the only way we can do that is to make it just for women.

That's quite a leap from saying that certain topics are only relevant for women to saying that it's about freedom. Nobody is preventing women from talking about these topics in any other forum. You're saying that the advantage of perceived intimacy is greater than the disadvantage of losing the broader perspective that includes men. If I was in a bad mood, I'd say it's classic ingroup/outgroup psychology, which is latently ugly.

But I'm in a good mood, so I'll only say that there's nothing intimate about an environment where everyone is anonymous.

I don't understand the purpose of your comments here.

The author is creating a platform for one group of people to discuss their common issues. In this case, that the common feature between people in this group is gender.

Other platforms exist for discussion between people with common attributes. An example is cancer survivors. Discussion in a cancer survivor group should probably be limited to cancer survivors. Do you think that people who have not experienced cancer first or second hand would have a good reason to post their problems in that group? I can imagine the posts now - "I haven't had cancer or experienced it in any form but here's how you should deal with chemotherapy." That's probably not appropriate.

How about a "no African Americans allowed" forum, for fostering "intimacy" for people who need a place to freely talk about issues limited to those who aren't African American?

I'd say that kind of group is latently hostile because it seeks exclusion rather than to encourage a broader perspective, and discussion topics probably center around the excluded group (ingroup/outgroup). Seems like a good litmus test.

I know what you're trying to get at here, that forming a 'women-only' group is selecting against men by allowing them to join, and that selection isn't fair.

Cmon, be real. There are discussion groups that select against other parties. Some of these groups are socially acceptable (cancer survivors, people in debt, women's issues). Other's might not be socially acceptable (excluding people based on their skin color).

In this case, a group to discuss women's issues is socially acceptable to a majority of people. If you're unhappy with this standard then go campaign against it somewhere else, don't try to poo-poo the OP's app.

Here is a bigger, shinier target for you: women's fitness clubs and spas. Or women's shelters.

Note that we accept those, but not "whites only" ones.

Hi, glad you're in a good mood :) So only 20% of questions are posted anonymously and these tend to be highly personal or sensitive topics. The rest users post openly as themselves and we use real names and profiles.

I think the main thing here is that men cannot advise women on issues that are related to being a woman. Sure there are other topics that men could indeed contribute and add value but the reason women are joining shello is to hear from other women.

There are already platforms like Quora and Reddit where its open to all, but are predominantly male-heavy, but hardly any where women can drive the conversations.

I'm glad you're glad. :)

Re. "the main thing", it would really help me out if you could provide some examples of issues that relate to being a man, that a women cannot advise a man on.

Err, I’m not confident to give you examples of questions that relate to being a man, because I’m not a man. It’s a shame that some guys can’t see there is stuff that they just wouldn’t be able to help a woman with. I’m sure you have an idea of questions that only another guy would better be able to help you with. Maybe a problem with your penis? Or something intimately related to being a guy that women will not have experienced?

How does this differ from something like eg. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskWomen/

Thanks for the question. A key difference is that we use real names and photos, and as Shello is only app-based the conversations stay private behind a login. Also, on Shello we have topic groups and you can sign up to see questions and posts just to those topics that interest you. Other than that there is a lot of similarity in that its a community of women responding and conversing with other women on issues that matter to them.

Hey, good work I think to have everything in one place is better. I saw it’s not your first startup you built another app before (citysocializer). Two questions: How many members do you have on Shello and do you think your crowdsourced advices could be available on the web soon or you plan to keep them in a private sphere?

Thanks seapunk, yes my passion and background is building communities. We just came out of closed beta last month and have a couple thousand users who are highly engaged. Good question and something we’re still thinking about. If we do release our content on web it will be just that ie. no user data exposed and no planned web experience.

Nice Work! Where did you get your first users? Does the platform cater for non-english speakers?

Thanks jirenandcell. We invited some of our female community from citysocializer initially, then got a whole bunch of new users from product hunt and then it's been through word of mouth referrals. Right now its only in English and majority of our userbase is US and UK, but we will look to implement more languages as we grow.

Looks cool. It is all forum based advice or can you message privately?

Thanks Julian, yea you can message privately for one to one conversations. It’s something being used a lot and helping women to connect more personally

Is it only for biological women? Can someone who identifies as a woman use this platform? I don't see any information on the site. Does this platform foster inclusiveness or exclusiveness?

Hi Rinchik, we have an LGBTQ group on Shello so we welcome anyone who identifies as a woman.

It says you can remain anonymous, so what's to stop men from joining? Is it moderated?... Just seems like a sexist forum...

Hi gitgud, you can choose to post your questions anonymously but you still have to sign up with a real and validated profile. We find that only 20% of posts are anonymous and the remainder women are posting openly as themselves. We only allow the person posting anonymously to stay anonymous in that conversation. But no-one is allowed to answer a post anonymously. We use real names and real photos too.

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