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Show HN: I built a community for women entrepreneurs and makers (womenmake.com)
345 points by mariedm on Jan 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 274 comments

Hello HN, today I’m presenting you Women Make. I use to struggle to find fellow women entrepreneurs so I created a group on Telegram. Since then it grew to 500+ members. I felt it was time to make a website to go with the group. Happens I learned Node JS last year, which I used with mongoDB and Telegram's API to build a forum. Members can interact with the website thanks to a bot. And here is the result! Let me know what you think, any feedback is welcome!

This is one of my favourite communities on the Internet. Lots of thoughtful, stimulating conversations. Thanks so much Marie for building and managing Women Make.

Congrats! I am curious, does having 500 people in a single channel present any challenges?

Actually yes. More people and more activity means more moderation. And I think it's the time you realize if your foundations are strong enough. Moderation really is everything, and it's a lot of work to make people understand what are the values of the community, what is tolerated or not, etc. while making it welcoming. If you made that clear since the beginning, it's easier to handle later. And members might actually help you too, they become messengers, they also represent the community.

Good to know you found a case there people actually desire to join your community. I tried a few attempts to build platforms for some niche or relatively general communities but failed to reach critical mass. That turn into 'speaking with the air'.

The platforms I built are not for profile, not even having any ads, just made with good mind but seems I didn't catch a real need.

Building a community takes a lot of time and energy, and even with that it doesn't necessarily works.

This is awesome! Congratulations and keep up the good work, this is much needed!

Congrats on the launch!

What do you not get from, say, Hacker News or StackOverflow that you're trying to fill with WomenMake? Genuine question, not a snark.

Just the fact that StackOverflow have been accused of not being inclusive at all is enough to create something else. They also have moderation issues. I’m trying to keep a high quality standard on Women Make, just like dang and sctb here with the moderation.

Also, like I said in another comment, women tend to promote themselves/put themselves in front of others much less. The idea of Women Make is really to show them they can and they should. So basically it’s giving women confidence, and the specific support they don’t necessarily get from other places.

> Just the fact that StackOverflow have been accused of not being inclusive at all.

Can you clarify this? Anyone can sign up with an account and the whole thing is meritocratic.

Maybe it's best if we don't go off topic into that. HN has had massive discussions about it and this wouldn't be a great place for another.

And you don't see any issue with suppressing the discussion around this clearly sensitive issue? You taking one side is a sure way to alienate many on the opposing side. Let's have an unbiased discussion while maintaining civility.

It seems like you're trying to tell people what they can and cannot discuss more and more on HN.

> Can you clarify this? Anyone can sign up with an account and the whole thing is meritocratic.

This seems like a perfectly reasonable question.

It isn't a question of suppressing discussion, as you'll see if you look at the voluminous threads HN has had about that (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22132714). It's just a question of what's on topic in a given thread. If you allow a hotter topic with greater mass to enter into a smaller thread, the discussion will get sucked into its gravitational field. That approach leads to all threads being dominated by the same handful of hot topics over and over, so we try to avoid that here.

Re "taking one side": it always feels like mods take the other side. The people on the opposite side from you feel that we're taking your side; I guarantee it.

I was asking her why she thought that. Not what other people thought.

Your comment was perfectly natural. It's just that we know from experience what sort of thread that would likely lead to, as I explained at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22140452. Stack Overflow is much larger than the OP's fledgling community, and the recent controversies about it have burned pretty hot, so it could easily have become the dominant topic. That wouldn't be fair either to the fledgling community or to the HN community, which benefits more from having a new discussion than repeating an old one.

Also, I don't think it's really fair to the OP if we start putting her on the spot about Stack Overflow. She probably hasn't thought that much about it, since for most people the only way to get a project like this off the ground is by focusing on one thing for a long time.

Can you please share a link? It would help a lot!


What could us men do to improve the support they give on sites other than Women Make? I'm always afraid that my attempt at a supportive gesture will feel like I'm patronising or mansplaining.

One thing I think is key to being a good ally is to work mostly in the background, to avoid the spotlight unless necessary, and to yield or share it when possible. Speak less, listen more, trust what you hear and defer to the judgment of the underrepresented party.

There was a moment in college when I was participating in a Take Back the Night march, and I was leading the call-and-response chant "What do we want? Safety! When do we want it? Now!" It felt awkward and wrong. Once I stopped leading the chant and started participating vigorously in the response of the call-and-response, it felt right.

This comment is incredibly cringy. GP do _not_ think this way. Be careful.

What is your actual objection?

but you were able to lead the group into a chant in the first place so how would that have happened if you would have instead favored being in the background from the beginning?

Maybe your sentiment can be enhanced by not gatekeeping participation - but by promoing a handover of leadership to more symbolic choices once the work of buuilding momentum is done. This is a rule that could be applied to any demographic-based leadership that needs to organize its aesthetic as it grows

When and how to speak out is something that every ally is going to wrestle with, so everyone will have experience with it. Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted. If it hadn't been that night it would have been another.

But there is no substitute for the underrepresented assuming actual positions of real power and leadership — breaking through ceilings, becoming role models, making mistakes and overcoming them... and eventually becoming ordinary and routine.

Here's a good resource: https://betterallies.com/

Don't say "us men" as if we were a single minded entity, thanks

It's easy for me to imagine the desire for a community where moderation is attuned to the common types of harassment that women face in online tech communities.

Take a look at the level of conversation that's being had in this thread; most of the posts read to me as good-natured curiosity at the level of "please explain to me why there is a need for this community". Some are a touch confused/defensive and think the site might be sexist in some way. And there are some openly positive and supportive posts too.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a woman in tech/entrepreneurship/makerdom. Would you rather hang out in a community where everyone fundamentally understands the challenges you face daily, or one where you have to explain the basic premise of your daily challenges when you initiate a conversation about them? (Or rather, would you prefer to hang out in both, or just the latter, since it's not really an either/or.)

Now I'm sure there is some selection bias in the posts in this thread (i.e. they don't reflect the distribution of opinions of HN viewers), but that's kind of the point; the selection bias for posting filters the other way in communities like womenmake.

Wait, is not that a bit recursive thought? To me it is a bit like: - Why? - Because you asked why.

Edit: - Because you don't know "fundamentally" why

"Because you asked why" => "Because you don't already know" => "Because it's exhausting to have to explain this all the time" / "Because I want somewhere to practice, not just places to teach."

At least part of it is the same reason you might want to hang out with people already skilled in your disciplines: you get to go do the advanced stuff, instead of getting the other people up to speed.

Edit, presuming some things: You know how it's really annoying how all your non-tech relatives think you can solve all their weird tech problems, and you have to spend all this time explaining to them you why that's annoying, or why it's nice to hang out with people that don't do that?

Yeah, but in that case you can get the requirements, right? That's what is not clear to me here. And you did not clarify either. Why is that if you make it seem so simple?

(See branch for clarity)

What I think you're saying is that the requirements don't make sense to you, or that they bother you because you're thinking that they're not requirements you can meet.

IMO, you can at least meet the requirements in spirit.

AFAIK / IMO, most groups that defined themselves as for X or Y group are mostly doing two things: 1) They want to center the conversations around topics not normally in the center 2) They want to avoid issues that people from outside the group commonly have 2b) They want to avoid issues that people from outside the group commonly have when interacting people from inside the group.

#1 is pretty normal and maps well onto any group defined by common experiences. You succeed or fail at this pretty much the way you succeed or fail in any group. Join a ham radio group to talk about not ham radio, and when you don't have any interest in learning more about ham radio? Yeah. Good way to do this on the 'net is to lurk.

#2 is a a lot subtler and harder to hear, particularly when you're likely to have those common issues. Some of them are just communication styles: Ever seen a group of guys excitedly discuss something? Interruptions are the norm. Some are massively problematic even if they're rare, like harassment. Or situation specific, like asking the group to teach you enough for #1. Some groups like to educate newcomers so they can do #1, others just want to do #1 without that.

Resolving #1 takes learning, but resolving #2 takes training, and facing hard things. Both of these are resolvable through dedicated work. Go learn enough about the group that you have something worthwhile to add for #1, go learn enough about yourself and that group so you know what the common issues are, take a hard look at yourself to understand which you have, and then train yourself so you can avoid them.

Most groups (IMO) that define themselves as for A, and/or for excluding B, are doing so to save time, effort and risk. It's a cheap and reliable way to achieve #1 and #2.

"What I think you're saying is that the requirements don't make sense to you, or that they bother you because you're thinking that they're not requirements you can meet."

No, I am for requirements not against them. What are the requirements (or features) of the new platform which does not apply to HN - that is the question.

Welp. My bad. Do you use Telegram? If so, why not go through the sign up process yourself, and explore?

Edit: OP says it's all about moderators: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22129710

Unclear to me if there's any encoded requirements.

"OP says it's all about moderators" - okay, I see, thanks.

I'm sorry, I'm not understanding what you're saying on a grammatical level. Can you rephrase?

Yeah, sorry, edited: I omitted the word "get"

Thanks! Hmm. I tried to answer but I'm still finding it unclear. Can you rephrase with less abstraction and more verbose specifics?

Edit: It might not clear what I'm not finding clear. It's not clear to me who you're referring to in the first sentence, or what "get" means in "get the requirements", or what you're referring to when you say "the requirements". It's not clear to me what the "that" is in "that's what's not clear to me". I don't understand what you thought I should have clarified but didn't. I'm not sure even how to begin approaching your last sentence.

I really do think that a more verbose rephrase would resolve all these.

"At least part of it is the same reason you might want to hang out with people already skilled in your disciplines: you get to go do the advanced stuff, instead of getting the other people up to speed."

In that case you can give "requirements" what is needed to work with you in your tempo, right?

What the discussion is about (at least to me) is not about the right of picking your people to go together with (ofc you can do that) but about the specific, concrete "requirements" which the "new platform" implements but HN does not.


> In that case you can give "requirements" what is needed to work with you in your tempo, right?

This part is clear. Yes. I would give those requirements, although probably not with term - not like it's a job interview or something.

> What the discussion is about (at least to me)

This is clear.

> is not about the right of picking your people to go together with

This is not clear? It's a very convoluted sentence.

> but about the specific, concrete "requirements"

This is mostly clear. What do you see as the requirements being implemented by the new platform?

"What do you see as the requirements being implemented by the new platform?"

Yes, that should be my question for you! :)

To put more concretely, I've observed, especaily among tech circles, the tendency to assume "if the system works for me, it must work for everyone". I'd propose that that kind of mindset is what is what drives a lot of the negative reactions in this thread. It's the kind of mindset that drives thoughts like "we;re not hiring many women it must be [their abilities | the funnel | ~biology~ | etc]" never "maybe our process isn't set up well". There;s value in having a space where you don't have to start every conversation explaining your struggles from first principles (very clearly given the user count the community has a need for this kind of space, so the "why is this needed" question feels spurious).

My thoughts from the uncomfortably unique prospective of a trans woman in tech; I can only speak for why I find these sorts of spaces valuable.

Thanks for this response! I think it might help me understanding.

However, there is a difference between "why" and "why", right? I do not question its "existence" (user count can prove that), but the reasons behind its being used - so I might be aware of things going on (user count itself can't add information about that).

Isn't that the case that people who want "some change" based on their (not too good) experiences - maybe sometimes they can't even recognize/express what they really need so accurately and what concrete things they are looking for - are likely to engage with new groups and norms which might just be a better experience for them - without any "formal requirements" and more like based on sensation? And the words/phrases/memes they "click on" are probably the same as other similar people "click on". And in that context "woman" might be an associative meme to these other memes: helpful, empathy, understanding, caring, respectful, misunderstood, minority. So explicitly using "woman" as a "meme" might be attractive to the people who are looking for or relate this other qualities/memes.

(I say woman as a "meme", because it's not for women only, so actually it seems to me it means more than its original meaning.)

This is just an idea how I can imagine what it MIGHT be about, any comment on that is welcome.

Sure, you could frame it as recursive. Not infinitely, just one level (self-referential). I don’t think that is an argument against the point.

That's definitely the problem - I'm lucky enough to never exist in a minority, so I don't know what it's like. I guess I'd like to understand what some of those challenges are, so that I can avoid causing them myself.

You have never been in an environment where you are a minority?

If I take a walk into main street I will go through several different environments that many has extreme different majorities and minorities. Stores which customers (and sellers) that are 90% women. Others with 90% men. Some places catering to specific nationalities, cultures, religion, language and so on. Restaurants in particular tend to cater to one specific culture, and I am personally not part of that culture for most places I go to, making me a minority there.

There are parts of the city where I will be a minority, others where I will be part of the majority. There are activities where the majority and minority switch place depending on what the current time is, others by which day of the week it is.

Basic challenge: Tech forums thrive on explaining, and providing solutions. We do like doing that even without a full understanding of the situation.

So, if, as a woman, you raise a problem in a space that's mostly male (like pretty much all tech spaces), you'll get a bunch of suggestions of trivial things to try (that you usually already have tried), plus a bunch of questions that amount to "I don't see your problem, so it doesn't exist".

I firmly believe that isn't malevolence - it's lack of knowledge plus some traits that are more pronounced in people in software engineering. (We can have a long debate about why they're pronounced, but for a moment let's just stipulate to their existence)

This means, as a woman (or in general, as part of a minority), you spent the vast amount of time in majority spaces explaining things, over, and over, as opposed to actually diving deeper on your problem.

Again, this is not due to malevolence, or because men are bad - it's an outcome of the situation. Let's say we're all prone to ask questions of other people that seem basic to them if we're sufficiently different - because we just don't know.

Now, if you're in a space where you're the only one in your group (The "yous"), and there are 10 others ("others"), and we all ask on average one such question per day - "yous" get 10 questions/day, "others" get 0.1/day. IOW: You feel you get asked super-basic questions 100 times more often than anybody else. You can see how that wouldn't make feel people very welcome :)

If you want to avoid causing them, there are a couple of fairly easy ways:

* Don't make assumptions about other people. ("You're a man, you should be good at.../bad at...")

* If people talk about their own experiences, just believe them. Don't have them explain every single bit. * Don't offer solutions if you don't fully understand a problem.

* If you want to help, Google at least basic information first. (Let's have an example: If you don't understand why women need a mother's room, head to Google first. Don't just say "I don't understand why there aren't father's rooms, too!". Sounds strange, but literal example I experienced)

* Find common ground, instead of focusing on the differences. (Here, for example: "Yay for launching this. How'd you do X" is much better than "why do you need that space". If you must ask that question, phrase it so it's still on common ground - we're on HN, people care about market fit, so ask "How'd you find out there was a need for it?")

* And if you still need to ask a question, because you truly lack the understanding and can't find the answer, do what you did: Make yourself vulnerable. Admit you really don't know, and you'd like to understand. (But really, Google first :)

I hope that's a somewhat helpful answer?

> So, if, as a woman, you raise a problem in a space that's mostly male (like pretty much all tech spaces), you'll get a bunch of suggestions of trivial things to try (that you usually already have tried)

Can you give like 3 examples of this happening on HN? (Since the original question was about what the difference would be to HN), or for example StackOverflow? I mean the basic interface of those websites does even show the gender of the account, dies it? Why would the answers then be different dependent on the gender?

I’m not sure if this is meant to be a joke. But with your username, replying to a comment about “{GROUP} feels that they are unreasonably asked to prove themselves” with your reply of “can you prove to me that {GROUP} is allowed to feel that way?” is more than a little ironic.

You comment is structured so as to imply an identity or equivalence that doesn't exist. A claim was made without evidence. The respondant made a valid argument for the improbability of the claim being true, given that gender is normally not evident, and simply asked for evidence to justify the claim. There is no irony here, simply an attempt at objectivity.

We should ask for evidence to justify claims like this.

The problem is that the claim is most likely subjective so it doesn’t need evidence. And the act of always being asked for evidence in various situations, and not being respected for knowing what is going on was one of the subjective claims being made.

Someone doesn’t have to justify their feelings or opinions or observations of how they are being treated. If someone says they are always experiencing something, then we should listen instead of asking them to prove to us that they are allowed to feel that way.

I have another comment on this same line, which I'll add separately rather than editing my prior comment:

> If someone says they are always experiencing something, then we should listen instead of asking them to prove to us that they are allowed to feel that way.

I think it is important to be precise, to reason correctly on this issue. What is it, exactly, that they are always experiencing? The simple fact that they were treated a particular way, or the experience of a disparity of treatment? Those are two completely different types of experiences to discuss, and should be treated differently.

Consider this from the big picture perspective, in which a community of people wants to care for its members but wants to do so on the basis of reality, not just indulging whoever, for example, tells the best story. If I have the strategy of jumping between subjective and objective types of claims, and then refusing to give evidence when an objective claim is questioned by invoking my right to have my emotional experience validated - at what point will you learn the difference between what is objectively true, and what is simply my unsubstantiated belief?

By insisting that everyone's lived experiences are always fully validated, while simultaneously suggesting that a factual investigation is invalidating of that experience, then we have made it impossible, as a group, to discover the truth.

There is a major problem of ambiguity at every level of this conversation. At least one person (reasonably) interpreted the claim to be that women are more likely to experience a particular kind of response in a particular forum. This is not a subjective claim. It may be hard to test, but it is either true or not true.

If it is not true, but the person believes that it is true, they may even be harmed by their false belief.

In general, we should take great care not to confuse our subjective impressions or our emotional experiences with objective reality.

> If someone says they are always experiencing something, then we should listen instead of asking them to prove to us that they are allowed to feel that way.

Listening to a person (or even caring deeply for another's experience) is not mutual exclusive to taking steps to determine if their emotional responses are rooted in actual reality, or just their perception of reality. Both can happen together, by the same person, in the same conversation.

Presenting this as a choice of mutually exclusive options does everyone a disservice.

In my opinion, there are situations where you should prioritize a person's emotional experience, and situations in which you should prioritize the facts.

Sure, you can prioritize the facts. But OP asked for the challenges experienced, and how they could help. I gave them that answer. If you then want additional facts, that's your problem, not mine or OPs.

I would agree with you that you are under no obligation to reply to any of the questions, if that is what you are saying. Emphatically.

In my opinion, everyone should be encouraged to question the evidentiary basis of any of your beliefs and claims which deal with objective reality, not be discouraged from doing so, and not have this conflated with invalidating your experience.

I am not conflating the two. I'm asking for the person posing the question to do the most basic research themselves. Their questions clearly indicate they haven't done so. So I opt out of continuing the conversation.

My objective reality is that they're not interested in actually having a conversation, but instead trolling. I require proof of work that that's not so.

I apologize if my prior statement, made as a direct response to your prior-prior statement, implied that you specifically were conflating an investigation with invalidating your experience. I was just trying to briefly sketch out my position and motive in the overall conversation, which has involved many people and an array of views. I respect your choice to opt out.

I did my most basic research: I went to the websites and saw the interface and concluded that the interface does not distinguish between the gender of the members. That sounds like quite an evidence against your claim.

Allowing any specific benefits to a single group, based solely on their own reports of their unreasonable experience, without any proof or any other information would indeed be quite stupid, don't you think? Should the society just give in to any group with any claim about their group identity, without any checking?

Also what does my name has to do with this conversation?

No, I can't, but you're welcome to do it yourself.

I'm not here to do your homework. That was the whole point of the above.

Not do homework but to give any basis for a claim that is actually quite preposterous - that women have in many instances have to deal with different things or preferential treatment or harassment on a platform where you can't even see the gender of the participants on that platform. What is the implication? That people who harrass stalk every single participant and somehow hack their accounts or otherwise analyze their speach or something, to first determine their gender, to then go ahead to harrass them? This is on a website where 99% of converstaion is about technical issues? Yes you would need to provide some evidence if your claim is this much out there, people are not just going believe it just because you happen to be part of a group.

So you claim you know the answer but you don't share with us. That is wtf. You had really good points up there but its not clear at all what is the conclusion for the original question. If you are asked to fill in the blanks you say you won't. Shall we google for your thoughts? (Googling is a main bullet point up there.)

Thank you for being so patient, and for engaging in good faith. If your use of 'wtf' suggests a growing frustration, please know at least one person both sympathizes with you and hopes that you won't let any frustration damage the quality of your discourse.

Thanks a lot, you read me and it helps a lot. :) (Such neat support never happened to me yet. :) )

I'm confused. Why does being a women give a different set of challenges when troubleshooting a problem? The fact that it's a majority male doesn't explain why people would treat women completely differently.

Where are you getting these assumptions? Why would the same advice not be given to a male? If a male and a female ask the same question, they are given the same answer in my experience. Maybe it's that they are not having the same problems or asking the same questions?

Of course people would respond differently to different questions. It sounds like maybe not knowing the right questions to ask or where to look for those answers, or an inability to communicate about concepts in clear terms. And that's not a knock against women, there are plenty who can do this well. That seems much more straightforward and plausibe than saying that HN gives you trivial answers and gives you the run around because you have female experiences.

That's just different answers being given to different questions.

I'm confused; didn't the entire post you're responding to just explain why all of your questions are unproductive?

Unproductive for who?

For both parties, because one party may be unheard and the other unanswered.

I just realized I'm not even sure what you were referring to and if you were kidding! :D

Let it as is! :D

No, that's lumping in a huge amount of genuine disagreement and curiosity into a throw away bucket because a certain perspective doesn't like them. Maybe people should look at having actual conversations and not trying to educate everyone.

Woah, I'm even more confused now. You said you were confused but you don't appear confused at all when I asked what you were doing. Could you please clarify?

I'm confused about the OPs opinions. I'm not confused about your response. I think it's more than unproductive to blindly dismiss questions, it's telling. How was that confusing? Who asked you?

... And to your comment below...

... I already responded to why, because it's Bs to post a claim with no questions allowed. I'm not calling her a liar I'm disagreeing with the conclusion she comes to.

Sorry I don't blindly believe conspiracy theories. You shouldn't either. I don't care if they posted NO QUESTIONS, IM FEELING UNWELCOME. Like that's great, I'm still going to ask questions, you don't get immunity especially with nonsense theories. That's something to qualify arguments with clear holes in them. I'm trying to get a real answer not make a sheltered bubble.

This is a hollow opinion to hold. If you can't defend or discuss your beliefs, especially inflammatory and controversial ones, then don't spout them off with a disclaimer of no questions allowed. I happen to disagree with the explanation op gives, but they won't even accept feedback. We're at an impasse because you want your own rules.

Otherwise it's just an opinion contest and no progress will ever be made. Thanks for pointing out the obvious repeatedly though. I don't want to e welcoming to everyone, I want to be welcoming to those who deserve it.

It was confusing because the person explicitly stated when someone says they experience something, believe them, and if you don’t understand then google it yourself. You responded by asking more questions, even though the post was explicit about how questions are exhausting and part of why a person may feel pushed away. This is why I said I’m confused, because it seems odd to respond to a post that expresses how questions are unwelcoming with more questions.

Yeah, but if someone is not ready to being asked on a forum I don't know what he/she is hoping for after posting to a forum.

It’s not that they’re not ready, it’s that they are explaining how asking questions is making an environment unwelcoming.

I'll give you an example that I personally deal with. I have a Tesla Model S and I use the /r/teslamotors subreddit daily. Ever since the Model 3 came out, a HUGE majority of users are Model 3 owners and they drown out any specific discussion on the Model S or X. Any time I ask a question on the daily thread, I get answers from people who don't really know what they're talking about in regards to specifics of my car. I can't easily ask if anyone's had this issue with their S like mine because 1 out of every 100 user owns an S and all the Model 3 discussion drowns us out.

Having a community specifically targeting a small sect of people can be a great thing. They feel like they'll get answers from people just like them.

but isn't that exactly how reddit works?

Model S owners need to populate something like /r/TeslaModelS and then your issues are solved.

And that's what this person did until they got big enough to warrant their own site. They have plenty of Patreon support so what's the problem?

No one said there is any problem.

Sounds like the implication is HackerNews shouldn't be a website, it should just be a subreddit.

I find the difference between Reddit and HN is the quality of moderation. HN is fantastic at removing the low-value stuff like memes, "me too", snarky comments, etc. As a result, the signal-to-noise ratio is much higher, and it doesn't need loads of subreddits.

There are plenty of technical and expert subreddits which police low-value comments just as well as HN. It's simply not the case that Hacker News, with its one or maybe two moderators, does a better job of moderation than every single subreddit.

Yup, that's the beauty of not hosting on reddit or HN. You can control your own destiny.

I like the image previews/thumbnails that appear in the threads from the actual site. I assume you're rendering/screenshotting the site for mobile/desktop in order to generate the previews.

Is there a particular tool you're using/that you'd recommend? Headless Chrome, PhantomJS, NightmareJS? Do you just wait an arbitrary amount of time to assume the necessary visuals have loaded/rendered, or is there a feedback mechanism to indicate when it's ready to be captured?

Thank you, I'm using webshot-node (which relies on PhantomJS) but I might actually change. It doesn't always work well. There are different options (like waiting for the website to respond, or waiting for a specific amount of time), but even by tweaking those parameters it's not always reliable. I might give a try to capture-website soon.

Will check those out, thanks.

Can you please elaborate how does emphasizing gender difference help women in business?

Don't get me wrong I do believe it works, I am just curious about the psychology.

Like I said the first reason why I created Women Make is because I couldn’t find fellow women makers. There are several reasons for this: women are less visible in general, and also tend to less promote themselves. Gathering us is an opportunity to find allies, but also models, people from who you can inspire from and find the strength to do what you want to do. That being said, it doesn’t have to be exclusive. I am myself part of several communities, and most of them are not emphasizing on women. But I’m glad I have a place like Women Make for certain topics and to know I’m not alone in this.

I see, thanks.

"People from who you can inspire from" - do you mean you might have higher "basic level" of connection with the same sex?

Or are there also topics you can get into?

Seeing im downvoted up there: these are honest curious questions, I want to understand better how these social things work. And I'd be glad if I could understand more here, because unfortunately my previous attempts to understand similar social constructs failed (unfortunately I've been told multiple times by women that as a man something is not my business at all and I was not even let understand the nature of the relations.)

If I had to guess, you're not being down voted for intellectual curiosity, but rather how you frame the question.

There are many ways you could have framed the question, but the way you did sounds like you're challenging the premise of what OP is trying to do.

Someone built something. If your first response is "Why did you build this thing?" or in your case "Please elaborate why you think building this thing helps?" it comes across as being intentionally and unnecessarily negative, even if perhaps your intent is not to do so.

If you are actually curious, a few similar ways to frame the question:

- How have you seen your work impact women?

- What are the most meaningful ways this community has helped your users?

All positive ways of framing the similar "I'm curious how or why this works" question.

>Someone built something. If your first response is "Why did you build this thing?" or in your case "Please elaborate why you think building this thing helps?" it comes across as being intentionally and unnecessarily negative, even if perhaps your intent is not to do so.

Every single HN thread is comprised of people challenging the base assumptions of the post and demanding that new projects justify themselves.

Every. Single. One.

Okay I see, I am just surprised, because that's why I put that part to the end:

"Don't get me wrong I do believe it works, I am just curious about the psychology."

These same questions get asked every time something geared towards women in tech is presented. At some point it becomes disruptive to continually ask the same questions and receive the same justifications. Not that I think its the same people asking, but even well-meaning questions contribute to an environment that is counter-productive.

Hm, what is the point? It feels like you're saying it's not my business and I am not even allowed to understand it. If you know some anwsers please share it to me and believe me I won't ask it over and over again once I get it.

The goal is to give women a welcoming place where they feel comfortable contributing and can find support and mentorship that is geared towards them. For example, in your typical tech circle, you might have a gender ratio of 80% men and 20% women. If a woman asks a question to this group about an experience where being female is relevant, she will likely get most if not all answers from a male's perspective. This obviously can be off-putting, especially if she is forced to justify her experience instead of receiving any useful advice.

Another example is exposure. Even in a purely meritocratic environment, those who get exposure will be heavily weighted, even sometimes exclusively, towards men. This can give the impression that tech is explicitly for men. Carving out a space for women's minority voices to be seen and heard over the hoards of men is useful for those women and other women considering getting into tech. Representation matters, and seeing people like you succeed gives you confidence that you can succeed as well.

> If you know some anwsers please share it to me and believe me I won't ask it over and over again once I get it.

I think this is part of the issue - the subject of women's business groups and their psychological efficacy, and at a larger scale women's under-representation in tech, has been a conversation in cyberspace/meatspace for several years. At some point, asking the same questions about the premise of a movement become an affront to the movement itself. You can compare this to other identity-based movements; asking the question "why are there all-black congregations? Are those even psychologically beneficial for black people?" or "why are there gay bars? Do they actually promote well-being for gay people?" are not questions that people ask (in the part of the world that I'm in) because those questions seem like non-issues: of course black people want to feel community with other black people. Of course gay people want to connect with other gay people. It's perceived as almost rude to ask!

Maybe this has to do with a cultural mismatch. For many, gender politics has been a frequent conversational topic in their information spheres for many years. For you, it may have not been. Just a perspective for moving forward.

If you're interested in understanding the female perspective in tech, I would recommend being a fly on the wall in communities of women:



And also reading these essays:


I'm not sure it's really specific to the sex or gender. My personal opinion is that society and education have a huge effect on how we behave and are perceived, depending on your sex. So yes, in a way it makes you closer to people from the same sex because you have something in common, but it's more than just your sex, and there are so many different criteria.

Basically, the idea is that you often identify better to someone who has common points with you, including sex.

Thanks, I think we are on the same page then how it works.

However I'd also add (this is just a personal opinion) that words, phrases which do relate to underrepresented groups might be more exciting for everyone because of the definition: it's not common but more unique.

I live in Hong Kong and I don't feel businesswoman are less visible than businessman here, maybe here is a nice place for you to visit and look for cooperation opportunity.

(I suppose the terms entrepreneur, maker, and business(wo)man are interexchange in some sense)

In HK we are somewhat well known for having a very equal society in terms of opportunities for men and women. We're also quite well known for having strong women which has been underlined by the equal participation on the frontlines of the current social movement.

From the site guidelines,

> Don’t mansplain, be respectful and remember to give the floor to women. That being said, all members are welcome to participate in all discussions... And keep in mind that the purpose of Women Make is to put women at the forefront.

Presumably the site is primarily for women, may I suggest perhaps a better choice of words? Although I find it unfortunate that we have to create a separate community based on gender, I hope you succeed in creating a positive community for women.

> Although I find it unfortunate that we have to create a separate community based on gender

Why? Freedom of association is an important human right. According to wikipedia[0] "Freedom of Association is both an individual right and a collective right, guaranteed by all modern and democratic legal systems".

I think it's great that they are just exercising their rights.


Then why are all men-only groups constantly under attack to include women (Boy Scouts of America, etc.)?

I don't really know, but it's pretty odd. Especially since there already was Girl Scouts, which seems to be nearly the same.

I think likely there are quite a few reasons, but personally I'd say it's because it seems like there's this big push for inclusiveness and political correctness and anything that doesn't include everyone is bad.

I'm not English native so copywriting suggestions are more than welcome. How would you have said it?

"Don't patronize others"

By avoiding pejorative, sexist words like "mansplaining".

Please don't be a jerk on HN. If you have a point beyond just wanting to lash out, the idea here would be to make it thoughtfully and substantively.


I wasn't being "a jerk". Please read my commenting history to understand that I'm not a troll or a person who goes out of their way to be mean.

I think the word "mansplaining" is sexist and pejorative.

>If you have a point beyond just wanting to lash out [...]

I read this as, "If you have a [perspective] other than one I agree with [...]".

Please don't turn hn into a community that just echos opinions you agree with.

It always feels like the mods are just disagreeing with you. The opposite side feels the same way.

I described your comment as being a jerk because mariedm asked for copywriting suggestions, specifically in the context of being a non-native speaker, and you responded with a polemical smackdown. That's not good-faith discussion.

I heard this word used in a meeting just this week, and it was quite shocking. I almost just got up and walked out. It's sort of like calling someone a "deplorable"--if you want to get people on your side, it's not a word to use.

It is acceptable in native English. I think your target audience will understand. However, some people not in your target audience will get offended so it's up to you as to whether that's a problem for you.

It is laughable in English

Nonsense. About the only thing that's odd is the unnecessary ellipsis. But otherwise it's perfectly reasonable English. And expresses a perfectly reasonable idea.

> Although I find it unfortunate that we have to create a separate community based on gender.


This may be a dumb question, but I'm assuming this is a women-only community?

From the About section of the site: https://womenmake.com/about

> This community is open, meaning everyone can join (even men), as long as people joining are here to empower women. We believe a change is only possible together.

It's not a dumb question. I made Women Make open because I think a change is only possible together (making women and other underrepresented folks more visible). Which means everyone is welcome, including men, as long as they are here to empower women.

what would empowering women entail? Helping them to make stuff, answer there questions? So does that mean men are not allowed to get questions answered? Or is it about the community/morality guidelines? Because if its not an exclusively female forum, I don't understand it's purpose.

A few examples of what it means: answering questions, listening, offering your help and advice. Men are allowed to ask questions as long as they are contributing to the community. That being said, Women Make is here to promote women, and on a moderation level, I will always make sure women are being put at the forefront.

Could you explain a bit more about the specific problems / challenges your policies (e.g. women-first moderation) are meant to address?

I'm a man working in the tech industry, and I feel like I still don't 100% understand the concerns or frustrations that motivate a project like yours. I'd like to better understand where you (and presumably some other women) are coming from.

Does this comment I posted earlier answers your question? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22128957

Thanks! That comment was helpful. If you don't mind I have some more questions still:

> Gathering us is an opportunity to find allies, but also models, people from who you can inspire from and find the strength to do what you want to do.

IIUC, you're saying that you see value in having (specifically) women as allies and sources of inspiration / strength. If that's true, why would that be?

> But I’m glad I have a place like Women Make for certain topics and to know I’m not alone in this.

Would you mind sharing a bit about what those topics are?

"What would that be?", what do you mean by that? What I'm trying to say is that obviously I identify myself better with other women. And I want to be able to find other women entrepreneurs specifically because we face certain common issues. I think this comment sums up pretty well what it's like: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22129625.

Thanks, I hadn't seen that latter comment until you posted the link. That was very helpful.

I can't tell if your question to me was rhetorical, but I'll try to answer it just in case you're interested. (Apologies that it's long-winded, I couldn't find a way to make it brief.)

The comment you linked to includes this: "Would you rather hang out in a community where everyone fundamentally understands the challenges you face daily, or one where you have to explain the basic premise of your daily challenges when you initiate a conversation about them? (Or rather, would you prefer to hang out in both, or just the latter, since it's not really an either/or.)"

I understand the appeal of working in a team where, on an interpersonal level, I can easily and naturally relate to every one of my teammates. And it sounds like that's the vibe you're going for, IIUC.

When I'm leading a team in the tech industry, part of my job is to remove obstacles to the team's happiness and productivity. The kind of homogeneity mentioned above would undoubtedly prevent some of the problems that can arise in a diverse team. But my job is to make find ways to make a heterogeneous team happy and productive; turning it into a homogenous team (e.g. all members being the same sex) isn't an option that I have (or want).

So I'm hoping to understand, in as much detail as you're interested in sharing, what the factors are that make you more comfortable doing maker work with women than with men. Because perhaps that knowledge would help me create a better work environment for everyone on my teams.

What you're missing is that this is not akin to the teams you have lead at work. Those teams are working towards delivering some product: the team exists for some outside purpose, and has an exterior goal.

That is entirely different from the community that is being built here. It is more a support group, and the goal is to enrich the lives of the member of the group. Support groups tend to be made up of people who have experienced similar hardships. They do have an exterior goal: try to make others experiencing that hardship in the wider community less likely. But that goal is secondary to the primary goal of being a place for people who have had similar experiences to support each other.

As an aside: when someone has said, "I experience this bad thing," it's bad form to continually questions them on the dimensions of their experience of that bad thing. I assume you are doing this in good faith, and haven't thought about it from this perspective. Since mariedm created an entire community around this, perhaps a better way of gaining an understanding is to read that community for a while.

> What you're missing is that this is not akin to the teams you have lead at work. Those teams are working towards delivering some product: the team exists for some outside purpose, and has an exterior goal.

Good call.

> As an aside: when someone has said, "I experience this bad thing," it's bad form to continually questions them on the dimensions of their experience of that bad thing. I assume you are doing this in good faith, and haven't thought about it from this perspective.

It seems I need to find a better way to recognize when a conversation has gotten into this territory. This could be one of those social-interaction observations that many find intuitive, but I need to have explained. I'm genuinely grateful for you pointing this out.

When someone makes a "Show HN" post, I've been assuming that they're interested in discussing the project's motivation in some depth. I gave some thought about whether or not I was drilling too far into the motivations, but I couldn't think of any likely answer that would be too painful to bring up in a public forum.

I also hoped that phrasing my question as "Would you mind sharing a bit about what those topics are?" would clearly indicate that I wasn't sure how far down this topic the author wanted to go, and that I didn't mean to pry. I figured worst-case scenario, the OP would ignore any questions she felt went too far.

I totally understand you. I am trying to understand -for hours- what concrete things might come up over there but I'm still facing walls. I don't get why no concrete examples live in the whole thread just vague generalizations (to me).

> Women Make is here to promote women, and on a moderation level, I will always make sure women are being put at the forefront.

This is exactly what I don't get. What does this mean? The moderation team will be all female? Biased towards females? Because to me it just seems like all you need is for everyone to be decent to each other. I don't see the women centric angle here.

What I understood from it: We are still dealing with heavy inequalities today. To change this we need anybody wiling to change this.

Exactly. We need to talk, to listen to each other, and more importantly to understand each other. I think it is very important. Women cannot “fix” this issue alone on their side, we need everyone involved.

Thank you so much for this comment as I had the same question.

> as long as they are here to empower women.

This is an extremely vague definition, which is very likely prone to corruption and preferential treatment within the organization.

This structure makes your community far more constructive than most similar sites that actively discriminate against men. The goal should not be to suppress the competition, but to produce an environment where everyone can flourish.

Thank you. I wish you the best of luck with your project.

Thank you very much, that's really the idea behind Women Make and it seems to be working pretty well so far.

@mariedm awesome community, curious on what tech stack you used? back end and front end. Congrats, looking forward to hear about how it goes with this project.

I like the site, it's quite fast. Seems to be similar to dev.to in speed and functionality.

Thank you, but I think dev.to is built with ruby.

Thank you, I used nodejs + mongodb for the back end and jquery for the front end.

love the feel of your site, great job. I think you would really enjoy this podcast https://mastersofscale.com/caterina-fake-build-a-more-human-... It talks about building community focus tech. I think you should take a look into it.

This looks great! I’m not a woman but my daughter will be eventually and she already likes to make.

Any reason why you chose to build your own vs use existing infrastructure (ie your own subreddit you moderate, closed facebook group, etc)? I’m not intending to sound critiquing, I’m interested in learning more about your insight.

I started with a Telegram group so I was relying on an existing infrastructure at first. Then when the community got bigger, I thought we needed a website, as an extension of our private group. I don't think it would have make a lot of sense to create a new group on another platform like Facebook or Reddit (since we were already using one).

Good points! Thanks for the reply.

Thank you for making this, what you’re doing is so important. I was wondering if your site is inclusive toward trans women? I didn’t see any mention of it on your About page so I thought I would ask. Looks great by the way and I’m excited to see it grow!

Not only Women Make is open to all women, but it's open to everyone. So trans women are more than welcome. Since you're asking this question, maybe I should make it more clear.

Why does it need to be mentioned? If they consider themselves women, isn't 'Women Make' enough?

That'd be nice, but there are some women-only spaces that are specifically hostile to trans women.

Can you give an example?

The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is a well-known example.


Tori Amos fan forums.

I have been wondering why "women" is used as an adjective so much these days -- "women entrepreneurs" -- rather than the word "female." "Women" as an adjective has a very 1950s, almost Ralph Kramden-type vibe to it. "Women drivers" and the like. We wouldn't say "men nurses."

I think people tend to think of "female" as a bit clinical of a term.

Women are women, men are males.

In case you or anyone else is not aware, there's the FEA (Female Entrepreneur Association).


General advice for mariedm - be prepared to ban quite a lot of accounts at their first offense, think about IP bans, email verification, banning proxies, etc.

If some of the various online communities of, um, hard to pick a term here that someone won't take offense to, but you probably know what sort of communities I'm talking about - if they take an interest in your site, you'll need heavy defense, and quick reactions, to avoid major disruption. Maybe all comments from newer accounts should go through moderation before being posted? Or have that as a switch that can be turned on when the attacks happen?

Good luck.

In my city I see women conferences, in my work I see women events and women supporting each other and on the internet I see women communities. I am a man but don't think of myself as a man more than as a person. This thought process is a privilege of course but I do end up feeling left out.

Fantastic Marie! The website is very sleek + nice, and the community itself looks awesome.

Gender-segregated communities seem like a mixed bag.

On one hand, like the single-sex schools of yore, they may provide an opportunity for disadvantaged who can’t access “mainstream” communities.

On the other hand, their existence appears contrary to the general inclusivity trend, and if “mainstream” communities as a result acquire an excuse to be implicitly pro-male (since there are female communities, and explicitly male communities are considered unacceptable) then it must suck for those who do not strongly identify with either female or male gender.

It is hard to admit that our society really is still at a stage where gender exclusivity is necessary—but, given the number of female-only communities, it must be the case.

VCs hit on women, and as a rule also do not give women money - the numbers quoted in this article are 2.2%: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/change-har...

I will never try to get VC funding because it's just not worth the time investment for those odds. Therefore I welcome communities for women entrepreneurs because we unfortunately on average must have different game plans compared to men.

We also have to deal with different BS, such as employees hitting on us. Fortunately this has not happened with me with any customers yet. I put forth effort to avoid that.

Honestly, some of the comments here (if you show dead ones) just prove the need for a community like this.

@mariedm - congrats! Love the design.

Edit: One suggestion - a personal peeve is when a site flashes up a "subscribe" modal when I've only been on the site for a few seconds. Not sure what the conversions are like on that, but personally I'd be more likely to do that if I'd had a chance to look around.

Thank you. And you're right. I implemented this popup and wanted to change the timing because I also think it's too fast to appear. I just didn't take care of it yet.

Ooh, I hate these. Maybe I hate these even more than the ones that appear immediately.

I don't know how most people react to these popups. I think there are stats since I guess that people who put these on their websites also put all sorts of trackers, but for me, it is often a signal to simply close the tab and never come back.

The reason is that it completely breaks my focus. I am reading an article, browsing stuff, and find it interesting. Then the popup pops. Now, I am distracted and start to think. Is it that interesting? What am I doing here? Then tell myself I have better things to do than stay on a website with aggressive popups.

And if the content really is good, I will just close the popup and continue reading. I mean, I am in the middle of a good article right now, I have better things to do than filling some form.

Don't worry, if your content is so good that I want to subscribe, I will find your button, you don't need to shove it in my face.

I don't have the attention surplus to hunt down a "No thanks" or a tiny "X" that's been tucked away somewhere while I'm trying to read something. If I can't dismiss the modal by pressing ESC or clicking on the overlay, I've already stopped caring about the message and left.

I generally agree unless (a) the escape key closes it (that's now muscle memory for me) or (b) there's a really big, obvious close button.

The thing that invariably makes me click away is a huge full-screen GDPR notice on an article that I've clicked because I might have a passing interest in it. It's quite a good attention filter!

There's no correct timing for a popup imo. Unless they are user-initiated, they are unwelcome.

Very nice project, I hope you can drive up engagement some more. It will be great to see more discussions and projects on there.

I wish people would stop with throwing up dialogs/alerts/signups when I start to scroll. I can't believe people think this is a good idea.

Like Elpha but better?

I think we are working on different ideas. Women Make is more focused on entrepreneurs and makers, whereas they are more into tech career advice (maybe like a LinkedIn for women). Also, Women Make is an indie project.

I was a member there when they just got started and the idea back then was to make a HN for women and there were more women building stuff in the beginning, now the topics have drifted away from that. (Unfortunate, from my point of view, but maybe people like it more this way)

You're welcome to join Women Make and tell me what you think! I'd love to have your feedback about this.

congrats on your platform! I actually just joined yesterday :) really happy to share my thoughts after some weeks, so far I like it

It looks like Women Make also has some career summary content as well as women-in-tech trends and the like. All very valuable, but what makes it geared specifically toward entrepreneurs and makers? Is it meant to be advice about building a product?

That's exactly what I hope too... Do you have experience with both platforms? what do you like or don't like about them?

Nice idea OP, and the design seems very friendly and welcoming. I would only say one thing (and IDK how this is going to go down): but IMO, it makes more sense to me to discourage men from posting completely - and I say that as a guy myself. Why am I saying this? Because there's already plenty of places that are primarily filled with / run by / used by men.

I think if you want to have a female only site then no one should really get offended by this. I do think females probably have many different experiences than men in the tech space and having a place where it's more normalized to share them is a good idea. Without rules for a community like this it will just get diluted and you'll end up with Hacker News 2.0.

I've seen communities like this work really well in the past but only with good moderation and clear rules. Having a place like this is also a great way to understand people a little better - i.e. listening instead of speaking (if you're not a female.) just my thoughts. let them downboats flow~

Congrats! This is awesome.

Great idea! Best of luck!

Arguably, the people aren't upset that there is a female-oriented space, but rather that the same kind of male-oriented space would likely be seen as "problematic" or "hostile."

Ostensibly, arguing the need for a male-oriented space implies that the default/mainstream spaces aren't already male-oriented. AFAIK, there isn't a huge outcry against male nurse associations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AAMN

There's certainly been outcry over opening men-only domestic violence shelters (because it was thought they'd draw away some government funding that could instead be used for even more women's shelters).

Currently men make up approximately a third of victims but have approximately 0% of the shelters.

> already male-oriented

If you scroll through the comments here, you may find that it's not a foregone conclusion that the mainstream spaces are necessarily male-oriented. Quite a few people feel the opposite, in fact.

Didn't say it was a foregone conclusion. Just speculating to the parent commenter about why some people find proposed male spaces (in certain spheres) to be "problematic".

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22128931.

Would anyone really want to join a male-oriented space? Most guys probably wish they could get girls to come to their D&D sessions...

In general? Yes. I attend a weekly men's group and helps immensely. It helps me navigate my life. People of all types can benefit from small groups where they can spitball and discuss life. This is how knowledge exchange happens.

Professionally... there is no benefit to separate men from women for me. I don't need to know how to be a good male developer, I need to work on being a good developer, period.

That said, I'm not going to fight against a group or organization like this. I think that as the internet connects us, it's harder to find small groups. Additionally, I think some people have experiences they need to discuss, positive and negative, that are of social relevance for them and others. So, if women feel a certain way in the workplace and need to make a place for discussion, that is totally fine. It shouldn't be seen as a slight to others. I think it's just part of what makes us human. That's why we naturally separate into groups, tribes, families, nations, etc.

This isn't some argument for men vs women or nationalism, please don't take it that way.

I'm only saying that a space where you can iterate/discuss/be heard is important. More often than not, the size of the group is a primary factor.

Historically, there have been all-male golf clubs, gentlemens' clubs† and working mens' clubs. So there's been demand there at some points in history.

And I assume there are men-only gay bars and erectile-dysfunction support groups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White%27s not strip clubs.

And didn't feminists call most of those men-only groups sexist and demand they be opened up to women?

I totally see this perspective.

My hunch (no evidence) is that it was fine until people started using these groups for discussing business/politicking. So, basically the groups were corrupted. Once business or decision making starts to happen, the groups become exclusionary.

That's my best guess.

Unfortunately, once enough people come together they almost universally decide to do something "productive." It's not uncommon for folks from the same church/school/club to go into business together, for example. The same is true for 'feminist' groups as well. Plenty of politics and business gets discussed and it's often deemed "politically incorrect" to criticize such things in the current climate.

Personally, I am pro-groups of any kind. People should be free to associate in life or in business with others who share their views and values. However, I do wish that there wasn't such a negative view of groups/systems men create or join. Another commenter mentioned men's shelters, but that's just the tip of the iceberg on that particular issue.

Of course people would. There's many contexts where women just don't fit in with men, like most athletics which have different leagues and groups for different genders. And more over even in a space where it's not gender specific, like DnD, some may just prefer the company of men regardless of the given activity. Just as women do...

Religious reasons, poor social skills with women, avoiding sexual tensions that naturally arise in such an environment.

> Religion

For the most part, leaving that one because there is a whole rat's nest of complexity to untangle that varies by jurisdiction and region of the world. Religious freedom is a generally well-respected (from a legal perspective) philosophy in many countries, but at the end of the day, in most of these countries, those freedoms are seeing a great deal of erosion due to the progression of human rights.

> poor social skills with women

Frankly, if someone is bad at speaking with women, then there is an issue of individual social skills. I would argue that if someone is "bad at speaking with women", they are bad at speaking with people in general, but they just assume that because of gender, that they can set aside or be forgiven their poor social skills.

> avoiding sexual tension that naturally arise

No. Sexual tension does not "naturally arise" between men and women any more than gay sexual tension arises between men and women participating in gender exclusive communities. If "sexual tension" is a problem for a heterosexual individuals when they are in a mixed gender environment, but not in a restricted gender environment, then those individuals have a self-control problem, not a sexual tension problem, since there is always the possibility that someone from the same gender will find them attractive and create "sexual tension". I don't know if you meant something else, but

Anecdotally I would disagree, I know plenty of men and women who just can't find the right words when it comes to the opposite sex but have no trouble navigating social situations otherwise. I'm skeptical that you've never come across such people.

Sexual tension occurs in all situations that pit people together for any significant length of time, regardless of sexual orientation. It is by definition a result of self-control, I'm not sure your definition of sexual tension is the same as mine based on this statement. It is unexpressed attraction usually because the situation may be inappropriate.

You seem opposed to the idea of gender-exclusive spaces. So I have to ask, do you disagree with women's only gyms? Men's only? Gender specific locker rooms?

> So I have to ask, do you disagree with women's only gyms? Men's only? Gender specific locker rooms?

Gender exclusive spaces are perfectly fine as a general concept, provided that the overall access to opportunities or resources aren't reduced by the exlusivity. Women and men only gyms make sense, however I would be concerned if there was a shift too far in either direction by a significant switch to male or female exclusive facilities that would result in a lack of access due to gender. There are an abundance of classes and resources that are generally available to learn code, and I can say that community events I have organized and attended have been, until quite recently, heavily biased towards men. Creating similar events that cater to women to increase access and visibility of opportunities is not discriminatory, since there is a negligible impact on availability for men, but a net increase in availability for women (by way of example, I did a quick check of 10 events local to vancouver that are general access, with approximately 600 seats, and contrasted this to a women only event that is 30 seats. This means that there are, at most, 10% more seats specifically available to women at learn to code style events over the period of those 11 events, but I can say anecdotally that of those 600 general access seats, they will be 75% or more filled with men, so the actual impact on more seats available exclusively to women is much smaller on the actual attendance of women. This isn't rocket science, and with more time I could actually source the data [with the proviso that my data will be taken from assuming the gender of folks from the communities I have organized for which I still have attendance data from the last several years])

I also think that it is well past time for gender specific locker rooms - it doesn't respect privacy, and creates a landmine of risk. A mix of private bathrooms or change rooms, with family change rooms where appropriate to the facility makes more sense. Having distinct male or female washrooms has created no end of problems for LGBTQ+ folks, and have caused a great deal of drama at all age levels (community centres and schools, etc) for children. Beyond that, as a simple preference, I don't want to share a bathroom with anyone, even if I am just standing up to take a whizz.


We've banned this account.

Why not delete the comment too, since it is completely unnecessary?

The HN community wouldn't like it (to put it mildly) if we deleted things based on what we consider unnecessary. They're a curious bunch who want to be able to see everything and decide for themselves. On the other hand, most users don't actually want to wade through the dreck; they just want the option.

The solution is: we don't delete comments outright unless the author asks us to. The most we'll do is kill them, which means they get marked as [dead] and are visible to users with 'showdead' set to 'yes' in their profile.

> They're a curious bunch who want to be able to see everything and decide for themselves.

That's why I turned showdead on, but I find it's also helpful to calibrate to the norms of the community. I'd recommend everyone at least be aware of the option and give it a try for a bit.

Makes sense. Is there is difference between [dead] and [flagged]? At the time of my comment, I could see the top post. Now it shows [flagged] with showdead off and [flagged][dead] with showdead on.

Also if all this is documented somewhere, please feel free to point me to it. I couldn't find any on my own.

Yes, [dead] means it's visible only to users with 'showdead' turned on in their profile, and [flagged] means it got a significant number of user (or in some cases moderator) flags relative to upvotes. So the two have different meanings. The connection between them is that when flags go above a certain threshold relative to upvotes, they also kill the post, putting it into [dead] status.

If someone asked you to, would you delete an entire profile and all comments?

I posted about this the other day: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22103996

HN doesn't delete comments, AFAIK (if you browse with showdead on you'll see far worse than this)

Wow, I just tried it and had no idea. I can kind of understand now why there is so much hate towards the "orange site" on twitter and some other spaces.

It's as good as deleted unless you have "show dead" on.


Please don't post unsubstantive and/or flamebait comments to HN. It only makes this place even worse.

> It only makes this place EVEN worse.

@dang, I believe you need a day off :)

But seriously, just in case you're feeling a bit down about HN lately, I really appreciate the work you guys do to make this a good place for discussion. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Well done.

Not feeling down. "Even worse" is a sort of trope I use in such comments (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=2&prefix=false&qu...) because I have the feeling that it reduces friction a little bit. I think you're the first user who's ever commented on it!

> I think you're the first user who's ever commented on it!

Yeah, well, I'm kind of oblivious sometimes :)

But I don't regret taking the time to thank y'all for the work you do, regardless. Rock on.

I would say the opposite of oblivious in this case. You caught the hypnotic suggestion :)

>I think you're the first user who's ever commented on it!

given your authority and status on this site, I wouldn't count on getting honest replies from users.

In other words : just because it isn't said doesn't mean it isn't thought. Few people want to be honest and defend their opinion in the face of an 'admin', anywhere. It's potentially self-defeating compared to just staying quiet.

I just want to echo this as someone who's just asked a question about how this could be similar to MenMake ;) we can be really bad as a community but thank you for the great work you do, dang and sctb.

You're right, I just gut-reacted to the first comments.

> Happens I learned Node JS last year

Neat! Have you ever heard of curried functions? I only recently started using them in JS, and they've completely (and positively) revolutionized how I write Javascript (both backend and front).

It seemed clear to me that you were just being enthusiastic about curried functions, but since the responses all went askew, I've detached this from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22128389 and marked it off-topic.

What's with the downvotes?

I didn't downvote, but your comment seems a bit off-topic (presenting a random js feature in a thread that is not really about this, and there is nothing really extraordinary in the fact that the OP learned NodeJS last year - good for her!). See also steerpike's comment with which I agree. Your intent may have been sharing this feature that makes you enthousiastic so I can understand that you may find the downvotes frustrating. Don't lose your enthousiasm though, it's a great thing.

You may want to review the HN guidelines, they discourage discussing downvotes.

Thanks, that's exactly the situation. Thank you for the support, as well.

I had forgotten HN discourages it!

It's a non sequitur, derailing the conversation a bit. Although I admit I am curious about why anyone would like currying in JS where it is a bit unnatural to do so.

In case you're genuinely curious, I suspect you're being downvoted because your parent comment comes off as incredibly gatekeepery[0].

It's also illustrative of a very common occurrence in tech circles where the moment a woman mentions competence in a certain technology the first response of men around her is to throw technical questions at her in a way they simply don't in instances where a man mentions the same thing.


I was worried that was the case :/ Thanks for expressing this!

I'd done the same regardless of gender (or experience level); it's really been that much of a game changer.

Edit: Do you know of any ways to share this sort of enthusiasm that won't come off that way? Or is just something that's not possible?

IMO: pick a different setting for expressing the enthusiasm.

It's kind of weird to respond to "Hey I did this cool thing that I'm really proud of" with "[nothing about that specific thing] have you ever done this very specific thing in the programming language that you happened to be using".

It'd be like going to somebody's university graduation and instead of congratulating them, you ask if they have a detailed opinion on some obscure philosophy text. It's potentially a fun thing to discuss, but it's a weird time to bring it up.

That's a really excellent question and I've sat here way longer than I probably should have over-analysing it to try and think of an answer for you.

I do think it's possible, but it's difficult to provide you with exact steps to follow that I'd class as a catch all.

Enthusiasm is great, but try to make sure that your enthusiasm isn't riding roughshod over the context - in your example it was easy to read your enthusiasm the wrong way because it was so tangentially related to what the OP was discussing. You kind of latched on to a throw away part of the primary topic and rushed into wanting to discuss that small part of. In that context it's easy to assume you're a type of bad actor[0] rather than just enthusiastic. Make it harder for people to assume the worst by taking their conversation seriously before jumping in with your off-topic excitement.


A solution in that case might have been to turn your question into an affirmation, something like:

A bit off topic, but I recently discovered [...]


I'm not a woman, but I imagine that when you're a woman in a male dominated community it can create a lot of anxiety to participate in the community because women are often harassed or dismissed because of their gender or appearance. The harassers are almost always a small minority, but it only takes one persistent asshole to ruin your day and discourage you from participating. From what I can tell, the goal of this community is just to offer women a place to feel comfortable without being denigrated or receiving harassing or suggestive PMs.

In that case wouldn't it be a better solution to aggressively remove those who harass others about personal things rather than the topic at hand instead of making a site where women specifically are treated as a special/protected class?

Well, I imagine the site was created in-part to afford the creators the freedom to moderate with respect to those goals, there's not really much they can do about the moderation strategies of sites they do not control. Regardless of an individual or community, people are often told "if you don't like it, go create your own community" and so this is what they did. At the end of the day, it's a win-win for everyone; those who may not appreciate a gender-sensitive moderation strategy will get to stay in the communities they enjoy, while those seeking a different approach now have an additional option.

> I'm not a woman, but I imagine

One of the biggest problems with male dominated communities is men imagining what women would say instead of just listening to the women in the community. I'd be interested in hearing responses to parent from actual women.

I don't agree that trying to imagine how women might feel is a problem.

I believe that's called empathy. Otherwise known as "walking a mile in someone else's shoes" and considered a healthy practice in society that might have prevent such systemic problems from developing in the first place.

The rules here are that you respond to the strongest interpretation of what somebody said, not the weakest.

Trying to imagine how women might feel isn't a problem. Posting about what you imagine woman might feel to the extent that it crowds out actual women saying how they feel (e.g. being the top response) is a problem.

> The rules here are that you respond to the strongest interpretation of what somebody said, not the weakest.

Doctor, heal thyself.

> Posting about what you imagine woman might feel to the extent that it crowds out actual women saying how they feel (e.g. being the top response) is a problem.

I don't control where my response sits, so it sounds like you're saying the problem is that I decided to speak at all. I am having a hard time reading the comment any other way than "don't express opinions about how you imagine a woman might feel".

I understand the first reaction of anyone that is excluded (in this case men are actually not excluded) from a group, it feels bad and maybe unfair. But the sad reality in most countries is, that women are treated differently especially in tech. As long as this is the case, we need communities like WomenMake to support and learn from each other. You might know from other examples that it feels good to talk to someone who had to go trough similar stuff as you did, struggles with the same issues. For me, that's why such a platform is useful.

Thanks, thats a great insight!

> That said, is building a community where one class of gender is prioritized over another healthy? How is it better than a MenMake?

The theory is that providing encouragement specifically to women will help women "get their foot in the door".

It's a perfectly plausible theory and it seems to have worked in medicine and law. Will it work in tech? Time will tell -- but you can't blame people for trying.

From the about page:

This community is open, meaning everyone can join (even men), as long as people joining are here to empower women. We believe a change is only possible together.

Yes, I read that, that's why I said: "prioritized".

> is building a community where one class of gender is prioritized over another healthy?

Would you have an issue with a community for people under 5 foot tall, which prioritises their needs and experiences and the unique challenges they face in society and the workplace? If not, why is this different?

This is wonderful

There's an idea that shows itself in many situations that goes like this: I will make some (small, well-intended, etc) change in system X, and none of the other people involved will make any changes as a reaction. In general, this is not true--often people will react, often subtly or sub-rosa.

I've worked for and with a large number of successful women in my career. They all had an attitude of "my being a woman is not a thing and there's no reason at all to take note of it".

>That said, is building a community where one class of gender is prioritized over another healthy?

The issue is that society already prioritizes one gender over another. A community which prioritizes one gender over another is merely attempting to tip the already unbalanced scales of society towards equality.

The reason here is to use a rough filter to ensure women, already discouraged from an ongoing media narrative, don't get discouraged again during their first couple of events by random coder-bros or even "are you here with your boyfriend".

Even the anxiety of knowing someone can decide to show up to use you as target practice for "taking these females down a peg" has been enough that I've watched friends decide to not go to events.

And damn straight, that guy will show up in events if the event runners aren't actively trying to filter bad actors out of the community. From my own experiences running a Meet-up, that guy always shows up, always offers to help the event runners, and immediately uses their status as a blunt object on people they deem unworthy.

It's not perfect, and I look forward to community-standards getting better for organizations so these enclaves are unnecessary. (If anyone has a good way to handle community complaints that have worked under strain, please for the love of the gods PM me. An Ombudsman office is the best I've found, but it tends to have a lot of burnout.)

Right now, we're in the Trump era. The individual health of the members is more important than trying to reach out and make a larger, healthier organization. It's a bad trade off, but there isn't a good, scalable solution yet.

(Adding, am a woman, ran a gaming Meetup.)

+1, totally agree. Our mixed-gender Meetup co-organizer team, after serious deliberation, filtered out such a bad actor once. It became a better Meetup for all.

I understand your sentiment, but from my perspective, I see you saying that because some awful men show up, we must discourage, or deprioritize the participation of all men. I also understand filtering for "bad actors", but then shouldn't your efforts be directed towards filtering those bad actors instead?

As an example of broad gender-based filtering, malls and movie theatres in my country have reserved days that they call "family days". They're essentially days when men, unaccompanied by females, are barred from entry. It's sexist, technically Unconstitutional, and plainly unethical, but on those days, single male parents can't go to the mall alone and male-only friends can't go watch a movie or have to settle for tickets in the male-only section (yes, it's a thing).

In their quest to filter out "bad actors", businesses have filtered out almost all men. As I said before: "I find these to be well-meaning but ultimately sexist policies making it okay to treat people differently based on gender"

There are many communities that are effectively Men*. What percentage of e.g. HN users do you suppose are male?

> What percentage of e.g. HN users do you suppose are male?

I genuinely have no idea, but that's not a great test for MenWork-like community. The community would have to explicitly encourage Men's participation over Women's. The idea of such a community is abhorrent to me.

On the surface your thought might seem valid, but it is not.

The reason a community like WomenMake is valid and important while something like MenMake is not, is because women have and still do face systemic discrimination in society, and in the workplace (and especially tech workplaces). You referenced this yourself (Global Gender Gap Index) so I assume you’d agree with that.

So women have a much harder time breaking into and progressing in the tech community, either systemically or even more explicitly through direct discrimination or abuse. WomenMake provides a valuable place for women to help each other through these issues that are specific to them, support each other in general and try to improve this imbalance. Men do not face these issues (although of course race, ethnicity etc are also issues, so many men face discrimination, but not because they are men, for other reasons).

Once women face no structural societal discrimination in the workplace, then something like MenMake and WomenMake might be equally valid, but until then you are not correct to make this comparison. (And at current rates this won’t be true for a very very long time).

I agree with this although I think you don't even need such strong claims to justify the existence of such a community. All you need is the simple fact that there are a lot less women in tech than men, and that men and women face different challenges or experiences in society. Given these two indisputable facts, it makes a lot of sense to have a space where women can feel welcome and have their needs prioritised.

To give an analogy, I think that a community aimed at people in tech less than 5 feet tall, which prioritises contributions from those people, is equally justified. A community for people over 5 feet tall just... doesn't make sense... it would seem like it was just making fun of or excluding short people.

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