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Is this considered creepy in all cultures? (cpan.org)
25 points by restofus 1028 days ago | 44 comments



I think the issue is the lack of consent. The data is freely available and anyone who wants to use it to compile lists of Perl developers can do so, but if you're going to put up a list of female developers without a) asking them first and b) presenting it in a context that anticipates and avoids the gender-politics objections to doing so, then you're going to get a negative reaction. It's probably something that shouldn't be creepy even without consent and carefully-honed context, or at least no creepier than a list of Russian Perl developers or Perl developers who use Windows or whatever, but that's not the world we live in.

It looks like an honest enough mistake, but I guess we're going to have to listen to another bunch of white male community guardians parading their feminist credentials and belittling the original developer for his backwards lack of understanding anyway.

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So far, the only 3rd party blogpost on this linked here (Michael G Schwern's [1]) didn't link to the module nor author, so as not to "embarrass the author further". Many males serious about feminism (or "anti-patriarchy", whatever you want to call it) take care to not provoke costs which females must bear, and try to helpfully inform.

Now, if you don't want to listen, please don't feel you're forced to. There's... exciting... frontpage articles here about PHP, something Steve Jobs said, a boat which flips vertically...

[1] (http://blogs.perl.org/users/michael_g_schwern/2012/07/how-no...)

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Wow. Couldn't disagree more with that blog.

"This Is What A Computer Scientist Looks Like" is exactly the wrong way to "empower". It's a photo. Who cares what you look like? You are a programmer - the only thing I should care about is what your code looks like.

> [from the blog] Maybe give them the reigns to make the big decisions and you handle the grunt work.

Are you kidding? I should do that because they are female? That's terrible. You should not care what gender, or anything else, they are - except their ability.

If people need to see that there are others like them in a community (do they though?), then this module list is exactly right.

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> You should not care what gender, or anything else, they are - except their ability.

We don't live in that world. Neither do we live in a world where people of color are afforded the same opportunities as white people even though they have all the same rights.

Software (and tech in general) is a toxic and often extremely sexist community towards women. It's easy to take your attitude of "not caring", but that doesn't solve the problem, it simply shuts off the light so that nasty people can do their bidding in the dark.

> I should do that because they are female?

Yes, if it's a freaking thing about women, then they should have the last freaking word. :)

> If people need to see that there are others like them in a community (do they though?), then this module list is exactly right.

This is exactly the sort of blind, toxic attitude that some of us are trying to help destroy. If women who are CPAN authors want to organize a community amongst themselves, then it's up to them to decide how they want to go about doing it. It is NOT up to men to do it for them without consulting or considering the consequences given the continued problems with sexual harassment in the tech community.

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> We don't live in that world.

Online we do. No one can even tell what gender you are unless you tell them. And why tell them? Why should they care?

> If women who are CPAN authors want to organize a community amongst themselves, then it's up to them to decide how they want to go about doing it. It is NOT up to men to do it for them

To me you sound incredibly sexist. (Men do this, Women do that.) Women have their club, Men have theirs.

Sorry, but I don't divide up the world like you do. Who cares who made the list? Are you saying that if a Woman made that list all is well?

Why does the gender of who made the list matter? Shouldn't the only thing that matters be if the person wants to be on the list?

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> If people need to see that there are others like them in a community (do they though?), then this module list is exactly right.

We don't. Especially in the tech community, everyone is assumed to be male by default. There was a post not two days ago by a woman programmer showing that a common complaint among men is that women "don't contribute technical articles". News flash: they do, but the commenters ignore the possibility that an anonymous blogger might be a woman and refer to the author as "he" anyway.

We simply do not live in the world you describe.

> To me you sound incredibly sexist.

Funny how sexists always say that to people who call out sexism.

> Sorry, but I don't divide up the world like you do.

Right, you'd rather completely ignore the issues facing this community.

> Are you saying that if a Woman made that list all is well?

In short, yeah. It's creepy for men to compose a list of 'females' without their consent and make it opt-out.

> Why does the gender of who made the list matter?

Because the tech community is utterly plagued with misogyny, sexual harassment at conferences, and people like you who want to ignore the whole issue in the name of not being told that they can't impose anything they want on a marginalized group.

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> everyone is assumed to be male by default

Not by me. I make no assumptions on the matter at all, the entire topic never even crosses my mind.

I don't get why gender even matters for these topics. You aren't dating them.

> a common complaint among men is that women "don't contribute technical articles"

This is a common complaint? I've never even noticed the gender of someone contributing an article. Who are these people who tally these things up?

> In short, yeah

And you call me sexist? And how do you know if the author is male or female anyway?

You sound very obsessed with knowing the gender of each person you interact with online.

You are aware that discriminating for women on good things is just as sexist as doing it for bad things, right?

> and refer to the author as "he" anyway

Because that's how English grammar works.

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> Not by me. I make no assumptions on the matter at all, the entire topic never even crosses my mind...This is a common complaint? I've never even noticed the gender of someone contributing an article. Who are these people who tally these things up?

Anextio was pointing out the the tech industry is sexist, not trying to call you in particular sexist. It's cool that you make no assumptions if that's the case (although, to be honest I find that a bit unbelievable since you think the tech industry doesn't suffer from sexism), but that doesn't change the tech industry.

> And you call me sexist? And how do you know if the author is male or female anyway?

There are links (e.g. http://blogs.perl.org/users/steven_haryanto/2012/07/so-appar...) that show that the author is male.

> You are aware that discriminating for women on good things is just as sexist as doing it for bad things, right?

I don't see where you got the idea that anextio was doing anything other than pointing out that women in the tech community don't get the credit they deserve.

> Because that's how English grammar works.

So it's suddenly not sexist to assume that the author of an anonymous blog is male? (Just to clarify: I don't mean sexist as in 'I'm out to systematically repress all women!', I mean the follow-the-leader sexist as in 'it's okay to x because everyone else does it.') 'He', unfortunately, isn't a gender-neutral pronoun.

> I don't get why gender even matters for these topics. You aren't dating them.

So...the gender of another person only matters if you want to get into their pants? It's really quite obvious that you don't respect whichever gender you are not.

Edit: formatting

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> I find that a bit unbelievable

I find it unbelievable that you (or anyone) pays any attention to the gender of a programmer you only met online.

> that show that the author is male

I searched and couldn't find it. The closest I came is the name on github.

> women in the tech community don't get the credit they deserve.

Why do they deserve credit as women? Who cares if they are women? Give them credit for doing something as a human, not for their gender.

> 'He', unfortunately, isn't a gender-neutral pronoun.

Yes it is. The fact that you think it isn't is a discredit to your education.

> So...the gender of another person only matters if you want to get into their pants?

Or if you want to be close friends with them. Online it makes no difference.

> It's really quite obvious that you don't respect whichever gender you are not.

And yet you can't even tell which it is despite me writing about gender. (And no, I'm not going to tell you.)

I ignore gender for things that have nothing to do with gender. There are plenty of things (including online) where gender matters, but programming isn't one of them.

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> I find it unbelievable that you (or anyone) pays any attention to the gender of a programmer you only met online.

I didn't mean paying conscious attention to the gender - I was thinking of automatic assumptions people make about others. It's natural to make assumptions about people; it's immoral to pretend they don't exist or to object to reducing their effects.

> I searched and couldn't find it. The closest I came is the name on github.

Steven is a masculine name.

> Why do they deserve credit as women? Who cares if they are women? Give them credit for doing something as a human, not for their gender.

I entirely agree, however that doesn't stop people from making incorrect and broad generalisations about groups of people who share characteristics that are entirely out of their control.

> Yes it is. The fact that you think it isn't is a discredit to your education.

'He' is the unmarked pronoun but it's still gendered (i.e. masculine). 'It' isn't gendered, but is also generally used for inanimate objects rather than people.

> And yet you can't even tell which it is despite me writing about gender. (And no, I'm not going to tell you.)

Haha, only because I thought you would get angry if I made any assumptions about who you are.

> I ignore gender for things that have nothing to do with gender. There are plenty of things (including online) where gender matters, but programming isn't one of them.

Like I said before, I think that's cool, even if I find it a bit unbelievable that you don't make assumptions about people you meet online.

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> 'He' is the unmarked pronoun but it's still gendered (i.e. masculine). 'It' isn't gendered, but is also generally used for inanimate objects rather than people.

I think I will start referring to everyone as (s?)he regardless of whether I know their gender or not. Seems the safest.

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And what about "one"? Quite archaic but gender neutral :)

And there is name "Maria" in Polish which is feminine name but I personally know guys bearing this name so maybe there is woman with name "Steven" - are you sure?

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Nope, but seeing as he doesn't mention his gender on the subsequent blogpost I think it's a reasonable assumption.

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"Software (and tech in general) is a toxic and often extremely sexist community towards women. "

It really isn't. Maybe you get a distorted view because complaints get a disproportionate amount of attention (much like reports about crimes in the newspapers - most people overestimate the amount of crime happening, at least in Europe). Precisely a reason to deal with those complaints in a sensible way, because people like you already got the wrong impression.

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I was in denial about it for a long time, like you. I came up with excuses, like you are doing, to explain it away and not have to deal with it.

If it really isn't so much of an issue, then how come so many women are up in arms about it? [0]

[0] http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Issues

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There is certainly sexism, but I doubt it is "extremely common", or at least not more common than in other parts of life. Just watch ads on TV - evidently the advertising industry and all their clients are very sexist. That makes every industry.

Why many women complain? I'm no expert, but I would guess (apart from the lack of actual numbers: what percentage of women in IT complain, and what percentage in the average population) there are a couple of reasons. I think some of the issues are issues women face everywhere. Like indecent proposals: is the likelihood higher to get those on a tech event than on other events? But it is easier to point a finger (those IT guys), instead of just "men".

Maybe I can write more tonight, must work now...

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> This Is What A Computer Scientist Looks Like" is exactly the wrong way to "empower". It's a photo.

Fine, don't put yourself on the list. How others feel empowered and make community is not your call.

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Additional discussion http://blogs.perl.org/users/steven_haryanto/2012/07/so-appar...

http://blogs.perl.org/users/michael_g_schwern/2012/07/how-no...

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What about Twitter lists? I have created all sorts of lists without asking people first. No "women who do x" lists, but still - the idea was I think people creating lists of people who fall into a common category of their interest.

It doesn't seem so strange that people might be interested in female developers. For all I know, that list could have been compiled by another female developer who wants to feel less lonely.

In another context people will rush to present such lists to entice more women into the field. Also, the argument "there are almost no female developers (in OSS)" is common, so such lists might be handy to answer those arguments.

I was just considering how I would feel about a "black developers" list - sure it is a double edged sword, but I think it could be interesting/valid for the same reasons. People will gather those statistics anyway, and I believe public data should be as accessible as possible.

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It is not creepy in all fields. It is creepy in computer programming/science.

The problem is the culture in this special field with a lot of allusion to pornography, sexual abuse, etc. When you have well known figures in the Ruby community explicitly telling that it is good to use porn to sell software technology, you have a problem.

In my field, process engineering and biotechnology, even if some groups are extremely male dominated, I have never experienced such behavior in more than a decade of going to workshop/conferences and working with 100's of people all over the world.

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In what field is it not creepy to have a man keep a documented list of all the women contributors for purely 'curiosity' reasons?

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The fact is, in no other fields you would have people thinking about doing this. It is just that they do not care. It is not part of the culture to focus on women from a sexual/stalking point of view.

They only care about lack of women in management and engineering positions and the salary difference. Or how to better manage the maternity leaves in the company to keep interesting jobs for the women while potentially working only 80% while have small kids.

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I will note purely that CPAN has quite a lot of similar modules categorizing authors by several attributes, most notably country of origin. From that perspective, it's very easy to believe the author acted entirely in good faith and from a non-creepy perspective, without having to invoke the idea that it's some kind of sexual/stalking thing.

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You are forgetting one thing: If any given situation can be seen two or more ways, there are people that will naturally see it in the worst possible way. It is no different when it comes to people really determined to find examples of The Man crushing all women.

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Oh, okay, I misunderstood. That's fine.

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What about Acme-CPANAuthors-Indonesian?

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"Sex sells" is the big indictment of Ruby (and programming in general) community?

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Yes, with respect to the situation of women in your community this is a problem. When you have highly visible people having such behaviour, it cripples down. It is always easier to cripple down bad behaviour than good one. More about it: http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/04/silicon-valley-brog...

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Can you name a single industry where "sex sells" isn't an accepted marketing consensus ? It is a fact about how homo sapiens works, and marketers have been using it for millenia for selling everything from medicine to wholesale building materials. Ignoring a true fact would be a problem, and an irrational action not worthy of anyone who claims to be an engineer or scientist. Not using "sex sells" in advertising would be suboptimal and simply stupid, of course, it has to be done with taste and (at least attempted) respect in order to be effective.

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Firstly, I'm going to assume that by 'sex sells' you're referring to the use of sexualised (e.g. through sexy poses, clothing) females or males with little or no relevance to the product, to sell a product.

How about any industry where females make up a large part of your customer base? I think it is pretty hard to argue that, say, the iPhone would be more successful if it's marketing department decided that it would be better to use the idea that "sex sells" to sell their product compared to the type of marketing that it actually uses. "Sex sells" is never tasteful nor respectful: it's only useful when you're selling your product to a sexist audience. (Obviously this doesn't apply if you're selling sex toys, porn, body image, etc.)

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Wow. This thing is totally inappropriate and extremely creepy in all contexts. Out of "sheer curiosity"? Jeepers.

I hope this gets removed.

Great message to send to the women in the tech industry: come join our community and we'll single you out in a git repository like a museum exhibit. Even better, the whole thing is a perl script, so anyone can programmatically do whatever they want with your personal information! It's all for curiosity's sake!

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If you are on GitHub (also as a male), you can be singled out in a lot of ways. There is an app that ranks developers by city, depending on their productivity, popularity, connectedness, whatever. Nobody complained - you know that if you go on GitHub, your data is public.

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I don't think there's any bad intention here. I think this is part of a larger meme in the Perl community: http://search.cpan.org/search?m=all&q=Acme%3A%3ACPANAuth...

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I don't think it's necessarily creepy. There is a whole list of classes depending on what 'type' of developer one is, found here: http://search.cpan.org/~ishigaki/Acme-CPANAuthors-0.19/lib/A...

But I know that I'm not known for my extreme sensitivity, so maybe I should withold judgement on this one.

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Wikipedia has lots of lists of female X: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=list+of+f...

Is that considered creepy too? In any case, I don't think "creepy" is the right word. It implies a sense of stalking, which I don't think this is.

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I think that if you are female developer and you want to encourage other female developers and support the transition to a world where gender of the developer isn't important you should brag about your femaleness everywhere and encourage others to do the same.

You have to see something a lot and often to get used to it, tolerate it and finally accept it as norm.

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I think that the burden of this transition shouldn't be laid entirely on females: there are plenty of examples of plain misogynistic behaviour in the tech world - Loic linked one article on this in another thread (http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/04/silicon-valley-brog...).

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Lot of that is just sheer stupidity carried straight out of american college. I'm not sure how this culture came to be and why fraternities, sororities and such things are even tolerated. Nevermind. I'm just saying that you can't get acceptance by hiding. Gays weren't accepted at all till they became visible. More visibility, more acceptance. It's positive feedback loop but there have to be brave souls to start.

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Haha I see...thanks for replying.

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I think it is only creepy when you consider that no benefit can be achieved based on the sex of an author. For instance, your enjoyment levels of a piece of software bares no correlation to the sex of the developer who created it.

This is in contrast to works where the sex of the author can have an impact on the overall enjoyment.

For example, I have playlists with over 100 female artists... because sometimes I do just want to listen to a female singer. My "database" of female singers in the form of a playlist isn't creepy, but a database of female developers could quite easily be considered so, since for the most part it's hard to think why anyone would need this information. (Aside for research purposes?).

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You could look at it in a positive light if you want - as a list of inspiration. (I can't actually see the list, so I'm going by the description as a list of female developers.)

Personally I don't think the developers gender matters - who cares if a developer is male or female? That's not the context in which you are interacting with them.

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website doesn't seem to work for me. what was it?

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i never saw the page linked either, but i think these links are what people are discussing:

this cpan module - http://search.cpan.org/dist/Acme-CPANAuthors-Female/ - included this file - https://github.com/sharyanto/perl-Acme-CPANAuthors-Female/bl... (some data also visible in cpan synopsis - http://search.cpan.org/dist/Acme-CPANAuthors-Female/lib/Acme...) - which was later dropped by the author, steven haryanto - http://blogs.perl.org/users/steven_haryanto/2012/07/so-appar...

the file in question lists 10 (or 11) female contributors to cpan.

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I have seen this in every culture. So as long this is for fun, its OK. But it isn't uncommon to have and list 'y who do x'(y being a set of people who do x). I've failed to understand the reasons for this. Is it because you feel a particular field x is is dominated by non-y people and want fellow y's to get motivated?

If that is so, I don't see anything wrong in it. But if this is to prove that y's are strange and are atypical of regular y's and then stereotyping them from there is on is creepy.

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