Here's the problem with using words like "bro" (however jokingly): the problem is not with what you are thinking when you read the word "bro", but with what other people, especially newcomers, are thinking. The locker-room atmosphere that stuff like this creates is a huge barrier to entry for a lot of people, women especially, who infer that on top of all the technically difficult stuff that everyone has to learn to be CS types, they'll also have to deal with a constant barrage of "you're not our kind" flung at them by the in-group. You personally may not be intending that as your message, but I assure you that your personal intent does not matter when you are using language that has been associated with exclusion and discrimination.
The problem here, if this program is actually intended to be used, is that just typing in the command would be a constant reminder of an entire subculture that is widely seen as putting up walls and doors that say "NO GIЯLS ALOUD" around the programming profession, an attempt to preserve privilege. Those of you suggesting an alias are either being disingenuous or missing the point entirely.
 Meaning individuals, of whatever gender/race/class/whatever, that are likely to be reading HN.
 If you don't believe me, ponder for a moment sentences like, "But I like Negroes just fine!" Language matters.
 Again, you might not mean to reference that when you use words like "brogrammer". But it's how an awful lot of us read it.
EDIT: Rereading other posts on this page, I should add that I almost certainly got the phrase "shame about the name" stuck in my head from reading dewitt's post. Four words, such a concise summary of my attitude! :)
It's not about offending people. It's never about offending people.
Plenty of people could have delightfully off-color senses of humor, love playing Cards Against Humanity, and still find this name highly problematic. It's actually about the signals that we send by using language closely associated with groups or attitudes that have long histories of excluding women or others from our culture and community.
And just to throw an anecdote or two into the mix, I have at least two female friends in tech fitting that exact description who very explicitly avoid Hacker News for these reasons. Every time they see a woman speak up about being uncomfortable with some aspect of tech culture, their impression is that the community here closes ranks to shout her down rather than accepting the legitimacy of her experience. These are brilliant, fun, unflappable women, and they don't feel any need to subject themselves to that sort of crap. But that means that Hacker News (and to some degree, tech in general) doesn't get the benefit of their participation.
"Signals". Ok. So what's the signal being sent to women by a bunch of men that think that women are so weak that a mild mild MILD joke about fratboys is going to chase them away? (A lame joke that doesn't even involve women directly). Do you really think they're that emotionally fragile?
Don't you see how incredibly patronizing this discussion is towards the people it's supposedly benefiting?
Which do you think is more offensive: a comment that slightly gets under your skin, or someone questioning your ability to handle a comment that gets slightly under your skin?
Isn't the whole point of feminism that we treat women like normal fully functional adults that can stick up for themselves? I'm not a feminist, but how does shit like this help their cause?
It's difficult for me to see how you read my post as suggesting that the awesome women I know (or women in general) are emotionally fragile. I really tried to go out of my way to avoid giving that impression; that's why I called them "unflappable", among many other things.
I do understand the point you're aiming for here. But when the premise of your objection is so explicitly at odds with my actual words, it might be a good idea to ask yourself whether you really understand the point that I'm trying to make. (And not entirely succeeding in making, clearly!)
The biggest problem with your objection, to my eye, is that you're only talking about this as one isolated joke, while I'm trying to consider it as part of a broader pattern. The really frustrating part of this discussion, for me, is that I already made exactly that clarification to you (in more detail) nine hours ago in this same thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7122412). You didn't address that point then, and in writing what you have here you make it clear that it's still not something you're thinking about.
The pattern is the point. The cumulative impact of culture is the point. It's not calling women fragile to say that a lot of them get awfully sick of being peppered with these little signals of not-belonging hour after hour, day after day. Some may be fine with it, but many others clearly aren't. So why is it controversial to say "Ok, let's not do that"?
I'll attempt to explain the point I think overgard is making in a little more detail:
There are many ways to signal not-belonging. For example, conversations like this one send a signal of not belonging to people who are culturally lower-middle class (hypersensitive political correctness is a social signal of upper-middle class liberal types). I imagine a similar signal is sent to brogrammers.
It is clearly impossible to shield everyone from signals they do not belong, particularly from signals as subtle and tangential as the ones you are advocating against. So why do you single out women for protection on this ground?
Note: much like women, lower-middle class people are underrepresented in computing. So underrepresentation can't be the reason.
Just because a person may not have had the luxury of time (due to socioeconomic concerns) to think about how their behavior can demean and exclude others doesn't give them a pass forever.
We shouldn't tolerate ignorance, just because it's the lowest common denominator, exhibited by some people from the lower-middle class, as you put it. It's the world views behind ignorance that are most damaging, and I think the wealthier classes are probably just as guilty as the lower classes there, even if they can hide it behind gentility.
I think it's a lot different to ask people to adapt to a culture of mutual respect than to ask a woman to adapt to a locker room bro culture.
I can very much relate to the feeling of being "bullied" by "politically correct sorts" as you put it -- it's taken me a while to become confident enough in my own positions on the matter to not let the people who (in my opinion) go too far get to me (like some of the things mentioned in your link, which was a great read; thanks for that).
But that said, I think this argument (paraphrased: "This conversation excludes me, how is that better?") ultimately boils down to the same kind of protest that an anti-gay person often makes as a last resort: "you preach tolerance, why can't you be tolerant to my anti-gay point of view?" (Just to be clear, I am not calling anyone here anti-gay or anti-woman, it's just an analogy, which I will explain).
The overriding concern is that we take seriously people's experiences about what makes them feel excluded or unwelcome (and not just women). In other words, it's important that we are not dismissive of people's feelings or experiences. But the one thing we must be dismissive of is people's efforts to justify dismissiveness.
For anyone who thinks that being exclusive is no big deal, it is important that we stand up and be clear that it is important, because that's the only way for the group as a whole to truly be welcoming to the out-groups. Just as we must stand up to overt anti-gay intolerance, we must stand up to more subtle signaling when it is common and pervasive.
I don't believe that the people who made this program had any bad intentions, and I'm not meaning in any way to criticize or judge them. If they are made aware of the issue and don't think it matters at first, I can still find compassion because it can take a while to really become aware of why this is important. But even in feeling compassionate, it is still important that those of us who have come to appreciate this issue stand up and say why we think actions like this are harmful.
One final thought: communication "in the large" has different standards than communication with close friends or family. There would be nothing wrong with a joke like this between good friends or family, for several reasons:
1. within a close friend/family group, everyone is already part of the in-group
2. within a close friend/family group, mutual concern for each other is already established, and a person who has concerns has ways of voicing them and a reasonable expectation that those concerns will be taken seriously.
3. people within a close friend/family group know each other well enough to know how certain comments are intended; the potential for misinterpreting things is much lower.
Some of the things my close friends joke around about could sound horrifying and totally inappropriate to people outside our group, but all of us know what we mean by it and are cool with it. As long as we keep that to ourselves it doesn't matter. But with messaging that will reach a large group of people, it's a totally different story.
This is much longer than I intended or anticipated, sorry about that.
This whole phenomenon is actually much simpler than this whole thread makes it out to be. "bro" is used here as an ironic joke and with zero intent to be harmful. The counterargument is that intent doesn't matter, only effect. Well, who is being negatively effected by ironic jokes? Certainly not the people who see much beyond the surface imagery of words; IOW, the superficial. It's basically making something about you that isn't about you at all: trite people drama exemplar.
Then the question becomes whether the opinions of the superficial (masses) matters. Yes and no. For a mass market product intended for their consumption it's a bad idea to induce even righteously indignant offense, no matter how contrite. No in the more rational existential sense because it's pointless to pander to the bottomless pit of human stupidity. Que example of watering down science just because the anti-science crowd will never get it.
A short confession. After participating in this forum for a few years, I never thought this was an actual problem. Watching this whole thread of conversation has been very enlightening, and not in the way I had hoped.
So, on behalf of those of us who had not seen these attitudes before so blatantly on parade, my sincerest apologies.
For me that moment of realization came about three years ago, on an entirely different forum.
I came into a discussion (on a topic similar to this) between a female friend of mine and another guy a few hours after it started. Every post of his had me nodding: I probably would have said just the same thing if he hadn't beaten me to it. So it was frustrating and confusing to see my friend getting increasingly hurt and angry as they went: why couldn't she see how much this guy was making sense?
I was pretty intensely annoyed with her by that point. I decided that if I was going to be able to get through to her about why she was being unreasonable and this other guy was right, I'd have to dig through some of the links that she'd shared so I could make a convincing case that her position was unfair.
I read the articles she'd linked to, and I still couldn't figure out why she'd been so upset. Confused, I read them again. Then I read some of their links, and theirs, and began hunting for more. What had begun as a determined mission to convince my friend that she was blowing things way out of proportion gradually turned into a dawning horrified realization that I had been solidly and unthinkingly on the wrong side of this whole range of issues for years (despite thinking that I was very committed to gender equality).
Only those few hours of delay before I'd seen the original conversation had saved me from being the one saying totally insensitive and hurtful things to my friend, and I can still think of times in years past when I did say things that make me cringe today. Ever since, I've taken it as a sort of penance to try and share what little of this stuff I've started to understand whenever I see people talking about these issues the way I used to. I hope that it occasionally plants a seed of understanding for someone, even if it doesn't take hold right away.
Conversion experiences never do translate well to other people, do they? :)
But seriously, I hope that a 35-year-old coming to an unexpected new understanding of a concrete issue with measurable consequences for many other people whom he knows personally as a result of reading extensive rational arguments might be judged a little differently than a 15-year-old's enthusiasm about a personal faith experience.
One likely difference: I don't expect my account of coming to this realization to be what changes anyone's mind. (I'd be uncomfortable if it were.) I shared it here just to illustrate that a more or less rational person can make the shift that I did. Whether you make that same transition tomorrow or ten years from now or never isn't something I can control. It depends on how well you listen, and to whom, and how well you relate to what you've heard at any given time.
I had a similar moment of realization about gender equality once. I used to believe that IRC was a very nice medium because the gender of the participants was not revealed (unless they wanted to), so (I thought) it was entirely free from gender prejudices.
Then, I discussed with someone on the channel of a hackspace I used to go to (but had just started attending so I didn'n know the people well); I had never seen the guy IRL but he said he would attend the next session so I could figure out who he was in real life.
But when I come, none of the participants were him. And then a female participant shows up and a while later it turns out that "he" is her, and I was shocked to see how unexpected this felt.
I'm not implying that the IRC user being female was in any way shocking, nor did I believe that the women who had joined us (and, this time, the only female participant around) could not be a "real" participant to a hackspace. It's just that, while I had wondered of every participant whether it was that IRC guy or not, I just hadn't made the connection for her.
And, thus, I realized that, without even noticing it, no matter my opinions about gender prejudices, I must have had a pretty strong mental image of that IRC user being male, for me to be so surprised when she turned out to be female. IRC wasn't gender-neutral. It was male by default.
I'm not sure how related to the discussion this is, but for me this was the moment when I realized that prejudices weren't just something that stupid people did, and that I was also influenced by them even if (especially if) I didn't notice.
So you read about someone's experience proving otherwise (I have had similar experiences on IRC, getting treated shitty for being a woman) and you stated something else in an authoritarian fashion, without feeling the slightest need to prove your point. How... interesting.
Of course you didn't think that. I think your confusion stems from the fact that, when speaking about IRC, one speaks also about the community that uses IRC -- without the people using IRC, it would be useless, since its aim is to make communication possible. I'm a bit surprised this wasn't taken into account.
> That, by any definition, is 'gender neutral'.
No, because women receive shit and most users are considered male by default.
> Saying his personal experience proves anything about IRC as a medium is a stretch.
His experiences are not the only ones that exist. At least a couple female IRC users I know carefully chose handles that do not reveal their gender, because they wanted to spare themselves all the negative comments they received before the handle change.
Why do you need to tell people your gender on a communications medium that doesn't require you to? I don't consider anyone to be male or female on IRC, they're just users.
The thing I always loved about IRC was that even when I was 12 years old, people took me seriously, not because I was male, or white, or an adult, but because I was thoughtful and intelligent - age in this case being the key differentiating factor.
Disgusting sexist people exist. If you tell them your gender they may well attack you for it, because they are terrible people. What are we debating here? The only assertion I've made is that IRC is inherently gender neutral by definition.
So the thing you might be missing is that even when you think you're being appreciated for your intelligence, people have still been assuming that you are both white and male (and on IRC back in the day, probably a teen or young adult).
It's folly to think that you are free of prejudice with the only basis that you don't consciously hold these prejudices, because we (humanity, science) know for a fact that biases are much more deeply ingrained in most of us.
This is particularly hard for our demographic (programmers et al) to hear, because we consider ourselves rational. We like to think that we do things because we have thought them through. But all evidence points to the fact that we are just as susceptible to biases and prejudice as everyone else. Indeed, nobody seems to be free of it, but there is a silver lining: with an analytical approach, it is possible to examine biases and become aware of them, and eventually work through them.
How can you possibly make this generalisation? On IRC, people can assume whatever they like. Everyone might as well be naked running around doing the tango, if that is how that person chooses to see those users.
Why would a person even give a microseconds thought on whether or not I was white, black, male, female, whatever, and even if they do -- why is it _my_ responsibility as person putting the content out there to be one or the other?
You're right one one point - programmers do consider themselves to be rational. IRC is one place where biases simply don't exist by definition, because why would they? Nothing defining anything exists unless you explicitly want it to.
I find it extremely irking that you keep trying to insinuate that literally every person on IRC thinks of each other as a 'white male' like you describe. This reveals a problem, not systemic, but in yourself.
I don't think he's saying that there's anything fundamentally not neutral about IRC as a technical product. I think he's pointing out that the fact that it is gender neutral from a technical point of view does not mean that the experience is gender neutral in practice, because, as you've pointed out, people bring their own biases to the medium.
I believe his point is he realized that technology alone does not obviate sociological issues, after being confronted with his own bias in an unanticipated way.
In my experience, it's always about offending people. But only theoretically, of course. It's hard to find significant quantities of people who are actually offended, which is in itself deeply ~problematic.~
>their impression is that the community here closes ranks to shout her down rather than accepting the legitimacy of her experience
It does say a lot about you and your friends that they assume that anyone who disagrees with them isn't coming from a legitimate experience of their own. Why is it only you and your friends that are Designated Spokepersons for All Women? Not everyone on here is biologically male, you know. Some of the people who think Adria Richards is an idiot happen to be women. Quite a few, actually, since oversensitive feminists make life much harder for women in tech to be taken seriously.
> brilliant, fun, unflappable women
>But that means that Hacker News (and to some degree, tech in general) doesn't get the benefit of their participation.
Anyone this upset about the word "bro" isn't someone I want to spend time around anyway.
The risk isn't that someone gets all huffy and makes a big deal about being offended. It's that people who you would want to participate silently think to themselves "I don't want to deal with this" and then go away. It's explicitly not the oversensitive feminists I care about here; it's the reasonable, intelligent women and men who have a number of options on where to spend their time and choose not to spend it in communities where they feel unwelcome.
"Anyone who's offended by this isn't someone I want to spend time around anyway" can be a very effective way to filter your friends, but you have to be very careful that you apply it in a way that actually offends the right people. As an early-30s male in tech with a number of female friends and coworkers that I respect highly, I'll tell you that there are many people who my life has been quite enriched by who won't go near "brogrammer" culture or anything that sounds like it.
>The risk isn't that someone gets all huffy and makes a big deal about being offended. It's that people who you would want to participate silently think to themselves "I don't want to deal with this" and then go away. It's explicitly not the oversensitive feminists I care about here; it's the reasonable, intelligent women and men who have a number of options on where to spend their time and choose not to spend it in communities where they feel unwelcome.
This is exactly how I feel each time this gender crap gets posted to HN. I used to come to this site several times a day, especially for the brilliant comments but those comments and tech discussions have been pushed away by people like you who want to talk about gender and social justice.
Can't we have a site just about tech? With brilliant people who share their knowledge? The one place where we only care what is inside peoples heads and not their feelings?
FWIW if you go back about 3 pages in my comment history there are some highly technical posts that might be exactly what you're looking for. Things about Futamura projections, real-time web scalability, Python 3.4, Google open-source projects (of which I've authored a major one), etc.
"The one place where we only care what is inside peoples heads and not their feelings?"
Here's the thing: no, you can't. At least not if you want your work to have a big impact on the world. The real world outside of technology circles runs on emotions, and if you ignore them you'll isolate yourself into a small bubble of little relevance to the outside world.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn, because I've always been really facile with logic and really dumb about emotions. What made me eventually put in the effort to understand emotions better was that I hit a brick wall in what I could accomplish with code alone. I was writing a lot of code that was technically challenging but nobody was using or caring about, and getting outpaced by people who didn't really know how to code but were adept at getting others to work for them.
There are sites on the Internet - like the technical mailing lists and bugtrackers of specific open-source projects - which do focus exclusively on technical discussions. Hacker News has always had a focus on the impact of technology, though, and that includes social hacks through and about technology.
That you choose to dismiss others' humanity (as a hand-wave about "feelings") in favor of inert things is to me troubling and I'm pretty glad HN has not done as you'd like. People are important. They're much, much more important than One Weird Trick That Makes You Love Haskell.
"Tech" isn't a thing except in how people--people--use it and are affected by it and how they, in turn affect the world around them. It's natural that, yes, HN turns to discussions of how the tech community marginalizes some who'd like to be a part of it (and some who never had a chance to).
'''Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. "Immortality" may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean.'''
- A Mathematician's Apology, Hardy
''' "Tech" isn't a thing except in how people--people--use it and are affected by it and how they, in turn affect the world around them.'''
Pure mathematics, for most of history has had zero relevance and zero effect on society. So I suppose to you, "pure mathematics" isn't a thing because it is completely removed from the world.
I personally find math and "tech" more interesting than people. Just saying..
In my experience, it's always about offending people. But only theoretically, of course.
See, this is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about. I share my perception of this issue and that of multiple people I know personally to explain that "offended" isn't the way any of us view the issue, and to clarify how we actually do view it as best I can. And then you, in your first sentence, reject what I've said and instead claim it really is about being offended after all. Are you suggesting that I'm deliberately lying, or that I'm deluded, or what? You don't say. And then even though I've made note of specific personal connections that have led me to my understanding of the issue, you suggest that my supposed fear of offending people is purely theoretical.
You aren't listening. Or if you are, it sure doesn't feel like it. And that's at the root of this entire issue.
It does say a lot about you and your friends that they assume that anyone who disagrees with them isn't coming from a legitimate experience of their own.
I would love to see any quote by me that supports this claim. I have never intended to suggest that "not observing gender bias" is not an authentic description of many peoples' experience in the tech community, even for some women. My assertion is just that it is not everybody's experience, and that the people who do feel strongly affected by gender bias deserve to be heard and respected.
Why is it only you and your friends that are Designated Spokepersons for All Women?
Again, I can't think of any time that I have claimed such a role, but I'd welcome evidence to the contrary. Now, "Volunteer Advocate for a Community that Feels Welcoming to More Women", that I'll own up to.
> And just to throw an anecdote or two into the mix, I have at least two female friends in tech fitting that exact description who very explicitly avoid Hacker News for these reasons.
I'm a guy and I'm getting bloody tired of it. There was a blog post submitted here that had an imaginary conversation between a boss and developer. The explanatory text referred to the developer as "she". Cue people complaining about forced use of "she" being ridiculous and how they couldn't figure out if the author was trying to be "edgy".
Personally "bropages" just sounds childish, like if it was called 31337_h4x><or_pages.
You are correct, it's about signaling. However, we have to think about whether one type of signaling should be privileged over another just by virtue of being particularly loud and obnoxious. (Note that this goes both ways).
The "right" of one type of signaling to suppress others is a privilege, after all.
Unflappable except supposedly they literally can't read this website out of the inescapable fear that someone will make a pun about man pages, and then someone else will be unimpressed with their outrage at a pun about man pages.
Another offended man checking in. Why is it so hard to accept that sexist language and actions are offensive to men?
I suspect that most people would agree that white people can be offended by the use of terms like "nigger", or jokes about slavery. So then why can't men be offended by misogynistic language or jokes that are likely to create a hostile environment for women?
I clicked, I saw the name and was a little turned off but thought maybe it was just a clever shortening of a reasonable word I hadn't thought of (the way "man" is short for "manual").
Then I saw the "girls are bros too" thing and I realized that nope, the authors are just insensitive at best, jackasses at worst. They saw the complaints coming, but they thought it was more important to make some sort of off-color joke than to have their product taken seriously as the useful tool it could be.
How is "girls are bros too" or the term "bro" an off-color joke or insensitive. Maybe it's just the culture that I come from, but while "bro" certainly can be used to refer to douche-bag college guys it was more often used as "hanging out with my bros" (equivalent to "hanging out with my best friends"), which certainly could be (and for us, it was) gender agnostic.
I think equating "bro" to "nigger" is a huge effort to be offended. I opened the page after reading this comments and expected to see frat insignia, cleavage, etc.... Plain blue on white. Literally 200 comments on this page because they made a clever play on the term "manpages", something that any computer professional recognizes. Truly impressive work by those looking for something to be outraged about.
In what way is this sexist? There is not a single word of disparagement on that site. Nobody in their right mind would say that the word "bro" is sexist unless they're explicitly looking to be offended. (IE: picking a fight)
The term "bro" has been closely associated in the tech world lately with things like "brogrammer" culture. I don't know whether that was the intended reference in this case (though it seems pretty likely to me that something of the sort was on the authors' minds when they chose the name: why else would the term feel relevant?).
But the real issue isn't "What did they intend?" in any case: it's "What impact might this have on others in our community (or thinking about joining it)?" And intended or not, the name of this tool will call to mind the "brogammer" image for a lot of people. And that image is a significant part of what makes the tech community feel hostile to a lot of women.
And as I've said elsewhere, these issues aren't about people feeling offended. They're about people feeling excluded. There's a tremendous difference.
Here's the problem with your argument: since there's nothing actually hostile towards women on that page, what you're basically saying is that any expression of male culture at all is "hostile". It's like saying "stop being men! it's chasing all the women away!".
This isn't an answer. It's still a reminder of genderedness just as much as bro is. The word "niggardly" is offensive to some because of its similarity to the n-word. That doesn't make its offense less real.
Brogrammer culture is hostile to women (at least in the sense that most women would feel less comfortable in a workplace dominated by that culture). It doesn't sound like you're arguing against that point.
So to the extent that the name of the "bro" command invokes that culture (and that's the point of the joke, right?), it reinforces the association between brogrammer attitudes and tech in general. Embedding that association into the tools we all use seems like a really bad idea. And yes, it could make programming feel one step more hostile for quite a lot of women (and men, for that matter).
Fundamentally, I don't think that either intensely male culture or intensely female culture (or for that matter intensely Democratic culture or intensely Republican culture or intensely Episcopalian culture or...) have any place in a professional environment (unless you're working at a Democratic campaign office or an Episcopalian summer camp or...).
> Brogrammer culture is hostile to women (at least in the sense that most women would feel less comfortable in a workplace dominated by that culture). It doesn't sound like you're arguing against that point.
I don't even know what that is. Outside the bubble of HN I doubt most people have even heard the phrase.
"Bro" for most people references dumb fratboys. Maybe it's a word that's offensive to fratboys, but I can't see why a woman would ever find it offensive.
I don't know that the problem is so much "offence" as it is reinforcing what has historically been an exclusive culture. As has been pointed out, regardless of the intent of the name, it is going to put off some people. Imagine sitting next to a friend, perhaps just getting introduced to the command line, and telling them, "Hmm... let's check what Bro says!" It just gives a certain connotation.
As a bit more extreme example, imagine a command line tool called "aryan". Sure, the name in and of itself might not be offensive, strictly speaking, but it's definitely something that would, and should, be frowned upon. The word has some important connotations.
I can see two important things to say in response here:
1. I'm surprised that you don't know what "brogrammer culture" is, but that's okay. The point, though, is that for a lot of other people (particularly women) it is a familiar thing and it makes them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. You may not have had that experience, but part of having empathy for others is respecting that their experiences are still legitimate even if yours has been different.
2. It's been a lengthy discussion here, so maybe it's not repeating myself too much to say again that "offensive" really isn't an accurate characterization of the objections here. Plenty of people who have wonderfully off-color senses of humor might still consider this inappropriate. The issue isn't "this makes me feel offended", it's "this makes me feel excluded". That's a really important distinction.
(And to tie this in with point 1, even if you personally do not experience this sort of thing in a way that feels like it's excluding people, it's important to listen when substantial numbers of other people tell you that they do have that experience.)
I personally find it EXTREMELY offensive that you assume women have such delicate sensibilities that they wouldn't find this funny or simply see it as a joke. What do you think they are children or mentally incapable of processing wordplay? In this context, "bro" is an obvious pun on "man", what more needs to be said about this?
I don't know a single woman who would feel excluded by this but know plenty who would find it offensive that a random white knight is getting offended on their behalf and creating a huge fuss assuming they are weak little creatures that don't have the basic social skills to process this as a joke.
Am I also supposed to be offended because I'm not American and the word "bro" is so specific to the American frat boy culture and doesn't exist anywhere else in the world? Should I get upset and walk out of the room in indignation every time my American coworker calls me "bro"? Am I supposed to feel excluded by that? Would you like to get offended on my account as well?
Get real man. It really takes a mind of special caliber to even connect something like this with gender issues and I'm sure most women would agree.
Me. Right here. I am a woman and while I can obviously recognize that it is a joke, seeing these "jokes" everywhere is literally the worst part of my day. Reading tech news, browsing this site, and on every other technology related site, 10+ times every day I am inundated with these hilarious "jokes" implicitly suggesting that this community, this interest, is for a specific group of people that I am not, and will never be, a part of. It sucks. Like others are saying, it's not that I can't recognize it as a joke or that I feel "offended," it's just simply exclusionary.
Actually, it's not even exclusionary by itself. Which is probably why so many people can't recognize this issue. It's the fact that I wade through DOZENS of these types of things every day, and they all add up.
Rather than forcing the entire world to change to fit your world views and personality, it's always a better idea to simply stop seeking validation from the world and stop caring about things like this. If you are feeling excluded it's because you are choosing to feel excluded, not because anyone is deliberately trying to make you feel that way. I am a western person living in an incredibly exclusionary and xenophobic east Asian country and if I cared about every time I'm treated differently, I'd go nuts. And since I am a white person living among a bunch of Asians, trust me when I say that I get treated differently all the time. People often start acting differently when I enter the room, store clerks and waiters often treat me a bit different than the locals etc. And you know what? Most of that is not even intentional. It's just the way humans are and that's ok.
You can't force people to give up every single piece of their identity and what makes them different in order to fit this new politically-correct bland mold of people who all act and think the same so that no one feels "excluded". As humans we are different, diverse, have different types of humor depending on the geography, age, gender, subcultures etc. Being able to cope with that is part of being a mature, well adjusted person.
All this PC "let's-all-be-the-same-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya" crap is getting tiresome. It goes against everything that makes us human, different and unique. If that's the world you want to live in - fine - keep going with your crusade and feeling indignant every time someone shows a trace of uniqueness and being different. I for one refuse to live in such a suffocating colorless world. I love being different from other people because everyone is more interesting that way, and yet at the end of the day I can still find a way to relate to others.
The world owes us nothing. If you decide to take away positive aspects from your daily experiences, that's what you'll get. If you decide to feel miserable and angry when people don't act the way you want them to act, then sadness and misery is what you'll get.
Since I know that some blockhead is going to try to strawman me, I will preempt that by saying that I don't believe we should start calling black people "niggers" or take away women's right to vote. Just saying that if people manifest their diversity in a way that's not harmful to others, there is no reason to get upset.
So, I'm male and I'll confess that if this debate had happened a year ago I would've been firmly on your side, arguing that the onus is on the offendee not to be offended.
I think that's what's changed for me is the recognition that we're all imperfect, we're human, and sometimes we'll offend people by accident but that doesn't excuse us from trying to change things for the better once we realize we've offended someone. The reason I'd argued that "you're going to get offended, deal with it" was because I felt that if I didn't believe that, I'd be on the hook for every possible minor offense I might cause, and there's no possible way that I could know of or predict all of them beforehand. But eventually I realized that that's not what people are asking: they just want you to understand that from the POV of someone marginalized, such comments are exclusionary, and to do your best not to make them in the future. It's not about censoring every possible utterance you might make in the future, it's about self-censoring this one.
Nobody's asking you to give up your identity. But the thing is - is being able to use the word "bro" such a core part of your identity that avoiding it means giving up your identity? Could you just avoid it as a favor to the people out there who feel bad when they hear it?
> Nobody's asking you to give up your identity. But the thing is - is being able to use the word "bro" such a core part of your identity that avoiding it means giving up your identity? Could you just avoid it as a favor to the people out there who feel bad when they hear it?
I would avoid it if it was a slur that belittles other people. So no. If you choose to be offended by a word that young men in North America men use to fraternize, it's your problem. I'm not even American and I really couldn't care less when my American coworkers call me "bro".
Let's say I find dogs offensive and dog owners alienating. Is it reasonable for me to ask the society to be more mindful of my feelings and make people stop walking dogs while I'm out? No, and I think we can agree that a person making such a request would likely be borderline mentally ill, or at the very least, unadjusted to living in the society. So where do we draw a line between mental illness and a simply asking not to be excluded? If everyone's opinion is equally respected, who is the authority that decides what's reasonable and what's not? Let me guess, you? Because it furthers your purpose right?
In fact, I've just remembered we have a git branch at work called "bro". Makes me realize the dire implications of a simple joke like that - we could potentially get sued by an intolerant employee. No wonder companies have started looking for culture fits these days, it's become very risky and expensive to hire people who are different because there is a good chance they will sue over frivolous reasons. Not saying I am like that, but can you see where I am going with this and how this mindset is actually damaging to minorities? Can you see how many employers would just choose to not hire a minority person simply because they are afraid of the implications? This way of thinking does MORE DAMAGE than good. Does what I wrote make sense?
Not everything has to fit into a giant unified philosophical framework. It's okay to avoid things simply because they make people unhappy. It's also okay not to have a single arbiter of "right" and "wrong" and just to think in pragmatic terms of "will my words attract the type of people I want to attract, or repel people who I might otherwise want to work with?"
Anyway, I'm not offended. I can see why some other people would be. My purpose with this comment thread is just to explain why and how my opinion has shifted over the past year, and possibly provide a different perspective. What you or any bystander chooses to do with that information is up to you.
No one is asking anyone to stop using the word bro. It is about context. As in, being mindful about using the word bro when both men and women are involved in a field where women are actively discouraged from participating in the first place.
> women are actively discouraged from participating in the first place.
Alienating people by having extremist attitudes is surely not doing you any favors in terms of getting more accepted.
It helps to keep a sense of humor about things. No one is being discriminated against. The man created a Linux command line tool and did a word play on the original name. If you find this offensive and exclusionary instead of seeing it as a clever pun, you've got serious baggage. Over and out.
I didn't find the bro thing offensive. What I DO find offensive is you marginalizing gender issues by comparing them to your experience vacationing in Asia.
I am not "miserable" or "angry." I was trying to let you know why women have a problem with this type of thing. Nowhere did I say everyone should be the same. But usually, there is a balance to the "jokes". To use your example from your time in Asian (or rather a parallel one, because an Asian in America is not really opposite to an american in asia): an Asian man in Africa would be treated differently. Just as an African man in Asia would be treated differently. In tech-related fields, women are treated differently. Everywhere. There is no anti-parallel universe (in tech) where women actually have the advantage, where women are making "sis" jokes about other women. That is the difference. We are, to use your analogy, white people living in Asia except there is nowhere else to live.
> What I DO find offensive is you marginalizing gender issues by comparing them to your experience vacationing in Asia.
This comment pisses me off. Living in a foreign country and being marginalized is completely different from being a woman in the tech field in a first world western democracy. I get reminded of the fact that I'm different literally every time I leave my apartment and deal with another human being, whereas for you it happens when you open HN and see a joke about bros or something to that effect. I have literally been denied housing multiple times on the account of not being a local and that fact wasn't even hidden from me. Do I care? Not really, I just went elsewhere and sorted it out. As I said, you can't change people but you can choose who you deal with and how you perceive the world.
>We are, to use your analogy, white people living in Asia except there is nowhere else to live.
You are literally complaining about something that is a first world problem and completely blowing it out of proportion. People like you give female and minority tech workers a bad name. What employer wants to hire someone who is going to cause a shitstorm and potentially threaten with lawsuits every time someone cracks a well meaning joke. I for one would now be very wary of hiring you for the fear of you not tolerating other people at the office, or even worse, suing me and my company. Good job sister. You sound like tons of fun to be around.
The fact that you're being discriminated against and keep saying that "it's just human nature" and you "don't mind" doesn't mean that other people can't campaign against discrimination. Unless you are actively supporting it? Is your argument that we should have more discrimination, or just that we should turn a blind eye?
PS - this sort of thing is ingrained in everything technology related. Not just in HN articles about bros.
> doesn't mean that other people can't campaign against discrimination.
Of course not, I never said that. I don't support discrimination in any way. I love different people and all the diversity living in such a society entails. I love living in such a vastly different world and interacting with different people on daily basis, even if it sometimes causes misunderstandings to happen. I am just asking everyone to check their emotional baggage at the door and act like mature well adjusted individuals and stop pretending that well meaning cultural references/jokes/memes are the same thing as discrimination/racism/sexism etc. There IS a difference. Let's stop acting intentionally obtuse and conflating these things.
> Is your argument that we should have more discrimination, or just that we should turn a blind eye?
You are attacking a strawman. I neither said that we should have discrimination nor that we should turn a blind eye to it. I hate discrimination with a passion. But I am equally against people who think they can fight discrimination by forcing everyone to hide any signs of cultural identity. Do you realize that those things kill diversity worse than any discrimination? Do you have any idea how harmful it is for diversity, creativity and the society as a whole when everyone starts acting the same in fear of being labeled a bigot/racist/sexist? Blatant discrimination and your way of fighting discrimination have exactly the same effect of suffocating diversity - they just happen to be placed on the opposite sides of the spectrum.
Anyway, I'm done having a discussion here because no matter how reasonable I am trying to be here, you are still sticking to your extremist attitudes and failing to see my point. Good luck.
You said "I have literally been denied housing multiple times on the account of not being a local and that fact wasn't even hidden from me. Do I care? Not really"
To me, that sounds a lot like you "not really caring" about "prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category" which is the wikipedia definition of discrimination. So I'm not seeing the strawman here.
You're moving the discussion goalposts. This isn't about housing in Asia and I have no time to discuss that. I have made my opinion on racism and discrimination well known. If you are choosing to ignore that and move goalposts around, it just proves you're an unreasonable person.
YOU moved the discussion goalposts by bringing up your trip to Asia in the first place. And then you told me I had no right to be indignant about the systematic exclusion of women from tech because it was a "first world problem" compared to the discrimination you faced in Asia which, of course, you didn't even care about anyway! So don't try to tell me that I'm unreasonable.
She's not. You made a poor point toward the larger argument, you got called out on it and now you're trying to back out of it. You're claiming that it's off-topic or "moving the goal posts", when in reality it speaks to the very core of what you're not understanding on this issue.
It's not about whether or not you find it offensive or exclusionary. It's about whether or not many others would reasonably find it offensive and/or exclusionary. And it asks so little of you too. It's such a small consideration to choose a name that wouldn't contribute toward reminding women that technology/software is a "man's world."
As read in an earlier HN post, being a programmer is all about having been socially excluded from evry circle. At 7 yo, excluded from football. At 8 from the local bike boys. At 16 from any group at high school. At student age because I'm a nerd. At 29 because a woman stepped ahead for the management job I hoped for. Do I look unhappy? I still have the best job someone could hope for. And tolerant friends.
Part of the happy programmer's life is, being socially excluded and building a potentially successful life for above social considerations.
A similar experience of being an outsider also pushed me into programming. I think it's sad that although so many in programming can directly empathize with feeling excluded, there's such a push to protect exclusionary aspects of the programming world.
Congrats to us, we've paid forward the insults, instead of making a better space.
Amusingly, wasn't the original 'brogrammer' pitch used to describe programmers that were not excluded from the rest of male culture; that fitted in with the 'usual' non-nerdy male fraternity stereotypes - athletic and sporty or physical - but also intelligent...?
Not really. It's just extraordinarily discouraging to be constantly reminded of a problem so deeply ingrained in millions of people that it couldn't possibly be completely addressed in my lifetime. It's pretty hard to stare into the abyss of those types of problems.
I was working in NC for a few years. I did not hear the term "brogrammer", but after leaving there and learning the term, it applied to several companies I knew. The typical setup was younger men with a manager in his 30s or early 40s. It was a tight knit group, they hung out together after hours, drank together, sports activities together, picked up women at bars (or tried to). Strong encouragement to work overtime, and their bonding made this an easier sell. They were doing overtime for <boss's first name>! He needs their help!
It was very much a culture that women did not fit into. And female programmers I knew tended to get put into CM and documentation roles, despite being very good programmers in their own right (better than most of the men in at least one case). And a guy that doesn't drink or want to go hit on chicks together with the boss as a wingman (because they're gay, in a relationship, or just don't enjoy that scene) didn't fit in either. The term may be a Silicon Valley thing, but the phenomenon is not.
How is this a culture than women do not fit into? Are women not allowed to go into bars and "hit on" guys? Women are 1/2 of the equation here, if there were no women in bars, guys would have nobody to "hit on".
Btw, this is a phenomenon is certainly not any more common than in other professions .. watch any television show about cops, lawyers, bankers or doctors .. it's just our culture.
But what women is going to go out with the team of 5-6 guys to do that?
Of course that begs the question, would a lot of these problems be lessened if there was simply more women?
You can hardly ask guys to stop forming friendships based on things that will often exclude women. It's going to happen. It's a problem when women find their careers suffering because of it, or when they don't get a chance to form friendships they can enjoy at work. Yes, they can be friends with men, but it's going to be harder when it's a bunch of guys who want to go do things that a bunch of guys do.
1) Culture on television has rarely matched culture in real life, IME. At best it's an exaggeration, but more often it's just a fabrication.
2) They certainly can, but in this culture it's not uncommon for guys to come back on Monday bragging about the "chicks" they banged, or tried to bang. And that's the sort of language they use. It's crass and classless, and off-putting to many people (not just women, but as they're the group specifically being denigrated it's even worse for them).
1) Are you saying this culture is more common amongst programmers than say i-bankers? If so, I think you're delusional or you've never been in manhattan at night.
2) I've never heard my friends who are girls complain about getting in free without cover to nightclubs/bars when guys had to pay cover, and they are well aware of why this is happening.
This is a culture that most people buy into without question .. I'm not saying it's good or bad, it's just our culture. If you want to change it, then say that's what you want to change, don't go after hackers who, in my experience, are far less into this culture than other demographics.
>I'm not saying it's good or bad, it's just our culture
Let me say it for you then: It's bad.
>If you want to change it, then say that's what you want to change, don't go after hackers who, in my experience, are far less into this culture than other demographics.
"Other people are worse, so these guys are okay."
Yeah, no. Maybe the reason that so many of us are going after hacker culture first is because it is a culture that we are a part of and one that we would like to see make positive changes on these issues first.
We are also part of the larger culture. The strategy of going after the use of the semi-word "bro" is going to be entirely ineffectual in reaching the outcome you want.
1. Women are equal participants in the larger culture you claim to abhor. This goes back all the way to childhood, the sports kids play, the clothes you wear, the toys they get etc, who asks who to prom, etc.
2. Failing to participate in that larger culture (i.e. buying girls drinks etc) means you will not realize the benefits of being cool or popular.
3. Even the tiny % of people who are hackers decide to forgo what they had never really had a lot of (popularity, acceptance etc), the effect on society as a whole will be minimal.
His whole point was that what is on that page IS hostile to many women in the community or thinking about joining it. You don't get to decide what offends or hurts other people. If the authors had wanted this to be a cute in-joke for the bros, then why did they publish it to the entire world? Why not just send it around to their male friends, but use a more appropriate (and they KNEW the name wasn't appropriate because they tried to cutely head off controversy in their examples) name when they launched it to the public?
How about just: don't use it if you don't like it.
> If the authors had wanted this to be a cute in-joke for the bros, then why did they publish it to the entire world?
Are you suggesting that people should refrain from publishing things that are contrary to mainstream fashions? (I can't call all this let's-see-gender-issues-in-everything crap anything else than a stupid fashion that hopefully goes away soon)
Also, the joke is about the man pages. Not woman pages (though those exist in Emacs). I suggest we burn Unix and derivatives (and Emacs, this sexist bastard) on the stake of gender issues.
> How about just: don't use it if you don't like it.
But I want to use it, it looks like a great tool. Forking it just to use a different name seems unfair and waste of everyones resources.
> Are you suggesting that people should refrain from publishing things that are contrary to mainstream fashions?
It's not about mainstream "fashion", but about a certain cultural neutrality. I don't ask for this neutrality when you publish articles, essays etc., but when you write tools (or name tools for that matter) I greatly appreciate a mindset where you care about the vastly different context people might come from.
> Also, the joke is about the man pages. Not woman pages (though those exist in Emacs).
But - as said before - man pages have nothing to do with men and everything with manual. To underline the point: I didn't get the joke until I read the third Hackernews comment. I just don't associate man pages with gender.
You should ask yourself why this is. Would that be the same for an outsider who is trying to find her way around programming?
You don't associate man with gender because in your mind is associated with documentation. The usage of it in that context for X years has superseded the default association with gender. Eventually the same will happen for bropages. Either way, newcomers do not have the luxury of this association so will have to deal with the gender reminder from man and bro pages. Would you be in favor of eliminating the term man pages in favor of making programming more welcoming to women?
> The usage of it in that context for X years has superseded the default association with gender.
Well, no. ^^
I just looked up `man` in the book I learned basic Linux usage from and the section is labeled "Manpages" and before the first "man" occurs the abbreviation is explained: "You can look up these manual pages with the program `man`." (Translated from German). Not being a native speaker I didn't even associate it with men before.
> Either way, newcomers do not have the luxury of this association so will have to deal with the gender reminder from man and bro pages.
They can if they are introduced it correctly: "Hey how does Y work? - Take a look at the manpage - The what? - The manual page. Let me show you…". And this abbreviation can totally be justified in a context where even "move" and "list" are shortened.
> Eventually the same will happen for bropages.
Possibly, but the bad joke will always stick. Heck, you can't even explain where the name comes from without explicitly invoking this association.
Maybe the divide in our community also partially originates from different associations with `man`. Even if bropages didn't have any gender issues I would still think its not a good name, because (as said before and before) for me man pages have nothing to do with men. Possibly if I would "get" the joke I would be more reluctant to give the name up.
Language doesn't work that way actually. Associations persist long past the point of it being "explained" in a different way. Associations are not logical, they're more emotional than anything. You may not experience it the same way because of english being your non-primary language, but the association is real to native speakers. I remember very clearly when I first learned of man pages (as a native speaker) the association with "male" was real and made the term awkward to me. After 15 years its just documentation now.
'Does what it says on the tin' is a common phrase in English, usually applied to mean a product is simple and effective. I guess it's meant to contrast against the marketing hyperbole that you often read on tin labels.
I like that very much. It accurately describes my use case for bropages. And - getting back to some cultural neutrality - you can explain its meaning just fine without referring to the recent usage context in "the" Internet.
I'm not saying you're an asshole, I don't know enough about you to make that call, but comments like this really make you sound like one. You're basically saying, "I refuse to even try to live harmoniously with others because they're just going to keep demanding shit from me."
If you don't want or care to examine your thoughts and actions, that's fine, but getting all high and mighty about it by invoking Kipling and comparing them to marauding Vikings is just silly.
I suppose you didn't see the irony of you calling him an a*sehole?
The fact that you did it in some round-about passive-aggressive way makes you look even more of one. You see how this just goes around in circles?
Look, I think giving up is the wrong tact so I can politely disagree with his viewpoint - we should make an effort not to be dicks - but I certainly get what he's saying.
And in my opinion, this stupid bike-shedding about OMGGG!!! He called a project "Bro!!!!" is definitely an example of this.
People with too much time, and nothing useful to do.
Guys, somebody made an effort to contribute to open-source - and if you actually knew anything about the history of OSS, you'd know this isn't the first name that's caused some small group to kick up a stink.
I mean, jeez, "git" - I didn't even see the issue until somebody pointed it out.
Or MongoDB - I thought that was stretching it, but no, there really are people offended by that.
The list goes on.
Basically, there will always be somebody, out there on the Internets that will get offended.
I don't think there's anything wrong with deciding in a particular case whether the complainants are being goobers or not.
What I do see a problem with is just assuming that everyone trying to do their part to moderate culture so as to be more inclusive is just an Internet whiner. That's just anti-social and it perpetuates the problem of sexism in hacker culture.
Huffington Post: "Few Identify As Feminists, But Most Believe In Equality Of Sexes"
Telegraph: "Just one in seven women describes themselves as 'feminist'"
Jezebel: Quotes from privileged, mostly white women, talking about how they don't need feminism. (btw, Beyonce and Lady Gaga had radicalized since this article)
Not sure how the posted links are to prove that "no one wants to be associated with feminism anymore". But it's ok, take your time, I'm still very interested.
> I'm not saying you're an asshole, I don't know enough about you to make that call,
Thank you for not making it.
> but comments like this really make you sound like one. You're basically saying, "I refuse to even try to live harmoniously with others because they're just going to keep demanding shit from me."
That's not what I meant, though it might have sounded like this. Please, consider it in the broader context of this thread.
I'm not refusing to "even try to live harmoniously with others"; if you knew me, you'd probably find I'm a very tolerant and cooperative person. The thing I refuse to is to live in a world where I have to weight every single word I utter, lest someone, somewhere, will feel offended because of ever-growing list of reasons.
Feeling offended is first and foremost the decision of a person which feels offended. There are things that are meant to be insulting, and it is good the society combats them, but then there are things that are just plain neutral until someone decides to pick a fight over them. I strongly believe this is the case here. What I refuse is to be a part of culture that is mostly defined by things you can't say.
People here talk about inclusive culture. Unleashing a gender shitstorm over a program name is not a sign of inclusive culture, it's a sign of culture that tries to weed out all diversity instead of celebrating it.
As for Kipling reference, it was literally one of the first things that popped into my mind when reading comment threads here - that we allow people to be offended over little, meaningless things, and therefore they'll find more things to be offended about - for karma, feeling of self-importance, mistaken belief that it matters, or whatever reason they're doing it for.
> Please, consider it in the broader context of this thread.
I'm trying to consider it in the broader narrative of the social struggle of women. What you may consider a harmless statement of opinion, in fact looks like a callous dismissal from the stance of privilege.
> Feeling offended is first and foremost the decision of a person which feels offended.
This reminds me of people who say that being gay is a choice. Sure a gay guy could choose to sleep with only women, in the same way I could choose to eat unsweetened shredded wheat for every meal. It's still a crappy thing to demand someone else do.
If your wife, or someone you care for, got really offended at something you said, would you then tell her that getting offended was her choice and she shouldn't do that?
> Unleashing a gender shitstorm over a program name is not a sign of inclusive culture, it's a sign of culture that tries to weed out all diversity instead of celebrating it.
I don't consider myself a class warrior. The last thing I need is to glorify myself by trying to fight someone else's battle. So you won't see me participating in the shitstorms, or throwing any.
I would take note that people are getting very offended whenever project names refer to a culture of exclusion, whether I feel it's being perceived so or not. And then not perpetuate it. Someday we might be able to use 'bro' in the context of a tech project, that day is not today. So just pick something else. As a white male I know I'm used to this already, the day I got slapped in class for daring to utter the n-word was the last time I used it without thinking carefully.
But I would be loathe to be dismissive of other people's struggle, either. I don't need to throw my unhelpful opinions and observations into the mix as to the ugliness of the proceedings.
> As for Kipling reference, it was literally one of the first things that popped into my mind when reading comment threads here - that we allow people to be offended over little, meaningless things, and therefore they'll find more things to be offended about - for karma, feeling of self-importance, mistaken belief that it matters, or whatever reason they're doing it for.
Why do you feel that these things are little or meaningless? That doesn't even make sense in light of the reference. The Vikings certainly weren't little or meaningless. Kipling was saying to society, "you should not be so soft, fight back against the Danes for your dignity."
By not paying off the Danes, the nation is inviting war and destruction. What really are you risking?
> You don't get to decide what offends or hurts other people.
While this is of course true, I do not believe that what offends other people should dictate our actions. There is someone out there to be offended for everything you could imagine. Implying that homosexuality is OK or that the universe is billions of years old will offend literally millions of people in the US alone. Implying that women should be allowed to go to school or marry who they want is offensive to plenty of people in the wlrld too.
It would be ridiculous to cater to those people's sensitivities! And I feel that it is silly to worry about things like the word "bro".
>While this is of course true, I do not believe that what offends other people should dictate our actions
But it does. Every day. You'd have a pretty hard time if you had absolutely zero filter on what you said to other people and absolutely no concern for other people's feelings.
>It would be ridiculous to cater to those people's sensitivities!
You're comparing religious suppression of women and homosexuals to creating a conducive and friendly environment for women in technology. These are literally the opposite things.
It's like saying "we can't have laws against killing people just because we find it morally reprehensible! some people find allowing gay people to live morally reprehensible! any law at all just puts on a slippery slope toward executing homosexuals!"
>And I feel that it is silly to worry about things like the word "bro".
Again, it has nothing to do with what you find silly or frivolous. This isn't about you. Until you are truly able to understand that, you're never going to get anywhere on truly understanding issues like this.
If you're going to police people on their specific word choice over their intent and actual meaning, are you concerned about hurting "innocent" people? Not everyone loads the same baggage onto the word "bro" that you do. If you're the most sensitive person in the room or office, do you set the rules for speech?
Also, the majority of people (both men & women) are hostile to brogrammers so why make it a gender issue?
Git is associated with completely ignorant, childish, and lacking in manners. So what? It's the name of a piece of software, and if there's sufficient adoption, it starts to lose its old meaning in a tech context.
Right. I'm just pointing out that it's fine to name software something gendered or something associated with obnoxious, disrespectful people. See Julia and Git, respectively, for examples of the above that seem to be working out just fine.
The real problem is that 'bro' is inherently masculine in a male-dominated industry - which has unfortunate implications if we're trying to be inclusive of women. That's it. If people use it enough as a technical term for a piece of software, maybe 'bro' - like 'man' - will stop feeling weird when you type it into the command line.
Until then, it absolutely is offensive and unwelcoming.
> Bro is associated with obnoxious, stupid, despicable, disrespectful.
This sounds a hell of a lot more like an issue with you vs an issue with the term. When I think of 'bro', I think of the short form of calling someone brother endearingly. I wasn't even aware of the frat context until a few years ago. Hell, even within the frat context, it's not necessary "obvnoxious, stupid, despicable, disrespectful", it's just a young guy who's part of the party culture that's associated with college, at least in the US.
I never get that impression when my brother calls me "little bro." And all my friends who were/are close enough to treat like brothers. I'd call women who are that close sis if the culture around gender weren't so weird and arbitrary.
In the off-chance that you somehow don't get the really basic implications here, let me explain it on a simple level.
"Bro Pages" associate this piece of software with bros, men. Such an association can imply that the creators and/or user of the pages will be "bros", men, as opposed to women. That could be "just a joke" if you didn't have a significant, visible people of guys who are obnoxious and immature enough to actually be hostile to women participating in programming.
When you have a hostile atmosphere, an overt (if ambiguous) statement that something is for someone else enhances, increases that hostility. A woman who is already facing hostility is certainly not "picking a fight" when she notices that naming something "bro pages" isn't a friendly gesture towards welcoming her. In fact, it is the opposite.
-- And that's not even touching the way "bro" has become synonymous lately with snicker, immature, sexist guys. Even "guy pages", "dude pages" or "pages of men" would be bad.
Apparently a more informative name for a good idea would be bad, because IT males can be prone to persecution complexes over simple questions. Hell, we IT folks are defensive enough when questioned about bugs that we are responsible for, much less anything more meta about what we do.
And yes, there is that hostile, defensive atmosphere on full display here.
It is offensive because it has high potential to create a hostile environment for women. This isn't just me and a few people making shit up, read my comment, it's obvious that the authors knew they were on shaky ground. They tried to defuse the situation with a cute little comment, but it would have been better to just change the name.
>It is offensive because it has high potential to create a hostile environment for women.
Are you kidding? Maybe if they named it bitchpages instead of bropages. Bro is used in many ways, one of which is as a term of endearment. Even if you take it in the brogrammer context, it's still a derogatory name for men, not women.
TIL that insulting men is misogyny. I guess it's like how when men die in wars, the real victims are still the women safe at home.
What creates a hostile environment for woman is where a sector, made of predominately men is scrutinized with a hysterical "boy who cried wolf" mentality.
It's a vicious cycle.
1. First there is a tiny group of feminists, mostly consisting of marketers, call themselves coders, but if you were look them up, they're twittering and having fun more than building. They seem very happy to stir indignation.
2. Then, people in positions of power bend toward the illegitimate trolls who cried wolf. I'm talking, the word "meritocracy" being offensive by github CEO , python board members referring to geekfeminism.org as a charter  for pycon conferences.
Pack up and go home, these are the leaders, the chiefs, the alphas of engineers - and they are cowing down to politically correct trolls on twitter, who aren't even participants to the causes.
Twitter and blogs allow anyone to claim to be anything. You used to need a degree to Marketer! Now any girl with an iPhone can be one! Twitter lets anyone call themselves a programmer.
However, Github holds people accountable for actually having to program - funny how meritocracy came up as a bad word to these people!
What is really creating a hostile work environment for woman? I can tell you, men who stay silent watching this bogus stuff happen, woman with legitimate skill and talent may be cast off as a liability.
Consider this: if you are a woman, and you would let a bad joke ruin someone's life, or abuse politically correct sympathy as a female to get benefits - is that going to help your cause? If you are a leader or boss, and you let these trolls shape you - You lack backbone. I feel this is a lack of integrity, and they're not fit to lead.
I hope leaders set an example and not feed these attention trolls and call their crap out. These are woman creating a hostile environment for woman who would otherwise feel grateful to earn their way and belong.
Hey dude, here's a hint: perhaps these women are arguing on social media because guys like you fail to give them the basic modicum of respect as a human being, and they have to spend time fighting to be respected, which takes away from their time to build stuff. Whereas, unlike your privileged life wherein people don't fundamentally deny you basic human respect, you have plenty of time to spend on doing things you enjoy, rather than getting people to treat you like an equal human being.
Beyond that, the entire rest of your comment reeks of sexist views (prejudiced biases against women), so I’m probably already wasting my time trying to get you to open your mind slightly to the possibility that perhaps nobody here is "cowing" to anyone, that being "politically correct" is actually the admirable and proper way of being a decent human being (aka "not being an asshole"), that people favor those leaders who listen to complaints from within their communities rather than those who behave like dicks and tell huge numbers of people to go away, like you're suggesting. But if you entertain these ideas for some time and express a genuine desire to learn, rather than find support for your skewed and misinformed perspectives on how the industry (and society) works in the dark recesses of a community that was once full of people sharing your harmful worldview, then I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.
> unlike your privileged life wherein people don't fundamentally deny you basic human respect
Nerds are not afforded basic human respect unless their rare obsession happens to become valuable to somebody. We're merely being tolerated for the time being. And I don't believe anyone has ever gained a shred of respect by complaining about the lack of it. That just reinforces one's image as weak and unpleasant to interact with.
> I’m probably already wasting my time trying to get you to open your mind slightly
Rather than wasting time casting aspersions on one commenter (which just looks petty), I suggest supporting your arguments for the many other readers will have greater overall effect.
>Nerds are not afforded basic human respect unless their rare obsession happens to become valuable to somebody.
I do think this might be part of why the social justice warriors and feminists seem so hellbent on targeting the tech community lately; people who have been bullied their whole lives tend to just put up with more of the same, and nerds have long been an acceptable target for bullying. I don't see a lot of self flagellation about sexism from the lawyer profession, which attracts a different personality type entirely.
>I suggest supporting your arguments for the many other readers will have greater overall effect.
That's very generous of you, but these people rarely have an argument. Hence the plethora of bland ad hominems, I suppose.
Yes, being bullied for being a nerd is TOTALLY WORSE than being shot for having a different skin color, being raped for having a vagina, being murdered for being transgender, being lit on fire for being gay, earning as little as 56 cents to the dollar because you are both black and a woman even though you do the exact same work at the exact same quality as a white male coworker.
Get some fucking perspective about the reality of the world, already. You're being the quintessential bad example of Hacker News, here; the reason why HN has this reputation of sexist, racist idiots who think they know everything but keep spouting COMPLETELY IDIOTIC bullshit like you just did.
Being shot or earning less money unfairly is not "social ostracizing."
You're being so incredibly disingenuous here and discrediting yourself so fiercely on any topic relating to society, economics or social justice that I truly do not understand why you keep opening your mouth. But by all means, go on.
Are you really arguing that the “oppression” faced by white, heterosexual, cisgendered, male nerds is comparable to the denial of human rights that women, non-whites, transgendered people, and other oppressed groups face every day of their lives? I'm not looking to get into the oppression olympics, but to claim that it's in any way comparable suggests a fundamental, offensive lack of awareness about others' experiences.
Women in first world countries have the same rights that men do--if not more, as in the case of being exempt from the draft. Since the "denial of human rights" we are talking about in this thread is over the use of the word "bro," and the (to feminists) perceived social ostracizing of women as a result of the word existing, mentioning another minority well known for being socially ostracized isn't exactly a stretch.
Also, please stop hating on the white het cis males. I may not be one myself, but they are my friends, and my allies, and I also don't like seeing people treated poorly for the way they were born (having experienced too much of that myself). You are setting back the GLBT and PoC equality movements every time you hate someone based on their sex, race, gender, or sexual orientation. It's not appreciated.
You do realize that of the list of first world countries, most no longer have conscription, and of those that do, over half of them include women, leaving just a tiny number where women are exempt? And that this NOT EVEN REMOTELY offsets the various rights women lack compared to men (seriously, do some research rather than making nonsensical claims), and that women earn significantly less worldwide — including first world countries — compared to men despite equal qualifications and quality of work, and that your continued insistence on spreading the lie that women have "more rights" is both disingenuous and contributes to more people believing lies, perpetuating them and continuing to uphold their misogynist views justified on the basis of these lies?
Wait, no, clearly you do not realize that. But you should. Please do. It's getting tiresome.
It's adorable how you think "nerds" are a legal demographic. Or that they are not privileged because BULLIES??? Or that someone fighting for their right to be respected against a society that has discriminated against them their entire lives is somehow "[reinforcing their] image as weak and unpleasant", rather than a strong, courageous and independent person.
We have been supporting our arguments. That's the whole reason Github got rid of the stupid rug. It's the reason why increasingly many people—men and women and others alike—are vocally calling out stupid bullshit like "bro pages" that reinforce the idea that computer science fields are for men.
Perhaps you should stop ignoring all the stuff we say and start listening for a change. Would do you much good.
>Whereas, unlike your privileged life wherein people don't fundamentally deny you basic human respect, you have plenty of time to spend on doing things you enjoy, rather than getting people to treat you like an equal human being.
Making a lot of assumptions there about someone you know nothing about. How the hell do you feel you have any right to say these things? You are the one very clearly failing to give basic human respect here.
I don't want to make personal examples, if you compare the look at the replies to @defunkt's twitter post, the females cheering - who even go so far as to overly call themselves feminists - have basically no engineer cred to speak for. Not on github, not on LinkedIn.
Judging by that and the fact you throw out "feminist" like it's an insult,
I'm going to say you've got some pretty heavy bias.
Bias? Feminists on twitter? Hypersensitivity and hysteria about sexual harassment at conferences? Spooking male engineers into special consideration just because they're girls? Geekfeminism.org being mentioned by the pycon organizer? Merit being a taboo word?
In engineering culture, we consider this disruptive behavior disruptive and call it trolling.
Our consumer culture makes everything so easy and convenient. Our compassion to woman and how nice we are to them allows some of them to take advantage. This is a case of it.
In any case, removing merit from the dictionary won't get you into an engineer position. These tricks and trolls may have worked for special treatment before, but programming will take honest, hard-work and effort.
Have you ever considered the idea that your apparent dislike towards all things and people described as "feminist" suggests that you have, over the course of your seemingly-angry life, adopted a huge amount of misogynistic perspectives on things? Because, hate to break it to you, but you were born a feminist. Everyone is. Every person that has ever lived on planet Earth was born a feminist. Because the idea that women are somehow in any way inferior to men is a completely fabricated notion by a sexist society that instills these views onto people (meaning all of us), and feminism at its most fundamental is simply the premise that women and men are not different (in terms of hierarchical notions, like one being better than the other, or more "valuable", …etc.), which is the default view of any newborn mind.
You are born a feminist; if you don't die a feminist, you lost a bit of your humanity during your life.
It's disingenuous to argue that all genders need to "earn their strips and credibility through effort" when everyone who isn't male (and additionally, not white, and not straight, and not able-bodied, etc.) is actively discriminated against and enjoys fewer opportunities to learn programming or design techniques.
I didn't realize that TCP/IP had a "race" byte that introduces errors preferentially based on the ethnic background of the programmer.
OK, so I'm being snarky there, but the nucleus of computer science and programming is truly objective and has no preference or prejudice based on race/sex/religion/disability/etc. As others have said, the compiler doesn't care who or what you are. And there are a ton of free resources available online. A person who wants to learn this material, who truly has the will and drive to mastery, and an internet connection, can do so.
The barriers to learning that you describe are cultural, not intrinsic to the subject, and people are chipping away at them (Ada, Black Girls Code, etc), and that's a fine thing too. Changing the stereotype of "programmer" as a fat white guy in a basement chugging Mountain Dew and covered in Cheetos dust is a goal we can all get behind.
>Because, hate to break it to you, but you were born a feminist. Everyone is.
>You are born a feminist; if you don't die a feminist, you lost a bit of your humanity during your life.
If everyone is born feminist, where did this allegedly sexist society come from in the first place?
You are neglecting to account for the entire field of biology and genetics, as well as making feminism sound like some sort of creepy religious cult (although it's certainly starting to resemble that, recently). People aren't really a blank slate at birth. Nature and nurture are fundamentally intertwined.
Additionally, what a "feminist" is seems to vary widely, from "thinks people should be equal" to "we should exterminate men." Your claim seems ludicrous in light of the fact that even feminists do not seem to know what exactly a feminist is.
> Because, hate to break it to you, but you were born a feminist. Everyone is. Every person that has ever lived on planet Earth was born a feminist.
I'm sensing some religious overtones... Everyone is a born into this world an innocent child, but the world is not run by God. But everyone wants to reconnect with God.
> Every person that has ever lived on planet Earth was born a feminist. Because the idea that women are somehow in any way inferior to men is a completely fabricated notion by a sexist society that instills these views onto people (meaning all of us), and feminism at its most fundamental is simply the premise that women and men are not different (in terms of hierarchical notions, like one being better than the other, or more "valuable", …etc.), which is the default view of any newborn mind.
Sure, if feminism = equality of sexes, and just that. Maybe I'll also say to you that you were born a communist, and if you don't identify as one, you hate equality. (Or you hate freedom if you're not a capitalist, for that matter.) What is the problem with me saying something like that? Maybe communists intent and goal is equality, but it is not just an idea that people should be more equal; it also brings with it all kinds of things on how that should be achieved. It's an ideology. In the same vein, feminism isn't just about equality between the sexes, but about a whole lot of other stuff, like how that equality should be achieved, worldviews, if equality of opportunity is enough or if we should have equality of outcome. So if the ideology doesn't fit your worldview, even though you might agree on the goals they have, you might want to find a different kind of ideology.
Feminism is more unique, in this regard, since it is the only mainstream ideology that concerns itself with equality of the sexes. As a result, anyone who says that they are not a feminist because they don't agree with some parts of the approach ideology and the culture, even though they might be for gender equality, can be easily targeted as social piranhas because they don't have any mainstream school of thought to claim allegiance to. So then they might be told that "you don't need to look for a school of thought on the problems of gender equality because there already is one: Feminism! Clearly, if you are not one of us, you are against us on all levels!"
> You are born a feminist; if you don't die a feminist, you lost a bit of your humanity during your life.
> I'm sensing some religious overtones... Everyone is a born into this world an innocent child, but the world is not run by God. But everyone wants to reconnect with God.
Very weird that you took the comment that way; it's an atheistic credo that all people are born atheists and must be taught to believe in god. So this is actually the exact opposite of a religious view.
I didn't know that there was a credo like that. :)
Though it seems obvious that most people are religious as a matter of upbringing rather than as a cause of something like a personal, spiritual insight or feeling, someone might argue that people are predisposed to religious institutions from nature's side, because it helps them make sense of the world, it makes creating social contracts easier, or something to that effect.
They don't substitute them, but they do complement them. Software engineering is an inherently social process--unless you're a self-employed lone wolf who doesn't interact with customers, you have to work with other people to build and program. That means you should work to create an environment of mutual respect, inclusion, and professionalism, and that requires a degree of sensitivity and empathy on your (and your teammates') part. Otherwise, why would anyone want to work with you? Especially if you could be replaced by someone who's just as talented, but more socially professional?
One thing I've always loved about math and science and code is how gender neutral it is. Historically, sure, there's been some bias, but it's mostly a thing of the past. Equality of opportunity (which we are now approaching, if we haven't achieved already, at least for the female gender) is not necessarily going to give us an equal 50/50 representation of the sexes in a specific field. Boys and girls tend to utilize their free time very differently.
Engineering has always been about results, so being capable is really the most important thing. I can see how that would be offensive to feminists, who like to push affirmative action and so on, but at a very basic level science and the fields deriving from it do not care about the social attributes of the person performing them.
This might be why the sjws have such a hard time understanding why tech people are so allergic to them--the sjws derive value exclusively from superficial attributes, like race and sex. However, bad code is bad code whether it's an evil cis white male who wrote it, or a poor queer poc. Logic is fundamentally egalitarian. SJWs are very anti-egalitarian.
Feminists are all for women in tech, so long as they don't have to be the woman in tech. Unless, as you've noted, "being a woman in tech" means tweeting to friends all day long. Sometimes I feel like the people who complain about stereotypes the most are the reasons those stereotypes even exist.
1) it appears to be a pretty even mix of men and women responding positively.
2) a huge number of the people who responded positively (male and female) are in fact software engineers, some of them fairly well known (e.g. conference speakers), several of which work at big name companies.
> However, Github holds people accountable for actually having to program - funny how meritocracy came up as a bad word to these people!
Uh, no it doesn't? There are plenty of reasons someone might be a programmer that doesn't have work on github. Maybe their employer has a really restrictive invention assignment agreement and they don't feel like giving them free code. Maybe it's their day job and they do other things with their free time, like paint. Maybe they don't have any free time because they're a single parent or whatever.
One of the good things about discussions like this, is that it brings out the real dregs of the community. If not for posts like these, I might be naive enough to think the community really is a welcoming place for all people. But then I see things like "group of feminists, mostly consisting of marketers" and "now any girl with an iPhone can be one!"
I'd like to see you question street cred of all brogrammers with such scrutiny. Like, you know, grant them rights in a community according to quality of their code and what they post on Twitter. Just let me get my popcorn.
Nope, that wasn't my point at all, and I was very clear about it. If you had read the GP, you'd know that the claim I was objecting to was that it is somehow invalid for men to object to sexism. I used racism as an example because it is somewhat less controversial, and I used an extreme example to make the point crystal clear.
Such comments has a high potential to create a hostile environment for discussion. You don't get to decide if people will interpret your post as you putting "bro" and "nigger" in same category. Now some will be offended and hurt.
That's an ironic response, some (not I) might say you're being a little insensitive to those who find that word unacceptable to use in any circumstance, though unreasonable it might seem to you, I mean, jeeze, you were only making an analogy was all!
I read your comment and understand that you're not saying the two terms are equal, rather, you're trying to demonstrate that it is not unusual for someone outside of the persecuted group to be offended by words intended to offend members of the persecuted group. Yet, were I the type to take offense, I might find it quite offensive that you used what is widely considered the most offensive word in the English language to make a hyperbolic and inapt analogy.
The word 'nigger' is a pejorative racial slur intended to wound when it is used, whereas the word 'bro' is commonly associated with friendship and brotherhood. And douchebag frat guys.
It could be ironic that I was critiquing readers with poor reading comprehension (who were missing that that comment was not equating the two terms), and in response you seem to have confused me for the person who wrote that comment.
Are you joking? Seriously, I recently confused a sarcastic comment for a serious one on HN, so I'm asking honestly. Because if you're serious, then I just don't know where to start. I'll keep it short. Using a term to facilitate a discussion of that term is completely and entirely different from using it in other ways. I assumed the intellectual maturity of this audience was higher than it would be on, say, Reddit. Perhaps I was wrong.
> Using a term to facilitate a discussion of that term is completely and entirely different from using it in other ways.
Side comment: The technical term for this is the "use-mention distinction". When you're dealing with rational people who don't understand the distinction (taking offence at your mention of a word as if you had used the word), explaining the distinction often helps, and the discussion is able to proceed. Doesn't help as much when dealing with irrational interlocutors, but then, not much does at that point.
The discussion is not about race nor that word so it's not relevant.
The discussion was about offensive words; it's entirely relevant. And given the context it was used, it was clear the word was not used in a disparaging manner, but as an example of a word that shouldn't be used.
Is the word "bro" sexist? If a woman says, "Hey guurl" is that sexist? They're both exclusionary, right? But aren't they just friendly greetings and anything more you put into it is your own personal baggage? Let's be adults and retain some perspective.
When a woman says, "Hey, girl", to one of her girlfriends, she's not being sexist or exclusionary; she's greeting one of her friends. Or do you somehow also think that when a guy says, "Hey, dude!" to one of his friends, who also happens to have a penis, he's somehow being sexist?
That's not remotely like the exclusionary nature, whether perceived or actual, of the specific use of the word "bro" under discussion here.
Good point, contexts were definitely conflated, sloppy reasoning. A better example would have been a programming language or software tool with a female name or slang. Of course, that wouldn't be sexist by definition and I wouldn't find it exclusionary either. But, the word "bro" in this thread has been compared to racial slurs so someone out there would probably have an issue with it.
Seriously? You genuinely think that 'software tool with female name' is as 'bad' as 'software tool with male name'? And you can't work out why it isn't? Here's a clue: the software industry (along with many other industries, sadly) has a certain misogynistic element that discourages women from taking part, and humanity loses out as a result. That is why perpetuating the male-centric, frat-boy atmosphere is bad on an entirely different level from the hypothetical about-turn you refer to. If it were the other way round, if women had oppressed men for thousands of years, and the software industry was dominated by women, yes, your scenario would then be bad. By all means, come back with your scenario when that's the case.
 I'm using your term 'name' here for simplicity, when - of course - this isn't really about 'names', as such, but silly little words such as 'bro'; I can't think of a good 'female' equivalent, probably because there isn't one for very good reasons.
"You genuinely think that 'software tool with female name' is as 'bad' as 'software tool with male name?"
No, I said that a software tool with a male or female name would not be sexist by definition and I wouldn't find them exclusionary either. Edit: So yes, I'm equally unoffended by both.
As for the rest of your comments, I'm in a thread about a software tool named "bro". I understand the word "bro" to be a casual greeting, predominately male in nature (like "dude"). Looked it up in Merriam Webster & it says something similar. So, when I read "misogynistic", "humanity loses out", "male-centric", "frat-boy", "oppressed" in the span of a couple sentences in reference to my non-offense at gender specific names for software, I think it's fair to say we're probably not going to be able to have a rational conversation.
 —used as a friendly way of addressing a man or boy
> No, I said that a software tool with a male or female name would not be sexist by definition
Sorry, you're right, I totally missed that. I've spotted a huge number of examples of the 'turn it on its head' strawman argument in this thread, and carelessly caught yours up in the same set without reading more carefully - apologies.
Gathering from this thread, the word "bro" obviously has various meanings. Many of us have been exposed to it alongside negative connotations, more negative than just 'predominately male', although even that usage could be considered exclusionary.
He placed it in double quotation marks. That means that his reference was to the word itself as a syntactical construct. It carries no implications regarding the semantics of the word and does not imply any opinion on whether the word should be used in normal communication (i.e. without quotes).
I believe that Hacker News is worse off when it includes comments like yours. I don't know or care who you're talking to, the tone of what you're saying drags a good forum down past Reddit and into talk radio call-in territory. And even without the tone, the premise is puerile and an insult to good faith discussions.
Sometimes, a thing just stinks. It doesn't matter which way the wind blows the stink, it stinks. Your comment stinks.
So because I find words and actions that might belittle another person offensive, there's something wrong with me? What would you call me if I objected to a racist joke? Would you claim that I was somehow "whipped" by the targeted minority group? Considering the feelings of others is not a defect, it's part of our humanity.
Bro is exclusionary to women because it is a word for a man or boy. So associating guys (and exclusively guys) with the name bro in this way is a small sign to women that they don't belong. I am sure this seems inconsequential to you, and taken by itself, it is. But as a woman, seeing literally (first definition) dozens of these signs every single day on everything related to technology, it adds up.
You, personally, only notice when something might be exclusionary when someone else brings it up on a site like this. But if you are sensitive to the signs (ie are either a woman or looking really closely) they can be overwhelmingly negative.
Feminists told me that their movement fights for equality for everyone, despite the fem- in their name. Am I to understand that this is no longer the case? All these feminists keep telling me different things. Talking to a feminist about gender equality is like talking to a christian about marriage equality. They all think they have the divine truth, but divine truth never seems able to agree with itself.
I do recognize this. All the time. 6 months ago, I would not have batted an eye at this "bro" thing, so I certainly am aware of other women who don't notice. But I wouldn't call myself a feminist so maybe that's the rub.
I'm not trolling. I responded to the person sticking up for others and let them know they aren't alone. You should stop claiming anyone who disagrees with you is a troll, Chris; it really doesn't make you look too good.
Likewise, characterizing me as "hateful" because I pointed out how skewed your priorities are is really quite juvenile. You apparently thought it pertinent to grace me with not one but two replies when the other commenter left something objectively more hateful. That says something about yourself. You should take some time to examine why my comment deserved such protest.
Sure. It's just one drop of water out of a clear blue sky. The sort of thing that is easily tolerable, hardly even a nuisance really. Maybe you don't have many female friends, maybe none of your female friends work in tech, and maybe you've never had any female coworkers. The fact is, for women in tech it's been raining, it's been raining every single day for decades. One drop is tolerable, but it's the unrelenting deluge that makes life miserable. Every day there's a thousand little pinpricks reminding women that they are the outsider, that they don't belong, that they are an intrusion, an afterthought. It ranges all the way from overt sexual harassment at conventions and in the workplace to sexualized images of women being used in slide decks at programming conferences to thousands of little locker room humor "jokes" floating around everywhere and being made every day.
Make no mistake, these "jokes" have consequences. We look around and we wonder why there are so few women in tech. A big reason is that so few women have the passion to don raingear they'll have to wear for the rest of their lives. Most rational folks will just choose to go somewhere it's not raining as much or as often.
So yeah, this joke is "funny", a little. Is it funny enough to justify adding to the deluge? Absolutely not. Not by a long shot. And pretending that the deluge isn't there is either ignorant, delusional, insensitive, or just actively hostile toward women. There's little excuse for this sort of thing anymore. It's raining. It's been raining. It's almost certainly going to continue to rain for a good long while. Don't be the sort of asshole who adds to the rain without thinking.
>Make no mistake, these "jokes" have consequences.
What's your evidence? Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways: every time this issue is discussed on HN there are real women in comments saying that they personally don't feel discriminated at their tech workplaces and find the claims of GeekFeminism et al about the pervasively misogynistic tech culture laughable. Do you actually know that there's an "unrelenting deluge that makes life miserable" for a typical woman in tech? Do you have real evidence that's not coming from self-appointed experts or members of outrage brigades? How do you know that you're not exaggerating and it is not, just to pick a possibility, a regrettable annoyance that we'd be much better without, but not an "unrelenting deluge that makes life miserable"?
>We look around and we wonder why there are so few women in tech. A big reason is that so few women have the passion to don raingear they'll have to wear for the rest of their lives.
How do you know that this is a big reason? What's your evidence?
In the U.S., the percentage of women in tech and CS has been steadily going down since mid-80s, while the society has been getting less sexist since that time by most evidence I can think of: for example, think of the number of women in Congress, representation in the media, jokes that have become too crass, gender pay gap that's been shrinking... If you're right about the reason women don't go into tech, wouldn't you expect the numbers to go up and not down since the 80s?
>Most rational folks will just choose to go somewhere it's not raining as much or as often
What are other occupations in which, like you're claiming for tech, a misogynistic culture drives women out? E.g. take the law. Anecdotally, the culture in law firms is often said to be dominated by very aggressive male partners, with abundant misogynistic jokes. I googled for sexism in law firms and found this article:
by a woman who says that before law school she "spent the several years in a heavily male-dominated profession (software), and never had any issues", but was shocked by the amount of sexism and sexual harassment in law school and law firms.
If she's right, and this is a real problem, would you expect such sexism to be "a big reason" for women leaving law as well? But ever since the 1970s there's been only an up trend in female representation in law. How do you explain that?
In the U.S., the percentage of women in tech and CS has been steadily going down since mid-80s, while the society has been getting less sexist since that time by most evidence I can think of: for example, think of the number of women in Congress, representation in the media, jokes that have become too crass, gender pay gap that's been shrinking... If you're right about the reason women don't go into tech, wouldn't you expect the numbers to go up and not down since the 80s?
Maybe tech has not been keeping up with the rest of society?
This argument would almost make sense if the joke was at all about women. Except it's not. The only mention of women on that page is a message that they're included too. The word "bro" is making fun of college age american males, it literally has nothing to do with women at all.
I mean, I'd think this level white knighting would be excessive if it even had something to do with women, but I'm fantastically amused by the reaction here considering that this joke has NOTHING TO DO WITH WOMEN AT ALL. The "offensiveness" of this is pure extrapolation. Seriously, you're all just /assuming/ that women are going to be offended by this. But somehow, those of us that are saying that maybe you should let women speak for themselves if it really bothers them, we're the sexists.
That's the thing. That's why some women notice and others don't, and it's always split. The women who notice, notice that the use of the word bro EXCLUDES them from the joke. The women who don't notice, don't recognize or don't care that they're being excluded. In most fields, these jokes happen all the time from women AND men and everything is sunshine and rainbows. But in programming, the jokes come almost ubiquitously from men, about men, with nothing AGAINST women except for just ignoring the existence of female programmers. And at some point, it becomes really difficult not to notice the constant exclusion.
You should remember that there are actual people behind the words on your screen before you say something awful like this. This is not very nice.
Another thing I'd point out is that there is a huge number of women who feel the same way. Rather than simply asserting they are all emotionally incontinent, you should ask yourself whether there is something about the experience of being a female programmer who feels like an outsider that you do not understand. (I am betting you are a man, but if you are a woman, I actually still stand by this.)
I say this, overgard, because I assure you that if you talk to people who are offended you will find that most of them are reasonable people who want to talk about this in a reasonable fashion. Not just oversensitive sissies who are looking for things to be offended about.
"man" is the English term for "an adult human male".
"bro" is short for "brother", and is a thing a certain set of English-speaking adolescent and adult males call each other to express their affection for each other.
"man" is a shortening of "manual", used to name a Unix command which will show you the docs for a command-line tool.
"bro" is a Unix command which will show you a brief example of how to use a command-line tool and nothing else. If you're lucky it may be exactly what you want to do. But probably not.
So the wordplay here: two three-letter words for a particular kind of guy, for Unix commands that tell you how to use other commands. And if they decide to change the name based on people objecting to the cultural assumptions they see in "bro", I'd suggest "guy". Or maybe "dude", which is a little longer, but always feels more laid-back and chilled-out to me than what "bro" has become.
It's not that simple. I think it originated in surfer culture, as a kind of appropriation of Black American culture to call each other brother and sister. In the 90s, on the west coast, it was common among white hippies, deadheads and surfers to call each other "brah."
That said, I don't know where African Americans got it from, but labor unions used the terms brother and sister going back to their beginnings in the 1800s. So it may have been copied from that.
Anyway, I think it migrated from surfer culture to fratboy culture. There, it acquired a tinge of elitism and sexism, because... well, frats are elitist and sexist.
As far as I (from the UK) can tell, this is largely a US (North American?) term, rather than one with much use in any other English-speaking country. Some example usage: the phrase "bro's before hoe's" is a hilarious exchange amongst a group of 'men', implying that men are to be valued above women, who are all sexually promiscuous anyway (and, by the way, that's bad when it comes to women, as opposed to being something to be admired in a 'bro').
Those are the kind of connotations conjured in my mind when I see the name of this software tool.
I had actually taken 'bros before hos' as a reminder of the importance of maintaining your long term friends whilst romantically engaged, expressed through the medium of gender-loaded words that rhyme and assuming the heteronormative paradigm.
My interpretation was that there was no value judgement being made and that this could be equally well articulated using any rhyming words that could indicate a romantic coupling (I've also heard 'chicks before dicks'). That was how I thought about it, but I don't get to choose who feels offended or marginalised by my usage.
Thinking about it now though I've also heard 'mates before dates' which I take to be neutral. Is that a safe way to express the pithy sentiment of prioritising your friends?
Sure, the phrase certainly has the meaning you refer to, and probably primarily has that meaning, it's just the fact that it comes loaded with other nasty connotations I don't like. If you wish to express a preference for friends over romantic partners, though, I think "mates before dates" is pretty fantastic :)
It's less "in theory" and more "in practice" when lots of people are telling you it's not funny, it's offensive. Also, it's not funny, it's immature, it's offensive.
You can continue to be as oblivious and boorish as you want, I can't control your behavior. But I'll be blunt in telling you it's not funny, it's offensive, because you seem to have a self-indulged ignorance that people who feel that way exist in any meaningful way. It's true that those voices aren't as loud and may not exist in your echo chamber, but you can't feign ignorance and claim that everyone telling you it's stupid, not funny, immature, and offensive don't exist/are a vanishingly small minority.
>> Isn't it way more offensive to assume that women are such dainty delicate creatures that like, they won't get the joke?
>> If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,
Someone should coin an analogue to Godwin, where linking to the Geek Feminism Wiki is seen as an instant loss of credibility.
The wiki is hugely anecdotal beyond all reason, poorly written, often incoherent and their editorial guidelines clearly show that they have virtually no standard as long as the content fits under a vaguely feminist or social justice-oriented perspective.
Well now you're making an ad hominem fallacy. Can you please read the actual pages I linked and tell me why you disagree with their arguments or why the arguments they are debunking don't apply to what you wrote?
"Geek Feminism is a highly politicized source [because they're feminist]...Perhaps you can find a more neutral source to cite as evidence [that somehow covers feminist issues without being "politicized"]"
Furthermore, those explicit two pages I linked basically describe his argument and then rebut them. We can have a discussion about why the pages don't in fact describe his argument or about why you disagree with the rebuttal. I can even verbatim paste what it says if you want.
I don't really want to debate on how skewed or biased the wiki is, because I don't really read it. But those two pages seemed relevant to me.
Not sure if you read the links, but I think they were posted here to (accurately) point out that overgard's comment contains two really common tropes that people use to dismiss men talking about feminism. Each post is like two paragraphs long and not particularly controversial, so a comparison to the Bible is pretty far off.
I think what bothers me the most about that site is how ideological their arguments get. It's all done under the banner of protecting women, but they've gone way beyond being about what any actual women think and care about, and are more about pushing their ideology of how everybody should think and act onto everyone. To them, the ideology is all-important and must be injected into all situations, no matter how tenuous the link. Anything that touches these subject without bowing to the ideology is forbidden and must be destroyed. To the point that you can't name a little help utility a cute play on words of a well-known utility without starting a huge frickin argument.
>they've gone way beyond being about what any actual women think and care about...
And those articles were written by whom then? Apparently at least one woman actually cares about those issues. Or are you trying to say that by going "that far" she or they are not "actual" women? Whatever that means.
My argument is that women have a sense of humor and we don't have to infantilize them by acting like they can't take a joke. Clearly I'm a patriarchal monster. Thank god we have all these social justice warriors to protect women from the word bro.
Yes, women have a sense of humor, and in general they're really good at taking a joke from time to time.
But if you keep your eyes open, you'll eventually notice that women (especially in tech) wind up having to "take a joke" all the friggin' time. And that gets really old.
I mean, seriously, look at this very example. Imagine that the "bro" command became a standard tool. Now picture a woman being stuck typing "bro" on a regular basis during her working day. It's never a big deal, obviously. But she still has to type it again, over and over, taking a tiny but not quite negligible emotional hit of feeling excluded every single time. It's not the end of the world, sure... but why would anybody choose to make things that way if there's another choice?
I type on a regular basis the word "woman" in emacs.
Do I take a tiny but not quite negligible emotional hit of feeling excluded every single time for doing that? what about people who program ada and type the name each day? Do you think most people even will notice that the 3 letter actually represent a name, a person, a woman, each time?
Context matters. I take it from your comment that you're a man. If you were in a female-dominated profession like nursing or elementary school teaching then yes, I think things like that would wear on you pretty quickly after a while. Every time, it would be a tiny little reminder that no matter how hard you try or how successful you are, you'll still be a bit of an outsider.
Some people would probably be more consciously aware than others of the fact that the 3 letters "bro" are a reference to "bro culture". Here are a few groups of people whom I think would be most likely to notice: People new to tech; women who've had bad experience with "brogrammer" types; "brogrammer" types themselves. It seems like a bad idea to adopt any policy likely to make the first two of those groups uncomfortable while signaling approval toward the third.
 Side notes: 1. Those professions are making a real effort to change these patterns to be more inclusive, too. And 2. Gender inequality in tech is nevertheless a more pressing problem than gender inequality in nursing, because tech is considered a higher status career.
Except: the joke isn't even directed at women. Women aren't being asked to "take the joke" here because it has nothing to do with women. The only tie to women here is from self proclaimed social justice warriors decrying the fact that someone might call something "bro".
Ok, you've got me confused now. You just said, 'Women aren't being asked to "take the joke" here'. But in your previous comment that I was replying to, you said, 'My argument is that women have a sense of humor and we don't have to infantilize them by acting like they can't take a joke.' Which is it?
If I may cut in, he's saying "bro" is poking fun at other men so it has nothing to do with making a joke at the expense of women. At the same time, all people, both men and women can take aka understand "the joke" so others don't need to protect women from it like they are children without adult reasoning abilities.
The entire problem is that "saying 'bro' is poking fun of other men"! It is a joke, by men, about men, in regards to programming. To reiterate: a joke, regarding programming, written by men, that completely disregards women.
Of course, on its own, that is pretty irrelevant. There are jokes like that all the time on all sorts of topics. But in this situation, it is ALWAYS men joking with/about other men. Women are excluded from the jokes completely. And these sorts of "jokes" and other little implicit signals are all over everything remotely related to CS/tech. Which gets pretty discouraging, day after day.
Answer: yes, of course it's sometimes appropriate.
But if you're having a serious conversation with someone on the subject of privilege, and you're on the privileged side (and they're not), the likelihood of you accurately identifying when they should lighten up is so vanishingly small (I keep finding my blind spots in spite of years of being attentive to this kind of stuff...), and the chance that they might actually benefit from that sort of comment from you in that moment is so ridiculously tiny, that you're better off holding your tongue.
Let someone else guide them if they are indeed going too far (let's pretend you're right, for the point of discussion) -- someone who they can trust more, for example.
EDIT: just to add -- the problem with these situations is that your instincts (even usually-reliable instincts) are almost certainly wrong. You may be smarter & more articulate; you may be able to debate them into the ground without breaking a sweat; but if you're on the privileged side and they're not, you're probably still wrong in this discussion, and you're not going to help that situation at all by being articulately wrong.
Just speaking for myself -- and I'm on the "winning" side of almost every privilege imbalance I can think of -- but it is not really possible for someone like me to get an natural grasp of what I'm really gaining. I can't help but forget, much of the time. It's like walking through life in a world with frequent, deafening shrieking noises that are just above my range of hearing, but most of the people around me can at least some of them, and are constantly knocked off-balance, disturbed, upset.... I can argue persuasively that with good concentration habits, an occasional shrieking noise shouldn't affect your life much, but I've never heard it once; maybe an echo here or there, that's it.
You're fighting to create a world in which the intellectual currency is not reason, evidence, or logic; it's self-proclaimed victimhood.
If I claim I'm a victim in a way that you're not, it becomes literally impossible for you to prove me wrong. If I go on to claim that we need new policies to protect me from (and/or compensate me for) that victimhood, you can't disagree. You can't do anything other than supplicate.
"If I claim I'm a victim in a way that you're not, it becomes literally impossible for you to prove me wrong."
This is a very ungenerous reading. (Ungenerous readings are very common in 'discussions' like this, on both sides.)
You're translating the claim to a nebulous sense of victimhood, but that's not really the context, is it? Instead, the example should be that you're claiming to be subject to discrimination that I am not based on a quantifiable categorical difference between us -- you are gay and I am straight, you are a woman and I am a man, you are black and I am white. Given that context, the question becomes whether I should give you a benefit of the doubt in your claim based on that experience.
When a woman claims that "brogrammer culture" is insensitive and indeed exclusive to the point where the phrase "bro pages" really does come across as twitch-inducing, she's not making that claim based on "self-proclaimed victimhood." She's making it based on experience that you not only do not share, but that it is literally impossible for you to share. You can't be subject to the same kind of discrimination she is.
And yes, it's patronizing for men to come in and make that claim on her behalf. But isn't it even more patronizing for men to come in and say that she has no basis to make that claim? It seems to me that a lot of comments here are on the edge of (or over the edge of) "women who want to be treated equally to men shouldn't complain that language can ever make them feel unwelcome." And that sounds uncomfortably like we're saying to women: you can't disagree. You can't do anything other than supplicate.
> "If I claim I'm a victim in a way that you're not, it becomes literally impossible for you to prove me wrong."
> This is a very ungenerous reading. (Ungenerous readings are very common in 'discussions' like this, on both sides.)
I think you're misunderstanding me, because you the rest of your post precisely describes what I'm talking about (up until the final paragraph, which I'll get to later).
If I claim that I'm a victim in a way that you're not, it means that there must (in some way) be quantifiable categorical differences between us. Otherwise, of course, we'd both be victims.
For example, we could have different different cities of birth, different ages, different ethnicities, different religions, different specific houses of worship, different visual appearances, different heights, different friends, different incomes, different hobbies, different offices, different voice pitches, different teachers, different childhood fears, different parents, etc. We could be different people with different brain chemistries and different life experiences. So even if we are at the same table together at the same restaurant, you could not tell me how I experienced the waiter speaking to us.
And you could not judge how I experience being told, "You are not allowed to reason with a woman when she claims victimhood on the basis of her sex. You are not allowed to point out any problematic aspects of her claims. You are not allowed to say that you as a man are equally affected by the phenomenon she is describing. She knows that you are wrong. Somehow."?
> But isn't it even more patronizing for men to come in and say that she has no basis to make that claim?
No, it's not patronizing at all disagree with a woman and explain why.
> And that sounds uncomfortably like we're saying to women: you can't disagree. You can't do anything other than supplicate.
Saying to women "we are allowed to disagree and reason with you" is completely different from saying to women "you aren't allowed to disagree and reason with us".
Yikes. You "empathetic" activists are consistently some of the meanest, most cruel people in every discussion you wander into. Do you not see how needlessly demeaning and insulting you are? It's remarkable that you cling to the banner of "empathy" while hatred and condescension drips from every word.
And yes, the grandparent poster did say that if you're on the Geek-Feminism-Privileged™ side of a given issue, you have a "vanishingly small" chance of being right, so "you're better off holding your tongue".
...you're jumping into a big argument that's not actually based on what I wrote. I'm making two main points:
#1 - When I sit down and really take the time to weigh everything, I consistently find that my first reasonable-feeling judgment was way off. So I've tried to stop trusting that gut feel, and I advise others do the same.
#2 - I say things because I think they will be useful, entertaining, or persuasive to the person I'm talking with. So even when I'm right, and a person is going to far, someone should talk it over with them, but that's not me; I'm a poisoned source.
I'm offering practical advice, but it's obviously not for you.
The reason I find it distasteful isn't because I myself am offended, but because I know it's going to needlessly offend others. Whether I agree with them being offended or not, I know that it could be easily avoided with little to no cost. That's what makes it distasteful.
You really think that this is just something that people "maybe, kindof. You know. In theory." might be offended about? To me, this is on par with the titstare fiasco. Seriously, people. Grow up and get a life. Not everyone in the world is a "bro".
It's such a shame that gender politics have created so many thorny issues in our industry, but you can't bury your head in the sand and pretend they're not there. If we had good female representation in the industry and we didn't have a small cluster of vocal misogynists, we'd be able to make cute jokes that play on gender. But sadly, we don't live in that world.
Yes, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and yes it sucks. There is no firewall around the industry - we live our professional lives online so everybody can see the messy internals of software development world... and software development has a serious gender-issues image problem. Now, depending who you talk to, that might be just an image problem, or it might be a really large slice of our industry who are sexist. But the the truth of the issue doesn't matter for this case, the perception does.
And we all need to work together to change that perception.
Your premise is flawed. For example, I don't give a damn what women think of my calling people out on misogyny. I am not pro-women, I am anti-jackass. Comments like yours are jackasstic. I can dislike them without a moment's consideration of what women think of your words.
The word 'bro' has nothing to do with women. There is too much internet dork white knighting going on in this thread.
I'd respect peoples opinion more in this thread if they said 'Hey! I know there is a small percentage of us guys who are offended by this rubygem name, and I dont like it! You should change it.' vs. trying to frame the argument that one is trying to save the poor helpless women from themselves.
Dude(?), I'm not MLK, and I'm not into women's rights. I'm a selfish bastard who wants to double or treble the number of productive brains in my environment. Exclusionary behaviour stands between me and my dream, and I will crush it by any means necessary.
If you must compare me, think of Malcolm X. Do not make the mistake of thinking I'm nice to women, men, other people of colour, or anybody else.
> Exclusionary behaviour stands between me and my dream, and I will crush it by any means necessary.
I like your sentiment, but I have a hard time imagining women out there who feel excluded by things like the name of a software package. I would love to see more brains in software, but I don't think word play is a major barrier. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I would like to hear from first hand sources -- not a bunch of dudes on a software forum who claim to know what women want.
Edit: Instead of arguing if the word `bro` is offensive, could you point me to people who are offended?
You rang? I normally avoid commenting on crap like this because people like you are a pain to talk to, but since you seem to want to take advantage of me not engaging with people like you to argue that I don't exist... hi, I exist. Now please stop it with that terrible argument.
I would like to hear from first hand sources -- not a bunch of dudes on a software forum who claim to know what women want.
How very odd that despite all of our behaviour being so non-offensive and non-exclusionary, we don't seem to have any women who want to hang around this forum with us, and especially don't want to engage in discussions about exclusion where the immediate response to any questioning to for the questioner to be shouted down in vituperative terms.
Having seen this happen in a number of internet communities, where women have described the reasons they would no longer visit, and having watched these communities change from reasonably well represented by both sexes to almost exclusively male-only: yes. It's almost certainly because the community at HN is offensive and exclusionary towards women.
Due to the Internet being anonymous, it seems much easier for people to just dismiss people outright. Making dismissive comments about women in the workplace is difficult when you have to actually deal with the fallout of your actions. Meanwhile, the Internet enables everyone to just say whatever comes to mind.
I live in Arizona. When someone cuts me off on the freeway, my instinctive response is to look at the license plate. If the license plate is from a northern state, my reaction is "Fucking snowbirds. Goddamn." I'm in my car, and I'm just reacting - I'm not thinking. Five seconds of thought calms me down, but until that happens, I'm making a pretty nasty comment about the elderly.
The Internet is similar to my car - it's a consequence-free space where people can just say things without thinking. The difference is that unlike my car, where I could spout off the worst racial profanities I can come up with, the Internet actually has people reading the posts.
As for Internet communities being devoid of women, I can think of exactly one general community that has women. It has three things that I think are vital - a small community, a draconian moderation team, and a userbase that calls out bullshit very quickly.
Is this the part where I should say something about how they need to "toughen up" and they must be "too sensitive"? jk. That's actually a real shame. I'm not going to venture a guess at the % of threads that any woman would find offensive but always thought HN was roughest on people's work when seeking feedback, etc.
I'm a woman, and I've been in the tech industry for more than a decade. I avoid HN like the fucking plague, precisely because of the fact that it is so exclusionary and hateful toward women and other marginalized groups. (Tonight is absolutely the first time I have EVER commented in a thread.) So there's at least one data point for you.
There are threads like this one that become explicitly about gender. They aren't particularly inviting. Sometimes they make the front page, in which case there is a semblance of discussion. They aren't a great advert for hn as an inclusive space though.
In general the problem is more with the atmosphere in threads that aren't explicitly about gender. This means things like the language that people use or the assumptions that they make when writing a comment. Sometimes these aren't very welcoming to women (other groups too), or are just offensive.
When people get called out for this behaviour, it can spark a big shitstorm of argument in which people often lose all concept of polite discussion and ask for rigorous proof that someone does in fact feel marginalised. This isn't very encouraging.
Links to geekfeminism seem to provoke a strong reaction from some people, but here's one for you:
I encourage you to read this (even if you don't agree) and then spend some time on hn just thinking about the content of discussion knowing that some people might feel this way. Empathy is the key.
Not all of the examples on that page are applicable here because this isn't a physical space or a workplace. Yes, a lot of them are anecdotal - it's a wiki and a collection of peoples experiences. I'm not saying that you are necessarily privileged. Treat the page as it is - a collection of experiences.
I've bothered to type this out because you seem to be reasonable and to argue in good faith. To understand why people feel marginalised can take a bit more than logical argument though. You need to be open minded and to attempt to empathise with other people.
If we're talking about for example, a woman being the first one on the team everyone expects will take notes, I identify with someone that feels it is the symptom of a larger problem very easily. Same with things like, "C'mon guys, deadline coming up" and "Oh, you're not just working the booth?" Common sense stuff.
Of course, if someone gets offended they aren't "right" by default. The word "bro" is not offensive but people are using it to shoehorn in bigger issues they feel passionately about. It's like when someone is rabid about politics and tries to force it into conversations (thinking of an old family member here that goes on about Obama being a socialist at the drop of a hat). Clearly, the list you linked to is, for the most part reasonable. But reading this thread, there's that same propagandized vibe of people who have lost perspective.
On the other hand, there's a comment in here about a guy who said the people who used to beat him up used the word "bro" all the time. He was obviously traumatized by that, so his visceral reaction to the word is completely understandable. I can only speculate that others in this thread that genuinely are offended by the word "bro" in this context have had experiences that make them react similarly, whether it's physical assault, things said to them or being marginalized at work. I can have empathy for these people, but it doesn't make naming this tool bropages offensive.
Thank you. Sorry if I came across as condescending in my previous post - I'm writing to the thread as much as you and I was just trying to be very clear.
Of course, if someone gets offended they aren't "right" by default. I agree, but it should give us cause to think critically about the thing that offended them.
Personally, I didn't initially feel too strongly about the 'bro' usage here - offense is subjective. However on seeing how other people felt, my default position is to side with the group that is feeling marginalised and work from there.
I actually think the operative word here is 'marginalisation' rather than 'offense'. Whilst some might be viscerally offended by 'bro', I am more concerned about the maintenance of an atmosphere that makes people feel marginalised and unable / unwilling to participate.
You're right, this thread has become about more than the OP. I think this has happened because whether 'bro' is a poor choice of word here depends very much on your perspective and background, and there are a variety of those represented here.
I feel there are two issues here: the OP and the wider issue of HN as an inclusive space. I feel that this latter issue is important and that this thread is an appropriate place to bring it up.
I would be happier if we could all discuss the OP politely, without making wide generalisations, ad hominem attacks, othering, being aggressively antagonistic and disregarding the lived experiences of other people. Until that happens I am going to keep calling people out, because I feel that the otherwise excellent standard of discussion on HN should be accessible to everyone.
Have you considered that, if women are uncomfortable around techies, maybe it's because people make such a big deal about them being around in the first place? Like maybe it's really uncomfortable being treated with special status when you just want to fit in?
I'm not a car guy, but if I went to a meetup of car enthusiasts and all the sudden they dialed back everything they said so that I didn't feel like an "outsider", I would feel incredibly self conscious about being there. I probably wouldn't show up again. Whereas if they just treated me as a noob and gently brought me up to speed, I'd feel included.
Maybe it's the same thing with tech? Maybe all these social justice warriors going "ERMAHGERD SAVE THER GERLS" are just making women feel really fucking uncomfortable by highlighting the fact that they really are outsiders at this point? Maybe the nicest thing you could do for women in tech is just, you know, treat them like regular people?
I don't know if that's the case. But I will say: I have just about as much proof as you do on your theory that women aren't in tech because men are exclusionary jerks.
The behavior here is only exclusionary if people feel excluded by it, so the legitimacy of your concerns is based in how women (in this case) feel. If you can't find a person who thinks he/she is being discriminated against here, you're obviously tilting at windmills.
the legitimacy of your concerns is based in how women (in this case) feel. If you can't find a person who thinks he/she is being discriminated against here, you're obviously tilting at windmills.
Now what you're presenting me with is a proposition that if "X" is false, then I should reconsider my belief that "Y" is true. So before I give this further thought, let me call your bet:
Will you in turn agree that if "X" turns out to be true, will you reconsider your belief that "Y" is false?
I would hate to go to a lot of work to show you that there are offended women, only to hear you mansplain to me that well, there aren't enough women, or they're the wrong sorts of women, or even if they're offended that they shouldn't be offended, or some other such weaselling out.
First of all, I think you're confusing me with the people you're arguing against (who explicitly deny that calling some website "bro" is exclusionary). I'm not arguing for that; I'm objecting to your disingenuous claim (as I read it) that you're NOT trying to act as an advocate on behalf of women.
We're talking about a social construct here (exclusionarity), so certainly the more women you find, the stronger your case is. No women is no evidence, one is weak evidence, etc. But even if you find such people, why don't you let them speak for themselves?
And why use the word "mansplain"? It's inflammatory language.
> so certainly the more women you find, the stronger your case is.
It's a problem. Enough women have spoken up about it. They've expressly asked that their friend speak up when they see it happen. They aren't coming to every single stupid thread on every single website just to satisfy your needs.
> But even if you find such people, why don't you let them speak for themselves?
It's a problem. Enough women have spoken up about it. They've expressed they don't feel comfortable, or they don't feel welcome. These are my friends, my colleagues. It makes me feel bad knowing people are doing things that hurt my friends. I speak up, because it makes me feel uncomfortable.
> I'm objecting to your disingenuous claim (as I read it) that you're NOT trying to act as an advocate on behalf of women.
Both men and women have a problem with this mentality. We aren't advocating on behalf of women. We are advocating on behalf of ourselves. It's because that same culture that we are fighting against is the same type of culture that will mock someone for their sexuality, or race, or hell, even if they are wearing glasses. It's a immature culture. It's one that holds us back.
I don't have to be gay to fight for gay marriage. I don't have to be black to fight for equal rights. I don't have to be a woman to fight sexism in the industry.
In the end, I speak up because it affects me. That you think that's not possible is a problem with you, not me.
Indeed, if your point really was: "why don't you let them speak for themselves?", why aren't you asking that same question to everyone supporting the bro name? After all, unless they are the ones who named the software, why don't they let the author speak for himself?
This is kind of a non sequitur. It sounds like you're trying to argue against someone who denies that women in tech are sometimes made to feel uncomfortable. Maybe you didn't read my post carefully, but just saw "why don't you let them seak for themselves" and assumed that was my position.
You're begging the question here. If the name of this site really belongs to the same category of things that make women uncomfortable, of course it is bad.
I'll take that as a "I want you to burden yourself with justifying your position, but I'm not going to commit to any movement on my own position, and for that matter, I won't even commit to a position, I'm just lobbing a burden at you."
Nice, you just ruined any legitimacy your argument may have had by using the word 'mansplain'. You can't argue against potentially sexist or othering words by using a deliberately sexist, othering word.
Note that any attempts to explain why 'mansplaining' should be accepted despite its sexist, othering connotations will also apply to words such as 'bro'.
I get really fucking tired of seeing men who are helping derided as "white knights". Trust me, women can TELL when someone is putting us on a pedestal and deciding that we have to be defended because we're such delicate flowers, and we're quick to call that bullshit when we see it. Most of us actually appreciate when our ALLIES step up to talk about this shit.
It's not about "saving us" -- we aren't fucking damsels in distress, and yes, we can speak for ourselves. But assholes like you have made eminently clear that you don't actually LISTEN to women, and so it's nice to know that some men actually have our backs and are willing to do the utterly thankless work of trying to explain shit to you.
Then you haven't worked on my current team. I used to cringe on a daily basis for the one woman on the team, until she left. They think they're being funny, and they think they are somehow "standing up" for their right not to be P.C. I honestly don't know if they know or intend their tone to be bullying.
This comment is a binding site for the following comment-pattern: It's Your Job To Stand Up To Them.
Maybe the correct solution would be to do more than just cringe? If you did indeed confront them, then I apologise for assuming otherwise, but it seems to be the case that there's an awful lot of posturing as a warrior for social justice on HN, yet very little actual, difficult, real-life work towards any social justice causes.
A higher standard? How about an individual having backbone and integrity to stand firm, hold the line and not supplicate?
I feel this, "Change it.", as if you are some castrating, sky-god feels eerie. Like you are some judge of the highest moral purity, when in reality, you're the enemy of purity. You are taking an honest, organic creation and molding it for your own ability to feel powerful on the internet.
edit: What really bothers me here is the "Change it.", it feels like a summary judgment. I don't think the author should be intimidated by popularity or political correctness. If he makes a joke, sometimes is best to own it. Personally, I don't find it funny, but I think it's an O.K. name and helps me remember its an app for reference purposes.
> How about an individual having backbone and integrity to stand firm, hold the line and not supplicate?
I have the backbone and integrity to know that as I walk through life, I am responsible for stepping carefully and thoughtfully.
I have no problem stepping forward to call people out when they're well-intentioned but wrong, or ill-intentioned. Even if it costs me karma, or sales, or popularity, it is sometimes the right thing to do.
In this case, I am calling you out on the word "supplicate.' I choose to make the world a better place. I'm not supplicating, or white knighting, or anything like that. It's not about appeasing anyone, it's about doing the right thing for us.
The very word "supplicate" implies a them vs. us dichotomy which is itself a problem. YOU are furthering these problems by using divisive language.
The library is an organic creation. Organisms grow and evolve and CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. If you think it would be better with a name that many find offensive and divisive, that's your opinion.
But you can guess what I think of the premise that when things are offensive, it's everyone else's responsibility to change. It sounds like a spoiled brat who thinks the world should revolve around them, and everyone else should change so that they can do as they like without pushback.
Standing firm on something dumb is not a matter of integrity. Backbone and integrity mean you do what's right even under pressure not to. Sticking with this name isn't right. It's not particularly wrong, but it's not some noble thing.
As a society, we need to get over the chivalrous notion that something is automatically bad if it might trigger negative emotions in women.
If women tend to be intimidated by head-to-head competition (of any type) with a man, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral for a man to compete head-to-head with a woman.
If women tend to be intimidated when a muscular male stranger is in their presence, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral to be a muscular man in the presence of a woman.
Likewise, if women tend to be intimidated when men use language that expresses pride in their manhood, it doesn't mean it's wrong for boys or men to use language that expresses pride in their manhood.
To all the boys and young men who are barraged daily with messages scolding them (or worse) for using language that implies they're male: Don't let them convince you that your existence itself is an act of oppression that you must actively fight against.
The notion of "original sin" is a frightening. Sadly, among certain activist groups, it's back in style.
For this comment I'm going to assume that you are a man. I apologize if this isn't the case.
Let's say you wanted to be a teacher, a field that is largely female-dominated, and all of the teachers you've ever worked with spent a large amount of their time "expressing pride in their womanhood". Let's say it's pretty hard to find another male (maybe there are one or two in the school where you work out of say 30 teachers). Would you feel comfortable with the fact that you were exposed to things that were exclusionary to men? If teaching materials were named "sis-guides" as some sort of weird pun on something? If day-to-day, you were being constantly and actively reminded that being a woman in this profession is the norm and that you are not normal?
Maybe you can look at this and say that you'd be fine with such an environment. I think most people would be uncomfortable. It's not about suppressing expression of masculinity (although what does masculinity mean anymore), it's about keeping that expression from being the only expression that gets to occur in the entire industry. Maybe we can be "proud of our manhood", but maybe tone it down a little to include women?
Been there. Done that. Teachers are "encouraged" to decorate their rooms. Decorating is a feminine activity. Most meetings are surrounded by the woman talking about things important to them - sometimes very womanly topics like their period or lack their of due to menopause. Never once did I feel that I was being oppressed or anything. No other males mentioned it if they did. Guys and girls are different. This is a good thing.
Let me get this straight. The previous comment pointed out that naming this program in a gendered way that references the sexist concept of "brogramming" is unnecessary/stupid. You interpreted this as an attack on the right for men to take pride in their manhood? Really?
I'm not a woman and I had an instant instinctive rejection reaction to the title of this post. I made a conscious effort to click anyway to see what this was about, and now that I have I still have a rejection reaction to the name.
Eh, I dunno. I'm definitely not one of those people whose champion cause is gender issues, and to be totally honest I rarely even think about it much. My general philosophy is "be professional", not "lol check ur privilege." That being said, I think you're off here.
> If women tend to be intimidated by head-to-head competition (of any type) with a man, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral for a man to compete head-to-head with a woman.
Err, it sure is when men have an obvious advantage. This is why we don't allow men to play in the WNBA. When men don't have an obvious advantage (e.g. competing for grades in class), you're absolutely right. Men definitely have an advantage in tech right now. You can argue whether that's innate or cultural, but it's kinda hard to argue the premise.
> If women tend to be intimidated when a muscular male stranger is in their presence, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral to be a muscular man in the presence of a woman.
Your actions are immoral, your mere existence never is. It's about empathy. No one's ever going to say you're wrong for being a muscular man, but people will think you're either insensitive or super oblivious if you're a huge guy wearing a hoodie walking 6 inches behind a small 105 pound woman at night in an alley.
> Likewise, if women tend to be intimidated when men use language that expresses pride in their manhood, it doesn't mean it's wrong for boys or men to use language that expresses pride in their manhood.
Come on: first of all replace "man/men" with "white" and see why your statement sounds a little ridiculous.
Second of all, no one wants to hear that shit either way. If I have to listen to a group of women talk about how great it is to be a woman, I'm similarly going to either leave the conversation or say "what the fuck?". Wouldn't you?
That shit gets old real fast if you're on the outer circle.
> To all the boys and young men who are barraged daily with messages scolding them (or worse) for using language that implies they're male: Keep your chin up. These people want to break you down, not lift anyone else up.
Truthfully, nobody really gives a shit what anyone has to say. It's more about who you say it around. If you wanna jibber-jabber about 401Ks or real estate investment with your bros, then go nuts. Maybe keep that talk to a minimum when you're around the guy making $8.50 an hour though, you know?
> > If women tend to be intimidated by head-to-head competition (of any type) with a man, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral for a man to compete head-to-head with a woman.
> Err, it sure is when men have an obvious advantage. This is why we don't allow men to play in the WNBA. When men don't have an obvious advantage (e.g. competing for grades in class), you're absolutely right. Men definitely have an advantage in tech right now. You can argue whether that's innate or cultural, but it's kinda hard to argue the premise.
It's immoral for a man to compete in the WNBA because the league disallows it. Not because there's something cosmically immoral about men and women competing in general, and not because there's something cosmically immoral about competing with someone who feels intimidated because you're more skilled than they are.
Is there anything immoral or wrong about a more intelligent person competing against a less intelligent person for a job? Nope.
> > If women tend to be intimidated when a muscular male stranger is in their presence, it doesn't mean it's wrong or immoral to be a muscular man in the presence of a woman.
> Your actions are immoral, your mere existence never is. It's about empathy. No one's ever going to say you're wrong for being a muscular man, but people will think you're either insensitive or super oblivious if you're a huge guy wearing a hoodie walking 6 inches behind a small 105 pound woman at night in an alley.
Sure, invading someone's personal space is wrong. That's not at all relevant. If I stormed into a women-only school, that's bad.
However, if a woman enters a public (or private!) space and demands men leave because she feels intimidated, that's wrong, too. And for different (and more relevant) reasons.
> > Likewise, if women tend to be intimidated when men use language that expresses pride in their manhood, it doesn't mean it's wrong for boys or men to use language that expresses pride in their manhood.
> Come on: first of all replace "man/men" with "white" and see why your statement sounds a little ridiculous.
There's nothing wrong with being proud of being Jewish, White, or Asian, despite those being historically successful groups.
Yes, young Whites are shamed for expressing the same pride that everyone else gets to express, and that is precisely what forces "White pride" organization underground, turning them into seething pits of Hell like Stormfront.
> Second of all, no one wants to hear that shit either way. If I have to listen to a group of women talk about how great it is to be a woman, I'm similarly going to either leave the conversation or say "what the fuck?". Wouldn't you?
That shit gets old real fast if you're on the outer circle.
Sure, it'd get old. But that doesn't mean women should be shamed for talking about how great it is to be a woman. Let them be proud of who they are. Leave if you want; ignore it if you can't.
> > To all the boys and young men who are barraged daily with messages scolding them (or worse) for using language that implies they're male: Keep your chin up. These people want to break you down, not lift anyone else up.
> Truthfully, nobody really gives a shit what anyone has to say. It's more about who you say it around. If you wanna jibber-jabber about the stock market and 401Ks with your bros, then go nuts. Maybe keep that talk to a minimum when you're around the guy making $8.50 an hour though, you know?
Does the fact that a guy making $8.50 an hour might have an internet connection mean that you can't jibber-jabber about the stock market (or about buying yachts) online?
> It's immoral for a man to compete in the WNBA because the league disallows it. Not because there's something cosmically immoral about men and women competing in general, and not because there's something cosmically immoral about competing with someone who feels intimidated because you're more skilled than they are.
The league disallows it because we as a society think it's wrong to force women to compete against men in basketball. If you sneaked onto a WNBA team people would call you a dirtbag, and not just because "the league disallows it".
> However, if a woman enters a public (or private!) space and demands men leave because she feels intimidated, that's wrong, too. And for different (and more relevant) reasons.
That's not what's happening here.
> There's nothing wrong with being proud of being Jewish, White, or Asian, despite those being historically successful groups.
That's the spirit! See you at the next Klan rally.
> Yes, young Whites are shamed for expressing the same pride that everyone else gets to express, and that is precisely what forces "White pride" organization underground, turning them into seething pits of Hell like Stormfront.
Because it's a little too close gloating. The last 2000 years of history are pretty much summed up by "not a property-owning white-ish male? Sucks."
Similarly, LeBron can be super proud of the fact that he's probably the Michael Jordan of this era. That doesn't mean people won't give him shit when he starts talking about how he's the greatest at a press meeting.
> Sure, it'd get old. But that doesn't mean women should be shamed for talking about how great it is to be a woman. Let them be proud of who they are. Leave if you want; ignore it if you can't.
That's exactly what women are doing in the tech industry. They're leaving. Or just not entering at all. It's not a good thing.
> Does the fact that a guy making $8.50 an hour might have an internet connection mean that you can't jibber-jabber about the stock market (or about buying yachts) online?
No, it means maybe you shouldn't wonder why that guy doesn't want to visit your website or respond to your comments.
Or they aren't (over)thinking any of that above, and to most people it is a funny play on words since the tool is related to 'man' pages.
I'm going to email the LKML immediately and petition that 'fsck' needs to be renamed to 'love', because I don't 'fsck', I make 'love' and I don't appreciate the negative stereotype that it implies I am some sort of inhuman non-lovemaking monster whilst going about my daily sysadmin tasks.
> ...aren't thinking any of that ... funny play on words
That might well be true; my point is that at some point their individual thoughts don't matter, because they're referencing a larger meme.
I'll add that if it were just a funny play on words, we might expect to see a name like "boy" or "guy" or "son" or "person" or any number of other names that are, ha-ha, kind of like "man". The fact that "bro" was picked was pretty obviously a reference to the whole "brogramming" thing.
"man" pages were never really a problem in this vein, because everybody knew that despite the surface similarity (which gave rise to a variety of jokes), "man" was short for "manual", and "fsck" (which also gives rise to some funny jokes) is really short for "file system check" or something like that. "bro" is short for "brogramm(er|ing)". Your attempt to reduce my argument to absurdity in your second paragraph falls completely short because of the total lack of actual parallel to the situation we're really discussing.
Is it so obvious? I live far from the west coast, and the only reason I know the term "brogramming" at all is because I read HN and some other Silicon Valley-oriented blogs.
I am the only programmer I know at work or in my personal life that does so. The entire thing is a completely alien concept to me given what I've seen in real life. I hasten to say I absolutely do believe it's a real thing, just something I assume is centered around Silicon Valley.
The first thing I thought when I saw it was not "brogrammer." It is entirely plausible in my mind that the creator wasn't thinking of brogramming. Indeed, I could see myself or someone I know naming the tool that without any idea that brogramming was a thing.
If you are unaware that "bro" would connote "brogrammer" to some people, you can't have predicted that's what those people would think.
And anyway, how far should we take that? It is really difficult for me to conceive that many people would find this meaning in it. If I find out the name of my project is offensive to 50% of my audience, should I change it? What about 25%? 10%? 1%? One person?
Except that your argument has the same flaws has res0nat0r's argument: neither of you know what the author was thinking when he named it. Was the creator thinking of brogramming? Was the creator thinking of it being the "bro"ther of the man pages? None of us know, so it is useless to argue about it.
1) A big part of my point is that it doesn't matter what an author is thinking when it comes to discussing how others will react to it. I won't restate here my arguments on that topic.
2) We can safely say that the creator was thinking of brogramming. Aside from the fact it would be an astonishing coincidence, the original page uses as one of its examples "curl --header "X-GirlsAreBrosToo: 1" www.bropages.org". Calling this "bro" was not some sort of innocent accident.
1) Catering to every person's sensibilities is impractical. The whole argument about it being offensive comes from ignorance of word play, anyway. In that regard it is unjustified.
2) Of course it wasn't an accident. `man` is a shorthand for manual that led to plenty of jokes. `bro` serves a complementary function to `man`, and thus it humorously references its inspiration and sibling program using a diminutive.
Yet you also show ignorance of etymology. The term "bro" didn't originate with "brogramming", which is a very recent neologism and not widely known outside of hipster tech communities and feminist circles. "Bro" and "bromance" have been around for a long time. How does having a fake "X-GirlsAreBrosToo" header imply "brogramming"?
>1) Catering to every person's sensibilities is impractical.
Catering to every person, sure. But when you get enough people at some point it becomes a significant fraction of the audience instead of a few individual sensibilities, right? Based on volume you see you wouldn't say the portion of the audience with some concerns about the name is significant?
>Yet you also show ignorance of etymology. The term "bro" didn't originate with "brogramming"
I would say that the single example given, a 'bro curl' as in a do-you-even-lift-bro curl, suggests the creators of this tool were at least aware of it. Though intent doesn't matter, just how the audience responds to a name.
> A big part of my point is that it doesn't matter what an author is thinking when it comes to discussing how others will react to it.
The problem with that idea is that humans have this pesky thing called "free will" or "agency." We are capable of choosing how we react to things we hear others say. That makes speaking incredibly difficult if your primary concern is whether any human in the world will react by taking offense.
> We can safely say that the creator was thinking of brogramming.
Even if that's the case, is it possible that the idea is to mock the concept of "brogramming"?
you havent explained how this is related to 'brogramming' yet. the word bro in a programming context does not automatically mean it has some kind of conspiratorial relationship with the concept of brogrammers. the author even blatantly suggests reclaiming the word for both genders.
>You havent explained how this is related to 'brogramming' yet. the word bro in a programming context does not automatically mean it has some kind of conspiratorial relationship with the concept of brogrammers.
I don't think intent is relevant when evaluating whether a name is a wise choice, audience reaction is all that matters.
But in any case the single example used being a do-you-even-lift-bro 'curl' points to brogrammer inspiration.
While I agree that the name 'bro' was incredibly poorly chosen, I think the use of 'curl' may have less to do with weight-lifting analogies than the fact that it's an incredibly complex command with a 2280-line manpage.
My first guess upon seeing it was that it was poking fun at self-identified "brogrammer" hip trendy automation tools that just show you a few examples of a slick simple demo usage, and then leave you to dig through the source code to figure out the rest of the syntax and side effects, rather than even attempt to provide a comprehensive reference of any sort. "We're iterating too faaast for docs, man!"
>Was the creator thinking of brogramming? Was the creator thinking of it being the "bro"ther of the man pages?
What does intent matter? If the discussion on a tool is overtaken by the discussion on the gender trolling in the name, then feedback that the name is off putting to a portion of the potential audience is valid.
If I was marketing a product in a foreign language, I would be open to feedback that the name has some bad connations even though obviously I had none in mind.
(Incidentally, based on the single example being 'bro curl' as in "Do you even lift bro?" curls, I think brogrammer was in fact the origin of the name)
(Incidentally, based on the single example being 'bro curl' as in "Do you even lift bro?" curls, I think brogrammer was in fact the origin of the name)
"Do you even lift, bro?" and "brogrammer" are two completely different things, despite both sharing the root "bro". One's a meme that originated from /fit/ (IIRC) and the other is a neologism that describes a frat boy subculture that is allegedly overtaking programming, and as an insult to one who is deemed to be a part of this subculture.
What the fuck is up with you people and seeing "brogrammer" in every word that contains "bro"? Is your understanding of language and etymology that narrow that it does not extend beyond tech circles?
I would argue that intent is all that matters. If people want to foist their interpretation onto the word, that's their issue, not mine or the author's (if he wasn't relating it to "brogrammer" that is, I can't speak to his thought process).
The vast majority of people would consider "bro" a substitute colloquialism for "dude", and such. And, I would be willing to bet that that is how most in IT would take it, too.
We are talking about whether the name is a good choice, right? How is intent even relevant? If I'm making something and trying to get other people to use it then all the matters is how a potential audience sees it?
> We are talking about whether the name is a good choice, right?
Not entirely, or at least I wasn't. As to whether or not it's a good choice, you are absolutely right, how it's seen by your potential audience is important.
On the other hand, it could be an opportunity "take back" the meaning of "bro" by putting it into common use with a harmless meaning. I would rather the word "brogrammer", with its baggage and any link it may or may not have with "bro", fade into obscurity.
No, you're wrong. "man" is the obvious abbreviation for "manual" when trying to reduce the number of characters used. Not once as a teenager learning unix shell commands did gender (or cultural stereotypes) enter my mind when using the 'man' command, but I guarantee it does when looking at the 'bro' command.
Unless you're going to tell me that 'fsck' was intentionally named to conjure up the idea of the word 'fuck' when mentioned, your example is completely unrelated and only a red herring. 'bro' is a tool that was explicitly named 'bro' because it's a play on words with 'man', and so there was an explicit choice made to associate the tool with 'bro' and 'brogrammer', etc. If you can't see the difference, I really have to wonder about the average quality of commenter on this site anymore.
Once we get past that stage, are we really overthinking the consequences of the name? Personally, as a male, the name doesn't really bother me beyond the association of the term 'brogrammer' with fratty programmers who drink a lot and don't even code that well (and tbh, I think that alone should be a stereotype one would want to avoid). However, should we at least consider and discuss the implications of asking a female programmer to ask a 'bro' for advice whenever she doesn't know something? Words don't necessarily mean only what you want them to mean. Sometimes they mean what people take them to mean.
It would be extremely surprising to me if fsck wasn't recognized to be tongue-in-cheekly profane when it was originally named. It could easily have been called ckfs, chkdisk (as it was on other systems), etc. Fsck first appeared on Version 7 UNIX, which means it dates to the early 80s, long after "fuck" had been established as one of the most popular profanities in English. It's context of usage, when the filesystem had become corrupt and the administrator was in a state of annoyance or anger, is also suggestive.
The whole bro humour is deliberately exclusionary, it is an in-joke for tying together small groups of (mostly) young males. That is what it is for.
This is also why it can work well in small groups, because in-jokes can help tie them together. However, as evidenced by this thread, a lot of people, many with well developed senses of humour, just don't find the whole bro shtick really all that amusing, and if trying to appeal to a wider audience it is wise when using humour in a public service, to use jokes that most people might find funny, otherwise nobody bothers discussing the actual product, but just complains that they don't like the name, then you get usurped by the first decent copy that has a name people like more.
Also, French Connection UK has had FCUK on every high street in Britain for years, so I think you might be onto a loser for shock value with fsck, it seems people are far more offended by social concepts than by biology these days.
The whole bro humour is deliberately exclusionary, it is an in-joke for tying together small groups of (mostly) young males. That is what it is for.
It's important to draw the distinction between the usage of the term to
(1) describe oneself and one's peers and create an ingroup
as opposed to
(2) describe (and often criticize) others
I don't see a lot of unironic usage of (1), aside from the odd tone-deaf fratboy.
I see a lot of criticism of "brogrammers" and "dudebros" by self-styled "progressives" on the internet and social media.
The question is, what is the actual intent of this project name - is it just a "ha-ha, man refers to male people, bro is a different word to refer to male people"? If so, then there's no problem with it and people offended by it are overreacting.
If it's intended to exclude females from contributing or participating (though I don't see how), then that's a problem. It's not clear that this would actually be an issue - a man who didn't want to participate in a project because the gem was called "estrogen" or "sister" or something would rightly be criticized for having some issues.
I agree with (1) and (2). I know the first thought I had when I saw "bro pages" I thought is was a pun on "man pages." Turns out I was right. As others have noted, no one seems oppressed with "/sys" or that since jewelry is mostly a feminine product, that using "gem" is hostile. Or Julia. Etc. I'm sure the argument is something akin to being that because we are in a male dominated space, that feminine gendered words cannot be exclusionary.
What I really came here to post is that I am curious to hear from the _women_ who are offended by it and why. I am under the impression that most (all?) of the comments are from social justice white males picking up on something that they feel bolsters their ability to say, "look, I support woman in tech!" without actually doing anything real and concrete to, you know, actually support woman in tech (like working to get young woman interested in coding, working towards hiring practices that don't bias resume screening by removing names, or something similar).
I'm sure that I have phrased something completely sans sensitivity above and will be thoroughly lambasted. Hopefully it will be from a woman who can explain it to me, though, if we are to believe some of the comments above, then woman are actively avoiding this site due to sexist comments. Perhaps there is something so overtly sexist in what I wrote that I am part of the problem. However, I don't _think_ so. /me braces for down voting.
I'm assuming that this was a double-entendre pun on "man" (short for manual) also meaning "human of male sex", and using a word related to the second meaning to give "bro".
It's similar to the situation of how "rake", derived from "ruby-make" gave rise to "hoe", riffing off the meaning of "rake" as a garden tool.
It's not clear to me how a woman using the "bro" tool at her computer would somehow be marginalized or excluded. Puns aren't automatically sexist just because they reference some aspect of maleness/femaleness.
i think the more subtle point, which you're free to disagree with, is that the word 'bro' has a ton of baggage around it from the offest. the word 'man' isn't chosen because it's trying to remind people who need help of the patriarchy's stranglehold on information, it's just short for manual, which i think most people can stomach.
If you wanted to parody 'manual', you could name the command 'rtfm' or 'automatic' or 'auto' or 'otto', but 'bro' has a ton of dodgy cultural baggage around it. Naming things is hard and if you want proof of how this can be problematic, look no further than this open source Buffer replacement here:
To most people english is a foreign language which makes it improbable they would get a play on english slang words.
'bro' is not even loosely related to man: man is a pager interface for system documentation, it is standard, has existed for decades and comes with pretty much every *nixes and is related to the info command. The content man displays is written by knowledgeable people (developers, maintainers, etc.) and is split in several sections:
1 Executable programs or shell commands
2 System calls (functions provided by the kernel)
3 Library calls (functions within program libraries)
4 Special files (usually found in /dev)
5 File formats and conventions eg /etc/passwd
7 Miscellaneous (including macro packages and conventions), e.g. man(7), groff(7)
8 System administration commands (usually only for root)
9 Kernel routines [Non standard]
On the other hand, bro is a brand new non standard ruby utility as an interface to a database of user provided one liner command examples ranked through a voting system that could probably be easily gamed. Its content right now is uncategorized and of dubious quality with some command not being working examples, some missing explanation to even being outright malicious.
Those two very different tools are hardly related in any way.
Lastly, fsck stands for file system check, its name is suited to its use and follows a tradition of clever naming which answer the need to be concise, indicative of its use and somewhat intuitive.
see cp for copy, mv for move, mkdir for make directory, cat for concatenate, chown for change ownership, du for disk usage, df for disk free, ls to list files, rm to remove files, rmdir to remove directories, sed for stream editor and so on.
Asking for a rename of fsck to love is just the perfect example against the point you're trying to make, that what you say is relevant to this discussion.
Sorry, risking a crusade comes to my doorstep and downvote me to the minimum, here is a true rant:
I want to express my paranoia here.
I really hate when people have to bring up this gender issue in every discussion a name that sounds male-only. I am just saying: "stop raising the issue like we are on a crusade."
The author has the right to choose a name and it can be that the author's geninue intent to use the name bro.
Stop taking it as a joke or as a sexist comment.
If this is the case we'd ban every single-gender word on this filthy ugly planet already because someone is going to be super conscious and going to cause a world war 3 one day.
No I am not ignoring sexism, I am saying the only reason we have sexism is because we are so conscious and so paranoid about it. A true equality is when we forget the hell gender we are in and we see no difference in any genders.
When people make comments about another gender and use that against people, that's discrimination. When people make comments about another gender and use that to his or her own entertainment, that's sexism. I can name the project bropage because the software I am making is new and feels more modern. It's like a friend asking me "yo bro you got cigarette?" If that's where I have the inspiration to call it bro page, how is that even sexist!? You are essentially making me a war criminal, against humanity...
The use of [Debatably Volatile Term] (hereafter DVT) is poor branding for a project or product, unless the cultural baggage associated with DVT aligns with the purpose of the project/product.
Assume that DVT has different connotative definitions to different audiences. If some of those connotative definitions are negative, then the use of DVT as a brand name will repel people who primarily associate DVT with that negative connotation.
Let's say that you decide to publish a project, and you choose a DVT that has positive connotations to you. If people point out that DVT has negative connotations they are not necessarily associating you with those negative connotations, they might merely be pointing out the weakness of DVT in branding.
There will always be people who don't agree with you. Someone even said that Python can be thought of a slang for male sexual organ. In Chinese, turtle head is slang for the head of the male sexual organ. If I name it turtlehead, I can called sexist by some Chinese feminist. But in my example that's probably a bad name to start with anyway. But is bro-page in the same category as turtle head? My opinion is not.
I really don't see the name bro-page being sexist or evidence of ignoring feminist audience. It sounds genuine. It isn't like the author have a female model in the bro page documentation.
Rather than spending the first 50 comments on this gender flame war, why don't we talk about what makes man page useful and not useful. What makes sites like explainshell and bropage useful and not useful.
We have different opinion and if that's how you feel then it obviously is not sexism then.
I am not sure how it's disrespectful. If the annoying and stupid part comes from the popular culture use of "bro" in movie and street, well maybe it's the environment the person is in. I have met a girl from another country and whoever she talks to she would address the person as sir or madam. It sounds respectful but after a while it sounds annoying and stupid because she can just call the person Mr. X or Mrs. X.
No. I said it is ridiculous to turn everything into a sexism discussion. Look, I said if people are making fun of female, like "sudo make me sandwich" that's sexist and we better make sure we correct that idea. It might be okay with a close friend but a public statement like that is obviously not acceptable.
bro-page is not in the same category as "sudo make me sandwich". There is no sexism in that name. Just because it is named "bro" doesn't mean it's sexist. We have girls who like to be called bro. I remember in one of the earliest episode in Family Guys, Lorie said "I respect your feminist initiative and being feminist means I have a choice and I choose not to be like you."
If you force people to feel like the name is sexist, you are making it sexist. If you are so paranoid about sexism that's because we have made many things sexist. Do people ever call a poem using masculine words sexist when some are just completely fine and have nothing to do with people degrading female or male? Ever heard of that?
I never noticed that "sudo make me a sandwich" is sexist. Maybe I missed the memo. It always conjures, for me, the idea that the computer will make me a sandwich. And if I were to go with the XKCD where most of us heard of it the first time, the image is without gender. It never occurred to me that only a woman would make a sandwich for someone. I guess that messes up when my dad would make me a sandwich. Or when I made some for my sisters and brothers. Maybe you are projecting your own sexist bias here?
Intent doesn't matter? I hope you don't mean that. If someone truly does not mean to be offensive and uses a term either out of ignorance or because they don't associate the word with the same things you do, they are not a "bad person". If you're the most sensitive person in a room or office, do you set the rules of speech? This comment just makes you sound like one of those people that would relish taking someone down over a word choice, regardless if they are actually racist/sexist.
Another thing that's odd, are brogrammers the in-group? Seems they are actually the out-group and are looked down upon by most other people (majority of men and women). But, for whatever reason you choose to view it from a men vs. women mentality talking about locker room mentality and "especially women".
Also, your negroes example is terrible. It's worse than the same type of examples you're arguing about with people in other comments.
Actually, when I think of man pages I think about pompous neckbeards who get mad at plebians who are having a hard time understanding something rather than helping them with examples. So bro pages to me sound much more friendly; man pages that are aimed at the every day "bro".
Agreed on the first part, I recall my RTFM days and not so fondly. I also recall how inaccessible most man pages were (and are).
On the second point I strongly disagree. Bro immediately makes me sigh and think this is yet another example of how many people have their heads in the sand on gender, race and culture issues in our society and workplaces. It makes me sad.
Yeah, man pages could go a long way in terms of providing some common use examples and more legible syntax to help out inexperienced users.
I like what "bro" pages are doing here in that regard, but the name is unfortunate enough to merit thinking about a change at this early stage of the project. I agree it is a pretty harmless pun on man pages, but considering that the tech industry is in a period of trying to overcome a lack of gender diversity, it could only help to avoid jokes like that come off as unfortunate or poorly thought out.
Yeah, it's a concept/great project, but I agree that 'bro' just carries way too much negative connotations (even besides the gender politics, I think the idea of "brogrammers" is pretty divisive).
So here's a suggestion for a better/less controversial name that keeps some of the humor. Rename it:
* Didactism Using Direct Examples - backronyms are awesome!
* dude gives the same jokey connotations/play off of man (hey man, hey dude), but with a an extra dash of totally sweet, whoa as well (duuude)
* Thanks to successive western->counterculture/stoner->surfer->skater usage, dude is much less gendered. It's also just way less polarizing since there's no direct connotations to any particular set/culture of programmers (you know, the fist-bumping, collar-popping, smirnoff ice pounding frat boys killing it with their new mobile app)
I disagree. There is nothing wrong with 'bro' just like there is nothing wrong with a programming language 'Julia'. They are both gender specific and you as an individual can infer whatever you like about the term.
Only you, the individual, can determine how you feel about what someone says or writes, only you can determine whether or not you're insulted.
How something IS vs. how a group FEELS are separate, and one should not confuse the two.
>  If you don't believe me, ponder for a moment sentences like, "But I like Negroes just fine!" Language matters.
I'm pondering and all I see is an american cultular discomfort with the "N-word". A better example would be a sentence like "I like honkies just fine" (or whatever the racial slur for white people is nowdays). Suddenly, if I imagine saying it to a black person, I don't expect him / her to be offended. One needs higher levels of retroreflective offendability to be offended by self-deprecating jokes.
Also, the joke here is on man pages (as in, not woman pages, though we have those in Emacs). Like I suggested elsewhere, let's burn Unix and it's derivatives (and Emacs, one sexist bastard) on the stake of gender issues.
Seriously. Were the "man pages" invented today, I'd expect the same level of gender shitstorm under its "Show HN" thread that I can see here now.
Both me and my girlfriend work in tech and she wasn't offended by the name 'bropages'. Furthermore, she disagreed with your comment completely. She doesn't feel excluded or discriminated from the name 'bropages'. Hell, I even call her dude all the time and it doesn't bother her in the slightest.
There as an episode of a tv show called community where they tried to make a mascot that wasn't offensive to anyone. It ended up being a "human" that had no face and the letter H on the front. I don't think anyone that shows off a project here should be attacked for it being offensive to some subset of people here unless it explicitly encourages hate.
women especially, who infer that on top of all the technically difficult stuff they'll have to learn to be CS types, they'll also have to deal with a constant barrage of "you're not our kind" flung at them by the in-group
The first part of your sentence sounded unintentionally demeaning, which seems antithetical to your cause.
Much as I dislike the word 'bro' (and jock and nerd ftm), there are two huge assumptions here - 1. the language we use has that kind of subliminal power, and 2. that unintended offence is something given rather than taken.
I quite like "pam" [pamphlet] as an alternative - not the manual just a short pamphlet of examples ... or maybe just "ex" or "eg"?
[ex currently is linked to a mode of vim (which I never use) on my system; eg isn't used but the system tells me it's for easygit. "pam" says no command found but that there are 23 similar. I don't know what program provides the suggestions precisely something in the apt ecosystem I suspect]
The name is a LOT more sexist, but few people would realise (spartans famously didn't think highly of wom¹), but it also has the metaphorical meaning of being b¹-bones, which is what these pages are. But that name is seven whole letters and that's harder to type than m¹, so I'd abbreviate it to sprn, which also stands for sy¹ pn¹, both of which are way, way more sexist than b¹.
¹ censored for your protection - ED
The only way to fight moralfags is to make your product so outrageously sexist, no-one can tell it's actually sexist. Kind of like how Matt Stone and Trey Parker got the jokes in the South Park movie past the censors - each time a joke would be rejected, they'd censor/change it in a way that made it even dirtier. No-one caught onto the fact that "bigger, longer and uncut" is a dick joke.
I absolutely agree. I don't think the creator intended to create a constant reminder of an unbalanced subculture, but I think that a similar tool named differently would be more widely used. As a dude, I would feel awkward installing bro, honestly.
That said, it looks fucking handy so I think I'm gonna. ;)
The whole idea of a Tone Argument seems ridiculous "you're denying my claims by pointing out that I am being an asshole" seems inaccurate on its face.
Pointing out the someone is being an asshole is its own thing. Not to mention that being an asshole actually DOES potentially detract from their point to their own detriment and would be better avoided in most cases.
The point may or may not be valid on its own, but presenting it terribly is the fault of the presenter, not the recipient, and having that pointed out isn't somehow changing the argument. That's a bit like saying the phrase "Pardon me? You were mumbling and I couldn't understand." is changing the argument.
Ugh, why is the simple-minded application of buzzwords so horribly prevalent in discussions of this nature. I honestly can't think of anything that exemplifies "derailing" more than posting links to Geek Feminism that are almost entirely irrelevant as part of a complaint about someone's comment.
While your point isn't invalid at all, it's worth noting that UNIX naming is full of these in-jokes. All the way from UNIX being a play on Multics, less is more, the recursive GNU is Not UNIX, WINE is not an emulator, etc.
While originally names were chosen to be concise for technical reasons, they've been at the whims of geek humour since time(0).
It is fascinating how hard some people work to be offended at most trivial things. Of course "bro" is offensive - it is about males. Of course "babe" would be offensive too - it's a sexist term for a woman. Of course "professional independent highly achieving woman" would be a much better name - and still offensive, since it obviously implies the only thing such women are good for is to be the help for men who do the real work, just bringing them manuals or delivering stuff from here to there, not contributing anything of substance. And to think we use such tools as BROwsers... No wonder women don't use the internet. What? They do? Well, they must be feeling awful anyway, especially when they see HIStory staring right at them from the screen, constantly reminding them that "NO GIЯLS ALOUD".
We have companies with names like Yahoo and products named like gimp and git, but of course something named "bro" can't be good.
Aside from agreeing that the idea for the service is great, I think there's an important distinction to make about why 'bro' has gotten people riled up. The issue, in my mind, is not that it has a gender bias, after all there are examples of feminine terms in computing that nobody seems to mind (e.g. programming languages like Ada, Julia, Miranda, etc...). We should feel fine about using masculine terms too.
The issue instead is with the negative connotation that has built up around the word 'bro'. The solution I'd like to add to the pile is to change the name from 'bro' to 'boy', keeps the joke intact, just as quick to type, and no negative connotations. What do you think of that name?
The name doesn't do that. All the Social Justice Warriors that have invaded HN are doing that. If they spent more time actually programming something they'd be less time to moan about the name of a command line tool.
Some time ago, I wrote a post about CoffeeScript. As you may know, CoffeeScript is a whitespace-specific programming language.
I am black, and there is a small cultural wiggle-room when it comes to black people making fun of colour-based cultural issues. So I thought I could get away with calling my post "White Power."
The response was immediate and scathing. Regardless of whether I was personally offended by my title, it was put to me that my title was inappropriate to go sailing round the front page of Hacker News, &c.
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but you know what? These things are about how people react, not what was on my mind at the time. There is room for debate when people are doing these things specifically to provoke debate, as one finds in art and drama. But in this case, I was not an artist trying to make a point about culture, I was writing a blog post about CoffeeScript.
I changed the name, I think I renamed it after a Mondrian composition. A few people continued to rag me about it, but in time people forgot the name but continued to productively discuss CoffeeScript.
In any event, I feel for the authors. We all make our little jokes, and sometimes they land with a resounding thud. The problem, of course, is that unless we are artists provoking people into thinking about culture, these discussions are a distraction from the good work we're trying to do.
So the right thing to do as a developer is change the name and move on. If it is changed, the good things in this library will live on long after people have forgotten the rhetoric expended on the choice of name.
It would be a shame if the library is remembered for its name instead of its functionality.
So how do you plan to repent! First beg for forgiveness until everyone agrees you have begged enough. Second make some pledge for the future. Of course you will never use that word again but how about donating money to a charity or hiring some women. Third and most important think twice before you accuse anyone ever again of saying something offensive because it might have been a simple mistake.
Maybe we could all be a little more gracious and assume the best of our fellow human beings. I think life could be a lot more pleasant for all of us. We might even be able to get more good done too.
I was basically done with this thread, but your comment is sufficiently interesting.
Compare two programmers. One believes that code must be perfect right out of the gate or else it is very embarrassing. The other believes continuous iteration is the normal state.
If presented with a major design challenge ("This UX doesn't work at all for people using screen readers"), I posit that the first developer is motivated to explain why the code as it stands is a good idea ("Those users aren't our market.") The first programmer views the idea of being wrong as deeply embarrassing, and wants to avoid feeling shame, or weakness, or whatever it is that involves saying "I was wrong."
The second programmer makes changes and carries on without worrying about it.
And so it is with a word. If you are deeply embarrassed at the notion of having to change, you make up all sorts of reasons why you are right and the people pointing out another way are wrong.
Whereas if you believe that development is all about iteration, you make the change and move along.
I am the second kind of writer. Many times I have blogged something, been called out about some technical or social point, and simply edited my posts. To me, iteration is a sign that things are working properly.
So... If HN allowed me to edit my comment to remove a word I now know is inappropriate, I would do so without worrying about it. I wish more people would take the same attitude: "Oh, this may make things inaccessible for someone? Let's change it and move on without drama just as we change our code and move on without drama."
I don't think this is accurate, in British english at least. Dictionary.com shows the etymology as unknown in the sense of to scold or to tease, but it gives the date as 1790 to 1800.
It's usage as a synonym for tampon is show in word usage as dating from the 1930s.
I don't think it's remotely fair to assume it could be taking in the above context as derogatory towards women.
To play devil's advocate for a moment, we should also remember that sometimes (not always, but sometimes) people do have a choice in what they're offended by, and how they react to those feelings of offence. A lot of the people in this thread aren't even saying that they find it offensive personally, but that they feel that they ought to find it offensive on behalf of other people, which is very much a conscious decision on their part. If you react to the mere fact that some people complain about something without considering whether they might be wrong, you'll self-censor unnecessarily. And that makes it more difficult for others to resist self-censorship later.
The thing is, I don't think 'bro pages' are offensive. More than that, I don't think that they should be offensive. Are we seriously saying that we should attempt to avoid using any words, even in metaphors or puns, that might ever remind someone of a person stereotypically assumed to be annoying? Really? This feels like linguistic bikeshedding from people who, having realised that words have the power to offend, have set out to find offence where not only was none intended but where it could only be found by actively construing the speech as offensive. It's a massive piece of WWIC, driven by an attempt to appear more sophisticated and culturally aware, which massively exaggerates the potential harm caused in order to make a case that someone else (but never the critic) should have behaved differently. Instead of accepting that no harm was meant, and acknowledging their own free choice to decide whether to interpret something as harmful, they're claiming that the words they see are simply inherently wrong and must be changed.
Now, I should attach some massive caveats to the above. Some speech is inherently offensive. We know it's offensive because we can all close our eyes and imagine the worst things we could say to someone. There's almost no innocent use of such speech, although context, intent and consent are important. Such speech has no place in civilized discourse and HN is, for the most part, civilized discourse. 'Bro' is not such speech. 'Bro' can be amusing, annoying or neutral. It can make people smile, frown or feel indifferent, as can many other words in the dictionary. Naming things is hard enough without the restriction that the name can never, ever, be interpreted negatively by someone trying very hard to do so.
Your point has been raised elsewhere in this thread as well as many, many times in the last fifty-plus years when debating the effect of language on exclusion. I don't think I can add something new to the debate, so I'll direct you to do some research and find out why people do not accept your argument as axiomatically true.
Furthermore, the point that you're replying to says little about whether 'bro' or even 'white power' is offensive, it says that the debate about 'white power' was a distraction to a point about CoffeeScript.
And thus, my advice to the project authors is to change the name. Agree or disagree with whether it's offensive, it wasn't written to provoke you and I into discussing exclusionary language, it was written to help people be more productive.
The name works against that. Fair, unfair, what's the difference if your goal is to make people more productive?
I agree about the distraction. And I am not saying that nobody can ever complain about offensive language. What I am saying is that there are two parties in any disagreement and it cannot always be the case that the person who speaks first is always wrong and the person who judges their speech is always right. Sometimes people take offence for bad reasons, or in bad faith, and they create just as much of a distraction as those with legitimate complaints. So we cannot say that the mere existence of a distraction should cause the author/creator to change their product in order to avoid further distraction.
There needs to be some commonly-accepted understanding of what constitutes legitimate grounds for offence. You appear (though I don't think this is what you really mean) to be saying that anything that is found offensive by someone capable of causing a distraction over the issue should be accepted as such and removed.
To be honest, 'bro' is not an important word to me. But I worry about what it means if we can't use even such a silly word, as a fairly cheesy pun, without it causing such controversy. It feels like rather than bringing people together and making them more tolerant, discussions like this are just dividing people, over what is really a pretty trivial thing. Are we all so desperate to tell each other how to think and act that we can't let a silly pun be just a silly pun? Do we have to accept that even perfectly reasonable people, capable of giving good reasons for their actions (such as your blog post title) ought to have to self-censor rather than ask others to take the thing in the spirit it was intended? A little charity on the part of the critics would be nice.
Is the "bro" intended to be ironic, or are the creators actually not aware that the term is used to represent the worst (most misogynistic, most crass, least mature, least dependable) people currently flocking to the industry? It is by its very definition exclusionary.
I suppose "brogrammers" might be a target audience, but the concept of the tool itself is pretty good for just about anyone. Shame about the name.
I have found out in life that women can also be dependable, fun to hang out with, and not "complicate things."
Using "bro" is offensive because it excludes others by their gender. It's an awful exclusionary term and you shouldn't think it funny or ironic. You're not taking this serious. I'm guessing because you haven't any idea of how soul crushing it can be to see this kind of behavior in the workplace when you're at the other end. It fucking sucks.
Now, we're just being pedantic. I guess this is what we do on a lazy Saturday morning when we all just have to be offended and aghast at something.
I don't even know what you're talking about with "soul crushing it can be to see this kind of behavior in the workplace". What behavior? naming a tool "bro"? Are you serious?
I work with grown ups. Men and women of every age, background, and geography. They would take issue with cat-calls, gross innuendo, propositioning, and many other things. Not a single one of them would lose their shit over "bropages". You know, because we're all adults and have developed this sense of "things that matter" and "things that are trivial" and "things that don't even register".
Of course, this seems to be half the current content of HN. Every day, long diatribes about the horrors of sexism that restate the same old bullshit and gets everyone worked up with no further understanding or patience derived from them.
To be fair, some people actually use "bro" as an neutral term. I call my wife "bro" all the time, she called one of her (female) students bro, etc.
And I'm not trying to downplay any bad behavior by people you've had to interact/work with. Pretty much anything can be used in a negative way in a specific context, and people can be huge jerks. I'm merely trying to say that words which you think are offensive to one gender, can be used as a completely neutral term without any subtext other than friendliness. It's really a shame that this word has become so negative to you.
It's really a shame that in the community with which you are currently participating, the word has acquired so many negative associations; I agree.
I also call my (female) SO "bro" – in addition to a broad range of friends and family – in specific contexts. But I would never consider the word neutral or inclusive in the context of the tech community. Too much baggage. If any of the people I call "bro" were programmers plugged into the same world we are currently plugged into, I would not do it, period.
The fact that everyone in this thread came into this with knowledge of the term "brogrammer" suggests to me that there shouldn't be much of an argument, but I guess that's just wishful thinking.
As soon as I saw the title I knew there'd be this brouhaha. For over twenty years my circle of male friends have been calling each other "bro", my female pals call their brothers "bro". All this was way before "bro" was misappropriated as a term of offence just because of one word - "brogrammer". This thread has seriously deviated into the twilight zone of reductio ad absurdum.
Must be an American thing then, I'm European, for me "bro" is just short for brother and it is a term of endearment. It's not hard for english speaking humans all around the world to arrive at a natural abbreviation such as "Bro" without being exposed to isolated pockets of misuse. We certainly did.
I'll continue to use the word "bro" because in my timezone (and on a few on either side) it's not a term of offence.
I appreciate your intent, but this line of reasoning about the implications of the term "bro" seems like a huge stretch to me. Being a male, should I likewise feel personally offended by the Emacs woman command, which is a similar and equally "exclusive" pun on man pages?
It has been a casual term of friendship and acknowledgement between guys for even longer than it has been a douche-bag-frat-boy-sleazy-programmer reference, however. There's not really any need to associate every occurrence of the word "bro" with that, unless it is clearly intended to do so (which, maybe this is, I wouldn't know).
I just know that getting irate over this, at the moment, is like losing your crap over someone including a "manifest" file with their software.
People gotta calm down and not be so jumpy. There's enough intentionally offensive and exclusionary stuff going on in our world without assuming everything else is, too.
Not to say I disagree with you about the way it is often used, though. Nothing more grating than playing a game and hearing a bunch of teenagers say "bro" and "brah" thirty-seven times per minute.
> It has been a casual term of friendship and acknowledgement between guys for even longer than it has been a douche-bag-frat-boy-sleazy-programmer reference, however.
In my entire life, I have only heard "bro" come from the mouths of bullying douche-bag frat-boy sleazes, usually while telling me the assault they just committed against me was "just a joke". It has never come from anyone I would willingly subject myself to.
And in my _entire life_ (including a lot of time spent with friends in fraternities and at frat parties in colleges), I've never heard "bro" used as anything but a shorter form of the term of endearment "brother", or at worst an ironic reference to the stereotype of the super-fratty popped-collar bro. Obviously both usages are prevalent, but your contention is that the term can't POSSIBLY be referring to anything but your usage. Why exactly is that?
Ha oh I see, you're one of those simpletons who thinks that all people who meet a certain arbitrary criterion must be exactly the same. I've never even been close to the jock/douchebag-frat stereotype (I actually can't think of a single trait that I have that fits: short, unfashionable, hell I didn't even party that much in college). But hey, whatever helps you get over the trauma of getting constantly stuffed in lockers in high school.
It'd be great if you could demonstrate actual compassion and understanding of other human beings instead of pushing your stupid "I should be able to say whatever I want without social consequences" agenda down everyone's throat.
I've got plenty of compassion and understanding, thanks.
Using your logic, why don't we just get rid of the word 'frat' while we're at it, since you've had such a bad experience with people associated with them. Do you see the slippery slope you're on here?
I'm glad we live in a society where everything isn't geared to appease people like you. Those that I do have compassion for are people with real issues, not feigned concern over the name of an application you had nothing to do with being a word that might trigger a panic attack because you got your ass beat in college.
> I've got plenty of compassion and understanding, thanks.
Only for yourself.
> Maybe you should try therapy for that.
Maybe you should try not being an asshole.
By the way, your comments have numerous factual errors. You've assumed a great deal about my life rather than seeking actual understanding of it. Amusingly, even if your assumptions were correct, it would just make you an even bigger asshole.
> In my entire life, I have only heard "bro" come from the mouths of bullying douche-bag frat-boy sleazes, usually while telling me the assault they just committed against me was "just a joke".
My bad. I shouldn't have assumed to know the type of assault you experienced. I apologise for that.
Unfortunately though, your life isn't the topic of conversation here, and frankly it's none of my business.
Like overgard said in a comment replying to your original post, you appear to be offended because someone used the word bro.
If that is the case, my belief is that ethically, your personal experience in this matter does not invalidate the use of a word across an entire culture. Like I implied in my previous comment, where does the buck stop with this type of censorship?
If you care to respond to that, I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
One of the top headlining comedians in the US talks about this. Some people will be having a great time at his show and laughing at everything. But, then when it comes around to something about them, all of the sudden it's not so funny anymore. If you don't understand how absurd that is, you don't understand comedy.
Hopefully you realize that your personal experience and everything you load into the word "bro" is not universal.
>>I can't even imagine many of you people watching a stand-up comic.
For the record, I think comedians like Louis CK & Dave Chappelle do society a disservice by making serious issues into trivial jokes but that's just me. So yeah, there are some people out there who can't watch those types of stand-up comics. I also believe the term "brogrammer" and the issues of sexism in tech has pretty much taken over the term "bro" whether you like it or not. The word "gay" originally means "happy", but it would be absurd to use it today and expect people to interpret it with that definition now.
In the world of sports, "bro" probably still just means "Come on, bro!"... but in tech, the term has taken a new definition. To officially use that term in the tech-sphere and pretend you don't know the negative ideas it brings to mind is ignorant/insensitive at best, or just plain terrible & purposely malicious at worse.
Disclaimer: I'm not going to debate this so don't bother replying me asking pedantic questions or setting up hypothetical situations. Everyone has a bar for sensitivity & respect. I think yours is too low, you probably think mine is way too high. I'm sure you have a bunch of friends/coworkers that agree with you and I have a bunch that agree with me. Don't know where that leaves us... but there you go. Just adding a data point. Off I go...
Seems to work for Dane Cook pretty well doesn't it?
Ba Dum Chhhh!
In all seriousness though "funny" is in the eye of the beholder. Jon Benjamin and Mitch Hedberg both tell what amount to non-jokes and have intentionally unfunny standup on occasion and that's actually their whole gig.
Yes, I was kidding about 'man', but my point is that 'bro' isn't that exclusionary.
In fact, I think the problem here is that a lot of geeks don't like 'bros' and I am doubting that they're hated by women as much. Personal opinion here, but: a lot of women have friends that are bros; a lot fewer geeks have friends that are bros.
No I didn't say that. I think that is completely false.
>> A lot of geeks don't like 'bros' and I am doubting that they're hated by women as much. Personal opinion here, but: a lot of women have friends that are bros; a lot fewer geeks have friends that are bros.
I think women that are geeks also have fewer 'bro' friends.
Geek is a property of men and women, it is not a mutually-exclusive group.
Nice try, trying to implicate me in sexism but I do not like it when people try to read things into what I say that I've never implied. I intended one thing, stop trying to use it against me...
What I am saying is that I think a group of non-genderised geeks define the label 'bro' by its negative connotations more so than the greater super set of non-geeks (even those which are of the female gender.) It's a case of a new set of people 'bros' joining another set of people 'geeks'; it's exactly the same group behaviour as you see when people from different cultures immigrate into a country; same us-vs-them group behaviour; same magnification and amplification of negative connotations.
A bro is just a stereotype. People are people and you should get to know them first before rejecting them (and especially if there are negative behaviours that you want to treat.)
Yes. Geek culture isn't about being a bro. When I think about "bros" I think about guys who party, and then let someone else do the work. It's about power disguised as being carefree. Geek culture is about a kind of unification of mind and action. It's also about creativity within traditions.
Just imagine how upset people would get if you referred to a mixed gender crowd as "ladies"
"come on now ladies lets move the tour along"
"Who you calling 'lady'!?"
Guys really is just a historically ingrained shorthand. I don't think I've ever heard it used in this sort of context to cause harm. Using "Ladies" in this way, on the other hand, could cause yourself harm.
Back in school, my sports coaches would sometimes refer to all male groups as "ladies". However, I suspect this is not what you're talking about ;)
As much as anything, I've heard many women refer to mixed gender groups as "guys" or "dudes". A lot of this "definition creep" is actually due to women themselves. Probably this is because the male identity is viewed as a source of power, and women seek this out and aim to identify with it.
In other words, I don't think the use of "guys" generically is being driven by sexist men. I think it's being driven by blurring of gender roles and definitions, and adoption of these generic terms by women.
> I have found out in life that women can also be dependable, fun to hang out with, and not "complicate things."
And there's nothing contradictory about that. Just because 'bro' is a man who might be all of that, doesn't mean that a woman can't be the same thing. Maybe she will not get the same nickname or term of endearment, but neither does that imply that she is qualitatively different from a 'bro'.
1. Obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties. When they aren’t making an ass of themselves they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying.
2. An alpha male idiot. This is the derogatory sense of the word (common usage in the western US): white, 16-25 years old, inarticulate, belligerent, talks about nothing but chicks and beer, drives a jacked up truck that’s plastered with stickers, has rich dad that owns a dealership or construction business and constantly tells this to chicks at parties...
It's a play on words. This oversensitive, over analytical take on sexuality is getting old. What would you have preferred, the hu-man pages? But that would be exclusionary to people in the industry who don't consider themselves human! <hyperbolic>What next, are you going to suggest that parents name their children gender neutral names so they don't have to chaff at it if they change gender?</hyperbolic> You can infer everything, from anything if you try.
A play on words is ok, as long as it's not a running joke that keeps coming up. That's distracting.
The key to the Unix joke name genre is that the jokes are encoded laconically into the name and only the name (e.g. "less") and then have the good taste to immediately expire. They don't get old because they don't overstay their welcome.
> It also clumsily fails to understand the genre it's trying to reproduce, the Unix joke name. Those jokes are encoded laconically into the name and only the name (e.g. "less") and then have the good taste to immediately expire. They don't get old because they don't overstay their welcome.
I'm confused. Is the bro thing showing up in this command apart from in the name?
I agree with you. People are imparting their own interpretation of the word. When I skimmed the web site, I didn't notice anything relating to the whole "brogrammer" thing.
Just because it starts with the same three letters doesn't mean anything. As already stated in many other comments, "bro" is also, and more commonly, used as a substitute for other colloquial words such as "man", "dude", "guys", and is frequently gender neutral.
These niggling complaints of offense where none was intended is indeed getting old. The author's intent is what actually matters, not how someone else interprets it. A reader gets to choose whether to be offended by a word or not, he doesn't get to choose the author's intent.
You're missing the actual joke, which is that "man" was the colloquialism for "dude" or "bro" in the 1970s, when `man` was created. So it only makes sense that a "man for modern times", or maybe a "man with less formality" would be called `bro`.
Personally, I've aliased `man` to `dude` on my shell, so my laptop fits in better with its peers.
No, it is clear that it did not. The usage of 'man' referenced upthread was, probably somewhat earlier than that time, transitioning from 'generic term of address for a male person' to 'means of communicating emphasis when addressing someone (not necessarily male)'. It wasn't used as a labeling term for 'type of man'; rather 'man' was, of course, as it still is, the generic label for 'adult male person'. I still hear vocative and emphatic usages of 'man' though the vocative usage seems somewhat old-fashioned to me.
My assumption has been that the vocative usage of 'man' was originally associated particularly with urban African-American speech and got picked up by youth culture during the 1950s and 1960s, much as was happening with other urban African-American slang and dialect usages.
The trajectory of 'dude' in the 1980s (possibly given a significant push by the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High) was somewhat similar to that of 'vocative->emphasis man', though 'dude' of course had been a term that had earlier on been used as a label for certain categories of men (e.g. the 'surfer dude' and the much earlier usages that go back to the 19th century).
It's a pun on "man", almost surely. It's certainly possible that someone might not have the same interpretation of "bro", which is short for "brother", as the average internet addict. There's nothing inherently bigoted about the term, and it has a long history of use divorced from any puerile or irresponsible behavior.
More importantly, it's not any sort of insult, it's a term people use when they're being friendly to each other, and even if we don't like those people there's not really any need to erect a barrier to its use. "Groovy" has been associated with the psychedelic-drug-using subculture, but we've had no trouble naming a programming language after it. This isn't like, say, "nigger", where it's virtually impossible to imagine using the word in a non-discriminatory way. We don't need to build this wall.
Of course this rant is irrelevant. I think it's silly that a term of endearment can offend people, but:
* when you're naming a software product, you don't get to choose the culture you release it into.
If saying "bro" makes some people uncomfortable, the bottom line is that it just makes a lot more sense to change it. There's virtually no cost to using a different name at this point, and there's plenty to gain by avoiding controversy.
> If saying "bro" makes some people uncomfortable, the bottom line is that it just makes a lot more sense to change it.
I don't want to advocate obnoxiousness and misogyny, but there are many things that can make people uncomfortable. Making it a rule to avoid everything that make more than two individuals uncomfortable is one of those ideas that seem good and empathetic until they become the norm and stifle freedom of expression for everyone, including oppressed groups.
EDIT: Case in point — naming your repo "nigger", "cracker", "chink" etc is going out of your way to be an asshole, but surely there are people who are uncomfortable with drugs or had bad experiences with the psychedelic drug culture, and would object to "groovy".
> "Groovy" has been associated with the psychedelic-drug-using subculture, but we've had no trouble naming a programming language after it.
A lot more people object to Groovy's "G-Strings", its name for interpolated strings, than the "Groovy" name. org.codehaus.groovy's Project Manager even introduced a new operator called "Elvis" (the null-coalescing operator) in an attempt to redefine the meaning of "G-String" from the item of clothing to a string on Elvis's guitar to deflect objections but no-one's fooled.
This is actually a very, very good idea. Everybody knows it, it means one thing and one thing only, and that thing also describes what it does, it probably isn't taken, and fits nicely with all other standard descriptive commands like ls/man/... Nice one.
a) How about "brochure"? b) Someone that runs for the hills when seeing a command called "bro", will also run from "man" even before they now about eithers meaning. Of course, these poeple don't exist, because anyone using this is a grown up man or woman.
I think the tool itself is a bit tongue in cheek, because some would say that doing things by example is definitely a brogrammer thing to do, instead of understanding everything that makes up a command.
The reality being that reading 20 pages to learn how to use one command that you may not use in your day to day is (to me) a silly waste almost all of the time.
It comes across to a lot of people as schoolyard BS though.
I see the funny side of the whole bro thing, but I think a culture of it is poisonous for a broad ranging professional environment, as it pisses off as many people as it endears, not to mention the tendency of people who identify with the stereotype to be hung-over until lunch, when they start drinking. Certain individuals do seem to be fully capable of doing this and getting the work done, but you do not want it to be your overall culture. I've seen it. It is fucking messy and very expensive.
I don't get it. If someone made a command called "bi###", people would feel that it was hostile towards women - and understandably so. But then someone creates a command with a name that - by your account - is hostile towards a certain kind of male archetype, that name is... hostile towards women?
I figured it was called bro because brogrammers maybe don't care about how anything works - they just want the answer..?
Anyway, I think this looks to be an awesome utility. People often smugly refer another programmer to use man. But many times man is not actually very helpful for common use cases because it shows way too much - including every possible option without highlighting the 1 or 2 that are commonly used. The man page may use terminology that doesn't make sense if the user is not already familiar with the command.
It's definitely helpful and people should use man, but there are definitely times when a 1 line example will tell you more than 10 man pages. bro looks like a great compliment to that.
Shit name, though, it would make more sense if it was something relatable to "example"
I agree, this is a really poorly thought concept. I almost skipped this entry because it's started with bro which is a word used to describe some really despicable and stupid attitude. I did click because it said man pages which are really useful.
I have a local set of files full of notes and examples and I will not share them with bro pages for two reasons: 1) the name 2) the ruby requirement which limits its reach and usefulness.
"bro" is a short mnemonic/memetic context which makes the command easier to remember and use. I don't think it has any relation to the intended audience or constitutes an endorsement of the "bro" culture by any means.
It's an interesting example of choosing a name. Some people obviously don't care about $NAME, others have a strong aversion to $NAME. Should the creators consider a name change? What if the product is something you're looking to get funding for?
The advice to "pick anything that isn't going to get us sued for trademark infringement and that doesn't mean 'penis' in some other language" needs some expanding.
The tool is open source (although, with no license specified). Maybe someone will fork it and change the name. I think it's a neat idea that could potentially be really awesome. But yeah, the name is unfortunate.
You say that the word "bro" is needlessly offensive. Let me ask you, where is your balance point? What is the right level of offensive? The cost of censorship is real, and teaching people to be helpless victims does more harm than any word ever could.
Yet even without definitions you are typing words and I am reading them and we're having a conversation here, so let's not go pretend-meta here.
The right level of offensive is the level that, given all viewpoints, does the most to benefit to society as a whole.
You're a rich straight white guy whose only discomfort over this comes down to not being able to say whatever you damn well want whenever you damn well please.
From this thread you can clearly see that there's a shit ton of people, many of whom have to re-evaluate their every word and action in our industry, for whom this triggers feelings of marginalization, ridicule and disrespect.
Insisting on maintaining your privilege over theirs and even going so far as to label their reactions as taught helplessness and defining that as evil ... well ... that pretty much sounds like the root of all evil to me.
When somebody starts victim-shaming people it's very relevant to bring up the fact that they are in a social position where they have the least possible real-world experience with the negative side of the issues they're being dismissive about.
But yeah; the tone argument. Good to see that brought up. Going through your comment history is literally Derailment Bingo gold. I'm sure paul is happy to know that his bro's still have his back. ;)
Such a tone-deaf retort is typical of those who fail to see the problem. Again the issue isn't about your or my level of comfort; the issue is the environment we set up for young people considering their opportunities in life.
> You aren't the one who gets to decide when other people feel uncomfortable.
> it's other people feeling oppressed
Seems a bit hypocritical doesn't it? You are sort of correct.
The only person who gets to decide if "he/she" (notice the political correctness?) is offended is "himself/herself." Just as you cannot tell someone he/she is offended, you cannot tell anyone he/she is being offensive. The only person who can label someone as offensive is the person who is offended by the words.
Stop getting offended over pointless shit. Nothing can be offensive without offensive intent. 99% of the time, the problem lies with the person getting offended, not the person doing the offending. Nobody has an obligation to feel like they are walking on glass when he/she opens his/her mouth.
Why would this hypothetically offended person not by offended by "man"? They would not use it(as offended as they are), therefore they'd never learn it meant "manual", just as they wouldn't learn that "bro" is short for "brochure"....right?
It used to be the case that social justice warriors getting offended whenever their pet cause is looked the wrong way had an overwhelming presence in comments and impressions. With such ridiculous think-of-teh-womynz brouhahas breaking out every few weeks, it is telling (and encouraging) that more people of the generally neutral silent majority start speaking up against the silliness. Keep it up, "bro" :)
While I cannot speak for the parent, and while I am not offended by people thinking something is a bad name, I find it to be perhaps the right sentiment directed in the wrong direction. Yes, we want to encourage more woman -- heck, more people -- into our industry. I think this is done through different means. I think it starts off when people are young and they get exposed to programming. If I knew someone left our industry because they were offended by the naming of command line tools, I would be baffled.
I'm a woman, and I think it's hilarious and not at all sexist. Had to stop myself from laughing out loud because I'm in a library.
Is the association that some people will make with "brogrammer" culture a bit unfortunate? Sure. But there's nothing about this program that's making any assertions about bros, or their gender, or anything else - heck, it's not even really talking about people, it's just a play on the word 'man'.
And if we can have a woman named Siri who lives in our phones who answers our questions, why can't we have a bro who lives in our computer and helps us out with the command line?
On the other hand, taking everything so seriously can make the situation worse. I'm a woman in tech, and I don't want the men in tech to feel like they have to walk around on eggshells so as not to offend me. I think that the name "bro pages" is kind of funny, for what it's worth, and all of the protest against the name is the only thing making me uncomfortable.
I thought it was short for "bro"chure anyway. I ctrl+f'ed brother on every page of that site, and I couldn't find any. If anything, people are placing the gender connotation into this command, like people do with "man"ual... why is it the creator and the people who aren't mentioning gender who are being insensitive? I find this entire argument sexist against myself as a man, as the equivalent of this would be creating something called sis and having everyone come down on your because of the name.
Ooh, how terrible, they made a joke about girls and bros. Lighten up / don't comment in this thread if it is to start a political correctness fight rather than discussing the technology itself. This thread could have been about the development/benefits of a crowd-sourced initiative to provide a collection of example usages of unix commands. That's something I've always wanted -- when I read man pages I often just want to see examples.
I'm a woman in tech, and I don't give a shit if men feel like they have to walk on eggshells around me - but as far as I know it's never happened anyway, so I kind of suspect that the whole problem of 'but I'm so scared of saying something wrong to a woman!' is mostly just something people say on the internet.
Just keep in mind, for every comfortable woman in tech, there are many uncomfortable women who stayed out of tech. because of the stuff that for whatever reason doesn't bother you, but does bother them. Their voices are not represented here.
Woman are not in tech because we fail at the high school education phase: we need to do better at encouraging women to study STEM subjects at university. I don't believe the current environment at tech companies is the problem. If it is a rather male dominated culture that is the effect, not the cause.
Wrong. Yes, there is a pipeline problem; however, women also leave STEM fields at more than twice the rate men do. And when we do, the reasons we cite include the fact that it's a boys' club, as well as outright harassment.
Well, at the small software companies I know there are many (e.g. 20x) more male software engineers than female and the problem is 100% due to the pipeline (I'm not aware of any female engineer having left). In my experience female candidates also receive more offers than comparable male candidates, which is great and again not indicative of a cultural cause of the unequal workplace proportions.
"Lighten up" might be her pet peeve. My personal pet peeve is "someone might get offended". Just as she is tired of being told "lighten up" I'm somewhat tired of always having to be careful lest someone gets offended.
I think it's fundamental difference in personalities. Some also want really heavy age limits of software and video. Some also want to censor the internet and some do not.
I'm actually tempted to name personal projects with similar names as the 'bro' project, not because I would actually endorse the culture, but because I dislike those that come barging in saying that someone might get offended even more.
I get pretty much as annoyed of offended persons as I do with those that would seriously dismiss anyone based on their gender.
The entire Unix command line is exclusionary. If it wanted to be inclusive 'man' would be called 'help'. We're not using 300bps dumb terminals any more, I fail to see the value in forcing everyone to learn commands like cp and mv instead of copy and move.
Man pages are called person pages. Also history has been completely rewritten, and is now called herstory.
The nice command was historically used by privileged users to give themselves priority over unprivileged ones, by telling them to be nice. In System VI, the sue command is used by unprivileged users to get for themselves the rights enjoyed by privileged ones
Maybe most people's first reaction to the man command is that it refers to men. Maybe the man in manual is interpreted in early programmers heads as meaning men. Maybe it's part of the nomenclature that is the fabric of the current, male dominated programming scene.
Maybe naming this tool 'bro' is a satire of both bro culture and rtfm style exclusionary patriarchy. I dunno. Maybe not.
This thread has opened my eyes to the sexist atrocities carried on throughout the tech industry. The first obvious one is my current language of choice, Python. That is the worst and most sexist name for language. Why should female programmers have to put up with it? Python == Snake == Slang for male genitalia. It is so obvious! Ladies, I'm sorry for all those years of oppressive code that I've spent writing. But let's continue. What about Unix. Yeah, Unix. Doesn't it sound like the word Eunuch? Which is a term used for a castrated man that guards a harem (full of sexual slaves). How could I have missed it? Amazing. Ever since the 1970s, we have been making women interact with a system that was named after a sexual slavery term. Just awful. I wish I were done, but no. There are still many terms out there that are just offensive. What about the server Gunicorn? It is a play on the word Unicorn, which we all know is a fictitious (I hope) animal that features an enlarged horn on its forehead. That darn horn just looks like a penis, doesn't it? Well, that's is offensive to women. I'm gonna email the Gunicorn team to give them an earful. What were they thinking? Worst is that this is just a small collection of samples. What does C stand for? Cunt? Wait, what about F? Fellatio? Oh man/woman, we need to really reconsider sexism in this industry. Cause bro, its simply not working out.
You jest, but in 2012 someone from the PSF made a "joke", at PyCon, asking people, men and women: "want to see my one-eyed snake?".
Unfortunately, the same Python feminists that are ready to burn anyone who disagree with them regarding the use of a pronoun , for instance, were very quiet and dismissive about that other, and bigger, issue. 
I've often wished for something like this. Most of us learn by example.
I fear that the humor in it, much as I like humor, is a mistake. First, it comes across as a gender troll. Any technical attention the tool receives will be smothered by that avalanche. (Exhibit A: this thread.) More importantly, it impedes how the tool needs to work: get to the point immediately and cut everything else. Man pages may be Byzantine, but they do this well.
If I need examples for curl, examples for curl are all I want to see. They should be laid out readably and minimally (a nontrivial design problem). The last thing I want is a joke repeated everywhere. I'd say the same about the upvoting and downvoting stuff that appears in there: it's extraneous and distracting.
When I'm stuck on a shell command, it's usually because I have a specific task I'm trying to do. All I want is for the light bulb in my head to switch on so I can go "Oh I get it!" and go off to do the task. The best way is to see an example that's close enough to what I'm trying to do that it's like a magnet that attracts my specific task and snaps it in place. That's why I like the idea of this tool. It should focus on getting the user to that moment as quickly as possible.
Token woman in tech here, with the disclaimer that I do not speak for "women" or anyone else but myself.
I am sensitive to the issue of exclusionary culture within tech. I think there are times when this is a necessary discussion to have. I want to see more women get involved in programming, and I am happy to point out instances of men perpetuating a sexist culture.
With that said, I don't see it here. I really don't. And I understand the concept of lots of little things adding up over time, where one joke would not be offensive, but a constant barrage would be. I think of myself as someone who isn't bothered at all by swearing, but I have a housemate who literally swears in every other sentence and it is the most grating thing to me. It's not once instance, it's the accumulation over time. But I don't think this is similar.
"Bro" being offensive seems very highly specific to particular subcultures that I guess I'm not a part of. I guess there are people for whom that word has some highly negative connotation, maybe the people who are called "bros" derogatorily, but I don't understand why this pun is offensive to women. Gender isn't some super shameful characteristic that I flinch at any reminder of its existence. If I used this tool, I guarantee you that I would not be subtlely reminded that I am an "other", that I am not a "bro"; I use git all day every day and I honestly forget that it has any other meaning.
I hate to say this, because women feeling excluded from tech is a big, real problem, but this conversation trivializes it. People who need to hear that this is a problem are going to see this discussion and think that women are being ridiculous. Women are not underrepresented in tech because of this. But thanks for contributing to the stereotype that women whine and complain about trivial stuff, bros.
Then it's very common for forks of other software, or software that is meant to compliment another program, to humorously reference the original program. The examples are numerous.
"Brogrammer" is a very recent neologism that originated out of a perceived frat culture amongst primarily (surprise) web developers, but it's still mostly used to describe a hypothetical bottom of the barrel person, rather than any seriously observed overtaking of programming by immature frat boys.
"Bro" dates far before that. I think it's perfectly valid to use it as a pun on "man", which originally stood for "manual", yes. But that's how word play works. The GNU Project hosts jokes like these on their site, too. I haven't heard of anyone complaining.
If you can't stand it, alias it. But being dramatic about it is ridiculous.
People, calm the f@#k down.
This tool appears to be very useful and its intent is to make your life easier.
If you feel the name bothers you so much that you can't use it then that's your prerogative just like it was the developer's prerogative to name it whatever he/she wanted
What a shit-fest in the comments. Why am I here... I don't even know what this website is about. I like the idea of examples though. That has always been one of the major ways for me to learn, even though my superiors throughout my educational career seemed to think it ruins the learning process.
To the OP: Brilliant product.
About the name: Brilliant marketing. Extreme hatred or disgust is better than indifference :) Enjoy all the PR. Those who find the this useful will care less about the name you give it.
For real? Someone does a play on words with man pages and we end up with a 546 comment thread about SJW bullshit?
Unbelievable. Someone does a cool thing and the discussion is about the name they chose for it. Not what it does, not what problem it solves, but because someone, somewhere, might have an issue with the name.
Concentration on the minutae of mostly irrelevant things instead of stuff that actually matters, like function and effect. Basically everything a developer hates.
Man pages are nice sometimes but oftentimes they have a lot of options and no examples. For advanced usage of some commonly used commands it's far easier to just look it up online, or perhaps with this tool. Example good man page is ps, and an example difficult to use one is gcc. Even though the gcc man page has all the options, it's very difficult to figure out which ones you need, whereas something like this (or commandlinefu) might show you the exact command you need with a description of how the different flags interact.
My pet hate is man pages where the tool has a lot of options, and in the manual the options are listed neither alphabetically nor by semantic grouping. "Hrm, what does '-l' do. I guess I'll search for it, and hit every other -l along the way..."
As someone who's written man pages, at least GNU is fucked unless you can get stuff directly into a distro bypassing upstream, the guy who runs the man pages project won't let you modify anything in case Paul Vixie returns from the dead and decided he cares about adding examples.
This is why people still commonly use deprecated options in resolv.conf, don't know ip equivalents of old ifconfig commands, and use more options in tar than are required.
I still maintain Debian has the best man pages of the Linuxes. If you ever try to man a program on a Debian system and there is no man page then it'll mention "man 7 undocumented" asks the user to file a bug report on the package. They encourage package maintainers to write man pages when the upstream package does not include them.
When I've had the misfortune of using RHEL or Centos is when I notice the quality of the Debian man pages—Redhat seems to lack Debian's drive to document upstream stuff.
The only time I've seen Debian's man pages regress is with the ImageMagick package. Its man pages used to be adequate (I believe it might have been a text conversion of the web site/detailed html docs), but now they are not (try to figure out the syntax for the -geometry option using only the man pages).
Back in the day I was impressed by the OpenStep man pages. They had pages for the kernel drivers which I really liked (ie, "man mt" or "man cu"), which showed all the IOCTLs you could call and explained how the interface worked. That might have been a BSD thing, I haven't seriously used a *BSD lately so I can't compare.
I always loved the man pages in OpenBSD because they do provide useful examples for most commands. Whether it's the OS for you... ymmv, I wouldn't choose an OS on this one feature, but I wish more man pages had built in examples.
The concept is great and should be promoted: so many times I've just needed a basic example and been unable to find one.
Man pages are often not fit for purpose and fail at basic pedagogy. Poor man pages (alongside poor UX generally) renders good software unusable.
It's really an important task to fix this problem - I can't begin to imagine how many hours this could save. This has the potential to make it easier for people to try software out and could lower barriers to enter computer science.
The name is clever, I suppose, but it's simply not appropriate and contradicts any goal of inclusive openness, and I find that important. I feel conflicted, but I can't contribute to this project under this name. :(
At this point it's not about taking offense (I think everyone understands the pun now, and it's funny the first time.) We can assume good intentions but it's still okay to say this is bad marketing.
From a marketing perspective, giving your product a name some people hate is polarizing. It might get attention in the short term and is certainly memorable, but in the longer term isn't a great move because they'll cringe every time they use it or have to talk about it and the complaints will continue. So why not pick something else?
Examples of badly named projects that were renamed, just to show it can be done and it's not a big deal:
forplay -> PlayN
testacular -> karma
I know the "man" in "manpages" is short for "manual", but when I first saw this site, I took the "bro" in "bropages" to be short for "little brother". If the "man"-page is the old, official, formal documentation for a command, the "bro"-page was the young, informal, still-evolving version of the documentation. In this sense, the name is rather apt.
The negative connotations of the word bro appear to be rather US-centric. I am Australian, and I have several friends from New Zealand who use the word bro as a term of mate-ship and affection (I've even heard one friend call his mum bro).
With that said, it's great that people are conscious of the affect of matters like this on the inclusiveness of the community - but in this case, when the word "bro" has such a variety of associations, perhaps we should judge the book by its content, and not its title.
Woman in tech here. I almost skipped reading the post because I instinctively thought "bro pages", like man pages but for bros. There are lots of bad ideas out there, shame this is a great idea with a name that inadvertantly sabotages it.
The fun of programming languages and open source software is, guess what, you can change it. You don't like it? Write an alias in your bashrc.
OSS authors are not held to a standard defined by all of you - they are welcome to express themselves however they want. For instance, my mother would find Brainfuck quite offensive. That doesn't mean the author should change the name.
I think the play on words is quite clever. I also think that if anyone is being marginalized, it is the "bro" - identifying the stereotype and calling out common the stereotypical language habits ("bro ...no").
And now for my personal opinion...
If you're worried about the cultural implications of the names of software (rather than things that ACTUALLY marginalize women, like lower average salaries, micro-aggression and objectification, and massive imbalance of gender in the hiring process), then I think you're probably never going to be happy with anything unless it's vanilla. The fine line between comedy and tragedy in the artistic side of programming is often misunderstood, so for now I'm going to go gem install bro.
As a second note, why don't we say things like Homebrew marginalizes the alcoholics or those addicted to coffee? Because that's silly, right? Right. Fight more important fights with the same vigor.
You're missing the point. It's not about being offensive but about being self-explanatory. For this initiative to be successful it needs to have a wide support and large user base which is not gonna happen with a name based on an insider joke only.
Just look at the effort and energy dispersed in discussing the name here that could have been used to improve their database if they had chosen a good name for their tool.
if you see naming a tool with a clever play on the command "man" as perpetuating a "boys only" culture you almost certainly need more human-to-human interaction away from the computer and away from tumblr or whatever terrible place has brainwashed you.
If this tool was invented 20 years ago, before the whole brogrammer thing took over the term bro, everyone would have thought it was a clever play on man pages. Seems the word bro itself has become offensive, even if used in a non-offensive context.
Perhaps if people didn't live in their little USA bubble they'd realise that the word 'bro' in most countries just means 'friend' or 'brother'. Even if it is inherently gendered there's nothing offensive about it.
I think it's a real shame that the whole discussion here seems to be about the name the author chose for this project, rather than the actual project. Surprisingly, the discussion on Reddit seems to be much more constructive and interested in talking about the project itself.
Why don't man pages have more examples, is it because of space, or the work to maintain them (including making sure they still work?)
Although man pages is where I go for the syntax and option definitions, stack-overflow has become my go-to place for examples. I think this "bro pages" is an attempt to fill a need but if the tool-owner is willing, a man page approved by the owner seems like it will be more authoritative.
Man pages seem like a great place for people who want to contribute to open-source to try and submit patches containing examples (unless examples are prohibited by most patch-approvers). I hate writing documentation, including examples, so I won't be adding in either spot, but lots of people on stack-overflow seem to have a desire and some have a knack for it.
This is a neat idea. I won't comment on the name--but observations on the tool:
Looks like anyone can submit examples to this. Users need to be very careful before blindly copy-pasting the "example" scripts into their shell. Hopefully the voting system will remedy this, but that's not guaranteed. While not nearly as dangerous as copy-pasting from the browser, still proceed with caution.
The problem is that "bro" summons up the image of the hyper-masculine culture of college fraternities in the United States which has, to some extent, infiltrated the tech world in recent years. Some unfortunate aspects of this culture include:
- Excessive drinking
- Objectification of women
- Fear/ridicule of homosexuals
- Practice of hazing rituals
- Cults of personality/Hero worship
Basically, role up all the regrettable, animal-like behaviors of immature, dishonerable men. Of course, the average startup is nowhere near as bad as the average college fraternity, but its tragic indeed that you can even mention them in the same sentence. The whole "bro"grammer thing is beyond tiresome.
So, we apply the 'American Fraternity Guy' definition to a word that has existed for longer than the USA as a country has and is used cross culturally to mean many different things (usually just 'friend' in my experience).
HN ought to be closed down if this kind of ridiculous rhetoric continually overtakes actual technical content. If it doesn't happen sooner or later everyone interested in actually discussing technical topics will move elsewhere.
The name is ironic and whimsical. I don't see what the problem is. I'm puzzled by people (and I don't necessarily mean the parent in this specific sub-thread, but everybody who has raised concerns over the name in the thread) who seem to think that if a name has any perceived negative connotation whatsoever it should not be used. Would you make the same judgement call with regard to, say, Dogecoin?
Some argue [weasel words] that using pictures of animals for humor (i.e. dog memes) is degrading to those animals. You can stretch this into an argument that maybe the Shiba Inu in the doge photo didn't want to have his picture captioned with imagined dog thinking (which, come to think of it, is degrading too — what if white people made an internet meme in which they "imitate" how black people think?)
Think of the standard frat douche "bro". Yeah, it's completely reductionist stereotype. Now give him a job as a programmer with less verbal filter than you'd expect from a guy in a strait-laced office.
Now take this "brogrammer" label and start assigning it to programmers who's actions you don't like and fit the "bro" mold. Actions anywhere on the spectrum from legitimately despicable to just acting like a guy fresh out of college. Is that a wide and imprecise net? Don't ove