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! :)
EDIT 2: "they'll have" -> "that everyone has" to clarify argument. Thx vezzy-fnord.
(N.B. the people that seem to be offended so far are offended on other peoples behalf..)
Isn't it way more offensive to assume that women are such dainty delicate creatures that like, they won't get the joke?
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.
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?
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"?
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 also sends a signal of not belonging to those who have been bullied by politically correct sorts. See Scott Alexander for further thoughts on this: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/01/12/a-response-to-apophemi-...
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, on behalf of those of us who had not seen these attitudes before so blatantly on parade, my sincerest apologies.
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.
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.
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.
Are there any statistics how many participants here are male, female, etc.?
I just assume something about 95% male commenters so I automatically assume a boy or a man on the other side of the conversation. Which probably is a rather bad assumption :/
You made a foolish assumption. Not everyone does that, or even cares in the slightest what a users gender/age/cultural background/disability/whatever is.
All you have done is reveal your own past personal prejudice. Congratulations on getting over that.
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.
No requirement exists to give your gender or a name that may reveal a gender. That, by any definition, is 'gender neutral'.
If someone makes assumptions about other people it's their own issue, it has nothing to do with what is essentially an anonymous medium. I really didn't think it needed 'proving'.
> 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
>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.
"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.
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?
I guess not. Was nice while it lasted though.
"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.
Are you saying feelings aren't inside people's heads?
"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).
- 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..
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.
Yep. In all political parties too, the oversensitive types discredit the other ones. Please fight for moderation from the extremists as much as you want us to care about your presence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've helped different women with less experience in commandline stuff and linux/unix in general. In the workplace, and with tutoring middle/high school kids of both genders.
If I ever had to say "go check the manpage, and the bropage" I would feel like a huge asshole.
I know that's lost on a lot of people here, but it's pretty important when considering things like this.
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...).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
PS - this sort of thing is ingrained in everything technology related. Not just in HN articles about bros.
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.
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.
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."
But you offer tacit support to exclusion, which is not exactly better.
Part of the happy programmer's life is, being socially excluded and building a potentially successful life for above social considerations.
Congrats to us, we've paid forward the insults, instead of making a better space.
You must lead a very privileged life.
You need to reevaluate your perspective.
There are people starving to death, dying of cancer, mass riots in the Ukraine as we speak and this is to you, I quote, "literally the worst part of my day".
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.
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.
These tactics will simply not achieve anything, other than breeding resentment.
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).
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.
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.
> 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.
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?
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.
"What does 'curl' do?"
"Does what it says on the tin page."
$ tin curl
# get the contents of a web page
But you do?
Or do we live in a society where whoever is the most offended gets to make the rules?
Whether or not you choose to go ahead with something that will offend people is up to you, but you don't get to choose whether it will or won't affect people.
 - http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/dane_geld.html
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.
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.
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.
This might have something to do with the fact that 99% of the time, they ARE internet whiners.
This is why no one wants to be associated with feminism anymore. An over fixation on censorship and a staggeringly low amount of self-awareness.
Oh gosh, you're commenting on HN, you obviously should have some data to back your opinions with? Right?
There's been plenty of butthurt about it:
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.
Fact remains: feminism is a dying movement. For good reason, and good riddance.
>Quotes from privileged, mostly white women
Does exceeding a certain number of privilege points negate the existence of your vagina? Aren't all women supposed to be helpless victims of The Patriarchy (TM)?
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.
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?
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".
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.
Though a tool for manuals the author chose the namesake by the identification with males.
Do you see why this might make some people feel excluded, why if you want to make a tool to help people it's probably a good idea to not exclude people?
Are you saying the name is a good name? Or just defending the right to be exclusionary?
Also, the majority of people (both men & women) are hostile to brogrammers so why make it a gender issue?
Bro is associated with obnoxious, stupid, despicable, disrespectful.
Which, for "bro", is fine by me.
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.
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.
"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.
And yes, there is that hostile, defensive atmosphere on full display here.
Read this comment for a better explanation if you're actually confused: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7121717
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am part of three of the minority categories you listed above as experiencing Serious Oppression. I'm also a nerd.
Perhaps it is you who needs some perspective?
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.
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.
Wait, no, clearly you do not realize that. But you should. Please do. It's getting tiresome.
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.
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.
The irony of this comment being in a long-winded post on Hacker News is lost, perhaps? You do realize the vast majority of "programmers" aren't building 100% of the time.
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.
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.
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.
You are born a feminist; if you don't die a feminist, you lost a bit of your humanity during your life.
Believe in God? Congratulations, you're a Catholic!
The only thing I'm seeing people say is that both sexes need to earn their stripes and credibility through effort - and this needs to be true in programming just like any other field.
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.
I gather that you describe yourself as a feminist. I would assume that means that you do not think highly of MRAs? If so, have you have watched this:
Wouldn't it be a good idea to watch this video to the very end to develop more and better ways of arguing against them and their 'crazy' ideas?
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.
Recently? :) Find some articles and pictures from the '70s.
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.
Again, religious overtones. :)
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.
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.
Sympathy, courtesy, favors and censorship can't substitute the effort to learn programming and build.
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.
So, uhhhh, what the hell are you on about?
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.
EXACTLY THIS. Listen up, white knights, and please--knock it off.
Primary and secondary school history lessons, probably.
Once something's mainstream, everyone tries to jump on it if they think it's considered cool. It's not really a women specific phenomenon.
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.
And yet you typed out a racist, highly offensive word (far more offensive than "bro" I'm pretty sure) in your own 2nd paragraph.
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.
Next time you argue over such an intellectually deep matter such as whether the word 'bro' may be offensive or not, you may wish to be a bit more cautious about the use of such words.
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.
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.
 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.
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
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.
It's really just one of those clever little puns that Unix is known for.
e.g. "more" is a paging utility ... "less" is an alternative one, even though it doesn't show you less of the file.
"elm" is a mail reader, "pine" is a different mail reader, and they are both trees.
"man" is short for manual. Man is also the word for a male human being. "Bro" is another, affectionate word to describe a male human being.
Just another pun, not a dark scheme to alienate women from the programming world. And certainly not misogynistic language or jokes that are likely to create a hostile environment for women.
There are some possible package names that would be sexist and anti-women. This isn't one of them.
let the down votes commence.
Sometimes, a thing just stinks. It doesn't matter which way the wind blows the stink, it stinks. Your comment stinks.
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.
And, irrelevant sidenote, I have never attached the "feminist" label to myself. I'm just a woman, calling it how I see it. So tell me your perspective.
Shocker, there are women in tech who don't shit their pants every time they see the word "bro." I think the feminists will intentionally never manage to notice this, though.
Says something about your priorities, chrismonsanto.
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.
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.
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?
Maybe tech has not been keeping up with the rest of society?
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.
>Isn't it way more offensive to assume that women are such dainty delicate creatures that like, they won't get the joke?
I think so. Every female hacker I've ever talked to has expressed that their worst fear is people acting differently around them. They want to get treated like humans, not like outsiders.
Banishing any sort of word play because "the women" is pretty offensive to women.
Banishing any sort of word play because "the women"...
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.
I take it all back. I'm sure he's the life of every party.
Thank you for demonstrating why I'm offended.
man is short for manual following a unix tradition, bro is a word associated with despicable attitude and stupid behavior holding those as life goals which has absolutely no link with its actual use.
There is no way I'm sharing my library of command examples I built for myself over the years with this ill-named initiative.
"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.
Hope that helps!
Brother and sister are the gendered names for children having the same parents.
"bro", in this case is short for "brother".
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.
"Bro" is short for brother the same way that "gay" means "happy". Well, sure, that's trivially true, but it kind of matters what people actually mean when they use a word.
Of course you're right; I have a biological brother and we don't call each other "bro". Here's what google turns up: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/06/21/193881290/jea...
...though I'm sure a bit more searching will find more direct treatments out there of what "bro" means....
Those are the kind of connotations conjured in my mind when I see the name of this software tool.
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?
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,
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.
Their "vision of intersectional feminism" is postmodernism gone wrong.
Pointing out bad and illegitimate sources is not an ad hominem.
In any event, your first article isn't even relevant to the original poster.
The second doesn't even address any argument, it just moves the goalposts into an issue of patriarchal values and how all women are (ostensibly) inherently oppressed from conception.
That was most certainly an ad hominem. It was an attempt to counter a point by attacking the messenger, not the argument. Textbook, really.
That said, the Geek Feminism Wiki is a specific website which can be shown to be credible or not.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
Man, woman, brother... next command should be sister. Its a themed naming scheme.
But my point is that very few people will even think about a command they type in, especially if its just 3 letters. There are only so many 3 letter combinations, and even fewer that represent words.
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.
The idea that a woman would literally be repeatedly emotionally traumatized by typing a three letter combination would be hilarious if it weren't so blatantly misogynistic.
I feel ill all of a sudden thinking about all the disabled graphic designers that are forced to use GIMP every day.
In it, Katie Cunningham explains the problem with the "it's just a joke" sentiment. Specifically, the cumulative effect.
Is it never appropriate to tell a woman to lighten up?
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.
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.
I hope you fail, buddy.
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.
> 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".
Ah yes, empathy is the enemy of intellect! Truly an argument made by a well-adjusted person.
> If I claim I'm a victim in a way that you're not, it becomes literally impossible for you to prove me wrong.
That's now what they're saying at all, and the fact you somehow extracted that from their point really shows how irrational you're being.
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".
#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.
I'm offering practical advice, but it's obviously not for you.
I'm not tremendously offended by the name, but I'm put off enough that I can't be arsed to actually click the link and see what these things are. It's simply in bad taste.
Imagine if somebody built a new version of ksh that had three times as much stuff, and they decided to call it kkksh.
This is not the same degree, but it's the same basic thing. It's just distasteful and dumb.
Witty wordplay can sometimes get away with being distasteful if it's sufficiently good. But "bro page" isn't good.
And note that none of this is based on my guess at what other people would think. I simply don't like it much myself.
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.
Also, I share the sentiment of Steve Hughes - "So what? be offended! nothing happens!"
Literally no-one said anything of the sort; the fact that this is where your mind went speaks volumes about your attitude towards women.
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.
It's a funny joke, I love the name.
Women everywhere will appreciate your valiant display of chivalry. They shall chant "Thank you Pxtl, for saving us from male privilege!".
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.
That's what you're doing. You're like MLK for women's rights.
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.
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?
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.
Correlation -> Causation?
Is that seriously why you think there aren't more women on HN? Because it's offensive and exclusionary against women?
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.
I haven't read the entire thing, however.
Would you mind sharing a link?
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.
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.
Edit for clarity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 choose not to play along.
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'.
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.
I said it was funny, but that it's probably best for the health of our industry that we try to avoid the whole "gender" subject matter when it comes to jokes.
A little professionalism never hurt anyone.
This comment is a binding site for the following comment-pattern: It's Your Job To Stand Up To Them.
It's a funny joke, I love the name.
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.
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.
You tell them "in reality, you're the enemy of purity."
You ask, "Feel castrated?"
I don't care what your point is, this isn't the place for those kinds of insults and personal attacks.
Me thinks he doesn't read what he types.
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.
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?
> 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?
It's just about sensitivity. Bro.
> > 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 just about sensitivity. Bro.
Boys have feelings too. Bro.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the problem is not with what you are thinking when you read the word "bro", but with what other people, especially newcomers, are thinking.
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?
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.
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"?
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.
Then when I read the short description, I wasn't impressed.
I read the page anyway. Again, interesting idea, but the joke was carried on in the example, and that pretty much killed it for me.
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"?
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.
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)
"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?
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.
(Taking back "bro" since 2014)
We're okay with it because we're used to it, it's from a different time, and it's far too late to change it now. Those aren't good excuses for a new project.
One day I hope to live in a world where people judge text by what it means, not which particular squiggly patterns ended up on the screen...
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.
"Bro" is painfully obvious, gendered, and dated. It comes from a rather specific subculture/zeitgeist.
Yes, I realize I'm bikeshedding. No, I'm not proud. Yes, it's hard to come up with good names.
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.
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.
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.
- programming is a male-dominated field
- that's not a good thing - we need more women because of some reasons
- to get more women, we need to show women that they are welcome
- a package name like "bro" references male things, and possibly even unfortunate stereotypes like "brogrammers"
- this is a bad thing
- therefore, we shouldn't call it "bro" because women in CS and programming will think of brogrammers and other male stereotypes in programming and feel unwelcome
Frankly, this sounds like quite a stretch to me too, but it's my best guess about what the problem is.
I think there are definitely package names that one could imagine that were sexist and truly inappropriate. This isn't one of them.
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.
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:
You're just further proving the OP's point.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
So if we just stop complaining, things will magically get better.... because that has worked so well for marginalized groups in the past.
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?
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.
You cannot have a decent argument before you realise you are being exclusionary to a group of people based on their dress sense and slang.
It's not right to assume that just because a guy wears shades they're a misogynist.
Perhaps the app could just have been called doc though and have skipped all of this.
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.
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.
 Yes, that's also not a great name, but that's not the point
 I love the double-meaning of the term 'subculture' when describing this whole frat-boy pack; seems perfect.
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)
Just my 2-cents.
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.
Funnily I was working at a place where the HR manager was named "Julia Lang" so we all had a laugh when I discovered (and pitched) the language - with its website "julialang.org".
>  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.
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.
The first part of your sentence sounded unintentionally demeaning, which seems antithetical to your cause.
Stephen Fry has views on both topics: http://www.atheistrepublic.com/gallery/stephen-fry-taking-of...
If you think about what a short format "manual" page would be, perhaps a "pamphlet" (pamp?) or "brochure" (bro) makes sense (tongue in cheek at the moment).
I was also sad to learn that I needed Ruby on my computers (I don't generally add it since I'm not qualified to secure it ... nothing wrong with the language other than my ignorance of it).
[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.
That does wonders for your argument.
That said, it looks fucking handy so I think I'm gonna. ;)
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.
While originally names were chosen to be concise for technical reasons, they've been at the whims of geek humour since time(0).
sudo echo "bro $*" > /usr/bin/explain
We have companies with names like Yahoo and products named like gimp and git, but of course something named "bro" can't be good.
How does everything you said NOT apply to the word "man"?
Or to the "master"/"slave" terminology?
I'm assuming you're not in favor of renaming man pages and master/slave terminology, so why is this different?
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?
Bro is a user provided database of one liner command which you have no idea if they will do what they claim when they do work.
In short, you can't imbue them with any prejudice that you yourself hold for a word. The word is theirs to use for its positive meaning. You cannot police this.
Some words have no positive meaning. This one does, please stay away.
I found that pretty amusing, and aligns with my expectations.
unzip, strip, touch, finger, grep, mount, fsck, more, yes, fsck, fsck, umount
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.
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."
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.
So how do you plan to repent? ;)
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.
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?
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.
You've made a decisive point in a 500-comment HN flamewar. Congrats.
See, you just gained respect from me. I suppose it's all about the community in the end. If you linked that article on /g/ or /prog/ it probably would have resonated.
It's too bad most people are such slaves to political correctness.
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.
Not everybody that wears shades, doesn't take life seriously and speaks with an accent is misogynistic, crass, less mature than you and difficult to depend on.
That's not really fair. To a bro the word just means 'friend' - somebody that's dependable, fun to hang out with and that won't over complicate things.
Those descriptions seem more in line with the tool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Was man also misogynistic?
curl --header "X-GirlsAreBrosToo: 1" www.bropages.org
But given that I'm obviously swimming against the tide here at HN I'll just cave .....
Word, brah! Like, totally right on! We should be making like 'sispages' next with like only explanations and shit. Get it? For like the sissy-grammers! Awesome dude. You da bomb!
"Is bro supposed to be sexist or is it meant to be ironic?"
"Man referred to manual, not men!"
I can't even imagine many of you people watching a stand-up comic. Your heads must verge on exploding. The diagram for the pun/humor here would be about as simple as a diagram could be.
The term is already reserved for a subgroup that celebrates itself for being exclusionary, crass and insistently unreflective about its privilege in society.
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.
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.
Then you're most likely exactly the kind of person I'm talking about.
It's terrible that you've had such a shitty life, but it'd be great if you didn't push your stupid 'I'm offended by everything' agenda down everyones throat.
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.
Maybe you should try therapy for that.
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.
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.
Hopefully you realize that your personal experience and everything you load into the word "bro" is not universal.
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...
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.
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.
>> 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.)
And in this case I think it was blatant and aggressive straw-manning.
I simply have no patience for people being exclusionary that accuse me of being exclusionary.
...but hey #1 on HN...
Let's call it a "growth hack", bro ;D
man is short for manual. What is bro short for?
(I couldn't resist.)
"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.
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.
You must have a huge problem with "him" then.
Well gee, I wonder why.
"Don't like things I don't like under any circumstances."
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...
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.
Edit: I reworded this to be less judgmental.
I'm confused. Is the bro thing showing up in this command apart from in the name?
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.
Why not 'bot' pages?
Personally, I've aliased `man` to `dude` on my shell, so my laptop fits in better with its peers.
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).
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.
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".
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.
eg ls, eg cat, eg less etc.
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.
"Bro," don't ever change who you are! OP doesn't even lift brah and he probably reads and memorizes all the argument lists of curl/gcc for fun.
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.
(There's no need to protest the name "bro" unless the project is marketed using misogynistic, crass, immature shticks.)
"Obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties."
"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"
"A usually white young male, found commonly in places like san bernardino county in california, as well as orange county."
"Deeply racist, yet vulture-ize black culture with attempts to be "down", while living as far from any ghetto as humanly possible."
It goes on like that for 36 pages.
Here's the number one entry:
Things With Penises who tell women anything just to get intercorse
"timmy is like most men he tells tina he loves her so he can get ass then he never speaks to her again."
The number two entry is about how real men love feminism and have big dicks, seemingly as a result. Apparently men who don't love feminism aren't men at all and have small dicks.
The site hasn't been 'urban' for a while.
A loud and obnoxious fraternity guy with partying, acting stupid and engaging in despicable behavior as their life style.
What name would you have given the tool?
I see too many male white knights in here, are there any women here who are actually offended?
They are. They were making a joke. One of the traits of a mature adult is being able to step one meta-layer up about any issue and be able to joke about it.
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"
Let's all enjoy a well-crafted tool with a name that is both complementary (to man) and useful without politicizing the name please :)
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.
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.
To me, a "bro" is a dumb, fratboy version of a man, which makes the name hilariously perfect. If you're feeling oppressed and excluded by a command name, your real problems lie elsewhere.
Poor choice of language can set up an exclusionary environment.
To you, this may be funny.
To me, your accusation of humorlessness reminds me of people who engage in sexually harassing "jokes" in the workplace, and then try to get away with it by using "humor" as an excuse.
You aren't the one who gets to decide when other people feel uncomfortable.
At least now I finally understand how they manage to still hold on to that.
As long as you redefine evil to exclude things you don't feel other people should be hurt by you're all clear!
You do realise that would sort of be making the exact point I was trying to make, right? Or am I missing some seriously self-deprecating joke here?
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.
A portion of your potential audience giving you feedback that think that they the name is bad is 'censorship'?
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.
Could you be any more offensive and dismissive? What difference does his cultural background have when discussing the name of a piece of software?
Oh, wait, everything right? Cisgendered, rich white men are the enemy!
If you want, think of 'bro' as a shortened version of 'brochure'. Is it less offensive to you now?
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. ;)
Hope you're enjoying all that kool aid, bro. :)
I don't understand the point you are making. If your remarks were making me feel uncomfortable wouldn't you expect me to say so? Why not?
But.. you.. are?
> 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.
That way, we can look up and make sure this thing never happens. Then, with any luck, a strawperson (not strawman) will never feel like that for something on the internet again.
... because that's your job, I suppose?
Do you have any examples of this assertion to help understand what you are getting at and how it relates to this?
Naming your command based on an inside joke renders it pretty useless to those outside who don't get the joke and hard to find when you don't already know the name.
Less being named from more makes sense, both are common terms and less is more. But bro as a related thing to man when it is actually something totally different is too far fetched to make any sense.
$ ack --thppt
U ack --thppt!
Similarly, why are you so offended by people thinking something is a bad name and expressing those sentiments?
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?
As for the "bro"trevorsy that is brewing in these comments. Lighten up for crying out loud.
curl --header "X-GirlsAreBrosToo: 1" www.bropages.org
And the tech world is the poorer for it.
: (This is an overview, but also cites some actual peer-reviewed studies) http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/08/science-engineering-gender-...
This is hardly new, or confined to a single gender. It's like when they study obesity and find that people who "can't" lose weight massively under report their calories.
Any sources for this claim?
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.
Running 'brew install bro' on your Mac isn't going to cause all women in IT to worry they are being excluded.
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 naming this tool 'bro' is a satire of both bro culture and rtfm style exclusionary patriarchy. I dunno. Maybe not.
Please don't be racist, it's inappropriate and unprofessional. If you didn't mean it this way please consider how others may view your language in future, thanks.
For me, it's 'curl', can never remember the right syntax!
But yeah, you're right, what's in a name?
I'll leave the politics to others, I've got software to write.
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 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.
It's a sorting mechanism. This is basically like Urban Dictionary but for Unix.
But yeah, it would be nice to hide the instructions after every single entry.
If it works, it will be useful.
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.
There are scripts to search it from the terminal, e.g. https://github.com/t9md/cmdline-fu
It's a nice complement to man pages, especially since it contains complex examples using multiple tools linked by pipes, which is where the terminal really shines.
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.
The point here is to illustrate that none of this is offensive. But rather, it's being creative with language.
If you think something is a bad idea then saying so in a public forum is also your prerogative.
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.
What the fuck.
- 530 talking exclusively about the name,
- 14 mentionning the name as an issue and
- 2 commenting on the real, useful, technical stuff.
Thank you HN