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> However, this is what I am hoping and dreaming for: that work-sample testing will completely level the playing field. Regardless of gender, age, or origin, if you can do the work, you should get the job.

That's a nice thought, though it rather presumes that the playing field is level outside of the immediate neighborhood surrounding the hiring process.

I think that neighborhood, though, is probably, while not without gender/race/etc. bias, overrated in terms of the proportion of that bias on the course between birth and getting a software job that it is perceived to contribute.

Believe me, that has crossed my mind. This is where the segue into training comes. We've discussed it. As a woman, my one experience of being allowed to play outside and beyond the hiring process is pretty consistent with the anecdotal evidence given by my peers. But correlation is not causation. For every one candidate, there are an uncounted number of pivots to consider, and mapping them all out is impossible.

I agree that bias is overrated as a contributing factor to this so-called problem. But it is one we focus on because we also believe that behaviors can be controlled for and habits can be rehabilitated. There are a lot of narratives where the circumstances are very different but the dynamic is the same. Someone whose parents want them to be a doctor or lawyer who aggressively derail them from pursuing the arts. Some very intelligent kid growing up in poverty with no access to resources who starts acting out and ends up with a criminal record. A woman who is forced to take HomeEc in high school instead of trigonometry (me).

Taken in isolation, these narratives can be explained away. As examples of a larger pattern, they become flaws in a system that can be engineered away. There's a meta-bias, and I'm still searching for a way to describe it that doesn't trigger an emotional response. It seems that until we can have that rational, engineering-focused discourse to identify the not level playing fields of the world, cataloging their characteristics, finding what things can be controlled for and/or eliminated,... sigh I don't know how to finish that sentence.

You say it's a nice thought. I believe it's a nice thought. More people hope for it than do not. What exactly is keeping all of us who genuinely believe that it's at least worth a try to apply a dialectic method to the problem from banding together and attempting it?

I don't know.

I think the desire to to figure out where a level playing field can be built within a neighborhood of aptitudes. And to be fair to a process of refinement for that goal, some problems can't be solved before you have them. Like a business plan, the initial draft is just a guess, and I think we can all agree that it's a heretofore unsolved problem, the gender thing.

Also true for large coding projects. At some point, you have to identify the components that will need to be built and portion them off into approachable tasks. In this case, the first task is agreeing on the 'heretofore unsolved problem' -- that hasn't happened yet.

Discerning invested participants from trolls might help.

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