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    This Industry Is Fucked culture blog.jessfraz.com

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    It’s quite disturbing how Men inappropriately introduce sexual terms; nuances; innuendo

    Confronting the perpetrator is usually violent and full of rage at the accusation and will then throw down more derogatory statements.

    I would be scared to work in a workplace where my coworkers admit to having rape fantasies out loud; where my boss will give me a raise if I give him some personal attention.

    1. It’s a job; it’s not a dating site. Most people come to work to work; but there’s a growing percentage of people who use their workforce as their dating site.
    2. The growing number of claims from women against men still go unsatisfied; there is always a loophole or an excuse for their behavior.
    3. The more popular the person is; the greater the possibility he will lash out unwittingly.
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      I agree with the problems stemming from abuse, of course, but I’m not sure that demonizing gender and sexuality is the way to go here.

      Most people come to work to work; but there’s a growing percentage of people who use their workforce as their dating site.

      This has never been new behavior. If you keep people in close proximity for any amount of time, they’ll eventually talk about things other than work, and that includes romance. This has been the case since time began.

      It’s quite disturbing how Men inappropriately introduce sexual terms; nuances; innuendo

      It’s called baud, and goes back quite some time. And it is hardly (hardly!) limited to men.


      To be frank, the issue of gender and sex diversity in the workplace are inextricably tied to sexuality, and unless we are sex-positive and light-hearted and open-minded, we’ll never see the problem resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

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      The situation is both horrible and self-perpetuating. When you have a 10:1 or 20:1 gender ratio in many of these companies, that means that, if you could somehow objectively count all the unpleasant male/female interactions, and even if you assumed (a false assumption; I’m pretty sure that women get it worse on this one) that they were equally uncomfortable for both sides, you’d still have women in 20 times as many such interactions as men.

      Tech’s fucked-up gender disparity makes a hostile work environment for many women, especially in the Bay Area where shitty culture (see also: Young! Young! Youthy! Young! Teenagers! Youthsome people! ) is celebrated (open-plan offices! Scrum! We all drink together!) That creates a feedback loop where, because there are few women in tech, the “lensing” effect amplifies the harassment and drives even more out.

      The problem is that we have abysmal cultural leadership: some of the worst companies (culturally) are held up as successes because of short-term buzz and attractive numbers that may or may not prove out in the long run. I don’t doubt that Uber is on to something, but it’s not something cultural. And Snapchat? It may be a good business but by funding someone who came out of one of the worst rape frats, the statement is clear: VCs don’t give a fuck about culture. On one hand, it’s possible to argue that they shouldn’t and that their only responsibility is to generate ROI for shareholders. Ok, fine. If that’s the case, though, then Silicon Valley ought to shut the fuck up about how it is “making the world a better place” because I don’t see it. I see the regular corporate world (unknowingly, and probably without discriminatory intent) adopting age-discriminatory practices (open-plan offices, micromanagement in the name of “Agile”) that this cultural pilonidal cyst called Silicon Valley made stylish.

      The truth is that being a founder, at this point, is really being a middling project manager in a large “meta-company” called Silicon Valley. Instead of having your project cut, you lose funding. In theory, this is not a bad thing because many great founders are not people who make good middle managers. Most of the great entrepreneurs are awful at managing up in the corporate theatre. Of course, the VCs have taken this “misfits are awesome” mentality way too far and are now funding people who are misfits (i.e. wouldn’t make it in an investment bank) not because they’re creatively brilliant but because they’re jerks. The one good thing about “the old system” (large companies with bureaucracy and HR policies) was that people like Evan Spiegel would never be made middle managers (as opposed to founders, who are middle managers in the SV meta-company) because HR just wouldn’t allow a lawsuit-magnet into a management position… whereas VCs (insulated from the effects of HR fuckups in people they fund, because they can just defund the thing and let it die) don’t care.

      We also have a culture that worships corporate quixotry, which is highly correlated with a certain type of young male (macho-subordinate). And while this is an uncomfortable topic and maybe I’ll get flamed for it, the fact is that men have more allowance to be quixotic. If a 25-year-old man wastes 5 years on his life on a bad idea, it’s a real loss, but the main thing that has changed is that he’s 30. Unless he’s married (in which case he probably has a wife who’s smart enough to tell him not to throw down 85 hours per week on a startup he owns 0.03% of) he’s not worried about age 35 and the “biological clock”. For women, it’s different. They have less leeway to fuck around and waste time than we do. One of the major reasons why there are more women in medicine and law is because those are practical careers where if you work hard, the average case is quite acceptable. (Actually, for law, you probably need to attend a top-20 school; but once you’re in a major firm, things go pretty well.) If you don’t make partner in New York, you move to another city and either get hired as a partner or start as a 6th-year associate with a 2-year partner track.

      The professionalization (i.e. knowing that you’ll be able to support a family by 35 if you follow the rules) and de-emphasis of quixotic and quasi-subversive (macho-subordinate) behavior patterns has made the professions far more hospitable to women, and we should take a cue from that. Lawyers and doctors, like us, are humans. They’re not all angels, clearly. Yet they’ve managed to solve much of the gender disparity problem by professionalizing (that is, instituting a code of ethics and conduct that is independent of managerial position and authority) in a way that computer programmers seem averse to.

      As an “old” programmer (I’m 32) I’d really like to change that. There’s absolutely no reason we should tolerate a culture that repels almost half of talented people who would otherwise want to contribute. The attrition of men with age is bad enough, but the attrition rate of women is completely unacceptable.

      (End rant.)

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        I don’t have any comments on the situation itself other than sheer exasperation and sadness. There is clearly a problem with our social constructs in what we let men get away with; I am at a loss for what to do about it.

        I have been thinking though about we can do practically to insulate good people from shitbags in general, cause even if we fix our social problem with men, I don’t think the general problem of shitbags is going away.

        From a distributed systems perspective, this situation reminds me a lot of a system implemented without backpressure, a stampeding herd, or a system without abuse controls. It seems like the fact that anyone can contact anyone on the internet is a brand new social situation in humanity’s history, and perhaps it’s not good. It seems very hard to shut off the firehose (and backpressure the incoming garbage).

        A social network/communication system that works more like phones used to work (you have to know a contact’s phone number) or how in-person contact works (you get introduced via other people) seems surely much easier to manage than what we have now with twitter/email/blog/youtube comments/etc.

        Perhaps such a social network could take off on its own, just for its reduction in incoming garbage from everywhere, but perhaps it could have additional benefit as being a launching ground for distributed cryptographic messaging ala Pond or something, or some other feature. If it was possible that such a system could help all sorts of problems similar to this one women face, it seems totally worth building.

        I dunno, just some thoughts this morning after reading Jess’s post last night.

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          It’s probably not possible to build such a thing, as people will invariably end up being pressured to use systems that do allow communication from anywhere.

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            wat? What you described is how Facebook messaging works for most sensible people who don’t friend spammers, Skype, XMPP, etc. etc. It’s perfectly feasible. On twitter, reddit, most forums, etc. the barrier to entry is low or zero.

            I don’t think that fact stops the shitbags existing though, and the problem isn’t just shitbags, it’s also douchebags and dumbasses.

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              On twitter, reddit, most forums, etc. the barrier to entry is low or zero.

              I’ve vacillated on how much skin commentators should be forced to put in the game before. There are very good arguments to allow anonymous/pseudonymous commenting - hell, women have been adopting masculine IRC handles to avoid a deluge of harassment since IRC was a thing.

              But at the same time, I think tying a shitwizard’s opinion to the shitwizard themselves might help turn down the volume a bit.

              I’m not sure how to begin doing it. Some forums make you pay to post, but those seem to be equal parts dying and equal parts “just as bad, but less in your face and more dogwhistles” – and there are also some bad implications around money there as well. Real names lack a real standard of proof.

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                Real names have actually been a major mechanism for abuse, in a way irrelevant to standard of proof. A personal friend of mine who used to work at Facebook wrote this article about how they’re used against people a couple weeks ago, which you may have seen: https://medium.com/@zip/my-name-is-only-real-enough-to-work-at-facebook-not-to-use-on-the-site-c37daf3f4b03

                Facebook and G+ have run a sufficiently long experiment to at least determine whether real names could curb abuse. It turns out that they don’t; people really are happy to say horrifying things in a way that’s tied back to their public identities. This leaves a question of what exactly it is about the internet that makes people more willing to express bigotry here than they are in the face-to-face public (it happens plenty in face-to-face private), but it’s not anonymity to blame. It was a reasonable guess which the data doesn’t support.

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                  lol it’s like the middle term in this equation doesn’t matter: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

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                    Heh - indeed. It doesn’t. :)

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                  Well said.

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                    SomethingAwful’s tenbux and heavy moderation/probation approach was something that had some promise, even if the admins were kinda scummy otherwise.

                    Maybe just have everybody put down a troll deposit, and at the end of the year whoever gets banned has their deposit spread back out to the other users (and yes, the game theory approach to this tells us exactly how quickly such a thing devolves)?

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                      That’s a creative approach. I wonder if it’s been tried! It’s kinda neat that the history of online social venues is long enough now that sociologists don’t have to speculate. I wish more were working on it. :)

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                    I don’t have a Facebook account.

                    I want to let that speak for itself, but maybe I should elaborate: A lot of the abuse came from members of my extended family, or surprisingly nearby in my social circle. In both cases, I found that unfriending them resulted in increased abuse on the topic of why I was being mean. Realizing that it would provoke less backlash, I deleted the entire account more than a year ago, and it’s in the top ten most rewarding decisions of my life. (I’ve had a life with many difficult but rewarding decisions. :))

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                      Heh, I sort of forgot that this is exactly how Facebook works. I wonder sadly if that’s why I use it less than Twitter/Email. Hmmm

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                        Yeah, for what it’s worth, my personal take is that communicating only with whitelisted people works great for 1:1, and kind of decently for closed-group discussion where everyone has the same view, such as IRC channels. It doesn’t work at all well for public discussion. I do feel like G+’s circles are a noble attempt, though. Facebook has gradually added some of the functionality, but in a way that decenters it. It’s kind of a shame that G+ is such a small audience… but, then, it’s not perfect either.

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                    Good post–we think alike, at least about the nature of the problem being more quality-of-service than anything else.

                    Luckily, I think it can be solved.

                    The damage these trolls do is when they attack en-masse…filtering an individual is something that blacklists are good for, but when you suddenly have a thousand people telling you that you suck you are harmed. Even if each individual message really isn’t that bad, the sheer number of them makes your ape brain go funny.

                    My suggested approach is similar to what you’d use to combat spam: require a proof-of-work that increases as volume of messages to a particular endpoint increases. If somebody wants to spend a thousand dollars to send me hate mail, I’ll deal, whereas if it was free to send me hate mail (the current situation) I’d be in trouble.

                    So, have a system whereby everyone has some number of messagecoins (we’ll call them) that they can premine themselves, and then others can mine messagecoins for that person to send them information. If the traffic gets too high, it becomes expensive to send, and so autoregulates down–but friends and people who need to communicate can be issued premined messagecoins so their service isn’t interrupted.

                    When the trolls get too bad (maybe Bill Gates decides to spend his money harassing you?), you start a new messagecoin chain and notify your friends.

                    This should also be trivially adaptable for encryption.

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                      Interesting. Hashcash, but tied to the amount of messages the receiver is receiving.

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                        Correct. I’d suggested it elsewhere (HN, etc.), but most people aren’t too interested in the boring technical solutions. :|

                        If you know anybody with experience on these things, or if you are willing to tackle a project without any rush behind it, hit me up on email. :)

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                          I think the problem with technical solutions isn’t so much that they’re boring; I’m more worried about how to actually get such a tool to the point of broad enough acceptance that it actually helps.

                          Network effects of existing systems are super hard to beat.

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                            Correct, but that’s also what works against them: the deeply ingrained behaviors that, especially now, are getting so much heat are also hard to change.

                            Offering a new system, allowing for both protection from trolls as well as avoiding third-party censorship, may actually function as a release to a lot of people who are “stuck” with the status quo.

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                    I dunno. This thread makes me sad, but I’m so pessimistic about it changing as it’s a huge pervasive social problem. I’m writing this from a python hackathon. There’s 10 guys and 1 woman. It’s not that the guys here are shitbags (see @jtolds below), but they’re dumbasses. I mean that in the friendly sense that they are lovely people who are unconsciously doing silly things. They’re bad at teaching newbs, they’re bad at social hygiene, they’re bad at physical hygiene, and they’re the guys who will accidentally going along with the shitbag who starts making jokes about women/windows/whatever. It’s not ok, but the level of awareness about the stuff we’re talking about in the general tech population is just depressingly low, I don’t know where to start persuading people to care.

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                      Dumbasses are definitely a problem, but I don’t think it’s the dumbasses sending photoshopped photos with blood.

                      I almost wish this kind of behavior was posted to a clearinghouse somewhere. Super glad Jess (and others) continue to post about this sort of thing. More light on the problem is definitely good.

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                      I think it’s due to the absurdly low (and increasingly lower) barrier to entry to be a “developer” (i.e. You can be a developer in two weeks, here’s how!)

                      People who spend a dozen years in medical school and residential programs do not send emails telling people they jerked off to their conference talks.

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                        Well, hm, these terrible folks get in because we support them by looking away, by ignoring our women colleagues concerns, or outright disbelieving them, and by ignoring our systemic gender biases in hiring.

                        There is nothing in a long professional filter handles those concerns and removes men that are bad to women. Many of those filters, in fact, are “boys' clubs” that have terrible amounts of attrition w.r.t. women. Google “sexual harassment doctor” or “lawyers” or whichever professional field and you’ll see plenty of evidence that filters are not the fix.

                        While this doesn’t solely exist in our industry, it is ours to fix! And it’s going to be fixed by listening to and amplifying women’s voices, addressing our systemic biases in hiring, and taking on the emotional labor we tend to put on women.

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                          And a lot of those men probably didn’t have positive interactions with women in their formative years, and probably were pandered to by media and games who took advantage of that fact, and luckily for them they found a career field that promised “meritocracy” and that it would turn a blind-eye to their social issues as long as they got shit done.

                          How many of them were called creeps or left alone when just a little bit of compassion could’ve changed things? How many of them were hit with harassment charges or teasing when a patient “Now, man, that’s not a polite thing to say, we don’t talk about women like that”?

                          Any discussion about these things needs to acknowledge the entire pipeline.


                          Thanks for the troll flag. I’m suggesting a bit of compassion here, same as you. It’s a lot easier to wring our hands about the evil men dominating the work force and literally oppressing women by their mere existence than it is to realize that hey, men are people to, and that if we don’t want to just write off an entire generation of people whose views and actions we deplore than we need to try and engage with them and show them the right way to behave. And part of that is showing the empathy that we ourselves claim to require so much.

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                          Why would the barrier to entry to being a developer change anything? Let’s say we start doing credentials and certificates and licensing like other fields. So? People can still send garbage over the internet.

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                            I’m surprised that no one points out the obvious difference between software engineering and medicine. Doctors have to face each other in person, whereas programmers often do not. It’s a lot easier on the internet to forget that these are real people, and it’s a lot harder to see the damage you’ve inflicted when you can’t see in their face the sorrow & pain caused by your words. Unfortunately, I think this is going to get worse with our latest push for remote working.

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                              Have you ever seen the backstabbing and infighting bigwig or self-important doctors get into?

                              Many of them are pleasant in person, but that’s just because they’re quite practiced at being two-faced.

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                                For what it’s worth, my remote jobs have had healthier cultures than than my on-site jobs. Arguably the flexibility of remote work makes it especially appealing to programmers with family responsibilities, and it certainly makes it easier for those of us who can’t or don’t want to live in the Silicon Valley echo chamber, both of which I think help to diversify the industry beyond the SF-unattached-twentysomething-male monoculture which has been so toxic.

                                More broadly, I don’t think there is much similarity between the dynamics of a remote or distributed team of coworkers and the dynamics of a message board of anonymous strangers, and I don’t think it is valid to draw conclusions about one based on the other.

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                                If only because those programs taught them the importance of at least not expressing misogyny in ways they could face public backlash for.

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                                God, it pains me so much that as I post this 3 people think this is off topic. They don’t want to talk about this at all. They think we should not be talking about this kind of abuse. I really wonder why. I want to believe that they are well-intentioned and that by ignoring the problem and not talking about it, the problem will go away. I really want to believe that the people who mark this as off-topic are not disbelieving the author.

                                I also want to say something else. There is only one 4chan… one 4chan with many faces. You can’t get rid of this problem by banning or redirecting people. They just regroup somewhere else. When 4chan decided to make a stand against gamergate, the idiots went to other chans. When reddit decided that having a fat-hating mostly anti-female usergroup was unacceptable, the self-proclaimed shitlords moved to Voat.

                                I think the only solution is to ostracise the idiots. To make them feel that their abuse gives them negative consequences. To create a culture where SJW is not an insult. Where it’s a good thing to stand up against abuse.

                                I will not be silenced, and I refuse to be declared off topic. We have to make a stand, together, against abuse, and recognise this is as abuse that overwhelmingly targets women.

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                                  I’m with you. After a year and a half of lurking, I signed up today because of the comments here. It’s refreshing to see this topic is not being silenced, ignored, explained away, erased, or otherwise marginalized. If this thread is any indication of the quality and empathy of this community, I want to support it and would like to be a part of it.

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                                  This isn’t industry-related, it’s a social and cultural issue. The same thing happens in every industry. The reason it’s so obvious in tech is because it is a hugely male-dominated profession.

                                  I have a daughter and it does annoy me that people would act this way to her, but I don’t have any sort of great solution for everyone out there. I try to teach my kids (girl and 2 young boys) to respect everyone in the same way they’d want to be respected (the golden rule, basically).

                                  Make no mistake that this goes both ways, though. I know way too many women who treat men as stupid, slobbering idiots who are only good for moving things or doing dangerous jobs.

                                  What we really need is for people to be reasonable, be rational, be good to one another, and most importantly, stop making assumptions!

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                                    This isn’t industry-related, it’s a social and cultural issue. The same thing happens in every industry. The reason it’s so obvious in tech is because it is a hugely male-dominated profession.

                                    I’m not so sure: while sexism and harassment is definitely a problem everywhere, the tech industry seems to have an especially virulent form of harassment that seems unique.

                                    I don’t think this has ever been investigated, and I don’t have much to go on other than opinions from friends in other lines of work, so I definitely won’t push this point - I will say I’ve never heard from my friends in pharma or education or (…) that someone in their field emailed them saying they jerked off to their presentation.

                                    Ignoring all of that, the fact that women keep saying this is a problem means that those of us who have the power need to step up and try to do something.

                                    Make no mistake that this goes both ways, though. I know way too many women who treat men as stupid, slobbering idiots who are only good for moving things or doing dangerous jobs.

                                    Certainly. But focusing on individual harassment over the impact of institutional effects really minimizes what women are saying.

                                    Men “belong” in tech. We belong because every time we look at our peers and our managers, we overwhelmingly see people that look a lot like us. This serves as powerful training: a woman in tech who believes men to be mentally inferior won’t last long before her opinions are dismissed (and I’d give good odds they’d be dismissed in misogynistic terms).

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                                      I think part of the reason folks in tech can be so straightforward and, well, gross, is because they often sit behind a monitor, behind a keyboard, and have no face to show. I don’t think this stuff comes out much in face to face situations.

                                      I don’t think this is a male vs female issue at the core, though. Male vs male is just as bad in the industry. People CONSTANTLY, mercilessly mock each other and call each other names (look for instances of ‘neckbeard’ in almost any comment thread). There is a problem with the tech industry and people being completely full of themselves. That’s what needs to be fixed. Not many people know how to take criticism, and this is an industry where you’re always going to face it. Do you know how many “worthless,” “joke,” “awful” devs I’ve heard of from other people throughout my career based only on the fact that they didn’t know something someone else did?

                                      I agree that no woman should be made to feel unsafe, and I’m not trying to minimize what happens to them from socially dysfunctional people. I just think we have a much larger problem than male vs female or objectifying women. It’s a total lack of respect for anyone anywhere that plagues the industry. The air of superiority so many of us have. That needs to be fixed.

                                      Again, I don’t know how to fix that. I do what I can in my position, but I don’t have some special platform to sell you on to make everything better.

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                                        It comes out face-to-face. I’m not sure what else to say. It comes out at times when no other men are around to witness it, but there are an astonishing number of those - and thinking constantly about how to avoid what men think of as innocuous situations, well, that’s very wearing when you have to do it every day.

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                                          I’ve never witnessed, nor have I heard of anyone saying anything like that in face-to-face situations, but I’ll take your word for it. I think it still stands that the majority of these things are done via email or chat, and that is the buffer that people use to make it seem ok to themselves.

                                          You and owen seem to think that, by saying there’s a larger problem, I’m dismissing this facet of it. I’m not. I don’t have a solution, but neither does the OP. There isn’t even a mention of fixing it. It’s just a ‘fuck you’ to the entire industry, which I happen to be part of. I don’t think it’s fair to say A) that it’s just this industry or B) ‘fuck you’ to everyone in it.

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                                            I wouldn’t say the majority is online, no. Email and chat are a lot harder to deny later than things that happen face-to-face, because there’s a tangible record that can be preserved. You’ve never witnessed it because, to repeat myself, people are aware they’re doing something it would be best if they couldn’t be held accountable for, and make sure you don’t see it. I don’t think that people who do this do try to think of it as “okay” in their own heads, but I’m not a mind-reader. But at any rate, people perceived as women are the targets of it - that’s why we see it and others don’t. It’s being deliberately hidden from you.

                                            I don’t think you’re dismissing this facet per se, but I’m not sure you’re understanding that explaining the problem’s reality and getting people to believe it is a critical part of fixing it. I’m not sure what else could be done even in principle; even the most oppressive surveillance state wouldn’t help when there aren’t meaningful consequences for this behavior.

                                            The original author is pretty much venting emotion, which I happen to think is pretty fair. Yes, there’s epithets. I don’t understand why someone who knows they’ve done all they can to find solutions would feel like the piece applies to them, so I don’t understand why they’d be upset by it.

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                                          I don’t think this is a male vs female issue at the core, though.

                                          Man I don’t even know where else this conversation can possibly go.

                                          On the one hand we’ve got women who are constantly saying “we have to constantly work doubly hard to validate our presence, when we get on IRC with a female name we are flooded with harassment, when we go to conferences we deal with anything from ‘being hit on’ to ‘being groped and having upskirt photographs taken’” and then we’ve got you with some strong reckons about what the problem really is.

                                          I just think we have a much larger problem than male vs female or objectifying women. It’s a total lack of respect for anyone anywhere that plagues the industry.

                                          How many times have you heard a man say “yeah, I criticized a sexist joke on twitter and people threatened to rape me?” “Man, people were trying to take pictures up my trousers at FooCon2015” “every fucking time I log onto freenode with my nick AdamSmith people start msging me about my cock!”

                                          Is general endemic harassment a problem? Sure, but it’s de minimis compared to the shit women in tech have to navigate. Should we address both? Sure, but let’s not make the mistake of thinking that there’s not a particular nasty side that you and I don’t have to deal with every god damn day.

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                                            Man I don’t even know where else this conversation can possibly go.

                                            There’s no where to go. I said I have no solutions for it, but I gave what I perceive to be the problem. I think it’s more than male vs female, you think the female problem is the only one that gets nasty.

                                            How many times have you heard a man say “yeah, I criticized a sexist joke on twitter and people threatened to rape me?”

                                            Men don’t generally get threatened with rape, instead they’re threatened with violence (or maybe the rape of their wife/mother/daughter/sister). I’ve definitely seen this happen with people defending someone else.

                                            You seem to be making the point that because most male v male harassment isn’t as shocking, it’s not worth really bothering over. Those guys who are made fun of day after day are, in extreme cases, the ones who end up shooting up their offices or schools. More commonly they just get depressed and it affects all facets of their life, which then affects everyone who comes into contact with them and so on.

                                            I’m not pretending we can live in some utopia where no one gets their feelings hurt, but a modicum of mutual respect would go a huge way.

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                                        The same thing happens in every industry.

                                        It might happen in other industries other than science, technology, and gaming, but it definitely is a big problem for us here. We have to tend our own garden. And it should be treated with the unique features it presents for us, such as online harrassment, mailing lists flame wars, post-conference emails, hiring practices, and so forth.

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                                          Like I said in another comment, it’s not just male vs female that’s a huge problem for our industry. It’s the feeling of superiority, the train of thought that if we don’t mock, harass, put down one another, we’re somehow not great. I’ve seen it for years, regardless of gender, race, religion, whatever. No one is safe from it.

                                          My assumption is that it stems from insecurity and fear of being seen as the weak one or terrible at their job.

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                                            I do agree with all of those being huge problems. I’m a huge advocate of bringing culture away from dismissing people with rude epithets, and away from focusing on displays of unimportant prowess as the primary means of establishing social stature. Humans behave astonishingly similar to peacocks, to the point that “costly signal theory” is a subfield of both psychology and evolutionary biology (which I’m normally very wary of applying to humans).

                                            Unfortunately, misogyny in particular is a separate problem. There really is more than just rudeness going on; there are participants who see it as open war, and act accordingly. The past year’s events have brought that far more into the open than it has been before, which is good in the long run.

                                            I don’t find it helpful to talk about causes in judgmental ways, such as analyzing it in terms of insecurity and fear - and, yes, I’m aware that my mention of costly signals above is sort-of that, … sigh, maybe I should take it out? Anyway, that doesn’t really lead to anywhere, just builds acrimony and perpetuates the conflict. It’s itself a form of mockery, after all.

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                                        I was on the job for 4 months at a local company with the initials of Z.S. (they sell GPS devices that your school bus has in it); I learned that how silently a company can accept the abuse is the most frightening.

                                        • As I am of the male type; I find myself mistakenly in situations I don’t know how to deal with (or grasp)

                                        So I’ll give you a small checklist; if you hear these things you should pack your back and run. Don’t ask for your final paycheck; just run.

                                        1. Finding out that the R&D Manager hired a Hooker from SeaTac and brought her back to the office; had everyone take the day off except for who the Hooker was for.
                                        2. During Job Interview’s (phone); if the Interviewee is female the R&D Manager would often look up porn with the same name as her; and joke with the other guys in the office that maybe she would look like that. Sometimes Magazines were used; but as the Internet age woke up ..

                                        When I complained to H&R about these abuses; their response was ‘I thought you were one of the guys who accepted this stuff’. In otherwords.

                                        Boys will be boys; why are you complaining about this?

                                        P.S. H&R was full of Women who had accepted this behavior. So don’t assume that Men are the only perpetrators; nor are women the only victims.

                                        1. 2

                                          It’s short, but does more need to be said?

                                          New ideas are needed. How do you stop a perpetrator of this doing it? How can they reach a phase of awareness & respect for others that they don’t carry out the problematic behavior? There’s no question the violence is I am also aware of times people have used social concerns to stereotype or push away misunderstood men. Think: the eccentric autist who looks to the internet for clues on how to socialize & typically reads stuff on the internet about “how to interact with women”. The hypothetical autist, of course, getting their ideas on “how to interact with women” from exactly the sort of person that would write an article “how to ineract with women” in order to find that most important of human connections: love & who wants to share their compassion. This person is also a victim of the patriarchy but is a male, and can look like a perpetrator.

                                          New ideas are here needed.

                                          We need a matriarchy.

                                          Since programming at its highest levels of productivity, is like a deep meditative state, akin to prayer, I propose a “prayer room” where men shall sit until such times as they have shown devoutness in their practice at which point they are “ordained” and allowed to join the general population. This is known as a “social gestation period”.

                                          This isn’t a neurotypical conspiracy, it’s also to cut out those “social” type distracts that stop the god loving worship of the machine. Beer, ping pong and other management bullshits go…

                                          I don’t actually defend this idea, but you’d have better ones, right? We have imagination?

                                          “New ideas are here needed.”

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                                            Not to hate on her, but does she think generalizing and ranting about it is the right solution?

                                            By blaming “the industry” for something some trolls have done to her, she’s effectively doing their game and inciting them to strike again.

                                            Or do you really think people go “I’ve been jerking off to your conference videos” to her thinking it’s a genuine compliment?

                                            About the other comments in this thread (I’d reply to each single of them but it would end up being the same message so what’s the point):

                                            If you want to talk about this, I think you can find all the people you want, I just think that you should try to avoid saying “men” when referring to people doing death threats, rape jokes etc. Don’t think people want to avoid this stuff because they’re misogynist or anything, it’s because it’s so incredibly annoying to be attacked and pointed at just because we share the same gender as some guys that are a complete jerks to women.

                                            Also don’t think we enjoy rape jokes because they put us in a position of power or something, sometimes we might just find them funny, just like any sort of racist/black humor, and I’m definitely not saying that since they’re funny they have to be shouted in every single inch of the planet.

                                            If you can find the courage to explain to me why I am so wrong with all I’ve said with a reply instead of silently downvoting my post, I’d be really really glad and I’ll promise that I will look at it seriously and try to respond to the best of my abilities (and then downvote anyway! Die Hamcha! DIE DIE DIE!!).

                                              1. 4

                                                3 quick links straight to the point, I like you already!

                                                I agree with the first one, at least in part. The points that that one link give (at least from what I understood) are something around “You have to moderate rather than ignore”, which is very true indeed. You can just let people say crap on anybody or you’ll end up with a toxic culture in no time.

                                                This time though we’re talking about private emails and the like. If you want to reply to a troll and “teach him a lesson” or whatever, I can’t figure out why a personal blog would be an appropriate place for that (one with no possibility of having a conversation, even!).

                                                I really love Nicole Sullivan’s talk on the matter of trolls, as she goes to analyze more how she deals with them and why some of them act a certain way.

                                                The “not all men” is just plain wrong. While I agree that it can be used an excuse to try to go away from a discussion, it also does point out that you are just attacking a whole category of people based on a couple individuals and some people will get angry at you for doing it.

                                                That’s true of pretty much every stereotype, just like not all women are bad at driving, not all asians are godlike at math and stuff.

                                                Very often I’ve seen rants that are like “All men are X”, which is really just the simplest type of association fallacy at work, I can’t really think why “not all men” wouldn’t be an appropriate answer to a fallacious statement (usually made in anger and stress, so it’s probably not even made in ill will)

                                                Last item on the list, I already said that in my opinion I don’t see anything incredibly harmful about politically incorrect jokes, as long as it’s between people that are all ok with that and know that it’s just for humor. If I made one and someone would interrupt me saying it hurt them, I would definitely be embarassed and be asking for forgiveness. I make jokes to see people laugh, not to hurt anyone, if that involves hurting it’s not really worth it.

                                                I’m not saying they’re not a weapon, though. People that use them to shame people are monsters and I will never deny it, I just think they shouldn’t be completely banned from all places.

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                                                it’s because it’s so incredibly annoying to be attacked and pointed at just because we share the same gender as some guys that are a complete jerks to women.

                                                The following Cracked article comes to mind. Please try to read it:


                                                Yes, maybe you didn’t start the fire, but you have to understand that the world is burning regardless. It’s not that you’re being blamed, and feeling guilty about the fire that members of your group has started is absolutely pointless. It’s that the fucking fire is burning, and you have to recognise that it is also your job as it is mine to do something about this fire.

                                                Fix the problem, not the blame. We have to all do this together.

                                                1. 4

                                                  Ohai! Sorry for replying to codahale first, but your link was long and I made a promise to read it and give a detailed answer!

                                                  The article is very nice and I understand that yes, indeed I have white privilege and if I have such ease in finding a job it’s also due to the fact that my family doesn’t come from a bunch of slaves and nobody here thinks I might steal their wallet (which I still think it’s the stupidest thing ever considering good thieves try to look as professional and trustworthy as possible, but hey, humans and their stuff).

                                                  I do understand the concept of privilege, and I understand that I’m very lucky to be born white, cis, male and everything, and it’s incredibly difficult being a woman, especially in male-dominated fields such as IT or gaming.

                                                  But I still think that aiming your finger at an incredibly big thing is just pointless. It’s just like if someone from a community attacked me personally and I’d take against the whole community.

                                                  I understand that my gender has been oppressive toward women, but today the general image is that doing that is no more a good thing (at least in my culture, my country, my workplace etc etc) but when I try to express my viewpoint about the whole thing I just get bullied by all these extreme feminists. I’ve already been banned from a place I really liked for not defending a women I thought didn’t deserve being defended (because being a woman doesn’t mean you can never be wrong).
                                                  Hope you’re not taking these words too literally/seriously, I really know a ban is really nothing opposed to a continuing campaign of harassment in every media.

                                                  Still, I don’t think feminism is cancer, I just think some feminists are wrong about how they approach things. And here I am trying to have a conversation with you people instead of just pointing my finger and blaming feminism for being forced away from a place I liked or stopping to interact with people I loved to talk with.

                                                  I know the whole “not all men” is a cliché nowadays, but my hope is that you people can understand that it’s really hard for me (and others, I suppose?) to get into a conversation about gender equality and stuff when all I see is “man, these men will never understand and will never want to talk about this” or even worse when I get told “you are a man and cannot understand”. It feels like you don’t even want men to get into a conversation, but just dismiss and blame them since it’s the easiest solution.

                                                  And really, it goes for other men just as much as women.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    But I still think that aiming your finger at an incredibly big thing is just pointless.

                                                    Of course it is. When you hear people say, “people from your group have been really awful to me,” your response shouldn’t be “I didn’t do it!” It should be something like, “crap, that sucks, I’m sorry this happened to you. How can I help?”

                                                    Unless they really are complaining directly about you, don’t make the complaint about you again. Make it about them.

                                                    And if they really are complaining directly about you, then see if you need to correct your behaviour.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      Yeah, I actually do understand how the aggressive stance comes off. Fundamentally it errs on the aggressive side because erring on the polite side hasn’t worked and can never work, but, yes, it does hinder conversation in some cases. I actually err on the side of saying nothing in public spaces, because I’m not comfortable being part of that and wouldn’t be psychologically capable of handling the response it would get.

                                                      Unfortunately there’s an extremely high rate of, call it spam or DDoS traffic, masquerading as polite attempts to initiate conversation, and dealing with too much of it reduces everyone’s capacity to take the time to do a more accurate filter by reading things carefully. Having read your words, I find them thoughtful and not in that category. Honestly, mostly because of the first sentence and the second-last paragraph. Most of the rest is pretty easily parroted, so just whether someone says it isn’t a useful signal for guessing intent… hopefully that explains the problem a bit. :/

                                                      It seems as though you have enough of a grasp of the issues to understand that when criticism isn’t true of you, you should try not to feel hurt by it. I know that can be difficult, and no, that’s not sarcasm.

                                                      I do second JordiGH’s response, especially the “how can I help?” thing. There’s a large number of easily-found resources about this stuff, and Google is right there; people shouldn’t really need interactive guidance when figuring out what to do to help a marginalized group is their goal. (It seems like conversations on lobste.rs are mostly about feminist issues, but this part is very true for all marginalized groups.)

                                                2. 1

                                                  I’d like to suggest that we get a “social justice” tag or something similar for these articles instead of just the “culture” one we have here.

                                                  My reasoning is that this entry is basically four tweets long, and is pure opinion. That’s fine, mind you.

                                                  However, the “Decline of Stack Overflow” ( https://medium.com/@johnslegers/the-decline-of-stack-overflow-7cb69faa575d ) article is also tagged “culture”, but has a great deal of research and citations inside it. It is a well-written, well-documented article elaborating on abuse and trolls.

                                                  Yet, they both have the same “culture” tag. And because we lost the “low content” tag due to abuse, we now have a low-content opinion article sharing the same tag as a high-content one, and so any filtering will lose both.

                                                  So, please, let’s get a tag for this topic if not this quality.


                                                  As explained to JordGH below–ideally we’d get the low-quality tag back too, but at the very least we should differentiate between “gender studies in tech” and “tech culture writ large”. I suggested “social justice” merely because if you say that everyone (even jerks on both sides) know the general area of discussion you’ll be entering into.

                                                  1. 5

                                                    “Social justice”, sadly, has become a term of derision. You seem to be using it in the same way, as in “I don’t want to hear about this.”

                                                    But it’s precisely the people who don’t want to hear this who need to hear it the most. This is a problem that needs to be discussed.

                                                    1. 6

                                                      “Social justice”, sadly, has become a term of derision. You seem to be using it in the same way, as in “I don’t want to hear about this.”

                                                      I agree wholeheartedly. How is it that peoples' concerns can be written off as “social justice issues” when social justice is one of the most important things for a society to get right? Who gives the square root of a fuck about iPhones or HTML 5 if we’re not getting basic social fairness right?

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Is the square root of a fuck what you get if you multiply the square root of love by i? I suppose it is.


                                                      2. 5

                                                        So, I really want two tags:

                                                        “This article is pure opinion, short, and without rhetorical substance backing it’s assertions”

                                                        “This article involves gender relations and cultural norms in the industry”

                                                        I have no problem with the “social justice” nomenclature…it’s the current term of art for the longer-winded “gender relations and their interaction with cultural norms in the industry and the redress of harms due to same”.

                                                        I do however have a problem with the continuing submission of these bullshit articles that post an opinion without references or links to more interesting context which then only get upvoted to show solidarity and “the problem needs to be discussed”.

                                                        It cheapens the discourse and lowers the quality of the channel.

                                                        Look at the thread here: “discussion” isn’t happening. I’m getting downvoted and flagged left and right because I’m:

                                                        a) pointing out that we should have a more fine-grained tagging system


                                                        b) pointing out that if we want to do a truly thorough job of solving the problem we need to make amends with both sides instead of merely punishing one. It’s the difference between rehabilitation and petty revenge.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          At this stage, “discussion” means primarily getting consensus that a problem exists, though, yes, I can think of a few good links for what can be done about it, and I’ll try to submit those sometime soon.

                                                      3. 3

                                                        I hate to have to keep repeating the same response. I fail to believe that any hypothetical tag, regardless of what it’s called and how it’s defined, would not attract the same behavior as “culture”. The people who attempt to direct these threads towards anger and non-engagement are not going to choose to filter a tag just because they disapprove of the material discussed on it.

                                                        Yes, I realize that’s not the problem with “culture” as the person I’m replying to described it. I grow weary of having to respond to each proposed explanation of what’s allegedly wrong with it as if those explanations were offered sincerely, and choose to engage instead with the only point that anyone else is actually sympathetic to.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          You may be right, but to put it bluntly:

                                                          It’d be nice to filter out these things without having to lose access to genuinely useful and actionable “culture” articles.

                                                          That’s the point of a tags system, after all–to be able to selectively blacklist articles you don’t think will end up being worth reading.

                                                      4. 1

                                                        It seems like the distance of being across the Internet allows the trolls to engage in this kind of activity without real feedback from their community. If there were it might put some breaks on the misbehavior, in some ways I’m reminded of some of the alternative justice systems that exist beyond the traditional western adversarial system. This is a good read on some of the practices that some Native Americans use: http://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1546&context=jdr

                                                        This may not be the solution for this situation but from where I sit more creative thinking is needed because the current approaches aren’t working.