where the boys are...

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...isn't where I want to be these days.

Shelley convinced me to join the blogunlimited list, after the blogrollers list went south with divisive and defensive interactions. So I did. And I've been reading it for a little while, but not participating.

Here's how the story goes, so far as I can see:

a) Shelley posts an interesting query about the semantic web
b) A discussion begins, with posts from a number of people with interesting ideas
c) Shelley responds with questions and ideas, at the same time that predictable people begin posting predictable rants about predictable topics (RSS, for example. OPML. what constitutes an ad hominem attack. yada, yada, yada.)
d) Shelley's points are essentially ignored in favor of the same-old-same-old peacocking and posturing among the boys.
e) Shelley gets mad.
f) Shelley gets noticed only because she got mad.
g) People like me unsubscribe because the signal-to-noise ratio is getting worse by the second, and they'd rather read blogs than wade through cross-posts and arguments.

Am I being sexist? I'm sure I'll be accused of it. But it gets easier all the time for me to understand why there are so few women on the technical lists, at the technical conferences, doing the technical work. Who needs all this bickering? Personally, I get enough of that from my kids. And my co-workers.

Maybe it's the perceived impermanence of the e-mail (as opposed to the blog entries) that encourages the pettiness, and that allows interesting ideas to get lost in the swell of mutiply-quoted messages. Or maybe it's the fact that because reading blogs is a pull rather than push technology, it's easier for me to detach when the discussions head in a non-productive (for me) direction. Regardless of the reason, I'm finding myself increasingly disenchanted with mailing lists, and correspondingly appreciative of blogs.

Now I'm going to go re-read Jeneane's post about Halley's blog. Chicken soup for the blogger's soul, don't you think?

For the first time since I created this blog, I'm closing the comments on an entry. I'm simply not interested in a debate about this post. It was me venting, on my blog. Don't agree with me? Your prerogative. Post about your difference of opinion on your own blog.

2 TrackBacks

Being a woman trying to find a place amoung the techie guys isn't easy, particularly since the areas of technology of interest to me rarely have other women participants. Don't have to believe me, take a look at the RSS-Dev group, the RDF interest grou... Read More

I was surprised when I wrote the post You are how you write? that no one seemed to notice the irony in the page. In particular the paragraph: Of course, once I wrote this, I thought of Jonathon's previous writing on Linguistic Imperialism, and the impa... Read More


I think that is a little sexist, but guys have the same old complex of "penis envy", much more so than women. (And I don't mean literal penis envy). I think when certain people being flying around on their high cloud, things get ugly.

however, we can't make social software exclusionary, because then that defeats the social aspect of it. However, it'd be nice to exclude some people, even if it's not fair. I think you have a good post and i see your point, but women have their moments too, it's just that it seems more of the men in IT bicker, which is what your point appears to be.

But men don't like listening to the bickering either, just a certain facet of the SS world like to make mountains out of mole hills and be accusitory in every remark. I guess this is difficult because the concept of social is then stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I don't know, Im rather new to it, but like you, I'm not liking the mailing lists too much.

I know I am probably unwelcome interjecting myself into this conversation-- but couldn't this simply be a matter of math? If a mailing list population is 90% male and 15% jerks (fun with numbers!), then when the jerks go after someone, it could easily be percieved as an attack by 'the boys', since nearly all the jerks will be male?

Liz -

So, you are promoting separtion as a way to improve women's standings in the technology communities? This really hasn't worked well elsewhere. Creating separatist organizations to support minority viewpoints only works to increase the divide, not strength to total.

Whether or not your friend was ignored in the conversation may or may not have had anything to do with gender, but she'll never know... she gave up and is now hanging out with other people that gave up.... Doesn't quite seem to be what you really are after.

Not promoting anything at all.

Got a different opinion? Blog it. I was venting here, that's all.




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on May 7, 2003 4:52 PM.

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