[hackerspaces] Women in Makerspaces

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Fri Jan 18 01:13:33 CET 2013

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 02:51:38PM -0800, Matt Joyce wrote:
> Cost nothing to be nice to each other.

To be specifically to the point that Matt made earlier about not wanting
to turn this list into noisebridge-discuss, and for those of you who
might not know Matt's history as an absolutely master troll (not an
insult: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHqGV5WjS4w ) , I should
point out a couple of things:

Matt has popped onto nb-discuss in the past to (possibly not entirely in
good faith) warn us all about the dangers of feminism:

Note the earlier link to Matt's previous comments on such things on this

Also, and I know it annoyed Matt to mention this onlist last time, but
he's also been on noisebridge IRC channel's  rather exclusive ban list
for what I believe were similar sentiments. This doesn't mean he's not
welcome at Noisebridge -- there's a million people who claim to know
weev who are banned on IRC too, and we appear happy to have weev around.
It just means that he went on about this stuff for so long that our op
flipped the giant yawn hammer.

My point is, while I'm really excited by Matt's spontaneous involvement
in getting more women involved in OpenStack, GNOME, and New York in
general. It's always hard for someone who has overtly said that he has
trolled in the past about the role of feminism, and women in society to
convince people that he's doing what he does now in good faith. 

Hopefully this explains why, had I milk up my nose when Matt said "costs
nothing to be nice to each other", that milk would currently be splayed
all over my monitor. 

I've had enough online discussions with Matt now to really not know when
he is putting a point he genuinely believes across, or when he is just
adopting positions to manipulate his audience for his own amusement. 

As long as his positions actually result in some positive results, I'm
hoping that other people are socially conditioning Matt more than he is
socially conditioning other people.

I'd encourage those who don't necessarily think Matt is saying such
things to make people nicer, but more to provoke some anger in who he
presumes are his opponents that will entertain him, and allow him to win
some sort of point by being the charitable calm one, to not engage.

I don't know Matt in real life, and I know lots of people who like me
and like Matt, so this isn't a personal thing, I hope. If it is, totally
happy to have white knight jousting match with Matt in real life at a
future date. My guess is that meeting him in meatspace is a lot less
frustrating than debating him online.


> On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM, rachel lyra hospodar
> <rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
> > "It could be that she host a class about e-textiles or whatever it is
> > females like to talk about."
> >
> > *headdesk*
> >
> > protip - sometimes women focus on the textile stuff *because* then they can
> > be in a group that is at least 15% women.  The Feminist Hacker Hive that
> > meets up at noisebridge has found that there is a tipping point - if a
> > critical mass of women are present in conversation, they don't get
> > interrupted by clueless neanderthal types.
> >
> > I used to make a living as a carpenter, welder, and construction manager.  I
> > left that work because of gender and age based disrespect.
> >
> > I sniffed around the edges of Silicon Valley but didn't dive in for the same
> > reasons.  I do work in soft circuitry now, but it's not because rigid
> > circuits are too difficult.  It's a brute-force solution designed to avoid
> > people as condescending as you, david.
> >
> > If the tech industry truly wants to innovate on things like interface we
> > could do with re-examining how people interact, and what we are really
> > seeking.  To do that, though, we have to change the culture.
> >
> > R.
> >
> >
> > On 1/17/2013 8:26 AM, David Powell wrote:
> >>
> >> At Baltimore Hackerspace we have been 100% male until last month. We had
> >> the occasional Female come through the door but for whatever reason they
> >> never come back. We now have exactly 1 female member and about 20 male
> >> members. The males ALWAYS go out of their way to make the place more
> >> female friendly. For example we try hard not to use inappropriate
> >> language around females. Whenever they show a desire to learn something
> >> we stop what we are doing and teach them whatever it is they want to
> >> know. At the end of the night when they are leaving we always have
> >> someone walk them to their car so they feel safe.
> >>
> >> I highly encourage all members of our space no matter what their gender
> >> is to make it their own. For example we have Programmers, Electronic
> >> Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Accountants, Students, etc. and you can
> >> pick anyone person from any of those backgrounds and they could tell you
> >> a subject that they just don't care about. So if a programmer wants more
> >> programmers to talk to and hang out with I encourage them to send out a
> >> few e-mails and become more active online in order to help find more
> >> people interested in programming. I don't however expect the mechanical
> >> engineers to go find programmers if they have no interest in learning to
> >> program.
> >>
> >> I would say the same should be true with the female/male issue. If a
> >> hackerspace has one female and she wants more females in the hackerspace
> >> then she should start a campaign to find more females. It could be that
> >> she host a class about e-textiles or whatever it is females like to talk
> >> about.
> >>
> >> If a female in the hackerspace wants to be on our board I would gladly
> >> accept them but I would hold them to the same standards as I hold
> >> everyone. As a board member you are "Responsible" for the future of the
> >> hackerspace. This means a lot of work that really sucks. For us it is
> >> not just making decisions but actually getting the work done. For
> >> example we need brochures made to hand out to people who are coming
> >> through our door for the first time and at special events. Ok we voted
> >> that we need those. Now what? Well, someone has to actually design and
> >> make the things. But we don't have a budget to just pay a designer. So
> >> the person in charge of making it happen has to find someone with the
> >> talent to make it happen or figure out how to do it themselves. "But I
> >> just want to hack" is usually what most people say. Nobody wants to
> >> actually do anything the is important. They want to do what is fun at
> >> the time.
> >>
> >> As the president I spend about 40 hours a week making sure the finances
> >> are straight, making sure our social media is up to date, sending out
> >> request to try and get us stuff that we can't afford, making sure the
> >> place is clean for the next wave of new people who come through the
> >> door, making sure the projector works for the classes we host, making
> >> sure the refrigerator gets stocked with soda. I could keep going.
> >>
> >> My point is it does not matter what gender you are. It matters whether
> >> or not you actually do work which contributes to the future of the
> >> space. If you want more women then go find them. If you want more say in
> >> what is going on then offer to help take care of some of the task that
> >> need to be accomplished.
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >
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