re: Advanced devs and beginner devs can co-exist harmoniously. It's not rocket science. VIEW POST



So you see a study that seems to imply that women deal with a negative experience differently than men do (let's not get into the discussion of whether that's by their nature or due to the way they were nurtured), and your takeaway is not that "gee, maybe we should try to act more empathetic here so we don't alienate approximately half the population (that contains approximately half of the talent) and make the community a more pleasant place for all of us", instead your takeaway is that half the population needs to grow up and learn to deal with it?

That's exactly the toxic masculinity I hated growing up as a kid. Being told to "man up" and "stop being such a girl".

If half the world population has a hard time adjusting to a community that may be a sign that the community may have some room for improvement (rather than a sign that half the world just needs to "man up")

The thing about stackoverflow is that it's sometimes necessary to close questions, or point people to documentation that explains how to properly ask a question, and it's going to make people feel bad. You simply cannot moderate that away. You also cannot moderate every single comment and answer in an attempt to avoid unintended offense. It simply is not possible.

Of course, moderation is necessary for a healthy community, it's needed to protect from bullies and trolls, the problem arises when the moderation rules encourage bullyish and trollish behavior.

I've seen answers that were closed on SO that had helpful comments as to why they were closed with resources where the OP can find what they are looking for, but I've also seen answers that were simply downvoted and reported to oblivion without as much as a word to help the OP in the best case, and downright nasty comments in the worst.

To say that it simply is not possible is not true. I am a part of many communities and platforms (not least of which the one we are on now) that actively promote empathy and civility, where good behavior is rewarded by the community and bad behavior is shunned. contrast that with SO where these are the badges I am being encouraged to pursue now:

toxic badges on Stack Overflow

To be clear, this study was conducted by a woman and she concluded that

while the attrition numbers aren’t great, I’m massively encouraged by the fact that at least in these findings, it’s not about systemic bias against women or women being bad at computers or whatever. Rather, it’s about women being bad at dusting themselves off after failing, which, despite everything, is probably a lot easier to fix.

Also, I never once said the solution was to "man up" or anything of that nature. To frame it in a way that paints me as sexist further illustrates my original point.

Yes, I noticed the article was written by a woman, and if I was a woman that would be the conclusion I would take from the article as well (the alternative would be to leave the industry, as I would have no hope of changing it on my own).

As a man though, the lesson I take is WTH is wrong with this industry? Why can't we make an environment where women (and others who happen to be of the more sensitive type) feel more welcome for what they bring to the table rather than force them to mold to the environment?

And to clarify, this will make it an environment where everyone feels welcome. I don't know a single person who thrives on criticism and down-putting. At most, some people adjust to it better than others.

Also, I never once said the solution was to "man up" or anything of that nature.

Not quite in those words, but it was implied by the idea that when women have a harder time adjusting to negativity than men, the proposed solution was to have women emulate the men rather than having the men adjust their behavior.

If encouraging people to brush themselves off and to not give up will ultimately help them achieve their goals, then that is what I'm going to do. This aligns philosophically with the idea that you cannot change everyone else, you can only change yourself.

If you disagree that this is a good solution, that's fine. It's a difference of opinion. But a solution that involves baseless attacks on someone's character is not a solution.

Yes, when a newbie comes to me and they are all discouraged because they were shot down by some nasty comment I have no choice but to tell them to brush it off and not to let a few jerks convince them that they are any less of a programmer.

That does NOT mean that there is nothing wrong with the community and that we should not try to change and make a more inclusive environment.

But a solution that involves baseless attacks on someone's character is not a solution.

I don't think anyone was attacking anyone's character, the attacks (if you want to call people's frustration that), were against the community and those insisting that the way it is is the way it should be.

I think the takeaway here is that:

  • We should strive to be welcoming, inclusive, and encouraging for people who make honest mistakes, and try to avoid driving them away with harsh responses.

  • We should encourage people to pursue their interests despite the fact there are unpleasant people in the world who try to shut them down.

  • We should not attack each other personally when discussing how to deal with the fact some people are easily discouraged when someone attacks them personally.

Learn from each other a bit, in other words, and be the change we'd like to see in the world.

By the way, while W. Brian Gourlie's manner is a bit brusque, I also found Yechiel Kalmenson's characterization of W's commentary as "toxic masculinity" pretty offensive. That, I'm pretty sure, is what primarily prompted W to respond negatively (with reference to "attacks on someone's character"), on a personal level, to what Yechiel said.

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