This blog grew out of a desire to talk about tech without ‘splaining and conversational take-over. The founders of this blog have felt irritating about posting on technical subjects on their own blogs due to people commenting who would either assume that the blogger didn’t know the first thing about what they were talking about, or by assuming that the blogger was willing to host their every vaguely related opinion.
Help, this is a complicated policy, now I’m scared to comment!
Here’s a summary:be thoughtful and try and contribute to the conversation we’re trying to start: that’s all we ask.
Broadly speaking, what we don’t want is derailing: commenters wrenching our comment threads in the direction of a discussion they want to have.
We understand that most new commenters will just be getting used to our style, and we will gently warn you if you are leaving unwanted comments. It’s only if you’ve ignored such warnings that we will start to be annoyed.
This blog to some extent grew out of the Geek Feminism blog. What has this blog got to do with feminism? We won’t talk about it as much directly, but we believe that many comment anti-patterns are disproportionately stopping women blogging or otherwise talking about tech and related subjects, because when they do they receive a lot of comments that assume they are beginners, or that they are a willing audience for that commenter’s every technical opinion and stray thought. Undoubtedly this is affecting other groups who are less privileged too.
This is an attempt to create a model feminist technical blog, where we have the conversations in comments that the blogger wants to have. This is a group blog, and will feature primarily women as posters.
We enjoy comments. We welcome engagement with our posts, including extensions of our ideas, correction of our mistakes and sought-after technical advice.
Levels of expertise
Our hosts have varying levels of expertise, and different types of expertise. Sometimes we may post beginner-level thoughts and questions. That should not be taken to mean that every host is a beginner in that area, or that that particular host is an across the board beginner.
This blog is an experiment in avoiding technical discussion anti-patterns. Some of these anti-patterns may seem relatively harmless: we ask that you avoid them anyway because in aggregate they contribute to people not talking about technical subjects.
‘splaining is a term for condescending explanations, or explanations that assume that despite having asked a specific question, that the host has no relevant background knowledge. For example, a blogger asks a question about the implementation of Python’s threading module and someone explains deadlocks to her from scratch.
Try, where possible, to assume that the host has the background knowledge to understand direct answers to any questions she posed. If you’re honestly not sure if she knows something critical, ask her directly and explain it if she says she wants you to.
Unwanted help is when a blogger posts something that isn’t a request for technical help, and gets technical advice. For example, she posts that she is really enjoying using a certain image editor, and people post to say “if you want a great image editor, I like this <other one>!” or she posts that she needs help with a particular WordPress problem, and you explain why Blogger is a great platform.
Avoiding this anti-pattern is a matter of simply considering was she asking for my help [in this area]?
Hobby horsing and keyword comments
Hobby horsing is when someone has an agenda that they regularly advocate through technical comments. Some common examples include advocating for (or against) freely licenced software, advocating for particular programming languages, advocating for particular text editors, even if that wasn’t what the post was about.
Keyword comments are when your comment has picked up on a very small part of the post, eg that it’s about PHP, and your comment is purely your standard response that you always give about anything to do with PHP.
Remember, the goal is to contribute to the discussion the host wanted to have. If you are primarily attempting to advance some other goal like “get more people using Perl” or “dismantle DRM” but that’s not the conversation the host has started, post in your own space.
Ad infinitum advice
If you’ve said something once, like “move to Blogger”,“this would be incredibly easy in Perl” or “you should never use proprietary software” and it appears the host hasn’t taken your advice, she’s probably understood it and decided your solution isn’t for her. We ask that you respect this and assume that, unless there’s obvious confusion, people here understood you and simply don’t agree with you, rather than offering the same advice and reasoning over and over in the belief that anyone who hasn’t taken your advice needs to have it explained to them again.
Slurs, trolling, personal attacks, and general rotten behaviour
Sexist, racist, ableist and other *-ist slurs are not welcome here. Nor are the usual Internet nasties.
But I’m so passionate about $TOPIC, I need to bring it up all the time
We are pro-passion, but not to the extent that it derails the technical conversations we want to have. If you have a passion to talk about and it’s not very germane to our posts, please write in your own blog.
But if I’m not allowed to help women with computing, how will they get into computing?
You can help, just help when we actually ask for it. And stop when you’ve given us the help we asked for or when it’s apparent that we aren’t using your help. If that doesn’t scratch your helping itch enough, there are heaps of Q&A forums that could use your input, for example Stack Overflow and Server Fault.
Something something censorship something
Yes, we moderate comments and do not allow completely free expression on this site. Debates about whether this should happen will not be entered into. If it’s not something you can deal with, devote your energy to other forums.