What is the Powder Room?

Open source advocate warns about honeypots

I don’t even know where to start with this mess, so lets start with open source culture ‘cause that’s the setting for this fight. The open source community is technically about making source code available so people can see how the programs they’re using work-it’s this idea that all information should be shared specifically applied to tech.

The open source community is huge, but almost exclusively white males. Programs like outreachy are trying to change that, but it’s a long slow haul. And so there’s esteemed open source figure Eric Raymond, who has apparently been on a tear about women in tech, to the point where he’s reposting this great tip:

The short version is: if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a “women in tech” advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.


And then Eric Raymond also comes out with such gems as Why Hackers Must Eject SJWs, in which he accuses what everyone assumes is the now defunct Ada initiative of setting up Linus Torvalds (who is a god in the open source community):

a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation

Besides this sorta thinking being incredibly ugly, it’s one of the reasons some men are hesitant to mentor women. As mentorship is a huge aspect of moving up in tech, and most of the people in tech (especially in upper level positions) are male, this contributes heavily to pushing women out of the field. That lack of women is then blamed on the pipeline problem-and it is a pipeline problem, but we can’t ignore the reasons for the leaky pipe.

The venerable tech blog slashdot’s coverage has been not so favorable towards Raymond’s paranioa, posting a video of loggly developer Liz Bennet discussing what it’s like being a women in tech and quickly shutting down Raymond’s assertion. Unfortunately the first few comments dismiss her as not being an engineer (it’s a silly semantic argument), which is a tactic frequently used to discredit women who complain about sexism in tech.


The rest of the video is her discussing tokenism and wanting to be treated like a person. She spends a few minutes discussing how she has to carefully vet the culture of the company and that she’s happy her company is full of”decent human beings” I find this incredibly sad, ‘cause she’s essentially putting the onus on herself to find a company that treats women as people. She specifically calls out brogrammer culture-she says it’s fine, but not really a place where women are likely to want to work.

Image via opensourceway

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