233 thoughts on “Friends of Armed & Dangerous party

  1. Are you going to Worldcon this year in Spokane? Your legions of fans say you should.

  2. At some point I’m going to have to meet some of you guys. In the meantime, sounds like fun – and some interesting brownies – will be had.

  3. Have fun! :-)

    @ Polynices
    > Are you going to Worldcon this year in Spokane?

    To the tune of “Scarborough Fair”:

    Are you going to Worldcon this year?
    Science-fiction, gaming, and such.
    We’d be so glad to see you appear!
    I don’t think I’m asking too much.

    (I’m not creative enough to come up with a complete filk song; that’s why I always write these mere fragments. If anyone wants to complete it, I won’t be offended – quite the opposite. ;-))

  4. “Nuclear ghost-pepper brownies will be featured.”

    Fear the ghost!

  5. Rawr. Wish I could go. Hoping maybe I’ll see some of you (including Ken’s special guest!) at Balticon at least.

  6. I first saw this on my RSS feed and read “ghost-prepper brownies”.

  7. How’d the party go, or is it still raging into the morning light?

  8. It’s after an apocalypse when you loot someone’s house and it has 5 years of supplies, which you use to bake brownies.

  9. >Whereas a person who invests significant amounts of time

    What matters is a person’s politics, not their contributions.

    No matter what a person has contributed to opensource (code, media, etc), their contributions do not exist if they are a mysogninst and must be taken down, censored, and banned.

    Feminists do not have to contribute anything to be considered great opensource contributors.

  10. Miscommunication got it so concisely wrong that I suspect it was an intentional sarcasm and/or troll.

  11. Paul Brinkley:

    Sounds like just another MRA. You can practically see the fedora and neckbeard…

    I think he might even be MikeeUSA operating pseudonymously.

  12. And, of course, Jeff, MRAs are unclean and to be shunned and shouted down…

  13. John D. Bell and Paul Brinkley need to recalibrate their sarcasm meters. Miscommunication’s post pegged mine.

  14. The nuclear ghost pepper brownies are easy to make, really:
    Start with a box of brownie mix for a 9×13 (inch) pan. I use a dark chocolate mix. Any of the big name brand or store brands will do (if the store has a second, cheaper brand that they do not put their own name on, don’t waste money on it). Then make the brownies as directed, EXCEPT where it calls for, most likely, 1/4 cup water, replace the water with ghost pepper salsa. I use Mrs. Renfro’s. If you want to start out with a milder version, one small can of La Victoria diced jalapenos does nicely for a relatively gentle introduction to spiced brownies.
    The brownies act as a sort of ‘taste capacitor’ reducing the magnitude of the spiciness spike, but giving a slow discharge of the heat over time.

  15. That’s why I said he was an MRA. His dribblings sound like a fedora-and-trenchcoat type’s caricature of feminism rather than actual feminism.

    As for “shut up and show us the code”, it shouldn’t take much googling to discover that some of the most vocal “SJWs” in open source — including Valerie Aurora, Sarah Sharp, and Matthew Garrett, are highly ranked and well respected code contributors. But Sarah and Valerie are the exception that proves the rule: the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code, and that’s where the consciousness raising and culture changing come in. Software development is a social activity; while code is the work product, there are problems within the process that can’t be solved by code.

  16. @Jeff Read
    “…the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code”

    Randi Harper (FreeBSD girl) recounts at FLOSS weekly how far such harassment will go. Someone even tried to send a SWAT team to her house. I see that as attempted murder.
    http://twit.tv/show/floss-weekly/331

    However, that has nothing to do with Open Source or Free Software. That is more part of the Internet culture at large. I think I take Randi’s explanation about it over what is brought up here (listen to the FLOSS weekly audio).

    See also:
    http://www.zenofdesign.com/the-orphans-of-gamergate/

  17. Winter,

    Careful. Randi Harper appears to be a deeply disturbed individual and indeed a Meg Lanker-Simons type. It looks like the “swatting” was a routine traffic ticket which she may have Photoshopped the date on to make it appear more recent. And this wasn’t exactly her first run-in with the law.

    So much about this girl seems kind of skeevy. Granted, some of my sources — like ED — are not exactly reputable, but there’s enough there to put a big question mark over the whole affair. And it’s sad because such people are the worst form of trolls: they act maliciously and then hide behind the skirt (no pun intended) of feminism and “help, help, I’m being repressed” when people try to fact-check their ass, tainting the reputation of well-meaning feminists and women who are actually being abused and oppressed. We’ve seen examples of such soi-disant feminists acting in bad faith before, including Meg Lanker-Simons and Shanley Kane, so this is a thing. They do not do anything to ameliorate an already bad situation.

  18. @Jeff Read
    “Granted, some of my sources — like ED — are not exactly reputable, but there’s enough there to put a big question mark over the whole affair. ”

    I prefer first hand witness accounts with names to random internet he-says-she-says rumors.

    And for all it is worth, Mrs Harper sounded rational and very thoughtful on the FLOSS weekly recordings. Which she always is when she is on FLOSS weekly. I can say that she sounds more level headed and rational than most of the commenters here, including you (and me?).

    This is Randi’s account of the swating:
    http://blog.randi.io/2015/04/03/swated/

    I could try to come up with a response, but I think this woman already said it all:
    https://officiallorddweedlegaming.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/in-defense-of-freebsdgirl-author-of-the-blockbot/

  19. >the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code

    I see no actual evidence of this. Code has no gender, and nobody is demanding to know what kind of genitalia a patch submitter has. Anonymity is easy.

    The strongest claim that could be even remotely plausible is that people with female meatspace identities are discouraged from associating them with their code, but I don’t buy that either; I’ve known too many hackers who were declared females.

  20. @esr
    “The strongest claim that could be even remotely plausible is that people with female meatspace identities are discouraged from associating them with their code, but I don’t buy that either; I’ve known too many hackers who were declared females.”

    I believe the claim is not so much that women are “rejected at the door”. More that there are loiterers who harass women when they try to reach the door.

    I think every person will have problems when their voices are drowned out by stalkers who make it a point to slander and threaten them wherever they appear. It is only plausible that anyone who is standing out by belonging to a visible minority will work like a lightening rod to such stalkers.

    There are too many accounts from people that have been harassed online to simply ignore them. And I consider it also entirely plausible that women are more likely to attract such harassment than men and feel more threatened by it.

    Whatever the cause, there are many good reasons to think about ways to improve the situation when a sizable fraction of the population is reportedly afraid to contribute to OSS.

    One course of action is to start asking them what puts them off. Maybe there is something in the reported fear of being harassed?

  21. Hi, Jeff.

    You’re quoting ED. You’re using a site – that even states it is parody – that is built around the idea of harassing people as a legitimate source.

    The SWATing attempt was confirmed by OPD, which you would know if you used something other than the Ralph Retort as a news source. Get out of open source, GamerGate. There’s no room for your type here.

  22. > “see no actual evidence of this. Code has no gender, and nobody is demanding to know what kind of genitalia a patch submitter has. Anonymity is easy.”

    Said no woman in code ever. I was repeatedly threatened, harassed, stalked, and flat out told to give up, until I climbed high enough to be visibly associated with prominent men in tech that my harassers didn’t want to anger. It still comes in waves occasionally.

    Also, if I have to HIDE MY GENDER with anonymity to avoid harassment, and therefore implicitly present as male, don’t you think that MIGHT be a TEENSY WEENSY problem? Seeing prominent names repeat this stuff is soul crushing. “But I totally know a woman hacker” doesn’t cut it. I know a lot of them. I am one. ALMOST ALL of us have experienced this.

    Also (to Jeff) no matter what someone might think of Ms. Harper or anything related to her, ED is not merely a tad disreputable — it’s literally a fake parody encyclopedia. Yet people keep citing articles there as if it’s not more absurd than citing the onion.

  23. >Said no woman in code ever.

    False. I’ve heard women in code say it more than once. Are you in fact claiming that someone demanded to know the shape of your genitals before accepting a patch?

    >Also, if I have to HIDE MY GENDER with anonymity to avoid harassment, and therefore implicitly present as male, don’t you think that MIGHT be a TEENSY WEENSY problem?

    Yes, in fact I do. But it’s a different claim than Jeff Read’s assertion, and implies a different set of remedies.

    > ALMOST ALL of us have experienced this.

    You present me with a problem. Your report is not consistent with my experience, nor with reports from the female hackers I know, Not one of them – not *one* – has every volunteered to me a report of having been personally threatened, harassed, or stalked. And when I have asked, I have always been told “I’ve heard it happens to other women, but it hasn’t to me.” The closest I’ve come to a credible report of that kind was when I got involved in one case of general anti-female treats being uttered by a loony misogynist.

    Near me, where I can observe almost directly and the chain of transmission of reports has the least risk of telephone-game effects, I don’t see a systemic problem other than the tiny percentage of loons every subculture attracts. Yet I am constantly told that far from me, where I can’t see it, female hackers are constantly being harassed. What am I supposed to believe, based on the conflicting evidence?

  24. > Your report is not consistent with my experience, nor with reports from the female hackers I know

    Well, actually. Several women have told you otherwise. It’s exceptionally easy to find more data on this by doing a simple Google search, as well. You just choose to disregard their data because it doesn’t fit with the result you’re trying to achieve. This is bad science. How many women have to come forward and tell you there’s a problem before you stop saying no women at all have said this?

  25. >Several women have told you otherwise.

    Women I don’t know personally making claims about far-away cases of which I have no independent knowledge. That’s my problem, see; the correlation between my ability to check the reporter’s credibility by other means and the extent to which they allege to me that there is a systemic problem is both inverse and strong. Suspiciously strong.

    >You just choose to disregard their data because it doesn’t fit with the result you’re trying to achieve.

    I don’t know what result you think I might be trying to achieve, other than actually knowing what’s going on and responding ethically. I take my responsibilities as a tribal elder seriously, and I tend (partly under Robert Heinlein’s influence) to a degree of ferocity in defense of women that might make a feminist uncomfortable.

    >How many women have to come forward and tell you there’s a problem before you stop saying no women at all have said this?

    You’re confused. I certainly have not claimed that no women say there’s a systematic problem with anti-female bias an the hacker culture. I’m saying I don’t believe women who say this, because it is inconsistent with the behavior I can actually see around me – in, particular, my experience of project groups with female members and my observation that the hackers I know don’t give a flying crap about a contributor’s gender.

    Because, I mean, why should they? Code is code. The work is the work. That’s my attitude, and it seems to the attitude of every hacker whose behavior I can observe. This attitude makes intelligent sense, and I think hackers are pretty bright on the whole, so a priori I expect it to prevail.

    Against that, I can only set reports from far away. Worse, I know that some of those reports have been generated by people who are mentally disturbed or have destructive personal or political agendas. (One reason I know this is because women I know have explained it to me.) I’ll just say “Shanley Kane” and let her stand as an example.

    If you want to persuade me that you are on to a real problem, you need to propose a plausible theory that explains the difference between near and far reports. Hint: I’m blind because sexism does not qualify as a plausible theory – it is exactly the kind of kafkatrapping maneuver I expect from people who have no good arguments.

    Here, I’ll help you out. A plausible theory might run something like this: My sample is skewed. The female hackers I know all have common factor X that makes them immune to or oblivious about sexist prejudice; the male hackers I know have common factor Y that makes them differentially unlikely to treat women badly.

    Feel free to propose values for X and Y. Until somebody does so, or proposes some other plausible generative model that does not deny my lived experience, I’ll go with the Occam’s Razor hypothesis that belief in pervasive sexism among hackers is a form of currently popular mass hysteria, just as bogus as earlier forms of moral panic. Therefore to be filed with crap like Satanist day care workers abusing children or rock’n’roll being a Communist plot.

  26. Sorry, no. Citing kafkatrapping as a way to avoid the obvious parsimonious explanation isn’t how Occam’s Razor works.

    Unless you really are proposing (as you hint by citing “mental disturbance” in one notable case) that “all the crazy bitches be lyin” is more parsimonious than there being something about you that makes women less likely to discuss these issues around or to you.

    Note, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are sexist, just that you are refusing the examine that you may be the variable here. In this case also: “This argument isn’t valid because I say it isn’t” is another refuge of those without an argument.

    Have you really performed a rigorous survey of all women in tech you interact with to see which ones have complaints of harassment, or are you hearing what you want to hear? And so on, through the various possible biases here (confirmation, self-selecting, etc etc).

  27. > The female hackers I know all have common factor X that makes them immune to or oblivious about sexist prejudice

    tbh, I think this is more-or-less correct. I’ve noticed that female-identified hackers and engineers your age tend to be more oblivious of/able to avoid the sexism in hacker culture than are the ones my age (I’m in my early 30s). I don’t want to speculate the reasons in this post, but I suspect there’s a selection/survivor bias going on. Relatively few people would spend 20+ years taking abuse from their peers if they could avoid it, so the ones who are left are the ones who—for whatever reason—end up having a better experience. The rest leave tech entirely, and IIRC folks have posted attrition numbers that support this idea.

    I’ve also noticed in my social circle that for every “Shanley Kane”, there are another 3 or 4 people who don’t speak up publicly but are willing to speak semi-privately to friends and basically anyone who seems like they’ll listen. This isn’t unique to women—it happens with several marginalized groups that I associate with and/or am part of.

    Granted, this isn’t all hacker culture—some of it is Hacker News culture, which I’d argue is not the same thing—but when I look at what an average feminine-identified hacker my age faces, I’d say that her world looks more hostile than mine does.

  28. Hi Randi. Thought you’d turn up.

    You’re quoting ED. You’re using a site – that even states it is parody – that is built around the idea of harassing people as a legitimate source.

    I didn’t say that they were a legitimate source. I just had reason to believe they weren’t deliberately lying. Most of the other news sites I checked quoted your Twitter or blog on the issue; forgive me if I take your word of mouth with a grain of salt.

    I dug into it further, found that it was legit; that’s bad and I’m sorry for stating or implying otherwise.

    Here, I’ll help you out. A plausible theory might run something like this: My sample is skewed. The female hackers I know all have common factor X that makes them immune to or oblivious about sexist prejudice; the male hackers I know have common factor Y that makes them differentially unlikely to treat women badly.

    Being a part of the old-time hacker culture, that which was extant since before, say, the first dot-com boom, may be just such a common factor. Old-time hackers tend to be a bit surprised and delighted when they see a woman genuinely interested in what they do and wanting to join their ranks.

    As for the female hackers you know — we know you like to hang around Heinleinian superwomen, so odds are they’ve been harassed in the past over their gender, and just shrug it off rather than going to the Twitters and Tumblrs about it. That doesn’t make such harassment good, okay, or not a problem.

    Now that, thanks in no small part to your efforts, hacking and open source culture have expanded into the wider culture, programming has attracted dudebros looking for what they think is an easy paycheck, and their little egos shrivel up when they see a woman competent enough to hold their own so they go on the attack. And the game industry has been full of brogrammers nearly since it began. So if you are in gaming or the SF/NY startup culture — which, taken together account for perhaps a majority of hackers and open-source devs today — chances are you are going to see a lot more gender-based harassment than if you are in the group carrying on the old Lisp/Unix/1970s hacker tradition.

  29. @Jeff

    >We’ve seen examples of such soi-disant feminists acting in bad faith before

    Honest question – if a movement seems to attract an overly high number of dishonest narcissists, what does that say / predict about the movement? My argument is not so much that it automatically invalidates the whole thing, but rather that at least it shows some aspects of it are problematic.

    I would even make an attempt to try to define what exactly caused this. If you look at the history of the Left, you see a certain slide from formerly focusing on tangible, real things, like the (re)distribution of money and moving towards more intangible, subjective things, like how what person X says makes person Y feel oppressed, or similar things. So more of a subjective feelings character. I think so far you will agree, there is plenty of evidence that there is more talk on the Left about, say, safe spaces, and less about money or social class. More focus on emotions and social interaction.

    Now, the problem is, that by doing so, you may have inadvertedly created a near-perfect narcissist magnet. I think it is fairly clear how. When subjective feelings matter, especially when feelings over things like who said what, and not over more important matters, this is excellent for the narcissist to jump in and start screaming “everybody look at me how I am triggered and oppressed by the horrible things people say!”

    Once that was done, once you attracted a large number of narcissists, then it is just a matter or statistics that a percentage of narcissists are dishonest liars and then this is what you get in these high-profile cases.

    I guess if I was a lefty I started working on finding a narcissist deflector shield. The first, crude version of it would be that only real things like jobs, money, violence or university admissions matter, and nobody gets an ounce of public sympathy for mere hurt feelings, especially when it is just over words.

    Unfortunately your problem is that certain narcissism magnets are built very, very deeply into the fabric of lefty values. Once I remember that a gay guy told me somewhere on Reddit the reason he wants gay marriage is not so much the practical advantages, he is not sure at all he will every marry, but more like not being treated like a second class person, someone whose life is less valid. Now, this can be an entirely valid concern, I remember how it felt like being a too nerdy boy who was too low status, having to go through a whole life similar to that must suck, but once you have a _political_ goal like elevate how certain people feel about themselves / elevate how society feels about the value of certain people, it automatically carries the side-effect of attracting narcissists, because then narcissistic supply can be derived from playing the role of the victim. Especially if there is a basis for claiming actual victimhood.

    Think about this. I think you have some work to do here.

  30. @abadidea

    >Also, if I have to HIDE MY GENDER with anonymity to avoid harassment, and therefore implicitly present as male, don’t you think that MIGHT be a TEENSY WEENSY problem? Seeing prominent names repeat this stuff is soul crushing.

    Sure it is a problem. That of narcissism. E.g. this sounds like an example of too much focus too much on your self, on the validation you get from others, how others see you, and similar self-centered things. I don’t think contributing code under a cool gender neutral handle (e.g. cyphergoth, I saw this handle used somewhere, pretty neat) should be much of problem for a non-narcissist. Or if you prefer more grown-up approaches, first letter of first name plus surname. Pretty much all the hopefully thoughtful things I write about on the Internet are under handles like Shenpen or similar kinds, my real name / person gets no prestige points for them and I feel absolutely no need to. And I regularly hide me being half-Jewish when interacting with people who not like it much i.e. Eastern European right-wingers / blue-collars. In both cases, it is not even something paranoid hiding, like that of a secret, but just simply not bringing it up, as gender does not belong to the online discussion of a technical spec at all. Like no way possible. There is absolutely no reason anyone ever needs to know that a random J. Smith contributing a Python PEP is female, male or nonbinary otherkin. Unless, of course, you want narcissistic supply out of it, in which case you want people to know who you are.

    Okay – I guess I am being a bit unfair here. After all at some level bragging rights are an accepted currency in hackerdom. (I am not a hacker myself, have no personal experience in this, pretty much everything I code is employer property, but I have observed hackerdom for about 20 years now.) So I guess I should be more empathic with you for wanting it, but still how important is that bragging rights currency in your overall scheme of things is a fairly strong predictor of narcissism. It should be an icing on the cake, not the cake.

    For your information, I used to be fairly narcissistic too before I stumbled upon buddhist meditation practices. They helped tremendously. I had an entirely different goal actually (I expected meditation will give me something like a safe and legal psychedelic drug), yet the end result was a radical reduction of my self-importance and self-centeredness. Might worth a thought.

  31. @ESR

    >the male hackers I know have common factor Y that makes them differentially unlikely to treat women badly

    A good hypothesis would be that your IQ filter (for people to work with) would be stricter than the average one in hackerdom. But I figure averages are really difficult to figure out. However, due to different Bell curves, it would also predict you are working with pretty much the most exceptionally high IQ female programmers, and they would be just about ideal for the role of generic sexism detectors.

    Wait, now I am curious about average hacker / open source contributor IQ. The main problem is that you won, and like most social winners, there is a certain punishment in winning. (I used to contribute to popularizing techno music in Budapest about 20 years ago, and when we won, and it got popular, our punishment was complete morons turning up at the raves.) Same way, today anyone who cannot really expect sales from any silly basic 2D videogame will just routinely open source it because why not. That is mostly what you wanted, and got it, and the punishment for winning is that there increasing little special respect contributed to the open source labell. So now the open source label predicts little about quality or IQ. “Hacker” of course still does…

  32. @Jeff

    >hacking and open source culture have expanded into the wider culture, programming has attracted dudebros looking for what they think is an easy paycheck

    But you yourself, alongside with me, argued on this very forum that open source does not really seem to be able to offer a regular salary to live on for many people! Nor quick cash windfalls for that matter.

    I would predict dudebros going for the easy and quick looking cash. Like the crappy games on Google Play. Or when you google something like “utility to copy music from ipod nano to PC” It seems like I found half a dozen ones that looked like free as in free beer and then tried charging me somehow halfway through. And none of them claimed to be FLOSS.

    So what would they want to do with open source?

    Oh, I can easily imagine the guys who made those malware-adware laden 30-days trial but still pop up 5 ads (and still doesn’t work) type of utter crap utilities for my iPod salvaging project would be sexist, but not specificially so, but more like being generic assholes with sexism merely being a subset of it: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/102964993621/whats-the-difference-between-a-sexist-and-a

    I would roughly imagine them behaving the same ways as the guys who make a quick cash out of dealing drugs at college. Sexism is pretty much part of a generic asshole picture in those cases usually.

    But what does have to do with open source and hackers?

  33. But you yourself, alongside with me, argued on this very forum that open source does not really seem to be able to offer a regular salary to live on for many people! Nor quick cash windfalls for that matter.

    Open source itself? No. But the companies which use open source as a basis to build proprietary technologies and platforms are making a killing! Exhibit number one is Google; exhibit number two is Apple and even Microsoft is scrambling for a piece of that pie.

    The benefits of open source lie almost entirely in its game-theoretical *secondary* effects.

  34. Thanks, esr. I needed more quotes for my presentation at OSCON about harassment and why the open source community should be concerned. You’ve just given me a goldmine.

  35. >I’ve noticed that female-identified hackers and engineers your age tend to be more oblivious of/able to avoid the sexism in hacker culture than are the ones my age (I’m in my early 30s).

    The trouble with this theory is that about half the female hackers in my sample are much younger than me.

  36. >Sorry, no. Citing kafkatrapping as a way to avoid the obvious parsimonious explanation isn’t how Occam’s Razor works.

    The trouble with “You’re blind because sexism” is that it’s unfalsifiable, a thought-stopper. The fact that I then go with the least complicated explanation is a separate step.

  37. >And the game industry has been full of brogrammers nearly since it began.

    I think there is some plausibility to this – that is, that the game-programming culture is different from the people-who-laugh-at-RFC1149 hacker culture in some rather pathological ways. A lot of what I know about that culture smells iffy to me.

    In that case, part of the problem is feminists failing to make distinctions that would help them.

  38. >Thanks, esr. I needed more quotes for my presentation at OSCON about harassment and why the open source community should be concerned. You’ve just given me a goldmine.

    I see. So your response is going to be to deny my lived experience and complain about me to other people caught up in a blame-seeking mob. How persuasive and constructive!

  39. The trouble with “‘you’re blind because sexism’ doesn’t count” is that it gives you way too much wiggle room to dismiss or mansplain away the experiences of actual women who are being oppressed, abused, harassed or otherwise mistreated. Step one is admitting that your experiences have nothing to do with anyone else’s and may in fact be highly unusual.

  40. >Step one is admitting that your experiences have nothing to do with anyone else’s and may in fact be highly unusual.

    That’s not “you’re blind because sexism”, it’s “your experience is not typical”. The former unpacks to a kafkatrap, unfalsifiable, and is thus a bad argument. The latter has consequences that can be checked.

    In fact, I asked Randi Harper to present an argument of the form “your experience is not typical”. She declined to do so, and is instead planning to use me as a Horrible Example at a a bitchfest. Though I hoped for better, this is pretty much what I was expecting. It’s one would predict from the mass-hysteria model.

  41. @esr One thing I remember from having read your hacker howto quite a while ago is this message (more or less):
    “Hackers are people who create awesome things and are proud of them, so they put their names on them; hiding behind nicknames is what script kiddies do, don’t do that”.

    There are good reasons to be anonymous online – the issue discussed is one – but what you wrote back then also provides a very good reason not to (want to) be anonymous.

    And names are very good at identifying gender. So, while you never know what someone has in their pants (they might not be cisgender, after all), most of the time, you have a pretty good heuristic.

    Also:
    http://www.robot-hugs.com/harassment/
    So: My proposal for Y is: They don’t harass other people in group situations.

    Now, not all women are equally bothered by harassment. Some don’t care, some even see it as a compliment (which is NOT an excuse because you never know that). In which case they will have a different definition for harassment – they’ll be the kind of people who will call it harassment if they are forced into some kind of physical contact, but for whom boundary-overstepping comments are just a mild annoyance. This is great for them – it means that they can deal with the situation better – but we can’t model any kind of expectation on that. They might also think of this kind of thing as private and not talk about it for that reason.

    And in that light, my proposal for X is: There is already a strong filter that removes many women that see a problem; And those who do are tired of discussing those issues with opinionated guys. No offence, but this includes you. You opinion may change given new data, so you might say that you’re not opinionated in that sense.

    But one strong part of the hacker mindset – wanting to know, not presume – implies demanding rigorous proof for claims, and this principle fails spectacularly when you’re talking to a friend who needs empathy and trust. For you (and the women you mentioned), the discussion can be completely academic, for the others it’s personal.

    Just like you wouldn’t talk about a breakup to someone who will play devil’s advocate for your ex instead of comforting you, if harassment really bothers you, you won’t go to someone who is likely to turn it into an academic discussion, because playing devils advocate is in fact an incredibly important tool for academic discussion that will likely be applied.

  42. Esr, the problem is your experience *is* typical, in that the women around you are either lucky enough not to have encountered sexism in the tech world, or are simply not opening up to you about it.

    A shockingly high number (at least 25%) of the women I personally and professionally know in tech have been sexually assaulted (or worse raped) at some point in their life, many during their tech careers. Some have been public about this, but many more have not shared it publicly. And that’s just the physical violence, it doesn’t cover the harassment or the multitude of cases of unconscious bias that affects their career prospects (something that also affects other minority groups).

    Many men don’t listen to, or even outright dismiss, those who speak up and share their stories. When they do this publicly to those they don’t know, why should those they do know feel comfortable about opening up to them about their own experiences?

    The best thing anyone can do about this subject is listen to those in the know, those who live and breathe this every day, as they are the experts and know what can be done to change things. To do otherwise is akin to going into a project you don’t understand, written in a language you’ve never used before, and claiming you know a better way of doing things than those who work on the project.

  43. A possible candidate for factor Y is exposure to ESR. Your status in hacker culture may influence male hackers around you to imitate your behaviors and values, which may make your experience atypical.

    I think failure to distinguish between hacker culture and nearby geek cultures may very well also be a factor here (what I’ve read indicates that peripheral cultures could be fairly sexist and generally immature even in the Usenet days, and what I’ve observed says that is definitely true now), but at the same time, it may be worth investigating the degree to which those cultures act as unwanted “gateways” to hacker culture by driving away potential hackers.

  44. ESR, I’m sure you mean well. It’s very upsetting to hear that gender bias plays a role even in OSS, something which seems to be beyond such pettiness. However I fear there is a risk in not taking caution when people are warning you there is threat here. You claim that you don’t have to present gender in a commit, however that’s a bandaid. Let’s pretend you’re a woman for the sake of argument, how would someone with your notability hide their gender? If their complaints are legitimate (which I argue we should consider they are until proven otherwise) I feel that the damage to the open source software movement outweighs the effort it would take to resolve it.

    Let’s assume you’re right and that their experiences are not typical (which I think is unlikely), should it not be our responsibility to investigate and work towards resolving the friction?

  45. >The best thing anyone can do about this subject is listen to those in the know, those who live and breathe this every day, as they are the experts and know what can be done to change things.

    OK. Why do I not qualify as an expert?

    I’ve been observing the behavior of hackers – including female hackers – very closely and analytically for the better part of forty years. This, as you well know, has had consequences. I continue to do it. The facts of my observation are stubborn things, and don’t vanish just because someone points in another direction and yells “sexism!”.

    When you say: “your experience *is* [a]typical, in that the women around you are either lucky enough not to have encountered sexism in the tech world, or are simply not opening up to you about it,” I hear something like “the kids you know either haven’t been Satanically abused at day-care centers, or are simply not opening up to you about it.” In both cases it seems like an attempt not to argue from evidence or form a causal theory, but rather to construct a pseudo-argument to which rebuttal is impossible.

    You don’t help matters when you say “A shockingly high number (at least 25%) of the women I personally and professionally know in tech have been sexually assaulted (or worse raped) at some point in their life, many during their tech careers.” Even supposing this is absolutely true, it contributes almost nothing to the argument. We would also need to know that exposure to sexual assault is higher in their professional lives than outside them.

  46. >And names are very good at identifying gender. So, while you never know what someone has in their pants (they might not be cisgender, after all), most of the time, you have a pretty good heuristic.

    Right you are. But this makes one of the most prevalent claims of sexism harder to believe, not easier. I asked Randi Harper whether she knew of any instances in which a patch submission had been refused because of the submitter being female. She didn’t answer. Now you’re pointing out that project leads can make a reliable guess about this.

    Do you see the problem yet? One of the main claims of complainers about alleged sexism in open source is that women have trouble getting their code accepted. But I don’t see patches with female names on them being rejected at any higher frequency or for any other reasons than patches with male names on them. An “anti-sexist”, when called on this, ducks the question.

    I think an impartial observer would conclude that this casts doubt on other claims of pervasive sexism.

  47. >You claim that you don’t have to present gender in a commit, however that’s a bandaid.

    Right. You can use a handle, though this isn’t really good form among hackers. But, as I just pointed out, I have no evidence that using a female name on a patch makes it more likely to be rejected.

    >Let’s assume you’re right and that their experiences are not typical (which I think is unlikely), should it not be our responsibility to investigate and work towards resolving the friction?

    I think it is. But I can’t do anything constructive until I know I’m not dealing with a form of mass hysteria akin to the Satanic child-abuse panic. Right now evidence for that is thin, at best.

    Actually, many advocates for “sexism is a huge problem in open source” are pushing me towards the opposite position by presenting arguments that are special pleading, evasive, and obviously bogus.

  48. I suspect that part of the reason why we’re seeing a rape and sexual harassment epidemic is the same reason why we’re seeing an “autism epidemic”: broadening definitions. It is already rape to have sex with a suitably inebriated, but still conscious, woman, even if she throws herself at you. Recently feminists in the UK have tried to reclassify whistling and catcalling as “sexual assault”. They didn’t succeed — yet. The typical harassment scenario from the 90s, wherein a woman is pressured into having sex under pain of losing her job, has been upgraded from harassment to rape.

    If an unwelcome pat on the ass is “sexual assault” then the 25-33% numbers become believable; however, I still have doubts as to whether most of those 25% “live and breathe” even such minor violations “every day”; and however unwelcome and inappropriate, it’s still just a pat on the ass. Hell, I’ve been sexually assaulted under such a definition.

    If catcalling is sexual assault then it’s very hard to be female and not regularly endure assault. Perhaps that’s where #YesAllWomen came from?

  49. @esr
    “One of the main claims of complainers about alleged sexism in open source is that women have trouble getting their code accepted.”

    Randi’s complaints are about doxing, swating, slander, stalking, (rape&death) threats and being flooded by hatemails and hate comments when writing anything or speaking anywhere.

    As far as I remember she did not complain about her code being denied proper consideration.

    Also, I do not remember she singled out (OSS) hackers.

    From your comments it seems you are retreating to “it aint my people that do it” mode.

    The problem is fairly well documented, just read the bile published about Randi alone. You just chose to ignore it.

    (And Randi’s personality is irrelevant to the ethics of writing such bile or doxing people. That is just blaming the victim.)

  50. I said: “But I can’t do anything constructive until I know I’m not dealing with a form of mass hysteria akin to the Satanic child-abuse panic”

    I should have said that I can’t do anything more constructive than questioning the “sexism is pervasive” narrative, which is what I’m doing now.

  51. >From your comments it seems you are retreating to “it aint my people that do it” mode.

    And as long as I keep hearing that sexism is a pervasive problem in the open source world and we must Do Something, and I don’t believe that’s true, I’ll keep right on doing the same. Because those are my people, and it is my responsibility to criticize them from within when I must and defend them from attack when I can.

    >Also, I do not remember she singled out (OSS) hackers.

    She didn’t have to. She uses the handle FreeBSDGirl. That’s a rebuttable presumption, there.

    Feminists need to learn something about not alienating potential allies with crazy and over-broad accusations. Furthermore, claims of “doxing, swating, slander, stalking, (rape&death) threats and being flooded by hatemails and hate comments” do not in general seem to hold up very well under close examination.

    If I were to be presented with actual evidence of a specific case of sexist discrimination in the open-source world, I’ve already demonstrated that I would come down on it like a ton of bricks. That shit is not the hacker way.

  52. Jeff, your message implies that you don’t think pressuring someone to have sex with you under pain of losing their job is rape? That’s concerning. Making someone have sex they don’t want to have is rape, like that’s the definition. I’m pretty sure if a man put you in that scenario where it was your family or your dignity, you would consider that rape, I mean I would. Men can be raped too you know, by women and men. These rules don’t just protect women, they protect us too. I mean if you were raped I’m pretty sure you’d want the law on your side instead of it being brushed away as sexual harassment.

    On the second point, yes unwelcome pat on the ass is sexual assault, and yes chances are you have been sexual assaulted, but much like physical assault there are degrees. They at least in the states carry different weight. If again a man slaps your ass in the workplace I think you should have the right to consider that sexual assault.

  53. >Jeff, your message implies that you don’t think pressuring someone to have sex with you under pain of losing their job is rape? That’s concerning.

    Why? Definitions matter. If we don’t reserve the term “rape” for incidents that involve violence or the credible threat of violence, we risk losing sight of how much worse that is than lesser (but still bad) forms of non-consensual sex. When we do this, we add an insult to the injury that rape victims suffer.

    Use some other phrase for “pressuring someone to have sex with you under pain of losing their job”. “Sexual coercion” might be a good alternative. Not muddying these distinctions really matters, as I have argued before with respect to abuse of the terms “torture” and “genocide”.

  54. If again a man slaps your ass in the workplace I think you should have the right to consider that sexual assault.

    It was a “friendly” pat on the leg and I don’t consider it assault; and being granted permission to doesn’t change my mind on the matter. I think I may have inadvertently sent signals which were misinterpreted by the perpetrator. I saw fit to distance myself from him, but not make a sex offender out of him. I may be a shitlord but I’m not that much of a vindictive asshole.

    And yes, I have internalized a regressive shitlord definition of rape that implied physical force or threat of physical force. Fully internalizing the new definition requires analysis which I haven’t performed in full. Is every woman who “goes to bed with a 10 and wakes up with a 2” a rape victim? Obviously those who were drunk are; but what if she discovers something unattractive about her partner that would have prevented her from being drawn to him in the first place had she known — something which he saw fit to downplay to increase his chances? Enticing a woman into bed under false pretenses is rape after all…

  55. Constantly changing the definitions of terms so that they cover more and more cases, of what would be commonly thought of as lower severity, is a form of argument by redefinition – and fundamentally dishonest. This kind of thing is why people get away with the commonly cited “1 in 5 women in college are sexually assaulted” meme: they use an expansive definition of “sexual assault” that won’t stand up under scrutiny, but can be exploited to advance their cause.

  56. If we don’t reserve the term “rape” for incidents that involve violence or the credible threat of violence,

    Watch it. The drunk girl and fuck-me-or-you’re-fired scenarios still qualify: the Istanbul Convention defines violence against women as acts which may cause “physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm or suffering” to women, or threats of such acts.

  57. An SJW definition of violence to further SJW arguments. *yawn*

    There’s a perfectly serviceable definition of violence in the language. Argument by redefinition is as evil there as anywhere else.

  58. >the Istanbul Convention defines violence against women as acts which may cause “physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm or suffering” to women, or threats of such acts.

    This definition is useless, because it’s basically impossible to falsify.

    Therefore, I disregard it.

  59. @Jeff

    I consider it bad form to argue ethical issues based on some published list, Istanbul Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Convention or anything. They are _political_ and as such, at best, downstream from ethics, at worst, just the result of power struggles (that is what politics means).

    For example, during a war, violating the Geneva Convention is not in itself ethically wrong. It can be argued that it is wrong based on the original ethical arguments for the convention. (Or on a contractual, pacta sunt servanda basis, perhaps, treaties signed are supposed to be upheld in general, but that is a _procedural_ , NOT substantive ethical requirement: uphold them because they are signed, not because they are automatically good, right or correct.)

  60. Jeff I respect that you did not grow up with that definition, I didn’t mean to paint you as a bad person. The “fuck me or you’re fired” personally seems an appropriate fit under the definition of rape. Again, on the assault remark, assault has many degrees, and he was a friend and, it was a misunderstanding. Don’t you think that even if you tried to bring your friend to court that they would probably dismiss your case?

    ESR, I think you can falsify threats, or a threshold of acts. Witnesses can also provide useful testimony. You could use the same argument to disregard literally any crime, so this isn’t very logical.

    I don’t really understand the “Us” vs “Them” I’m seeing in this thread. Especially by Jay Maynard, what the hell are you on about? Surely everyone here supports victims of sexual assault, rape, and harassment. I refuse to think any of you feel any differently. It seems reasonable to think that perhaps, you are instead reacting to the fear of false accusation?

    The fear of false accusation is never sufficient to not pursue crime. I am sorry that you struggle with that fear, but it is not a good enough reason for society to ignore harms being done.

  61. >ESR, I think you can falsify threats,

    You can. Other terms of the conjunction are more problematic, especially near “harm”. Absent a threshold this is meaningless – it’s not like alleging that a murder or theft has occurred, where you have a corpse or stolen goods to point at. Advocates of definitions like this one tend to retreat to unfalsifiable positions when called on the problem.

    >I don’t really understand the “Us” vs “Them” I’m seeing in this thread.

    I do. Jay is used to having false accusations of pervasive racism and sexism hurled against his tribesmen as political weapons, and that makes him twitchy. I’m used to it myself (with respect to a different tribe; I’m not a conservative), but I don’t take it as personally.

  62. I think compassion should come first. I understand it’s a harsh tooth and nail world we live in, but that’s exactly why it’s so important. When someone says we’re hurting them I think it’s worthwhile to examine if that’s true. I view racism and sexism as a sort of sickness. Many are that way without meaning to be, and are nearly blind to their own cognitive biases. That’s not to say we can’t see around them but it takes effort, a lot of effort and time.

    I get it, most people don’t like being seen as a racist or a sexist and being pointed out can be damaging. However the solution isn’t ignoring sexism and racism where it exists, the solution is working towards behavior correction where it’s necessary, among our own. I mean it would be pretty ignorant to say none of my peers are racist or sexist, or that even I myself don’t have unconscious sexist or racist behavior. If someone were to call me a racist or sexist I’d have to say I was totally unaware of that behavior, and I suppose I’d try and work with them to resolve the issue.

    I guess my big question is how can we help our friends with sexist, and racist biases without making them feel attacked. I think we’re all in this together to say nobody wants to actually be a bigot. However the risk of oversensitivity is at worst inconvenience, and it might take oversensitivity to find middle ground.

    Clearly we don’t want women, a group already very sparse in tech to feel like there is no room for them. I feel that part of the process is listening to their grievances sincerely even when it goes against our intuition.

  63. @Alan –

    > When someone says we’re hurting them I think it’s worthwhile to examine if that’s true.

    Yes, but if I walk into a room, and someone on the other side of it screams “You’re hurting me!” I don’t think their claim is valid. Hurt feelings don’t count – can’t count, because if they did, I could claim to be “hurt” every time someone didn’t kowtow to my nonsensical whims.

    > If someone were to call me a racist or sexist I’d have to say I was totally unaware of that behavior,

    unless they’re trying to kafkatrap you

    > …and I suppose I’d try and work with them to resolve the issue.

    Whammo! You just got 0wnz3d by the Thought Police.

    > I feel that part of the process is listening to their grievances sincerely even
    > when it goes against our intuition.

    If your intuition is grounded in facts, then you are right and proper to reject their grievances, much less bother to listen to them. Eric asked for facts; he got back bafflegab.

  64. >When someone says we’re hurting them I think it’s worthwhile to examine if that’s true.

    Before grievance-peddling became a nearly dominant political and social strategy I would have agreed with you. Now…not so much. These days we’re so constantly assaulted by people who claim that they’re special wounded snowflakes for whom we must give up all that the only sanity-preserving response is to say “Fuck off!” even though we know that for some unguessably small percentage it’s not just a maneuver.

  65. I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that not responding to peoples feelings is about as sociopathic as forcing people to respond to your every whim. Surely there is some kind of middle ground. We should also take the time to give people the benefit of the doubt. Assuming people are trying to trap you is not a very constructive standing point.

  66. >We should also take the time to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    How about this: I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to anyone except people who claim to be anti-prejudice but persistently attack me for the crime of being straight, white, and male without instantly abasing myself before every politically-correct shibboleth they care to erect.

  67. @ ESR

    > …attack me for the crime of being straight, white, and male…

    What? You’re forgetting that you’re awfully smart and cultured. That gives you an unfair advantage over most people! I demand that you hit your head until you can barely recite the alphabet!!!

  68. I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that not responding to peoples feelings is about as sociopathic as forcing people to respond to your every whim. Surely there is some kind of middle ground.

    The problem is that you have a hidden undistributed term here. I’ll agree with the claim that always disregarding people’s feelings is a bad thing, but it’s blatantly obvious that it’s sometimes necessary to disregard feelings, or otherwise emotional blackmail rules society, as in modern political discourse. People invoking such consideration very frequently are attempting a trap by changing the distribution midsentence.

  69. >People invoking such consideration very frequently are attempting a trap by changing the distribution midsentence.

    Well put.

  70. Alan, it is us vs. them. “We” are folks who just want to live our lives, unencumbered by the grievances drummed up by people who prefer to play the victim instead of taking responsibility for their own lives. “They” are the ones who use every sleazy, dishonest, emotional trick in the book to blame people like me for their own problems.

    Speaking purely for myself, I’ve had far too much of it. I’ve been conditioned by all the abuse straight white men have taken (and I’ll note here that that makes assumptions about me that may or may not be true) to assume that every complaint of victimhood caused by anything i did not, myself, personally and directly do to another is just a way of foisting yet another kafkatrap on me.

    Fuck that noise. If I hurt you personally, then I’l fix it. If I “hurt” you by just existing, fuck you. Take your outrage and your “microaggressions” and your victimhood and your complaints about nonexistent “rape culture” and your demands that I conform to your SJW expectations and shove them up your ass sideways with a broken beer bottle soaked in ghost pepper salsa.

  71. @Christopher Smith
    > The problem is that you have a hidden undistributed term here. I’ll agree with the claim that always disregarding people’s feelings is a bad thing

    Better put than I was going to try – but yeah, that hidden change of scopes at both ends bugged me.

  72. > Fuck that noise. If I hurt you personally, then I’l fix it. If I “hurt” you by just existing, fuck you.
    > Take your outrage and your “microaggressions” and your victimhood and your complaints
    > about nonexistent “rape culture” and your demands that I conform to your SJW
    > expectations and shove them up your ass sideways with a broken beer bottle soaked
    > in ghost pepper salsa.

    THIS!

    And lemme twist that bottle a bit for added joy…..

  73. And, dragging this bodily back somewhere in the neighborhood of the original topic…

    The inside front cover of the Penguicon con book was a full page on consent and “consent culture”. They said that “if your actions change the experience of another, you must ask for consent”. They also had nice big posters with the same content posted up all over the fucking hotel. Talk about political correctness run rampant!

    To head off the inevitable SJW misdirection: No, I am NOT arguing against consent as a basis for social interaction.

    What I am arguing against is the whole idea that there needs to be a “consent culture” and the implicit opposition to “rape culture” or “sexual harassment culture’ or some such bullshit. I mean, people…it’s basic fucking courtesy to ask someone before you kiss them! (Or obtain consent in some other way.)

    The whole business had me quite depressed about the con I consider my home in fandom, though that improved as the weekend passed.

  74. >“if your actions change the experience of another, you must ask for consent”

    Hell – whether or not I stay in my room at a con would change the experience of other people at the con…

  75. @esr
    “And as long as I keep hearing that sexism is a pervasive problem in the open source world and we must Do Something, and I don’t believe that’s true, I’ll keep right on doing the same. ”

    But you are not just denying sexism, you are denying online bullying/harassment of women. If you had written that women are not more likely to be bullied/harassed/discriminated than men, then that could be very well be very true. It is very likely that everyone is targeted at their weak spots, which for many women could mean they are attacked for being women.

    But instead, you stick to a sorry defense of redefining the problem to “discrimination against women hackers in open source”. Which was not the problem presented by Randi Harper et al.

    @esr
    “She didn’t have to. She uses the handle FreeBSDGirl. That’s a rebuttable presumption, there.”

    You simply do not listen to what she has to say. This handle is very old and has nothing at all to do with her current work on harassment.

    @esr
    “Furthermore, claims of “doxing, swating, slander, stalking, (rape&death) threats and being flooded by hatemails and hate comments” do not in general seem to hold up very well under close examination.”

    Doxing, slander and the floods of hatemails and hate comments are pretty public. Randi Harper developed a public block list to handle them in Twitter. That is how public these hate comments are. You read above she can document the swating.

    If, instead of trying to whitewash the Open Source community from discriminating women would listen to the problems of online bullying, you would be able to make a credible defense. Now it just looks like you are looking the other way.

    Btw, swating attempts are more than a myth, although I have no idea how successful they are.
    https://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/03/the-world-has-no-room-for-cowards/

  76. >But instead, you stick to a sorry defense of redefining the problem to “discrimination against women hackers in open source”. Which was not the problem presented by Randi Harper et al.

    I was responding to the claim I think I heard being mode. Jeff Read began with “the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code”, and Randi Harper then seemed to be doubling down on that.

    Online bullying is a different topic; I was not writing about it, nor trying to address it. Other people may wish to conflate it with pervasive sexism in the open-source world, but that is an error in their thinking rather than in mine.

  77. @esr
    “I was responding to the claim I think I heard being mode. Jeff Read began with “the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code”, and Randi Harper then seemed to be doubling down on that.”

    Jeff was indeed trying to single out OSS as a hotbed of discrimination and bullying. Which is ridiculous.

    As for Randi Harper, she was rather general reacting against the online accusations dragged up against her by Jeff (which btw, made her point). Her other points were about online bullying of women (in general).

    Later on she wrote that “… and why the open source community should be concerned.” That is rather general and I interpreted it as saying that the Open Source community, like any other community, should be concerned about the ill-treatment of some of its members. That does not seem to controversial to me.

    Obviously, you read that remark as an accusation that the Open Source community is the (sole) culprit. I cannot read the mind of Ms Harper about what she meant, but that was not how I understood it.

  78. >Obviously, you read that remark as an accusation that the Open Source community is the (sole) culprit. I cannot read the mind of Ms Harper about what she meant, but that was not how I understood it.

    Hm. Neither of them was being very clear. I see that I may have misinterpreted what was going on.

    I will point out, however, that Randi Harper began with “Says no woman in code ever” and exited the stage muttering about me feeding her quotes to use at OSCON, which is an open-source conference. This sounds to me like she intends to make accusations against the culture of open-source developers. I would be happy to be wrong about this.

  79. @esr
    “This sounds to me like she intends to make accusations against the culture of open-source developers. I would be happy to be wrong about this.”

    I could be wrong too.

    I do not know Ms Harper personally and would give her the benefit of the doubt here.

  80. But instead, you stick to a sorry defense of redefining the problem to “discrimination against women hackers in open source”. Which was not the problem presented by Randi Harper et al.

    The GamerGate thing is all about the idea that female developers are being singled out for harassment because they are female. Randi speaks at open source cons about “the problem”. So yes, we are talking about female hackers being intimidated out of coding. You can plug it in to a broader pattern of general online bullying and harassment, but speaking about the broader pattern would merit, I think, a different venue than OSCON.

    And just to make things pellucidly clear about what I was discussing, as Eric said I wasn’t so clear before: I was talking about efforts by groups like the Ada Initiative to encourage more women to join open source, to end harassment within the open-source and hacking communities, and to make those communities more civilized places to be. You brought Randi Harper into it, and she seems to be trying to tie in issues like GamerGate with the problem in the open source community, which may not have as much merit as she thinks.

    Within open source, the kind of harassment that goes on normally doesn’t descend into troglodytic deeds like SWATting. It’s much more low key but still there; things like inappropriate remarks and touching on female hackers at open source cons, inappropriate slideshows during presentations, etc. That’s what prompted the Ada Initiative’s yellow and red card things. There was a thing a few years ago called “open source boobs” or something like that. It was a campaign to come up with a badge that women could wear that would indicate they were willing to let strangers touch their breasts or butt (the stranger had to ask first). It caused a furore amongst geek feminists.

    So that’s what I was talking about. I wasn’t even getting into the SWATting, death threats, or other Gator nonsense. Eric was right; that’s really Not A Factor in the open source community; and if it were we’d be hearing no end of hell from him about it. The fact that it’s a problem in the gaming community alarms me; but gaming is much, much bigger now than it was when I was young — and in those days, Something Awful and Portal of Evil were about as bad as it got.

    Doxing, slander and the floods of hatemails and hate comments are pretty public. Randi Harper developed a public block list to handle them in Twitter. That is how public these hate comments are. You read above she can document the swating.

    What she developed was a bot that flagged you as a likely shitlord and blocked you if you followed, or were followed by, too many of the “wrong” Twitter feeds. That’s something a bit stronger than a blocklist meant to deal with harassment; it is meant to make it easy to squelch people who are thought to hold certain opinions. It has had considerable splash damage; though it was intended for the IGDA, several members found themselves blocked by the tool. It also blocked the twitter feed of the KFC restaurant chain — not because KFC was involved in harassment, but simply because a large number of GamerGate-affiliated people love them some fried chicken.

  81. >I will point out, however, that Randi Harper began with “Says no woman in code ever”

    This is not the case. That was abadidea.

    >The facts of my observation are stubborn things

    They are not.

  82. “It also blocked the twitter feed of the KFC restaurant chain — not because KFC was involved in harassment, but simply because a large number of GamerGate-affiliated people love them some fried chicken.”

    Meh. Give me Popeye’s.

  83. >What she developed was a bot that flagged you as a likely shitlord and blocked you if you followed, or were followed by, too many of the “wrong” Twitter feeds.

    Wait, the criterion is that you follow two or more of a list of seven GG figureheads/figurehead sites. It has nothing to do with who follows you. Blocking people based on who they were followed by would certainly be getting into questionable territory, but it would also be really easy to manipulate.

    I realize that esr is the only one who has expressed this “No evidence from someone else can overturn my experience of almost forty years of close analytical observation. Yes, I do have a strong preexisting opinion and I realize that for most people that can be a serious source of bias, but my observations just happen to be much more objective than that of any other human being. Galileo? Pah. I would have asked my friends whether heavy objects fall faster than light ones, and I would have been right. Yes, I did seriously misremember many of the events of the written conversation that we are now having*. But those are the only two failures of objectivity I have ever had in the past forty years” position, but, well, just in case you also have a very high standard of proof for people other than yourself, here is the code for the blocker and the list of seven Twitter accounts.

    https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/blob/master/ggautoblocker.pl
    https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/blob/master/sourcelist.txt

    See lines 158-162, 177-190 and 200-211 for the actual elaborate and sophisticated algorithm.

    The fact that the cutoff is two if $debug and one if !$debug is pretty weird, but $debug = 1 at the top, I guess.

    *: Okay, so you remember that esr seems to have either decided abadidea was Randi Harper to start with or forgotten the difference at some point. But there’s more than that: his argument that anti-sexists make evidence-free claims is based on the fact that someone who was no longer in the thread failed to give followup evidence he didn’t ask for in support of something (deep breath) they hadn’t said in the first place!

    He wrote “I asked Randi Harper [again, this was actually abadidea] whether she knew of any instances in which a patch submission had been refused because of the submitter being female. She didn’t answer.”

    Unless this happened somewhere else, he did not ask that; he asked whether she was “in fact claiming that someone demanded to know the shape of your genitals before accepting a patch.” And that, of course, was not something abadidea had said at all. She disagreed with esr’s position that no kind of discrimination against women in tech was occurring, giving examples. She didn’t say all kinds of discrimination were occurring.

    (By the way, a tip: I’m procrastinating but I really am theoretically very busy right now and probably shouldn’t come back and look at this thread for a couple days. This would be an excellent opportunity to pose some hard-hitting questions to me, wait a little, and announce that my silence means I am unable to answer them and the weakness of the anti-sexism position has been proven forever. In fact, why bother waiting, just do it in the same post. I’m sure the people who disagree with you will disagree anyway, and the people who agree with you will make the appropriate allowances.)

  84. > Right you are. But this makes one of the most prevalent claims of sexism harder to believe, not easier. I asked Randi Harper whether she knew of any instances in which a patch submission had been refused because of the submitter being female. She didn’t answer. Now you’re pointing out that project leads can make a reliable guess about this.

    I don’t think that patch submissions being refused is a good way to measure that. Sexism doesn’t mean that you find women – or their achievements – negative.

    It means caring less about them as people, which also, by the way, does not contradict desiring them sexually.

    So, what you don’t get is “you can’t submit a patch because you’re female”, what you get instead is some (perhaps more subtle variation) of “Hey, you submitted a patch, so we are both human beings who hack, and by the way, our genitals seem to be compatible, wanna fuck?”.

  85. @John D. Bell

    > Hurt feelings don’t count – can’t count

    This is a tad bit more complicated by this – stuff like etiquette or politeness were invented partially because feelings count. (And partially to avoid brutal revenges, obviously.) For example, the part of the definition of friendship is pretty much the people whose company gives us mutual good feelings. And there are things like professional politeness. No, I think the root issue lies elsewhere.

    I think the root issue is that there supposed to be something like a social agreement on feelings: hence my hinting at things like etiquette. Etiquette is practically drawing a line, any behavior outside the line is considered wrong because too hurtful, and – here comes the trick! – any behavior inside the line considered accepted and thus if people still feel hurt by it, they are supposed to either try to modify their feelings or at least not express them. So the basic idea of etiquette would be an agreement to modify, essentially, both behavior and feelings, a mutual effort of both trying to not give offense AND not take offense.

    So I think the issue here is not so much claiming that feelings count, but rather instead of trying form such a social agreement it is more like unilaterally declaring that everything that anyone could ever possible consider offensive is wrong. It is plain simply anti-social, that is the core issue.

  86. @Jeff

    I am not at all sure about what I am going to write now, but a hypothesis: there is something truly unusual with GamerGate. I started paying attention I figure a few weeks after it started and it spiralled into many, many different things, with hardly seeing anything in common with them. A Fully General Bandwagon people jumped on and pushed various issues or enganged in various activities. It was very confusing, I could not see the outlines of what is GG and what is not and what it is “really” about. (In this sense perhaps similar to Occupy Wall Street, another Fully General Bandwagon, originally started because of corruption and then basically it was about everything, everybody pushing their pet agenda.)

    My hypothesis: is this simply what happens when people use Twitter and Tumblr? A social behavior determined by the technology of the platform itself? (Such as: having to cut down ideas into simplified, often demagogic soundbites (Twitter), or being unable to answer to a post without reblogging and thus advertising it (Tumblr) )

  87. > There was a thing a few years ago called “open source boobs” or something like that. It was a campaign to come up with a badge that women could wear that would indicate they were willing to let strangers touch their breasts or butt (the stranger had to ask first). It caused a furore amongst geek feminists.

    This is bad. But I don’t think the best approach is to characterize it as sexism or a “feminist issue”.

    My first impressions are:

    1) It is puerile, immature, infantile, it is like the sort of ideas we came up with at 13 years old when bored during music class at school

    2) it is a weirdly full admittance of the embarrassing stereotype that geeks are unsuccesful at womanizing (nobody who actually gets some would come up with an idea like this)

    Relevant: the term “creep” and “creepy” which I have learned only recently. I am very, very unfamiliar with the idea of geeks being proud of, not embarrassed off, not trying to hide and not trying to improve their typical fault of being really unsuccesful at womanizing.

    If and when men internalize, accept and become kind of proud of the fact they are highly unsuccesful at womanizing, if it becomes part of their identity, *this is how a “creep” is born* ? E.g. “creepshots”. Something only done by men who fully accepted they will never have a partner.

    But if my hypothesis is right, the core problem is not a sexism problem, it is a mere derivative of a perhaps pervasive “being really unsuccesful with women AND accepting this and not trying to improve this” problem. I.e. objectification as not an inherent attitude but a sour-grapes reaction to unsuccesful attempts to start romances, a certain dehumanization of other people after and only after one accepts they will be forever out of one’s reach.

    If this is correct, this is not a sexism problem or feminism problem, the root problem is their lack of relationship success, which drives the objectification urge.

  88. @Shenpen
    “> There was a thing a few years ago called “open source boobs” or something like that. It was a campaign to come up with a badge that women could wear that would indicate they were willing to let strangers touch their breasts or butt (the stranger had to ask first). It caused a furore amongst geek feminists.

    This is bad. But I don’t think the best approach is to characterize it as sexism or a “feminist issue”.”

    A variant of this is “men” asking women they never have seen before at cons to bare their breasts during the conference hours. This complaint seems to crop up time and again.

    I never tried to even mention this kind of thing to women in my environment. They would think I had become insane.

    Imagine doing something like this as a customer at a convenience store or Walmart. Then time how long it takes before you are thrown out.

    This “etiquette” they are drawing up for cons are hardly covering what is considered acceptable in a random super market. I cannot see how these rules are considered controversial. Still, they seem to be controversial.

  89. @Winter

    Comics cons are a good example, I think they support my hypothesis. Normally people stop being interested in comics at around puberty. They are child stuff. I liked Spiderman up to 12 or 13 or so. But some guys go on into adulthood, they are the very same uber-nerdy guys who are incredibly bad at attracting women, and the causality is probably both ways, a lingering infantilism is part of their low attractiveness, while the comics and similar hobbies provide escape from a harshly lonely reality. The comics books authors, knowing their extremely “thirsty” audience, put very very sexualized female superheroines in the comics. Then people go on a con, naturally women who cosplay, cosplay these very very sexualized heroines, the extremely “thirsty” guys feel very aroused and then all the drama begins.

    The point is, the root cause, the root problem is these guys being too unsuccesful. “Involuntary celibacy”. And then digging deeper, why it is that so, what traits are unattractive etc.

    The problem with seeing this as a feminist issue or sexism is simply ignoring the root cause, ignoring the problems of these guys, and merely focusing on the aspects of the problem that affect women. So it is a bit one-sided.

    Funny thing is it does not follow the usual lefty logic. Like how the social cause of crime is poverty. Here, a similar logic would work, a social cause of these kinds of weird objectification is some guys being forever celibate and extremely bad at getting some.

    And it is not just being bad at it. Gosh, I know I used to be bad at it too. The difference is more like accepting it, giving it up, not trying to learn to get the hang of womanizing anymore. I think that is how “creeps” are made. When you no longer care about whether your approach is taken positively or not because you are sure it never will.

  90. >So, what you don’t get is “you can’t submit a patch because you’re female”, what you get instead is some (perhaps more subtle variation) of “Hey, you submitted a patch, so we are both human beings who hack, and by the way, our genitals seem to be compatible, wanna fuck?”.

    Riiiiight. I have never seen this on any communication channel associated with any open-source project ever, so obviously it’s a huge and constant problem about which we must all obsess.

    I’m sure this does this happen in FTF settings occasionally, but humans have been behaving this way anywhere their pheromones mixed for approximately two million years and identifying it as a hacker-culture problem or a “women in tech” problem is just silly shit. Grandstanding. Unbelievably dimwitted.

    There is certainly a conversation to be had about how we teach adolescent boys and young men not to turn into boorish dicks when their hormones kick in, but it’s a human conversation, not anything specific to any subcultural group.

  91. @esr
    “I’m sure this does this happen in FTF settings occasionally, but humans have been behaving this way anywhere their pheromones mixed for approximately two million years and identifying it as a hacker-culture problem or a “women in tech” problem is just silly shit. Grandstanding. Unbelievably dimwitted.”

    I must admit when I first heard of these behaviors at cons, I could not believe it.

    Behaviors like this (and much worse) have been a problem in every (heterosexual) male exclusive group I heard of that was colonized by females (military, construction, doctors, you name it).

    However, history shows that this behavioral problem has to be recognized and repaired in every group where it raises its head. Just looking away will not end this behavior. But it is very effective at chasing away women.

  92. However, history shows that this behavioral problem has to be recognized and repaired in every group where it raises its head. Just looking away will not end this behavior. But it is very effective at chasing away women.

    And the way to fix it is to establish and enforce new, respectful norms of behavior and make a point of shunning and shaming those who do not follow the new norms.

    Which is precisely what the Ada Initiative, et al. are doing. They’re not out to destroy “muh hacking community”. They’re making that community more civilized, more inclusive, and stronger as a result.

    We need a term for people who advocate and work toward a community where women are as welcome to contribute, and be free of harassment, sexual or otherwise, as men are. Since females are primarily negatively affected, we can call such people female-ists… wait, that’s too awkward… female… fem… feminine… femin…. ists?

  93. >Since females are primarily negatively affected, we can call such people female-ists… wait, that’s too awkward… female… fem… feminine… femin…. ists?

    Which would be fine, if the term “feminist” weren’t already taken by people arguing for nonsense like female-participation quotas in open-source projects. (Yes, my jaw dropped open.)

    There’s a huge example of what the Slate Star Codex crowd calls a “motte-and-bailey” problem here. Objecting to women being groped at conferences is just insisting on civilized behavior by hacker and non-hacker standards alike; yelling that “You must have grrlz on your project or you are teh SEXIST SHITLORD!” is a “correction” worse than the original problem.

    Me, what I want is to continue not to have to care about the sex of the person I’m thinking about giving commit privileges to. The soi-disant “feminists” are, ironically, trying to force me not to be gender-blind. That makes them the enemy of impartiality, not me.

  94. @Jeff
    “Which is precisely what the Ada Initiative, et al. are doing.”

    And that is why I support initiatives that draw up civilized rules of conduct.

    @Jeff
    “Since females are primarily negatively affected, we can call such people female-ists… wait, that’s too awkward… female… fem… feminine… femin…. ists?”

    And I do support feminism. So, what is your point?

  95. Winter,

    I wasn’t really addressing you. More like adding to your comment. :)

  96. @shenpen –

    > > Hurt feelings don’t count – can’t count

    > This is a tad bit more complicated by this

    Yes, I was being too terse. For obvious reasons, the feelings of my wife count a lot for me. Eric’s feelings towards me count quite a bit. Your feelings towards me (as much as you have expressed them on this blog) count a non-zero amount. Each of these is in proportion to the level of emotional commitment I have made towards that other person.

    What I was objecting to is the assumption (or demand) by some random stranger that their feelings about my behavior (or worse, my unalterable qualities, like being older, male, and Caucasian) should somehow weigh into my moral calculus.

    > So I think the issue here is not so much claiming that feelings count, but rather instead
    > of trying form such a social agreement it is more like unilaterally declaring that
    > everything that anyone could ever possible consider offensive is wrong. It is plain
    > simply anti-social, that is the core issue.

    Exactly. To quote our gracious host – “Fuck That Noise!”

  97. My experience in a highly paid IT community is that women were and are and always will be treated with the highest perfect professional honor, dignity and equal as peers to men because it’s all about the money and the product; there is no systemic,structural or descriptive room in high pressure, highly professional and highly monetized organizations. As you move down the pressure ladder toward places where it’s not about the money, professionalism or pressure so much, then things get messy. When your life, your profession, your money and your success are on the line, other things like color (ANY kind of color) have no meaning and are utterly trivial. Parents basements are about as low pressure as you can get, suffocatingly low.

  98. Dang – intended to conclude on “On the other hand, parents basements are about as low pressure as you can get, suffocatingly low. And I would suggest that ESR’s peers and community are not anywhere near the ‘parents basement’ category”.

  99. @esr
    > The female hackers I know all have common factor X that makes them immune to or oblivious about sexist prejudice

    I don’t have *facts* to offer, just one woman’s POV. In my near-30 years working in tech (programming, mostly), I believe I WAS “immune to or oblivious about sexist prejudice” for most of it. I was skeptical of claims that denied my own experience in which I never — not once — perceived even a hint of sexism. I believed that my own experience was a valid representation of others because it included working across a wide range of industry domains, a wide range of company sizes (from 3 people start-ups to the thousands at Sun), and across two states. If it was happening, surely I’d have at least *noticed* it if not experienced it myself…

    But eventually I learned that *my* personal [X] included two things that indeed made me “immune or oblivious”:

    1. on the spectrum — I never noticed sexism because I’m typically incapable of perceiving all but the most aggressively obvious hostility. This isn’t specific to tech or work in general, of course, it’s how I am in virtually every context in which there are other people. i.e. life. And even when I do, I always assume “asshole”, not “sexist.” Subtle slights fly right over my head in a thousand different scenarios, and whenever someone would say, “how could you let him/them treat you like that?” I’d laugh and tell them they’re imagining it, over-sensitive, whatever.

    That may be a possible explanation for why I, too, wrote articles expressing skepticism on claims of a sexist, “unwelcoming” tech environment. I believe being on the spectrum was largely responsible for why I was drawn to programming: the computer would not judge me based on social norms, my looks, etc. It was possible to parse code in an objective, logical, accurate way that I could never hope to have when parsing social interactions and even a one-line email. A blog post I wrote pushing back against claims about sexism in tech centered around this line, “the compiler doesn’t care if the person writing the code is wearing a black lace bra.” How could anything be *more* gender-blind than a computer?

    [side-note: some of the first online harassment I ever received was not *sexist* but rather attacking me for insisting there WAS no sexism in tech. My first significant “haters” were from my claiming that describing tech as “unwelcoming” to women was both demeaning to women and discouraging others from entering the field. I still believe the part about being demeaning and discouraging, though I no longer believe there’s not a massive problem with sexism in tech today.]

    2. I was always clear and certain about my abilities as a programmer and I was never more than mediocre. It is this second attribute [X] that changed my long-standing skepticism around the whole “tech can be hostile to women”. I was dragged to a meeting I dreaded to listen to yet another group of women programmers “whine” about what I was certain were overblown claims of tech sexism. But then it hit me: in this particular meeting were some of the best and smartest programmers in the industry, period. These weren’t just “women”, these were the brilliant, talented, deeply-respected women programmers and engineers. Their ability and accomplishments were well-known. I was the certainly the least capable programmer in that room. And that’s when I realized that THEIR experiences of sexism could not be explained away as mine could. Whenever *I* was passed over for a promotion, my work dismissed, my ideas devalued, etc. I had no reason to assume it could be in any way impacted by my gender. I always assumed — and was likely always correct — that it was because my work was simply Not That Awesome. And I was OK with that. It was *FAIR*. But the women sitting in this meeting — the ones I had an hour earlier described as “whiners” — these women had objective evidence that their work and capabilities were high-quality. When THEIR work was dismissed, they didn’t have the luxury I did of assuming it was because the work wasn’t All That.

    So, the “common factor [X]” for women programmers that don’t perceive sexism in the field *might* be something like my #1: on the spectrum. We don’t see/hear/feel it unless it escalates into something like, oh, repeated rape/death threats. (And isn’t there some evidence that programming attracts a higher percentage of those on the spectrum than many other fields — including other STEM domains?)

    And for perhaps *a few* of the women programmers you have observed, they may also share my #2 factor: a lack of certainty that their work IS superior, and therefore it never occurs to them that perceived or real sexism is responsible for at least some of the reactions to their work/jobs. I’m not suggesting their work is anything LESS than superior, only that they might not recognize this. (And isn’t there some evidence that women and men typically DO differ in how they self-assess their own capabilities?)

    I don’t have stats, so these aren’t claims just questions:

    1. Is it possible that some of the women programmers you’ve observed are, like me, on the spectrum? If so, that could be a reason they haven’t perceived sexism in the way other “neurotypicals” might. This may also explain why some *men* don’t perceive sexism as they, too, might be somewhere on the spectrum in a way that restricts their ability to parse language and social situations in the way that others might. I believe a part of the “gaslighting” many women experience is not a malicious attempt by men to discredit their experience but simply the case of men genuinely examining a joke/presentation/claim/scenario and not reading any implicit message that propagates a damaging stereotype. In other words, men (and women) that parse the exact words, logically, and honestly can’t see how those words could be offensive or damaging. I am guilty of this. (Personally, I can experience fear, horror, threats, etc., but I don’t understand even the WORD “offensive” let alone what it feels like to experience it. I consider that a spectrum gift.)

    2. Is it possible that some of the women programmers you’ve observed have the attribute that (allegedly) women have more than men– if not full-blown imposter syndrome, then a “rounding down” when estimating their own skill and ability and talent? If so, then these women might mistake unconscious bias (or even overt sexism) against them or their work as just… reality.

    For all I know I’m the only person for whom these two factors contributed to my decades-long dislike for “tech feminism”. But to quote Alan Kay, “Point of view is worth 80 IQ points” and when I shifted my POV, I rewound the tape of all those years and realized just how much I had either failed to see at the time, or had misattributed to my own feelings of inadequacy as a programmer.

    Finally, I let go of my mantra, “The Compiler doesn’t care if the programmer wears a lace bra” for the simple reason that The Compiler exists *in a context*. And even if The Compiler doesn’t care, the Context in which anyone comes to be writing code sure as hell DOES care. And it is the Context, not the compiler, where even the most subtle subconscious bias plays a powerful role. Unless you have grown up in a world where you — and THOSE AROUND YOU — have never been exposed to, say, any media at all… you cannot claim that you or those around you are “objective”. Daniel Kahneman earned a Nobel prize for taking a deep look at behavioral economics. If nothing else, he has proven to us that subconscious bias impacts our choices and perceptions in ways we are, well, NOT CONSCIOUS OF, and even when conscious of, STILL can’t fully control. And Kahneman’s research shows that this blindness happens regardless of IQ and, in many cases, happens even when we’re aware of the mechanisms by which it’s happening. I think of subconscious bias in the way that many optical illusions still fool the brain even when we KNOW how they work. Some of Kahneman’s work has shown that simply being aware of our potential bias and how it can drive our behavior does not implicitly make us immune to that bias. And in this regard, men and women have grown up with drastically different experiences. Every film, every children’s television show, every television advertisement, every click-bait headline around celebrities (or you-won’t-believe-how-she-got-her-skin/boobs/weight/hair/clothes-to-do-this!) sends a deep and powerful message, bypassing any security access controls we think we have on our own brain. You can’t even stand at a grocery store checkout line without heavy exposure to the messages in the magazines sitting next to the checkout. We can tell ourselves a story that we’re *better* than that, but it doesn’t make it true. Most of what brains do is above our security clearance, and Madison ave., politicians, behavioral-econ gamification start-ups, etc. spend billions of dollars trying to figure out how to exploit that. None of us are immune. Intelligence does not protect us from subconscious bias. Logical, rational, “un-emotional” thinking does not protect us from subconscious bias (in part because the logic vs. emotion thing is itself a logical fallacy).

    If we are to have compassion, I hope it is compassion for the fact that we are all humans.

    At least that’s how I think of it now. I have no idea if I’m even a *tiny* bit right.

  100. >And I would suggest that ESR’s peers and community are not anywhere near the ‘parents basement’ category”.

    Hmmmm…I’m having a new thought…going to try to develop it a little…

    I think you might be on to something here. I and the open-source hackers I work with laugh at the parent’s-basement stereotypes, or sometimes lampshade them in a very ironic way, because that’s not us. We may at our worst be be semi-autistic and socially inept, but we at least have our shit together enough to write code that will pass review by other hackers. Some of us may be stuck in bad places, very young, or not yet come into our full abilities, but we’re not helpless, we don’t have to feel like losers – we have ways to affect the world that aren’t just flaming and griefing. We have traction.

    Here’s a possibility then: my near-field experience – and the open-source hacker culture in general – has its share of socially dysfunctional people, but there’s a competence filter in action that selects for ability to sustain cooperative behavior and actually get something done. Farther away, selected out, you get people whose rage is in proportion to their helplessness.

    Yeah, the more I think about this the more it makes sense. Over here, near me, people who have something to do. Not the most pro-social crowd in the world, but the work creates an implicit community for them, and at least some sense of empowerment. Over there, near 4chan, endless rage because rage is all they have. It becomes a habit.

    No prize for guessing how this difference is going to affect behavior towards vulnerable-looking outsiders, including women, who wander into the social setting. Hackers have the option, and the community norm, that they should react by saying “show me the code”. The basement-dwellers don’t have that. All they have is “poke it and see if it twitches.”

    Thanks. I think I learned something important today. This helps me understand why my near-field experience looks the way it does. It also suggests a strategy for addressing the rageboy problem – find something they can do. What it is may not matter so much as long as it gives them some sense of an efficacy and a stake in some community that will moderate antisocial behavior, including antisocial behavior towards women.

  101. Kathy Sierra, if you’re who I think you are, I’m very glad you showed up for this conversation. Given your history I think your views merit very careful and respectful attention.

    >1. Is it possible that some of the women programmers you’ve observed are, like me, on the spectrum?

    Very much so. I’d go so far as to say that, insofar as I can observe a gradient in their attitude about claims of pervasive sexism, it correlates with autistic tendencies in the way your model predicts. That is, those women most likely to dismiss the whole issue are the most autistic; the one most likely to say “I’m not affected, but I believe other women are” are the more neurotypical ones.

    As a public example of the former I give self-described autist Meredith Patterson, who’s written about this issue and who I count as a friend despite the fact that we have yet to meet FTF.

    Thus far I think we can say my experience at least weakly supports your model. But:

    >2. Is it possible that some of the women programmers you’ve observed have the attribute that (allegedly) women have more than men– if not full-blown imposter syndrome, then a “rounding down” when estimating their own skill and ability and talent?

    I am much more skeptical about this. One of the examples in my mind is a woman I’ve known since she was 12 years old, now in her late 30s and a star player in machine learning and robotics. Her parents were AI researchers and she grew up around, well, me. In fact, the very first time I articulated the ideas that became The Cathedral and the Bazaar was in her parents’ living room (they’ve occasionally joked about having a bronze plaque installed) and she critiqued them. Intelligently. She’d have been about 20 then. Everything in her life – her IQ, her family background, her early friendships – could have been designed to optimize her confidence.

    A female geek less likely to suffer from impostor syndrome would be difficult to find. And yet, she’s one of my examples of skepticism about the pervasive-sexism thing. I think she might well nod in agreement at the recent study showing a pervasive pro-female bias in STEM hiring – I think she might even be willing to admit she has benefited from it, an admission she can make precisely because she doesn’t need anyone’s bias to be recognized as the best.

    None of my other examples are that extreme, but I don’t see most of them as candidates for impostor syndrome either. (Curiously, the one exception – the female-hacker face that leapt into my mind when I read “impostor syndrome” – is also the one with the most obvious markers for high-functioning autism. She used to be a kernel developer for HP.)

    >Some of Kahneman’s work has shown that simply being aware of our potential bias and how it can drive our behavior does not implicitly make us immune to that bias.

    I’m familiar with that work. But here’s a reason for optimism: behavioral econ also tells us that unconscious cognitive biases are most a problem when (a) the stakes are low, and (b) we’re making snap judgments rather than engaging in deliberative thinking. Recent work agrees with Kahneman within the limits of his protocols but suggests that biased behavior is actually elicited by the artificial conditions of the laboratory and that real-world behavior merits a less gloomy assessment.

    I think the right thing here is not to counsel despair but to look for ways that we can incentivize people to be as rational as they can – in particular, to make fewer decisions in a snap-judgment, system-1 mode.

    Finally, let me personally encourage you to hang out on A&D more. Everything I know about you from a distance suggests you would be welcome and a valuable commenter here.

  102. >Yeah, the more I think about this the more it makes sense. Over here, near me, people who have something to do. Not the most pro-social crowd in the world, but the work creates an implicit community for them, and at least some sense of empowerment. Over there, near 4chan, endless rage because rage is all they have. It becomes a habit.

    I have yet to see a situation where the {productive ^ non productive} dichotomy doesn’t hold. Unless someone wants to try to make the argument that SJWs produce anything of value… any takers…?

    >It also suggests a strategy for addressing the rageboy problem – find something they can do. What it is may not matter so much as long as it gives them some sense of an efficacy and a stake in some community that will moderate antisocial behavior, including antiscocial behavior towards women.

    I can confirm from experience that this is true, building something – no matter how trivial – will do wonders for a person’s mood and ability to function. Though I have no data to back this up, I’d even argue that building stuff is a better option than antidepressants in many cases, not least because it results in a net increase in wealth: something has been created instead of consumed.

    BTW, I’ve noticed that Jeff Read is demonstrating an unusually high level of sanity, by his standards anyway. This subject should be sending him into full looneytunes mode.

  103. >BTW, I’ve noticed that Jeff Read is demonstrating an unusually high level of sanity, by his standards anyway. This subject should be sending him into full looneytunes mode.

    Heh. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. Has someone put drugs in his water? Or removed them? We may never know…

  104. If and when men internalize, accept and become kind of proud of the fact they are highly unsuccesful at womanizing, if it becomes part of their identity, *this is how a “creep” is born* ? E.g. “creepshots”. Something only done by men who fully accepted they will never have a partner.

    I would say they are done by men who fetishize the act of “creeping”, because the taboo-ness of it all and the possibility of getting caught makes it more exciting. Simple pride in their outsider status may be a contributing factor, but I’m certain it’s not the whole story.

    But if my hypothesis is right, the core problem is not a sexism problem, it is a mere derivative of a perhaps pervasive “being really unsuccesful with women AND accepting this and not trying to improve this” problem.

    The standard way of dealing with lack of success with women is to sublimate it somehow, into something like porn addiction or a fetish — including creepshots but also inclusive of things like furry, BDSM, anime girls, etc.

    I’m reminded of a guy named Andy Reyes. He is precisely the sort of pencil-moustached character parodied in The Lonely Island’s video “The Creep”. Yet his affection is SOLELY for female videogame characters such as Princess Peach from the Mario series. As a result, actual girls feel perfectly comfortable around him and come to his apartment, bring him gifts, cook him meals, etc. He has found himself unable to start a relationship, rejected the human sexual dynamic entirely and as a result is deemed safe and approachable by women.

  105. ” That’s my problem, see; the correlation between my ability to check the reporter’s credibility by other means and the extent to which they allege to me that there is a systemic problem is both inverse and strong. ”

    @esr, what projects, of which you are not the maintainer, are you active in?

  106. In particular, are you exclusively active in mature projects with small “project groups”, or are you active in any large popular projects with large surrounding communities consisting of crowds of non-contributing or minimally contributing fans who may _not_ have been selected by any filter for competence, maturity, or ability to work with others?

  107. Yeah, the more I think about this the more it makes sense. Over here, near me, people who have something to do. Not the most pro-social crowd in the world, but the work creates an implicit community for them, and at least some sense of empowerment. Over there, near 4chan, endless rage because rage is all they have. It becomes a habit.

    It would also go a long way toward explaining the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. Millions of commenters who read something offensive on the Internet and are innately barred from facing their opponent in person…

    This said, however: beware confirmation bias. (Could something else explain this rage? Your typical SJW would quickly answer yes: sometimes there is oppression. So we’d still need a way to distinguish these hypotheses.)

  108. BTW, I’ve noticed that Jeff Read is demonstrating an unusually high level of sanity, by his standards anyway. This subject should be sending him into full looneytunes mode.

    I can confirm Eric’s reports from female friends that some of the loudest, meanest, and most strident feminists are cracked out loons who hide behind feminism in order to justify their naked, selfish quest for power, attention, or both. I have a close friend whose mother fits the pattern horrifyingly well and much of his life has been made a living hell because of it. I remain unconvinced that Randi Harper is not such a person; a quick glance at the READMEs and commit comments to her autoblocker utility, or her “debate” with Claire Schumann, should make any person suspect how rational she truly is.

    Such people do feminism and social justice a massive disservice, ON TOP of the emotional and social harm they inflict upon innocents. Opposing them and calling out their BS is a part of my duty as a raving loony lefty with principles to uphold.

  109. >In particular, are you exclusively active in mature projects with small “project groups”, or are you active in any large popular projects with large surrounding communities consisting of crowds of non-contributing or minimally contributing fans who may _not_ have been selected by any filter for competence, maturity, or ability to work with others?

    I think the best answer to your question is “Battle for Wesnoth”. I’m semi-retired now but I spent about six years deeply involved with that project and its large surrounding fan community. So, yeah, I’ve seen what a weakly selected fan group looks like.

    I always had the impression that one was a cut above the usual Internet riffraff, actually.

  110. >This said, however: beware confirmation bias. (Could something else explain this rage? Your typical SJW would quickly answer yes: sometimes there is oppression. So we’d still need a way to distinguish these hypotheses.)

    I’m not sure what the SJW would mean by “oppression” in this case. Can people whose psychology and presentation is driven by their feelings of powerlessness be “oppressors” in SJW-speak? If not, do the rageboys merit sympathy as an oppressed group?

  111. I don’t see why they couldn’t be. Take the quintessential example of a racist organization: the KKK. You don’t think it’s got a sizeable contingent of underskilled, destitute whites who feel threatened by ethnic Africans and Hispanics succeeding economically, and wishing to see the latter’s success as due to unfair subsidization by the state? Wouldn’t such a crowd of unsuccessful poor whites be analogous to the helplessness-ridden parental basement crowd?

    Obviously, SJWs don’t typically target the KKK, but that’s because they don’t have to. They’re after the next tiers up. Those tiers probably don’t feel nearly as threatened by new blood, but I suspect that to the extent that they do, they fit the SJW narrative. So well, in fact, that my confirmation bias flag is again lighting up.

  112. The above was in response to “Can people whose psychology and presentation is driven by their feelings of powerlessness be “oppressors” in SJW-speak?”. As for “If not, do the rageboys merit sympathy as an oppressed group?”, well, I don’t think SJWs think that way. (There’s something I hadn’t thought about before. An SJW seeing group K oppress group L, infer that group K secretly feels hopelessness in the face of L’s legitimate success, and therefore concluding that *K* requires help? Muuuch more likely that the SJW believes that K’s sense of hopelessness is entirely in K’s mind, especially given how much focus I see from SJWs on convincing Ks that they have it a lot better than they think they do.)

  113. >Muuuch more likely that the SJW believes that K’s sense of hopelessness is entirely in K’s mind, especially given how much focus I see from SJWs on convincing Ks that they have it a lot better than they think they do.

    Agreed. And it raises another obvious possibility: that the SJW phenomenon is in part a rageboy (and ragegirl) escape hatch. Got nothing to do? feel powerless? Now you can vent your rage at anyone, provided you use the approved forms of left-wing duckspeak, and get socially rewarded for it.

  114. I’m not sure what the SJW would mean by “oppression” in this case.

    On a tangentially related topic, “oppression” (like “privilege”) is one of those words I think the LW people would instantly identify as needing “tabooing”. I find the LW curricula full of helpful shorthand like that, but it seems like alchemy just before the discovery of the atomic elements. Would you consider a post on a good starting point for GS (first books, in particular) for hacker types with the deductive skills to pass discrete math or maybe theory comp but not a strong background in philosophy generally?

  115. >Would you consider a post on a good starting point for GS (first books, in particular) for hacker types with the deductive skills to pass discrete math or maybe theory comp but not a strong background in philosophy generally?

    GS doesn’t require discrete math or CS. Good intriductions include Samuel Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action and Stuart P. Chase’s The Tyranny of Words.

  116. GS doesn’t require discrete math or CS.

    It wasn’t my impression that it did but rather that there are some shared underlying primitives. Thanks for the recommendations.

  117. @esr
    Thanks for such a thoughtful response. Deeply appreciated. This is a tricky topic for me (pretty sure that yes, I’m *that* Kathy Sierra), in part because I don’t fit neatly into any of the current, polarized buckets.

    > I think the right thing here is not to counsel despair but to look for ways that we can incentivize people to be as rational as they can – in particular, to make fewer decisions in a snap-judgment, system-1 mode.

    Yes, I agree (though I’d not use the word “incentivize”, so much as educate, encourage, enable.)

    The one thing I always thought we valued as programmers was *logic*, and yet logic seems to have gone missing in so many of these discussions. After a many-year absence from online discussions, I returned to a dramatic deterioration in how we were speaking to one another. I DO recall a time when your best friends would call you out for straw men and ad hominem whether directed at a “common enemy” or not. Where you could be a complete asshole but *still* be held to a higher standard for being honest. I recall a time when you couldn’t claim to value logic while putting words in someone’s mouth with sentences like, “So you’re BASICALLY saying…[something they didn’t actually say]” I recall when you couldn’t get way with spinning someone’s words, and you were held to addressing what they *actually* said, not the straw man you find easier to burn. I remember when you couldn’t get away with dismissing someone based on attributes you *assume* them to have simply because you *assume* they’re part of a particular group. (A group that’s also been *assumed* to have specific attributes.)

    I recall a time when your best friends would call you out on your logical fallacies… because that’s what friends do. I recall a time when it was *acceptable* to have a nuanced, subtle, tricky, messy discussion with someone with whom you strongly disagreed, because you understood even if they’re wrong about [X] they aren’t necessarily implicitly wrong about [everything].

    I recall a time when it was OK to look at something a person wrote and regardless of the vitriol or ignorance in which it was wrapped, to think, “well they DID have a point about…” I remember when you wouldn’t be kicked out of your ‘tribe’ for expressing concern about how WE (the “good guys”) were responding to the genuine concerns of those we labeled the “bad guys.”

    Today, though, we’re happy to call out logical fallacies on those we dislike but — and this is the part that matters — look the other way when it’s someone we agree with. Imagine one day — just one single day on Twitter (and blog comments, and forums, etc.) — where you can be as obnoxious, rude, sarcastic as you like but none of the major fallacies allowed. No-Strawman-Saturday. No Ad-hominem-Monday. No-False-Dilemma Friday. I think it might break the internet.

    I’ve always believed that if things [for any value of “things”] are important, or bad enough, or serious enough, etc. then they should be able to stand on their own, not require “upgrading” or spin the event or words into something *else* more likely to evoke a response. I’m guilty of doing that. I’m guilty of allowing others to do it on my behalf, where I *could* have corrected them but just… didn’t. I need to do better, and I need to help my friends do better.

    My wish for all of us is that we help others value finer distinctions. Where we help others to be more precise and honest. Where we quit using straw men and false dilemmas. Where we quit putting words-we-did-not-hear in someone’s mouth or putting motives-we-can’t-possibly-know in their behavior. We’re programmers. This really shouldn’t be too difficult.

    But it does take a few more cognitive resources. Hell of a lot easier to just say “misogynist!” or “feminazi”. It takes no effort at all to write someone off as “sexist!” or “professional victim!” when nuance, subtlety, fine-grained distinctions is just too damn hard. Calling someone a SJW is cognitively cheap. Assuming at least a shred of good faith might exist for those with whom you disagree… that’s cognitively pricey, sure.

    But without that, we’re just teaching the next generation how to be not only an asshole online, but something much worse — that being dishonest, illogical, and manipulative is totally fine as long as you’re in MY tribe.

    I don’t really care if we hold *other* groups to a higher standard. I care a lot that we hold ourselves to a higher standard… a standard of precision that’s baked-in to the heart of our profession. And I don’t mean a standard of “civility” or “kindness”. I mean, well, *exactly* what I said. It’s about logical fallacies, basic accuracy. By all means keep being an asshole, just don’t bullshit.

    I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with (or even like) some of your views, Eric, but I also believe you’re a positive role model for the way we *can* and *should* have discussions with people who don’t share our positions or point of view.

    Thank you.

  118. “The standard way of dealing with lack of success with women is to sublimate it somehow, into something like porn addiction or a fetish — including creepshots but also inclusive of things like furry, BDSM, anime girls, etc.”

    Foo: “BTW, I’ve noticed that Jeff Read is demonstrating an unusually high level of sanity, by his standards anyway. This subject should be sending him into full looneytunes mode.”

    You had to go and ruin it, didn’t you, by awakening the lunatic?

  119. >Yes, I agree (though I’d not use the word “incentivize”, so much as educate, encourage, enable.)

    I used that word because I don’t think education is enough. Having the tools of rational analysis and discourse isn’t good enough if you live inside a system (social context, professional context) that effectively motivates you against using them.

    I think that’s what you are noticing about a deterioration in the quality of discourse – on-line tribalism has eroded some of the incentives people used to feel to apply those tools rather than just yelling “Yay! Boo!” in line with the social consensus around them.

    >you’re a positive role model for the way we *can* and *should* have discussions with people who don’t share our positions or point of view.

    I take that as more of a compliment than having all my views agreed with, actually. Here at A&D I try to maintain high standards of rational discourse. Our record is not perfect but I get a lot of feedback that we’re doing pretty well.

    I think you might also find the rationalist community around Less Wrong and Slate Star Codex congenial. There’s significant overlap between my regulars and theirs.

  120. >Calling someone a SJW is cognitively cheap.

    Yes, if it’s done as a dismissive cheap shot.

    On the other hand…I have an extensional test for “SJW” that you may want to adopt. An SJW is a person whose default response to disagreement is a kafkatrap expressed in terms that are recognizably derived from Marxist rhetoric.

  121. Agreed. And it raises another obvious possibility: that the SJW phenomenon is in part a rageboy (and ragegirl) escape hatch. Got nothing to do? feel powerless? Now you can vent your rage at anyone, provided you use the approved forms of left-wing duckspeak, and get socially rewarded for it.

    It occurred to me that SJWs vs gamergate was not the titanomachean struggle between Good and Evil its participants would like to think they’re engaged in — but rather a slapfight between one small but loud group of trolls and another small but loud group of trolls.

    Sometimes it even turns into Slap Slap Kiss, as with Andrew Auernheimer and Shanley Kane.

  122. @esr
    “A female geek less likely to suffer from impostor syndrome would be difficult to find.”

    The imposter syndrome is not correlated with actual merrit.

    Many (most?) people have doubts they deserve the applause they get or their position in life in general. This can be found in the most brilliant and successful people.

    There are also the obvious counterparts who are convinced the world owes them much more than they receive. We can hypothesize in which camp we are most likely to find such people.

  123. @Kathy

    Welcome! After the SJW/Sad Puppy arguments of the previous threads it is nice to have a new person who is logical, not Certain Of Everything, and doesn’t sound like a concern troll.

    It occurred to me that SJWs vs gamergate was not the titanomachean struggle between Good and Evil its participants would like to think they’re engaged in — but rather a slapfight between one small but loud group of trolls and another small but loud group of trolls.

    /me scrapes his jaw off the floor

    @ESR

    Drugs in the water? Nah. Either the long form troll is ending, or someone is impersonating him, again.

  124. >The imposter syndrome is not correlated with actual merrit.

    I know. That’s why I phrased part of my description the way I did: “Everything in her life – her IQ, her family background, her early friendships – could have been designed to optimize her confidence.”

    I’ve known the woman for, at this point, 28 years. Not once has she shown even a smidgen of impostor syndrome. If she revealed it now I would be more surprised than if she got a sex change and joined the French Foreign Legion.

  125. /me scrapes his jaw off the floor

    Don’t get me wrong, one group of trolls was resorting to threats, doxing and SWATting, and that makes them the bigger assholes. But the SJWs’ house is not entirely clean, and I think if you were to scratch some of the more forceful voices in that community, what you would find underneath the surface would concern right-thinking people.

    I know, I know, “victim blaming!” If that is the phrase that leaps to your mind, stop and think for a second. I’m not saying that bad things done to Anita, Zoe, et al. are not bad, or are their own fault. But resorting to slogans like “victim blaming!” is what Eric calls a thought stopping technique — worst of all it stops thoughts on your side and allows you to believe that you are all innocent doves being oppressed by the purely evil Other Guys who do this for no reason, an attitude which may harm your cause more than help.

  126. @ESR

    Hackers vs. basement-dwellers: when I first read The Jargon File (was my first exposure to hacker culture) I was completely astonished that it reflects a culture of objectivity, politeness, and generally very grown-up behavior. Perhaps the most surprising part was using ones actual name, not “leet” handles.

    Formerly, I was familiar with another kind of creative, playful and non job oriented (so in this sense similar) programming subculture, the Demoscene, which is completely 100% the opposite, people use a flashy handle like Magixxrazor, show up on a demoparty with a face stuffed full of piercings, drunk, high and loud, and show demos that send “suxxorz” to competing “krews” and so on, so a completely immature type of attitude, perhaps more comparable to punk-rockers. Also, sceners focused on writing largely useless programs and competing in trying to squeeze them into 4Kbyte or 64 or 96 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.kkrieger ) largely because this squeeze is understandable as showing of brilliance. The idea of hackers writing useful programs and do not really care about this showing off and in fact frown upon “too clever” (unreadable, unmaintainable) forms of programming was a surprise to me – this sounded more like a real job than a fun pastime activity!

    Now, drawing a link between the Demoscene and basement dwellers would not be tenable. But maybe it hopes illumating something. Hackers usually writing useful programs may contribute to a more grown-up culture. Any group of programmers who focus more on visuals, games, artistic stuff, or showing off brilliance, and not so much on utility, may not necessarily be so. What makes hackerdom fairly unique that your fun and passion looks a lot like a job. Very utilitarian,very grown-up.

  127. @Foo Quuxman

    >I can confirm from experience that this is true, building something – no matter how trivial – will do wonders for a person’s mood and ability to function.

    No offense, but I think you are projecting / generalizing your values into a general rule. Beware of the Typical Mind Fallacy i.e. that everybody clicks like you do.

    Sure, building stuff and being productive is a huge part of the human experience, but it does not exhaust it by any means. For exampel, social status competition is another huge element of the human experience: http://www.overcomingbias.com/tag/status If you were transported to the Middle Ages, you would see the productive builders are at best middle class burghers, and all the big players are more in the warrior / ruler than the builder class.

    It is useful that you mention depression, as it is a fairly well testable thing. One well known and well studied way to combat depression is to go volunteering in soup kitchens and similar charitable stuff. How do you interpret that? Being productive? From a human utility angle sure, but it is not really about building a “thing”. How do I interpret it? I think it works partially through the compassion pathway and partially the social status pathway. Also check this please, this to me sounds like of the best approaches to depression: http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/01/15/depression-is-not-a-proxy-for-social-dysfunction/#comment-174419 (i.e. chaosmage’s comment)

    I am not saying the build stuff does not work either. I think the two hypotheses can be brought together. Building stuff pretty much makes one feel empowered, it gives the feeling that I can change things, I can reach goals, I am having an impact. This can easily work through very similar pathways as the status approach. Both working through removing a feeling of helplessness.

  128. >And it raises another obvious possibility: that the SJW phenomenon is in part a rageboy (and ragegirl) escape hatch. Got nothing to do? feel powerless? Now you can vent your rage at anyone, provided you use the approved forms of left-wing duckspeak, and get socially rewarded for it.

    I guess you have a different background. This is blindingly obvious. It applies to most kinds of political activist and radical as well. I’ve gone to school with a number of such people. There’s a pattern to people like this.

  129. >I can confirm from experience that this is true, building something – no matter how trivial – will do wonders for a person’s mood and ability to function. Though I have no data to back this up, I’d even argue that building stuff is a better option than antidepressants in many cases, not least because it results in a net increase in wealth: something has been created instead of consumed.

    It does absolute great galloping wonders for the outlook, disposition and general play and interpersonal skills of small children. In this I speak both as a parent of small children, and as someone who used to be a small child. ;)

  130. >I am not saying the build stuff does not work either. I think the two hypotheses can be brought together. Building stuff pretty much makes one feel empowered, it gives the feeling that I can change things, I can reach goals, I am having an impact. This can easily work through very similar pathways as the status approach. Both working through removing a feeling of helplessness.

    Building your identity through the playing of status games is very different in application. It’s destructive (because status games are by definition zero-sum) and *temporary*. You can never achieve status and be done with it, it’s a continuous never-ending commitment. And in fact, an ongoing nightmare to everyone around you.

  131. >Honest question – if a movement seems to attract
    >an overly high number of dishonest narcissists,
    >what does that say / predict about the movement?

    It says that the movement, or whatever you call it, requires you to present yourself for criticism, and you’d damned well have your ducks in a row or you’ll be a laughingstock.

    Programmers tend to have big egos for the same reason writers, actors, and artists do. Whether your self-confidence is real or imaginary, you still have to have it to play the game.

  132. > Got nothing to do? feel powerless? Now you
    > can vent your rage at anyone, provided you
    > use the approved forms of left-wing duckspeak,
    > and get socially rewarded for it.

    That would explain how some political movements became as popular as they were, and why some people look back on them with nostalgia.

  133. No offense, but I think you are projecting / generalizing your values into a general rule. Beware of the Typical Mind Fallacy i.e. that everybody clicks like you do.

    Also confirmation bias, few things would please me as much as being able to (accurately) tell SJWs or X-TremE Gam3rZ to go do something useful.

    It is useful that you mention depression, as it is a fairly well testable thing. One well known and well studied way to combat depression is to go volunteering in soup kitchens and similar charitable stuff. How do you interpret that? Being productive? From a human utility angle sure, but it is not really about building a “thing”. How do I interpret it? I think it works partially through the compassion pathway and partially the social status pathway.

    I’ve seen that post, I wonder…

    What if once the cases where the primary cause of the depression is screwed up brain chemistry are removed, depression can be modeled as the mental equivalent of a deficiency disease. If true it would mean that someone who cares about [social status / interaction / building stuff / whatever] and doesn’t get much or any of it would become depressed. But would quickly recover when doing or receiving the needed factor.

    Of course even if this is an accurate model it is very prone to descending into a map-scribbling contest as to whether X is a Really Real Deficiency Of Realness or not.

  134. @Shenpen >Sure, building stuff and being productive is a huge part of the human experience, but it does not exhaust it by any means.

    Then let’s agree to a more general term, say “industry”, “mercantilist”, “directed life”. The basement dwellers at 15 years of age are OK in my book. But at 20, they need to “get out” and at 25 they better be doing less than a 8 hours of basement dwelling. At 30, basement dwelling is finished and if you’re still doing it then can you hear the words “industry”, “mercantilist”, “directed life” because if you can’t, then you shall hear the words “evicted” instead.

    But that really gets to the problem with most of the subcultures that have the demeaned, the creepy and the harassing behaviors. Where were the parents in all this? For behind every messed up group are a set of individuals. And those individuals had to wind up the way they were and with the company they have somehow.

  135. I finally looked up Kathy on the Internet, and if she’s that one, then now I feel sheepish for not having recognized her. Glad you’re here too, Kathy; you and your viewpoint.

    I have an extensional test for “SJW” that you may want to adopt. An SJW is a person whose default response to disagreement is a kafkatrap expressed in terms that are recognizably derived from Marxist rhetoric.

    Does Marxist rhetoric include use of the word “privilege”? If I stick to the condition of kafkatrapping, then I know people who might be Eric’s SJWs, but never actually employed this trap. Until now, I’d been using a definition of SJW that I think is looser than Eric’s. And I’d prefer to default to tighter definitions to avoid confusion, sooo… *clunk*.

    Now I need a term for people who either call themselves SJWs or otherwise advocate equality among various socially defined groups, including those who try to stay rational about it, and those who lazily fall into fallacies without necessarily kafkatrapping.

    Some of them use different methods that result in the same shutdown of debate. In some cases, they say they don’t want to talk about it anymore (which I can respect – often the discussion is on their blog or forum). In others, they put different standards of conduct on each side, and let that advantage naturally wear down their opponents. (Call that out, and they might claim it’s fair due to “privilege”, but if you go down that road, you could just as likely see them claim the whole discussion is “sophomoric” and stop responding before you get there.)

  136. I’m a bit reminded of the quote by Blue Tulip Rose Read, justifying her continued stalking of BBC DJ Mike Read (whose surname she legally adopted) including threatening “GBH” if he didn’t marry her: “You have to be a nuisance to get anything these days!”

    Contrary to SJW rhetoric, the rageboys as ESR calls them didn’t harass these women because they are women.

    They harassed Anita Sarkeesian because she criticized gaming from a feminist critical standpoint without understanding the medium of gaming.

    They harassed Zoe Quinn because she allegedly used sex to buy promotion and influence.

    They harassed Randi Harper because ahe is a person with a sketchy background who, despite earlier complaints about “feminist retards” invading the BSD community, is now trying to score brownie points with the SJW crowd by releasing a poorly designed dragnet mass squelching tool.

    They harassed other female game developers for trying to turn this into a gender issue.

    These rageboys see the SJWs trying to whitewash their own behavior and put themselves beyond reproach by accusing the rageboys of simple blind misogyny. And they turn up the harassment because they feel thenselves becoming further disenfranchised and more irrelevant, and “you have to be a nuisance to get anything these days!”

    The harassment is wrong and the rape threats particularly odious. But it’s not an open and shut case of misogyny. “Look, a woman is trying to make a game. LET’S GET ‘ER!” It’s not like that. They dish it out to men in equal measure. Just the other day Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade wrote about the harassment and death threats he’s endured over the years, and set it in the context of what Joss Whedon gets dished out to him — often, for not being SJWy enough in his treatment of women in Firefly and the Avengers movies.

    And this context gets lost because the signal is so loud from both sides it gets clipped.

  137. The harassment is wrong and some of the stated reasons why may not even be true. That’s not my point. My point is that by making it into a gender issue the other side is eliding critical information AND looking like they’re trying to whitewash themselves.

  138. >Does Marxist rhetoric include use of the word “privilege”?

    Yes. The SJW notion of “privilege” is an abstraction lifted from a phrase “privileged classes” that occurs frequently in Marxist rhetoric, and is near the center of the conceptual toolkit of Marxist historiography.

  139. @Kathy Sierra > Intelligence does not protect us from subconscious bias. Logical, rational, “un-emotional” thinking does not protect us from subconscious bias (in part because the logic vs. emotion thing is itself a logical fallacy).

    I can partially agree with almost everything you said up to the above statement. But I would only modify your statement by changing “does not protect us” to “only partially protects us”. And “the logic vs. emotion thing is itself a partial logical fallacy”. To what extent or degree are we as humans able to process the external world and interpret it correctly (whatever that means) vs reacting as amoeba? And to what extent does the environment in which we exist present a negative/incorrect response to stimuli. Your example of the grocery magazine stand is a great example where one should ignore it is not a high cultural symbol of advanced society. It is crass and motivated by ignoble ethics. I can’t imagine how people can read (and write) that stuff. My response is to both laugh and weep at it. And the proper human response should be disgust and loathing of such material. It certainly should never be allowed to influence the internal mental workings of an entire group. Children should be encouraged to better mental fare and ought to be parented to be given the critical thinking needed to discount such risible media out of hand. Dare I mention the fact that men appear in those magazines and are provided with various stereotypes that most men could never achieve and men are routinely ridiculed in those magazines for their failure to reach some unspecified magazine imposed profile. Granted, death threats and harassment are in a class of their own. But even then IMHO, the individual should best react with stoic resolve and should minimize the public appearance of having changed their behavior due to such threats. In gamergate there is too much broadcasting of people couch surfing which only gives pleasure to the perpetators – so why put that particular stuff onto the Internets? I am in no way trying to judge your decisions as each must choose their own path but I see too many women publicly change what they were doing from before and after they were harassed. This only feeds the trolls. Keeping course in the face of headwinds seems to me to be the most successful strategy/tactic for bringing about change in the behaviors of creeps. Steely resolve takes education, knowledge and wisdom which provides a foundation for understand self worth and indepdent capabilities (same as knowing you write good code), something I believe to have been the logical conclusion of the classical liberal western philosophy. Post modernists can’t stand that conclusion because it doesn’t involve the State. Western civilization has plenty of ugliness but at its root, it’s all about the power (and empowerment), grace (the inherent value and beauty) and dignity (deserving of bequeathing of natural rights) of the human individual. I would conclude with: at what time in human history and under water philosophy and political operation did women as a group, and all other sub groups of humanity, have more freedom of movement than now? Surely, now is the time of greatest advancement despite all the noise from the bottom feeders.

  140. Eric: And it raises another obvious possibility: that the SJW phenomenon is in part a rageboy (and ragegirl) escape hatch. Got nothing to do? feel powerless? Now you can vent your rage at anyone, provided you use the approved forms of left-wing duckspeak, and get socially rewarded for it.

    Greg: I guess you have a different background. This is blindingly obvious. It applies to most kinds of political activist and radical as well. I’ve gone to school with a number of such people. There’s a pattern to people like this.

    It was very obvious to me as well, to be honest; I wondered for a bit whether Eric got an atypical upbringing, or alternately, whether I did.

    I saw milder forms of this “duckspeaking for kudos” all over the place. In libertarian circles, for instance, you don’t have to be very bright to make “government is the problem” noises, and you’ll still get lauds from the sidelines. In Christian circles, you can say just about anything you like so long as you also say “Jesus is my savior”, and you’ll get “Amen”s in response.

    I once had a catechism class as a young kid (I was raised Roman Catholic) where the teacher expressed mild irritation at how if she assigned an art project, she would get pretty much nothing but crosses back, perhaps with some inspirational word or phrase beneath. Today, I get occasional Facebook posts saying “share if Jesus is your co-pilot, too!” mixed in with inspirational placards repeating the latest thing Bernie Sanders said and “share if you agree!”.

  141. @ ESR

    If I may continue a subthread…

    > Good intriductions [to General Semantics] include Samuel Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action and Stuart P. Chase’s The Tyranny of Words.

    Say, any progress in your project for a 21st-century intro to GS with koans as chapter-head quotes? That I’d be happy to read, rather than any existing material on the subject: from what I’ve read about it, GS strikes me as a bloated formulation of nominalism and fallibilism, further worsened by a cheesy self-help packaging. Don’t get me wrong: you claim it worked for you and I believe you – I’m just saying it probably isn’t for me, but that I’d gladly make an exception for an exposition written by my favorite thinker… complete with an exotic Zen feel to it. ;-)

    (BTW, sorry for the bad joke I made earlier. I was parodying SJWs, but my comedy skills still need some honing. Heh, heh…)

  142. >I saw milder forms of this “duckspeaking for kudos” all over the place.

    That’s just sucking up. Brown-nosing is universal, and Kent I need you to pick up my dry cleaning. :)

    I was referring more specifically to the use of directed rage, or more to the point, directed (manufactured) outrage, for fun and profit. There’s a certain type of person that is inclined to pursue that career path.

    And then this winds up on ground I believe we’ve covered before… the reward system in place that incentivizes SJW behavior (social and financial) encourages otherwise useless individuals to self-recruit as culture war ghazis.

  143. Don’t get me wrong, one group of trolls was resorting to threats, doxing and SWATting, and that makes them the bigger assholes. But the SJWs’ house is not entirely clean

    The SJWs are apparently the ones who have been doing the most of the threats, doxxing, and swatting. See, for example, the #GGinDC meetup. I found this analysis, while blind to its own question-begging, very much on the nose regarding the demographics, especially in noting that The Free Nation of Trolls is a major player that’s not on either side but for whose bad behavior the SJWs tend to blame the GGers and then launch nuclear retaliation.

  144. @Jeff Read

    > Don’t get me wrong, one group of trolls was resorting to threats, doxing and SWATting, and that makes them the bigger assholes. But the SJWs’ house is not entirely clean, and I think if you were to scratch some of the more forceful voices in that community, what you would find underneath the surface would concern right-thinking people. (etc…)

    And further down in a separate post…

    > They harassed Anita Sarkeesian because she criticized gaming from a feminist critical standpoint without understanding the medium of gaming.

    I – and many I know would be perfectly happy if people wanting more “civilty” and “respect” would NOT make it about walking on eggshells around people’s feelings. You want the same respect I give my best bud? You had better not expect extreme politeness except in the most formal circumstances. We tear each others ideas apart, mercilessly. Sometimes with names. We’ll make jokes and puns. Some will be risque. So what? I wouldn’t respect him if he wasn’t willing to tell me I was full of crap or implementing a bad “solution”.

    Most gamers I know would have been perfectly happy to have girls to play with (the rest would have worshipped them), or make and sell games – and just didn’t want to be called evil sexist scum for liking what they liked, or being told what kind of games they should be making.

    Second – if we’re supposed to “listen to what women say” it would be nice if the nearly every celebrity case didn’t involve someone blowing crap completely out of proportion.

    OK – let’s look at this source: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/21/internet-shaming-lindsey-stone-jon-ronson?CMP=fb_gu

    Relevant quote from Richards over why she posted the tweet that kicked off donglegate

    ” She told me about the moment she overheard the comment about the big dongle. “Have you ever had an altercation at school and you could feel the hairs rise up on your back?” she asked me.

    “You felt fear?” I asked.

    “Danger,” she said. “Clearly my body was telling me, ‘You are unsafe.’” ”

    That is the rub.

    She felt physical fear, she felt unsafe. Because someone cracked a “dongle” joke. In a crowd of hundreds of people. In plain sight. And they weren’t even talking to her.

    I’m not going to have a rational discussion with a person that hypersensitive. It doesn’t matter what I say.

    and Anita? It’s not just the criticism. It’s the equivalent of “I’m pissing on your leg and telling you it’s raining” lies – such as SHOWING you video of someone being PENALIZED for killing innocent females and claiming that murdering and abusing innocent women is the purpose of the game (the majority of the body count in the game used as an example being male just a minor irrelevant detail).

    She could tell me I’m male and I’d feel inclined to double check just because she said it.

    As to SJW’s vs GG’ers…. I love the scope shift. Wellllll — GG did “doxing” and “swatting” and “threats” (some of which are assuredly subject to the oversensitivity discussed above, and a few hilarious cases of people taking screenshots of “threats” directed at them while not only still being in sock puppet accounts, but not having hit “post” yet..), and the SJW’s “aren’t entirely clean” (never mind sending syringes to people’s houses, doxxing people, joking about shoving GGers into ovens, telling women, homosexuals, and colored people on the GG side they were sock puppets, and discussing that using the GG blocklist as an employment blacklist would be a grand idea…)

  145. > GS strikes me as a bloated formulation of nominalism and fallibilism

    Fair enough, except maybe for the “bloated” part.

    >further worsened by a cheesy self-help packaging.

    Oh, now that’s completely unfair.

    >I’d gladly make an exception for an exposition written by my favorite thinker… complete with an exotic Zen feel to it. ;-)

    Might happen, someday.

  146. She felt physical fear, she felt unsafe. Because someone cracked a “dongle” joke. In a crowd of hundreds of people. In plain sight. And they weren’t even talking to her.

    I’m not going to have a rational discussion with a person that hypersensitive. It doesn’t matter what I say.

    Of course you do not understand her reaction; you are not a woman. It’s not hard to figure out why she might react that way; to nearly all women, every single man is a potential rapist until he proves himself otherwise — don’t argue with me, #YesAllMen. This is called Schrödinger’s Rapist and it’s a well-known phenomenon amongst feminists and probably most non-feminist women as well though they don’t have a word for it. It’s why mothers admonish their daughters not to stay out too late and worry themselves sick once those daughters move out and live on their own, to a degree which they simply don’t do with their sons.

    It gets worse: among orangutans, the alpha male of the troop has sexual access to all the females. All he needs to do is bellow a mating call and the pussy comes to him. Subdominant males have no such luck; their only shot at getting any is to sneak up on an unsuspecting female and have their way with her. Now, we’re human beings, supposedly “rational” but our ape instincts are still there and they still affect us. Sexual vibes from a dominant man are something a woman may respond very positively to; from a subdominant man they will put her on high alert because in the primordial environment, that meant a rape was likely imminent. If you’re a fiery redhead from a Heinlein novel (or the likes of Cathy Raymond), maybe you could handle such a situation and get away with your life and dignity intact. But not all women are so capable and prepared.

  147. > Fair enough, except maybe for the “bloated” part.

    I was thinking of extensional devices as an unnecessary addition; I mean, I don’t see you using them. But, to be fair, that may mean they’re intended as just a temporary aid, like training wheels. In any case, they seem impractical to me.

    > Oh, now that’s completely unfair.

    Come to think of it, I may have gotten that impression from the first chapter of People in Quandaries, which I read a few months ago upon discovering it’s online (only that chapter). And the Institute of General Semantics’ website may have reinforced that impression.
    Admittedly, Korzybski’s own work is the only authoritative source. But, in your own words, it’s “more or less applied philosophy of science recast as a quasi-therapeutic discipline”, and – if Wikipedia is to be trusted – he expected GS to bring about world peace or something.
    Bottom line: why shouldn’t I just read analytic philosophy? (Again, I’d make an exception for your treatise.)

    > Might happen, someday.

    Thanks. I’m in no hurry, and you’re a programmer first and foremost. Speaking of which: do you agree with this (short) article? Food for thought.

  148. > If you’re a fiery redhead from a Heinlein novel (or the likes of Cathy Raymond), maybe you could handle such a situation and get away with your life and dignity intact. But not all women are so capable and prepared.

    Cathy, on having this comment reported to her, reports never having been fearful in this way. She has sometimes feared violence in generally dangerous surroundings (wrong part of Philadelphia, etc.) but never specifically fear of rape caused by the presence of men.

    Cathy then pointed out that obsessive fear of rape increases a woman’s odds of actually being raped, since predators home in on fear as a signal of vulnerability. Thus, “rape culture” propaganda increases rape,

    Her prescription is simple: start teaching women physical self-defense, and stop teaching them fear.

  149. >Bottom line: why shouldn’t I just read analytic philosophy?

    Because academic philosophy is designed to produce philosophy papers, not actionable advice. Academic philosophy has a bias towards dispute for the sake of dispute, with minor technical points and terminological quibbles getting inflated into entire schools contending about nothing much.

    What GS does – and what Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Sequences do – is exactly that; produce actionable advice.

  150. > Academic philosophy has a bias towards dispute for the sake of dispute

    That’s exactly what I do! See? A perfect fit! XD (I’ve even submitted a comment against Guns, Germs, and Steel, but something went wrong.)

    On a more serious note: I’d buy one of the introductions (Chase, Hayakawa, Johnson), but they seem unavailable here. Well, I just saw two copies of Hayakawa’s at an online marketplace, but both cost four hundred pesos. No can do. :-(

    > Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Sequences

    Ah, so I probably should read those. Thanks for reminding me of them.

  151. Fuck off, Jeff. Between your accusations that furry fandom and BDSM and other sexual kinks are men’s way of dealing with lack of success with women (and how come you don’t lump male homosexuality in that group, too?), and your statement that nearly all women consider all men potential rapists, it’s obvious you simply hate all men who don’t fit into your mold of a good little subservient emasculated SJW.

    Why you think you are capable of participating in a discussion among reasonable adults (instead of SJWs) completely escapes me.

    Go away. Go far far away. Get the fuck out of my universe.

  152. Jay, I didn’t say that all furries and kinksters fail at relationships. Just that in this time of easy internet access, furry and kink are things which those who fail at relationships can easily turn to in search of emotional and sexual release. It’s the same with fandom for anime, video games, and even comic books: until the Marvel movies started printing a mint comics were almost lost entirely to the shut-ins. It’s even the same for SJWism.

    To deny that these things are attractors for shut-ins is to do the same things that SJWs do when they say that none of their number could do wrong and the harassment is entirely gender-based. It’s a thing, it’s real, if you identify with furry or BDSM or anime fandom you have to contend with it.

    As for Schrödinger’s Rapist, you don’t know what it’s like being a woman. Neither do I, and any woman who’s ever brought the subject up to me has said the same thing: “It’s tough to explain to a guy.” But women have to deal with threat levels that you don’t because they are on average considerably smaller and weaker and more vulnerable.

  153. But women have to deal with threat levels that you don’t because they are on average considerably smaller and weaker and more vulnerable.

    Which is why women need to be armed with *effective* weapons at a much higher rate then they currently are.

  154. The problem, Jeff, is that, for an SJW, you’re doing an amazing job of perpetuating stereotypes without any actual knowledge of the communities involved. Yeah, there are socially dysfunctional men in the furry and BDSM and other communities. (And to label furry fandom as a kink is inaccurate, in and of itself; it’s NOT all about sex, no matter how much the MSM claims it is or how much your SJW feminista friends mischaracterize it.)

    Schrödinger’s Rapist is just another feminist way of blaming men for everything. You probably believe that utter bullshit statistic about 1 in 5 women on college campuses, too.

    I’m not an MRA…but your bullshit is doing a wonderful job of pushing me in that direction.

  155. > Schrödinger’s Rapist is just another feminist way of blaming men for everything.

    Hardly. It’s a fairly accurate description of how the threat-detection instinct works in most mammals – especially prey mammals, such as horses. By analogy, everyone knows that you need to be quite careful when approaching a horse, because they get spooked so easily, and that can lead to dangerous consequences. Luckily for us, there are ways of _credibly_ signaling that you’re not being a physical threat, and their instinct can pick up on them – the animal can then grow to trust you, potentially in a deep way. There’s no reason to think humans are any different, especially when it comes to this sort of basic wiring.

  156. @Jay
    “Schrödinger’s Rapist is just another feminist way of blaming men for everything.”

    Maybe a thought experiment to get you in the same mood. Imagine you have a bag of coke hanging visibly from your belt. Everybody knows it is a pound of coke. If something is missing at the end of the day you will be beaten half dead.

    Now you go out and party.

  157. Winter: Foo Quuxman’s got it exactly right. If you can’t get rid of the bag, then you just have to protect yourself, instead of whining that you’re an attractive target and everyone else is mean!

  158. @Jay
    Partying (and life in general) becomes a lot less fun when you have to constantly watch your back.

    I know quite a number of women who abhor the idea of killing people. And if you use an armed defence, you must be willing to kill.

  159. Then it comes down to a simple question, Winter: what’s more important to them, not being raped or not killing? Sometimes, life forces difficult choices.

  160. @winter

    Partying (and life in general) becomes a lot less fun when you have to constantly watch your back.

    As is typical with self defense and firearms this theory is directly contradictory to the reports of people (women included) who have taken the time to be capable of defending themselves. There are two possibilities from these facts:

    1. The people who are defending themselves are systematically lying as a group in perfect lockstep.

    2. The people with the cute theories don’t know shit on the subject of their blathering.

    It must be noted that some of the anti-self defense (pro-rape) people pride themselves on not knowing anything.

  161. [Cathy’s] prescription is simple: start teaching women physical self-defense, and stop teaching them fear.

    Larry Correia discussed this at length in his The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape after Miss Nevada 2014 came under criticism for making the same point. Her words:

    But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.

    Of course, she was then roundly criticized the ’net over, as was Larry Correia after he wrote that essay… for supporting rape culture.

    (The term “rape culture” is a perfect example of the motte-and-bailey technique.)

  162. J.C. Salomon,

    The problem is that rapists are responsible for rapes, not women walking alone at night in mini-skirts. SJWs think that since the problem lies with rapists, we should be able to stop rape entirely by instructing potential rapists that rape is bad and then the problem of rape will be solved once and for all. (How? Very stern scoldings? Lessons in school? A Clockwork Orange type treatments? How do you address the fact that 1% of the population do not respond at all to appeals to morality?) Any attempt to address the problem of rape that requires anything of its potential victims is cast as “victim-blaming”, as if taking steps to address the issue is admission of partial blame. This is a form of backlash against the cops and other authorities who said “she was asking for it” when a rape victim steps forward to accuse: not even the slightest hint of implying responsibility of the victim to prevent attacks is to be tolerated.

    So the question is which do you want more? Do you want to avoid implications of blaming the wrong people for rape, or do you want fewer rapes? If you want fewer rapes, self-defense for women is a good approach. Getting kicked in the balls, pepper-sprayed, or shot will teach men not to rape more surely than any instructional seminar.

    Also, if you want fewer rapes, avoiding high-risk activities — like walking alone at night in a miniskirt through a part of town where violent men are known to lurk — is wise.

    But it seems we do not live in a world where “fewer rapes”, alone, is considered the most noble and worthy goal…

  163. The problem, Jeff, is that, for an SJW, you’re doing an amazing job of perpetuating stereotypes without any actual knowledge of the communities involved.

    Bitches don’t know bout my knowledge of the communities involved.

    I watched Sonic the Hedgehog fandom collapse into something truly weird and uncomfortable — from the inside. That Sonic is now something of a running joke among video game fans comes as absolutely no surprise given what I’ve seen from “the community” that Sega is now marketing to. The good people and moderates left as the weirdo voices grew louder — and the vacuum was filled by more weirdos until they dominated the discussion. Yudkowsky describes a similar process in Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs.

    The same thing has been happening to the broader world of furry since about the turn of the millennium, superhero comics have already experienced a crash from which the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the recovery strategy (remember, people actually thought Rob Liefeld was good back in the 90s and there’s a reason why the Simpsons character actually called “Comic Book Guy” hews to a certain stereotype), and anime fandom is headed for similar dire straits because the production companies fine-tune their series to cater to the captive audience of shut-ins who fap to cartoon preteen girls rather than doing what anime companies used to do and producing top-quality works that appealed to broad audiences and addressed mature or thought-provoking themes.

  164. @Jay Maynard
    “Then it comes down to a simple question, Winter: what’s more important to them, not being raped or not killing? Sometimes, life forces difficult choices.”

    Looking at crime statistics over the world shows that you can reduce the incidence of sexual assaults without shooting rapists. The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forcing them to cold-blooded murderers.

    To bring this in a broader perspective. There seem to be quite a number of people in the US who claim that the best way to reduce crime is to arm everyone and then let the “victims” shoot as many attackers as possible.

    However, all of Western Europe shows that you can have a much lower crime rate without much shooting or arming the populace. It is just that these proponents of the arms race in the US simply refuse to consider any solution that does not involve more fire-arms.

  165. I should not do last minute edits before submitting:
    “The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forcing them to cold-blooded murderers.”

    should be

    “The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forced to become cold-blooded murderers.”

    (an aside, as most rapists are known to the victim, it hits even harder if you have to shoot a classmate, the son of the neighbors or an uncle/nephew. People are known to have become traumatized by such incidents)

  166. @Jeff

    >Sonic the Hedgehog fandom collapse into something truly weird and uncomfortable

    I find it weird and uncomfortable that such fandom exists amongst adults at all. I get it, nerds like to obsess about unreal things, but could we please at least obsess about something fairly complex and adult-ish, like Star Trek, instead of cartoonish platform game character clearly meant for children?

    I know I should not be upset about people liking different things than I do, but there is something about adults liking childish things that gives me alarms. I don’t know, puberty is supposed to be generally a watershed moment. At 12, we used to like GI Joe action figures and their vehicles. I used to own a big bomber with a smaller plane on top of it and it was awesome. At 14 every boy who stilled liked them was a social pariah because we were expected to focus on something more real now, largely, competing for girls attention. The nerd path of the same process is to keep focusing on unreal things but at least more complex ones, something a child would not be able to fully process.

    I don’t really know why it is wrong for adults to like childish things, but I have a certain gut premonition that it may be a predictor of actually problematic things.

  167. On a second thought, continuing from here:

    >I don’t really know why it is wrong for adults to like childish things, but I have a certain gut premonition that it may be a predictor of actually problematic things.

    Again this may predict that while nerds have always been bad at finding a girlfriend, in my youth (20 years ago) we kept trying, today many may have completely given up. And part of that giving up may be retreating into perpetual childhood basically. Childhood is where nobody judged you for being “single”. Hence the Sonic fandom etc. etc.

  168. >The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forcing them to cold-blooded murderers.

    You’re being silly. There is nothing “cold-blooded” about killing someone who is trying to rape you.

    > It is just that these proponents of the arms race in the US simply refuse to consider any solution that does not involve more fire-arms.

    This is even sillier. My wife would just as cheerfully kill a would-be rapist with a knife or her bare hands.

    >There seem to be quite a number of people in the US who claim that the best way to reduce crime is to arm everyone and then let the “victims” shoot as many attackers as possible.

    That’s right. We advocate this because, unlike most other proposed rape-prevention measures, it actually … works. In 1972 the Florida state police squashed a rape epidemic by encouraging women to carry concealed, setting up local training programs for the purpose. Since then, longitudinal studies have shown that rape is in the top three crimes most effectively suppressed by civilian carry, along with hot burglary and felony assault.

  169. >I find it weird and uncomfortable that such fandom exists amongst adults at all.

    There’s worse. There’s an adult male “My Little Pony” fandom. That hits the stop pin on my weirdometer.

  170. >Again this may predict that while nerds have always been bad at finding a girlfriend, in my youth (20 years ago) we kept trying, today many may have completely given up.

    I have pointed out before that this is a predictable result of the ideology of sexual equality colliding with female hypergamic instinct. Three of the effects of raising the social status of women are to (a) decrease the average status difference between mates, (b) make highest-status women unable to find mates to which they are hypergamically attracted, and (c) make low-status men unable to find fit mates who are hypergamically attracted to them.

    In a strictly objective sense, patriarchy created better conditions for everyone (men and women) in the marriage market. Whether we can or should try to restore patriarchy is a value-laden question separate from this observation.

  171. My wife would just as cheerfully kill a would-be rapist with a knife or her bare hands.

    Thank you. I was about to ask why the hell people were escalating straight to guns.

    Given the threat profile, wouldn’t it be poor tactics to involve firearms anyway? I mean if it’s all you’ve got then sure but i’ve always understood that using firearms within arms reach of the target is risky (unless you specifically train for it of course). ESPECIALLY if you’re under the assumption that the aggressor is likely to be stronger than you.

    At the same time, something that allows for a more non-lethal response opens up the range of combatants that you can feel free to use it on. Blowing a bullet-sized hole in your friend because he copped a feel isn’t going to end well regardless of what happens but friends means never having to say more than sorry for the odd reflexive arm bar.

    And i’m not saying they should have to but as they say, “wish with one hand spit in the other”…

  172. There’s worse. There’s an adult male “My Little Pony” fandom. That hits the stop pin on my weirdometer.

    I stopped being surprised by human kinks when I learned that there is a fetish for getting forcefully kicked in the balls.

  173. “There’s an adult male “My Little Pony” fandom. That hits the stop pin on my weirdometer.”

    Remember Animaniacs? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has a lot of the same: getting crap under the radar aimed at adults. Don’t write it off until you’ve tried it.

  174. “I don’t really know why it is wrong for adults to like childish things”

    Before you judge, first check whether the thing you’re thinking about is actually childish.

  175. “(an aside, as most rapists are known to the victim, it hits even harder if you have to shoot a classmate, the son of the neighbors or an uncle/nephew. People are known to have become traumatized by such incidents)”

    Shooting anyone is traumatizing. Nobody, certainly not me, trivializes that. Again, it’s a tradeoff: would you rather put up with that trauma, or the trauma of being raped?

    If European methods were so wonderful, the incidence of rape there would be zero. Is it?

  176. If European methods were so wonderful, the incidence of rape there would be zero. Is it?

    I wouldn’t expect even the best methods possible to drop the incidence of rape to actually zero. Basically zero, perhaps, but not actually zero.

  177. That’s my point exactly, JonCB: it’s impossible to eliminate rape, and so no matter what, women need to be able to defend against it.

  178. @esr
    “That’s right. We advocate this because, unlike most other proposed rape-prevention measures, it actually … works.”

    Still, crime rates in Florida today are considerably higher than in, say, the Netherlands or Italy. Not only the homicides, but also rapes. So, by arming its citizens, Florida was able to reduce its crime rates to only triple (quadruple?) those found in Western Europe?

    I am pretty sure my compatriots will be severely unimpressed.

    Florida (take the lower definition)
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/4tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_4_crime_in_the_united_states_by_region_geographic_division_and_state_2012-2013.xls

    Netherlands vs USA
    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Netherlands/United-States/Crime

    Italy vs USA
    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Italy/United-States/Crime

  179. @Jay Maynard
    “That’s my point exactly, JonCB: it’s impossible to eliminate rape, and so no matter what, women need to be able to defend against it.”

    That is just as illogical as saying that as we are unable to bring down road accidents to zero, we should arm pedestrians to defend against car accidents.

  180. I find it weird and uncomfortable that such fandom exists amongst adults at all.

    There was a cartoon based around Sonic that was surprisingly dark and post-apocalyptic for a kids’ cartoon. That’s where most of the fandom comes from. It was poorly written, but people looked at it through nostalgia-tinted glasses…

    For me it’s like this: a fun game is a fun game regardless of your age and the early Sonic games were fun. They felt fun to play and they had amazing graphical design and music in them. I used to make MIDI files of the music. I fell away when I realized that everyone was obsessed with the TV show and comics and barely recognized that there were video games anymore.

    Then the Dreamcast came out and it’s like they were making games for fans of the TV show. The gameplay was boring, the music was all loud punk rock and there were numerous glitches, but now we can find out all about Shadow’s deep dark past! Yawn. That’s when things really took a turn for the worse.

    There’s worse. There’s an adult male “My Little Pony” fandom. That hits the stop pin on my weirdometer.

    I find it interesting that in the 80s the early hacker (cracker) groups used to go under names like “The Legion of Doom” or “The Decepticons” (both taken from boys’ cartoons of the time) whereas today one of the top discoverers of browser exploits goes by “Pinkie Pie” (after a My Little Pony character).

    Jay is right: the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a lot better written than most kids’ fare. But the aim was to create a smarter, more sophisticated kids’ show that didn’t insult the intelligence of its single-digit age demographic — not really to create something for adults. Adults these days really do seem to be living in an extended childhood though. I still remember the look on my dad’s face when he heard what a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was. The kids who grow up with TMNT today — their parents also grew up with it so now dads say to their kids “Which one is your favorite? Mine’s Donatello”, etc.

  181. >That is just as illogical as saying that as we are unable to bring down road accidents to zero, we should arm pedestrians to defend against car accidents.

    No. The difference is that armed pedestrians don’t prevent car accidents, but armed civilians do prevent rape. Rather effectively, in the U.S.’s experience. If I were as dishonest as a typical SJW, I would run around yelling “Gun control is rape culture!”

  182. @esr
    “…but armed civilians do prevent rape. Rather effectively, in the U.S.’s experience.”

    But it still leaves the crime rates way higher than elsewhere (several times higher). So these other people in other countries have found ways to reduce rape way more effectively that the USA without guns.

    Even if guns would be an effective tool to reduce rapes, it strikes me as “odd” that you resist looking at how these much (much) lower rates were obtained in other places and would be satisfied with such a high crime rate.

    It is almost as if reducing the crime rates was not the actual aim of the policy.

  183. Rather effectively, in the U.S.’s experience.

    Europe’s experience has produced more effective ways to reduce rape that don’t rely on ordinary citizens to be willing to kill their own.

    I’m all for self-defense but it alone isn’t doing the job. It’s a tool in a toolkit, a last line of defense.

  184. “But the aim was to create a smarter, more sophisticated kids’ show that didn’t insult the intelligence of its single-digit age demographic — not really to create something for adults.”

    How do you know that? Have you spoken with the creators? The unenlightened could say the same about Animaniacs, and would be wrong: the creators were intentionally trying for the same approach as classic Looney Tunes, where there was definitely something it for adults as well as kids.

  185. >Europe’s experience has produced more effective ways to reduce rape

    Sure, but torpedoes are expensive and it would look rather messy on the TV screens, don’t you find? So currently nobody really knows how to stop the problem from landing on the northern shores of the Mediterrean.

  186. Jay, I read an interview with Lauren Faust in which she said that that was the main goal of the series, because in the 80s series the ponies had nothing to do besides have tea parties and such. I wish I had a cite.

    Neither she nor the executives at Hasbro were expecting adult “bronies” to crop up. MLP sure isn’t Looney Tunes and it’s even quite different from Animaniacs. I used to watch that back in the day, and entire cartoons were devoted to industry injokes kids wouldn’t understand, like the “Variety Speak” songs and “Yes, Always”. It was capitalizing on the nascent animation fandom that emerged in the wake of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. MLP, by contrast, still operates under the prime directive of “sell toys to kids, especially girls”.

  187. >Even if guns would be an effective tool to reduce rapes, it strikes me as “odd” that you resist looking at how these much (much) lower rates were obtained in other places and would be satisfied with such a high crime rate.

    We’re not “satisfied” with it. We could, in fact, have European crime rates quite easily by expelling all of our immigrants and ghetto blacks; the portions of the country where those people are not already do. One suspects you would disapprove of that solution, as do I.

  188. @esr
    Deporting the natives? Sounds like the old excuse “If we just dwported all criminals, there would be no crome”

  189. The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forced to become cold-blooded murderers.

    You fixed the wrong part of that sentence, Winter, and left the term “murderer” in place. Eric corrected you on “cold-blooded”, but that’s a quibble over emphasis: when you call killing in self-defense “murder” you’re using a badly damaged moral compass.

  190. @ ESR

    > We could, in fact, have European crime rates quite easily by expelling all of our immigrants and ghetto blacks … One suspects you would disapprove of that solution, as do I.

    I don’t think those people’s right to inhabit the US should come before other people’s right to life, property, and physical and psychological integrity. Countries, and jurisdictions in general, should reserve the right of admission.

  191. Way to miss the point, Winter. The point is that the vast majority of crime is committed by one particular underclass, an underclass Europe is, by and large, not saddled with. This makes comparisons of crime rates at best highly misleading, if not outright meaningless. It is that underclass that Eric was referring to, and that is the solution that he – and I – find unacceptable.

  192. >> by expelling all of our immigrants and ghetto blacks …
    > I don’t think those people’s right to inhabit the US should come before other people’s right to life, property, and physical and psychological integrity.

    And does this go for blacks and immigrants only, or all inhabitants of the US ?

  193. @kn

    I think you need to re-read the comment thread.

    esr and Jay Maynard say that the ethnic mix in the USA is different from Europe, and that that is largely responsible for our differing crime statistics, and we’re stuck with it.

    European solutions don’t necessarily apply to the USA, any more than the reverse.

  194. I just watched The Cutie Map. Pretty good storytelling, with a definitely subversive message compared to the usual SJW-mandated kiddie crap.

    Not as much getting crap past the radar as I seemed to remember, and the message at the end as a bit heavy-handed, but while Hasbro may think it’s toyetic, the rest of us know better.

  195. @Jay Maynard
    “Way to miss the point, Winter. The point is that the vast majority of crime is committed by one particular underclass, an underclass Europe is, by and large, not saddled with.”

    1) Crime rates are always highest in the underclass. Remove one underclass and you get the next.

    2) Removing criminals does not end crime, just as removing all taxi-drivers will not result in a society without taxi-drivers. Australia shows that that a society build up entirely from criminals looks just like the society they came from.

    3) That particular underclass has been in the USA from before its inception. That the people of the USA have been unable to integrate them in these two centuries tells us a more about the non-black people in the USA than about the black people.

    4) In the three centuries that Africans have lived in the territory of the USA, Western Europe has seen its share of underclasses, uprisings, and wars. The countries have always been able to integrate these underclasses back into mainstream. The USA have done the same with the immigrants that came there. For an outsider, it seems rather obvious that the blacks were not integrated because the non-blacks did not want them to be part of US society.

    In short, underclasses are of all times and all places. They only become a real problem if the rest of society refuses to acknowledge them and lets it get out of hand. Not all problems can be solved by beating (or shooting) people into submission.

  196. Hijacking the self-defense topic, to @ESR and other martial artists here: how do you defend against a basic simple left jab (opponents left) ? After some experimentation what seems to work best for me is launching a right jab (my right i.e. on the same side) close on the inner side of my opponents arm, thus pushing it to the outside, losing about 50% of the energy of the punch but still being able to deliver a weakish but still nice and fairly undefensible knock on the nose. Yet, they (boxing and kick-boxing trainers) teach completely different defense methods to me like blocking, bobbing, slipping… why? Why use a purely defensive move when it could be defensive and also weakly offensive at the same time?

  197. Australia shows that that a society build up entirely from criminals

    …is used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

  198. @Shenpen
    “how do you defend against a basic simple left jab (opponents left) ?”
    Missing part of my reply

    General strikes:

  199. @Shenpen
    “how do you defend against a basic simple left jab (opponents left) ?”

    Something strange happens. The link I post disappears and causes a lot of white space to appear. The previous link comment can be removed.

    But the link I tried to post can be found on YouTube by searching for:
    Aikido Tsuki – Strike Attacks

  200. >Way to miss the point, Winter. The point is that the vast majority of crime is committed by one particular underclass, an underclass Europe is, by and large, not saddled with. This makes comparisons of crime rates at best highly misleading, if not outright meaningless. It is that underclass that Eric was referring to, and that is the solution that he – and I – find unacceptable.

    Except that Europe is trying very hard to import/manufacture one, with increasing levels of success. Which is the elephant in the room that every Euro-is-best fanboy REALLY doesn’t want to talk about.

    Women should not venture into ‘immigrant’ neighborhoods in Europe without male (preferably armed) escort. Look at rape statistics in Sweden. They’re appalling. Even the BBC felt forced to take notice, though they felt the need to try as hard as they could to explain everything away. But denial of the truth opens the door to other people willing to speak it.

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5195/sweden-rape
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/1-in-4-swedish-women-will-be-raped-as-sexual-assaults-increase-500/
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19592372

  201. >>The women I speak to prefer this course of action over being forcing them to cold-blooded murderers.

    >You’re being silly. There is nothing “cold-blooded” about killing someone who is trying to rape you.

    I am shocked to have to point this out. It isn’t murder, either.

  202. >Hijacking the self-defense topic, to @ESR and other martial artists here: how do you defend against a basic simple left jab (opponents left)

    The basic wing-chun move would be a deflection with your right hand, simultaneous with stepping right to get offline and punching with your left – simultaneous defense, evasion, and attack.

    If the punch is coming in high, I might prefer to step off-line, deflect the punch left with a bil jee (that’s a kind of stiff-arm deflection), and simultaneously punch with my more powerful right. But a bil jee is not effective against a low punch.

  203. Greg: “I am shocked to have to point this out. It isn’t murder, either.

    But but but…don’t you know that any time anyone kills anyone else, it’s murder? </softheaded-leftist>

    The concept of a justified killing totally escapes those folks.

  204. As for rapes in Sweden: that’s probably inflated by Sweden’s incredibly broad definition of rape, the same kind of idiocy that powers the bogus 1 in 5 college women meme. While I have exactly zero sympathy for Julian Assange, that they want to get him for rape in Sweden is not as damning as the bare name would have you think it is.

  205. >As for rapes in Sweden: that’s probably inflated by Sweden’s incredibly broad definition of rape, the same kind of idiocy that powers the bogus 1 in 5 college women meme. While I have exactly zero sympathy for Julian Assange, that they want to get him for rape in Sweden is not as damning as the bare name would have you think it is.

    The rape rate in Sweden was unusually high before they started messing with the definition.

    That ‘1 in 5 college women’ thing seems to be based on a bad 2007 study that, yes, did take an unusually broad definition of ‘sexual assault’, among other problems. It’s also, ironically enough, been debunked by the DoJ. People still using that meme have no excuse.

    To start a small tangent, I recall numbers like the ‘1 in 5’ thing being thrown around in the early 90’s when I spent a little too much time socializing with soft-headed ‘feminists’ who took the likes of Andrea Dworkin a bit too seriously. That was a full 15 years before the 2007 study. Does anyone else remember the older usage?

  206. >>Greg: “I am shocked to have to point this out. It isn’t murder, either.”

    >But but but…don’t you know that any time anyone kills anyone else, it’s murder?

    >The concept of a justified killing totally escapes those folks.

    For the group that claims to be the voice of cool reason and the party of nuance, there are an absolutely shocking number of situations that cause their delicate brains to completely shut down. The paralysis doesn’t extend to their vocal apparatus, unfortunately.

  207. “For the group that claims to be the voice of cool reason and the party of nuance”

    Why do you think the very word “nuance” puts me on my guard like nothing short of an angry mob with pitchforks and baseball bats advancing on me with intent?

  208. >Why do you think the very word “nuance” puts me on my guard like nothing short of an angry mob with pitchforks and baseball bats advancing on me with intent?

    Heh. I understand completely. Let’s see, I grew up in NYC and have since lived in the Boston metro area, and now back to the NY metro area. I know the warning signals, the keywords, the duckspeak. There are few things as intolerant as the party of tolerance. Getting tired of having to keep my head down.

    And I’m not even a conservative.

  209. @ KN

    > And does this go for blacks and immigrants only, or all inhabitants of the US ?

    Anyone. I meant no disrespect to immigrants-and-ghetto-blacks who don’t engage in crime. If I offended you or anyone else, I apologize.

  210. @Jorge,

    That was a backhanded attempt to paint everyone now with the sins of the past… What the original European settlers did to the Native Americans and all that…

  211. @Greg

    <blockquoteThe concept of a justified killing totally escapes those folks.</blockquote
    For the group that claims to be the voice of cool reason and the party of nuance, there are an absolutely shocking number of situations that cause their delicate brains to completely shut down. The paralysis doesn’t extend to their vocal apparatus, unfortunately.

    What’s worse is that, when they do admit that killing is justified, too many then proclaim it good, instead of simply the least bad choice.

  212. @Jorge Dujan
    >Anyone. I meant no disrespect to immigrants-and-ghetto-blacks who don’t engage in crime. If I offended you or anyone else, I apologize.

    Oh, I wasn’t offended. I was just wondering what you meant. It’s still quite unclear to me.

    I don’t think those people’s [esr’s “immigrants and ghetto blacks”] right to inhabit the US should come before other people’s right to life, property, and physical and psychological integrity. Countries, and jurisdictions in general, should reserve the right of admission.

    “reserve the right to admission” regarding ghetto blacks sounded to me as if you think they’re immigrants; that doesn’t make sense.
    Immigrants are already subject to an admission procedure, i.e. visa, so I’m not clear what you were getting at. So perhaps you meant criminals should be expelled from the country , and then I wondered whether you’d apply that policy to only immigrants and a specific subset of US citizens, namely ghetto blacks — the subject of the post you replied to — or to any criminal.

    Or maybe I did misread something somewhere …

  213. @ KN

    > Oh, I wasn’t offended.

    I’m relieved. :-) I’m here to learn from you guys, not earn your enmity; so I probably should be more careful nonetheless.

    > I was just wondering what you meant. It’s still quite unclear to me.

    Frankly, I’m not sure myself. I’m still relatively new to both libertarianism and rationalism, so my thinking must still be somewhat muddled. :$
    I do worry about unrestricted immigration (though more in Europe’s case than in America’s), so my comment was presumably a knee-jerk reaction. It is my firm belief that we shouldn’t extend our freedoms to those who would destroy them, even if such refusal feels contrary to our principles. Lesser of two evils.

  214. @ESR

    Why did you choose Wing Chun as your main martial art? It is sort of difficult to learn about the differences between various styles on line in proper context as the articles one can find online have a really high bullshit content, but this one is excellent to putting things into perspective, I recommend reading it all, rarely does one get such a honest overview: https://dynastyclothingstore.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/where-are-the-chinese-fighters-why-mma-has-not-flourished-in-chinese-society-long-read-with-videos/

    Actually I secretly hope you find this article good and important enough to write a reply on this blog.

  215. >Why did you choose Wing Chun as your main martial art?

    The quality of the school. The students moved like fighters and the instruction looked high-quality.

  216. >the culture of the open-source sausagefest has a chilling effect that discourages other female coders from showing their code

    I see no actual evidence of this. Code has no gender, and nobody is demanding to know what kind of genitalia a patch submitter has. Anonymity is easy.

    Here’s your evidence.

    The kernel — and the open source community — lost a good person because the old-guard sausagefest reserved their right to be dickheads. It’s happened before and it will keep happening until the community adopts better standards of behavior.

    You want the open source community to thrive and attract top talent? Support your local SJW.

    By the way, I did some research into GamerGate, and what I found is that the SJW narrative is as close to 100% correct as makes no difference. Eron Gjoni was throwing shade onto Zoe Quinn like Kanye onto Amber Rose, probably for similar reasons: he felt threatened by his ex-gf getting more attention than him. That’s all this is, and look at the fallout from this bullshit drama: now if you are a woman game developer (or in many cases other developer), you have legit reason to fear for your life.

  217. > I see no actual evidence of this. Code has no gender, and nobody is demanding to know what kind of genitalia a patch submitter has. Anonymity is easy.

    The thing about anonymity is that it precludes getting credit for your contributions. You’re proposing building a solid reputation and only then revealing that you were a woman all along. If lacking anonymity causes some people problems, then it doesn’t matter if anonymity is easy, because it is a cost

  218. “Here’s your evidence.” – while I don’t agree with ESR’s excuses here, the specific issues mentioned here are not obviously or necessarily gendered.

  219. That’s not, of course, to say that they’re not real issues. To put it differently – being an asshole has no gender either, but that doesn’t mean that a community filled with them is a meritocracy built solely around “show me the code”.

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