Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Just another Perl shrine

Re: Omigawd! Surprised by Reality!

by sierrathedog04 (Hermit)
on Jul 13, 2001 at 03:47 UTC ( #96235=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Omigawd! Surprised by Reality!

Wow. This is the most downvoting I have ever gotten in awhile, and I am not even sure what I said wrong!

I just finished reading the book The Hacker Ethic by Pekka Hakkonen, and he comments in the book that while theoretically hackers can be either male or female, unfortunately they are almost always male.

Is what I wrote so different? Most programmers including I regret me are mediocre, and among that large group of mediocrities one finds both men and women. Of the several dozen top flight programmers I have met, I guess that two or three have been female.

Offensive to say so? I am not glad about it. Good programmers create work for other programmers in their successful projects.

With all due respect, integrating women into the upper reaches of programming and not just management doesn't seem to be happening. With all due respect. The people who are great, world famous hackers include Linus Torvalds, RMS, LW, and people in the Perl community like Lincoln Stein and even a few of the posters here.

It doesn't help women or feminists to pretend that there is not a problem here.

As for the disappointment that I am not a dog, yes it is a shame. Dogs are earth's most wonderful creatures. We humans were put on earth to serve them. I believe that my dachshunds would be master programmers except that their paws cannot manipulate the keyboards.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re: Omigawd! Surprised by Reality!
by footpad (Monsignor) on Jul 13, 2001 at 07:19 UTC

    I did vote you down. In part because this has come up before and I frankly don't give a floating point about Abigail's (or anyone else's) gender. Ab's tone may be harsh, in a merlynesque sort of way, but the info is usually soundly based. Indeed, as a programmer, Abigail is worth listening to. (Granted, I don't always agree; but I do listen. To me, that is valuable, too.)

    I will grant you that programming and geekdom have each been traditionally considered male sports, however, I have met a number of smart people in the business over the past fifteen years. Many men and many women. What's impressed me the most was not their gender, but what they'd been able to create using the same tools available to me. The way they've solved problems. And so on.

    Yes, it's good to be inspired by people's achievements; however, it's very rare that a person's physical attributes are more commendable than their accomplishments. I believe it's dangerous to base inspiration on physical attributes. Certainly, appreciate their achievements...however, use care when basing that hope on anything else. Discrimination comes in many forms and not all of them are obvious.

    I am not saying you were or are. I'm identifying, like a good programmer, a risk.

    Let me put it this way. There are several monks that I have mental images of, ideas about what they look like, what they think, what they know, and (to some degree) who they are. It's common to wonder about the people behind the phosphors. It's also common, in my experience, to find that reality is far different than our idealism. To finish the point, I may have theories about the people behind the handles, but I am more than happy to be able to fit truthful images to my ideas, instead of fantastic ones.

    One should certainly be idealistic and hopeful. However, you must temper that with a recognition and understanding that things may be very different than you hope. Expect that and you should be fine. However, please do not base your hope on any specific, physical, or tangible attribute--especially when dealing with something as difficult to interprete as online messages. Focus on the achievements and you'll be fine.

    In other words, I believe your underlying idea is correct...if others can do it, then you can, too. I believe that very strenuously. However, I would rather you focused on actions, and not attributes. Learn the methods and live with the properties, if you will.

    And the main reason your puppies aren't able to program is very simple: the Master Feline Domination Plan is working. ;-)


    P.S. FTR: Update (a year later): we I have two a cats and one dog.

      Well, I would say that something not very good for women is going on. The hi-tech field is the highest paid one. Not that many American-born women are becoming programmers. Whatever it is they do instead, I think they often earn less than they would doing programming. Probably they would like programming, but for some reason they do not do it.

      Feminist groups often approve of female role models for female programmers. Perhaps it works. I don't know. I have heard it said that Lady Ada Lovelace is NOT a good role model for female programmers. Yes, she worked on 19th century prototypes of computers, but she was literally insane.

      I don't care whether Abigail is a man or a woman. I assumed he was a woman and that he was an example of a woman succeeding in spite of the statistics. If someone who possesses dangly bits wants to go under the name 'Abigail' then who am I to argue? But people will be surprised.

        Update: Rewritten to more accurately reflect the points I was actually trying to make.

        (You had to mention dangly bits, didn't you?)

        I would venture to guess that we all have our moments of crystalline inscrutability, regardless of gender, race, age, experience, or other *useless* trivia. Yet, we also have unique experiences that can benefit the whole community, if we're ready to set aside any interest in matters that really aren't our concern.

        I suppopse it's natural to be curious about Abigail's choices, but that curiosity is better handled through private /msgs, not through public discussion.

        Do you remember that recent row between a certain monk and chromatic, over disagreements regarding certain DBI techniques? I can't speak for everyone, but I felt a bit queasy when some of the commentary got personal. There may have been some legitimate discussion there, however, it got lost in the icky bits.

        If we seriously want to encourage everyone to our members, then we need to accept everyone for who they are, not what we perceive them to be. People have many reasons for making certain choices and, quite frankly, those choices aren't anyone else's business.

        Since this is the 'Net; there are many good reasons to be cautious. I don't publish my personal details for reasons I've chosen not to share. Most people respect that. I know of other monks who've done the same, presumeably for similar, though different reasons.

        Personally, I don't care how people come up with their handles. I'd rather focus on either helping them learn what little I know or learn from their skills. I want to master Perl. If I happen to learn personal details about the people that teach me, fine. But, I'm more interested in learning.

        It's human nature to be curious, however, you might have been better served to have directed your curiosity more appropriately. In this case, you should have either kept quiet (preferred, in my book) or sent private messages and seen what you could have learned.

        Now, it appears that we've (briefly, I hope) lost access to an extensive Perl resource--again. If it's a permanent loss this time, then we are poorer for the departure.

        We need to encourage all interested parties to become involved in our art and the ones related to it. We need everyone's imagination, input, and creativity.

        If you have any interest in "Star Trek," you may recall that Vulcans have a saying: "Infinite Diversity; Infinity Combinations." It's not exactly a religion, but it is a belief that all members of a society can contribute ("Each according to their gifts") and that we can only achieve our best potential when we allow all to contribute equally, regardless of their individual differences.

        You are, of course, allowed to be surprised. There are other skills that you may also wish to cultivate: tact, grace, and awareness.


        Actually there are a number of women programmers, granted not as many as men - but the number is growing. I graduated from University about four years ago... and there were a number of women pursuing the degree of CS - I even had several TAs/Profs who were female - who were excellent teachers, as well programmers.

        As in all areas of life, some people enjoy different things - no matter the gender or the area. The statistics grow and fall over the years and I'm sure will continue to change over time. As footpad has mentioned ... there are excellent female programmers here (i.e. neshura, kudra, etc). I think that the fact that Hi-Tech jobs are one of the highest paid - is effecting both genders in considering what sort of career path is they're choosing now days. Heck, I know of one person here who turned down a marketing position for an IT position due to the large growth in the field - even though they highly enjoyed marketing/advertising. Of course, they're now mixing both IT and marketing in their projects today. Scary thought, eh? Basically, I think that many fields may be traditionally more of one gender than another - but as in life, things change - nothing remains static forever.

        P.S. what did you mean exactly by.. "not many American-born women are becoming programmers.." - does that mean if I was a woman who happened to be born in another country but raised in America - that I wouldn't fit in that sentence? Or that other countries are maybe influencing the female gender to rise up and tackle Hi-Tech - while America isn't? I guess that's another question for another day...(no, I'm not saying you're racist or anything that to that effect - just curious what was meant by it)
Re: Re: Omigawd! Surprised by Reality!
by myocom (Deacon) on Jul 13, 2001 at 04:12 UTC

    I downvoted it and posted my parody not because you said anything wrong about there being few "high level" female programmers, nor for any of the related discussion, but because the subject text annoyed me.

    A public node about someone else's choice of name, and subsequent discussion about this "discovery" smacks of gossip, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    But no harm intended by my parody post; I was simply trying to make a point with it.

      No offense intended and none received. If you think what I wrote was bad, you should have been on the CB a few months ago. Malicious PM gossipers were accusing Merlyn of being a transvestite! Can you imagine? (It's not true, is it?)

      Speaking of Merlyn, where is he? I haven't seen him post in awhile. I always thought that he had the hacker ethic that Pekka Hekkonnen writes about. I mean, Merlyn is a pretty big man in the Perl world, but he took the time to hang out with guys most of whom know a lot less than he does because it was fun to talk about Perl.

      Tres cool. What if we all did Perl for 20 years? Would we all know as much as Merlyn/Tilly/Tye and yes, "Abigail."? In my case I think my gas tank would keep getting topped off and the extra Perl knowledge would run out onto the pavement.

        A transvestite? Surely you all need a life or something, if that's the rumors you come up with.

        I can only think that the source of that rumor was actually about my buddy Bill, who dressed up in a Hooters waitress uniform on a dare. He and I are both happily heterosexual (and not transvestites, except for an occasional laugh), thank you very much, not like I needed to say that or defend that.

        As for abigail, the use of a female moniker is much more an experiment with online communities than any statement about personal lifestyle, let me assure you. I have had direct conversation with abigail on this one, and I trust what I heard. From the fallout here, it appears that abigail has succeeded once again in confounding yet another online community into rethinking their stereotypes. Go abby!

        -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

Dogs on Computers
by John M. Dlugosz (Monsignor) on Jul 14, 2001 at 01:07 UTC
    Dogs are earth's most wonderful creatures. We humans were put on earth to serve them. I believe that my dachshunds would be master programmers except that their paws cannot manipulate the keyboards.
    A friend of mine has a plaque that reads something like "I only pray that I can be as good as my dog thinks I am."

    As for dogs on the computer, I came up with a doggie keyboard. It would look like a wrist-rest, being a large pad in front of the normal keyboard. Divided into 3 zones, decorated with spots, horizontal stripes, and diagonal stripes, respectivly. This appears distinct to the dog's visual system without "reading".

    Now, you teach the dog to hit one of the three areas on cue. Given a sequence of hits, that's really traversing a menu system, isn't it? I have no doubt that some dogs, such as my former Austrialian Shepard, would go beyond simply doing it as a trick and would play with it for her own enjoyment.

Log In?

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: note [id://96235]
and all is quiet...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others browsing the Monastery: (7)
As of 2018-01-17 15:51 GMT
Find Nodes?
    Voting Booth?
    How did you see in the new year?

    Results (201 votes). Check out past polls.