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18 May 2016 @ 06:09 am
Important question  
Thinking about inclusion

Thanx to [personal profile] arlie
markbernsteinmarkbernstein on May 18th, 2016 02:05 pm (UTC)
The problem I have with this, and this may be my own filters in play, is that it seems to imply that only white males can be nerds or geeks. Which I know is not true. Female nerds and nerds of color exist. But they have both commonalities and differences with the white male nerd community, simply because their experiences growing up differed. And it can take some work, and sometimes discomfort, to focus on the commonalities and develop mutual respect and communication.

(Here I speak as someone who still serves on concoms, and applauds efforts to improve diversity at cons. Detcon One was praised, and, I believe, rightfully so, for its work in this area.)
eub on May 19th, 2016 07:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure if the author has literally not met e.g. female nerds, or is defining them differently in some way, but there sure seemed to be a disjunction set up there. In general I was unclear on what "nerd" meant to the writer. I mean, I'm a geek/nerd/whatever, but the essay was about rather different experience than mine.

Possibly the writer was making/assuming the point Mark says, that the female geek experience has significant non-overlap with the male geek experience -- but expressed that as 'the (male) geek experience' and 'something else'.

I would really encourage exploration of what the mechanism of incompatibility might be between an environment that's friendly to nerds-like-the-author and one that's friendly to women or to non-white people. It's worth some effort to be compatible. I think we'll all be much happier around here if we never have to even take a ten-foot pole to the ethical status of "If so, people who care are welcome to form organizations that will be more successful at recruiting these people. But I'm not going to participate, either as an organizer or (if I can help it) as a fellow employee."
Arlie Stephensertla on May 24th, 2016 06:29 pm (UTC)
I was in part using "nerd" as a disability neutral term for "noticeably on the autistic spectrum", but mostly for the kind of child who is introverted, enjoys reading and schoolwork, and is a complete fail at popularity contests and similar. An "engineering geek" is one of the more successful adult forms of such a child, and can be found focussed on code, disliking meetings, possibly vaguely contemptuous of managers, and uncertain whether salespeople, politicians, etc. are even members of the same species as them. Their idea of a fun social event probably involves a tech museum, or a hackathon, or maybe a science fiction convention.
eub on May 19th, 2016 08:03 am (UTC)
This bit -- "Promotion was blocked because I gave honest feedback, believing that e.g. the purpose of a code review was to find problems with code, and clearly communicate them." -- is that being identified as core nerdiness?

This shape of story usually signals (and I'll admit I don't know this for sure in a particular case) that the teller made a self-righteous justification to the other party in an interaction, of why his behavior is objectively right and it's irrelevant whether it works for both parties. A direct and literal communication style I do see as part of the geek 'platform', and that is not what I'm talking about. It's the meta point, a justification of one's communication style as objectively correct --

-- Oh, hell, I was writing that this self-justification move isn't a central element of geekiness, but who am I kidding, it is pretty common. Though not essential. And yes, I think it's more frequently found in men because they're likely to get away with it several steps further. Where the man isn't promoted, the woman goes onto a firing plan for being a hostile bitch.

Edited at 2016-05-19 08:08 am (UTC)
Arlie Stephensertla on May 24th, 2016 06:33 pm (UTC)
The key nerdy element is that nerds tend to assume that things they are told are literally true, and non-nerds tend to assume that the communication style, non-verbal indicators, etc. carry the most important message, and frequently totally negate whatever was actually said.

Arlie Stephensertla on May 24th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
The author of the original post is a female nerd.

Folks on livejournal who wish to comment on the original post can do it at http://ertla.livejournal.com/322077.html