Ubuntu-Women needs to refocus

We need to refocus.

I like to be a part of the Ubuntu-community and especially being a part of Ubuntu-Women but lately it has become a place to shame men. It has become a group that actively drives men out of the community – men that do lots of good and hard work for Ubuntu. It has become a group that makes men afraid to joke and be themselves. We need to be a group that tries to make women stronger again.

Women being harassed should still be able to get support and comfort from us. The thing right now is that someone comes with a problem and it gets blown out of proportion big time because the silent majority does not stand up to calm down the discussion. I had a lot of talks with people on Linuxtag (you know who you are ;-)) and the impression I got was that some men get afraid to talk to women because they might end up making a joke that can be understood in a wrong way. This is hurting women because they get excluded. We are not the moral-police of the ubuntu-community. Ubuntu-Women is important and it would be a shame to end up with such a bad reputation in the community. So please really do talk to the people involved, don’t assume the worst every time, meet this people IRL or at least talk to someone who did. You often get a totally biased opinion about someone online (be it positive or negative).

So girls come on and let’s start to focus on the really important things again. Let’s get the mentoring growing. Let’s get active in packaging. Let’s start to make more women appreciate Linux. Let’s get back to making women stronger in this wonderful community.

PS: REAL jerks still need get their ass kicked 😉 and \sh is a really nice guy.

8 thoughts on “Ubuntu-Women needs to refocus”

  1. Great post, Lydia, couldn’t have said it better. I’ll try to do my best in moderation whenever I can. Was great to meet you and finally put a face on the nick. Looking forward to see you again in August!
    Now off to re-read Freenode channel guidelines

  2. Hi Lydia,

    was good to see you in Berlin, good to know, that you and some other Amaroks are settled in Karlsruhe, which is good, so we can meet for a drink and dinner at some time here (Ludwigsplatz is a nice area for crazy people like us ;))

    Thanks also for your words. It gives the right viewpoint of our problems in the community.
    The “Ubuntu Linux” community is one of the best, but what we shouldn’t forget, it’s a technical community, not a social one. We have social structures in a technical environment, yes, but we can’t solve real life social problems. Social problems can’t be solved technical.

    Hopefully see you, and the other people from Amarok, soon in Karlsruhe for a nice cup of coffee or just visit me and my GF in Au/Rhein 🙂


    Stephan aka \sh

  3. I think it’s important to separate the actions of individual women from the Ubuntu Women Project. Melissa Draper is not an Administrator of the UW Project, her actions with \sh were not encouraged by or endorsed by the UW Project. The whole thing with \sh – yes, it was spoken about extensively in #u-w, and several of us felt the personal attacks on Melissa were wrong. I won’t get into defending it here because that’s not really appropriate, but it was an issue in Ubuntu that women felt strongly about and people in channel kept coming in to talk about it. None of this was talked about on the mailing list or in our various resources elsewhere online.

    The overall message of Ubuntu Women still remains to get more women involved. We have several very committed men in the UW Project, and support from officials within Ubuntu (including recent meetings with Jono Bacon) are very important to us. We don’t want guys to feel afraid to be around women, we just ask for more respect than we’ve received in the past.

    And I think that you should have perhaps posted your concerns to the mailing list or brought it up at the IRC meeting 🙁 I stumbled upon this post by chance, and I don’t think many of the UW have seen it.

  4. “It has become a group that makes men afraid to joke and be themselves.”

    If it’s making someone think before speaking, then that’s a good thing.

    If someone needs to show explicit porn within a technical project, ask me to flash my boobs during debugging, or tell me I should be raped on a project irc channel, then i’m sorry but they really shouldn’t “be themselves” in Ubuntu. They can go elsewhere.

    If you’re not in the above category then please join in telling those jerks their behaviour is unacceptable. That’s all that is asked.

  5. @pleia2: I know you don’t want to make guys afraid. It happens nonetheless right now 🙁

    And about posting it here only: I thought people get enough mail and read the planet anyway.

    @brenda: The thing is that I and many others did not consider \sh’s posting explicit porn.
    And I’m the first to tell someone he is acting inappropriate. The thing that concerns me is the “blowing out of proportion”-part.

  6. Blowing things out of proportion is not good. But neither is it very useful to hush things up because it might make a group of people feel uncomfortable. If there is to be any change, there will *have* to be discomfort at first, with the people who have to actively change something. That’s not the fault of men, or anyone – it’s just how people work. People are only willing to change if they experience enough discomfort in how things currently are.

    Also, do men-as-a-group have more of a right to ‘not be afraid to be themselves’ than women-as-a-group?

  7. Quite honestly saying the group “has become a place to shame men” is a serious charge and something very worth an email and discussion on list. Many of us have full time jobs, are active in FOSS and don’t have time to read the Planet (myself included – I just skim for content when I can).

    And after writing my comment last night, I also realized that I wanted to say I’m somewhat insulted that you failed to recognise the work that Vid and I have been doing lately to revitalize the mentoring program, even when both of us have been buried in work elsewhere. Vid has brought up discussion on list and offered some suggestions, I’ve been writing up a course and editing the wiki. The release of Feisty threw us all off-track, but our projects are moving forward.

    Not to mention there are currently three contacts for the U-W mentoring project, you are one of them and the only one who has not done anything with it recently. Perhaps you could help out Vid and myself a bit more instead of complaining that things aren’t going anywhere?

  8. I did not complain the project is not getting anywhere – contrary I wanted to state my concern that we are on the verge of getting somewhere we should not. Instead we should again concentrate on the good things UW is doing. This has nothing to do with the good work you and Vid have been doing lately.

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