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Berners-Lee Challenges 'Stupid' Male Geek Culture 693

Posted by Zonk
from the here-here dept.
ZDOne wrote with a link to a ZDNet article discussing some comments made by Tim Berners-Lee on the discrimination women face within 'stupid male geek culture'. The respected developer expressed frustration at a culture that would 'disregard the work of capable female engineers, and put others off entering the profession.' From the article: "'It's a complex problem -- we find bias against women by women. There are bits of male geek culture and engineer culture that are stupid. They should realize that they could be alienating people who are smarter and better engineers,' said Berners-Lee. Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women."
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Berners-Lee Challenges 'Stupid' Male Geek Culture

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  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:36PM (#20700065) Homepage
    I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture. I am willing to be that most geeks feel the same way.

    You want a cease fire? Fine. start playing fair with us and we might play fair with you.

    • by ccccc (888353) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:42PM (#20700175)
      So... your premise is that the pretty, stupid female community is the same as the capable, skilled female engineer community? Does the set of "male" gets subdivided into "geek" and "non-geek" but all women just go under "women"? I'm not either female or what would be called a feminist, but come on. Someone needs to work with more women, but I guess that's probably the crux of the problem.
      • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:50PM (#20700331)
        I think his entire point is that geek culture is far from having a monopoly on stupid sexist ideas of gender roles.
        • by Lane.exe (672783) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:30PM (#20701011) Homepage
          And that some makes it excusable to be part of a sexist, patriarchal culture?

          Rather, the "intelligent" and well-educated male contingent should be taking steps that the "rest" of male culture does not; lead by example... don't follow whenever you feel the tide shifting.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            the "intelligent" and well-educated male contingent should be taking steps that the "rest" of male culture does not

            What makes you think that the rest of culture hasn't already taken that step? "women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men's wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent." http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/nyregion/03women.html?hp=&pagewanted=print [nytimes.com] Add to this that most women are promoted faster than men. (They are pa
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jazon Bladen (938809)
        The moment women stop making excuses as to why they can't make it in male-dominated professions will be the moment that women start actually succeeding in said professions.
    • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:47PM (#20700263) Homepage Journal

      I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture. I am willing to be that most geeks feel the same way.
      In both cases, the 'culture' is a set of rules that one follows - or does not. This enables a person to make predictive judgements about someone else. If you don't follow unstated rule #1 now, they can conclude with some accuracy that you will not follow rule #n later.

      For example, if you don't complement her on something that she is wearing when you first see her, she correctly concludes that you will have no future interest in a number of other silly things that are important to her. ( This, BTW, save you both a lot of heartache. Trust me on this. Go for the women that like using their brains. )

      Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cez (539085) *

        Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.


        You insensitive clod, I make stupid jokes all the time... doesn't make me any less of an engineer:


        What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?




        Where-ahs muh tractor!

        • I'm not saying that there is a cause-and-effect relationship, rather that there is a correlation. And that that correlation can be used predictively.
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:04PM (#20700599)
        > Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.

        To wit: the difference between a stupid sexist joke and a stupid geek joke is that the stupid geek joke is funny even with the genders reversed.

        An engineer, who has spent the evening out, is caught by his wife trying to sneak into his house early the next morning. Saying that he has something to confess, he tells of meeting a woman in a bar, drinking too much and winding up going home with her.

        "You shit," his wife screams, "you've been working late in the lab again!"

        Anyone who thinks that's a "sexist" joke isn't a good engineer, because they've never experienced a problem so engrossing that they'll spend all night trying to solve it. An engineer (well, one lucky enough to get the opportunity!) might feel guilty about cheating on his/her spouse... but never about spending a night at the lab!

        • by Mneme (56118) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:30PM (#20702303)

          Anyone who thinks that's a "sexist" joke isn't a good engineer, because they've never experienced a problem so engrossing that they'll spend all night trying to solve it. An engineer (well, one lucky enough to get the opportunity!) might feel guilty about cheating on his/her spouse... but never about spending a night at the lab!

          You're wrong in thinking jokes like this are completely innocuous. Sending the message that "good" engineers are the ones who'll stay all night is exactly what keeps people who value life balance out of fields like engineering. Such a culture doesn't just tend to exclude women, but also people from non-anglo cultures that value family.

          If you're a really a good engineer, perhaps you don't need to stay all night. Perhaps you can manage your time, estimate things well, or perhaps you can just solve solve the problems that take other people sixteen hours in only four. Perhaps you recognize that going out and being in the world, doing other things will give your subconscious a chance to chip away at the problem. Perhaps you realize that taking a shower and being fresh for tomorrow's big presentation is much more important than doing one more tweak to the already working prototype.

          A culture that projects a limited idea of kinds of people that might make good engineers needlessly turns away good engineers who don't fit the mold. You also risk creating a monoculture that will never even think of the best designs.

          • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:37PM (#20702479)
            > Sending the message that "good" engineers are the ones who'll stay all night is
            > exactly what keeps people who value life balance out of fields like engineering

            The word you're looking for is "capitalism".

            I'll leave it up to you to judge whether that's a good or bad thing.
          • by shaka999 (335100) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:03PM (#20703123)
            Your off base on this one. Its the difference between someone who only has a career and someone who is passionate about what they do. The joke is saying the person "WANTED" to stay in the lab all night. Not that they had too. Not that it was expected.

            I've not met a good engineer that this doesn't happen to once in a while. You get so into what your doing that you don't want to put it down. I'm a family man myself. If I'm into something I'll go home, have some dinner and play with the kids and then right when they go to bed I'm on my laptop back working. Not because I have to but because its interesting. Too bad that I haven't had a project like that for a while but someday one will come around again.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kadin2048 (468275) *

            Sending the message that "good" engineers are the ones who'll stay all night is exactly what keeps people who value life balance out of fields like engineering. Such a culture doesn't just tend to exclude women, but also people from non-anglo cultures that value family.

            The only way to do that would be to eliminate the very parts of the profession that make it meritocratic. People are respected in engineering based on the work they do. If you want to be held in greater esteem, you work harder: you try to do better work, and you try to do more of it.

            Sure, if you can do in 4 hours what other people take 10 hours to do, you'll probably be regarded as a lot better than them (and rightly so). But the second you end up next to someone who's abilities are the equal of yours and

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Sending the message that "good" engineers are the ones who'll stay all night is exactly what keeps people who value life balance out of fields like engineering. Such a culture doesn't just tend to exclude women, but also people from non-anglo cultures that value family.

            Perhaps invoking prejudices against white males isn't the most productive thing we could do in this discussion. The only people I know who worked long hours without a fight were those who had very, very good reasons to do so, including having a stake in the company or having a family to feed that they couldn't do any other way. Fighting prejudice and hostility towards other races and sexes isn't an excuse to reinforce prejudices and induce hostility towards other sexes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mbeans (1082073)

      I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture.
      Help, help, I'm being oppressed!

      Women interested in IT face a hostile environment that discourages them from participating. While I'm of the mind that they should grow thicker skin, let's be honest, they're facing a lot more obstacles than you deal with as a pasty male geek with no fashion sense.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:03PM (#20700575)
        they're facing a lot more obstacles than you deal with as a pasty male geek with no fashion sense

        Really? I'd contend that pasty female geeks with no fashion sense fit right in. The pastier and geekier the less resistance they experience.

        Its the pretty people that face the obstacles. But those are the same obstacles us pasty geeks (male and female) with no fashion sense run into when we try to get jobs that favour the beautiful people. How often do you see a pasty geek hosting a restaurant? Anchoring a news team? Modeling swimwear?

        I'm not saying its right, and I agree it should be changed, but its a bigger problem than just the 'geeks reject women'. Its that discrimination still occurs at all levels and between all segments of society.
        • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:15PM (#20700729) Homepage Journal

          How often do you see a pasty geek Modeling swimwear?

          A lot more than I would like, damn it sucks to be the only photographer for pasty geek swimwear weekly!
        • by snowgirl (978879) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:27PM (#20700973) Journal

          Really? I'd contend that pasty female geeks with no fashion sense fit right in. The pastier and geekier the less resistance they experience.


          The resistance that they experience is not actually in the IT field, I would agree that the IT field is much more open-armed for pastier and geekier women.

          However, the resistance comes from the external world. At this point in our culture, it's simply unacceptable for a female to be pasty and geeky. They face enormous discrimination and social resistance in general than they gain as a benefit by being more accepted in the IT industry.

          Example in point: The guys at my college would tease this one girl beind her back because she smelled poorly. Now, there are A LOT of guys that smelled worse than her, but to them, she was "stinky girl". They didn't call anyone else "stinky boy" or anything like that. They targetted her, for failing to sustain the essential fundamental stereotype of women in our culture... that they need to be fashion oriented, pretty, and smell wonderfully.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by SIIHP (1128921)
            "They targetted her, for failing to sustain the essential fundamental stereotype of women in our culture... "

            Or maybe it was because she stank.

            What am I saying, it must have been rampant unhindered sexism...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by v01d (122215)
            Example in point: The guys at my college would tease this one girl beind her back because she smelled poorly. Now, there are A LOT of guys that smelled worse than her, but to them, she was "stinky girl". They didn't call anyone else "stinky boy" or anything like that. They targetted her, for failing to sustain the essential fundamental stereotype of women in our culture... that they need to be fashion oriented, pretty, and smell wonderfully.

            And there's an example of my complaint. I discriminate against an
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gurps_npc (621217)
        You might have an argument abouyt women facing more obstacles than pasty male geeks IN THE WORK PLACE.

        But I never restricted it to the workplace. Nor did I insist on comparing it to Pasty male geeks. Who said I was a guy? I am saying that EVERYONE, make and female gets discriminated against. The pretty women do NOT have it bad. They get most of the perks in life.

        That is like saying, Oh, the poor white man, he can't get into the black school unless he is acdameically better than all the black men.

        Ju

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gd2shoe (747932)
          You clearly belong to a "minority group".

          Whatever you experience that you think is discrimination, most of it ISN'T. And yes, some of it is. Most of the time, just pick yourself up and realize that there are idiots in the world, and you can't fix them.

          Everyone who is genuinely discriminated against has equal right to do something about it. This is true to the degree of discrimination. To suggest otherwise is both stupid, and tears at the fabric of society.

          To borrow from your example: Two men are trying
        • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday September 21, 2007 @07:03PM (#20705449)
          "The pretty women do NOT have it bad. They get most of the perks in life.

          That is like saying, Oh, the poor white man, "


          Specious analogy. Despite what mass media would have you to believe, no woman is born beautiful, at least not in the mass-market sense. As feminists have been saying for decades, we're being sold only one particular body image for women that we define as beautiful, and the overwhelming majority of women that apparently meet that image did so only after a good deal of hard work, with the emotional (and, with the advent of plastic surgery, physical) scars to prove it.

          If they do get "most of the perks," it is not by accident of birth but by hard work. You may personally disagree with that which they dedicate their work towards (i. e. their looks rather than their mathematical skills), but it is work nonetheless.

          "Pretty women have the UNFAIR ADVANTAGE in most of the general envirionment"

          It's only unfair if most people are wholly incapable of taking advantage of it. You yourself would have access to similar perks if you, for example, looked like an underwear model. But you don't try to look like one. Heck, too many male geeks seem to have trouble trying to simply bathe regularly. But simply because you choose to focus on other aspects of your life more than your physical appearance doesn't mean that everybody is making the same value judgment as you; pretty girls don't "just happen" to be skinnier than you, rather they focus on dieting where you would focus on coding, to the same (if not greater) degree.

          Have you even so much as glanced at the beauty aid aisles in your local drug store and marveled at the bewildering array of options that a person seriously concerned with their physical appearance has to be knowledgeable about and sort through? Show me someone that has better-than-average looks and I'll show you someone with a veritable chemical weapons laboratory in their home.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by NoTheory (580275)
      An eye for an eye, and pretty soon the whole world is blind...

      I hope you see the irony in your blatantly sexism, conflating the shallow fashionistas with ALL womankind, including the non-shallow, potentially brilliant females who people like you are driving out of the industry. Just cause you've been discriminated against by someone, doesn't make it okay for you to discriminate against anyone you like!

      Way to be a negative example!
      • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:32PM (#20701063) Homepage
        1. What makes you think I am male? 2. What did you read that was at all sexist, let alone BLATANTLY sexist. 3. What makes you think I am claiming that it is OK to discrimanate agaisnt ANYONE.

        Please try to respond to what I wrote, not what your twisted, brain would prefer to think that I wrote.

        There are LOTS of women out there that are tired of being forced to wear high heels, and other crap that FASHIONISTA WOMEN (not geek men) pretty much force them to wear. Lets be honest here, geek men will hire and even date a women that has no make up, wearing ugly, comfortable shoes, just because she is smart. But moronic pretty women pretty much make it impossible for a women to get anywhere in life unless she conforms to the FASHIONISTA ideal, wearing the right clothing etc. etc.

    • by aafiske (243836)
      Your honor, I would like to present exhibit A of Male Geek Stupidity...
    • by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:21PM (#20700849) Homepage Journal
      I think I understand what you are getting at, and most people have remarked on the fact that you are perpetuating the problem with that type of attitude. However being a geek doesn't mean you can't be fashionable. I know plenty of geeks that fall into the Just Don't Care (tm) group of geeks, and don't seem to notice that a hair cut and some styling go a long way, or that freebie tshirts or polos from a tech convention are not 'nice' apparel. If someone chooses to not care then that's up to them. It may be unfair, but society does judge people on how they look.

      Geeks do the same thing, just in reverse. The larger a woman's breasts or the nicer she looks seems to imply that her intelligence has plunged proportionally. Both sides are welcome to be as extreme as they like, but there are plenty of us in the middle that try to not be so rigid in our expectations, although we all fall prey to stereotypes on occasion.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jez9999 (618189)
        Geeks do the same thing, just in reverse. The larger a woman's breasts or the nicer she looks seems to imply that her intelligence has plunged proportionally.

        Yeah, and we're right [youtube.com]. :-)

        PS. It's a joke, I'm not really that sexist.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by antifoidulus (807088)
        reebie tshirts or polos from a tech convention are not 'nice' apparel.

        Really? Maybe this is why I don't get fashion, but when I go by all those fancy clothing stores I just see what appears to be kitsch, only instead of being free kitsch it's $50 kitsch. It seems to me like the new fashion trend is to pay a lot of money to look disheveled, jeans with dirt and holes already in them, tons of clothes that seem to be just slapped together called an outfit etc. What I don't get is why someone who pays $300
  • ...he's read Slashdot, now, then?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:37PM (#20700087)
    Hey Jiggles, grab a pad and back that gorgeous butt in here.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:39PM (#20700105)
    When are we going to realize that some fields are shaped by the people they attract? How many people have sacrificed a weekend out partying to rebuild a Linux cluster? How many women want to sacrifice cute outfits to sling greasy wrenches under cars all day? I'm not saying there aren't lots of awesome women in IT (I've worked with them). Yes, there's discrimination, but in IT I chalk it all up to a field that practically demands a certain type of personality.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:41PM (#20700153)
      Don't confuse the two. There is nothing personality-wise that isn't shared by both genders.

      On the other hand, he does kind of skip over the other professions that also discriminate against women. How about the military?
      • by Nursie (632944) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:48PM (#20700291)
        Err, whilst there is nothing personality-wise that is displayed by one gender and is found nowhere in the other, there are definitely traits more common in one than the other.

        Males are more likely to take risks and indulge in competition (testosterone does that). It's just a fact of life.

        I don't know if that behaviour is linked to liklihood to be good at software/IT, but it's a perfectly valid example of a personality difference between the genders.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:52PM (#20700367) Homepage Journal
      Women who are already sacrificing to pursue a computer interest run into problem after problem.

      See the book Unlocking the Clubhouse [barnesandnoble.com] for real-life experiences of hundreds of students at the highly competitive CMU. There are many obstacles, none a deal breaker in itself, but it adds up to the death of a thousand cuts.

      CMU's CS program lost many hard-working enthusiasts, for a variety of reasons, mostly cultural.
    • by NoTheory (580275)
      How many people have sacrificed a weekend out partying to rebuild a Linux cluster? How many women want to sacrifice cute outfits to sling greasy wrenches under cars all day?

      Way to base your argument on your conclusion. The assumption that girls would rather keep their "cute outfits" clean than work on cars, is a cultural assumption. It's a cultural norm that can (and should) change (yes i'm skipping over the argument why it should change, which i'd like to think in modern society i can take for granted
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Exactly. Im getting sick of all this politically correct hand-wringing. Most geeky jobs especially IT means:

      1. Lots of time taken up by emergencies, on-call, etc.
      2. Getting down and dirty: pulling wire, moving equipment, etc
      3. Never having a typical office job.
      4. Limited opportunities for growth.

      What women would want this? Women in general are more social than men and more concerned about status and looks. IT is the worst place for them. I know women who are just chomping at the bit to leave the field beca
    • by snowgirl (978879) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:20PM (#20700835) Journal

      Yes, there's discrimination, but in IT I chalk it all up to a field that practically demands a certain type of personality.


      Does it really require a certain type of personality? I'm a very capable female computer engineer, however, due to my emotionality, and my passive nature, I get stomped on at work, and treated extremely poorly.

      The one other female in our group (of 20-30 people) doesn't really see any discrimination against us, but she's quite a bit of a tomboy, and she's willing to tell people to just shut up, and take a back seat. When I do that, I'm told by my boss that I'm demanding. When I explain failures and root causes, I'm told that I'm blaming.

      While it's true that the IT culture is primarily based around the idea of Asperger's Syndrome being the ideal engineer, it should not discriminate against people who do not hold to that ideal, while still being very capable, and intelligent people. Just because someone doesn't work the way you're expecting them to work, doesn't mean that you should tell them that they don't deserve to be there.
      • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:32PM (#20702339)
        I'm not saying you're not good at what you do, but this is -exactly- what I hear from people (both genders) that aren't good at their jobs. 'They don't appreciate how good I am.' ... Yeah, because they're NOT.

        The best results are not found by being overly shy or overly forward. There's a middle ground that has to be found and stayed in. You really think people don't call your friend a bitch behind her back? Your really think a guy doing the same doesn't get called an asshole? Maybe the asshole gets it said to his face, but that's because guys are trained not to hit girls, and calling someone names to their face is a great start for a fistfight. You'd best be prepared to swing if you do it.

        I'm a shy person, too. I get the respect I deserve by fixing things nobody else is able to. I just sit there quietly and do my job. When I've got a solution, I do it or speak up so someone else can. You'll never hear me say 'X didn't set Y up properly, so it broke.' Instead, you'll get 'Y wasn't working, and I fixed it. It should be okay now.' There's a huge difference between explaining the problem and assigning blame.

        -Everyone- in IT has to prove themselves. Women think they are being treated different and they aren't. They start with the same onus everyone else does. It's what you do from there that matters. If you get emotional about it, you'll make a huge scene and get yelled at. If you quietly do your job (or loudly do it, for that matter) and do a good job, you'll get the respect you deserve. It's that simple. I've been at this company for 2 years and they are still learning what I'm capable of. Simply holding out a resume doesn't mean anyone believes a single word on it. You have to prove the knowledge.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snowgirl (978879) *
          Your post greatly demonstrates exactly the sort of innate biased that is in the IT industry.

          I am a great programmer, and I've debugged and solved the craziest of issues. My boss hasn't fired me precisely because I'm such a valuable asset. Just he has an issue with how I go about solving problems, and working.

          I don't work huddled in my office fixing stuff. When there is a problem, I raise it up, and see if someone else is more qualified to take the issue on. This worked great in Open Source, where I was
          • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday September 21, 2007 @08:52PM (#20706605)
            That's funny, I'm the most proactive developer this company has ever had, and I've been thanked for it more than once, including during reviews for raises. I'm the one with bias? You assumed a great many things about me without knowing anything about me.

            Your problem is not that you're female, you even said it yourself: It's how you go about fixing things. Maybe if you did what you boss wants, instead of what you want, you'd be more appreciated. People do work in different ways, and if you can't work the way your boss wants you too, you aren't doing the job he wants. It doesn't matter how 'efficient' you are, or how much you do. If your boss isn't happy, he isn't happy! If you want raises and recognition, keep the boss happy.

            If you can't work like they want, you can't do the job they want. You've made the mistake of thinking your job is something other than the company does. It's not. Forget all that crap that was on the paper you signed. Forget whatever they told you on the first day, forget whatever they told you in school. Your job is to make your boss, and the company, happy. Until you understand that you will continue to be underpaid and 'underappreciated'.

            If you can find an office that only cares about getting the job done, and not how... Go there. You'll be a hell of a lot happier. But those places are few and far between, and if you DO find one, pray that there's no management changes.

            This is the real world. People pay for what they want, not what you want to give them. It doesn't matter that it's better for them, or that you can save them a ton of money. If you don't give them what they want, they won't be happy. Feel free to give them more, but do it in the way they want.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by h4ck7h3p14n37 (926070)

            What's your rapport with the other people you work with? I'm wondering if the other female you referred to makes an effort to be "one of the guys" and is thus accepted into the group more than you perhaps are.

            Part of being a male is abusing your male companions. We punch each other in the shoulder, use obscene names and belittle for the silliest reasons. We think it's funny when someone gets (mildly) hurt. Men tolerate this from their friends because it's part of belonging to the group; they do not t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xeno-cat (147219)
        "[...] doesn't mean that you should tell them that they don't deserve to be there."

        Nobody is saying that females do not deserve to be in IT. What is being said is that males should change so that females feel more welcome. I'm not really inclined to agree to this however. I think you could learn a lot from your co-worker. It sounds like she has met the men at least half way.

        If you are branded as a complainer it is probably because your approach to raising issues is not all that great. It's something I
  • by radarjd (931774) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:39PM (#20700123)
    Wow, the article has basically no more information than the summary. It doesn't tell us what "stupid male geek culture" is, or what the objectionable elements of it are. It's hard to have more than an emotional reply when the article contains so little description of what is actually wrong...
    • The author of that article has apparently never taken a journalism class. Reading that article, I don't know when he said it, why he said it, in what context it appeared, or even whether it was printed or spoken. Furthermore, the author doesn't clarify what Tim means by "stupid" at all, or provide any examples. You could illustrate it with two bullet points:

      • Tim thinks geeks are stupid
      • Girl-on-girl action

      I have all sorts of things I could say about the subject of women in technology and discrimination,

  • by dctoastman (995251) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:40PM (#20700139) Homepage
    "which could lead to greater harmony of systems design"

    Being male or female neither enables nor disables the ability to create harmonious systems.
  • Dumb article (Score:4, Informative)

    by StarvingSE (875139) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:44PM (#20700203)
    The very short article consisted of Berners-Lee saying that male geeks act stupid, and that causes women to not want to enter the field. It would be nice to have some examples of this so-called stupid behavior. You're always going to have idiots, both male and female. I don't think this is the rule.

    I work as a software developer, and being male I am the minority. We have 3 men and 7 women on my team, and none of us act stupid. I would say most teams here have at least 50% women.

    This sounds like ranting that has no factual basis what-so-ever. Don't bother reading the article, it contains no more info than what is contained in the summary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I think that depends on where you work to a great extent. At my employer, I'm one of only two female programmers in the company. It's been like that pretty much everywhere I've seen.

    • Re:Dumb article (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GeckoX (259575) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:25PM (#20700937)
      True that the article basically doesn't exist.

      Nice that your experience is not the norm.

      However, the [non-existent] article does indicate some fairly widespread truths. I personally haven't experienced that at any company I've worked for...but I think that is because most programming and IT work is actually done as part of the bigger picture, part of a company that has lots of departments and areas where there is not such typical gender isolation.

      Saying that though...ever been through your typical game company? I've spent a fair bit of time at a couple...and Oh My God. Sorry, but the stereotype is completely accurate, if not greatly understated. You do NOT want to be a woman there unless your skin is VERY thick. It's disgusting really.

      But wait! Don't freak on me yet as I know some want to...

      It's not limited to IT at all. It's been around a lot longer than that. Construction? Factory work? Armed forces? On and on and on. When men spend most of their time isolated with other men, they develop environments that are not very friendly towards women all too often. There is nothing special about 'male geeks acting stupid', men in general do just fine on that front across the board.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by snowgirl (978879) *

      The very short article consisted of Berners-Lee saying that male geeks act stupid, and that causes women to not want to enter the field. It would be nice to have some examples of this so-called stupid behavior. You're always going to have idiots, both male and female. I don't think this is the rule.

      I work as a software developer, and being male I am the minority. We have 3 men and 7 women on my team, and none of us act stupid. I would say most teams here have at least 50% women.

      You just supplied evidence th

    • by king-manic (409855) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:41PM (#20701211)

      The very short article consisted of Berners-Lee saying that male geeks act stupid, and that causes women to not want to enter the field. It would be nice to have some examples of this so-called stupid behavior.
      Stupid male ideas that may repel Women from our industry:

      1- Women who speak to me for more then a minute must want to date me.
      2- If I know more then you in X I must be better then you in every way.
      3- Flavor X of utility type Y is the best ever. All else is heresy.
      4- 512 gigs of porn is a reasonable item to leave on the public network drive.
      5- 80h work weeks is both sane and healthy.
      6- Failure to do 80h works weeks is a sign of insufficient work ethic. No matter how much more you actually do during your piddly 40h week.
      7- coding skills is directly proportional to Penis size. Penis size is directly proportional to Geek pedantry skills. full implications in both directions.
      8- FPS skills are integral for all IT work.
      9- Periods induce insanity.
      10- If a male manager/supervisor is mad at me I must have screwed up. If a female manager is mad at me it's PMS.

      Serious note: I think IT has fewer women because they aren't' encouraged to come into related fields and little more then that. They are taught to value things that most IT jobs would contradict.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ranton (36917)
        9- Periods induce insanity.

        How is this a stupid male idea? It is quite common for my wife to come to me the day after her period and apologize for being insane for the past few days. Sometimes she even comes to her senses sooner and apologizes in the middle of an argument for acting insane because its that time of the month.

        Any man who doesnt give a woman on her period a little space sometimes is just asking for a problem. I would say a better stupid male idea would be:

        9) Why should I have to give a woma
      • Re:Dumb article (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Deadplant (212273) on Friday September 21, 2007 @08:06PM (#20706151)

        1- Women who speak to me for more then a minute must want to date me.
        date? I think you meant 'have sex with'. Trust me, guys don't fantasize about dating.

        2- If I know more then you in X I must be better then you in every way.
        I think you meant '...better than you in every way.'
        This is perfectly natural behaviour for a man. I will assume that I am superior and will take charge right away. Any evidence that corroborates this assumption will quickly solidify my position. If you disagree then it is up to you to challenge me.

        3- Flavor X of utility type Y is the best ever. All else is heresy.
        ...and?
        I use vim; see item 2.

        4- 512 gigs of porn is a reasonable item to leave on the public network drive.
        I like boobies... what what the question again?

        5- 80h work weeks is both sane and healthy.
        6- Failure to do 80h works weeks is a sign of insufficient work ethic. No matter how much more you actually do during your piddly 40h week.
        It has nothing to do with my (the figurative me) opinion of your work ethic. Work ethics are for suits and grunts. The problem is that you are failing to show that you are obsessed with computers. You may even be subtly challenging my supremacy by hinting that you have a life outside of IT while I do not.
        I secretly wish I had that life and will therefore attack you for bringing attention to this.

        7- coding skills is directly proportional to Penis size. Penis size is directly proportional to Geek pedantry skills. full implications in both directions.
        no no no, coding skills and penis size are both accepted metrics for determining our ranking. Fortunately for women working in IT coding skills are the primary metric so you actually have a chance of competing effectively.

        8- FPS skills are integral for all IT work.
        First person shooters are just one of many ways to measure your computer skills. In this case we are only measuring your skill at operating the tools. Knowing what to do with the tools is most important (see item 7) however an adeptness at handling the tools is also a consideration.

        9- Periods induce insanity.
        There are a great many things in this life that may induce insanity. Yes, menstruation is one of them.
        Fortunately women only menstruate approximately once per month. Us poor men are saddled with more constant insanity inducing biological quirks. For example, simply catching a glimpse of a well-formed pair of breasts can instantly wipe our short-term memory and cause a temporary double-digit drop in our IQ plus all sorts of almost random insanity.

        10- If a male manager/supervisor is mad at me I must have screwed up. If a female manager is mad at me it's PMS.
        No, if a male manager is mad at me then he is an asshole. If a female manager is mad at me it is PMS.
        This has nothing at all to do with the 'real world'. I am going to defend my position in the pecking order whether or not I have any valid arguments.

        ...no, I am not being serious.

        Now; it is 8pm on a friday night so I am going to play some LAN games then reboot into linux and then get back to work. (seriously)
        I now declare myself winnar of this thread!!
        Bow down before your geeky overlord!

  • Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by faloi (738831) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:44PM (#20700217)
    I'm willing to bet that people working in high tech fields without a four-year (or more) degree face more discrimination than women with a four year degree any day. The playing field isn't about who can actually get the work done these days, at least not everywhere.

    That doesn't make either right, obviously.
  • i'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:45PM (#20700225) Homepage
    Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women.

    I don't get it. is the task of writing papers inherently biased against women?
    • OK here it is: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lawpoop (604919)
      Alright, I found it. There's has been several studies that suggest that research papers and CVs are ranked lower when they are attached to a woman's name than to a man's:

      Not surprisingly, girls at single-sex schools study physical science and math more than in comparable coed schools, "even though girls' schools frequently have less adequate laboratory provision than mixed schools" [Kelly 1982, page 497]
      Even more ominously, [Sandler 1986, page 6] reports:

      In one study, first done in 1968 and then replicated in 1983, college students were asked to rate identical articles according to specific criteria. The authors' names attached to the articles were clearly male or female, but were reversed for each group of raters: what one group thought had been written by a male, the second group thought had been written by a female, and vice versa. Articles supposedly written by women were consistently ranked lower than when the very same articles were thought to have been written by a male [Goldberg 1968, Paludi et al 1985, Paludi et al 1983]. In a similar study, department chairs were asked to make hypothetical hiring decisions and to assign faculty rank on the basis of vita. For vitae with male names, chairs recommended the rank of associate professor; however, the identical vita with a female name merited only the rank of assistant professor [Fidell 1975].

      Anti-female bias is strongest in traditionally male fields [Top 1991, pages 96-97].

      Link. [mills.edu]

      So if you are submitting a paper for publication to a journal, your peers are likely to think less highly of it if the name on it is female rather than male. That's the bias against women in scientific papers, provided that the department chairs and college students in the study act like peer-reviewers for scientific journals.

  • Score! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by businessnerd (1009815) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:45PM (#20700231)
    He's just saying that cause he wants to score. Geeks have a hard time meeting women on their terms. He just wants to turn it around so that they meet on "geek terms".
  • I read TFA. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:47PM (#20700279)

    According to Berners-Lee, a culture exists where women can be put off a career in technology both by "stupid" behaviour by some male "geeks", and by the reactions of other women.

    This is news? A fairly closed off and socially inept social subgroup can turn off normal people from wanting to be a part of it?

    Where are the tears for average guys looking to educate themselves receiving derision from holier-than-thou geeks? This isn't so much a gender issue as it is a problem endemic to geek culture: Perceived superiority due to an established knowledge base. You see the same behavior from informed body-builders, laughing at skinny people who express an interest in exercise but don't know where to start.
  • Men and women (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:47PM (#20700285) Homepage Journal
    This is a fearsomely difficult and touchy topic... for what it's worth, here's what I believe.

    There is meaningful bias against females in parts of tech culture. There is also meaningful bias against geeks in parts of female culture, as gurps_npc notes. Doesn't excuse either bias. Gets into philosophical hierarchy/expectation/etc issues I suppose.

    Some of the worst cases of anti-female bias I've seen have been driven by other females. I'm not sure what that means.

    Men and women are socialized significantly differently.

    Men and women are biologically different. There is meaningful evidence that men are simply drawn more strongly to technology (I'll phrase it in terms of interest, rather than aptitude, but that's another variable we should consider). Since men and women *are* different, we shouldn't necessarily expect males and females to be present in equal numbers in technology fields. But we shouldn't use sex differences as an excuse for anti-female biases.

    We'd all benefit if participation in tech fields (as well as the rest of society) was wholly meritocratic. It's definitely not right now. I believe females do tend to get unfairly marginalized by some parts of tech culture.

    I thought this [fsu.edu] was an interesting take on sex differences, which could perhaps be applied to explore differences of participation in technology fields.
  • ... she said you can have your balls back now. :)
  • by Jaysyn (203771)
    .... the female telecom engineers I work with are on a whole, worse & sloppier than the male engineers.
  • by Anonymous Female (17974) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:53PM (#20700391)
    I work for a fortune 100 company as a software engineer and I face this discrimination all the time. I frequently get this vibe from my male co-workers that they don't take what I say seriously. And then when I do great work, they all try to get their hand in the pot and take credit for things I did, which frustrates me to no end. A male co-worker actually got a promotion which seemed to me (from the little congratulations email went out describing all his wonderful accomplishments), mostly based on MY work. And did I get a promotion? Nope. And when I do, I'll still be at a lower level than most because my raise will be based on a percentage of what I currently make which apparently was pretty low compared to my male counterparts.

    And then there's this whole thing all women have to deal with at work that being aggressive = bitch. And I feel like whenever I try to get other people's names detached from my work, my bosses don't take it seriously and have even gone as far to joke about it infront of other people!

    And whenever I come to work dressed somewhat fashionably I get weird comments, not compliments, they are actually making fun of me I think. What the heck is that about. Sorry I'm not wearing wrinkled khakis and a wrinkled blue dress shirt like the rest of you slobs (we're corporate so don't do the jeans/t-shirts thing).

    Yeah so the other day I was talking to a female in marketing at my company asking her what it's like there cause it's really not cool in IT.
    • by Tanuki64 (989726)

      I work for a fortune 100 company as a software engineer and I face this discrimination all the time. I frequently get this vibe from my male co-workers that they don't take what I say seriously. And then when I do great work, they all try to get their hand in the pot and take credit for things I did, which frustrates me to no end. A male co-worker actually got a promotion which seemed to me (from the little congratulations email went out describing all his wonderful accomplishments), mostly based on MY work

    • by Rycross (836649) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:22PM (#20700865)

      I work for a fortune 100 company as a software engineer and I face this discrimination all the time. I frequently get this vibe from my male co-workers that they don't take what I say seriously.

      Join the club. I get the same feeling. But is it just paranoia? Do you know why or do you just assume its because you're a woman? We have many women at my work place, and they are treated the same as male coworkers. In my case, its because of who I was associate with, my initial work at the company, and my relative lack of experience. Plus I talked too much and listened too little. If you think you're hot shit and show it, then likely people aren't going to take you seriously, male or female.

      And then when I do great work, they all try to get their hand in the pot and take credit for things I did, which frustrates me to no end. A male co-worker actually got a promotion which seemed to me (from the little congratulations email went out describing all his wonderful accomplishments), mostly based on MY work. And did I get a promotion? Nope. And when I do, I'll still be at a lower level than most because my raise will be based on a percentage of what I currently make which apparently was pretty low compared to my male counterparts.

      Welcome to the reality of office politics. This happens to men just as much. Opportunists will take advantage of your work to promote themselves. They're in every office, and you have to deal with it. Happens in my office, and in pretty much every large group I've been in. Its not a male or female thing. Why should you be any different than the males that don't get credit for their work?

      And then there's this whole thing all women have to deal with at work that being aggressive = bitch. And I feel like whenever I try to get other people's names detached from my work, my bosses don't take it seriously and have even gone as far to joke about it infront of other people!

      Doing something like that is very hard to do without comming across like a snob, whether you're male or female. I've done the same thing, and its come across very poorly. You have to be political. What you've told me here is not indicative of a sex thing.

      Furthermore, could it be that they actually did help on it, and you're trying to remove credit from them?

      And whenever I come to work dressed somewhat fashionably I get weird comments, not compliments, they are actually making fun of me I think. What the heck is that about. Sorry I'm not wearing wrinkled khakis and a wrinkled blue dress shirt like the rest of you slobs (we're corporate so don't do the jeans/t-shirts thing).

      If I came to work wearing a suit and tie I'd get wierd comments to. People would either think I was looking for a job on the side, or they'd joke around with me about it. Why do you assume they're making fun of you? And if they are "making fun of you," why do you assume its malicious instead of gentle ribbing?

      Yeah so the other day I was talking to a female in marketing at my company asking her what it's like there cause it's really not cool in IT.

      I haven't seen any women at my office have problems. They're all very cool and part of the team. But they also know how to be political, and recognize the political games for what they are instead of sexism. They don't get defensive when people rib them, and they give ribbings back. They don't automatically assume sexism.

      Now, I don't know anything about you, or your work environment, so I may be talking out of my ass. But the fact of the matter is that your post seems to indicate that you expect a certain behavior and if you don't get that, you assume sexism. Maybe its really just the culture not matching your expectations? You can't expect the office to revolve around you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RealAlaskan (576404)
      And did I get a promotion? Nope. And when I do, I'll still be at a lower level than most ...

      And there you have it in a nut shell. But it may not be exactly what you think.

      I recall that at Purdue, they went through one of the periodic sensitivity manias, and found that male profs were getting more money on average than female, and female profs were, on average, remaining at the associate (pre-tenure) level longer than males (this caused the first finding, of course).

      The reason for this was not discrim

  • So how do we quantify "stupid"? Knowing most of the dialogue to Holy Grail?
  • "Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women"

    This idea of interview based only on the number of papers published is more likely to overlook qualified and talented people, not from some "gender bias" that sees fewer women getting published, but because it creates a bias that seeks quantity over quality.

    Just because some hack spun a
  • Berners-Lee said that a culture that avoided alienating women would attract more female programmers, which could lead to greater harmony of systems design. "If there were more women involved we could move towards interoperability. We have to change at every level," he said.

    That seems like an awfully stereotypical and biased view of female programmers on the part of Tim Berners-Lee.

  • by Gybrwe666 (1007849) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:56PM (#20700445)
    Seems to me, having been an IT director in the past, that the "bias" we see in IT has more to do with deeper cultural issues than anything specific to the IT industry, and could be applied to many hands-on fields, and even to your average corporation and management selection.

    Our built-in selection criteria for "better" IT employees, which is cultural and psychological, is related to several factors. Dedication being one of the major ones that I used to look for. Because IT employees generally are exposed to so many concepts, ideas, and a breadth of knowledge that can be staggering, men, who are more likely (from a cultural and possibly genetic standpoint) to be willing to dedicate higher percentages of their lives to immersion in the culture end up being better employees. This isn't specific to the IT industry.

    It also strikes me that being "adventurous" is definitely a plus in IT. The willingness to figure things out, to go way beyond the required knowledge, is something that lends itself to the male-stereotype of being adventurous and exploring. My old *nix admin used to "explore", by which I mean he build image after image, broke things, changed things, generally just messed with crap to see how it worked. This is a trait more in line with male psychology than female.

    As someone who's responsibilities included help desk support, I was always looking for good female employees. Abusive users were far less likely to get beligerent with a woman than a man, and the problem I always faced was finding women with the skills, attitude and abilities to be a part of our group. We were a meritocracy. I had 11 people running an ISP, and there was no room for people who couldn't produce, who couldn't keep up, or needed to be directed. I never hired for experience (one of my best finds was a manager at a gas station who didn't own a computer the day he started; a month later he had build his own linux system (hardware and OS) from the ground up. I also had a woman who eventually became my help desk manager, as she was willing to learn, taught herself HTML, etc. She was good with customers and didn't have to be hand-held or babied.

    While I understand what TBL was saying about publication issues, I think that the underlying factors in IT gender-bias are as much cultural and applicable to many industries, rather than just IT.

    Bill
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:56PM (#20700451) Homepage
    I don't think they need men or other people to make excuses for them. Women honestly interested in IT and have skills will make it. How about we work to remove the males from IT who don't have the skills to really be there.
  • There isn't a job field of any size that does not have its own culture and a tendency to make those who don't fit the culture feel like outsiders (regardless of their ability to perform the job). It may not be right, but it is human.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:03PM (#20700581) Journal
    I am not your typical Male Chauvinistic Pig and I consider myself quite broad minded. (cut out the snickers, boys, it is not that kind of broad). It is reasonable to expect equal treatment, and equal opportunities in all fields. But it is unreasonable to expect equal outcome.

    Men and women are completely different in behavior. First realize that 80% of our ancestors collectively are women. Yes, 40% of males who ever lived died without producing an offspring. The Y chromosomes that survive today did so by using completely different strategy than the X chromosomes. No matter how successful, attractive, dominant, creative a woman is, she can't produce more than 5 or 10 offspring in her lifetime. Very dominant men typically marry more than one wife and produce easily more children. What it means, statistically is, the subdominant Y chromosome does not get to breed.

    Upshot of it is, that Y chormosome takes more risk, it produces more variation. On both ends of the spectrum. It produces brilliant mathematicians and horrible criminals. TBL should ponder on the fact that 85% of our prison population and 85% of the combat troops are also men. XYs form shallow relationships over a very wide network. XXs form very intense relationships in a much smaller network. Men went out in expeditions and ships and joined the armies and 40% of them died without ever producing an offspring. Men form groups and their hostility is directed outside the group. Females form small cliques and their hostility is directed to other members of the clique. The X chromosome does not have to take that much risk to realize much of the potential maximum of 5 or 10 offspring.

    So TBL might rave against unfairly denying opportunities to women or discrimination. But to expect 50% of the nerds to be women, it ain't gonna happen. Much as I would like my daughter to be a scientist or a programmer, she is likely to end up as an academic in a soft science.

    • by Cafe Alpha (891670) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:06PM (#20701655) Journal
      You've got it wrong. The difference is almost a secret but it is known.

      Talk to women who've taken testosterone in order to become trans-men. They take higher than natural doses in order to create the physical changes quickly and they find out that:

      Testosterone is a strongly psychotropic hormone. Women who take it not only find themselves having an pornographic imagination (compared with what they were used to), but they find that heightened visual thinking makes mathematics and physics easier.

      They also find that they start having the same emotional and social problems as men. I remember listening to this trans-woman talk about how testosterone turned her from a cool dyke into a very uncool male geek who couldn't help offending women by watching them too closely. But she got a degree in physics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lawpoop (604919)

      Yes, 40% of males who ever lived died without producing an offspring.

      A small off-topic nit-pick: It's probably not true that 40% of males never produced an offspring; rather, some portions of 40% of men didn't have offspring who are represented in the population today.

      So, take a trip into this though experiment -- it's 12,000 years ago. Humanity lives in tribes. Yes, bigmen ( and that is a technical term in anthropology ) can afford 2 or 3 wives, but they have trouble taking care of them and all of their offspring, and also making sure that their 15-year-old brides aren't

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:37PM (#20701149)
    But that's because... I've barely seen any.

    There were a million programs at my school to attract women to CS - They have their own special program as part of the college, study groups, sorority, scholarships, special counselors, whatever. There were still only ever one or two in a given class.

    I don't think any women applied for my current job when it opened.

    At my last job, I worked with two women programmers - one was competent and taken completely seriously by the team. The other my supervisor (also a woman) admitted to me was a worse programmer after years of experience than I was after a semester of interning. But even she was taken as seriously as she presented herself.

    I'm sure the bias exists in some people.. but for the most part I don't this massive group of women wanting to go into IT and being pushed out of it by chauvinist guys. The schools are practically begging women to sign up.

    I see a lot more women who just plain aren't interested in computers and never were. I know one who started in CS but was't really into it, and wanted to hang out with more girls and less nerdy guys (although the same girl married a CS grad - go figure).

    And this at a school where the engineering department in general at least has a decent-sized minority of women in it.

    I think CS still has a very large "hacker" or "hobbyist" culture associated with it - my wife admits to being intimidated by how much the other freshman knew when she first started - she wasn't sure she belonged not because anyone treated her poorly, but just because they knew so much more than she did at first. Most guys going into CS started building systems when they were in high school. Most girls... never did that.
  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:09PM (#20701711) Homepage
    ....and transitioning from male to female in the IT industry, I know what Tim's talking about. It's true. Women are treated differently in IT. It's only a big surprise to male IT workers.

    One academic went through a sex change, submitted the same papers under both identities, and found that papers were accepted from a man but were rejected when they came from a woman, said the web inventor.
    I believe what you know is a lessor factor in the overall picture of your peers' rating of your qualifications or abilities. I've come to think of it as a rating system that managers and co-workers unconsciously use when forming an opinion about you. The rating system merges a set of attributes, which are sorted from high to low, that produce a value between great, good, average, mediocre, and poor. Here are some of the attributes I can think of.
    1. You are male
    2. You are aggressive and proactive
    3. You speak loudly, clearly, and fluently
    4. You speak and offer your suggestions without prompting
    5. You bring a previously unmentioned idea or approach to the conversation
    6. You only need to be told something once
    7. Your last project was successful
    8. You are unwavering in your opinion or suggestion
    9. You can recover from mistakes gracefully and tactfully
    10. You are not a whipping boy
    11. You have previous work credentials
    12. You have academic credentials
    The more of those attributes you have and the more that are lower numbers, the higher your perceived value is going to be.

  • by scottsk (781208) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:21PM (#20702063) Homepage

    I am not sure about the premise here. Do real programmers, the hackers in the old sense, like the "geek culture" of today? I can't say that I like it, or even pay attention to it. Geeks seem to be more into buying gadgets as soon as they come out and playing games than actually using and understanding software design and computer science the way the real hackers of old did. Do modern geeks produce anything like Emacs, LISP, UNIX, etc? Or do they just buy products? (I'm not sure exactly what the definition of "stupid" is, anyway.) If this is true, then even getting rid of male geek culture probably wouldn't increase the total number of programmers, since they are not contributing towards it in the first place. Maybe I don't know what a geek is. Do the creators of Linux, Python, Ruby, etc (where the real innovation is) call themselves geeks?

    And wouldn't it be a survival mechanism to alienate people smarter than you so they don't compete in your arena? Sounds like survival of the fittest at work.

  • Geek Culture (Score:4, Interesting)

    by localman (111171) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:53PM (#20702869) Homepage
    I'm a geek, sure. And I can fit in geek culture. But what bothers me about it is that it is so ridiculously exclusive. If someone doesn't get a certain class of jokes or references, they are quickly labeled and outsider. Maybe it's some kind of retribution for what geeks perceived as being excluded in school? Whatever it is, it sucks. Surrounding yourself with only one type of person is a great way to get your head completely up your ass.

    As to females in tech -- they are few and far between for sure. When I managed a development team, I got almost no resumes from females. But interestingly, the few that I interviewed were particularly good. Specifically, I'd say that 3 out of 4 tech males don't know what the hell they're talking about. But it's only 1 out of 5 tech females are similarly clueless. I suppose the rude exclusivity pushes all but the very best into another field.

    I also notice that generally speaking, tech ladies survive _in_spite_ of the culture, not because they find a way to fit in. Which is an unfortunate way to have to live. But the friction is not so much because they're female, but because they don't fit in with the other aspects of geek culture, and as I mentioned earlier, geek culture is overly exclusive.

    I think there are different natural tendencies for women and men, and I think that even without any culture problems there would probably be fewer tech ladies than tech guys. But I think the ratio we see today is way off from that, and everyone would benefit if geek culture was a little more open to different types of people.

    Cheers.

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