Bonum Certa Men Certa

On DebConf and Debian 'Bedroom Nepotism' (Connected to Canonical, Red Hat, and Google)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 23, 2024

Dame Christabel Pankhurst

Why the public must know suppressed facts (which women themselves are voicing concerns about; some men muzzle them to save face)

THERE is a difficult subject (or theme) that is especially hard for those involved to observe. They want to guard their reputation and shelve away those "past" things (either as eyewitnesses or participants).

Despite various types of threats (e.g. [1, 2]) we've continued to publish suppressed information because transparency is much needed and long overdue. Some of the same companies that use words like "diversity" are in fact facilitating something that went awry if not sinister. Some women complain about it, but they're being silenced, even threatened (we saw clear examples of those threats). Some self-censor, albeit after/under pressure.

Are women allowed to even speak in male-dominated projects? Can they only speak when their words suit men's interests? Remember that a Code of Conduct can be weaponised against courageous women, not just men. It's about protecting power, not minorities or weaker/vulnerable people.

Throughout the week this week we shall revisit abuse of sex in Free software communities. It is timely not due to "the news" (none of relevance) but various aggravations and provocations we've been witnessing (malicious trolls attacking project heads, even demanding their removal). The pioneers of women's rights - both here and elsewhere - were not perfect and some deem them "impure" for their methods. But thankfully, in most of the world gender equality exists now and women can vote (Switzerland was notoriously late to realise women too can decide or form opinions on politics). Modern feminism has been hijacked by several rogue groups (not women) and this abuse we now have is puerile - typically very harmful to women. In the case of Debian and various Free software communities (also proprietary software giants like Google) we see women reduced to "trophies" and sex objects, even escorts. Instead of advancing women's rights it stigmatises and hurts women. If women who show up at FOSS events cannot code and never coded, what will men deduce? I asked my wife (who has a Computer Science degree) about this. She doesn't disagree, but she also prefers not too talk about it. She is already being harassed by a lunatic whom she had to report to the police. "Unfortunately," a friend told me, and "ironically, it is not about helping women, even though they make a lot of the 'right' words about it. It's about power, sex, and power over sex it seems."

The diversity programmes probably need a rethink; not their existence but rather the way they're managed. They use up resources attacking people who are sceptical of what's going on - even to the point of slandering them behind their backs. This isn't going to help anyone, not even women.

The regrettable thing is, just merely bringing up the subject makes oneself a target for personal attacks and sometimes libel. We can't help but wonder how the "cabal" will attempt to suppress our publication/s of Debian stuff. They tried before and hopefully they won't even try (anymore) because sooner or later they'll realise that "Streisand Effect" is a real thing and attempting to suppress information can result in the exact opposite, i.e. even more publicity.

We fully realise there's sensitivity associated with some of the published material, but if factual errors are found, they will be corrected with an apology.

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