On 2016-09-17 at 09:05:00 +0100, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>  correct.  one of the things that i love about free software is that
> most people are completely anonymous behind a wall of plain text.  we
> don't give a fuck about people's gender, or race, or age, or size, or
> any other fuckwit politically bullshit-orientated delusionary
> attitudes.

this, sadly, it not true, except maybe for a few very specific cases.

Humans are extremely good at getting hints that help put people in
specific bins, and they can often do so even from just written texts:
the most obvious think is finding out people's gender from their name
(and these days working from a pseudonim that is not connected to your
legal name is much rarer than it used to be), but you can also get hints
about nationality (or at least native language, for people for whom
english is a second language) and ethnicity from the errors (in the
former case) and the non-standard usages (in the latter), and of course
people of different generations do use different expressions.

Of course these hints have an even bigger failure rate than the ones
available in-person, but they still work in enough cases that they keep
being reinforced.

One big problem with this is that it mostly happens at an instinctive
level, so people may *honestly* believe that they aren't doing any
discrimination, and that they are giving everybody the same chances.

> if you have the self belief to step forward onto a public
> mailing list and can speak with a rational and clear voice, 

and this already requires a higher effort from about half of humanity who
for centuries has been trained from a very young age that stepping
forward in public is something that they are not supposed to do.

Note that I don't believe that a free software community can do anything
to solve *this* problem, it's just something that I believe it's worth
remembering.

-- 
Elena ``of Valhalla''

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