Social Engineering
Subject:   Good to recognize this role...
Date:   2007-09-18 15:03:59
From:   lhawthorn
Response to: Good to recognize this role...

Thank you for your comments. A few thoughts in response:

"But women aren't the same as men. Do you really want to be the same? Is sameness the optimal outcome?"

Actually, I do think that sameness is the implied optimal outcome of group dynamics. To be clear, I am not suggesting that everyone ought to be a carbon copy of others in whatever group they participate. That said, for all of our desires to express and embrace our indvidualism, it's human nature to come together in groups to socialize, have our perceptions and experiences validated by peers and to feel a part of something.

In the context of this article, I use "sameness" to mean "you are one of us." Being called a "mother" doesn't carry that connotation, instead implying that the role played is that of an "other," not the same, not "one of us."

In my ideal world, everyone who comes together to contribute to a common goal would be regarded as the same - "one of us" - insofar as they are all contributors.

"Do men receive compliments for this role? Are they called geek daddies? Are the social networking facilitators around open source communities who happen to be male referred to as gods? I think if you look closely you'll find they are not. "

It seems our experiences here differ a great deal. The men I have worked with in this role frequently receive well-deserved accolades, on par with their female counterparts.

"While this service role is vital to the technical community, I think you're going to find not a lot of people are receptive to the idea of equating it with a technical role akin to pure engineering/coding."

I doubt I will, as well. The work is no less a part of making the end product of "pure engineering/coding" possible. In my experience, it's open source projects who are like-minded on this topic who are finding new contributors, both coders and otherwise, most successfully.