What exactly is going on at Perlmonks?

I went back to Perlmonks for the first time in quite some time, and was greeted with by a poll titled "How many man-hours would you estimate you have invested in learning Perl?" - okay, could have been hours, not enough to make a big deal of, I'm trying not to make every interaction on the site about male privilege...aw, dammit:

None - I refuse to acknowledge the term man hours, you patriarchical pig. But I have many person-hours. And let me tell you...


This is going from microaggression ("man-hours") straight into pure jackassery. Straw feminists are just as much a stereotype as any other. Making jokes that require me to be complicit with a stereotyped view of the world really gets up my nose.

It sends the message that "we here at Perlmonks think this kind of thing is really funny and we don't care what you think. We especially don't care if you're the kind of person we're enjoying making fun of."

What happened to trying to be inclusive? Did you guys (and I specifically mean the men) not watch Schwern's keynote? (If you didn't watch it, there's the link - you have no excuse.)

Did I miss the memo where Perlmonks was officially declared a boys-only club, where he Internet equivalent of farting and catcalls is the dominant paradigm? Or is this just an attempt to claim of "we don't have to be civilized if we don't want to" to see if anyone will notice?

Yes, do let me tell you: I noticed. And I think it's ugly and disgusting.

Feminism does not require you to be female.


It was a bad joke. Could we just leave it at that and move on, please?

Seems like an over-reaction ...

Ya know, Adria Richards made a complete ass of herself by overreacting to a similar joke at PyCon and it ended up with 3 people getting fired from their jobs (including Adria a few days later).

There is a difference between a crappy joke and someone being a misogynist. Strawmanning/white knighting/etc just looks to create problems the majority doesn't recognize.

Faux outrage may make you feel righteous, but it's almost never helpful.

"It's only a joke" is never an acceptable response to criticism like this. It doesn't really matter what the writer was intending, what matters is how the reader interprets it.

If you think that stuff like this doesn't matter then answer this question - Do you think that women are lying when they say that frat-boy humour like this drives them away from the tech community? Or do you believe them and just not care?

Maybe you should go read about the Adria Richards fiasco and maybe you will start to see there is a balance that needs to be struck (and some random, crappy, joke on the bottom corner of a webpage hardly crosses that line).

Its sexist to make statements like 'frat-boy humour scares women away', yet you don't seem to have a problem with that. Perhaps its because its not really crossing any lines, its just a dumb statement.

Before we start assigning motives to perlmonks, has anyone actually *talked* to them to find out: 1. who created that poll, and 2. whether they intended anything at all (be it malice, humour, or something else), vs. simply unintentionally using gendered language?

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I'd be inclined to think it was an inadvertent error and simply leave it at that.

A large proportion of people think that Adria Richards made a mistake by turning to the court of public opinion rather than having a private word with either the individuals involved or the conference organizers; let's not do the same here.

There is zero wrong with the term "man-hours".

No, I just think you're being obnoxious and playing to "the crowd," for some version thereof. But you can believe what you want, and even tell me that *I* believe what you want...

> No, I just think you're ... playing to "the crowd"

I find it troubling that you are unwilling to accept Joe's opinion at face value, regardless of whether you agree with it or not.

"Man-hours" could have been perfectly innocent. "I refuse to acknowledge the term man hours, you patriarchical pig," made "man-hours" fully self-aware, and then belittled everyone who might have said "Hey, you know, you could have just said 'hours' here."

This is different from the PyCon incident in that the joke at PyCon was not joking about sexism. The PyCon jokes may have been juvenile and even sex_ist_, but they were not a joke about sex_ism_.

The PyCon joke was not on the people who are fighting for equality. This one is, and that is why it is repugnant.

Finally, it is incorrect to drag out the PyCon incident as a reason to just keep quiet about discriminatory behavior. If you fear the angry mob, the angry mob wins.

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About Joe McMahon

user-pic Blogging about Perl, wandering off into compatibility issues with other things, like Python and Django.