July 2012 Archives

How Not To Highlight Women In Perl

Here's the short version: gender anonymity is protection, and in a male-dominated community many women prioritize safety. A machine parsible list of female CPAN authors threatens their anonymity even if they're not on it.

Here's the even shorter version: highlighting gender is advanced and should not be done lightly.

A module was recently uploaded to CPAN whose aim was to provide a big list of female CPAN authors. I believe the author had good intentions, or at least nothing more than "I was curious", and has been quite puzzled at the reaction that it's creepy and the requests for it to be deleted. Fortunately, he voluntarily removed the module when asked. Unfortunately, because the community is not well versed in gender politics, this sort of thing is likely to happen again. Here's an opportunity to talk about it so it doesn't.

About Michael G Schwern

user-pic Ya know, the guy who tells you to write tests and not use MakeMaker.