August 2012 Archives

Why I'm considering dropping Perlmonks

A couple days ago, a comic strip was posted to Perlmonks that really got up my nose. For those of you who don’t want to bother linking through, the strip compares Perl with Moose to Perl having a “boob job”, then wanders off into creepy territory because sexualization and creepiness are really, really funny, right?

This bothers me, as it’s not friendly to the women in our community – and I said so. You can read the response I’ve gotten so far. They’re all pretty much ignoring the fact that sexualizing a computer program (with the added implication of large breasts being equivalent to personal value) is exactly the kind of thing that makes women feel unwelcome by focusing on “well, ‘boob job’ is a perfectly fine term” and “I bet you do feel uncomfortable imagining you’re female!”. (By the way, no, I don’t. This is that funny thing called “empathy”.)

I’ve mentioned the atmosphere of disrespect toward women previously in other threads and gotten solidly downvoted for it – and had to repeatedly defend the idea that maybe everyone ought to consider whether the boys’ club atmosphere isn’t something we ought to change.

I linked Schwern’s YAPC keynote – and I get the impression that the audience is mostly made up of the people who “thought it was a downer”. (It’s good to see that there are members of the Perl community who don’t think this.)

This depresses me. Perlmonks can be tremendously valuable, but it seems to me that the loudest voices are not listening to things they really need to hear. It’s not all about the tech; it’s about helping people, whoever they are, get more out of Perl.

About Joe McMahon

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