To Be or Not To Be part of the community

I feel as a part of the community. I feel welcome in most forums, irc channels, conferences, perl monger meetings.
Sometimes I see or hear things that make me and others feel a bit uncomfortable.
This has been discussed also here and here.

Let me make one thing clear: I wouldn't use the term "offended" here. Offense is something more personal for me. Maybe it's just a linguistic thing. I can't be offended by such a comic, and I won't be shocked and start to cry or anything. Feeling uncomfortable is the best I can describe it as a non native english speaker.

The more I see or hear such things the more it makes me feel uncomfortable. Being at a conference with let's say 95% male attendees and knowing that a certain amount of those are constantly thinking about sex so that they feel the need to sexualize technology by making pubertal jokes. Thinking of doing a talk and knowing that a certain amount of people in the audience are constantly making sexual associations to the content of the talk.

It will not prevent me from doing a talk because the majority is more interested in technology at that time, and because luckily I feel as a member of the community.

But it should be allowed to raise the issue that some people might feel uncomfortable and that it might be a good idea to consider what you post and say and in doubt maybe avoid such jokes.
Unfortunately that leads to various kinds of answers. You are not getting the joke, you are over sensitive, you are closed minded, forbidding sex - what will be forbidden next, censorship, ...
chromatic has explained it quite well.

It is not about censorship.

Let me describe a different example.

Handicapped people have to live with the fact that some people are staring at them. This is more or less making them feel uncomfortable, depending on their personality. And probably everybody else has at least experienced how it is to be stared at once in their live. Now imagine that for handicapped people that happens all the time in public.

There is no law that says "you are't allowed to stare at people longer than x seconds". Why is there no law? Because there is no need for it. Most people know that you don't do it. So despite of being curious looking at people that are different they avoid staring at them because they know that it makes them feel uncomfortable. Some people stare because they don't realize that they do. Staring back sometimes helps, and then they are looking away ashamed. It also might help to speak to those people and saying "please don't stare". It depends on you have or want to take the time to do so. Handicapped people learn to ignore, but it would still be much more comfortable not having to ignore at all.

Now would you respond to a handicapped person "You are oversensitive, and I can stare at people as long as I want?". If you would, skip the rest, you are lost.

There are some rules in a society, and most are easy to follow and make life better for the members.

So there will be no law saying exactly what kind of jokes are allowed to make. But it is not censorship to require you to think about what you say, and if you happen to make a bad joke and you are told so it doesn't cost you anything to say sorry.
Declaring that as censorhsip is a really cheap excuse.

Like I said before, it will not make me go away, but it might prevent people already from joining.


Thank you for writing this!

I quite like the way you expressed this. The example of not staring at people in public is, I think, a helpful way of looking at this.

It's good to be raising these issues and making community members aware of them. It's also good to have a respectful discussion about the issues.

Maybe what's appropriate by the water cooler is not appropriate in a public forum (duh!). Perl's all about context, right? We (the community members) should try to always think about the context and try to respond appropriately and hopefully with some amount of calmness and respect.

On p5p (which I have just started frequenting), I just yesterday sent a personal email to Ricardo Signes thanking him for his calm response to a pretty heated thread. That's impressive and shows some real maturity - a good trait to have in a pumpking.

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About tinita

user-pic just another perl punk,