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Showing posts from October, 2015

First, Realize There is No Glass

Some weeks back, a man asked me some questions about sexism on Hacker News. He has read some of my remarks about being a woman on HN, gone looking for evidence of mistreatment of me and could not find it. He's busy, I'm busy, and it's a weighty, complicated, difficult discussion, so it hasn't gotten very far. But one of the first things I had to explain to him is that there is no smoking gun. The problem lies mostly in the things that do not happen rather than in the things that do happen. So, if you are looking for "crimes of commission," you are not likely to find anything. Instead, you have to search for "crimes of omission." Those are inherently harder to define, describe, spot and quantify.I think part of his problem is his thinking is influenced by the concept of a glass ceiling. I don't think it helps to model it as a glass ceiling. In fact, I think that concept is counterproductive.I get why we have the expression. It is intended to desc…

Don't Ask Me For A Date in Front of 100k People

If you are a man who knows me through a public forum, please spare us both a great deal of awkward discomfort and do not publicly ask me for a date in comments on the forum. This goes double if the forum is Hacker News.

First of all, I do not date. This is a personal policy that I have abided by for more than three decades. It isn't going to change. I have stated that unequivocally in a previous blog post.

Second, since my no dating policy is publicly on record, asking me for a date suggests to me that you haven't bothered to make two clicks through my HN profile and into my personal blog to check for pertinent remarks by me. I am highly inclined to interpret this as evidence that you aren't really interested in a relationship -- i.e. in getting to know me well -- and, instead, I am nothing but a piece of ass to you. If you ever had some hope of getting with me, you have just killed it. You can give up now and stop wasting your time.

Third, there is no good way to tel…

In Search of a More Constructive Answer

“People like her should kill themselves”: What happens when we talk about sexism in tech

HN discussion.

I have mixed feelings. I momentarily considered reaching out to her via email or Twitter, then decided against. I have worked hard to find a more positive path forward. I think I am making headway, but it gets little attention and almost zero fanfare.

So maybe if men are sick of hearing women whine, some of them should make a conscious effort to put more of a spotlight on the good work some women do.

Because it seems like if I am getting much attention, it almost always falls into one of two categories: 1) Hey, baby, can I have your phone number? 2) Bitch, how dare you try to break into the Boyz Club. No girls allowed.

Based on the above post by Ms. Weitz and other things I have seen, I don't think it is just me.

Getting negative attention at least means you are not invisible. If your only choices are negative attention where you get treated like nothing but a piece of ass or neg…

Reducing bias in dating -- a small personal experiment

I got married at age 19 to another 19 year old. The relationship was contentious and argumentative from the get go and we ultimately got divorced. My marriage had had its good points, so I did not feel I had outright screwed up or chosen badly. But, I did feel I had gotten something very wrong.

However, I did not know with certainty which of my husband's characteristics were positives for me and which were negatives. So, during my divorce, I did everything in my power to try to neutralize the influence of my personal history on my prospective mating pool. I neither wanted to repeat whatever mistake I had made, nor throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I happen to be white, as is my ex husband. By the time I got divorced, I had realized that I often had friction with white Americans -- including my ex -- because I am a third culture kid, something I did not have terminology or concepts for until my thirties. I often get along better with Hispanic Americans, foreigners, etc. In so…

Lessons learned as a girl gamer

At the start of my senior year in high school, I decided I wanted to try D&D and see if I liked it. I was reading things like The Lord of the Rings. Based on such interests, my sister had suggested gaming might be a good hobby for me.I didn't know anything about D&D, but I had a classmate who played. I asked him some questions. He directed me to a hobby store where a local group met. He wasn't there that first weekend, but it was his group.I was soon a core member of the group. The core group met Friday night, Saturday starting about noon and running to the wee hours of Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon. I was usually there both Friday and Saturday and fairly often on Sunday. We went through periods where we also got together on Wednesday night and you could count on me to be up for that. I was one of the most reliable members.Although I was a core member of the group, the group played a variety of games, not just D&D, and I sometimes sat out a game if it wasn&#…

A Little Gem about Appearances and Exercising Power

Probably around age 17, I read a personal anecdote in a women's magazine that became a personal touchstone for me. This is a story I have told many times online. I thought I would finally put it on my blog.

The piece told the tale of how the author attended "assertiveness training" in the 80s. The instructor was a very aggressive woman and the class involved exercises in yelling at people and being generally hostile and rude. At some point, the author did not wish to do this anymore and she tells the instructor "I don't want to yell and be rude. I like being nice to people." She is lectured about how it is a dog-eat-dog world and she must learn to stand up for herself. After being bullied for several minutes and politely declining to take her turn at practicing yelling and being aggressive, the instructor finally moves on.

Moments later, she decides she is done with this class. While other women practice yelling and being aggressive, she quietly gathers …

Bicycles on the Information Super Highway

I recently tripped across a comment on Hacker News that inspired me to ask a question there about 1-3 person shops with profitable web businesses of some kind. I don't really mean consultants who happen to also have a website listing their services. I mean a webcomic, blog, SAAS model, app or other web business that makes enough money to support the 1-3 people who work on it. My question only got one reply and that did not even list any specific examples.

So I thought I would list the ones I happen to know. This list is in no particular order. I have not researched it or fact checked it. It is information "off the top of my head." Inclusion on this list should not be interpreted as a personal endorsement. It just means I am aware of their existence. If you aren't on it, it isn't a slight. I just either am not aware that you qualify or did not think of you as I dashed it off on a lazy Sunday.

Dan Grossman: HN handle: dangrossman For me, this is a new name. A c…