metaprogramming and politics

Decentralize. Take the red pill.

Archive for April 2015

Going beyond codes of conduct

with one comment

When someone utters something that turns out to not be acceptable to many, what do you do? One way out is to punish, to try exclude that someone according to some pre-established rules. It’s an action that should be used sparingly and with precise reasoning as it otherwise has chilling effects and causes alienation.  You might get people to avoid certain behaviours in public but sentiments are still going to flow in private discussions.
The other possibility is to treat “incidents” as an opportunity to engage with underlying reasons and questions. Here are some of mine when it comes to the believe that one gender is superior to another, in the context of the programming communities i am connected with:

  • To begin with, why are many male programmers working 40 hours a week while their wife cares at home for children? See Traditional family models in the IT and Python world for more on this question.
  • How does it come to biases: When i imagine a “genius”, who do i think of? When i hear “keynote speaker” whom do i envision? At PyUnconf 2014 in Hamburg i discussed relations between centralized technical systems and normative thinking. Often, these norms are felt as “natural” or “true”.  But we are not only producing thoughts, our thoughts are products of cultural mass processes and less individual than they feel.
  • Who is speaking in the name of a community? Who is the “we”? And if “everyone” can participate, who actually participates? Who gets to decide, who defines what is being talked about and how? Which norms and values play a role in the communication around all these issues?
  • Why are most programming communities composed of a majority of white males? Biology? Or is it the result of centuries old patriarchies and colonialisms in action? When you try to “undo” this, do you just impose some rules by which everyone should behave? Or do you actively work to raise awareness, discuss some of the fundamentals and inherited impregnations?

Written by holger krekel

April 9, 2015 at 10:42 am