A proposal to solve gender imbalance in Debian
We've done all we can so far: Debian Women, the Diversity Statement, the anti-harassment contact, gender neutral language, lots of education all round, but we still suffer from a strong gender imbalance in Debian.
I think that the reason is that the majority group of cisgender men in the project, although they don't actively work /against/ the rest, still have /no incentive/ to be inclusive, and generally do not understand what bearing a female name online is like.
I think it is about time we addressed that, and after a lot of thinking and discussing with many other concerned debianers, I think I have just the right proposal, which is twofold.
The first part is this: since the goal is to have an equal gender perception in Debian, we can just decide to only approve one obviously-male-named DD for every obviously-female-named one. That's right: no new obviously-male-named DD unless an obviously-female-named DD has just been approved.
It may sound like affirmative action gone wild, but please stop a moment to think about it: this would create precisely the right incentive for the currently dominant group of developers to be inclusive! People shouldn't just assume they can get a Debian account regardless of what happens around them. We already ask NM candidates to fix RC bugs and, well, gender imbalance should be treated as an RC bug, and everyone should feel compelled to join the effort to fix it!
Now, of course since there currently are many male names in NM but not a single female name, it would not be reasonable to just stop the flow of new developers into the project: that would just have the effect to make us starve on personpower.
So here is the second part of the proposal: the one-female-name-one-male-name policy will not be enforced for, say, a year. But during this year, everyone currently in NM or joining NM will be asked to adopt a female identity.
Crazy? No, genius! It's about time people understood what it means to get advances in private every time they make a public contribution! What better way than just trying it out for themselves?
On top of that, as more and more female names appear in Debian changelogs, fake or not, people will finally start to understand that it does not matter what name is used to sign the contribution, but the contribution itself.
I don't know if this will give us a community where people realise female or male contributions are equally valuable, which is what I hope, or a community where people will think that everyone is a cisgender man even if they have female names. In the end, really, it does not matter. Either way, we finally get to have a community where everyone is /guaranteed/ to be treated the same.
But gender imbalance isn't the only imbalance we have in Debian. People accrue a reputation over time, good or bad, and this reputation tends to stick on you for years, regardless of how you may change, for better or for worse. When we evaluate the merit a contribution, we should not be biased by the reputation of the contributor! How can new contributors be taken seriously otherwise? I believe we are loosing lots of fresh, good ideas this way. And how much damage could be wrecked on the project by a well-respected contributor, like a Debian Account Manager, who is having a funny day?
I think we can address this just as I propose to address gender imbalance: let's swap identities from time to time, like it usually happens with nametags at the end of Debconfs. Let's see gregoa upload a patched versions of python3.2, and enrico upload a new upstream version of eglibc! See if we won't finally have some peer review at last!
Reputation and real identities have many merits, but we have come to rely too much on them, and it is hurting us. It is time we did something about it, before it is too late!
Components in a system
But what we are discovering is that if we see ourselves as components in a system,
that it is very difficult to change the world.
It is a very good way of organising things, even rebellions,
but it offers no ideas about what comes next.
Coppone e spinaci all'orentale
- una bistecca di coppone
- spinaci surgelati
- anice stellato
- salsa di soia
- olio di sesamo tostato
Al supermercato hanno spesso delle bistecchine di coppone in sconto. Sono ottime sulla griglia, ma in mancanza di griglia una volta ho improvvisato questo, e ogni tanto lo rifaccio. È una cena velocissima che si può preparare quando non c'è niente in casa con ingredienti presi fuori dal freezer.
Soffriggere nell'olio l'aglio, lo zenzero e l'anice stellato.
Aggiungere il coppone tagliato a pezzetti e farlo rosolare. Mentre sta cuocendo, aggiungere il peperoncino sbriciolato, l'olio di sesamo e un po' di salsa di soia.
Quando la carne ha preso colore, aggiungere gli spinaci scongelati e rosolarli assieme alla carne e al suo sugo.
Regolare di sale con la salsa di soia e spolverare di pepe macinato prima di servire.
Besciamella al caffè e acciughe
- salsa di acciughe thai
Ispirato da un soufflé di broccoli al caffè mangiato alla meravigliosa trattoria Antichi Sapori a Parma, ho provato anch'io a combinare caffè e broccoli.
L'idea era fare una salsa da versare sui broccoli appena lessati. Lo chef Davide Sensi aveva parlato di caffè e acciughe, quindi ho deciso che il sapore della salsa dovrà venire da caffè e salsa di pesce thai. Per addensarli, ci potrebbe stare anche solo un classico roux.
Il risultato, una besciamella in cui il roux non è allungato con latte, ma con caffè, salsa di pesce thai e acqua di cottura dei broccoli.
La prima prova è venuta un po' troppo carica di caffè. Sui broccoli però ci sta benino.
Che coss'è l'amor
Di recente mi sono spesso trovato a chiedermi "che cos'è l'amore", e ogni volta inizia a suonarmi in testa: "♪...chiedilo al vento / che sferza il suo lamento sulla ghiaia del viale del tramonto... ♫"
Socialmente l'amore mi è sempre stato venduto come una cosa indescrivibile ma allo stesso tempo estremamente codificata. L'amore è quella cosa che ti fa sentire così, e poi se non fai così non è vero amore, e l'altra persona la devi trattare così, e devi essere spontaneo mapperò... tv e musica con i quali volente o nolente sono cresciuto hanno spesso propagandato modelli che raramente ho condiviso, e che riassumerei con questo.
Mi è sempre stato difficile capire quando poter dire "ti amo". Il problema non è tanto nell'interpretare i miei sentimenti, quanto nel capire quali significati sto tirando addosso a entrambi nel momento in cui lo faccio. Per questo motivo, finché non sono sicuro di come l'espressione "ti amo" significhi per entrambi, tendo a ragionare usando invece concetti definiti in maniera un po' più chiara (per me), tipo: desiderio, fiducia, intimità, odori, intesa, ridere, contatto fisico, curiosità...
È un peccato: ogni tanto provo quel sentimento di piacevole resa verso l'altra persona che mi porta a voler dire "ti amo!", e finisco per non farlo.
Detto questo, da quando ho visto "Una de zombis", alla domanda "ma sei innamorato?" non può non venirmi in mente questo.
Thanks for the group hug!
Francesca started a DPL game and I've been mentioned a few times, by people I like deeply. Thank you! However I don't intend to run, and I hope I won't disappoint those who nominated me by saying so. But I don't think of it in terms of letting people down: I can't let anyone down since I never mentioned I'd like to run in the first place. Rather, I like to think that I've just received a wonderful group hug, and hey, wow, come here and let me hug you back! <3
And let me hug some more:
- Gregor Herrmann, I'm in a constant state of awe for what you have done with the Perl team. If you think that some of what you did could also be done as a DPL, please go for it!
- Bdale Garbee, I didn't think there could be such a thing as a reliable source of common sense until I got to know you. And you've been DPL and quite a good deal of other things and definitely know the drill. And you can't say you're busy with your day job. The last thing I want is for you to get bored after your retirement! :P
- Paul Tagliamonte, you seem to bring an incredible energy in everything you get involved with. Let's admit it: Zack's been a perfect DPL in many aspects, he has been incredibly, inhumanly smooth, but he was a bit boring. Zack has left Debian as a perfectly working train steaming on professionally towards awesomeness. Let's give it colours! Let's give it excitement! Let's give it creativity, and silliness! We need someone to cheer Christian up, and I if you can't do it, I can't think of anyone else who can!
I cannot think of a fourth DPL candidate right now and I don't want to postpone this post indefinitely. Think about it this way: you three are so good I can't think of a fourth one right now
There are actually lots of people I admire in Debian. I tried to name a few without thinking, but I wasn't thinking so I lost count as soon as I ran out of fingers. I know however that many enjoy to stay out of the spotlight and keep their fun focused on a few specific things. I am one of those myself.
In the meantime, let's have some fun with the DPL campaign.
On praising people, and on success
This morning I was pointing out to friends how excellent is mako's post on Aaron Swartz, and I thought it'd be nice if we didn't have to wait for people to die before telling the world how awesome and inspirational they are.
Then Russ posted an article about work, success and motivation and I went to tell my friends how awesome and inspirational he is.
I, too, see myself as somehow successful, and I, too, don't identify in the usual stereotype of success. I don't want to stop being a craftsman to become a manager, I don't get a high from having power over other people, I don't define my value in terms of my profits.
At a glance, people don't see me as successful, until they get to know me better. They they realise that I'm not at all unhappy about my life.
I have a job that I like, I write Free Software and it gets used and appreciated, my colleagues are friends, who respect me and my opinion, and I respect them and theirs.
I can work from home. In fact, I can work from everywhere as long as I have my laptop with me. I can sustain a long distance relationship because I can work from the house of my partner when I'm visiting. Two days ago I worked from the bar of a farm on top of a hill, because I was on the road, it was close by, and what the hell, it's a wonderful place to be.
To me success means that I can care about the quality of my life, that I have the luxury of caring about little things that make my day, of trying to make good ideas sustainable, of working a bit more when I'm on fire, and of working a bit less when there's something wonderful in the world to see, or someone interesting in the world to meet.
Russ, the way I read your article, you are questioning what "success" means, and you are spot on. People should be able to define "success" as whatever works for them and pursue it freely. Only then success becomes something that is worth praising when it is achieved. Only then it becomes inspirational.
I like how you managed to put into words something that has been for a long time in some corner of my mind and I hadn't yet managed or bothered to bring into the spotlight.
You have the insight and the confidence of seeing something in an insightful but non-mainstream way, and say "you know what? That actually makes sense."
Sometimes I read your post, nod a lot and realise how important something actually is, how that is actually such an important part of myself. And now that you took it out for me to see it, I can appreciate how valuable it is, and make sure I don't accidentally lose it.
Thanks! That's another one I owe you. It's just the kind of thing I shouldn't wait before letting you know.