Shame, Slashdot, Shame – misogyny and moderation

Our industry suffers from a lack of women – women in senior positions are very rare, women who do what I do I can count on my hands without resorting to binary, and there are so few women coming out of Uni comp sci, developers and engineering courses that I can use and craft into my replacements.

IT needs women, and lots more of them, not only for the perspective they can bring to the table, but simply in the terrible truth that young women deciding on future careers at high school don’t see any future for themselves in our great industry, or any of the Science, Technology, Engineering or Medical research (STEM) subjects as a valid career choice.

There is so much to do to rectify this situation, not the least eliminating low hanging fruit, such as eliminating booth babes. I’ve heard lots of excuses, like:

  • “It’s a legal job, I don’t see the problem” (this one makes the least amount of sense)
  • “Everyone does it” (no, they most certainly don’t)

So when /. posts a story on what booth babes really think of us leering at them, you know it’s going to be a stinky disgusting mess, but you have to try to convert the heathens in any case.

I’ve been a Slashdot irregular for years. In 1999, the /. “community” said some disgusting things about Richard Stevens, the author of some of the (still) best Unix and TCP/IP books. I stopped going there every day after that shameful episode. I’ve not posted there since 2010, but I have /. in my RSS feed.

I have removed that feed today and I will be deleting my account shortly.

Why?

Many of you know my very low opinion of IT vendors who use booth babes at trade shows.

Update: I found this comment to a similar post last year just a few minutes ago:

Thanks for making the main point clear, I want to chime in here as a woman and someone who has represented my company from very early on at trade shows (and does to this day). In the telecom industry in particular these booth babes run rampant, they literally provide you with a form when you register to exhibit asking if you want to hire models.

At one event a couple years ago, a guy came over to talk with our CTO (a guy) and I and said point blank to me, “do you have an ownership stake in the company? if not, at least you’ve got one foot in the door to marry this guy?” Nevermind that I’m wearing my wedding ring! All I could do was paint a “go F&%$ yourself” smile on my face and wait for him to leave. The things I would have liked to say, but it just wasn’t worth it in that context.

The problem is, most people don’t walk up to me expecting me to know about APIs, building applications, solving problems specific to their industry or use case, how supply chain works, or anything else important to their business. This is perpetuated by booth babes. How do I know? If I dress in a frumpy or slightly less feminine style, instead of my normal stylish heels and a skirt suit, I get a different reaction. If I wear skinny jeans and flats and a tshirt or hoodie, look my age (early 20s) and have a self-effacing air, they think “oh she’s a nerdy girl” and then they ask the real questions. PUH-LEASE.

If you are a vendor, I have a very strict, and very long standing rule – if you use booth babes, I either don’t recommend you to my clients, or I actively campaign against you, and I will never, ever buy from you again. Such vendors have lost more than a $1m in recommendations from me alone in the last 10 years, and I doubt I am alone in my opinion of such appalling, women hating sales tactics.

So fast forward to today. I logged in after a few days to see if my romantic idealization of early Slashdot met up with even 1999 Slashdot low life scum. I was saddened and disappointed. I lost my decade long “excellent”  karma rating to peer moderation, and it’s no surprise the peers at Slashdot hate women.

One of my posts had to get more than seven negative flamebait downward moderation clicks to get the score it finally received.

So let’s look at the quality gem of a reply that gets +5 moderation (errors in copy and paste I will leave to the troll, can’t even do that right):

“ook at my low user ID, I’ve been here for longer than some of you have been alive.”

No one cares. I’m probably the same age as you but I don’t go around pointing it out as if it somehow adds extra weight to the argument.

“I am literally white hot angry with whomever did it b”

You’ll get over it.

“f you have a daughter, I expect you’ll want her to be a geekgrrl. If you want that outcome, you will join me in boycotting booth babes.”

Actually if I had a daughter I’d let her do whatever she wanted. Unfortunately you obviously don’t realise it but you’re just another one of those self righteous prudish males who seem to think that women should only do the jobs YOU approve of. Newsflash pal – its the WOMEN who get to decide whether to do it , not people like you.

I suspect in another century you’d be at the pulpit foaming at the mouth and damning any woman who dared go out with an unmarried man or wear a short skirt or speak before a man gave her permission.

You know what – Fuck you and your kind.

From viol8, a 40-something troll programmer who lives and works somewhere in Europe (if he can be trusted to thump things into the post box), who comes across as an arrogant Australian or English ex pat. I can’t be arsed working out who he is any longer – he’s exactly like any number of the worthless women hating smegheads that infest slashdot.

It’s time to put /. out of its misery and terminal decline. It has been an irrelevant community for years, and now the cesspool is dead to me.

ajv (4061, ex-member /. 1997-2012)

Update: RSS feed – deleted. Twitter – unfollowed. Can I find how to delete my /. account, no I can’t. Help appreciated in the box below.

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