back to article if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

Code Q&A site Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile to women, people of color, and marginalized groups, and has promised to do better. It's an acknowledgement of charges leveled against the programming community repeatedly over the years. Enumerating various barriers to participation, a 2016 research paper …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe a silly question, but...

    How do they even know who's a woman? That I can tell, users on SO are represented by a color kaleidoscope and a randomly-generated number...?

    1. TheProf
      Headmaster

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      With the title of the research paper being "Paradise Unplugged: Identifying Barriers for Female Participation on Stack Overflow" I think it would be safe to assume that the researchers went looking for females with a story to tell.

      "In summary, the three research questions we want to answer through this study are:

      • RQ1 : What barriers do females face on Stack Overflow?

      • RQ2 : How do barriers vary by gender?

      • RQ3 : How do the rating of barriers vary by other factors,such as site usage and experience?"

      Next week: Why do so few men contribute to Mumsnet?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

        Next week: Why do so few men contribute to Mumsnet?

        Because they don't have anxiety, a toxic (probably narc) mother-in-law and a morbid fear of penises in the Top Shop changing rooms.

        Seriously, though, Mumsnet is a great place to while away an hour or two. It's like a continuous stream of Jeremy Kyle - stupid people making bad choices with car-crash entertaining results.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

          Seriously, though, Mumsnet is a great place to while away an hour or two. It's like a continuous stream of Jeremy Kyle - stupid people making bad choices with car-crash entertaining results.

          Mumsnet is without doubt one of the more batshitcrazy corners of the internet, and while it may be entertaining to laugh your ass off at them, collectively, they're probably responsible for more divorces than anywhere else on the web.

          A nest of vipers yelling LTB (Leave The Bastard, I think) at each other, in some competetive game to see who can get the most new posters to leave their relationship and join them wallowing in misery. Unfortunately, nobody seems to give a crap about the inevitable impact it has on the kids. And no, I'm not divorced, and my Mrs took one look at Mumsnet and asked "Are they mad?"

          Mumsnet: Just say no.

          1. WallMeerkat
            WTF?

            Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

            Occasionally when googling some question about how to look after the baby* it'll come up with a mumsnet result.

            If newbies have an issue with StackOverflow, I have an issue with mumsnet with all the abbreviations they use, it is like another language entirely.

            "DD had a high temp DH asked MIL said take calpol, LTB? AIBU?"

            (* I wish there was babyoverflow with logical steps on how to fix a crying baby)

            1. Kristian Walsh

              Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

              (* I wish there was babyoverflow with logical steps on how to fix a crying baby)

              https://parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/crying+baby

            2. handleoclast
              Coat

              Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

              I wish there was babyoverflow with logical steps on how to fix a crying baby

              That's what baby oil is for. To stop the squeaks.

              Pour it down the little fucker's throat until it asphyxiates from the overflow.

              These days I don't particularly like children. Then again, I never did. Not even when I was one myself.

            3. Nano nano

              Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

              Is it hungry ? - if so, feed.

              Is it ill ? - look up symptoms and treat.

              Otherwise, pick up, facing you ... take outside sometimes works well too, rock gently side to side.

              1. earl grey Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

                "rock gently side to side"

                Note: Use a good sized rock.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

                  "rock gently side to side"
                  Note: Use a good sized rock.
                  If you can't find a rock a half-brick will do.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      You don't need to know.

      The same response that's accepted without question when addressed to a man, may be inappropriate when addressed to a woman. The obvious example is if it makes some jokey mention of bodily functions or sex, but there are more subtle differentiators too. When talking face to face, we unconsciously adjust to our audience. Online, we don't have the information to do that.

      (Not that we should, of course.)

      1. CheesyTheClown

        Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

        I’m utterly confused.

        If I ask :

        How can I marshal a event generated in a callback on one thread into the user interface thread?

        How exactly would a naughty comment be made?

    3. Instinct46

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      The issue is properly more that women want environments which are currently most men to change to be nicer for them... god forbid they change to try to fit in with it in it's currently state. I personally the only people who are insulted are the people who ask someone to complete work for them and people don't ask structured questions.

    4. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      Same question here.

      I also don't know how people might be singled out for race, maybe by their name? But then again, that's why I have an online handle - you don't need to share it.

      I personally haven't seen anything on the site that I would take to be racist or sexist - it's a technical site, and that's pretty much all that is there - technical answers.

      At the risk of angering some people, I wonder how much of this is people having a persecution complex?

      If you actually read the blog post, it starts by mentioning women, races and new visitors. The vast majority (~99%) of the post is tailored to that last group - the need to make it more welcoming for new users etc. Its notable that the post doesn't talk at all about reducing gender beyond that first paragraph, and 'race' is touched on in a comment about imperfect English.

      So I'm wondering if their view is similar to mine - that improvements can be done, but some people just want to play the gender/race card even when the real issue is more universal?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

        Feminism is all about victimhood these days, from claiming all men are rapists, going on about smashing some patriarchy I still haven't seen, complaining about the mythical gender pay gap, complaining they haven't got enough of the top jobs whilst not bothered about the male dominated jobs collecting rubbish bags, jobs in sewers, calling men with a differing opinion 'mysogynists', and it goes on and on.

        I have no time for their corrosive ideology, nor do I believe anything they say. Let them keep whinging in their echo chambers of hate.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      "to non-male non-pasty coders"

      My vote is for the ones that do only wear pastys.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      And if they really do know who is a " woman, person of color, and marginalized group" then perhaps the bigger question should be what are they doing about GDPR !

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe a silly question, but...

      She doesn't look like a size F to me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile

    The entire community?

    hostile.elements + community <> community

    It's helpful when a community takes out its own trash. It's not so helpful to demagogue an entire community over the misdeeds of a few bad actors.

    1. low_resolution_foxxes

      Re: Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile

      It's tricky. I wouldn't personally go to Mumsnet and complain it is hostile to men, however the fact there is an inherent gender bias at Mumsnet is patently true, as otherwise it would be called Parentsnet.

      Software engineering is a tricky field. In general it's a slightly dorky field with a barrier to entry along the lines of the whole "what do you want to be when your old? Ok maths and computers are boring and hard I won't do that", whereas younger males are immensely competitive on video games and just kinda veer into a comp sci course.

      Women are essentially capable and valuable in comp sci roles, it's just that statistically it appears they don't want to pursue that field. My electronics degree was 97% male, probably 99% white or Asian. We would have killed for more women/diversity to join us on the course - not just because we'd like to date them, because too many software nerds find social interaction with women difficult because some just don't talk to women.

      Beyond this - what is the actual issue here? Is there a specific harassment issue or accusation of intrinsic bias? Or is it simply that some Gender Studies PhD wanted to structurally analyse a nerdy website because it's fashionable and someone was mean to her while playing CoD?

      I keep hearing that us evil men discriminate against women, because women are underrepresented at management level. I'd probably argue the opposite - they are overrepresented compared to the statistical numbers that actually pursue employment in the field.

  3. David Gillies

    "Mansplaining"

    Complaining about men explaining things on a site devoted to explaining things to people working in a male-heavy field seems...curious. Actually, "wilfully perverse" is nearer the mark.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: "Mansplaining"

      Mansplaining != simply explaining something or answering a question. It is more along the lines of if someone asked a question about rebuilding a Hemi engine and received a response that begun by explaining how to use a ratchet wrench.

      1. John Lilburne

        Re: "Mansplaining"

        "received a response that begun by explaining how to use a ratchet wrench."

        That sounds exactly like StackOverflow. Either that or there is someone answering the question that they wished you had asked, or whining that the question was already asked back in 2008.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mansplaining"

        Mansplaining is a word used when one doesn't want ones loudly announced opinions and feels overridden by someone providing facts and logic. It is used to shut down debate, conversation, expertise, experience and to avoid social embarrassment, which these days is far more important than actual information.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mansplaining"

        Problem is depending on the complexity of the question, knowing how a wrench works can be useful sometimes. Especially if that wrench is the problem.

        Most of the time (carrying on with the wrench analogy)

        You're currently using a monkey wrench for this job, and while that might work, you'd have a much easier time using a ratchet instead because reasons. Now that you're using the correct tool for the job, you can simplify all these steps you were taking and do this instead.

        Personally I'd rather have people explain to me why I'm doing something wrong.

        You also have the problem that everyone is at different levels and it's hard to gauge that online.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Mansplaining"

          The people with the issues are the ones that use the term 'mansplaining' - that's the actual sexism at work here.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: "Mansplaining"

            Not sure where I saw it but I onceread to the accusation of mansplaining- 'I wasnt mansplaining. You must be cuntfused'

            It did make me chuckle

            1. Bernard M. Orwell
              Happy

              Re: "Mansplaining"

              In a likewise moment, I came across the word "Feminsisting" as an antonym for Mansplaining.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Mansplaining"

          Personally I'd rather have people explain to me why I'm doing something wrong.

          Feminist response: There isn't anything wrong with the way that women do things. Your failure to recognize the way women do things as being equally valid is just proof that you're propagating negative female stereotypes in order to maintain your position of power within the misogynist patriarchy.

      4. HieronymusBloggs

        Re: "Mansplaining"

        "received a response that begun by explaining how to use a ratchet wrench."

        That's patronising, but I wasn't aware it was exclusively men who do it. Thanks for the mansplanation.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "Mansplaining"

          Well, I'd prefer things explained to be by a man, than by my ex.... /coat

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might the very thing that makes it so successful

    also be its downfall?

    The very first piece of help you get is the statement

    "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat."

    As developers are prone to do, they take the instruction very literally and this has lead to a culture of intolerance of even the smallest mistake or contravention. Everyone on stackoverflow has met with overzealous "enforcers" who leave the place with a bad smell, especially if you're used to friendlier interactions with people.

    It's difficult to see how to proceed. On one hand, this near-autistic intolerance of anything other than verifiable facts has probably given us of the world's best, most successful programming sites. On the other hand, if you step even a fraction out of line, your experience will be so negative that you probably wouldn't want to go back if you got paid.

    Is it PC to say the some people have thicker skins than others?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

      Perhaps they could have most upvoted answer AND most empathised with answer ?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

      The thing is, there is right, and there is wrong. In most cases* there is one recommended way and style of doing things - if you aren't giving that way/style, then you are giving wrong advice.

      There is nothing wrong with being wrong, but if someone is wrong frequently then perhaps they shouldn't be trying to give out advice. If they continue to give out wrong advice, they reduce the quality of the thing.

      To the results: on SO you can identify your gender but most users do not, which means the entire survey has been about people who choose to announce their gender to a population of people who, by and large, do not give a fuck. There is a clear self selection bias

      * SO. Not all the other boards.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

        In most cases* there is one recommended way and style of doing things

        That's the typical techno-chauvinist answer that permeates eg. physics.stackexchange and math.stackexchange and makes them particularly unwelcoming to questioners who have their own perfectly self-actualised theories of the universe.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

          In most cases* there is one recommended way and style of doing things

          That's the typical techno-chauvinist answer that permeates eg. physics.stackexchange and math.stackexchange and makes them particularly unwelcoming to questioners who have their own perfectly self-actualised theories of the universe.

          That's the typical answer of someone who gets offended when people say that they are wrong. It's not aggressive to be correct, the actual problem is the aggression of the person who takes offence at being corrected.

          PS: Well done on dropping the starred footnote where I explicitly state that I am not talking about anything other than stack overflow.

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

      "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat."

      Well they seem to get round that by putting the chit chat in the form of a question. Down the right hand side there are all kinds of non coding related "questions" like: just to take the first that came up ...

      https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/110902/how-to-convince-primitive-tribe-that-cities-weren-t-built-by-gods

      https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/114003/can-a-15-year-old-travel-alone-to-russia-from-the-usa

      https://money.stackexchange.com/questions/94671/why-isnt-everybody-rich

      1. Avalanche

        Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

        You are aware those are links to other sites on the Stack Exchange network, with different topics than Stack Overflow? If not, you may want to familiarize yourself with how Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange in general) works.

    4. HieronymusBloggs
      Joke

      Re: Might the very thing that makes it so successful

      "near-autistic intolerance of anything other than verifiable facts has probably given us of the world's best, most successful programming"

      FTFY

  5. James 47

    Dont_be(asshole)

    Is this on StackOverflow or across the whole of StackExchange? Because as a person pointed out already, hardly anyone looks at the profile of people asking questions on StackOverflow. Maybe the 'victimised' groups really just can't take harsh feedback. They're in for a shock when they have to face a real code review.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Does the stack overflow profile even have a field for gender (physical or otherwise)?

      1. James 47

        Nope, neither gender nor skin colour

    2. Windrose

      Re: Dont_be(asshole)

      There is no "harsh feedback". There is either "taking the piss" or "constructive criticism".

      If you can't do the latter, stay the fuck away from the former.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

    Code Q&A site Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile to women, people of color, and marginalized groups, and has promised to do better.

    I think the truth though is very different: the community can be hostile towards dumb people who make the mistake of asking for an easy way out while blatantly showing that they have not taken any kind of effort to solve the problem themselves. Sure, those dumb people can indeed be women, people of color and marginalized groups.

    See: tech sites usually don't discriminate, everyone gets the same treatment. If you're being stupid you'll be told as much. And that ladies and gentlemen is how we can progress. Yes, it might not be a pleasant experience, welcome to real life. But the motivation isn't so much to ridicule a person but more so to make them fully aware that they've been stupid, lazy, dumb, etc. and that in order to get better results they really should consider putting more effort into their questions or problems.

    But in todays society some people apparently can't handle this. Instead of adapting to the rather direct culture of tech sites they feel entitled to a different treatment because... Yeah, why actually? Because you're a woman, person of color, etc, etc.? Isn't that basically discrimination and/or racism? Treating someone different based on their gender and the color of their skin?

    And what happened to all those equality speeches?

    The way I see it Stack Overflow is caving into the wishes of a dumb minority. And as a result the quality of the website in general will only plummet.

    Because if you can't tell someone that they've been stupid and then carefully explain why that is so (not in a hateful manner obviously, but even that is honestly still enough for someone to take offense to, I've seen that happening a few times),... So if you can't do that then... well, I guess you'd better ignore the post alltogether and move onto something more worthy of your time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "whether we’re a site for 'experts' or for anyone who codes"

      The problem lies in what people perceive SO is. In the beginning, it looked like a site for asking "experts" about not-so-easy issues.

      Then many wired it to their F1 keys, and started to ask the dumbest questions of them all - which usually could be answered by entering a couple of words in Google, and pressing "I'm feeling dumb lucky".

      Unluckily, this behaviour looks more common among some "minorities" that discovered it lately - more often people from not first-world countries, often newbies - which may be used to behave quite differently (in some countries if you own a PC you're probably in the upper class... where upper means "upper"), and may not master English well enough to not look too aggressive, especially when asking quite dumb question.

      It's not new to SO, in many forums in the past you got this kind of people - i.e. "I have to setup a CVS repository, explain now all the detailed steps needed, I must have it running by this afternoon". What could you answer?

      But even among first-world programmers you get a lot of lazy people who prefer to pollute every resource to get a free answer with no effort, just they stand out less among the others.

      I left SO some years ago, sometimes look at it when it appears in search result, but finding the right, good answer(s) among the many wrong or mostly wrong ones often takes time - and votes often don't help - that depends on the quality of peers voting - the dumber they are, the worse the are.

      Facts are not "democratic".

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: "whether we’re a site for 'experts' or for anyone who codes"

        > many wired it to their F1 keys

        AKA "help vampires"

        http://slash7.com/2006/12/22/vampires/

        And ironically enough, it says "Note that I use ‘he’ here in the general sense even though Help Vampires are almost exclusively male. It appears that male Help Vampire, drawn as it is to shiny technology, occupies an evolutionary niche that females of the species simply do not find desirable."

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "whether we’re a site for 'experts' or for anyone who codes"

          Most of the help vampire questions I close seem to point to a lot of schools in the Indian sub-continent selecting C++ for the first intro-to-programming class.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

      'The way I see it Stack Overflow is caving into the wishes of a dumb minority'

      Or jumping on the "look at us! We're doing something socially responsible too! Aren't we great?!" virtue-signaling bandwagon.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

      I had to give a lecture ot a bunch of grads recently, and happened to use a bit flag for gender. I wasn't intentionally being a dick about it, it's just that's what we always used when I was their age. I noticed next time I turned around that I seemed to have lost them while explaining the basics of SRP. The snowflakes looked so physically uncomfortable I thought they might be sick.

      "Gender isn't binary" says one. "Gender is a social construct" says another.

      "I'm pretty sure you're going to find it isn't anything to do with society." says I, "It's a natural biological imperative. Anyway, go to any maximum security prison - you'll find a lot of men wishing some of them were women, and you'll find some men pretending to be women, but that don't make it so."

      In the end I made gender an int because hurting their feelings with facts wasn't really what I wanted to accomplish.

      For the record, I care not whether a man wants to dress and live as a woman (up to and including having their knackers lopped off), and I care not if a woman wants to dress and live as a man - It's your life and you should absolutely live it your way; it isn't anyone elses business. But, your chromasomes are something you're born with and they define your gender (XX or XY), not your lifestyle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just XX or XY ? Sorry it's not as simple as that.

        See the 'Humans' section of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XY_sex-determination_system for an introduction to the physical complexities that on their own might be enough for you to realise you might need to re-assess your bit field.

        Of particular note is XX male syndrome - at 1/20,000 there's thousands of these people in the UK alone with a physically ambiguous gender.

      2. Windrose

        Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

        ... and then some people here actually believe techies don't care about gender ...

        Were did you learn your data modelling, mate? What did the requirement state? You DID start with a requirement?

        No? So you started with facts? Oh,no! You started with "when *I* was young", and get surprised when people view the world differently.

        Who the snowflake is might just be debatable.

        Get off that lectern. You are not qualified.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

          @Windrose

          Thanks for your offended for no reason millenial rant. Most amusing.

          Were I delivering a lecture on biology, or even gender, then perhaps they might have had a cause to object, but the lecture was on code architectures. They seemed to completely miss the point of why Single Responsibility was important because they were so hett up about an irrelevant data typing. Much as you're doing now. That you don't see the irony doesn't mean it isn't there.

          The reason that your generation is a joke to all of the generations before you, is that you're just so fragile and reactionary to anything that varies even one degree away from your precious right-on fact free world views. In your rush to emote over perceived wrongs, you utterly fail to grasp why anyone might have a different, perhaps more informed, view to your own. Your intollerance of the very idea is why you're just oh-so-special.

          You don't change gender by changing outfit. You just don't. Clever plastic surgery might make you look like the other gender, but appearances can be deceiving - a post op male does not for example inherit a females life expectancy or reproductive capacity.

          Define yourself by whatever gender you choose for whatever reasons you like. Just don't expect to force me to define you by the same conditionals. I care not if you choose to feel a different gender, ethincity whatever than that of your birth, but I do care if you try to force me to recognise your view of yourself when I can see reality may vary.

          1. Windrose

            Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

            Wowsers. That sounded suspiciously like a child. Suspect your generation is the one mine begot, and now regret.

            Here is the point, rephrased: YOUR DATA TYPING WAS WRONG*.

            Your students were quite a bit smarter than you. Note that I never onced referenced your ideas about gender. That bout of hysteria above is yours alone.

            (Why it was wrong? You made an assumption based on personal experience and opinion. You cannot have missed that today people - regardless of YOUR opinion - want and need (see link you were given) more choices that fit in your typing. It's your kind of thinking that gave us two-digit years to suffer. Might have worked when you were a toddler, but poor practice today)

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

        *SEX* is a biological imperative, but *gender* is a social construct.

        To put it simply, sex it what's between your legs, gender is what's between your ears.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

        For the record, I care not whether a man wants to dress and live as a woman (up to and including having their knackers lopped off), and I care not if a woman wants to dress and live as a man - It's your life and you should absolutely live it your way; it isn't anyone elses else's business. But, (Y)our chromasomes chromosomes are something you're born with and they define your gender sex (XX or XY), but not your lifestyle or gender.

        There--fixed it. I couldn't just let a few minor errors get in the way of a thoughtful statement--otherwise, folks might think you're an ignorant caveman!

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Getting mighty tired with the dumb snowflakes already!

          There--fixed it. I couldn't just let a few minor errors get in the way of a thoughtful statement--otherwise, folks might think you're an ignorant caveman!

          *yawn* trying to turn a binary state into a variable case because you're a man who wishes he was a woman doesn't redefine the meaning. Gender is male or female and derived from your birth. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what you choose to wear, or if you prefer the name susan to shaun at weekends.

          That so many wannabe right-on types get so hett up over this is symptomatic of the wider problems facing society - you've been sold a lie that you can be whatever you want to be, and you can't. You are waht you are. If you're white you can't be black, if you're male you can't be female, and so it goes.... all the way down to the level that most people will have ordinary lives in ordinary jobs and live in ordinary accomodation - the lifestyles of the rich and shameless are not going to happen for most, no matter how hard they wish it.

          Reality, it's over there ---->

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a woman could someone explain multi-tasking code said no woman ever.

    I'm anonymous, am I a man or a woman?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      @AC

      To get to the bottom of that we'll have to apply the old saying of the Internet: "Welcome to the Internet, where the men are men, the women are men and the children are FBI agents".

    2. Frank Rysanek
      Joke

      a man or a woman?

      AManFromMars in disguise?

    3. Steve Knox

      I'm anonymous, am I a man or a woman?

      I can say with a fair degree of certainty that you are.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        But you've just annoyed the few who aren't, just as I've just annoyed those who believe that group is an empty set.

      2. John Sager

        Nope. It's a dog...

      3. 45RPM

        @Steve Knox

        If I may say so, that shows a degree* of binary bias - ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ are no longer the only choices.

        That said, I think that omitting ones sex / sexuality / religion / skin colour / political preferences is entirely laudable in this age of gathering as much dirt as possible for the purposes of marketing. And, I’d have though, goes some way toward absolving StackOverflow of bias - unless, of course, the poster prefixed their question ‘Hi, I’m a woman, how do I…’

        * not total bias though - ‘a fair degree’ does leave some wiggle room for those who identify as non-binary.

  8. karlkarl Bronze badge

    "non-male non-pasty coders"

    I don't give a flying fsck if they are non-male... but if a developer (of any ethnicity) is not pasty and sun deprived... They are simply not committed enough and are not worth our time ;)

    1. getHandle

      Non-pasty

      Who brought the Cornish into this?? They'll be whinging on next... Actually, they won't, but the job will be done dreckly.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Non-pasty

        Nah, we're too busy wrecking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Non-pasty

          "Nah, we're too busy wrecking."

          It's nice to see the traditional skills being maintained.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Non-pasty

            Well Cornish lads are fishermen

            And Cornish lads are miners too

            But when the fish and tin are gone

            what are the Cornish boys to do?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whiners too busy whining

    Every new fact-free feminist whine - from the pay gap that showed NO discrimination to complaints about a gender identity free site that somehow discriminates - just shows that there are too many hateful feminazis who prefer whining about how awful men are to actually trying to do the work men do.

    Time to end those hate-spreading Wimmins Studies courses and teach programming instead.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Whiners too busy whining

      You think teaching programming will help? Just look at all the whining going on in this forum...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Whiners too busy whining

        Gaurdian C++ interview Q: Whats the difference between shared_ptr and unique_ptr?

        Improvise a role play about how they can overcome their differences and live together in a mutually supportive society

    2. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Whiners too busy whining

      "Every new fact-free feminist whine - from the pay gap that showed NO discrimination "

      Uh, yes there is. It's being slowly corrected but to say "it isn't happening la la la" makes you look foolish.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. R69

    Time to grow up and grow a skin

    Oh dear.... here we go again.

    I think we're all a little bit tired of being told that all men are basically women hating would be rapists, who abuse their position in society (even if they don't know they have one) too manipulate the poor females of the world into perpetuating their role as the oppressed victims in the soap opera we call life.

    Has anybody heard of fathers for justice? If you think men have it all their own way then try fighting the legal system and an ex wife - that, is what true inequality looks like

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Time to grow up and grow a skin

      Given that most programmers are likely high on the Aspergers scale - should they be a protected minority? And therefore people complaining about their behaviour are the real haters?

      Mansplaining on a tech forum helps prevent misunderstandings and makes the post more useful to others with slightly different questions or experience.

      On the other hand, the documentation I write at work is a sanitised version of my own notes and intended for readers with reasonable experience in the subject matter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to grow up and grow a skin

        "Given that most programmers are likely high on the Aspergers scale - should they be a protected minority? "

        My daughter has Aspergers and has no interest in programming. Should she be a protected minority of a minority?

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Time to grow up and grow a skin

      that, is what true inequality looks like

      Ah, yes, the true inequality is the inequality which you feel is wrong. Other views of inequality don't quite come up to scratch.

      1. IneptAdept

        Re: Time to grow up and grow a skin

        Oh Rich 11 I assume you have had experience with that part of the UK Justice system....

        You know that no matter what if a woman leaves their partner and takes the kids they have every right for the child not to see their dad unless the woman says ok, or you pay a large amount of money for court.

        Doesnt matter whether there was violence etc in the relationship

        Or how about there was violence but it was the woman abusing the man, guess what it doesnt fucking matter the woman still holds all the cards....

        Inequality is can go both ways the same as sexism and racism...

        I still really dont understand societies clear ignorance of this fact

  11. Frank Rysanek

    noob at StackExchange myself

    I'm a noob to StackExchange myself - several departments including StackOverflow. With a "reputation" of a couple dozen, I don't have a problem to sustain steep criticism from someone with a reputation of a couple dozen thousand. My approach is to thank him for his criticism and for his good work, perhaps clean up my own mess if cleanup is due, do my homework, and generally stick to the original topic. I don't recall any outright personal attacks at the SE sites.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke
      Trollface

      Re: noob at StackExchange myself

      Obviously those couple of dozen thousand reputation points are a sign of privilege, an obvious power imbalance. Rather than be intimidated, believe in yourself. Stand your ground. Be proud of your diversity of views. It's not called stack overflow for nothing. /sarc.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rich white guy who lives in white progressive bubble is patronizing

    So some lily white guy who studied drama at Dartmouth and then worked at Merrill Lynch and who no doubt lives in one of the white "progressive ghetto" neighborhoods in NYC preaches the causal racism and self flagellating misandry of his very affluent social class. A typical bubble buffoon who no doubt honed his political opinions at the oh so bien pensant dinner parties he and his ilk frequent.

    It seems that the very large number of Indians and Asians who post answers are somehow not non-whites. It seems the only acceptable non white race to be patronizing towards by his type is blacks. Which is exactly what he is doing. People of color is the current "progressive" euphemism for blacks. Its funny how none of the African or Caribbean immigrants I know use this term.

    And the reason why the professional programming business is 90% male , and has been for the last 40 years I've known it, is because for the last 40 plus years women have decided they were not interested in pursuing it as a career. The few who do all pretty much move into middle management. Funny how they had no problem decided to go into the bio-sciences, medicine or law, where they are now the majority, but still after all these decades still seem to have a deep aversion to pursuing programming, math or engineering. Absolutely nothing to do with the men in those professions and everything to do with the personal choices made by all those women. It seems like they dont like math. Which is their personal choice. Which is what I thought it was all suppose to be about.

    So whats Mr Rich White Dudes solution going to be? Quotas? All posters must fill out a full EEOC race/ethnicity/orientation questionnaire before a post can be accepted? And posts will only be published if they fit whatever affirmative action race / ethnicity profile being pushed by the DOJ this week. Which for the last three decades always means massive discrimination against the Chinese and other Asians and almost no discrimination against rich white people. LIke Mr Rich White Dude. They know how to game the system.

    If they employ idiots like this guy you can be pretty sure they have jumped the shark.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      People of color is the current "progressive" euphemism for blacks

      "People of color is the current "progressive" euphemism for blacks. Its funny how none of the African or Caribbean immigrants I know use this term."

      People of Color aka POCs, and how soon will that one be inculcated with negative connotations such that it'll have to be up-changed again :]

  13. RuffianXion

    Society is crap

    I wish the people running online communities would just accept the fact that society in general is full of bigots, racists and misogynists and stop trying to take responsibility for them.

    So you pulled a large group of people together and some of them (maybe a larger than average percentage, depending on yor target demographic) turned out to be assholes. It's not your job to modify these people's behaviour, it's society's job (i.e. the rest of us).

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. cantbebothered

      Re: Yet more social justice diversity waffle

      "There's no sexism in tech!" he declared, "Anyone who says different is a gold mining bitch!"

  15. Herby

    There should be a few rules for SO

    1) RTFM

    2) Have you tried a search engine

    3) Think about it for a day or so.

    4) Did you look at old answers in Stack Overflow?

    5) You might have a reasonable question, so ask it. Please be brief and concise. Check your spelling grammar as well.

    You're Welcome.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: There should be a few rules for SO

      Thank you for mansplaining that.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. RuffianXion

      Re: There should be a few rules for SO

      'Check your spelling grammar as well.'

      Also, don't forget to check for missing conjunctions. ;)

    4. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: There should be a few rules for SO

      Conversely...

      1 - Don't answer a question that wasn't asked, just because that's all you know which is vaguely connected to the subject.

      2 - Don't ask the querent why do they want to do that, why would anyone want to do that, then refuse to answer anything at all because it's stupid to want to do that.

      3) - After doing number 1 above, then don't come back and complain that your answer wasn't selected as the solution and demand that you do so.

      4) - Don't complain that someone else was selected as the solution while yours was clearly and obviously much better.

      5) - Don't nitpick over some trivial point and claim that because the question isn't a question you think is really a question then it should be taken down.

      6) - Don't!

      7) - Just don't!!!!

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: There should be a few rules for SO

        "2 - Don't ask the querent why do they want to do that, why would anyone want to do that, then refuse to answer anything at all because it's stupid to want to do that."

        This one is in the wrong list. Asking the wrong question is a sufficiently common mistake that pretty much every *good* respondent should be prepared to ask "Why do you think you need to do that?" and every questioner should be prepared to elaborate on the bigger picture of what they are doing. Furthermore, in the interests of community hygiene it is occasionally the case that anyone daft enough to *want* to do X is exactly the worst possible person to tell *how* to do X. Sooner or later, someone *else* will have to maintain (or worse, *use*) this person's code.

        Issues of style are, to a lesser extent, covered by this principle. It is *unkind* not to mention to a noob that their current style makes them look like a twat. Using those exact words is, of course, also unkind but we shouldn't shy away from the sentiment. We should just try harder to find kind words.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: There should be a few rules for SO

          " anyone daft enough to *want* to do X is exactly the worst possible person to tell *how* to do X"

          There was some code operation I was trying to figure out recently and all google results , mostly at SO SE etc were all people wanting to do the same thing for different reasons . stupid reasons . so all the answers were telling them the easier / better . proper way of doing what they wanted to do.

          Didnt help me though

        2. Graham 32

          Re: There should be a few rules for SO

          > Sooner or later, someone *else* will have to maintain (or worse, *use*) this person's code.

          The question still deserves an answer, although it makes sense to ad the warning that there's better ways.

          The boss will often see the quickest fix as the best fix even if it has greater long-term costs. That's just how it goes sometimes and so a seemingly dumb question gets asked on Stack Overflow.

        3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: There should be a few rules for SO

          Too many *do* ask the wrong question, the one that I have to answer most often is:

          "how do I read the current directory?"

          What do you mean by "read the current directory"? Read the name of the current directory giving an example result of "progs" or an example result of "/usr/fred/coding/prog"? Sample code here. Or reading the *contents* of the current directory, ie *scanning* the current directory, giving an example result of "config", "host", "main", "setup", "verset". Sample code here.

          Often people *do* ask the wrong question, which *requires* spoonfeeding and correcting their terminology to get to the right answer and stop them using the wrong words to look for the answer in future.

    5. Raedwald Bretwalda

      Re: There should be a few rules for SO

      Wrong about RTFM. A SO answer for a question that is explained in he manual is OK.

  16. Adam 1

    read his blog post last week

    and I've got to say he nailed a few things. I can't really comment about hostility to women or people of colour (being neither myself). I haven't seen anything but that may be because the mods catch it early. But there is definitely a vigilante element where someone dares to ask two questions about a block of code. They get strung and quartered if they dare start a sentence with "what is the best practice for ....". They could have answered "The best practices in this area is heading into opinion territory. Rather, here is one way to achieve what you want that uses recognised design patterns XYZ."

    I totally support the downvote of the code dump "My code has a problem" or the "insert literal quote from someone's homework with no effort of a solution". I totally support the XY response. I think people can be too aggressive on the duplicate flag, but support it in the right circumstances. I just don't get the idea of down voting something without you or someone else pointing out why the answer is wrong or dangerous or just a code dump without context.

    At the end of the day, if there are people out there who don't contribute because of prevailing attitudes, then the answers aren't as good as they could potentially be. That doesn't mean that everyone is a snowflake. But it is possible to show respect to someone even when you think they are wrong. If you cannot articulate why there are dragons (or at least missed opportunities) on the suggested answer or comment that you disagree with, then that says more about you than the answer and you should defer to someone else to respond.

  17. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    equal opportunity offender

    Really, I don't see that Stack Exchange is specifically offensive to any particular group. Rather, they are general assholes and dickheads to *EVERYONE*, regardless of whatever group they're in. They're Equal-Opportunity Assholes.

    1. IneptAdept

      Re: equal opportunity offender

      This.....

      I dont hate men or women differently they are all c*nts

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: equal opportunity offender

      " They're Equal-Opportunity Assholes."

      Are they? I've never posted there but I've ended up there A LOT as a result of googling for code examples and ive never seen anyone being an asshole.

      Maybe a teeny bit of bitching about whose answer was better , but nothing nasty

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: equal opportunity offender

        Googling for code examples won't take you to the examples of people being dicks. Search through the tags and find the lowest voted comments/responses/questions, and that's where the dirt is.

    3. Raedwald Bretwalda

      Re: equal opportunity offender

      It has subsequently been suggested THAT is the problem that causes SO to feel "unwelcoming" to "women and POC": because they have received negative statements in the past (due to explicit or implicict misogyny or racism), they are extra sensitive to negative statements.

  18. colinb

    Seems people now want permission to waste other peoples time

    On StackOverflow people give up their free time to post answers to questions. Its full of people who have taken time to learn their craft, and then help others, yes and gain kudos while doing it.

    It has people like Jon Skeet who has written books on c# etc...

    Now this seems to be a whinge from people who don't like the competition element and the fact there are some rules to follow. There are reputation points and badges on nearly every social site.

    SO is full of people who like to look smart, so what, you have no right to waste their time, do your homework and join in, or don't, your call your loss.

    In my early Dev days i posted one of my first posts ever, a question on the Compuserve SQL forum. I was a newbie and knew very little about SQL and was using Access.

    A guy I'd never heard of called Joe Celko answered and ripped into me, Access was a piece of crap, non standard SQL etc.. but he did answer the question.

    Did i cry, report him to the Mod, log off forever. Nope, i asked some more questions, then a lot more. Turns out Joe Celko was involved in writing some of the SQL specs and had an answer to every question, he told me how to do hierarchies in SQL, and yes it worked even in Access, access to people like that is Gold.

    These folks seem to have been failed badly by their parents if the slightest suggestion of something negative is a problem to them.

  19. Syd

    Baked In

    This was baked-in from the very beginning. Jeff Atwood said he wanted to make it like playing XBox Live (or whatever it was called back then), and that is what he did. I was part of the original closed beta and I quit after a couple of weeks, emailing Jeff to warn him that it was already becoming toxic for anyone who wasn't an "Alpha Male". To be fair, he was apologetic... but nothing changed because that _was_ his vision, and as far as I can see nothing has changed in all the years since.

  20. P. Lee Silver badge

    If dev == woman then...

    Would that be someone asking for special privileges based on gender? It looks like it.

    I can support "if dev then dontbe()" but why would you restrict it to women? That seems a bit spiteful or uncaring.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: If dev == woman then...

      Why use a conditional statement in this case anyway? Just call the appropriate dontbe(asshole) method directly.

      Having worked as a developer for many years before going into academia, I know that a combative way of debating pervades the entire field (IT devs and CS academics alike). As a group, we are not very tolerant of our own errors, knowing what problems a few misplaced characters can cause, and maybe therefore react harshly to mistakes of others. There is also the issue of "tact-filter theory". The idea is that every person is born with just one. For most people, the tact filter is on the output, filtering out inappropriate or socially unacceptable language, and transforming it into something more tactful. Nerds develop a different strategy (due to receiving much abuse from non-nerds), and have their tact filters on the input, filtering out any abusive content their ears may receive. This does however mean that they blurt out anything, without much thought about how it will be received. A non-nerd will find many nerds breathtakingly rude, whereas a nerd listening to a non-nerd will probably wonder why the other doesn't come to the bloody point.

      Now this theory is of course a bit of a caricature, but there is an element of truth in it, and it does pay to check whether you are not being too harsh. It is better to help people towards a solution than only to point out where they went wrong, and even the latter can be done politely (although some people can't stand even the politest criticism). Whenever giving feedback to students who clearly have made an effort, I will moderate my tone considerably (although sometimes hoots of laughter do escape me at funnier mistakes). Of course, those who haven't even tried, or have just cut and paste stuff from Stack Overflow (and they are always stunned we have found them out), might get treated more bluntly.

  21. rmullen0

    As if men aren't condescended to as well

    I almost never see women post on any technical sites. Men are condescending to other men all the time. I swear people are just bored an need something to do to make issues out of this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As if men aren't condescended to as well

      Not so much bored, more like they have either a degree they can't market (Marxist studies or whatever) or an ideology that they wish to spread (or both).

      A YouTuber called Benjamin Boyce produced a video (Laurier's Racialized Ponzi Scheme) that broke down this kind of mechanism. In summary: We have a degree that isn't useful but still need a job. Here's an idea, lets manufacture problems. We'll visit companies and say all this activity that is happening is racist/sexist/etc and only we can sort it out. You must use us and quickly because you will have these problems and if you don't let us solve them then you are complicit in causing those problems. Oh look at all these problems we've found! We've got a lot of work to do...

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: As if men aren't condescended to as well

        Isn’t that just what a “normal” management consultant does too?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As if men aren't condescended to as well

          Brilliant. I'll now always equate management consultants with these equality of outcome types. After all, with management consultants, the outcome is pretty much the same for everyone (we all get the boot)!

      2. HieronymusBloggs

        Re: As if men aren't condescended to as well

        "We have a degree that isn't useful but still need a job. Here's an idea, lets manufacture problems.We'll visit companies..."

        Alternatively they could go into politics.

  22. Richard 12 Silver badge

    It's not gender or colour

    It's simply toxic overall.

    SO reached critical mass and the arseholes took over. It's the most probable result of any large grouping - the people yelling insults drive away everyone else, and then anybody joining later on finds a toxic group, and leaves.

    It needs strong moderators early on to prevent that, which SO did not have.

    SO used to be a useful place to ask and answer questions, and now it isn't because you will be shot down for doing either.

    My most popular answers now have multiple "You're an idiot, RTFM" comments. Yep. I wrote that bit of manual after answering the question, so future people don't have to suffer SO.

    So yes, any women etc will rightly assume the place is toxic towards then. Because it is.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: It's not gender or colour

      And of course, arseholes often attack women and minorities so that part will end up being very personal.

      Didn't phrase that very well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not gender or colour

      And yet it works.

      I use Stack Overflow constantly. I've never needed an account, I search for my problem and there's already an answer. Then because they don't want me cluttering the place up I go back to work and earn money.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: It's not gender or colour

        Not anymore.

        It's become a library of aging information, and like all such it is dying.

        Been to Expertsexchange recently?

        Me neither.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not gender or colour

          Including created:2015..2018 in your search will show results since 2015.

          Could do with being more user friendly, but we've already established that they're not.

        2. Nick Kew

          Re: It's not gender or colour

          Been to Expertsexchange recently?

          No. Never.

          Just Say No to spammers. Must be over 20 years since I first blacklisted wannabes-exchange.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: It's not gender or colour

            Been to Expertsexchange recently?

            Yes and I'm much happier with my new body than when I went to Amateursexchange

  23. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Try it and see

    I think that in order for men to get an idea of the scale of the problem, one needs to create two accounts, one with a standard handle and one whose handle is obviously female (say firstname-lastname).

    Ask similar questions that are simply put and quite technical and then judge the responses by their tone.

    1. Guus Leeuw

      Re: Try it and see

      Wouldn't that result in a "duplicate" strike down for the second "similar" post?

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Try it and see

        On re-reading, I was vague. I didn't mean that both avatars should post the same question, rather that they post a similar type of question.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Dodgy Dave
    Coat

    I think I found the problem...

    The code 'if dev == woman ...' only works if there's a single woman in development, and you're testing to see if this is her.

    Better would be 'if isWoman(dev) ...' to allow _any_ developer to, er, identify as a woman.

    I would have suggested 'if isinstance(dev, Woman) ...' but that would be objectifying women...

  25. Nick Kew

    Making a SJW issue

    John went to stackoverflow. He asked a vague and ill-defined question, and got asked what part of TFM he had a problem with.

    Jane went to stackoverflow. She asked a vague and ill-defined question, and got asked what part of TFM she had a problem with.

    This is not a story of people who learned from their experience to be better programmers. It's a story of people who wanted to be spoonfed, and weren't interested in anything else.

    So ...

    John gave up, went away, drew a line under trying to use stackoverflow, posted elsewhere mentioning stackoverflow being a negative place.

    Jane gave up, went away, drew a line under trying to use stackoverflow, posted elsewhere mentioning stackoverflow being a negative place.

    Now the scene is set. SJW (with research funds to spend) seeking hostile environment finds Jane's experience, finds context to identify her as a woman. Repeat over a few more Janes, and we have the data to prove stackoverflow is a hostile place for women.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Making a SJW issue

      It's not just the "vague and ill-defined" that get abuse.

      Everything gets abuse now, including useful (though perhaps older) answers.

      I don't interact anymore. It's a toxic place.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Click Bait For Misogynists

    Same predictable ol' boring comments.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does El Reg’s SF office ever report on... technology? I think it could be closed and noone would even notice. Or is the actual point of it just these tediously inflammatory articles to drive ad impressions...?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It can be hostile - to everyone

    "Code Q&A site Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile to women, people of color, and marginalized groups, and has promised to do better."

    The situation should actually be stated as:

    "Code Q&A site Stack Overflow has admitted its community can be hostile to people"

    If men's ego's are bruised they dust themeselves off and get on with life. God forbid that someone should talk condescendingly on the internet. It's like the idea that women receive a disproportionate amount of abuse on social media etc when the studies have been done men get more abuse than women but they complain about it less. What is probably happening is that because the sex of each individual is not obvious women get less special treatment and consideration and interpret the lack of special treatment as discrimination when actually they are being treated the same.

  29. Sebastian P.

    Never do this

    I still believe they're asking the wrong questions. They shouldn't be hunting for people who are disrespectful towards women. They should be hunting for people who are disrespectful towards other people, period.

    Oh, you mean you assumed that only women get offended? That there are no other genders who will refrain from participating in a platform when they see that it's populated by bullies?

    As I keep saying, this is not a gender problem. It's a (lack of) proper behaviour problem. Today the bullies chose women as targets, tomorrow it will be redheads, next people who wear glasses. You need to go after the root problem.

    1. onefang

      Re: Never do this

      "As I keep saying, this is not a gender problem. It's a (lack of) proper behaviour problem. Today the bullies chose women as targets, tomorrow it will be redheads, next people who wear glasses. You need to go after the root problem."

      With it being legally forbidden for bigots to be bad to the big groups, bigots have to find smaller groups to be nasty to. Can't discriminate against non males, non whites, so instead discriminate against barefoot men with long fingernails that don't like to wear suits, but only if they are white.

  30. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    Possible differences between men and women?

    Stating up front that I am not trying to apportion blame, I also don't use stack overflow.

    My impression is that SO is equivalent to a male locker room full of autistic jocks. Their behaviour seems fine to them, but anyone not fitting the profile finds the whole thing wierd and agressive.

    [I have seen some comments upstream which seem to fit this model.]

    As a long term male who doesn't "shoulder bump" to establish my position in the pecking order I have noted on numerous occasions that other males don't quite know how to handle this. When they push, expecting a push back (can be cars, relative rank in the workplace, whatever) and I don't push back they don't seem to know what to do. Am I above or below in the pecking order?

    Based on this I offer you a bullshit theory.

    From long evolution men and women are fundamentally different (no shit) because they have evolved to fill different roles.

    There is one dominant male who gets to breed. All other males are subordinate, with the aim of working their way up the hierarchy until they get the top job. So position in the pecking order is fundamental to their whole being.

    The females group together to make raising helpless children safer; sharing the protection and care of the next generation benefits the tribe as a whole and also increases the chance of survival of the individual genetic line. Main strengths are cooperation and tolerance of others to maximise the benefits of living in a close group. So generally tolerant; just don't threaten the children!

    There. I think I just mansplained SO and Mumsnet.

  31. Vanir

    I'm a dumb coder

    who doesn't think of gender when using SO or SE etc.

    But asking dumb questions is sometimes the best thing to do.

    At least one gets to know how an intelligent, may be not civil, person responds to a dumb question.

    I'll ask Jordan Peterson what he thinks of this about SO.

    May be he will tell me to clear up my stools.

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I'm a dumb coder

      I'm not afraid to ask a dumb question, on the Internet or in a meeting. 9 times out of 10, it wasn't a dumb question and other people were wondering the same thing (but were afraid to ask, couldn't phrase it well or hadn't even thought of it.

      Even if it was a dumb question, I usually get an answer and the audience will usually still get some useful background as it's explained another way. Even "RTFM/Google, n00b" can be a useful indicator that it's a FAQ - Not that I'm a Help Vampire, I put some effort into research and asking good questions.

      1% of the time it was dumb and I don't get an answer. Risking abuse vs. learning something at those odds are a good bet.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The important issue here is that...

    ...the accompanying image features yet another poor Shutterstock model with no glass for her spectacle frames. We ought to arrange some sort of fundraiser so all those poor stock photo models can afford to buy proper glasses!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We get it, there's too much 'white privilege' and 'toxic masculinity', and you despise that.

    But can't you insufferable lefty social justice warriors just keep your identity politics out of certain domains, tech being one of them?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As the resident office "IT Genius" (and the only man on the team!) I sometimes get a touch exasperated that I need to keep explaining how to do simple things like keyboard shortcuts and how to do a screendump or partial screenshot when logging calls with the Help Desk - not because my colleagues are incapable of learning how to do it themselves or are slow or anything, but because it's easier to get someone else (me!) to do it than to remember how to do it themselves.

    As for 'mansplaining', it's down to some people thinking you can tell them in half a dozen words how to do something you have spent years learning - partly due to the short attention span/infodump culture necessary to watch (normally but sadly not exclusively American) TV shows and partly because they think shows like TOWIE or "Real Housewives Of..." are how the world really works...

  35. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Womanhood?

    More like victimhood

    Someone should tell these women they’re not unique snowflakes or daddies little princess anymore

    Time to mannup

  36. Wolfclaw

    The problem with SO, is it is full of elitist coding snobs, who forget that we aren't all geniuses and that some of us code for fun without wanting to go in to great depths and that we all start from the same ignorant coding level !

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blog post says what?

    So fascinatingly the blog post referenced says nothing about women or specific groups of people, instead it just talks about people either being nice or not nice to others.

    I don't get the reason why articles like this feel the need to try and instill and enforce a sense of separation and discrimination against popularised groups of people. This has nothing to do with women, it has nothing to do with men, nor does it have anything to do with the colour of skin or even the species involved. This is purely about people either being supportive or dismissive and critical based upon a persons knowledge.

    There are two key words there that the media seems to forget about, people and persons, instead they prefer to segregate and isolate to try and generate some kind of hoo hah.

  38. JLV Silver badge

    come on gals, don't fell so bad

    I'm a guy, hetero, white, and, while I love SO, I am also often frustrated by the self-styled Big Kahunas that haunt its waters.

    Every so often, you'll ask a question and it will get shut down. Most of the time it'll be for a more-or-less valid reason. And sometimes they're good questions but too open ended: "is Java a good language?" type (actually there's a simple answer there). And I've vented at obvious "solve my homework" questions.

    But sometimes, even as a veteran user, you'll get a duplicate close even though the question is not a duplicate. Even though the answers don't work and the target OS/language has evolved. Sometimes you'll get shut down because "it's not a good fit". Even though the question is highly rated and seems to serve a real purpose. Not just my question, other 1000+ rep users'.

    My favorite was a recent one where I asked a security question on SO Security where it was closed as duplicate even though the duplicate was a technically oriented question while I was, on purpose, phrasing it from the viewpoint of a naive user, not "how do you implement protocol X?"

    After speaking to friend who is specialized in this specific subject for a living, turns out the people closing it don't even really understand the technology behind the simple question I was asking and the duplicate wasn't using the same protocol as my question's subject.

    Yes, yes, you may not feel welcome, oh women and people of color and various sexual orientations. But we are all brothers and sisters suffering through the cesspool of self-aggrandizement of a small minority of SO "influencers and thought leaders".

    As another poster has said, it'd be good if SO took their current self-scrutiny as an opportunity to teach some of their thought police to be nicer to all people or ship out. Not holding my breath.

  39. Windrose

    Always amusing

    Group A state that they have a problem with how Group B is treated when interacting with A. This is referenced on El Reg.

    The comments are, immediately, of the "Group A only THINK they have a problem and are stupid and snowflakes and ... " variety.

    Very SO actually. For a bunch of people who claim to care more about ability than gender, you are damned touchy and sensitive on the topic.

  40. RobThBay

    A site for those who think they are experts

    I quit using Stack Overflow a few years ago because of the attitude of its members.

    For example, I'd ask a question about how to do something and there were generally 2 types of answers I'd receive.

    1) If you don't know that you shouldn't be here, or

    2) Try this method, it "should" work. The code fragment shown would either be incomplete, be incomprehensible or simply wouldn't work.

    Other times when I wouuld offer a solution to a newcomer and I would be raked over the coals because my code wasn't efficient enough for the elitist trolls that live on Stack Overflow.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you're insisting on using French grammer in a British publication, then surely the article needs to read:

    groups of maginalisation, community of programming, paper of research, contributors of activity, Overflow of Stack, initiatives of similarity, effects of insufficiency, traditions of movies of horror, years of subsequencity, participants of would-be-icity....

    I gave up after getting that far.

  42. Sheepykins

    Internet

    How do you measure the subtle nuances of conversation on the internet? Sarcasm, condescension are all things you really need to be talking to a person to 'get'.

    Are they talking about groups on the site that are slurring women and minorities?

    Or are women just "feeling" as if they are being marginalized?

    There really needs to be some context to debates like this.

    MUMSNET is craycray though.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019