[UbuntuWomen] A slight caveat
ubuntuready at gmail.com
Sun Apr 1 04:16:17 BST 2007
Caroline found a sexist joke on her forum, and pointed out that it violated
the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. She was right in doing this. Her behavior was
appropriate. A discussion followed as to whether or not her observation was
correct. Caroline did not participate in this discussion. The poster of the
sexist joke was unable to concede that his joke was inappropriate, but he
apologized to whomever was offended. The consensus of the people on the
forum was that the joke was inappropriate. Why was there a discussion at
all? Because nobody at Ubuntu, not even Mark Shuttlesworth, tells the rest
of us how to think. We decide for ourselves. The Ubuntu Community respects
our individual autonomy, as women and men. The consensus of the people on
the forum was that the joke was inappropriate. Apologies were made, not only
by the poster, but by many others as well. Caroline did not participate in
Later, Caroline wrote in her blog, which was syndicated on Ubuntu UK Planet.
In it, she used a rather harsh expletive, and in response, she received an
anonymous complaint: "I find this post both offensive and rude. Considering
your recent reaction to an email on the ubuntu-uk's mailing list. I am
shocked that you use such bad language, knowing full well that it will be
shown on the ubuntu-uk planet. If you wish to continue being so crude,
please remove yourself from the planet."
Although one could interpret such a response as baiting her, we all
understand that text-based forums, such as email and user-groups are rife
with misunderstandings that arise as a result of interpreting written
language the same way we interpret speech. We can easily read sarcasm where
it does not reside. Anyone who has used the internet for longer than a month
has fallen into a bitter dispute over a comment misinterpreted (or
accurately interpreted) as a flame, and friends get lost and feelings get
hurt by such disputes. The savvy internet user knows that these disputes
erupt constantly, and sagely side-steps them when they arise.
Even if we were to interpret this comment in the most hostile possible way,
the anonymous complaint has merit, even if his suggestion for resolution
does not. The objection to her obscene language is appropriate.
* Her language was offensive.
* To my knowledge, she has not taken the admonition with nearly the grace
that she would insist upon in the author of the sexist joke.
We are all traumatized and appalled by the threats against Kathy Sierra. To
suggest that Caroline is being similarly victimized is disingenuous.
It is truly not my intention to upset anyone on this mailing list. I
consider everyone on this list to be my colleagues. I would like to believe
that, in this post, I have tried to treat all of you with the utmost respect
and courtesy. I spent ninety minutes writing this post, and I feel I have
been very careful in my deliberate choice of words. Should you choose to
reply to this post, I ask that you please react to what I have written as if
I spent ninety minutes writing this post, and had been very careful in my
choice of words.
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