[UbuntuWomen] on names, language and a request for advice

Danielle Dows yandapanda at verizon.net
Wed Feb 20 01:20:50 UTC 2008


Great job in finding resolution to the topic at the time!
> And now for the questions:
> (1) do you think derogatory names impact our perception of that group?
In my head, derogatory names impact my perception of that person, not of 
a group. The Internet may be a huge mass of people, but ultimately when 
you know there is a person on the other side, it is a one-on-one 
situation, not a group. Each individual needs to be dealt with 
> (2) do you think names like "stupidgirl" should be permitted?
Although stupidgirl would definitely not be my first choice of anonymous 
names, neither would my real first name, especially in light of her 
aims. So stuck in a quandry of "who I am" as opposed to "how I am 
feeling", I don't blame her for using that name. Consider the mindset of 
the person on the other end of that name who was finally brought to the 
point of asking for help. You found her to be intelligent and her 
questions thought provoking - perhaps she was just frustrated with her 
own intelligence (or apparent lack thereof) at that time and thought 
that name would be more likely to invoke pity/help. Your resolution of 
the situation appears to have had the most beneficial outcome - 
regardless of whether your answer helped - she found the answer 
somewhere and also re-created her own self-worth in the process. I know 
I have had frustrating periods where I just cannot think straight (and 
think myself stupid), only to have someone else give me a clue as to the 
right direction that leads to the best outcome.
> (3) how can we create a positive space (for women) without censoring people?
Your experience with this one situation was the best example of how we 
can do exactly that! Ignore the name and work on the person, work on the 
problem, and then go back to the name later.
> (4) how would you have addressed the problem with the #ubuntu-ops
> channel so they understood my concern (clearly I was not effective,
> pointers are appreciated)?
The ops, albeit nice to volunteer, apparently do not care about the 
effectiveness of names. It would be nice to ban names like that, but 
then it is ultimately more effective to resolve the situation in the 
manner you did. I have found ops to be generally careless to situations 
like this.
> (5) are there further actions that I should take (including addressing
> the issue directly with the IRC Council)?
The Internet community including the Ubuntu community value anonymity 
and the ability to express ourselves. Banning the name will only serve 
to enflame those who truly wish to use names such as that in the 
blasphemous manner you perceive them being. If you ban stupidgirl, the 
next person who wants to use it, who may be a male attempting to enrage 
or deface you or other women will merely use a more insulting name 
(stup1dgurl anyone?). Best to leave the banning to individual situations 
(and let the time limits expire later) than to try to censor the 
Internet, IMHO.

Again, great job in turning a bad situation into a wonderful outcome!


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