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Re: Structurelessness, feminism and open: what open advocates can learn from second wave feminists

On Mon, 24 Aug 2009, Karsten Wade wrote:

One thing we don't do too much of on this list is discuss how power is
controlled and wielded in the Fedora Project.  As I've been doing a
lot of thinking and reading lately about feminism and technology, this
David Eaves post was a nice fit in to that.


It's a good meditation with good calls to action on how an open
project can ensure it's _ability_ to grow contributor base.  Amongst
other stuff.  Great read for anyone currently in this project,
especially if you care about how it is going to look and act in the

From TFA:

"I've personally experienced the struggle of trying to engage/penetrate an open source community. Who I should talk to, how to present my ideas, where to present them -- all often have rules (of which, within Mozilla, I was usually informed by friends on the inside -- while occasionally I discovered the rules awkwardly, after grossly violating them). Most open source communities I know of -- such as Mozilla or Canada25 -- never claimed (thankfully) to be democratic, but there is an important lesson here. Recognizing the dangers of too much (or rather the wrong) structure is important. But that should not blind us to the other risk -- the danger outlined above by Freeman for feminists in 1970: that in our zeal to avoid bad structure, we open advocates begin to pretend that there is no structure, or no need for structure."

I think we fight hard not to fall into this trap. We don't strive to be a democracy; we strive (certainly imperfectly) to be a meritocracy. He/she who solves problems, gets more problems to solve. Ideally. :)


Computer Science professors should be teaching open source.
Help make it happen.   Visit http://teachingopensource.org.

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