Quick Hit: New Taylor Swift fanvid “Pipeline” calls out tech industry on diversity hypocrisy

As Julie Pagano put it: “So many ‘diversity in tech’ efforts are about getting young women into the pipeline. Ignore the fact that there’s a meat grinder at the end.” So I’ve made a new fanvid (a type of video art piece): “Pipeline”. It’s a little over 3 minutes long and cuts together about 50 different sources over Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space”. Specifically, this fanvid uses clips from documentaries, glossy Hollywood depictions of hackers, comics, code school ads, and the Geek Feminism wiki’s Timeline of Incidents to critique this dynamic. It just premiered at the WisCon Vid Party a few hours ago.

My launch blog post on Dreamwidth goes into more detail and includes a comprehensive list of video.

Download: on Google Drive (165 MB high-resolution MP4 file, 23 MB low-resolution MP4 file, 98 MB AVI file), or at Critical Commons with login (high- and low-res MP4 and WebM files)
Stream: at Critical Commons (choose View High Quality for best experience)
Lyrics subtitles file: http://www.harihareswara.net/vids/pipeline.srt (you can download this and then ask your video playing app to use it as a subtitles track)

It’s under the license Creative Commons BY-SA; please feel free to redistribute, link, remix, and so on, as long as you attribute me as the vidder, and license your derivative work under the same license. Comments are welcome, though moderated.

I am their fury, I am their patience, I am their Linkspam (22 May 2015)

  • I had a culture column at WIRED. And then I didn’t. Here’s what happened. | monica byrne (May 19): “I’ve talked with other writers who’ve had experiences with Wired. My experience is not unique. So as far as I can tell, they don’t cover the future. They produce a white male fantasy of the future. Which isn’t surprising.”
  • The Dehumanizing Myth of the Meritocracy by Coraline Ada Ehmke | Model View Culture (May 19): “We hide behind the motto of “love the art, hate the artist” to justify our preferences despite the faint voice of conscience, persistent in telling us that something is amiss. It seems that ignoring the worst of our heroes is easy, but should the opposite also hold true? Should we ignore the positive, community-oriented contributions of others as quickly as we dismiss some people’s negative attributes? Are the contributions of bad actors really superior to those who bring humane, non-code contributions to our corner of the world?”
  • #girlswithtoys: women remind Twitter they are scientists too | Wired UK (May 18): “Female scientists from all over the world have taken to Twitter to post pictures of themselves with tools and equipment from their workplaces alongside the hashtag #girlswithtoys.”
  • Furiosa (5) | Be Less Amazing (May 18): “I’ve seen a few internet pundits that they “don’t see the feminist content” of this film. Dudes. It’s about the lone powerful woman in a male-dominated society who helps a group of sex slaves escape under the premise that “[they] are not things.” That’s about as feminist as it gets, and that’s just one of the many amazing equality messages going on this movie. “
  • The programming talent myth | LWN.net (April 28): “When we see someone who does not look like one of those three men, we assume they are not a real programmer, he said. Almost all of the women he knows in the industry have a story about someone assuming they aren’t a programmer. He talked to multiple women attending PyCon 2015 who were asked which guy they are there with—the only reason they would come is because their partner, the man, is the programmer. “If you’re a dude, has anyone ever asked you that?” On the other hand, when he got up on stage, he did look like those guys. “So you probably assumed I was a real programmer.” These sorts of assumptions contribute to the attrition of marginalized people in tech, he said.”
  • We Will No Longer Be Promoting HBO’s Game of Thrones | The Mary Sue (May 18): “After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry. My next thought was, “I’m going to have to spend part of the next six months explaining why this was a bad move over and over.””
  • Reasons Why It’s Hard to Find Senior Women Engineers | Accidentally in Code (May 14): “People ask me about this topic sometimes, especially as I’m no longer close to being a “new grad” but at the point where I look for bigger opportunities. I’m collecting it here for reference – reasons and observations from my own experience, of why it’s so much harder to find senior women engineers.”
  • How Social Media is Failing Creative Women | Ink, Bits, & Pixels (May 17): “Real Name policies endanger women. Until these companies understand WHY that is, it’s not possible for the policy to be crafted in a way that reduces the danger.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

What if free and open source software were more like fandom?

This is the second of a two-part post about feminism and the philosophies and vocabularies of “open stuff” (fandom, open source, etc.). Part I is at Crooked Timber, here, and I suggest you read that first.

Recently I was thinking about abstractions we open source software folks might borrow from fandom, particularly the online world of fan fiction and fanvids. I mean, I am already a rather fannish sort of open sourcer — witness when I started a love meme, a.k.a. an appreciation thread, on the MediaWiki developers’ mailing list. But I hadn’t, until recently, taken a systematic look at what models we might be able to translate into the FLOSS world. And sometimes we can more clearly see our own skeletons, and our muscles and weaknesses, by comparison.

Affirmational and transformational

While arguing in December that the adjectives “fan” and “political” don’t contradict each other, I said:

I think calling them fanwork/fanvids is a reasonable way to honor fandom’s both transformative and affirmational heritage

I got that phrasing (“affirmational/transformational”) from RaceFail, which is a word for many interconnected conversations about racism, cultural appropriation, discourse, and fandom that happened in early 2009. (In “Feminist Point of View: A Geek Feminism Retrospective”, Skud discussed how RaceFail influenced the DNA of Geek Feminism (see slide 15).) RaceFail included several discussions that X-rayed fandom and developed new models for understanding it. (And I do mean “discussions” — in many of the Dreamwidth links I’m about to mention, the bulk of thought happens in the comments.)

obsession_inc, in a RaceFail discussion, articulated the difference between “affirmational” and “transformational” fandom. Do you bask in canon, relaxing in the security of a hierarchy, or do you use it, without a clear answer about Who’s In Charge?

When we use these terms we’re talking about different modes: different approaches to source texts, to communities, to the Web, to the mass media industries, and to each other. It’s not just about whether you’re into pages of words or audio/video, and it’s not necessarily generational either:

So when I see the assertion that as a group, print-oriented old time fans don’t know how to deal with extensive cross-linked multi-threaded fast-paced discussion, all I can do is cough and mutter “bullshit”.

We have a long-standing heritage of transformational fandom — sometimes it surprises fans to know just how long we’ve been making fanvids, for instance. (What other heritages do I have that I don’t know enough about?)

And I’m mulling over what bits of FLOSS culture feel affirmational to me (e.g., deference to celebrities like Linus Torvalds) or transformational (e.g., the Open Source Bridge session selection process, where everyone can see each other’s proposals and favstar what they like). I’d love to hear more thoughts in the comments.

Expectations around socializing and bug reports

I reread the post and the hundreds of comments at oliviacirce’s “Admitting Impediments: Post-WisCon Posts, Part I, or, That Post I Never Made About RaceFail ’09”, where people talked about questions of power and discourse and expectations. For instance, one assessment of a particular sector of fandom: “non-critical, isolated, and valuing individual competition over hypertext fluency and social interaction.” This struck me as a truth about a divide within open source communities, and between different open source projects.

Jumping off of that came dysprositos’s question, “what expectations do we … have of each other that are not related to fandom but that are not expectations we would have for humanity at large?” (“Inessential weirdness” might be a useful bit of vocabulary here.) In this conversation, vehemently distinguishes between fans who possess “the willingness to be much more openly confrontational of a fannish object’s social defects” vs. those who tend to be “resigned or ironic in their observations of same. I don’t think that’s a difference in analysis, however, but a difference in audiencing, tactics, and intent among the analyzers.” When I saw this I thought of the longtime whisper network among women in open source, women warning each other of sexual abusers, and of the newer willingness to publicly name names. And I thought of how we learn, through explicit teaching and through the models we see in our environment, how to write, read, and respond to bug reports. Are you writing to help someone else understand what needs fixing so they can fix it, or are you primarily concerned with warning other users so they don’t get hurt? Do you care about the author’s feelings when you write a report that she’ll probably read?

Optimizing versus plurality

In fanfic and fanvids, we want more. There is no one true best fic or vid and we celebrate a diverse subjectivity and an ever-growing body of art for everyone to enjoy. We keep making and sharing stuff, delighting in making intricate gifts for each other. In the tech world I have praised !!Con for a similar ethos:

In the best fannish traditions, we see the Other as someone whose fandom we don’t know yet but may soon join. We would rather encourage vulnerability, enthusiasm and play than disrespect anyone; we take very seriously the sin of harshing someone else’s squee.

Sometimes we make new vocabulary to solve problems (“Dead Dove: Do Not Eat”) but sometimes we say it’s okay if the answer to a problem is to have quite a lot of person-to-person conversations. It’s okay if we solve things without focusing first on optimizing, on scaling. And I think the FLOSS world could learn from that. As I said in “Good And Bad Signs For Community Change, And Some Leadership Styles”, in the face of a problem, some people reflexively reach more for “make a process that scales” and some for “have a conversation with ____”. We need both, of course – scale and empathy.

Many of us are in open stuff (fanfic, FLOSS, and all the other nooks and crannies) because we like to make each other happy. And not just in an abstract altrustic way, but because sometimes we get to see someone accomplish something they couldn’t have before, or we get comments full of happy squee when we make a vid that makes someone feel understood. It feels really good when someone notices that I’ve entered a room, remembers that they value me and what I’ve contributed, and greets me with genuine enthusiasm. We could do a lot better in FLOSS if we recognized the value of social grooming and praise — in our practices and in time-consuming conversations, not just in new technical features like a friction-free Thanks button. A Yuletide Treasure gift exchange for code review, testing, and other contributions to underappreciated software projects would succeed best if it went beyond the mere “here’s a site” level, and grew a joyous community of practice around the festival.

What else?

I’m only familiar with my corners of fandom and FLOSS, and I would love to hear your thoughts on what models, values, practices, and intellectual frameworks we in open source ought to borrow from fandom. I’m particularly interested in places where pragmatism trumps ideology, in bits of etiquette, and in negotiating the balance between desires for privacy and for publicity.

Linkspam, Will Robinson! Linkspam! (19 May 2015)

  • Where Does Your Pipeline Lead? | Life as I Know It: “If you’re thinking about getting into the tech industry or wondering how to stay in the tech industry in the face of pervasive toxic environments, I encourage you to broaden your horizons about what ‘being in tech’ can look like. What is your goal? If you want to use technology to make a better life for yourself, think carefully about the pipeline you enter and where you want it to lead.”
  • Marvel replaces Black Widow with Captain America for its toy line | BoingBoing: “In other words, not only is Black Widow ridiculously underrepresented in Avengers merchandise—she’s also actively erased from her own scenes. Well done Marvel.”
  • Happy Birthday to Inge Lehmann, the Woman Who Discovered Earth’s Inner Core | Smart News | Smithsonian: “Her idea was revolutionary. When Lehmann published her findings in 1936, her solid core model was quickly adopted by the scientific community. Lehmann’s theory was finally proven right in 1970, when new, more sensitive seismographs picked up seismic waves bouncing off the Earth’s solid core.”
  • Interview: ‘Nimona’ Creator Noelle Stevenson | NPR: “Like a lot of young women, I went through an entire period where I hated female characters — I didn’t want to read about them! I thought I was going to be the cool girl who was not like other girls. And that’s so harmful.”
  • ATP Shownote Data | Kieran Healy: “When doing this kind of thing it can be helpful to look back on what your past practice has been. For example, it can be useful to audit one’s own habits of linking and engagement. Often exclusion is less a matter of explicit boundary policing (though God knows there’s enough of that in the tech sector) and more a matter of passive homophily.”
  • Project Update: The Electric Blanket is DONE! | Tech Musings: “Mrs. Parenteau and her merry band of 3rd grade scientists/sewers have finally finished their electric blanket project! The final result is a quilt containing approximately 45 squares that light up. Currently hanging in the Science hallway, it’s fun to watch students interact with it by pressing the different switches to light up the quilt. This was a challenging project for the kids and we are proud of their hard work and perseverance with the e-textile materials – especially the conductive thread.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Quick Hit: The Word “Girl” in “Supergirl”

CBS has just released a “first look” teaser for the new Supergirl TV show, coming this fall. I’ve always frowned at the name “Supergirl” for an adult woman, finding it infantilizing. The teaser tries to address this:

News announcer on television: “Media Magnate Cat Grant, of National City’s new female hero: Supergirl.” (news channel displays “#Supergirl”)

Kara Danvers: “We can’t name her that.”

Cat Grant: “We … didn’t.”

Danvers: “Shouldn’t she be called Super…. woman?”

Grant: “What do you think is so bad about ‘girl’? I’m a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

Calista Flockhart plays an authoritative Cat Grant, a casting choice which itself implies (to me) a defense of the type of femininity Flockhart performed as Ally McBeal in her best-known role to date.

I don’t find Grant’s argument convincing, since my particular beef with the “girl” suffix is around connotations of immaturity, and particularly because we do not tend to call men of similar ages “boys”. That’s unequal. But I appreciate that at least this teaser attempts a defense. And overall I loved the teaser, and it made me cry. Stories of women discovering and claiming our power, in ourselves and to help others, will always get me.

Thoughts?

In The Hall Of The Mountain Linkspam (15 May 2015)


We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Land of Geeks and Linkspam (13 May 2015)

Note: We’re having trouble pulling links from Delicious, so if you’d like to submit links, please use one of the other options at the bottom of the post. We’ve almost certainly missed some good links in the interim, feel free to resubmit them!

  • Completely Truthful Answers to Lady Engineer Questions | Medium (May 4): “To save tech journalists some time, I put together a comprehensive FAQ on behalf of all women in tech. You’re welcome.”
  • Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing | AAUW (March 26): “Women engineers who were most satisfied with their jobs, in contrast, worked for organizations that provided clear paths for advancement, gave employees challenging assignments that helped develop and strengthen new skills, and valued and recognized employees’ contributions. In other words, workplaces with good management practices were more likely to retain women employees. … Harvey Mudd College has dramatically increased the number of women computer science graduates at the school with three simple interventions designed to welcome beginning students into the curriculum rather than weed them out.”
  • Business of Art Fix: Keeping The Indie Dream Alive When Talking Pay and Other Stories | Autostraddle (May 6): “What’s tough for me about the initiative is its predication on the assumption that business owners are paying their workers as little as they can and themselves as much as they can get away with. If we expose these practices, #talkpay suggests, we can fix the inequality that results from them. Voswinkel says as much in her post, asserting that “The fact is, companies are doing everything they can to increase their bottom line, and as such, they are actively trying to pay you as little as possible, with the understanding that if they underpay you too much, they will lose talent.” Obviously, every initiative can’t be everything to everyone, and #talkpay succeeded at its specific angle. I guess I’d like to add to that conversation, though, by asking, “What happens when pay inequality starts at the top?” What happens when, because a business is owned by women and aimed at women with no connections in the business sector or access to “angel investors,” there’s no choice but to underpay?”
  • Introducing the #NASADatanauts | open.NASA (May 8): “In keeping with NASA’s focus on Women in Data this year, the first class of #NASADatanauts will be women.”
  • Being “out” as a #scimom | Dynamic Ecology (May 11): “Something that is very important to me is to be open about being a scientist – a woman scientist, in particular – who has children. The data don’t paint a rosy picture for scientist mothers, and this is in part because of the biases we all have related to women in science (and especially regarding women in science with children). My hope is that, by being open about being a scientist mother, I can do my small part to normalize the idea of women scientists having children.”
  • Sources: You Can Play As A Woman In Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate | Kotaku (May 11): “Almost a year after publisher Ubisoft made headlines for not including female protagonists in Assassin’s Creed Unity, today we’ve got news that there will be a playable woman assassin in the next entry of Ubisoft’s mega-series”
  • Finding Sharla Boehm | The Edtech Curmudgeon (May 12): A follow-up to the article on Sharla Boehm that appeared in the April 24 Linkspam
  • CTO Megan Smith explains how women in tech are erased from history | Boing Boing (May 8): “Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, stopped by the Charlie Rose show recently and revealed a starting fact: Although four women worked on the Macintosh team in the 1980s, not a single one was cast in the 2013 biopic Jobs with Ashton Kutcher. Even worse, all seven men who worked on the project had speaking roles in the film.”
  • A note to my fellow white feminists about the renewal of Agent Carter | Teh Awesome Sauce (May 8): “We’re SO EXCITED about Season 2, and we can’t wait to see a lot more diversity. Where’s Jim Morita? Where’s Gabe Jones? Where are plots dealing with racial issues in the era? Where are all the women of color? It’s NEW YORK CITY, FFS. By both actual reality and comics canon, the show is about 8000% too white.”
  • A Post About The Hugos | Unintended Consequences (May 11): “The con gained over 2,600 supporting memberships since March 31st of this year and about 350 attending memberships.”
  • Hi Maro ! I recently noticed some people who were… | Blogatog (May 10): “I think people who are used to being represented in various media and games don’t always understand the importance of it because they’ve never experienced not having it.” (This is the blog of the head designer of Magic the Gathering.)
  • Web developers heat up SJ tech scene | Courier-Post (April 28): Profile of South Jersey techie Pamela Bey.

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

I’ve Wrestled With Linkspam For 35 Years (5 May 2015)

  • The Trouble with Imposters by Cate Huston | Model View Culture (April 28): “What we call imposter syndrome often reflects the reality of an environment that tells marginalized groups that we shouldn’t be confident, that our skills aren’t enough, that we won’t succeed—and when we do, our accomplishments won’t even be attributed to us.”
  • Imagining a Safer Space: Building Community & Ending Harassment in Punk | Store Brand Soda (April 28): [CW: assault, harassment] “People have difficulty believing that women and trans individuals pursuing traditionally male activities are doing it authentically, for our own reasons. Our motives are cast as disingenuous; we’re called groupies, posers, and hangers-on. Male dominance is established by questioning our right to be there at all.”
  • Conduct Becoming | Anil Dash (April 30): “But what was perhaps most exciting was that it was no big deal to make [a code of conduct] happen. That’s not to diminish the work that Sean and his team put into pulling the code together, but it didn’t take a ton of persuasion, and it wasn’t too big an effort on the part of the event organizers for it to happen.”
  • On the diversity-readiness of STEM environments | Mel Chua (April 28): “I have been “the full-time community person who is ridiculously good at tech stuff that she no longer gets to do,” instead of “the technical person who understands and listens to and cares about inclusion and community.” Because I cannot not patch a leaky roof. But I have always wondered what I might have grown up into, if I had learned STEM in an environment that was ready for me — without me having to fix it first.”
  • Girl Develop It heats up South Jersey tech scene | Courier Post (April 28): “Bey — owner of Be Brilliant Media, a company that provides a wide range of website services — is spreading her web development wisdom through the South Jersey chapter of Girl Develop It.Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn web and software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.”
  • A centerfold does not belong in the classroom | The Washington Post (April 24): “I first saw a picture of Playboy magazine’s Miss November 1972 a year ago as a junior at [Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology]. My artificial intelligence teacher told our class to search Google for Lena Soderberg (not the full image, though!) and use her picture to test our latest coding assignment. “
  • The Big Lie of science | Galileo’s Pendulum (April 30): “Science at its heart is about evidence; the practice of science, however, is about humans. A sexist reviewer can waste a female researcher’s time for reasons completely unrelated to her research, and a journal can abet the practice — making scientific publication an accomplice to academic sexism.”
  • Many organizers at the forefront of Baltimore police-brutality protests are women, despite men taking center stage – citypaper.com (April 28): “Many organizers at the forefront of the protests are women, and many members of the Gilmor Homes community with key involvement in the protests are very young people. On Saturday, women marshaled the march along, maintaining energy, leading chants from megaphones, and even ensuring that a female member of Freddie Gray’s family, who joined the march in her wheelchair, was able to stay on the front lines.”
  • Sexist peer review elicits furious Twitter response, PLOS apology: (May 1): ‘Evolutionary geneticist Fiona Ingleby was shocked when she read the review accompanying the rejection for her latest manuscript, which investigates gender differences in the Ph.D.-to-postdoc transition, so she took the issue to Twitter. Earlier today, Ingleby, a postdoc at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, posted two excerpts of the anonymous review. “It would probably … be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions,” the reviewer wrote in one portion.“Perhaps it is not so surprising that on average male doctoral students co-author one more paper than female doctoral students, just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile a bit faster than female doctoral students,” added the reviewer (whose gender is not known).’
  • PLOS ONE Update on Peer Review Process | EveryOne (May 1): Official PLOS ONE statement regarding Fiona Ingleby’s complaint.
  • Queen of Carbon Becomes First Woman to Receive IEEE Medal of Honor | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network (April 30): ‘Dresselhaus is famous for her work in carbon-based materials including buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs), nanotubes and graphene. In the energy sector, carbon-based materials are frequently discussed in terms of their ability to increase energy storage capacities in battery technologies and supercapacitors. According to the IEEE, “the era of carbon electronics can be traced back to [Dresselhaus’s] tireless research efforts.” ‘

 

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The Recompiler: An Interview with Audrey Eschright

Audrey Eschright is a well-known figure in the Portland, Oregon tech scene, and for good reason: her open source project, Calagator, has been connecting Portland techies with local tech and user group events since 2008.  She also co-founded Open Source Bridge, a tech conference that has raised the bar for inclusiveness, diversity, and volunteerism in technical conferences.

Audrey’s newest project is The Recompiler, a feminist hacker magazine that will be launching in summer of 2015.  Given Audrey’s successful track record, The Recompiler promises bring something wonderful and valuable to the lives of many technically-minded people. I wanted to learn more about this project and what she hopes to make of it.  Our conversation follows; if you’re interested in helping make The Recompiler a success, don’t forget to become a subscriber – a subscription drive is currently underway.

What’s your vision for The Recompiler?

I want to create a community of learning and inclusion for people working with technology, via a print and online magazine, and other media projects. I’m very interested in exploring the diversity that already exists in tech, and connecting the dots to show people pathways into areas of tech beyond the webdev bootcamp –> tech startup job model that seems to be the primary way we’re talking about creating a “pipeline” for under-represented groups to engage in technical work.

I’m at a point in my career, the pipeline isn’t the thing I think about the most anymore. I’m thinking about creating a platform for people to continue to live and work in this space, especially as we find ourselves to be no longer raw beginners, but people who have experience, competence, and yet still need to continue to learn more, keep building our skills.

I’ve also been asking myself: what am I even doing diversity work for? What is geek feminism for? The work of promoting and explaining diversity needs can completely swamp you, take up all your time and energy. If there isn’t still a space to do tech, to build technology that we need, by us and for us, there’s no point.

What sort of content are you envisioning for The Recompiler? Who’s your ideal audience, and what value should subscribing / reading expect to get?  How about those who might not normally consider themselves in the readership of a feminist hacker magazine?

I’m looking for a range of content on technical topics: tutorials, articles, personal stories, and also art and illustrations. I’ve been really inspired by zine culture, as well as newer magazines like Lucky Peach that take a topic (in their case, food) and explore it from a variety of angles: factual, creative, work, play, at home, and traveling all over the world.

My ideal audience is people who are working with technology and just starting to be aware of the bigger range of unknown unknowns (I don’t know what I don’t know). And also people who are in other places in their learning progression, but want to continue to expand their knowledge in a fun, playful way. I think that by combining tutorials and technical articles with personal narratives and art, we can build a map of possibilities together.

I hope that for people who see themselves as being outside that audience, it will give them a greater awareness of the real breadth of activities and kinds of participation that are possible in technology. Part of my process as I started working on The Recompiler was to ask myself, what inspired me when I first started to learn to program? What encouraged me to want to be involved in computing? So much of that was about exploring possibilities, building things that hadn’t existed before, and connecting with other people through new kinds of communication tools. I hope that everyone who reads The Recompiler will feel a little of that spark.

Tell me about the history of this project. What inspired you, and what led you to the point where you decided to make The Recompiler happen?

Well, one of the most direct inspirations was Amelia Greenhall’s “Start Your Own B(r)and” post. Around December, January, I was looking at my job and career options, and trying to decide whether to stay where I was, move to another startup, or do something else. I made a list of what I thought I was looking for, and talked to a lot of people, and then Amelia’s post really hit me at the right time.

After that, I talked to a lot of friends about maybe doing a “feminist hacker magazine”, and everyone from Women Who Hack, and people were really into the idea. So I spent some time writing down every idea that came to mind, working out a budget, figuring out what I would need to make it work, then I quit my job to focus on this at the end of March. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about starting a business and going to work for myself, but having so much information about what I needed to learn, and friends who could give me referrals and business advice, that made a huge difference.

The promotional video for your subscription campaign includes cameos by your three cats and a blue puppet I’m familiar with from your 2010 Open Source Bridge talk, “The Fine Line Between Creepy and Fun.” Tell me more about them!

My cats Sputnik, Kirk, and Yuri were all very obliging participants in the video. Sputnik (with the tuxedo) is getting to be a “senior”, but he’s still the most athletic: if he can see where he’s going, he can jump on top. Kirk (the tabby) is a snuggle bunny, sometimes he gets a little *too* enthusiastic and starts to head butt people. And Yuri is the baby, and the softest cat I’ve ever met.

It’s hard to keep Creepius from inviting himself to things like this. The weird little blue monster thinks he’s the star of everything.

Thanks for telling us more about The Recompiler, Audrey! The subscription drive continues for a couple more weeks.

The physical layer, the network layer, the linkspam layer (1 May 2015)

  • Why some men pretend to work 80 hours a week | Harvard Business Review: “Many of these men acted on their feelings, finding different ways to resist the firm’s expectations that they be ideal workers. How they resisted shaped their futures at the firm in important ways: some men made small, under-the-radar changes to their work that allowed them to pull back, while still “passing” as the work-devoted superheroes the firm valued. Others were more transparent about their difficulties, and asked the firm for help in pulling back. Their efforts resulted in harsh penalties and marginalization.
  • Interactive exhibit features two decades of female game developers | Kill Screen – Videogame Arts & Culture.: ““Women created this industry,” Alex Handy, founder and director of a California digital art museum, told me via email. “From the imagination and creativity of Roberta Williams, to the technical skill of Carol Shaw, to the leadership skills of Amy Henning, women are an integral part of the history of video games.” Now, a new exhibit in Oakland, California, honors the legacy of Williams, Shaw, Henning and five other female developers. “Women in Game Development” opened April 12 at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment and is expected to run through the summer, said MADE founder Handy.”
  • The Police State is already here. | mathbabe: “Take a look at this incredible Guardian article written by Rose Hackman. Her title is, Is the online surveillance of black teenagers the new stop-and-frisk? but honestly that’s a pretty tame comparison if you think about the kinds of permanent electronic information that the police are collecting about black boys in Harlem as young as 10 years old.”
  • Online Troll Urges Game Developer Rachel Bryk To Commit Suicide: [CW: Suicide, harassment, abuse, transphobia] “Over the past two years, Bryk had become one of the most prominent game developers on a software project called Dolphin. She was well-known for her work on Gamecube and Wii emulators—her favorite being Pucca’s Kisses. Despite her beloved status in online gaming communities, Bryk commented on a popular 4chan forum that she was withdrawing from various sites because she suffered constant, trans-phobic harassment. After her death, word quickly spread throughout these communities, and forums were flooded with memorial posts in her honor, and tributes to her work and collaborative nature.”
  • It’s a man’s world – for one peer reviewer, at least | Retraction Watch: “Fiona Ingleby, a postdoc in evolutionary genetics at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, co-wrote an article on gender differences in the transition from PhD-dom to postdoc land and submitted it to a journal for consideration. What she heard back was lamentably ironic — and grossly sexist.”
  • Minecraft, Temple Run: Video game characters don’t have to default to male | Slate: “Fans of Minecraft—especially girls—have long felt frustrated that the only default character available in the popular building game is a man. Now, the game’s programmers have announced that players will get a lady option.”
  • How to Attract Female Engineers | NYTimes.com: “Women seem to be drawn to engineering projects that attempt to achieve societal good. Curious to learn whether that was true at other universities, my colleagues and I contacted the dozens of universities that have programs aimed at reducing global poverty and inequality. What we found was consistent and remarkable.”
  • Crash Course: An apology to the transgender community | Slate.: “But what you don’t get to decide is what offends others, especially in a group you’re not a part of.”
  • Game of Fear: The Story Behind GamerGate | Boston Magazine : [Strong CW: Gamergate, Stalking, Abuse, Harassment] “What if a stalker had an army? Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend was obsessed with destroying her reputation—and thousands of online strangers were eager to help.”
  • Boots or Heels: My Wardrobe Paradox as a Woman in STEM | Scientific American Blogs: “I feel like I have found a balance again, partly as a result of being surrounded by so many STEM women in my daily life who are so different. Some love to bake, some love makeup and fancy shoes, some raise their own chickens, some are avid rock climbers, some sew their own clothes, and some have a collection of super hero costumes. But when we are together, no one questions our intellectual ability or commitment to science.”
  • The Recompiler: a magazine about technology | Indiegogo: “The Recompiler will invite writers and artists who work and play with technology to share what they know: how do things work? who builds what? how much can we take apart, and what will it look like to rebuild our technology and make it better? We’ll do this through a quarterly print and online magazine. As a subscriber, you will be a part of our learning community.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.