On 6/6/2010 2:57 PM, Mariano Cecowski wrote:
I can't believe that with all the complains no one
has yet brought up the fact that the 'watch' has been replaced by a star that
turns blue instead of yellow.
I always think I don't have the page in my watchlist!!!
Now, that's a reason to complain (Lynch the usability team!)
I trust that at least the last part of this was meant as a joke, but I
think it's worth a comment anyway. This is not so much related to
usability or interlanguage links, but the larger issue some people have
been highlighting about communication and culture.
If you don't know the history of racial issues in the US, you might not
realize just how serious a subject lynching is. In that cultural
context, it is not something to be joked about. For African-Americans
online, talk about lynching is arguably more offensive than violations
of Godwin's law. For me, this highlights some of the issues that make
our culture much more closed than it should be.
I think we are often far too careless in the tone and language we use
with each other. We need to both be more careful in how we communicate,
and more forgiving of those who inadvertently make mistakes in this
area. I'm happy to forgive a comment about lynching made in ignorance of
its connotations. In this discussion, there's been quite a bit of
consternation about the attitude of the usability team, which seems to
have grown largely out of a comment attached to the debated piece of
code. I imagine the author may well regret it, but I don't think it
should be seized upon in isolation from the productive dialogue I've
seen. An administrator on the wiki might be a bit grumpy in an edit
summary, too - that's not a good thing particularly, but not necessarily
worth indicting the entire community, as some critics try to do. It
happens, people are human, hence both fallible and capable of improving.
Because of the race aspect, this is also a good opening to talk about
diversity and cultural awareness. As a community, we are overwhelmingly
white (to use the racial constructs of the US; to express it another
way, of European ancestry). We manage to have a smattering of Asian
people, of various ethnic groups. But some groups are effectively not
involved at all, and the European and American flavor is very dominant.
Because of how that shapes our interactions, is it any wonder that black
people might not feel welcome among us? We may be perfectly innocent, as
exemplified here, yet our culture can appear hostile to people of
Similarly, we know that the community population skews young and male.
That has important consequences, and some of those unfortunately
reinforce our lack of diversity. It's been pointed out what a
male-centric approach we sometimes have, in the enthusiasm and manner
with which certain subjects are covered, and the oblivious attitude
toward potential offensiveness of various images. This comes across to
all too many women as a hostile culture. Most large online communities
do not have the kind of gender imbalance we have. This is a serious
issue we need to address. The foundation could do targeted outreach
forever to recruit underrepresented groups (whether it's ethnicity, age,
gender, or other factors), and it would accomplish very little without
significant improvements in our culture.