Re: FoRK's anti-206 stance, Canadian music, Demographics and Haiku (long)

Roy T. Fielding (
Fri, 10 Apr 1998 00:15:23 -0700

>"Dorothy Ellen Wilcox (M.Ed.) has done a lot of research on flaming and
>believes that flaming is often intended to intimidate girls and women into

Well, that is the most ridiculous conclusion I've seen this week.
I've probably flamed to a crisp several hundred people over the
past decade, and as far as I know only one of them is female.

It is quite possible that flaming other people has the effect of
intimidating everyone, and that those with the least confidance are
the most intimidated, but that certainly doesn't qualify as an indication
of the flamer's intentions. I have noticed that a large proportion of
women in CS have a confidance level significantly lower than their abilities.
I have also noticed that women in CS are more likely to assume others
don't think highly of their skills. I don't know why, and it certainly
doesn't apply to all women, but it is far too frequent to be a coincidence.

One of my friends (a woman in CS) mentioned to me once a study of how
women perceive language more strongly than men -- that is, they take
greater offense at a verbal assault than do men, particularly when it
appears in print, and take even casual conversations far more seriously
than their male colleagues. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the
reference was (it was only a casual conversation ;-).

>In response, women have developed strategies for staying included,
>such as "passive lurking" (becoming invisible by staying silent), changing
>their names to androngynous or male aliases, becoming competent flamers
>themselves, and even beginning their own electronic bulletin boards in an
>attempt to bring gender equity to the Internet"

Passive lurking is the same as not being included, and disingenuity via
name changes is always the wrong solution (except when it is part of a
game in which everyone expects to be talking to pseudo-personalities).
After all, what is the purpose of conversation via e-mail? It is too
slow for casual gossip, and too ephemeral for serious learning. One might
think that FoRK is the perfect counterexample, but I suspect most of us
are here to meet (or abuse) interesting people. Actually, I'm here so
that I can understand the context behind half of Rohit's inside jokes.
Otherwise, I wouldn't know whether to laugh or hit him upside the head
(or both).

Becoming a competent flamer is a worthwhile goal, if for nothing else
than a better understanding of why you are getting flamed. I don't mind
getting chewed-out when I am being silly (hi Lisa), but there is a fine
line of perception between a well-chosen flame and a mindless insult.
It is one of those things that can only be learned (and understood)
by doing, which may be why the conclusion is so far off the mark.


>this proves that Tim's rule
>which states "Canadian culture has given nothing to the world" is WRONG!!!!

Yep. I like gravy on my fries too.