I’m very pleased to see that over half of new TypeDrawers members over the last two weeks are women. Many are adding insightful posts, as well. This forum will only improve with increased diversity and I am grateful to these new members and those who invited them to participate. I hope the trend continues.
Please let me know how the management (official moderation team to be announced soon) can make TypeDrawers more welcoming and inclusive for women, minorities, and other groups who are typically underrepresented in discussion groups around type design, typography, and lettering. Thanks!
James, have you written to Barbara Jarzyna, the current ATypI executive director about this? If you explain the history, you might get a more positive response from her than you did in 2001. At that time Barbara was organising the Unicode conferences, which is how I first met her. I was due to fly to California on the morning of 11 September for the Unicode conference, as were many other people who were unable to attend as a result of the closing of US airspace. Barbara refunded all of those people, even though it meant that her company made a loss on that conference. She may not be able to help you, since the original decision predates her involvement with ATypI — and ATypI's conference accounting is year-by-year —, but I am sure she would look into it with good faith.]
I've seen people stand up for what they thought was offensive and have someone else come along and state something to the effect of "that shouldn't be taken as offensive". I think, if you're tempted to respond to someone's offense, check your sex and skin colour. If the answer is white and male, you should refrain from chiming in on what you think shouldn't be offensive. Back away from the keyboard.
I think it helps to read a critique of the state of the industry or maybe even specifically, this site. In the case of video games, a lot of issues about feminism and racial diversity had been slipping under the white/male radar for decades. It took Anita Sarkeesian to bring the problems to the surface for everyone to see.
Further, I dispute the premise of the discussion. I don’t see why “women, minorities, and other groups who are typically underrepresented in discussion groups around type design” are a priority when anyone can “discuss” type design at will, often under pseudonym. I assume “minorities” means “racial minorities” and not, say, persons with disabilities. I know gay and/or nonwhite and/or female type designers, and have met several graphic designers with significant physical disabilities, but, while the gay/nonwhite/female designers are going strong, I never hear from the disabled ones. Who really needs help? Isn’t that a core discussion that is overlooked here?
Do we even need this kind of metaconversation? If so, why must it be limited to classic liberal concerns like race and sex? But isn’t this a very big kettle of worms that simply does not need to be opened?
Isn’t Coles’ posting really another way of saying, yet again, that women face some kind of barrier in type design? But do they? The typeface doesn’t know you’re a girl. If the suggestion is that typeface-discussion forums are unwelcome to women and minorities, how do you prove that to anyone’s satisfaction? (“I’m angry and I’m offended by this comment and I don’t like this guy’s style in general” does not amount to “proving” anything.)
Typophile closed up shop, which might have been deserved. (But rendering its archives unavailable is a disgrace.) When it comes to “discussion groups around type,” TypeDrawers is it at the moment. And it barely gets any use. Clamp down on misbehaviour that seems not to be happening in the first place and what ultimately will become of TypeDrawers? Isn’t Typophile a cautionary tale?
Generally speaking, sites that call themselves “discussion forums” resist dissent, especially disagreement with foundational principles that are, when examined, weakly formed or contradictory. TypeDrawers is not MetaFilter, which at least has some taste for variance via its MetaTalk forum. (Though longtime participants there – I am user 250 – know there are real limits to what can be questioned.)
I don’t think the comment-flagging system, as presently implemented, is of any use for limiting “abuse,” to the extent it even exists.
Everyone thinks Coles is a great guy except for those who do not. (Mustn’t break consensus.) Now he has the keys to this place and has explicitly threatened to ban people. (Mustn’t break consensus.) Just this comment in its entirety is enough to get someone banned. Isn’t it?
For the millionth time, yes. If you don't want to help fix that, that's your prerogative.
It’s the only system we have and I think it works well enough. I am open to hearing other ideas.
RE: Diversity. The fact that this thread even exists proves there is a problem. Instead it of arguing about it (blah blah blah) we should simply start using it more. Argumentative voices be damned.
It isn't just just about leaving things as they are and equality will naturally occur. When people have to deal with a lifetime of visible/invisible barriers in a system that's been carefully engineered to open doors for white dudes, letting-it-be is insufficient. And I'd go as far as to say it makes you complicit. I don't usually stick my nose but I feel like
Think of how women are treated outside of this forum... on the open internet. I can't help but think a lot of women avoid participating in discussions because they're been burned before. Burned by all the times they've said something serious only to be told they have pretty eyes and they'd look better with their hair down. You've seen the rest of the internet, right? It's not enough to just open the door. If you think addressing equality is a kettle of worms, maybe we need more worms. We don't need to spell out what's a classic liberal concern as you put it. You know very well what privilege is and I think you're smart enough to know that it can't be applied universally.
I mentioned the open internet being hostile but what happens of a relatively civil forum? I think we've all seen this pattern.
Woman: That's offensive because (reasons)
Man: Why should that be offensive?
I can't recall a situation where I thought the person asking "why should that be offensive" didn't know damn well why. It's always a veiled "you shouldn't be offended". This type of discussion persists on web forums. If you think there's nothing wrong that that type of response...go for a walk and really have a good think about it. Or maybe to put it in another context:
Person: You're offensive because you smell like you just rolled around in garbage.
Other person: Why should that be offensive?
The reasonable answer in that case would be "I'm sorry, I didn't know." or "I know I'm stinky and I don't care" or "What can I do to be less stinky?" or just go away. Nobody would think to ask "why is that offensive?". You just assume it's offensive because they just told you that it's offensive. There's no justification required. Asking how you can be less offensive...that's constructive.