Diversifying TypeDrawers

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  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,657
    only to be met with shockingly ignorant resistance and asinine replies, sometimes bordering on complete asshattery. 

    Only? Really? That's the only thing they've been met by?

    I've seen plenty of what you describe, but also good faith efforts to understand and overcome ignorance. Sure, it's slow and goes round and round, but that's the nature of changing ingrained attitudes and presumptions. It's easier and faster to put people against the wall and shoot them, but it's not that kind of revolution. This is the painful, frustrating, tiring and depressing one-soul-at-a-time sort of revolution.

    I'm sorry it takes a while for me to grasp things that other people might have already grasped. I totally get that it is frustrating for people who have an advanced understanding of something to have to constantly re-explain the basics, especially when a segment of the correspondents want to question, debate, haggle over or simply reject every bit of the explanation. This is why I think it's totally acceptable that some of the best posts to this discussion have been links to online resources that do this explaining.

    (mostly coming from old members who barely post in other threads but have swamped this one)

    Guilty as charged, I suppose. In my defence, none of the other threads on Typedrawers are very interesting or lively.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,657
    Okay. Stepping back as Stephen suggests.
  • at the same time I was jealous of him for just getting upset about the unfriendliness of the shop assistants and not worrying about his race, sex, or the command of language. 

    Aha! A perfect example of privilege. Thanks for sharing, @Shoko Mugikura !
  • FWIW I think @Lila Symons’ outline can be applied across the board. If you drill right down to the root, I think, that is all I want and I think that should be what we all want. I also really like @John Hudson’s comment about being kind to one another. Simply show the same amount of respect to everyone equally. (I cannot help it if you have no respect for anyone.) This problem isn't going to solve itself in one day. But I think having equal respect for everyone is start. At least here on Type Drawers.

    Thank you to everyone who has made useful comments that have, I think, pushed this forward a bit more.
  • Hi everyone! Just wanted to post this in as many places as I can:

    If you weren't at the TypeCon Diversity meeting, but would like to contribute your ideas on how to improve diversity and create a more inclusive environment at future conferences, please email me! Also please help us to reach out to others who may not be vocal in the community. We will start working on this next week, so we'd like to collect ideas ASAP.

    Please get in touch with me directly: [email protected]

    Thanks!
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 235

    I suppose that the couple of days that male human beings are encouraged to be silent in this thread, are over now.

    For those who feel I acted like a jerk when writing the above lines, I do apologize.

    Because I had the impression that some people give another meaning to “acting like a jerk or dick” than I do, and because Lila Symons (August 20) suggested to apologize when acting like that—I apologized in advance to those people who feel I acted like that. Most of all, this way of apologizing was meant to show my helplessness with the concept of “jerk or dick like behavior”.

    I would suggest that this forum is a place for a meeting of different minds, different perspectives, different opinions, different solutions, different techniques, different ways of saying things, etc—not just a place for single-mindedness, single perspectives, compatible opinions, identical solutions, uniform techniques, uniform ways of saying things, etc. In other words, I would suggest diversity—not uniformity.

    A condition for this diversity is tolerance—tolerance for other perspectives, other opinions, other solutions, other techniques, other ways of saying things, etc.

    A lack of tolerance, a lack of acceptance of what is “other”, can manifest itself in many ways. One of them is oversensitivity. Another is making rules stricter than necessary—like not only expecting people to behave decently, but also expecting them to be nice to each other (which is, in itself, a way to justify oversensitivity). A lack of tolerance induces self-censorship and, by that, a reduction of diversity.

    So I would suggest the people here to be more tolerant and less sensitive, in order to let more diversity bloom.

    Saying things like “don’t be a dick” or “don’t act like a jerk”, is a type of name-calling (verbal abuse; a crude substitute for argument)—so I would suggest not to do that here anymore. Name-calling and other forms of verbal abuse against people with another point of view, discourages diversity. Even exclamations like “shame on you” or “what a disgrace”, can discourage diversity.

    When you disagree with something that someone else has written, refrain from any form of verbal abuse, and do not attack, disqualify, or discredit this person—but respond to what this person has written: make clear what you disagree with, explain why you disagree with it, give suggestions for an alternative way to see or do it, etc. This is the way I read “Personal attacks are unacceptable” from TypeDrawers Rule Number 4.

    I would also add: Take the person who has written what you disagree with, seriously, and assume that this person has good intentions. Assuming that a person who writes things you disagree with, is not serious or has bad intentions—induces bad feelings and intolerance, and makes a real meeting of minds much harder. Moreover, it is a lazy way to dismiss what this person has written. I would suggest a “presumption of seriousness and good intentions”, like the well-known “presumption of innocence”.

    John Hudson (August 20) gave an example of an inappropriate comment:

    I used to get very frustrated on Typophile when I’d see someone take the time to compose a long and thoughtful contribution to a discussion, only to see a certain other person dismiss it with a one line comment. I figured that person was being disrespectful, not only to the person who had spent more than five seconds to engage in discussion, but also to the discussion and everyone else involved in it. Did that person understand he was being a dick, though? I doubt it. And maybe other people didn’t think he was, but I did.

    Inappropriate comments can be both short and long. Did I see an inappropriate comment in this thread? Yes. (See above in this comment, for the reasons why I think the quoted comment below is inappropriate.) It is a comment by Jackson Cavanaugh (August 20):

    FWIW, this thread has become a massive turn-off, not just to me but to many of the people I talk to off the board.
    What started as a simple celebration of new users has turned into a clusterfuck of semantic bickering, over-the-top defensiveness, and concern trolling that has completely sabotaged the conversation (mostly coming from old members who barely post in other threads but have swamped this one). Congratulations, guys.
    I’m amazed people like Ray, ECS, Victoria, and Nicole still have the patience to continue trying to communicate an idea that boils down to simple human decency (thank you, A+, super uplifting) only to be met with shockingly ignorant resistance and asinine replies, sometimes bordering on complete asshattery.
    Plenty has been said here. Frankly, some of you should be embarrassed. Instead of running another lap around the circle, I’m going to move on, shifting my energy to new threads.

    So, fellow human beings here, instead of calling names, instead of patting like-minded people on the back (which is yet another way of discouraging diversity), let’s celebrate diversity—by being more tolerant, less sensitive, by taking each other seriously, and by assuming that we all have good intentions.

  • I'm a bit skeptical of what you mean by oversensitivity there @Ben Blom, that's a bit of a slippery slope, specially saying it coming from a place of privilege which — as has been thoroughly explained elsewhere in this thread — can make it quite hard to see others' plight, and easy to see what they describe as oversensitive or unimportant. We must beware of that word.

    Having said that, I am 100% on board with you on the presumption of seriousness and good intentions as a way to encourage better exchanges, and even diversity.

    As for name calling, I agree it's unecessary, but we must be able to call someone out (politely, or not-so-much) if they're being rude, disrespecful, unethical, prejudiced, etc. and not just embrace everything for the sake of diversity.
  • but you're welcome to stay out of this thread. 

    Is this how women approach diversity discussions? Just clarify that for me, please. Because “Get lost and shut up” does not constitute “discussion.”
  • joeclarkjoeclark Posts: 123
    edited September 2015
    the men seem to be un-diversifying this thread, as is their won’t

    I recall one gay man’s asking why the classic inviolable liberal categories of Women and Racial Minorities are the subject of discussion when another group is provably worse off.

    Already there are limits to the time during which one can edit one’s post, so why not a limit to the amount men can post?

    Because you will then replicate the worst habits of Queer Nation and in fact of one very early gay-activist group, as Jim Fouratt has explained in his ACT UP Oral History interview.

    This is well-trod ground no matter how you slice it. And there are no barriers to participation by women and racial minorities on TypeDrawers.

  • Alvaro & Thomas, I was only addressing oversensitivity related to intolerance—not other forms of sensitivity.

    Thomas, I sympathize with asking people to be careful (supposing it’s not a way to make rules stricter than necessary)—but I don’t think discriminating here against people based on “privilege”, “dominance”, or whatever, is a good idea. To limit inappropriate behavior, I would suggest one and the same set of rules for all participants here.

  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 235
    edited September 2015

    I am not sure whether people here refuse to listen. Perhaps some people here listen very carefully—and then just disagree. Disagreement may be proof there is diversity happening here.

  • "Disagreement may be proof there is diversity happening here."

    How so?
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 235
    edited September 2015
    How so?

    Disagreement about perspectives, opinions, etc.—implies there are different perspectives, different opinions, etc. When there are different perspectives, different opinions, etc., here—diversity is happening here.

    I don’t think there is such a thing as “oversensitivity related to intolerance” happening here.

    A lack of tolerance for (i.e. a lack of acceptance of) other perspectives, other opinions, other solutions, other techniques, other ways of saying things, etc., can manifest itself in oversensitivity. This oversensitivity implies easily becoming upset or annoyed about other perspectives, other opinions, etc., than your own. Are there people in this thread who were annoyed about others they disagree with? I think there are.

    When I suggest the people here to be more tolerant and less sensitive—I suggest them to be more accepting towards other perspectives, other opinions, etc., than their own; and to be less annoyed by other perspectives, opinions, etc., than their own.

    There seems to be an irony here. Because of the arrival of new people here (being celebrated as an increase of diversity), there is a discussion here which, at times, suggests a lack of tolerance or acceptance for other perspectives, other opinions, etc.

    • Suggesting that someone who doesn’t agree with you, refuses to listen—suggests a lack of tolerance. Why not just accept that someone disagrees?
    • Suggesting, when someone reads some texts, that this person will then “see the light” and will agree with those texts—suggests a lack of tolerance. Why (implicitly) expecting that everyone who reads those texts, will agree with them?
    • Suggesting, when a point of view has been discussed here extensively, that we then will all agree with it—suggests a lack of tolerance. Why (implicitly) expecting, when a point of view has been discussed here extensively, that we then will all agree with it?
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited September 2015
    In my experience harmonizing diversity can be achieved by following and adopting only one principle... don't impose.

    And by impose I mean don't even expect, because by expecting something to act in a certain manner we impose inside ourselves, and that's where the slip starts.

    The primal foundation of any person is the right for self-determination, even if it is non-determination, copy-determination or a-really-lousy-determination etc'.

    The problem is that sometimes (and sometimes too often) one self-determination is imposing something on other self-determinations, it can be very "tricky", but with the don't-impose principle you can detect quite easily "where the problem is".

    A classic example is when someone is being "not nice" to someone else and the other person is getting offended, in many cases it is the offended person that want to impose the first person a different behavior.  You can't, and you shouldn't. Even simply because you have to BE that other person in order to "know" what or how should he be. We can fairly easily find the reasons (and justifications) to our on behavior but we're usually not so good at understanding others in the same way, we're us not them.

    Of course anyone can wish and try to create or maintain a tolerant environment, but it will probably be hard and not effective to try and achieve it by imposing it. If someone is not being "nice" to you, the best way to try and influence him is by self example, you can't make him be nice, but you can do it yourself, be nice to him in return for his bad-behavior (according to your agenda), this has the best chance to make the change, even, and maybe most importantly, in you own point of view.

    So people can and should have their own self-determination, as long as it doesn't impose anything on anyone else. It's not a rule, by it's definition it can't be. It's just a principle to follow, very hard to at times, but to my experience it is the very basis of freedom and harmony.

    Last thing is that this principle is not a receipt for anarchy! The broad rules(!) of the community should be (and does) clearly drawn, thus this principle can guide within it.
  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 235
    edited September 2015

    Ray, you are really unfair by suggesting that I am insisting on an atmosphere where anyone can say whatever they want. I suggest an atmosphere of tolerance, within a set of rules to limit inappropriate behavior. I even suggested to reduce verbal abuse here. I never suggested that anyone should agree with other opinions than their own—I only suggested tolerance towards other opinions.

    Ray, I thought the reason the arrival of women here would increase diversity, was the fact that they would bring in other perspectives, other opinions, other solutions, etc., than those that were current here.

    And now you suggest that the only thing they need to do to increase diversity here, is being a woman? Whatever they say, it doesn’t matter—they only have to be a woman?

    And to encourage the arrival of women, we have to reduce the diversity in perspectives, opinions, etc., here—to make them feel welcome here?

    I am sorry, Ray, but I’m afraid we live in two completely different worlds.


    Later added PS: In a direct message from a few hours ago, Stephen Coles told me that he thinks that I am trolling. He recommended me that I take a break for a few weeks—at least from the Diversity thread. I responded to him in a direct message, that I think he is unfair to me, and that I will take a break for a few weeks—unless unfair comments are made towards me.

  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited September 2015
    You can't tell people not to be too sensitive, people can be as sensitive as they wish. As long as they don't impose it on others or impose other kinds restrictions on others because of it. We tend to "defend the weak", and it is right, but defending the weak is one thing and "forcing the world" to act in a certain way is another thing, I see it as violent and tyranny  in disguise, and that's simply not defending the weak, it is defending their weaknesses.

    Someone might say: "I feel like vomiting when I see that font"
    And another person might say "He shouldn't talk like that!"

    I see the second person and the violent one because the first one just expressed himself and the second is being compulsive. That 'don't impose' principle makes it clear. You can dislike the first person's comment, you can feel like vomiting of it as well, or try to cool him down by giving a different opinion, but not witch hunt him. And not just because it is not moral (and it is not moral to do so imho) but also because it is not effective and to my experience achieve the opposite of the initial intent. We can only "make room" by making room, and restrict restrictive impulses. (this will help the "weak" or less privileged much more than the opposite) 

    This is just my opinion on, lets say, managing conflicts, and defining the foundations for a just and plural community. As for increasing diversity we should put more efforts in creating content and activity (and maybe expose it outside) that might attract diverse members, not only focus on the "behavioral" aspects and hope it'll do the work. 

  • I don't think we need be tolerant of someone telling people with less privilege that they're being too sensitive.
    In a world which is becoming increasingly intolerant and unstable due to groups of people who want to decide for all of us what is allowed or not, above all we should cherish the privilege of freedom of speech.
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited September 2015
    In a world which is becoming increasingly intolerant and unstable due to groups of people who want to decide for all of us what is allowed or not, above all we should cherish the privilege of freedom of speech.
    The problem is exactly "people who want to decide for all of us what is allowed or not", it always is. But the solution is not freedom of speech! 
    Freedom of speech allows everyone to bury in their positions and maintain conflicts.
    The solution is only not imposing. You can self-determine yourself and agenda as long as it doesn't force others what is aloud, and your freedom of speech is both included and subject to that as well. This is the best way to maintain diversity and prevent crusades.

    It can be implied in any scale. You want to believe that a marble is God? go for it. You might even be found right eventually! just don't throw it on other's heads :)
  • So people can and should have their own self-determination, as long as it doesn't impose anything on anyone else. 
    ...
    Last thing is that this principle is not a receipt for anarchy!

    Actually, it's pretty much a textbook definition of anarchy: the limits of your freedom are the edges of other peoples' freedom, hence people in community need to agree the principles and rules by which they will cooperate.


  • Last thing is that this principle is not a receipt for anarchy! The broad rules(!) of the community should be (and does) clearly drawn, thus this principle can guide within it.
    I agree with you John
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