↑ comment by CharlieSheen ·
2012-07-14T07:26:50.171Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
"He or she" or "they" seems like the obvious alternative.
Bleh. Using she clearly isn't neutral. Unless we are going for "boo boys, yay girls" vibe, which is dull. Also is ze really that much of a straw man considering I've seen luke and others use it here?
"They" seems appropriate, but LWers are nerds, they have far too little common sense for that. You know that two times out of three if they can be geeks about being "gender neutral" or some progressive silliness they will be.
Your comment suggests you think the discomfort experienced by women from this sort of thing is negligible. It very well may be, but as men I don't think we're in a position to know very well without asking women.
The simple truth is that even if we go out of our way to endorse woman friendly norms, they simply won't be making up half the readership. When doing utility calculus, you need to stop thinking in "half of the intended readership" and just thinking about half the actual readership the thing can get. Lets not kid ourselves that the likely audience split will be 50-50, check out the numbers in the relevant academic philosophy departments or even on LessWrong
I'm suggesting the radical notion that a female reader is as good as a male reader and no more. We ought to be maximizing the readership period, not worrying about its demographics except in a instrumental sense. Now obviously you don't want to signal that you aren't inclusive, that is the kind of thing an inbreed toothless bigoted redneck would do, so once someone brings it up you have to do something about it, but 9 times out of 10 that person bringing it up isn't doing the "audience maximisation" goal any good at all, especially once one factors in the opportunity costs of developer/administrator/writer time!
LessWrong readers are capable of shutting up and calculating, deciding to punch their own father in the face and not talk to him for a year in order to get 500k that can save plenty of lives, but they aren't willing to give a rough look to people who suggest the building needs 500k in modifications to make it handicapped friendly. I smell a scared cow with some pseudo-utilitarian rationalization lipstick. If they where capable of doing so they would realize that often the discomfort experienced by the minority fraction of readers does not at all outweighs the investment needed to accommodate them. Worse using such efforts conspicuously is a tribal marker away from the acceptable educated crowd norm, lowering the barrier to entry to the wrong contrarian cluster. Same goes for loudly arguing against such accommodations... I think I'm just trying to balance things out, obviously such thinking is really bad in being vulnerable to creating escalating signalling arms races that eat up more and more brain CPU cycles. But tell me who started escalating by stepping away from the Schelling point of default social norms?
Pursuing inclusivity to minor details such as the default use of gender in language has costs and much more importantly opportunity costs people here don't ever want to talk about. This wasn't someone complaining that people where putting up a "no handicapped" sign on their front door or being intentionally unwelcoming to women or anything, this was someone expecting that more effort than is the society wide norm be spent on it and assuming this is a cost we have to bare for some reason.
I think it just isn't worth it.
Come to think of it this drama isn't worth it either now that the white knight brigade have been alerted, so peace out dudes.
Edit: and dudettes!
Edit: and non-gendered people!
Edit: and non-people!
Replies from: Jonathan_Graehl, John_Maxwell_IV, None
↑ comment by Jonathan_Graehl ·
2012-07-14T19:05:09.375Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Lets not kid ourselves that the likely audience split will be 50-50, check out the numbers in the relevant academic philosophy departments on even on LessWrong. ... I'm suggesting the radical notion that a female reader is as good as a male reader and no more. We ought to be maximizing the readership period, not worrying about its demographics except in a instrumental sense.
But think of the meetups, man! (is essentially what's behind all white-knighting).
There are definitely men who won't join a currently-all-female step aerobics class at their gym, but pine for the satisfaction of social marching in place (I did partcipate in such a class, but only because of an existing female friend).
Without insisting on 51/49 female/male demographics (which is a slight straw-man), it makes sense to decide whether you want the environment to be attractive to most intelligent women rather than just some exceptional ones.
In slightly more detail (and I guess this is all obvious):
A group of mostly men with a few women entering has a different dynamic than one that already has a sizable and powerful female minority. My imaginary typical intelligent woman sees some of that dynamic as unpleasant, rough edges. To shave those edges down might lose something, will certainly cost something, and might be worthwhile.
I definitely don't think "all readers are equally important", but I lean toward feeling that male and female are, all else equal ("all else being equal" - the ultimate cop-out). If I have to see these readers in these comments, their quality had better be good (and this is hardly the only reason reader quality matters).
My gut feeling about LW's topics: 5% female? Possibly not caused by a perception of excessive roughness. 1%? Definitely a sign of a problem. 30% female? Probably you've been going out of your way to favor adding new female readers over male (based on my experience with women in science / programming in the US).
Then again, it's possible that a demographic shift is caused by a change in topic, or a marketing breakthrough into a demographically different market. e.g. I'm fairly sure HPMOR increased the female percentage of this site's readership.
↑ comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) ·
2012-07-17T05:17:26.124Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
If they where capable of doing so they would realize that often the discomfort experienced by the minority fraction of readers does not at all outweighs the investment needed to accommodate them.
Yep, I agree and specifically acknowledged that possibility. In this case, my current guess is that it's not worthwhile for lukeprog to rework his video, but it would be worthwhile to spend a few minutes thinking of gender if he was to make it again.
I've seen people on the internet use "white knight" to refer to men who take the pro-female position in gender-oriented online arguments. Is this just namecalling, or is there a technical difference between "white knights" and men who favor the pro-female position on collective utility maximization grounds?
Replies from: Grognor