In the news: Arbcom and trolls

 1. Op-Ed: Why women are leaving the tech industry in droves, LA Times, Sue Gardner, December 5, 2014.

Surveys and focus groups find that women enter the tech world empowered by their credentials and filled with enthusiasm and ambition. But over time they get ground down.

SueMost have very few female role models and colleagues. Surveys find 23% to 66% report experiencing sexual harassment or seeing it happen to others. Half the respondents to my survey said they’ve been treated in a way they find hostile, demeaning or condescending, and a third said their bosses are friendlier and more supportive with their male colleagues. Women report being encouraged to move out of pure tech into support functions, which offer less pay, are less prestigious and have limited upward mobility. A 2014 Glassdoor analysis concluded that women in tech are paid less than their male colleagues, with another 2014 study putting the salary gap at 12%.

David Auerbach2. “Encyclopedia Frown: Wikipedia is amazing. But it’s become a rancorous, sexist, elitist, stupidly bureaucratic mess“, Slate, David Auerbach, Dec. 11 2014.

236px-Scale_of_justice_3Last week, Wikipedia’s highest court, the Arbitration Committee, composed of 12 elected volunteers who serve one- or two-year terms, handed down a decision in a controversial case having to do with the site’s self-formed Gender Gap Task Force, the goal of which is to increase female participation on Wikipedia from its current 10 percent to 25 percent by the end of next year.

With the Arbitration Committee opting only to ban the one woman in the dispute despite her behavior being no worse than that of the men, it’s hard not to see this as a setback to Wikipedia’s efforts to rectify its massive gender gap.

The Gender Gap Task Force case shows that as long as the Arbitration Committee doesn’t mind that its judgment will alienate women and hurt Wikipedia’s public image, no one else can force them to action.

3.Tackling the trolls: How people are fighting back against online harassment“,  Lauren Pelley, The StarDec. 8 2014.

Frustrated with the threats hurled her way on social media, Alanah Pearce figured out a new way to get back at her young male harassers: Tell their mothers.

Her approach is unconventional: Tracking down the boys’ mothers online and sending them screenshots of the violent and offensive sexual messages.

telling mom

Randall Craig, president of Toronto-based social media consulting firm 108 ideaspace”

You can sometimes combat online bullies by “engaging your tribe,” or encouraging your online supporters and followers to reply to posts on your behalf to create a positive space.  But, I think that once the bullying gets into the death threats or the continued drone of negativity, it’s not about engaging (my) tribe to protect me, it’s also a question of saying we’ve got to stop the cancer at its source.

 Dr. Wanda Cassidy, a cyberbulling expert and associate professor at Simon Fraser University:

Society as a whole needs to be more proactive, communicating to perpetrators that their behavior is unacceptable. Laws also need to keep pace with technology.

4.Why We Need To Fight Online Trolls, Not Just Ignore Them“, Emily Gould, Buzzfeed, Oct. 2, 2014

I’m a woman who’s had an internet presence for a little more than a decade now. Which means that for the last 10 years I’ve been told that I’m a stupid cunt and that I should do the world a favor and kill myself fairly often, mostly by anonymous strangers. If you’re shocked, you’re likely not a woman.

I’d go so far as to say that the people who tell women to “just ignore” gendered criticism, bullying, and harassment — which I’m fine with lumping together, because they’re all components of a system that works together to repress women’s work — are asking women to collaborate in their own silencing. I’m not going to ignore it; I’m not even going to try. If “feeding the trolls” provokes or encourages them in the short term, I don’t really give a fuck. In the long term, with sustained resistance, it’s the only way to create the impression that something has to change. If there’s anything the last 10 years have taught me, it’s that telling the truth isn’t always fun, but it’s the only way to change anything.

troll internet

Tor symbol5. “Solidarity against online harassment”, A, Tor project blog,



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