The disappearance of Daiana Garnica

Seventeen-year-old Daiana Garnica has now been missing for nearly a year. She disappeared May 6, 2017, from the city of Alderetes, in Argentina’s Tucumán Province, after telling her mother she was going to accompany her neighbor Darío Suárez, to buy a gift for his mother and was asked not tell anyone because it was a surprise.

Her family believes she has been kidnapped by a trafficking ring. A petition by her sister, Sonia Garnica at was started yesterday and already has 8000 11,000 signatures. The sister says that Darío deleted the messages but they could see them on Daiana’s phone. They believe he could not have done it alone, that he must have had accomplices. They say the local authorities “always put sticks on the wheel in the investigation, with false leads and disappearance of evidence” and they are now asking for a search at the national level.

A month after the disappearance, the independent press was calling it “another disappearance covered up by the patriarchy”.   Initially the police tried to discredit the complaints filed by Daiana’s father and brother, but finally kidnapping specialists started to examine the evidence, after relatives and neighbors made roadblocks in front of the neighborhood and marches to the Courts and Government House of Tucumán, and as a result of pressure from the Marita Veron Foundation. There was evidence from cell phones and several notes, including one that that said that investigators “would not find it easy” to find Daiana. Police arrested 12 suspects and the Garnica family lawyer, Sergio Perez, confirmed that Suárez had a history of gender violence, injuries and threats against almost all the women he had any relationship with.

The organization of Self-Conveying Argentinas (Argentinas Autoconvocadas) collected donations to bring a team of dogs to the area.  The canines picked up a trail near the Salí River, fifteen minutes from the city. They also found Daiana’s belongings and a piece of cloth with blood in the brickyard where Suarez works. on the same day that Daiana disappeared, the kiln was used again after months of inactivity.  The prosecutor has suggested that Suárez assaulted Daiana, then murdered her and disposed of her remains by burning.

Three months after the disappearance, Julieta Jorrat, legal defender of Suarez and at least 10 of the accused in the case, tried to have them released and the case dismissed, saying the prosecutor Bonari did not have a judges authorization of a magistrate for the arrests that day.  Bonari had received the complaint for the disappearance of Daiana on Sunday May 7, and tried to immediately have a series of raids, but says neither judges Víctor Manuel Rougés and Marcelo Mendilaharzu, nor the secretary Carlos López, would authorize the raids. He did them anyhow.  Her father, Ramón Garnica, believes his daughter was sold for trafficking, that she is being held for ransom somewhere, that she is still alive.

Eight months later, a local news source observed 1/11/2017 that “they marched in Tucumán for  Santiago Maldonado, but they forgot about Daiana Garnica and Milagros Avellaneda”.  Santiago Maldonado was a tatoo artist who disappeared during a indigenous rights protest, which was covered by the BBC News, which noted “Maldonado’s disappearance has become highly politicised ahead of Sunday’s congressional elections.”

But they did march for Milagros Avellaneda and her son, in Plaza Independencia, a year after their disappearance.  Milagros Avellaneda and her 3 year old child Benicio disappeared on October 28, 2016. The last thing the Avellaneda did with her cell phone before disappearing, was to sent two audio messages to a girlfriend, saying she had run into Carlos Rejas, who was hitting her.  Rejas, a 30-year-old prison guard was arrested and charged in the case.

In March 2018, a new Office for the Search of Missing Persons was officially opened in Tucumán, to allow a search to begin immediately to locate missing persons, without a requirement to wait 48 hours.

For International  Women’s Day in March 2018, there was no celebration, instead the women marched for their rights.  The march was organized by a collective of women from #Ni Una Menos, (not one more disappeared), Juntas y a la Izquierda, and Mujeres del MST (Movimiento de Trabajadores Rurales sin Tierra de Brasil), and included .women from 57 countries, groups, collectives, networks, unions, student centers, political parties and NGOs. The main demands are: the decriminalization of abortion, visualize the feminization of poverty and implementation of the Emergency Law on Violence against Women (Ley de Emergencia en Violencia contra la Mujer). In addition to the usual issues and slogans, the fight against femicides and the wage gap, “safe, legal, and free abortion” and “If we stop, the world stops”, this year the march also focused on the Trans Labor Quota Act; the disappearance of Daiana Garnica, and Milagros Avellaneda, justice for Paulina Lebbos and the dismantling of trafficking and prostitution networks, and clandestine abortion and the mafia behind it



So this one is going around again.

[Source: New Yorker Jan 5, 2018.]

The comments are, predictably, either a) men explaining what is wrong with it or b) women saying either “I have definitely been on this date” or “I want this on a t-shirt”.

Harassers on Wikipedia – why do they do it?

[Note: this is split off from the comment section on CSinders (WMF) leaves WMF to work on feminist chatbot art.]

Assigning motivation is always tricky.  How do you know someone’s intentions? Usually, by what they say and what they do. Unfortunately, harassers on Wikipedia are rarely so loquacious or so self-aware.

Failing that, one must resort to a crystal ball. Here are a few explanations from Renée Bagslint

The ‘snout in the trough’ explanation

I think it might help to understand some of the issues about working on Wikipedia, and why some people are keen to place obstacles in the way of others. Fundamentally, a good reputation on Wikipedia is an asset, and a valuable one at that. It gives you some measure of control over what the public sees about issues you might want to promote a particular view of — and it gives you access to the various grants, subsidies, slush funds and decently paid undemanding jobs that have been funded by people who are under a complete misapprehension about what their money is used for.

Discrimination, intentional or otherwise

Is it any wonder that the in-group wants to control access to those desirable things, and seeks to perpetuate its own privileged position? Is it any wonder, in partcular, that an in-group of any kind would find itself consciously and unconsciously framing that access to the advantage of people like the existing in-group, and to the disadvantage of people not like themselves?

Control freaks, also, because no one is watching

Is it any wonder that given power without responsibility or accountability some people exercise that power capriciously for the sheer pleasure of exercising power over other human beings? Wy would any of this be a surprise?

Of course the question then becomes, what if anything do you want to do about it? Get your snout in the trough as deeply as possible? Widen access to the trough to a more varied set of snouts? Blow up the trough? Or just walk away leaving it to die and rot?

If this isn’t true, it should be.

The field of psychology might also give us some insight.  This Wapo piece “What makes some men sexual harassers? Science tries to explain the creeps of the world.” has some research into sexual harassment that might (or might not) apply to other types of harassment.

This suggests strongly that the “cultural shift” frequently recommended by SUSA is bogus, and that the most effective way to deal with harassment is to make it hard to get away with.  By the way, if you tell (and show) people harassment is not acceptable in Wikipedia culture, by making them game the system to do it, this IS a cultural shift. .

Some takeaway points:

  • the most distinctive in harassers: a lack of empathy, a belief in traditional gender sex roles and a tendency toward dominance/authoritarianism.
  • “If you take men who score high on the scale and put them in situations where the system suggests they can get away with it, they will do it,”  “Impunity plays a large role.”
  • power makes you more impulsive. It makes you less worried about social conventions and less concerned about the effect of your actions on others,”
  • people who see themselves as wealthier were more likely to cut pedestrians off on a crosswalk. Another found that those who felt powerful were even more likely to take candy from children
  • powerful people become more focused on themselves, more likely to objectify others and more likely to overestimate how much others like them
  • “It becomes a kind of solipsism. You think what’s inside your head is true about the world around you,”
  • people in leadership often pick up phantom sexual signals from subordinates that aren’t really there
  • at the end of the project, those who were appointed leaders were much more likely to have perceived sexual interest from their subordinates
  • a feminist structural reading of such harassment: that harassment often serves as a vehicle to exert dominance and put women in their place.
  • “we know from gender research that men are more aggressive, more socialized to seek sex and believe they have a right to it.”

Continue reading “Harassers on Wikipedia – why do they do it?”

Who has “ultimate responsibility” for harassment on Wikipedia?

This is split off from the comment section of CSinders (WMF) leaves WMF to work on feminist chatbot art.

According to this comment by Renée Bagslint:

*Nobody* has “ultimate responsibility” for Wikipedia. That’s exactly what’s wrong with its community, that’s why it is not and never can be a reliable source of information, and that’s why it’s so dangerous and damaging to the knowledge eco-system.

The original context here was harassment/discrimination but here Bagslint uses it to make an argument about article content. The alternative would seem to be to make one person responsible for the content of some 5 million articles, in which case you could end up with an Alex Jones Infowars type of person with no way to remove them, as well as an easy target for defamation lawsuits. The other (current) way is to agree on a set of principles and have a way to enforce the principles.

But what about harassment and discrimination?  The focus of this blog is, after all, women.  Who has the authority there?

There are two (legitimate) influences: rules and principles.  In a consensus based model like Wikipedia, the volunteer section is supposed to be dominated by discussions leading to consensus, while the employee section will lean heavily towards the consensus mode but also have a fixed set of rules based on the laws where they are located, and occasionally interpreted by WMF Legal.

The original Gerrymander, a district created to favor one candidate.

The third (and illegitimate) influence is what I will call here the “Al Capone” principle. A group of individuals seizes power, along with the means of staying in power. This can be by vote-stacking (canvassing), by intimidation, or by surreptitiously getting rid of anyone with an unwanted idea.  On Wikipedia, all admins have unlimited authority to indefinitely ban/block anyone they want.  Unless the person has a protector, Al Capone-style, the chances of being unbanned, or even noticed, are slim and none.

In theory, there is oversight of admins by the arbitration committee, but in practice they rarely take any action as they themselves are either complicit in the abuse, or will be subject to retaliation.if they interfere.  This is complicated by the absence of an agreed-on definition of harassment.

This is what has happened on Wikipedia, the power structure having been seized by a group surrounding a local “culture” based on domestic abuse.

Now, back to the “rules and principles”. Here is a list, take your pick

And just for kicks, these were proposed more for non-binaries, (I’m afraid to ask, but good for them, and thank you to for proposing it ).  Like the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it will probably have more impact on women than on the demographic they were meant to target.

In case anybody doesn’t remember about Al Capone, he may have had the local police and city hall under his thumb, but he had not been able to buy off the federal government. His crime empire was eventually stopped when he failed to file federal taxes on his illegally acquired gains.

Skyknit: AI + neural network + knitting

This is what happens when you take knitting patterns, feed them into a neural network, and post them online:

The knitters helped me crowdsource a dataset of 500 knitting patterns, ranging from hats to squids to unmentionables. JC Briar exported another 4728 patterns from the site

I gave the knitting patterns to a couple of neural networks that I collectively named “SkyKnit”. Then, not knowing if they had produced anything remotely knittable, I started posting the patterns.

As it turned out, the knitters thought it was funny, and started knitting them.

 “The computer would spit out a whole bunch of instructions that I couldn’t read and the knitters would say, this is the funniest thing I’ve ever read.”

Here is “the collection” as they put it.

The program is now able to assign titles.  Here is one of the tentacle-based pieces in progress titled “tiny baby whale soto”.

Okay, enough of that, time to study Konmari Method.

Naming your sock drawer

Running out of names for your socks?

The unfortunate Kumioko was reduced to naming his socks Kumiokosock4, Kumiokosock5, etc.

Do not let this happen to you!.

Rogol was slightly more creative, but still, you can sense the boredom here.

Don’t end up like this!  Keep your socks woke!!!

Saint Seaxburh of Ely

These lists of medieval suggestions are meant for naming the royal baby, but can apply equally to your own sock drawer.

There is

And from the comment section, Aethelthryth, who turns out to be an actual saint, along with her sister, St. Sexburga.

Jordan gets a bot and WikiTribune gets google juice

With all the talk of chatbots, I suddenly remembered the bot that was hired as staff at a Jordanian university and wondered whatever happened to it.

Nothing new on the bot, whose name is Pepper, and was hired in January by Princess Sumaya University for Technology.  It is one of a series of Peppers made in Japan.

Whatever this photo is, it looks pretty much like a manel.

The ceremony for the bot is not much better. Not many female faces in this crowd, and certainly none in the front row.

Although Pepper tends to be male in Japan and female elsewhere, this particular Pepper, who had received a university ID card during the ceremony, seems to be unabashedly male. Likewise with it programmers: Saddam, Amr, and Mustafa. No word yet on the bot’s salary or who takes charge of it.

But here is the biggest surprise.

Earlier in the week, Jimbo’s new Wiki Tribune venture did a piece on robots interacting cutely with the elderly.  Pepper gets a brief mention as leading an exercise class.  So guess what comes up first in a google search for this bot?

Yup.  Looks like Jimbo has got himself some serious street-cred for his new venture.