March 27, 2007

Making the Mean Kids Bad Isn't Going to Help

What the meankids did was not good: tolerating posts from some of their members that were bad and making a playground for bad comments. But let's not make them bad, let's make their actions the target of judgement. My experience with them, Jeneane Sessum, Frank Paynter, Chris Locke, is that they are good people, though my experiences have been limited. They made a mistake in creating a community blog that Frank, Jeneane and Chris have all acknowledged went out of control. A very bad one, and one that will cost them a lot.

But let's take this opportunity to include them in the conversation about why making fun of *who people are* is bad. Of course in most cases it's fine to make commentary, parody or other fun *what others do*. But there is so much hatred of women in the tech community, just under the surface and it peaks out it's head in some really ugly ways. Before joining the tech community, to mention Kaliya Hamlin's point on the deeply geeky list, many of us had not thought about gender differences and never focused on them. But in this community, it's a festering problem.

Let's use this opportunity to discuss this and make it better.

On a list with some other cc's, I said this to Robert (and Maryam) Scoble earlier today:

I understand your pain and feeling that people who behaved badly shouldn't be in our communities.
And you or anyone else is under no obligation to associate with anyone.

But I do believe that rather than throwing people out, we will do a lot more to have a frank and open
conversation about what is right, and invite people to stay and learn from those mistakes.

Banning people really is the start of the meankids going off to taunt the rest of the kids, because they've
been punished. I don't want any more of that.

I want people to stay, and understand why this is so hurtful, and learn how to express themselves,
with humor if they like, without taunting others over race, religion, gender or anything else.

I'm asking to have that frank conversation. Maybe it's too early because we are all pretty pissed,
but let's do that. Because exclusion will for sure breed more of this.


Robert replied that he was really angry but coming around to this view.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 27, 2007 10:06 AM | TrackBack

Hi Mary,

Your suggestion that inclusion and open communication are the way forward is very insightful.

If sane voices like yours are heard and heeded, then perhaps some good may actually come out of this.


Posted by: joseph knecht at March 27, 2007 05:35 PM

I like what you say. It is about safe and inviting for everyone.

I need to look at my own tone in posting about this just now and consider how to embrace your perspective in what I take on starting Friday.

Posted by: orcmid at March 28, 2007 02:02 PM
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