[Edu-sig] Touting edu-sig as role model for diversity-sig

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 18:17:02 CEST 2009

FYI, the appended belongs in an open archive as a snap shot of a work
in progress (Diversity @ Python.org).  I've fixed a couple typos (no
wording changes).  The list of list owners is public already, so I'm
not divulging anything confidential.

Given I'm proud of our work here on edu-sig, I think this is an
appropriate filing for this group.

Note:  the current diversity at python.org list is closed archive and
closely moderated.  Anyone can subscribe though.

Advance warning: you'll need to bone up on a lot of terminology if you
want to sound inner circle (e.g. read up on "spoons").

See the 'Terminology' section on the DiversityInPython page below.

There's also a cardinal sin, called "derailing" which will get you an
undisclosed amount of time in the penalty box if admin finds you
guilty as charged (no rules or due process, welcome to the Wild

I've recently been on PSF-members recruiting more people to join
threads about developing international signing conventions (giving
conference goers a heads up as to content so they don't stumble in to
a presentation featuring R-rated cartoons about computer science
topics if a minor, to give just one example).

We've also been discussing how to accommodate diverse spiritual
traditions in the context of Pycons.

I've been working with Carl Trachte some on showing off Python's new
Unicode abilities (not all text editors are created equal when it
comes to exploiting these features).

There's also this web page (which I've so far had nothing to do with):

http://wiki.python.org/moin/DiversityInPython  (pointers to a lot of
the standard "diversity lit" -- very little about Python per se)

And this one (which I have had something to do with):

http://wiki.python.org/moin/CategoryUnicode (way more about Python
here -- substantive and relevant)

Kirby Urner
PSF 09

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 7:30 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Your message to Diversity awaits moderator approval
To: Catherine Devlin <catherine.devlin at gmail.com>
Cc: Aahz <aahz at pythoncraft.com>, diversity-owner at python.org

On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 5:56 PM, Catherine Devlin
<catherine.devlin at gmail.com> wrote:

<< trim >>

>  Because all groups are voluntary, nobody's trapped in a group when it doesn't run their way; the decision on whether to tolerate rules you don't like, or start up a similar group on a different operating basis, or wash your hands of the whole business is yours.

I've already come out in favor of diversity-sig, as have several
others, including some of our core players.  Have you been paying
enough attention to catch those cues?  They're subtle sometimes.

I don't know what kind of moderation diversity-sig might need, if any.
 If there's going to be a moderator, we should maybe discuss how to
rotate the role.  We don't need some Benevolent Diversity Guru for
Life certainly (clearly the board has voted on no such position).

edu-sig at python.org, which I've voluntarily contributed to for many
years, along with Guido, Tim Peters, David Scott-Daniels, Laura
Creighton, Gregor Lingl and many others, has Timothy Wilson listed as

Even though we've had many fierce debates and arguments, I can't
recall anyone ever being placed on moderation or being banned on that
list (even when Arthur started saying "fuck you" a few times).

There's probably some outright spam that gets cleaned out (for Viagra
or whatever).

I designed much of the edu-sig page itself then we handed it off to
Andre Roberge, the current manager, in the course of a BOF @ Pycon /
Chicago this year.


The archive is open, leaving a valuable legacy.  There's no concern
about being behind closed doors as a semi-private cocktail party and
its easy for bloggers, columnists, emailers, to simply link to any
post, without necessitating some login/subscribe process.

Various crawlers subscribe to edu-sig and our work has propagated all
over the Internet by this means.  John Miller's PhD dissertation
focuses on edu-sig for its raw material (there's a link to the PDF
from that page).

Way cool.  Successful!

Because CP4E stands for "computer programming for *everybody*" you
might imagine that diversity has been a theme from the beginning on
some levels.

> If the group's goals are important to you, you have to decide whether to tolerate mechanisms you don't like for the sake of the goal.  You can certainly ask for a change to the mechanisms, but the answer might be "no".

Increasing diversity is definitely a worthy goal and I feel we pursue
that on edu-sig and other venues.

My impression is that now that we have an official diversity
statement, this particular list is not taken seriously and has been
marginalized to the point of irrelevance.  People post here for
entertainment only.  No work is getting done.

This won't be fixable as long as the current closed archive and
capricious admin machinery is left to run in a vacuum without reality

That I was suddenly put on moderation over the objections of the very
people I was conversing with is of course ridiculous and is further
corroding this list's ability to gain traction.

The only justification offered to date is the diversity statement
itself, which was not yet crafted or voted on when admin started its
program of targeted harassment against me.

> Kirby, do you think that having your posts go up immediately and without review is *the* key to having a worthwhile diversity list?  If so, I don't think your goals and intents for the list align very well with, well, anybody else's.

I don't think you should be interrogating me in some back office
accessible only to list owners.  This is inappropriate harrassment of
a PSF member.  I am keeping this exchange as a souvenir, a fond memory
of the ineffective early days when Diversity had no idea how to
conduct itself appropriately.

> Some people think the list would work better with you occasionally restrained.  I wouldn't really expect you to agree.  The question is, do you want to continue cooperating with other people on the diversity topic, even people who think that your participation needs limits to remain positive?  "Yes" or "No" are both legitimate answers to that question; the only answer we can't accept is, "No, and the group has to run my way."
> General awesomeness is not the question.  We're all awesome people here and we all contribute to the community.  (I really REALLY should have spent this time on PyCon publicity instead.)  I'm going to stop here.  Every minute of argument about list governance is a minute spent not learning, coding, teaching, encouraging, publicizing, or anything else.  If "how the diversity list operates" becomes the main topic of the diversity list (and this is the Nth time we have approached that), I will be facing my own decision about whether to just quit...

diversity-sig might possibly undo some of the damage.  I remain
hopeful that our community will develop more maturity and do the right
thing.  Make this an open archive endeavor and start with light to no
moderation.  Use edu-sig as your model (a clearly successful list
which I'm proud to have helped keep alive and kicking).

> (If I seem extra-grumpy tonight, sorry; had a laptop smash-and-grab stolen this week, GRRRRR)

Bummer!  A friend of mine had his $5K Powerbook stolen when his back
was turned from a coffee shop recently.  Carrying around expensive
equipment is like wearing expensive jewelry, an enticement to muggers.
 I'm carrying around an Ubuntu Netbook these days (Starling-1 from
System76), which goes for under $400, so less heartbreak if it's
stolen (or in my case, if I simply lose it or drop it -- the more
likely scenario).


> --
> - Catherine
> http://catherinedevlin.blogspot.com/
> *** PyCon * Feb 17-25, 2010 * Atlanta, GA * us.pycon.org ***

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