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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse

Hi Greg,

As a grad student when I learned about the XMCA list, it felt that it was surrounded with an aura of hushed whispers in a great hall. When I perused the list posts I felt grandly intimidated and because my understanding of Vygotsky's work was still green, and likely still is, and there was an entire wing of theoretical work by Leontiev of which I wasn't familiar, I could not bring myself to post a single message.

It wasn't until I ended back in San Diego and missing academic discourse that I decided to give XMCA another chance. Of course if you look back in the archives, I am embarrassed at the kind of belly-flops I made with the generous help of Andy Blundon. I say that in a mischievous tone, and it is in no way intended as derogatory to him. It was an experience, and I learned.

At the time, I was starved to learn more (and still am) and so my steam engine had much coal at the time. I was working hard to reply, not to every post but to the ones that engaged me. It was so much I was warned off list to slow down. My posts were too long and involved. I suppose I was just hungry for knowledge and the company of eagles, to learn from them. And what lurkers don't feel the same?

I accept my novice status, which I feel I still have, and I'm not embarrassed about it. Also, I don't feel embarrassed about my ignorance about topics here. What I pride myself is my curiosity and my intention to learn and to share when I can.

I feel this way in particular here of all places because it is a place in which the theory backs such kind of social discourse. What has bothered me over time since I began to post is the sad irony that the list does not always practice The Theory and slips into a more hierarchical realm of the unspoken rules that shall not be named, and who ever might name any emperors with no clothes is given the scarlett letter. Or just ignored.

Despite those misgivings, I do think there are Golden Moments. There was a few months back a thread having to do with Collaboration that was magical. That thread was exactly what I expect this list to be. It felt truly democratic and safe. Even Playful. So it is very possible for it to happen here.

As far as new tech platforms, such an enterprise would be a massive change. I suppose you would have to help us understand the whys and wherefores about that platform. Most of all, there is such a lack of time for people to consider this, and given the history of considering other tools, it would involve careful explanation why such a thing would be of value.

My feeling is that like a village, there are elders who help to keep the peace, but elders have lives of their own and don't want to be policing the behavior of a listserv. Unfortunately all it takes is a few bad actors to create an unwelcome setting.

I am not aware whether there are any formal conventions set up for the list about expected and acceptable conduct.

For example, there was a javascript meet up I attended last year, mostly for the reason of its Code of Conduct: http://sandiegojs.org/code-of-conduct.html which had been adopted from its original version at the Geek Feminism blog here: https://geekfeminism.org/about/code-of-conduct/

I was encouraged to see this adoption. The reality was however that the San Diego Javscript meetup was 95% men, but at least they are Doing The Right Thing, if only because the men there didn't want that kind of atmosphere, even if mostly men are attending. I think that is a start, anyway; they still have a long ways to go to make Others welcome.

As I re-read the geek feminism code of conduct, what saddens me is how bad behavior must be s-p-e-l-l-e-d out. The basic instincts of kindness and respect should just be obvious. Apparently they aren't.

That's why I offer my unvarnished opinion that the kind of society we want to have here depends upon the labor of everyone and not A Few of Us, if we want to avoid the hierarchical structure of alphas and betas that tends to manifest on listservs.

Please forgive any mis-takes I may have made in my post(s) as I know of myself my tendency to belly flop, but I would hope to readers of my post that my intentions and goals are clear. But for where it isn't clear, I simply make a claim for a positive space where more voices can speak, especially those of the younger generations, and participate without fear. Particularly millenials. It may be a blanket statement but I find they are fairly evolved in their social awareness of gender differences and there is a lot we might learn from them.

Kind regards,