11 Mar 2004 Sunir   » (Journeyer)

Well, it's been a while since I last said anything. For those of you who know me, well, you know me; for those who don't, well, I'll write a little bit about myself.

Lately I've been in a Masters program at the University of Toronto. I'm in the Knowledge Media Design Institute essentially studying what I've been doing on MeatballWiki, which is not just wiki design, but online culture, information policy, and governance.

Last week we had a guest lecturer, Greg Wilson, come speak to us about "open source." His lecture was intended to be antagonistic, to shake us up, to say the least. He opened with a description of how compscis are all misogynistic cloistered anti-socials before going on to explain the why "Social science is useless," to a room full of social scientists. His thesis was simply that the "word games" of social science were beneath the time of compscis who actually did "useful" work; and then he turned around and said compscis were fecklessly unpolitical, which made them useless for society as well.

His overall mission, as it turns out, was

"the web as we know it was built by and for white, male, physically-able, English-speaking, emotionally-arrested geeks. The rest of the world has overcome the ``white'' and ``English-speaking'' hurdles (as evidenced by how much content is now in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Tamil, and other languages), but if you want to understand why it still all seems broken sometimes, you still have to look at its roots."

And I disagree. I know the Internet. Sure, there is some truth to that, but I think it plays into brutally negative stereotypes of compscis. I don't think that many of us are emotionally-arrested, although I do think that our compsci degrees are really painful. I don't think that compsci is as hopelessly gendered as he suggests. I don't think the world is as bad as we're told it is.

I wrote about it on my LiveJournal (which I have to maintain for this class). If you would care to read that, I have a very simple question for you, and it isn't why you think compsci is gendered, why social science and you/compsci don't mix, or why you/compsci and politics don't mix (although please answer those if you like):

What was your first experience with the Myth of Geek, and how did you escape it? (and if you haven't, how do you react to what I wrote?)

I think it's sad that people paint all software developers with this picture of antagonistic, anti-social, misogynistic, arrogant bastard, but that's partially a compsci cultural myth I think (a la Slashdot, and the engineering "meritocracy"). I want to understand how software developers mature past the "larval" stage. All I know is my own experience, post-graduation, wandering the earth.

I suppose it would make most sense to reply there if you don't mind, given the convenience of LiveJournal's format over Advogato's.

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!