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Sometimes I have a bit of a temper. For the most part I've learned that when I want to yank out the chainsaw I should sit down and count to 10 and think it through. Email sent in anger, and all that jazz. Sleep on it, sometimes things look better in the morning.

Sometimes a pile of crap at night is still a pile of crap in the morning. Or a week later.

Sexism is alive and well within LOPSA.

Remember the bit about (Summary: I openly complained about sexism and was banned for it.) When I first posted that, someone made a comment that made me so furious I responded hotly with,
"Please get out of my life and stay there forever"
and deleted the comment thread.

I now regret that, because everyone should see this comment. Fortunately I saved the email from LJ which is sent when someone comments on your posts.

Sorry, Moose, but the consumerist people are right.

[provided two dictionary definitions of sexism, removed for brevity]

Is "wolf-whistling":

- a belief or attitude that females are inferior or less competent, or
less valuable? No. - hatred of females? No. - prejudice towards or
against females? No. - an application of stereotypes about femininity in
relation to women? No. - discrimination based on sex? No. - fostering a
stereotype of social roles based on sex? No.

So, while it may be considered impolite by some, it's not "sexism" in any
traditional definition of the word. (And, in the interest of fair-minded
journalism, there are plenty of women who, under those circumstances,
will smile and feel quite happy that their attempts to look attractive to
others have succeeded).

This is an almost complete cut and paste from the email from LJ, with only the dictionary definition removed. The user who posted it is dballing, aka Derek Balling, a director on the Board for LOPSA.

When I deleted the comment thread I also banned the user from posting here again. However there is a partial work-around to that; my LJ allows anonymous posting (with screening). Should Mr Balling want to make a public comment about what he said here I will approve it.

I might guess that one comment will be "I never said that." Although I have the original message from LJ, including full headers, any competent sysadmin could tell you that this can be forged [and how to do it so it looks real]. So you can believe I'm telling the truth here at your own whim.

You can also argue that one person's opinion about such a thing isn't representative of the whole organization, and you would be correct. But sexism is openly tolerated within LOPSA. While openly sexist comments are regularly smacked down (by men and women both) on the LOPSA IRC channel, there is still problems of women's opinions being treated with less value than men's.

Let me give you my best example:

I am a member of the LOPSA Education Committee (EduComm), and have been since it's inception. The original chair of the committee was a board member. When he stepped down another person on the committee, H, was put in charge. This seemed like a grand idea, until planning for the Ohio LinuxFest 2007 rolled around, with which the LOPSA EduComm partners to offer classes. To make a longer story short, H ignored people, didn't make critical arrangments, and then not only lied about doing things but then tried to pin the blame on other people. Other members of the committee kept trying to fix things (as the disaster unfolded) only to have him repeatedly brush us aside. As a result, H was removed as chair of the EduComm, but left on the committee as a member.

Four months later at another Open Source conference (SCaLE '08), H went to a Women in Open Source workshop and, during an 'open talks' forum, stood up and not only declared himself the chair of the Educomm but proceeded to berate the chair of OLF for all of the problems that had occurred 4 months before, basically calling her incompetent. This did not go over very well and was an embarrasment to all.

Shortly after I spoke with the acting Chair of the Educomm (the board person who was the original chair) who agreed that H needed to be moved off of the EduComm, but it needed to be done in a way that he wasn't able to martyr himself. And then nothing happened.

Move forward to LISA '08, the big sysadmin conference. The OLF chair talked directly with the then-president of LOPSA who assured her that something "would be done" about H.

I have, for almost 2 yrs now, been trying to get LOPSA to do something about H, who is still on the EduComm. He does ocassionally offers to do things and then doesn't do it, and allegedly this is going to be used to remove him from the group. But that doesn't excuse the answers I have gotten over the past two years, which include, "Why is this still an issue? We talked to him and told him what he did (at SCaLE) was inappropriate!" and "Why do you keep harping on this?"

Remember, folks, men who constantly chase after something they want done are "aggressive", they are "go getters" and they are people who "get things done."

Women who do the same are "bitches", they are "whiners," and they "do not know how to let things go."

( -- yeah, CNN, but it's the first link I found in my pile.)

I have more to say on the topic of sexism and LOPSA, with further examples. For another post.

Link to part 2



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
as the mentioned OLF chair, I feel moved to comment
As Moose described, H failed to deliver on many commitments for the Ohio LinuxFest 2008 and then attempted to publicly blame me for his failure at the Women in Open Source at SCALE 2009. Later I discovered that H was not delegating and sharing information with the EduComm. I am only able to separate my feelings for LOPSA overall as an organization with the specific condition that I will not work with H or recommend anyone else work with H.
Jul. 14th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Sounds like the H guy himself has problems (and is a problem), but are you sure the failure to deal with him properly isn't just typical passive nerd bullshit?
Jul. 14th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
It doesn't matter if it's typical passive nerd bullshit.
It shouldn't matter whether it is.

LOPSA claims to be a "professional organization." As such it should be above such garbage. And even that is not important: Sexism should not be tolerated in *any* organization, whether ad hoc or professional.

I will address this further in Pt 2. Coming soon to a LJ near you.
Jul. 14th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
Oh, totally agreed on how it should be, but realistically I have not known the organization to get around the typical nerd social dysfunctions.

It kind of reminds me of my first LISA when I saw a certain objectionable human being grab at a non-consenting dude in the elevator, and when I commented to various folks that if I had been a young guy I would've felt unsafe (how's that for a switcheroo!), the responses were more along the lines of "this is gossip about an icky guy" rather than "this is a valid concern about the environment of our professional event". Although in all fairness I had a nebulous understanding at best of different people's roles and may not have talked to anyone appropriate.
Jul. 14th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
Moose, you're just as obnoxious as the person you are talking about in your post, just in other uncomplimentary ways. Frankly, you're THE reason I left.
Jul. 14th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Wow. I had no idea I had such amazing powers. Please, do elaborate on how I managed to solely cause you to leave the Board of Directors for LOPSA.

Jul. 14th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Whew. I had no idea.

And in poking about on the web, I find bleeding little on the Education Committee on it's own. I mean, really little. There isn't even a page with a blurb on it at, which I found odd.
Jul. 14th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's been on the ToDo list for ages. The weird thing about the EduComm is that we've been around forever but we're not public enough about what we do.

Also, your penguins are coming to get me. :-P
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I've had pretty poor experiences with LOPSA leadership, including from "H". I'm more willing to believe Moose than the random people who show up in her journal making comments, mostly because I've known moose longer than anyone from LOPSA.

In my experience, there is a clique that runs LOPSA, and if you're buddy-buddy with the others, you can do no wrong.

I don't know, perhaps leadership roles of a sysadmin group attract a particular kind of personality. People with this personality seem to lack social graces and a willingness to flame others.

It makes me sad, but I've pretty much given up on LOPSA as an organization beyond something that hosts a couple mailing lists and an IRC channel. I honestly don't feel like it's worth my time to try to improve things when I know that the leadership can behave this way.
Jul. 22nd, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
nothing to do with lopsa, everything to do with cat-calling
Jul. 22nd, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Re: nothing to do with lopsa, everything to do with cat-calling
this is more appropriate to the crap. but, yes.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


Moose J. Finklestein

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