I have just read this blog post with much dismay:
Stack Overflow Isn’t Very Welcoming. It’s Time for That to Change.
If anybody here knows Vox Day's Rules for SJW's (and I imagine many do, as he is a popular, if controversial, scifi author), that blog post is a word-for-word article with his parody SJW article in his book.
First, a caveat: I'm all for being nice and respectful. Name-calling and such should never be allowed on our site. But this article goes far beyond requiring being nice: It makes nonsensical observations about motives which are unprovable.
Too many people experience Stack Overflow¹ as a hostile or elitist place, especially newer coders, women, people of color, and others in marginalized groups.
Considering that the vast majority of users here are anonymous, how in the world would the author of the article know what color they are? Moreover how would the so-called elitists act racist to users they do not know the colors of? And although some users may be elitist, the vast majority of elitism on the sites stems from expertise - the main reason I turn to SE and not quora in the first place. I want experts, not random schmos, to answer my questions. I find that if you have expertise, you will not feel elitism.
They get downvoted, but don’t know why, or called lazy for not speaking English fluently.
I think I speak for most users here that if you don't know a passable English, then don't post. This is an English-language site.
It was hard to accept some of the (valid) criticism, especially the idea that women and people of color felt particularly unwelcome.
Why would they feel unwelcome? Can you please provide us examples - real concrete examples - when someone was made to feel unwelcome? (I do not want examples where someone felt unwelcome. I'm sure there's many. I WANT EXAMPLES WHERE THEY WERE MADE TO FEEL UNWELCOME!)
There’s a weird paradox with bias. Those of us who have privilege, but care deeply about reducing bias should be uniquely positioned to help, but we struggle the hardest to recognize that we are (unintentionally) biased ourselves.²
This is pure SJWness. Again, speak for yourself. I personally am not biased. I don't have a racist bone in my body. I also don't have privilege. But I don't like being told what negative traits I have by someone who has never met me.
Also, please provide concrete examples that we're unintentionally biased.
As it happens, making people feel left out is a deep personal fear of mine. (There is probably a seriously repressed playground kickball thing in my past somewhere.)
So, why take it out on us? Go to a therapist. My goal on this site is to fill it with quality, well written info. I want the people who only want to ask 'Who's Stronger, Dumbledore or Gandalf' not to feel welcome - unless, of course, there's a canon answer.
Ironically, that made it harder for me to accept the possibility that something I work on could make outsiders feel unwanted.
Again, HOW are we making them feel unwanted? Concrete examples please.
So I focused on what we were proud of: We are one of the only large sites where it’s practically impossible to find a single slur – our community takes them down in minutes. We don’t tolerate our female users being called “sweetie” or getting hit on.
That's great - because we don't tolerate racists or sexists here. Like we shouldn't.
Many people, especially those in marginalized groups do feel less welcome. We know because they tell us.
SO what? Why would they feel less welcome? We take care of all racist comments. And it's hard to believe that people are being intentionally racist to them, as most users are anonymous! So if they feel less-welcome, it's their problem, not ours! (Maybe feeling left out is a deep personal thing of theirs. Especially since the content on the site is not causing the problem, as already has been established.)
In fact, there is no evidence that racial or other minorities who post quality content are being discriminated against. More likely, perhaps some people posted poor content, and when it was downvoted, blamed it on racism. If you're leveling such serious accusations as bigotry, that requires serious proof.
There are opportunities to work on things like reviewing site copy for inclusive language.
What the heck is inclusive language? It's coding (or in our case sci-fi.)How can computer coding or scifi be exclusive? I'm merely discussing my work. I have no plans to insult anyone. But if everytime I give an example, I have to make sure to write 'he or she' instead of 'he', and triple check anything for microagressions, that will cut down on the quality of my content. And if I have to use 'xir', fuhgeddaboutit.
Maybe it’s time we re-visited things like our “no pleases or thank yous’” rule.
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! I don't care if the main site makes this change, I sure hope scifi.se doesn't, because this is one of the best rules on the site. It clears away clutter and stops your inbox from being filled with meaningless crap. There's no reason to exchange that just in case someone may be insulted if he or she or xir didn't get thanked. The upvotes are more than enough of a thank you.
Users aren’t “too lazy” to search; searching takes less work than posting.
This is demonstrably untrue.
But a larger, more diverse community produces better artifacts, not worse ones.
Diverse in what way? If you mean diversity in race, by all means. We already have a diverse crowd. Considering that this is an expert online forum, we don't care what color you are as long as you know your stuff. But if you mean diverse in skill level, in no means does having an influx of knowledgeless noobs increase the quality of the site. (For evidence, see: Quora.)
So, is SciFi.SE going to become a SJW safe space where no one's feelings are hurt, where badly-phrased questions become the norm, and where 'Thank you' comments fill up your inbox; or are we going to stay a quality site where expertise matters far more than making sure your language is sufficiently inclusive?
In other words
Why would we let bad policies that lower the quality of the site just because someone's feelings may be hurt unintentionally?