There was this study done called “Gender Bias In Open Source: Pull Request Acceptance Of Women Vs. Men“. This study did not show any bias in open source software. The study analyzed the rate of acceptance from what an automated program thought were male and female contributors to open source projects on GitHub. It also separated the contributors between “insiders” (people who have contributed to a particular open source project on GitHub before) and “outsiders” (people who have not contributed to a particular open source project on GitHub before). The closest thing to bias against women the study could find was that male “outsiders” had a rate of acceptance of 64% whereas female “outsiders” had an acceptance rate of 63%. That’s just statistical noise. One thing in the study that isn’t getting talked about much is that female “insiders” have a higher acceptance rate than male “insiders”. If you’re interested in all the details, Scott Alexander has a breakdown of it (including the other problems in the study). It is also worth pointing out that this was an undergraduate study that was not peer reviewed.
Obviously, this study failed to show any bias against women in open source software. However, that didn’t stop various media outlets from saying that men in tech are supervillians bent on oppressing women. Here are some examples:
- Female programmers on GitHub are more competent than men but their work is more likely to be rejected, a study shows
- Women Code Better Than Men But Only If They Hide Their Gender, Study Suggests
- Women Are Better at Coding than Men
That last link even says, “a vile male hive mind is running an assault mission against women in tech“. Then, immediately afterwards, the article brings up #GamerGate and includes the standard litany of lies against #GamerGate. Obviously, there is no such thing as “a vile male hive mind”, but this is the type of propaganda that is being used against men working in tech. It is not an exaggeration to compare this to anti-semetic propaganda because pretty much all anti-semetic propaganda describes all Jews being part of “a vile Jewish hive mind”. In fact, I’m certain if you searched enough anti-semetic literature, you would find that exact phrase. The phrase even belongs on the MenKampf reddit due to its similarity with anti-semetic propaganda.
No one should be surprised that men working in tech are starting to have reactions like this:
As a nerdy straight white male programmer, that fact that people like me are constantly being propagandized against by the media is getting pretty wearisome. Add in the apparent surge of support for socialism among the young and it’s getting downright frightening.
If I was an American I’d be thinking about buying a gun and at least having a backup plan in mind to escape the revolution, as paranoid as that might sound.
This sounds like good advice especially if you’re a man working in tech in San Francisco.