In another discussion going on right now, I posted this proposal, asking for feedback on this experiment. The feedback was positive, so here goes...
When these gender discussions come up, I am often tempted to write in with my own experiences and desires. But I generally don't because I don't want to generalize from one example, or claim to be the Voice of Women, etc. However, according to the last survey, I actually AM over 1% of the females on here, and so is every other woman. (i.e. there are less than 100 of us).
My idea is to put out a call for women on LessWrong to write openly about their experiences and desires in this community, and send them to me. I will anonymize them all, and put them all up under one post.
This would have a couple of benefits, including:
Anonymity allows for open expression- When you are in the vast minority, speaking out can feel like "swimming upstream," and so may not happen very much.
Putting all the women's responses in one posts helps figure out what is/is not a problem- Because of the gender ratio, most discussions on the topic are Men Talking About what Women Want, it can be hard to figure out what women are saying on the issues, versus what men are saying women say.
The plural of anecdote is data- If one woman says X, it is an anecdote, and very weak evidence. If 10% of women say X, it is much stronger evidence.
Note that with a lot of the above issues, one of the biggest problems in figuring out what is going on isn't purposeful misogyny or anything. Just the fact that the gender ratio is so skewed can make it difficult to hear women (think picking out one voice amongst ten). The idea I'm proposing is an attempt to work around this, not an attempt to marginalize men, who may also have important things to say, but would not be the focus of this investigation.
Even with a sample size of 10 responses (approximately the amount I would say is needed for this to be useful), according to the last survey, that is 10% of the women on this site. A sizable proportion, indeed.
In the following discussion, the idea was added that fellow LWers could submit questions to the Women of LW. The women can then use these as prompts in their narratives, if they like. If you are interested in submitting questions, please read the guidelines below in "Call for Questions" before posting.
If you are interested in submitting a narrative, please read the Call for Narrative section below.
Call for Narratives
RSVP -(ETA- We have reached the needed number of pre-commitments! You do not need to fill out the form, although you are welcome to, if you like) I think we need to have at least 6 people submitting narratives to provide both the scope and the anonymity to work. So before I ask women to spend their time writing these, I would like to make sure we will get enough submissions to publish. If you are going to write a narrative, fill out this (one-minute) form in the next couple days. If we get at least 6 women pre-committed to writing a narrative, we will move forward. I will PM or email you and let you know. If, in a week, we have not had at least 6 commitments, I will close the form.
Submissions- Feel free to submit, even if you did not RSVP. (that part is just to make sure we have minimum amount of people). Just send me a pm, dropbox link, or ask for my email. I'll add more information to this, as it gets worked out.
Although the discussion that spurred this idea was about "creep" behaviors, please don't limit your responses to that subject only. Feel free to discuss any gender-related issues that you find relevant, especially responses to the questions that are posted in the thread below by your fellow LWers.
The anonymity is to provide you with the opportunity to express non-self-censored thoughts. It is ok if they are half-formed, stream-of-consciousness writings. My goal is to find out what the women on this site think, not nit-pick at the writing style. I don't want to limit submissions by saying that they have to have hours spent on formulating, organizing, and clarifying them. Write as much as you like. Don't worry about length. I will write tl;dr's if needed.
How I organize the submissions in the final post depends strongly on what is submitted to me. Separate out things that you think are identifiable to you, and I will put them in a section that is not affiliated with the rest of your submission.
Submissions are due Sept 25th!
Security- I am willing to work with people individually to make sure that their narratives aren't identifiable via writing style or little clues. Discussions that are obviously written by you (for example, talking about an incident many LWers know about) can be pulled out of your main narrative, and placed in a separate section. (reading the original exchange on the topic will clarify what I am trying to explain)
Verification- Submissions must be linked to active LW accounts (i.e. older than a week, more than 50 karma). This info will only be known to me. When possible, I would like to have validation (such as a link to a relevant post) that the account is of a female or transgendered user.
Call for Questions
Feel free to ask questions you would like answered by the women of LW. To make everything easier for us, remember the following:
1) Put questions in response to the comment entitled "Question submissions"
2)Due to the nature of this experiment, all questions will automatically assumed to be operating under Crocker's Rules.
3) Please only post one question per comment!
Upvote questions you would like to see answered. The questions with the highest amounts of upvotes are probably the most likely to be answered (based on my model of fellow LW Women).