Debarshi's den

We deserve better leaders

with 3 comments

Recently, someone pointed out this thread on the ILUG Bengaluru mailing list to me. I completely fail to see the reason why the original poster turns antagonistic in the fifth mail of the thread:

Debayan, How exactly is this even relevant to the question I asked. I 
answered to your nit-picking about the word “company” in my first 
email, that’s all. Please refrain from taking threads off on a tangent 
if you dont have an answer for the original query. Much appreciated, 

I don’t find anything in Debayan’s previous two mails which would indicate that he is deliberately trying to derail a constructive discussion. If I knew the author of a piece of code and there is a question in a mailing list (or IRC channel or any such public forum for that matter) related to it, this is exactly what I would do if I did not know the answer. I would try to get the person asking the question in contact with the author. Granted, that in this case the author might not be the only person qualified to answer the main question, but he is one of the many who can answer.

As for the whole issue about Freedom Matters being a company or not, what is wrong with sharing an anecdote or pointing out a minor (might be immaterial) detail about something with which we have been associated or seen first hand? We all do that. If the original poster had put this question in person to a bunch of people standing in a corridor and someone did make a remark like Debayan did, would there be any reason to start a fight or be offended? Hell, no. After all he did point you to someone who, he thought, can authoritatively answer the question. Maybe Terence Monteiro actually did not know the answer, but even then, Debayan did try to help.

This is just common sense. Some codes of conduct define this as “assume people mean well”.

I have been on the Internet long enough to have seen such nonsense before and I would have happily ignored this only if the original poster had decided not to call Debayan a jerk and a bully on her blog. This is especially alarming because she associates herself with LinuxChix and the issue of sexism in FLOSS. I believe the world deserves better leaders and role models, and given her behaviour in this context she has lost her credibility in my eyes.


Written by Debarshi Ray

1 September, 2011 at 23:01

Posted in Random

3 Responses

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  1. Dedicated to the last word in your post:

    The wonderful thing about science is that it doesn’t ask for your faith, it just asks for your eyes.

    Ashish SHUKLA

    1 September, 2011 at 23:46

  2. The spat sounds regrettable.

    I am curious – whom do you admire as a role model working on the role of women in open source and free culture, especially in South Asia or among the South Asian diaspora? Asheesh Laroia, Mani Pande, Val Aurora, one of the other LinuxChix India women, for example? I would love to hear praise as well as criticism. 🙂


    2 September, 2011 at 12:52

    • I don’t know any of them personally, neither have I worked with any of them. So I can’t say I admired anyone as a role mode till now, though I must confess I signed Asheesh’s GPG key in Berlin. I hope that would not be taken as an example of irresponsible behaviour (, but I can assure you that there was no tequila around. 🙂

      Having said that, I think I liked Valerie Aurora as a kernel hacker.

      Debarshi Ray

      2 September, 2011 at 13:40

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