TLF Friendly to Women?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Merrily, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I’ve recently been thinking that The Laser Forum is not very woman friendly. I base that assessment on the level of strife here and the hard hitting jokes and my own discomfort with these two things. I also started thinking about how many women regularly post here. Others check in from time to time, but really, there’s me, and well, there’s me. I’m here because I want to be on the fast learning curve to sailing, and I also enjoy giving something to the Laser Class. I’m comfortable around men with a loving father, 3 older brothers, a great husband, and two fine sons.

    I have only speculation on the low level of female participation here and I’d like to explore the question and try to improve participation. A girl gets lonely. Also, it’s my understanding that most of you like to sail with women, especially when they are appropriately attired. ;) Perhaps participation here could improve participation on the water.

    There’s the question of interest. Maybe most women just aren’t that interested in talking about Lasers?

    Questions to think about, does your wife, mother, girlfriend, daughter read TLF? Would you want her to? What do the female members of the forum think? Why is participation low?
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I'm often considered to be an "old woman" - does that count ?

    Sorry, I've probably just done exactly what you were suggesting we should not do. However, I do agree that there are relatively few women posters though normally with such things I think everybody should be encouraged rather than specific groups. If there is something discouraging female posters it may easily be discouraging male posters as well and probably needs sorting.

    That said and being a bloke I am probably not sensitive enough to the type of comments that discourage women to post.

    In the US, are their many women Laser sailors and do those that there are tend to club race or go round the regattas. In France there are a few who do regattas though from my (limited) experience they are a minority. Unsure about club racing as clubs here don't seem to do the club racing thing as I experienced in the UK and assume happens in the US (sort of "Wed evening Series" and "Spring Series" over 10 Sunday mornings, etc.).

    Ian
     
  3. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    You made me smile, Ian. :)

    That's an interesting idea and worth exploring. BTW, people, feel please PM me if you don't feel comfortable publicly expressing your views on these issues.

    In my neck of the woods there are a few women club racers and even fewer at the regattas. There are a large number of teen girls in the I-LYA junior program and they sail their own circuit. As far as I can tell, we are not getting them here on the forum, except for the young woman who made the Laser sail skirt. She was from the I-LYA circuit.
     
  4. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    Merrily, do you really think that women are uncomfortable with "hard hitting jokes," sarcasm, and the occasional argument? Isn't that type of attitude a bit Victorian? I bet if one of us evil men advanced such an opinion we would be labeled male chauvinists in an instant.

    If that's true, then perhaps changing the forum color scheme to something other than the current blue/grey/light blue one would also help...because as we all know, women have more affinity for pink. ;)
     
  5. stick

    stick Member

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    merrily: i've been a longtime reader and post-er on TLF. i've never gotten the impression that there are non-friendly posts, comments, or threads directed at women. in fact, there is generally a polite, level headed attitude. granted, you, bradley, tracy, and others seem to keep a good eye on content and how harsh some threads may become. of course, my male perspective may be missing something. i don't think specifics should be cited, and by just bringing up the subject i'm sure there will be an increased level of care given to future posts. just my opinion.
     
  6. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not saying that these things are directed at women. Just that women, and as Deimos pointed out, some men may be uncomfortable with these things.
     
  7. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, I think that many women are, just as many aren't. I was expressing my feelings, not giving a blanket condemnation. You have illustrated what I'm talking about by accusing me of being Victorian. It seems one can't discuss a topic here without it becoming combat. I'm trying to problem solve as to why there are so few women posters here.

    What is your explanation of why so few women are on TLF?
     
  8. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    Have you ever seen or read a forum that is comprised entirely of women?

    They seem nice on the surface...but there is usually an undercurrent of suppressed nastiness that regularly flares up with dramatic consequences.

    For example, my wife is a member of a number of pregnancy related forums. The signature files in these forums consist of dozens of sparkly images, cute photos, and slideshows. The posts are supportive, informative, and friendly. Everyone is careful not to offend anyone. Each post begins with a response to each previous poster in the thread. It's a very warm and fuzzy place...

    Except that about once a year the entire forum descends into a round of bitter infighting during which insults are thrown around liberally. Usually one group of members gangs up on another group and gets them kicked out of the forum. The outcasts vow never to speak to their antagonists again and usually start a new forum.

    Because of the open discussion on TLF including sarcasm, jokes and meaningful arguments, we will hopefully never reach such a point.
     
  9. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    I don't know, maybe women are less disposed to wasting their time arguing on the internet, and only come here for the informative content.
     
  10. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    You seem to me to be angry, Chris.

    I'm not proposing a forum entirely of women.

    I am a member of the Navy Moms Online, and it's true that there are plenty of sparkles and flowers. I don't know of any blow ups there, maybe because of the topic, our sons. But you again illustrate my point. It seems to me that there are regular flare ups here. If only there was one big blow up a year.

    A girlfriend of mine, a Laser sailor, and the person who taught me about sailing sportsmanship, stopped coming here after the attack on Brody Cobb over a year ago. It seems to me that there were more women here then, at least the occasional poster, but that incident may have turned off more than two people, me and her.

    It's interesting that you describe coming here as arguing on the internet. Why does TLF have to be arguing? It wasn't the first year that I was here as a member, then as a moderator. If fact, the anonymous bashing of Brody Cobb was the watershed moment in my mind in the break from civility, to the edginess of today's forum.
     
  11. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    The little tiffs we get into here are what make the forum worth hanging around on. If the posts were purely informational like Wikipedia, then this would be a boring place indeed (although the behind-the-scenes discussions there can get pretty heated too).
     
  12. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is where we disagree.

    Still, even if what you say were true, which I'm not actually agreeing to, how do we bring in more women?
     
  13. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    I don't know what that episode was all about, but there's a difference between "anonymous bashing" and the occasional argument about Laser class politics. Perhaps it is my training or my upbringing, but I don't see argument as a negative thing. Argument is just a discussion between parties with different viewpoints. If not for argument, every informational post on this forum would be followed by a post saying: "That sounds nice, good luck." Instead of: "I don't really agree with that, and this is why..."
     
  14. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Might depend on the language people use. Expressed badly (or maybe accurately) discussing a point can sometimes sound very aggressive. A discussion where all parties are interested in other ideas and different ways of looking at things, maybe to broaden their own opinions is normally interesting and productive. However, on occasions you can get individuals who "like to be right" or thought of as "the expert" - and then your discussions can become somebody strongly defending their point, completely closed to other possibilities and aspects as they perceive that to change opinion would be to "back down" and have "their credibility dented". Its actually the same on a lot of forums (fora ?).


    Of course all things are a matter of degree.


    Ian
     
  15. MasterMike

    MasterMike D22

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    Discussion: n
    1. Consideration of a subject by a group; an earnest conversation.
    2. A formal discourse on a topic; an exposition.

    Debate: n
    1. a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints.
    2. deliberation; consideration.
    3. Archaic. strife; contention.

    Argument: n
    1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation.
    2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate.

    Insult: v
    1. To treat with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. See Synonyms at offend.
    2. To affront or demean.

    Rude: adj
    1. discourteous or impolite, esp. in a deliberate way: a rude reply.
    2. without culture, learning, or refinement.
    3. rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly; uncouth.
    4. rough, harsh, or ungentle

    It's all in how you make your point. Things also come across differently in print than they do in person. I agree that something has changed here - random combination of events and people perhaps.

    I just want to learn more about the boat and how to make it go faster.

    To answer the initial question, maybe if more people were passionate about the boat, including women, they would come here to learn to sail it better. In my district, we hope to get more women involved in sailing and racing. Many that I talk to are not aware that Lasers are not an all-guy sport.
     
  16. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    OK, so I agree that argument in the sense of debate is cool. It's when it gets contentious, rude, and insulting that it is a problem. The point that things come across differently in print than in person is well made. We can't see the sparkle in your eyes and hear the friendly tone of voice.

    Chris, thanks for the suggestion of flowers and pink stuff! :p First time visitors will definitely see right off that women post here. I'm on the prowl for sparkles.
     
  17. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I think you have definitely cracked it with your new picy avatar thingy.

    Ian
     
  18. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks!
     
  19. Dwight Schrute

    Dwight Schrute New Member

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    I'd like to mention that I lurk quite a bit here as well as on the SailingAnarchy discussion boards. If I were to compare the two based on my own personal experience, I'd say that:

    1) This forum hosts much more well behaved people
    2) There appear to be more female posters to the SailingAnarchy forums.

    This is not to say that I believe anyone is wrong here, just commenting on subjectivity and relativity. It occurs to me that, on the Internet, some of us tend to hide behind avatars and anonymity so we can safely take shots at undeserving victims. Other times we just forget that there are real people with real feelings on the other side of the screen. I wonder if there aren't web sites where everyone operates under this assumption; man or woman. It seems like an easy thing to do, unfortunately.

    I like your name. Merrily - That's nice. I also really appreciate your input around here. You seem to be quite the wealth of knowledge.
     
  20. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, maybe I'm operating under a false assumption. Perhaps Sailing women like it wild and edgy. However, as the forum supplier of the ILCA-NA, I don't think that would be appropriate or welcome by the class.

    Thanks for the compliment!

    I changed my flower avatar. The other one was too cloying for me. Never was a girly girl. Sparkles though. . .:rolleyes:
     

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