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The Internet

The Rise Of The Chickclickers 295

Young women between the ages of 13 and 30 are pouring online. They're at the heart of the rapidly growing movement of women onto the Net. Political correctness aside, men and women are not alike, at least not online. They may have equal skills, but they choose to do very different things. Along with open source, younger women may trigger another political, media and social transformation in cyberspace.

There are few reliable numbers on Net use by gender, but one high-tech Wall Street analyst says his firm's research suggests that the majority of Web users -- possibly as high as 60% -- are now female. And younger women, especially those between 13 and 30, are the fastest growing single demographic online.

"Five years ago, there were not that many women on the Internet," Carol Kovac, a vice president at the Watson Research Center at I.B.M. told the New York Times recently. "Today, we're on there and using it for everyday things."

Contrary to any lingering stereotypes, they aren't the least bit wary either of embracing technology or going online. They have adopted the Web enthusiastically, discovering new ways to use it, giving the lie to the notion that the Net is a male playground, or that it primarily isolates people. Says one Web developer, these young women finally have their own medium. With e-mail, AIM, Web sites, and mailings, they're no longer dependent on the goodwill of parents and teachers for the tools to connect with. In many ways, they're creating a different kind of medium -- communicative, community-centered,culture-driven. Beyond the wildest dreams of any slick and usually dumb women's mag, they define their own agenda.

Along with the spread of the open source ethic and the free music and culture battles, the geek girls -- or Chickclickers as some dub themselves, are perhaps the single most important social phenomenon online. And online, they make different choices than men.

"We are everyplace now," e-mails Roz67, "and in rapidly growing numbers. And we are different from guys. We don't need to prove our technical savvy, though we have enough of it. And we don't need to prove our feminism either. We are just thrilled to find one another and to talk about the things WE want to talk about."

Some of these women appear to embrace a new political value system. They are post-feminists who take their equality for granted and don't make it a central issue in their online lives. Via the Web, they are creating new media that don't patronize or dismiss them, treat them as stupid twits, or focus obsessively on the stereotypical female images that have defined traditional media for decades. Their Web sites reject the idea that women are only interested in men, apparel, cosmetics and recipes.

Heather Irwin, creative director of Chickclick (a highly navigable, user-friendly and colorfully-designed site) and a former Hotwired editor, says her site's research indicates that the heart of the female movement online is the 13-30-year-olds. They're smart and they're "using the Net for community, for research, for job hunting and for networking." Offline, Chickclick has noticed, there is a huge surge in these same women reaching out to one another to talk and meet.

"The 13-17 year olds are going to be a major force of their own as they reach adulthood and they seem to have an amazing feeling of sisterhood for each other," Irwin predicts. Although young men often behave differently online than their female counterparts, the same age group is a huge part of sites like this one (Slashdot) and also sees itself as belonging to a new kind of community.

The rise of the Chickclickers is significant on several levels. Anyone who doubts that men and women often make distinct technology choices online ought to visit Chickclick and the many "sister sites" that are linked to the top of its homepage.

It's clear on the younger women's sites -- chickclick, bolt.com, gamegal.com, Teenpeople.com (and sites like Mode, Jane and Jump, one of the first-ever sports sites aimed at young women) -- that there are radical differences from male-dominated sites. And they are markedly less hostile. They use technology to form community, yet the mechanics of the technology are subordinate to what the technology permits them to do. These sites are also distinctly different from Web sites aimed at older women, like oxygen.com and women.com. The latter are less political, and focus less on pop culture, more on so-called "traditional" women's interests -- food, fashion, lifestyle.

"I guess a lot of [us] don't care about the programming code any more than we need to see the insides of the TV before we use it," said Ginger, posting from ROCKRGRL.com, a Chickclick sister site. "The technology is important because it enables us to be here. But I don't care all that deeply how it really works."

In chat rooms and forums that are more personal and less combative than many public sites on the Web, the discussions and threads go on for weeks, even months. Almost all these younger sites link intensely to other sites. Although sites like Chickclick do include stories on cosmetics and appearance, it's often with a political edge -- sniping at the stick women on TV and in glossy magazines, and trading high-school horror stories.

Chickclick's news service Shewired bristles with attitude as well as information: stories on women-owned techno-businesses, female cops, politicians and mass murderers. And artists and performers -- one thing these sites do have in common with more male-oriented geek and nerd sites is an obsessive love of pop culture. Chickclick is crammed with TV stories, movie chats and music-sharing discussions. The site is colorful, smart, newsy and centered around conversations, both one-on-one and many-to-many.

These Chickclicker sites reinforce what has always been the great potential of the Net and the Web -- building new kinds of communities, not hustling dog food and stock tips. The disparities aren't really that surprising. Men and women have completely different histories online, as well as different instincts about using the network. The Net was built and designed almost exclusively by men, since the institutions responsible for its creation and development -- government, defense, engineering and academe -- were overwhelmingly male.

Now, younger men online are interested in techology -- programming, software and hardware, among other things. Women are also interested in Net-offshoots like gaming, but seem more interested in using the Net to find other women, to have some say in issues they care about, something often lacking in their offline lives.

Of course, men and women are often misleadingly stereotyped as well as uncommunicative, hostile and unsupportive of one another. But men do also connect socially online, sometimes through mailing lists, chat rooms and messaging systems, music-trading sites, but also sometimes via prolonged and intense collaborative involvement designing software and writing code,and gaming. The communication appears more indirect, even disguised. But despite alarms from researchers, politicians and the media about the Net-promoted loneliness, most people go online to connect in one way or another, not to stay apart.

Is online gender segregation inevitable? For the short run, almost certainly. But a Web site that focused on technology along with social and cultural issues and which offered humane and rational chat forums might fuse the two cultures. And it would be a hell of a Web site. Attitudinally, there is lots of common ground between Chickclickers and their male counterparts. Both relish the free atmosphere online, and chafe at the restrictive environments of many schools.

Gender aside, as online communities evolve, it isn't clear whether they will inevitably fuse or remain distinct. "The Net is not going to transform the world immediately into a unified place," writes Mark Stefik of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in his new book The Internet Edge. "We have many differences in our cultures and values. ... Embracing too much at once is overwhelming."

But some similarities stand out. "High school is hell for us as it is for smart guys," Donna posted on a Chickclick sister site called http:www.smileandactnice.com. "And the Net is a godsend. We can find each other, talk to each other and give real support and useful information. We trade information about boys, education, colleges, sometimes even jobs. It's very powerful out there. We find the kinds of communities we often don't have in our schools and towns. "She and many of her friends visited established Web sites at first, Donna said, most of them dominated by men. They found the environment useful, "but there is just too much hostility and posturing." And she added, she and many of her friends like to use technology, but don't want to know as many details about it as some men.

"It's been my experience that these young women, to a much greater degree than their male counterparts, are willing to put a vast amount of personal information out about themselves, are willing to connect with others and want to talk about their lives and experiences online," one female Web editor reports. "They form amazing cliques just like in real life. They create alter egos, fantasy stories about themselves and their friends, share photos, swap stories, etc., and they actually form very strong friendships and bonds that often extend into the real world. I think that for a lot of young girls, using the computer is no longer a 'geek' thing to do."

Clearly not. Both genders transcend concerns about geekness.' Now that everybody's grandma is online, along with teachers, stockbrokers and priests, going online is considered less of a 'geeky' experience all the time.

The personality and diversity of expression on sites like Chickclick is astonishing sometimes, a precedent set by landmark sites like Riotgrrls.com Chickclickers tear into Dr. Laura, the homophobic talk show host. In the ChickLounge, they talk about work and self-worth and popularity, dissect the curious role of the supermodel and Hollywood's white-trash obsession, deplore fashion victims and argue about whether parents should encourage children to compete in beauty pageants.

Online, women don't have to hide their brains the way they often do in school, e-mailed a teacher named Grace (Two years ago, I rarely got e-mail from women. Now it's more than 30%). "It's just like being a student. The isolation, the need to hide your intelligence," she says. "I don't want to sit in any more lecture halls projecting phony deference for authority and fake tolerance for my pseudo-peers." Online, she says, she doesn't have to.

As Grace shows, the female rush online is by no means limited to teens. "It wasn't until my late 20s (I am 37 now) when I sat down in front of a computer and logged onto the Net for the first time that suddenly, everything changed," e-mails Melissa. There were thousands of 'me's out there. All trolling the lines of cyberspace for others of the same ilk. I discovered IRC and mailing lists. I instantaneously went from a lost soul to one with a community. I made friends all over the world. I met people I never would have met had I not logged on. And I was communicating constantly."

Lynn Weinberger points out that it's still often difficult for young women to show open interest in science and technology, especially in middle and high schools. "I was unusual for a girl," she was constantly being told, particularly in the seventh and eighth grades, when boys and girls started paying more attention to one another. "I was the nerd with the long hair. I kept to myself and learned as much as I could about the new MacIntosh computers." Weinberger was, according to her teachers, "too quiet ... but it is hard to talk when nobody cares what you have to say, and when every time you open your mouth to speak you are ridiculed by everybody, teachers and students."

Today, she writes, "I hope that people accept me for who I am. I am a female geek, which makes me different. But so what? It makes me all the more unique. This is who I am, and I am finally at 22 years old proud of that. I do not hide myself in silence any more. Yet I can make a bold statement like that and then walk down the street looking at all the people with more popular lives and hipper clothes than me and still feel envy. I will always fight this.'

So do many older women, who are also online in increasing numbers. The Institute for Women and Technology, located at Stanford University, links to scores of sites serving women in engineering and other technological and scientific fields. Femina.com is a collection of women-oriented Web sites, as is Womenconnect.com. But the Chickclickers don't need help navigating the Web. They appear completely at home online, and most have been using computers since primary school. As much as parents cluck about obsessive online use, it seems the Net can be a profoundly empowering tool.

The rise of the Chickclickers may be, along with the open source movement, one of the most far-reaching evolutions in the history of the Net. Because women are drawn to communities and to connection, they may be more likely to involve themselves in politics, or provide standing targets for advertisers. It's surely easier to reach large numbers of them. Their sites offer more potential for continuing conversations about technology, politics, culture and other issues, since there is less flaming and other forms of hostility to get past.

And since women are also pouring into sub-specialties like Web creation and design, they're likely to have considerable impact on all kinds of sites and Net communities. "Perhaps because they had some catching up to do, women have a particular sensitivity to the plight of the people using and navigating the Net and the Web. They are clearly designed and make it easy to ask questions and -- here's something -- get real answers," says Kate, a San Francisco freelance Web consultant. "Their influence is to make the Web more coherent and user-friendly, something male designers were a bit slower to do."

The open-source movement has turned out to be one of the most interesting and significant social movements emerging from the Net. Leapfrogging past its many implications for technology itself, OSS is challenging one mainstream institution after another -- the entertainment industry, education, politics, media -- to pull back the curtains, and topple the barriers between individuals and the information they want and need.

The Chickclickers may ultimately be just as important, as they are building enduring communities that look as if they will last. If the current patterns continue, they'll quickly become one of the biggest subcultures online. They share common sensibilities about politics, culture and technology. They intuitively grasp the Net's landmark potential: to connect people and information in ways never before possible.

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The Rise Of The Chickclickers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's Jon Katz, so he meant to type "The rise from Chickenlickers." Man, Katz is getting pretty sick if he's getting hard-ons from licking chickens.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are some problems with this analysis. 13-30 is pretty damn wide demographic. 17 years wide, in fact. At one end there are pubescent girls downloading pics of Leonardo Dicaprio, at the other, management and executives. This is hardly a unimodal phenomenon.

    Why is anyone surprised that women would use the internet? Are they too dumb? Is it a "no gurlz alloud" treehouse? I think the media, Katz included, is digging for a story that just doesn't exist. Yup, those 13-30 year olds, they're really up to something. Probably the exact same thing as all those 13-30yr old boys. (or is that 30 going on 13?). News at 11.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Open Source women!

    Just imagine it, you'd be able to customize your own set of boobies!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sorry, Mr Katz, but as a female in the age-group you're talking about (I'm 20), I think your article is extremely patronising.

    Comments referring to "younger women's sites" and the type of activities that these "Chickclickers" (what a revolting phrase) use the web for are absolute drivel. Women use the internet (and not just the web) for THE SAME THINGS as men. This includes reading Slashdot, finding out detailed info about things we're interested in (which cover a wide range of things - computer-related topics, science, porn - yes there are girls who look at porn as well..., downloading pirated software, shopping for cds and books etc.). And loads of us have been here for more than the few years you talk about.

    Maybe I'm being a tad unrealistic here, but I think that the generation of people coming through high school and college at the moment (in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe etc.) are all pretty computer literate. This means that there's a much larger proportion of girls who don't think computers are scary.

    Admittedly, the majority of my female friends wouldn't be interested in reading slashdot, but that doesn't mean that they need "female"-type sites to cater for their interests. Some of my friends are interested in sports, they all have varied tastes in music, some are interested in science (ok, so I'm studying for a science degree, which possibly means that some of my friends don't fall into the category you were preaching about.), some just want to use email and look up things on Yahoo.

    The point I'm trying to make is that in trying to find some sort of "cultural phenomenon", you're missing the point that actually the web caters for everyone. And the fact that the number of women using the web is increasing isn't particularly exciting or surprising. The web is now mainstream, therefore the general public are getting online. But basically, I don't think it's accurate to say that women and men use the web for different things.

    Sorry, but I felt that this in addition to being extremely patronising, where it was accurate, the article did a brilliant job of stating the obvious. Yes there are women here. But we're all different. As are all you millions of men. I'm sure that technically-knowledgable men no longer make up the majority of male web users either. As all the stupid idiots out there start joining in, things are bound to change a bit, but it's hardly exciting or unexpected, really... I don't want sites that are geared towards women, please, and I don't think that even my less-computer-literate or less-scientific friends do either.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    where did you bury her body?
  • This isn't really intended as criticism, more curiousity...if you don'twant gender to matter on the web, why did you pick a name like grrl22? This seems to be specifically saying "i am a girl, and i want everybody to know that," which seems to be the opposite of your intent.
  • yeah, that makes sense.

    i personally have the opposite problem...i'm male, but (some) people assume that since my nick ends in a "y" i must be female. that leads to some interesting situations...
  • To begin with, he talks about 'chickclickers' not being interested in the technology behind things, unlike males -- then says some of them are. Well, does anyone out there really think that all the males are into the technology either? Anyone who has worked a helpdesk can answer that question easily. I think Katz missed the real big picture, which is that gender-segregated media is showing up on the net in large quantities. It was always there, to be sure, but before many sites strived to be neutral. None of them are perfect, but here on /. (as an example) we seem to have a good deal of female contributors. Does that mean that women the world over are discovering and loving /.? No, no more than men are. The real big picture is that people can talk about their interests. Yes, there will be some forums (due to topic, or the starting crowd) that are female-dominated, just as there are some that will be male-dominated. I find it hard to believe, for instance, that women will flock to discussions about the possibility of "male menopause" and testosterone replacement therapy. Not to mention the point that one could find similar things in UseNet and e-mail lists years ago. It's just that now there are more people online in bulk.
  • Jon Katz always has to work in a mention about geeks and "poop culture" and how they just love it, whatever that is, though he never hesitates to explain what aspect of pop culture "geeks" like or why this makes them different from anyone else. And now we here that women online "focus less on pop culture, more on so-called 'traditional' women's interests -- food, fashion, lifestyle."

    I don't understand this, and Jon's columns will be helped so much if he actually participated in the forums... I have to ask, isn't "food, fashion, lifestyle" simply other aspects of "pop culture"? Why isn't it the "pop culture" that Katz is constantly promoting?

    -Dean
  • I give communities and publications billing themselves as "for women" exactly the same respect as I give communities and publications "for men", which is to say, absolutely none at all. (Disclaimer: the only time I feel sex-segregation makes sense is for sex-specific medical information.)

    Bully for you if you want to be a "ChickClicker" or read "Maxim", but I'll think less of you either way.

    -Isaac
  • And anyway, ClickerChick sounds better :)

    Troc
  • I think the Net can be empowering for people because they have a choice whether or not to disclose their gender. These women-oriented sites are useful because they give scope for the flipside of this - that women can find other women with similar interests. However, I think there probably is a risk in making one's gender the central issue, that women will isolate themselves as a group within the Internet as a whole. *shrugs*
  • Congratulations Mr. Katz, you have successfully written an article about marketing. Online segregation? Ok, so sites like yahoo, slashdot, freshmeat, memepool, and any and all university sites are all so terribly male-centric that women can't even stand to view them? Please...you take a few examples of special interest sites and blow them into a three page story on a supposed increase in female internet users? Is this news?

    The truth is that as more of the population of the world gets online, the internet using community becomes closer and closer to the actual makeup of the world. There is a rise in usage among every demographic EXCEPT for white males ages 15-30.

    There are somewhere on the order of x^42 special interest sites, whether they be for grrls, geeks, jocks, porn meisters, music enthusiests, blacks, homosexuals...guess what? Their communities are all growing. I suppose that is good news for media hounds...after all, they can now write x^42 stories on x^42 different demographics.

    Mycroft-X, who doesn't mean to flame, who does occasionally enjoy a Katz article, who did have the choice not to read the article, who did read the article, who chose to comment on it, and now that he has presented his opinion, expects to be moderated down.
  • It is one thing for your style to match your readership, it is an entirely different thing when everything the "journalist" writes agrees with his audience's dogma. Not all journalists are like this. I would hardly say Katz is to self-defined "geeks", as the Economist is to conservatives. First, the Economist attempts to report the news, not merely parrot a group discussions with flowery and overly wordy writing. Second, I would hardly say there is even one group that always agrees with the content the Economist generates. Third, I believe that the Economist believes what they write, I really can't say this for Katz as he changes directions too fast. Fourth, Katz, unlike the Economist, writes horribly. His language is far too flowery. It is not merely a matter of targeting his audience (despite what some may claim), his writing really has little in the way of content or direction; without his "flowers" it would be immediately clear that he really has nothing to say other than the party line.

    The bottom line is that Katz has nothing to offer slashdot other than warm fuzzy feelings for those who call themselves "geeks". Believe it or not, there are journalists in this world who choose to make something more of themselves.

  • Whee! I'm about to get modded into oblivion for defending Katz.

    I'm not the type to mod you down simply because I disagree with you.

    Some of what Katz does is journalism. Consider WAVE - I wouldn't have heard of it but for Katz.

    I have yet to read a single Katz article that I would call "journalism." But even if he published such a thing, does it matter? He tries to pass everything else off as journalism too. Without getting too involved in this, I certainly would not call the "Hellmouth" or "Wave" series journalism. They were essentially common knowledge with a hysterical reactive pro-geek undertone. No where did I find any honest to god analytical thinking going on there. It's simply rubbish.

    Some of his journalism is stuff I don't care about. "Chicklickers," or whatever is not of any interest to me - I find discussions of "this is the new demographic" boring. So I skip them. Simple, easy.
    I can even express why it doesn't interest me - My community is unlikely to attract these people, and these people are unlikely to be interested in me. If one day, every single Neo-Nazi went online, it wouldn't affect me in the least. My community would treat them with nothing but contempt, and they would have no reason to care about my community. Great. So when I saw the blurb, I skipped the artical.

    Merely skipping may be a fine solution if you don't mind losing that forum. This is theoretically a community and, as such, I take some ownership of it. It is not as if what Katz does has no effect on the forum! When he is promoted, a couple things happen:
    a) The more intelligent readership get turned off and leave. This effects me by leaving me with mediocre "community members" whom generally can't make a case if their life depended on it.
    b) Because Katz's crap soaks up both bandwidth and mindshare, the other content suffers. In other words, if the powers-that-be have 2 or 3 Katz articles up, they have less interest in posting other information.
    c) Katz propogates dogma and geek FUD. This approach to life leaks into the rest of slashdot.

    Two final points:
    1. I like to argue. It's fun. Why do you care if I have fun?

    I don't care if you argue per se. I care that pretty much all I see on slashdot is pointless arguments, which in turn detracts from slashdot. Although the slashdot owners may find they maximize their profits (arguably only in the short run) by focusing on these arguments, as a user I find I lose out because slashdot passes up on a rather unique opportunity. Namely, they have the mindshare of a large audience of technically literate people. They could do things with this, but they do not.

    What you are essentially advocating is passivity. Why vote? Other people want it otherwise. Why make yourself heard, if most people want to think otherwise? Why fight for anything if you can just "move"? ... No Thanks.

    2. Slashdot wants to make money. So what? Does it hurt you? Nope - if you don't like the banner ads, there's IJB. If you don't like katz, turn him off.

    See above arguments.

  • Columbine was news. WAVE was news. And there was analysis, although that's frankly a holy war.

    You might technically be able to call this news (although that is debatable), but you know exactly what I mean. I would no more call Katz a journalist, than I would call people who make "art" from feces artists. He adds little to nothing to this world.

    Intelligent people are smart enough to click a button. Also, there are intelligent people who like commenting on Katz articals
    I disagree. What Katz's articles have is a sort of psuedo-intellectual following, but I don't associate this with intelligence. You are free to think otherwise, but that does not invalidate the fact that, as a result of Katz and similar rubbish, i'm hardpressed to find readers with whom i'd like to discuss anything. So yes, i'm still affected. I have known atleast 15 people who refuse to read slashdot as a result of Katz and his following.

    I only recall one occasion on which there were 2 katz articals up simultaneously. Bandwidth is a non-issue if you turn him off. Mindshare is a non-issue if, as you believe, "intelligent people don't care about katz." If they don't care, then how does it waste their mindshare?

    I've seen a number of times where Katz articles (it is NOT articals) are up simultaneously. Nonetheless, it is a non-issue, that was just an example. The fact of the matter is that Slashdot itself has finite bandwidth and CPU time. These limits do constantly make themselves felt. If 99% of the traffic on a given day is the Katz/argument stuff, then that leaves only a small and unreliable percentage left to pursuits I (amongst others) am interested in. Yes, this affects me.

    Likewise, slashdot's mindshare is finite. If most all of the "content" is Katz and similar crap, little else will recieve much attention. It is a documented fact. Furthermore, If I, as an intelligent person, am going to spend a significant amount of time writing for slashdot, I would want to know it is going to get read. Not only does Katz run off most other intelligent people, but he also takes away the attention of others, thus I might as well essentially write for myself.

    Dogma? I've never heard him say "you must believe this." I've heard him state opinions, but he's an opinion columnist, for christ's sake. "This approach to life," is stating opinions. If that's a problem, then you must be thinking of a different slashdot than I am.

    Uh, Dogma need not be formally administrated. Look it up in your dictionary again. Katz promotes a certain mind set. Us versus them. Geeks versus Jocks. Individual versus corporate people. You name it. A number of people do take after him, I hear his beloved "phrases" and the views he purports aped on other articles all the time. If Katz is going to paint people or things in black or white, I want it to be the result of honest analytical thought, not a campaign to appease the disgruntled people of this world. There are parallels here to Naziim...

    I don't consider the things I argue about pointless, unless they're in the "ultimately unimportant, but fun to discuss" category. Also, what is "pointless" is a matter of opinion, purely. If you don't like that, don't read it - it's moderated low enough that you don't have to.

    Fact: These "discussions" do nothing for me. These discussions crowd out content that does. It affects me. It might be my opinion that the content is worthless, but that does not invalidate it.

    Economist on the Nazi regime.

  • Columbine was news. WAVE was news. And there was analysis, although that's frankly a holy war.

    You might technically be able to call this news (although that is debatable), but you know exactly what I mean. I would no more call Katz a journalist, than I would call people who make "art" from feces artists. He adds little to nothing to this world.

    Intelligent people are smart enough to click a button. Also, there are intelligent people who like commenting on Katz articals

    I disagree. What Katz's articles have is a sort of psuedo-intellectual following, but I don't associate this with intelligence. You are free to think otherwise, but that does not invalidate the fact that, as a result of Katz and similar rubbish, i'm hardpressed to find readers with whom i'd like to discuss anything. So yes, i'm still affected. I have known atleast 15 people who refuse to read slashdot as a result of Katz and his following.

    I only recall one occasion on which there were 2 katz articals up simultaneously. Bandwidth is a non-issue if you turn him off. Mindshare is a non-issue if, as you believe, "intelligent people don't care about katz." If they don't care, then how does it waste their mindshare?

    I've seen a number of times where Katz articles (it is NOT articals) are up simultaneously. Nonetheless, it is a non-issue, that was just an example. The fact of the matter is that Slashdot itself has finite bandwidth and CPU time. These limits do constantly make themselves felt. If 99% of the traffic on a given day is the Katz/argument stuff, then that leaves only a small and unreliable percentage left to pursuits I (amongst others) am interested in. Yes, this affects me.

    Likewise, slashdot's mindshare is finite. If most all of the "content" is Katz and similar crap, little else will recieve much attention. It is a documented fact. Furthermore, If I, as an intelligent person, am going to spend a significant amount of time writing for slashdot, I would want to know it is going to get read. Not only does Katz run off most other intelligent people, but he also takes away the attention of others, thus I might as well essentially write for myself.

    Dogma? I've never heard him say "you must believe this." I've heard him state opinions, but he's an opinion columnist, for christ's sake. "This approach to life," is stating opinions. If that's a problem, then you must be thinking of a different slashdot than I am.

    Uh, Dogma need not be formally administrated. Look it up in your dictionary again. Katz promotes a certain mind set. Us versus them. Geeks versus Jocks. Individual versus corporate people. You name it. A number of people do take after him, I hear his beloved "phrases" and the views he purports aped on other articles all the time. If Katz is going to paint people or things in black or white, I want it to be the result of honest analytical thought, not a campaign to appease the disgruntled people of this world. There are parallels here to Naziim...

    I don't consider the things I argue about pointless, unless they're in the "ultimately unimportant, but fun to discuss" category. Also, what is "pointless" is a matter of opinion, purely. If you don't like that, don't read it - it's moderated low enough that you don't have to.

    Fact: These "discussions" do nothing for me. These discussions crowd out content that does. It affects me. It might be my opinion that the content is worthless, but that does not invalidate it.

    What I am advocating is minding your own business. The only argument you've made about the undesireablity of Katz is that he detracts from your mindshare.

    What you are advocating is my keeping my mouth shut because you happen to like Katz. You are being hypocritical at the very least. I see crap that I do not like, I speak out against it. I was taught to call a spade a spade. If Katz is manipulating many people on slashdot with formulaic efficiency, I'll be damned if I'm going to keep my mouth shut.

    But it looks like a lot of people *do* care about katz - he's got high comment numbers in the hof, if that means anything. if these people are, as you contend, "not intelligent" then you shouldn't mind losing them. If they are intelligent, and they want to read Katz, then I ask again, who are you to stop them? Because you care more about what you want to talk about then what they want to talk about? and you think that whining like this will somehow convince them that katz is not worth talking about? Yeah, real mature.

    Obviously, each person can only speak from his or her own perspective. I and many others think Katz is horrible. We state what we think about him. That is what democracy is about, not keeping your mouth shut. In addition, I also attempt to illuminate Katz's "style", for everyone to see. Perhaps when they see the truth, then Slashdot will have an economic incentive to cut him off.

    I never "just whine." I stated my personal opinion for you, so I could show you how Katz's crap affected me even when I chose not to read him. For others (e.g., in my root comment), I pointed out Katz's "formula for success". Not a whine, just strongly supported observation. You don't seem to be able to handle it, so you are telling me to shut up.

    Your argument is "people like Katz". But, if we listened to you, there would never be any criticisms of him, and thus you'd never be able to get an accurate picture of who likes him. Contrast this with my requests/arguments/etc for slashdot to change it's content, which is not, and never was, chosen in a democratic fashion.

    It is funny though, in your initial comment you were afraid to be moderated down for supporting Katz. Yet you seem to assert that Katz is supported by most people and that moderation is meaningfull. I don't think you can have it both ways. In my opinion, both are flawed...but I don't have time left. Bye.

  • You think shit is art, so I really don't think we have much more to discuss. Anyone who could call shit art with a straight face, could also call Katz a journalist. Likewise, if you can't spell "article", I can hardly expect you to know what a good article is. Furthermore, you are obviously quite well inside of Katz's target audience, so I'm wasting my words on you.

    Assume for a minute that we have two parallel universes. In universe A, Adolf hitler writes regularly for slashdot, but you, being the only vantage point of interest, are allowed to "filter" all articles owned by Hitler. In universe B, Hitler exists but does not write for slashdot. Everything else (external) being equal, would you even attempt to argue that your experiences in both would be the same? Would you deny that Hitler shapes not only his own words, but also makes a substantial dent in the readership? That he affects arguments even in other forums? I hardly think so. No reasonable person could. Katz may not be as extreme as Hitler, but if you admit of Hitler's ability to affect others indirectly, you must also allow this for Katz. Thus, Katz does not operate in a vacuum. To say ignoring him and him not being present on slashdot are the same thing is simple foolishness. So I reiterate, he does affect me even when I ignore him.

    Because he is a crappy writer in my opinion [not that this is just opinion], it is also entirely reasonable for me to think he affects me negatively whether or not I ignore him. In addition, I have seen evidence of this (some of which I ennumerated earlier). This being the case, I will do everything reasonable in my power to democratically push Katz out. I will not "force" him, I'll use persuasion. I'll argue. I'll mock him. I'll laugh at him. So long as Slashdot claims to be for free speech, this is perfectly within my rights. While you too are perfectly within your rights to yell back at me, do not think you are some how morally better for doing so. You have your opinion and "facts", I have mine.

    As for the rest of this "argument", it is tedious, mindless, mistaken, and niggardly. I could refute (quite well I might add) each and every point, but why bother? I have no desire to get into war of the "cut and pastes." Since I suspect you'll have nothing more to add other than similarly tired arguments, I'll find something better. Good bye
  • So I made a typo, sue me! I can spell article accurately more than 5% of the time.
  • 2 million sites with pictures of naked guys?

    Now, there's an interesting question. Are women as sex-driven as men are? Personally, I don't think so... (maybe the fact I don't know that many women intimately doesn't make me a good judge here). I think that, at least in percentage, a lot more men will go clicking away on some porno ad, than girls. That's not to say women aren't attracted to that sort of thing... they are, but in lesser numbers.

    I don't think the fact there's more and more women on the net will ever bring up 2 million porno sites for women... usually, they're not looking for that kind of stuff (at least, I don't think so). The number of porno sites aimed at women would surely grow, but no to the extent porno sites for men have.

  • I'm truly sick of these Katz fluff pieces.

    An influx of stupid women accomplishes nothing for us. Let's talk about the übergeek chicks.

    Instead of mentioning the women who are breaking new ground with research or developing new technologies, you bring us stories of little girls talking about how Dr. Laura's mean or why "this hairstyle" is better than "that one". Give me a break.

    Just about 51% of all people are females, it's not like they didn't have any way to talk to one another. Very few of us are geeks. The internet isn't providing women with anything different of a social nature than the lady's clubs of days gone by did.

    Bring us the brainy women, bring us the tech-head women, this stupid chick stuff is making my head hurt.

    LK
  • Only because one of my lingering memories on the 'net is a flame war six or seven years ago I was involved in on soc.college.grad regarding tenure tracks and female faculty members who take maternity leave (a particularly hot topic in Universities in the early 90s). There were A LOT of women online then, in the pre-commercial 'net; so if a lot of the "early adopters" of the 'net among the general public happened to be male, that may have thrown things out of whack four or five years ago, but nevertheless women made up a sizeable portion of the early Internet that I remember.

    Incidentally, anyone have an archive of old soc.college.grad messages? It would be fun to go back and reread that discussion :)





    This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.
  • And what a stupid name, too! It's nothing but another buzzword from the media gods of vapid generalization and stereotyping. Find something with one syllable like "geek" before you go "girl profiling". Speaking of which... How is this any less innocent than a schoolteacher assuming all children who wear black are evil gunslinging hellhounds?

    Just wondering,
    Jurph
  • *hic*
    Who you LOOKIN AT???


    Pope
  • I'm tired from the night before, I bring up slashdot, and the first word I see... Dicklickers. Then I realize, oops, it's Chicklickers, sweet. To my dismay, it's chickclickers.
  • Whenever Jon says post-anything, take a drink.

    Whenever he mentions the word "geek" take a drink.

    Anyone have anything to add?
    --
  • Interesting that Katz's story should be posted the same day that this article [phillynews.com] was front page news in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Maybe they're both right. The gist of both seems to be that women of all ages are using the net as a tool (which is as it should be) rather than as an end in itself and are turned off by the adolescent, masturbatory male geek culture......
  • which is how I first read that title.

    If only Katz could write an article that entertaining.
  • by dkh2 ( 29130 )
    You go girl!
    1. The statistics are interesting but, undoubtedly skewed.
    2. Women still don't get anything resembling a fair shake in U.S. society.
    3. Women with an interest in the sciences are under encouraged by the established scientific community and are often viewed as 'wierd' by other women.
    I see this every day. My wife is a successful chemical engineer. She goes to professional meetings and seminars and is normally the only woman there. She tries to have an intelligent conversation with other women and many of them just glaze over ("That's interesting but I have no idea what you're talking about")

    If what this report seems to be pointing at is correct that will change over the next several years. Personally, I think it would be nice to be able to have a technical discussion with more of the women in my life. As a web project designer and developer I do some of my best work when I get beta responses from a broader audience.

  • Irwin was an editor at Wired, Katz wrote for Wired until about 18 months ago. You do the math.

    I had never heard anyone refer to themselves as a "ChickClicker", and I know many net-savvy women. I suspect Katz is trying to insert this rather inane appellation into the popular culture to feed interest in the site bearing this name. Why is open to speculation. Perhaps he is trying to give a boost to yet another revolution he is always "predicting". If one tenth the paradigm shifts Katz predicts had one tenth the effect he prophesizes, the world would be one hundred times different.
  • I propose that a new term be coined: the KatzDot effect. It would be defined as that which elicits howls of protest from those knowledgable in a subject, but causes meek acceptance in those having less information. I suppose it would be similar to the word "pretentious", but incorporated into the definition would be the reaction of the listener.
  • first off, the Katz flame. Jon, women like to talk, the Net makes talking real easy and fun. 2+2=?. It was just a matter of time until a generation could grow up with tech they aren't scared of. Get over it.
    --
    second, I met a girl through /., or at least she met me. I posted something that some idiot thought was insightful or funny, her friend (with the same nick, Hi Wah!) found my page, they talked like girls do, she sent me an e-mail, I sent one back, and I got to meet a good person. We met at a Linux show [thecliq.org] and had a good time. We should be going out again this weekend, barring excessive professional duties, (luckily she only lives about an hour away) and things look promising.

    So to all you other /.addicts in the crowd, keep posting, you'll meet someone.;-) (LOL)

    --
  • ChickClicks is the name of a website (or more aptly, group of sites) run by a woman he mentions in the story. Read the whole article before jumping to conclusions next time.

    I did read the whole article. Jon brings up the name ChickClickers a full two paragraphs before he mentions ChickClick.com, and uses the moniker throughout the article, often without relation to Chickclick.com or anything related. In short, maybe you should've read the article, instead of jumping to conclusions about mine.
  • It was only a matter of time before women got on the net. So women are now on the net. It was only a matter of time.

    And online, they make different choices than men.
    O.K. State the obvious. Lets take a look at kindergarten play time. They boys play dominance games. Which boy is the strongest or fastest. The girls play cooperative games where there is no winner like house. (Disclaimer... I know this is a generalization but for the most part it is true.)

    Women networking on the net. John, don't you mean talking. HMMM.... My sister spends hours on the phone. Now she spends hours on the computer. The only thing different is the that she is typing her communication instead of verbalizing it. The same thing for my mother. What they think is neat is that they talk to more than one person at a time.

    It was only a matter of time that women would discover the net for one of their favorite past time. Gossip!

  • I think what we really need to do is to get rid of the assumption that Women are stereotypes.

    Have you seen chickclick.com? This is beyond stereotypes - we're talking quadratypes at a minimum. This site is past parody. I had a sneaking suspicion that it may actually be a mickey-take, but it seems genuine. Celebrity hairstyles, "office supply lust", "breast worship". Argh!

    I thought that the Net was supposed to promote individuality etc. If the flood of new female arrivals to the Net having a staple diet of bland and sterotyped sites such as this one then, to be honest, they might as well not bother.

    The power of the net lies in a few complemetary things: you are what you produce online: sex, age, disabilities etc don't matter. You can meet (online) with people in similar situations, or with common interests , or even with similar diseases - OSS arises from this (common interests, not diseases :) ). Last, but not least, everybody is (or rather, was) equal.

    Now instead of this digital meritocracy, we have porn, portals, flame wars, and (in the UK) libel suits. These were at least interesting. Now, in the next wave of colonization we will have marketing disguised as content, and content that is so bland and homogenized that it'll make MTV look intellectual.

    The best comment I heard about MTV and its sibings was that they were "chewing gum for the eyes." Now we have chewing gum for our computers. Bah, humbug!

  • Whee! I'm about to get modded into oblivion for defending Katz.
    Some of what Katz does is journalism. Consider WAVE - I wouldn't have heard of it but for Katz.

    Some of his journalism is stuff I don't care about. "Chicklickers," or whatever is not of any interest to me - I find discussions of "this is the new demographic" boring. So I skip them. Simple, easy.
    I can even express why it doesn't interest me - My community is unlikely to attract these people, and these people are unlikely to be interested in me. If one day, every single Neo-Nazi went online, it wouldn't affect me in the least. My community would treat them with nothing but contempt, and they would have no reason to care about my community. Great. So when I saw the blurb, I skipped the artical.

    FWIW: My community is the Worldforge Project.

    Some of Katz's stuff is good - remember the Hellmouth series? I read stories like that. I read the comments on them. I enjoy them. You may not. Good - you're a smart individual, you can make sure you never see a katz artical again.

    Two final points:
    1. I like to argue. It's fun. Why do you care if I have fun?

    2. Slashdot wants to make money. So what? Does it hurt you? Nope - if you don't like the banner ads, there's IJB. If you don't like katz, turn him off.
  • There are wimmin on the Net, and not just nekkid ones. Be still, my beating heart....
    /.
  • "Chickclickers", hmmm? I like it. We finally have a word for those girls who can't handle the "hostility" of public debate and argument: "chickclicker".

    We already have a word for females who can dish it and take it: "women".


    ----------------------------------------------
  • This isn't an important movement, this is the online equivalent to magazines like Sassy, Seventeen, and Glamour. Grrl and Chick sites--and I mean sites using those actual terms in the name, not a random slam--have stories about dating and boys and proms and music and clothes and makeup and teen angst and pretty much what you'd expect. This isn't bad; it's just a pop culture thing for a certain age. And it's certainly not a movement of any kind.

    The interesting thing about women on the web is that they fall largely outside of the geek crowd. There isn't a preoccupation with abstract issues, like which operating system a browser runs under or the open/closed nature of various plugins. It's possible that the traditional, stereotypical geek on the web is shortly going to start looking very inbred.
  • I am a 24 year old web designer whose friends are 99% male, geeks (PROUD geeks), gearheads, musicians, artists, etc. All the 'sub-culture' folks. Sites like ChickClick nauseate me. No one I hang out with fits this girlie pigeonhole...although my mom comes close, she uses AOL IM to chat with her next-door neighbor. But let's leave my dysfunctional family out of this. :-)

    I often call myself one of the guys, because it seems that I relate better to other guys than to other girls. That's on AND offline. It's something hard to swallow, maybe not 'pc', but building and maintaining the architecture of cyberspace is still a male domain. Jon may have been enforcing a stereotype but from where this geek chick is sitting, unfortunately he doesn't seem too far off.

    If someone can show me statistics about how many women OFFline are chatting about clothes and how many are crunching code, I'd be willing to change my mind.

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • Go "get off" on women then and stop flaming geeks for "getting off" on 1's and 0's

    I'm not flaming anyone for getting off on 1's and 0's. I'm a hardware geek, I wired up my basement and I'm working on the rest of my house now. And usually the people I'm talking about aren't geeks. I've gamed with other geeks, there is an entirely different feel to that kind of gaming than to random server gaming where you run into 20 llamas that like to spew lamer script swear words across the top of the screen through the entire game. Women gamers tend to avoid meaningless swear words. If they trash talk you they do it right.... And if you meet them on IRC or something after the fight they can talk to you without continuing the game trashtalk. Geeks can usually do the same thing. They can switch gears to talking about the best way to run cable through the walls or the best OS to use on my fileserver. But the adolescent male gamers that make up 70% of the gaming population continue to spew the "0wX0r3d b14tCh!!" crap no matter where you run into them. And it doesn't even matter who won the game, they will STILL cream obsceneties.
    It's not that they lack social skills, it's that they lack basic manners.

    Kintanon
  • For the real assholes, I think they are just kids being kids, trust me though they will grow out of it. Try to stay away from #hAx0Rs and #grits on irc.



    The sad thing about it is that these people go anywhere from 12 to 30, and they all act alike. So apparently they don't all grow out of it, and they seem to be in the majority! Just makes it VERY refreshing to play against someone that isn't a jackass....

    Kintanon
  • Well way to go associating men with being savages. That's going to win you a lot of respect.



    *glances over his post* Hmmm... I can't find the part where I said 'I'm trying to win everyone's respect with this post'. I couldn't give a flying fuck about whether people on this board respect me.... My observation is that a lot of men online, regardless of their age, come across as adolescent imbeciles. It's like as soon as they get away from that face to face contact they revert to the high school jackass mentality, the kind of person that laughs for 20 minutes at a 'fart' joke.
    I tend to run into guys between the ages of 17 and 21 in real life, and most of them are still acting that way. I'm not claiming that this is a 100% accurate evaluation, I'm just offering my opinion. Women are just more amusing for me to socialize with than men....

    Kintanon
  • Our web site is targeted to a "general" audience, namely college students and recent grads looking for jobs. Although we don't target men over women, we have found that roughly 75% of our users are male. Anyone have suggestions for evening this out? If it's true that 60% of web users are women, where are they?

  • Play me, then.
    Hehe I usually take on 5 people at once and I don't even like Q3:A. I'll show you who's the screaming hormone enhanced adolescent loser.

    Do you like the rockets red glare flaming from your new asshole?
  • "Maybe this will correct some of the imbalance in net content."

    //
    Could you elaborate about this said "imbalence"? I don't believe there is one.
  • "I for one have to say that I prefer to play Q3:A against Females. They tend to be better trashtalkers with less lame gibberish, better players on average, and generally more fun to play with/against. All of the guys I play Q3:A against
    come off as screaming, hormone enhanced, adolescent losers.
    Hmmm... of course so do most of the guys I run into in real life....
    Heck, my Wife beats the hell out of me at Tekken and any Racing game you can name.... "

    Well way to go associating men with being savages. That's going to win you a lot of respect.

  • I'm not trying to be a troll, but I think the importance of some movements, and the timing of others is being mistaken both ways. First of all, the Open Source Movement, which seems to be becoming very similar to a Big Brother figure for the /. community, is impressive as well as cool, but it doesn't really define the internet. The fact that Microsoft web browsers still dominate the web surfing market proves that Open Source really isn't a big deal.

    The Internet isn't just the web you say? You're right, but keeping in mind that we're talking about internet culture, society and culture are often defined by the majority, and the majority of people who use the internet surf the web using Windows 98 and MSIE 5.x. These people often participate in chat...but not our all too familiar IRC. No, they use AIM, ICQ and even web-based Java chat clients.

    As far as this female online movement that our wonderful Jon Katz is speaking of (I'm actually not being sarcastic, I usually like Katz columns as found in /., but I do not appreciate the depreciation of this movement that Jon Katz is creating by giving it a new stereotyped name. I can call myself a geek, but I would prefer not to have Jon Katz refer to everyone as a geek. In the same way, girls who use the internet are not "ChickClickers" or "GeekGirls", but they are girls that happen to use the internet.

    Also, female useage of the net is not a new phenomena. I've been speaking to the same four or five girls on the internet for almost seven years. Also, these girls aren't unattractive geeky people, they don't care about Open Source, and they could care less about the new Feminist movements or being part of the online "community". What they do do is carry on conversations with myself and a small group of our friends on IRC.

    Women have been using the net as long as men have, and any implication that the stereotypically named female online community is becoming a major factor only NOW is merely perpetuating the idea that men are the only driving force behind technology, which also seems to be a point of Katz's column.

    Please, Mr. Katz, do not insult my intelligence, and do not perpetuate this patriarchal crap.
    --
    If there is a God, you are an authorized representative. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  • Alright, first off, look Jon Katz has to point out the horribly obvious, again. The I look at some of the post, and I knew I would find one female right off the bat who would complain about being called a chick. Can Slashdot become anymore stereotypical? I thought this was about news, not some pseudo-sexual affirmative action lameness coverage. Women have as much ability as men do, for everything. Sure somethings my be better suited to one or the other sex...but lets be realistic here. How about some more tech news?
  • One thing I've noticed over the past couple years is that just as in the "Real World", both women and girls online are rediculously compulsive chatters.

    Pretty much like your average slashdotter :-)
    (slashdaughter? Hey at least that is a better word than chickclicker...)

    Seriously: Call it a discussion among peers, casual talk, chat or simply gossip. That is what most people, sex aside, has used the web for since... well at least the ten years I've been online.

  • JonKatz writes an article. (The article is large and time consuming, not a link which he got from an AC or someone else.) He actually reesearches and does hard work making an article which is, though I agree as not THAT interesting, informative and moderatly interesting.) Now, JonKatz posts his article. Immediatly, we see a gushing torrent of ignorant flame go towards him. All of the Posts which are anywhere near a high moderation rate are those which humorously, while angrily, correct JonKatz for writing his article. The purpose of Slashdot is to submit interesting news related to technology and to debate in an intelligent manner those news. It is NOT for making super-accurate on time stories. What is AMAZING to me is the fact that while Katz knows that he is gonna get nothing out of his hard work, (wasted time, flames) he still takes the time to provide you with a technology related story. Also amazing: People read his article knowing that they will only flame him for it, and they "hate" him. The intelligent user is the silent one who rarely posts.
  • Frankly, I refuse to think of women as "chicks". Women are *PEOPLE*, and I expect the same respect in return, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, race, religion (Hail Eris!), and shoe size. There aren't more "chicks" on the 'Net, there's more PEOPLE on the 'Net, and the proportion of male humans to female humans is evening out. To simply say "Oh, look, there's chicks on the 'Net" is degrading not only to female humans, but to all humans. But then again, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. Ewige Blumenkraft!
  • great, so now on top of everything else, i'm a "chickclicker". lovely.

    Jon, women have been on the net for a long, long time. back in the day, you just didn't advertise you were a woman because a)it didn't really matter and b)it cut down on the "r u a horny girl?" spam.

    these stereotypes are just rediculous. i'm not caring, nuturing, politically-minded, blah blah blah. i'm on the net looking for linux how-to's, or checking computer prices, or getting news, NOT looking for other women to connect with.

    perhaps you would get your facts straight if you actually *talked* to a few women, instead of getting sappy quotes of cheezy web sites.

    and, on another note: if i had meant to be the "goddess of hellfire" i would have written it that way.
  • Katz seems to contradict himself. Have I, as a board-certified female, grown beyond a mere interest in chatting about boys, or is that all I'm using the Net for? I identify myself as a programmer first. I am very interested in the technology and I go online to find information, not to shoot the shit about boys, hair, makeup and my feelings. I do NOT go online to join up with an ultraprecious clique scene. In fact, I've scurried AWAY from some of the chickclick sites where the cliqueishness got out of hand. John Katz captured the situation of geeks accurately enough, but he falls wide of the mark with women.
  • ChickClick is an annoying site, IMHO. If you base an entire article on what people say in its chat rooms, you're going to wind up with -- no, not reportage of a ground-breaking trend, but the opinions of a lot of annoying lusers. I mean, you could find plenty of sites where lots of men who don't really care about the technology behind the site congregate, and interview them and call it representative of men's use of the web. But you wouldn't. So why should women be covered any differently? If you *really* want to try to assess how women are affecting the tech world and vice-versa, you would have to talk to a lot more women. As you can see from the posts, a substantial amount of women don't see themselves fitting the stereotypes JonKatz described.
  • This is because they are among the (unfortunately small) number of women who have had the decency to join the ranks of the engineering (software or hardware) instead of being steered by social prejudices into "softer" fields like education or law.

    This is only the most blatent example of a weird trend I see in this thread. Apparently a woman can be smart and a geek, or anything else because she's not as smart. here's a concept. Plently of people don't do "geek" things because they aren't interested. Not because they aren't smart enough, just because they don't want to. Education and law are just as challenging and worthwhile fields as computer programming. And Law certainly isn't something that women get pushed into by social prejudice.

    I'm concerned with the underlying assumption I'm seeing here that women are either going to be aultra techie, conversationally agressive and interchangable with hardcore male geeks, or they are perfumed little waifs who stay home reading The Rules and never have a conversation that doesn't center on clothes, hair or men. There are intelligent, engaging women out there who couldn't care less about the inner workings of their computers.

    And just to totally rant, I don't see software eng's having any room to talk about the "soft" fields. What do Computer Science, Christian Science and Creation Science all have in common? If you have to say "Science", it probably isn't. Lawyers can't write code, you can't write legal briefs, and there's no need to put one over the other in terms of difficulty unless you can do both.

    -Kahuna Burger

  • about 2 years ago, at 1 AM I was stuck at Bell Mobility fixing some webpages it was late, lonely and I felt tired so I logged into this chat room and had a conversation with a female who in fact appeared to live in the same city as me (surprisingly enough since the chat room was located on another continent) and who also liked to go rollerblading, so I got her phone number and called her up. Next day we went rollerblading. (In fact as I found out later, it was her second week on the internet when I found her!)
    of-course I taught her not to give her phone number to anyone on the web again ;)
  • Real users have girlfriends, and don't care about IRC terminology because they are secure in their knowledge.
  • In fact, it was most defenetly an asp (active server pages) based ROOM.
  • Well, seems as if as I bloke I'm only interested in technology and not community.

    I think the major point is that there are different roles of the net and different demographics in those areas.

    The number of women has increased, although I think the figure of 60% of total is probably badly researched...

    Anyway, before the 'chick' revolution there have always been community sites and corners of the net where men and women have been in equal and unequal numbers.

    True, technical sites tend to be more male oriented, but this is more endemic of culture in general and the way in which women are marginalised in tech/sci culture...

    Basically a couple of womencentric sites are not new and are not particually origonal.. Although they are a stp frward from concepts such as 'handbag.com'...

    Probably the reason it is getting prominance now is that .com companies are looking for new areas to market as people cotton on to the fact that half of 7-9/10 internet companies bomb in the first year due to sheer unorigonallity and the latestcraze it promote the 'chick' market to try to get a new spin on things...

    Good luck to 'em, but to say that it is a new phenomena is to denigrate the work of the women before and even more so the communities which have been balanced for years.


  • Most men are immature and act like jackasses (myself included in this), but what is comes down to is that socializing and communications are nothing more then learned skills, the same ways x86 asm and C++ are learned skills.

    Anything in this world worth learning, (wheather it be Perl or the ability to make small talk) comes at a price. Do you think Alan Cox just woke up one day and said "Dam I got some mad kernel hacking skills", did you just wake up one morning and say "Dam I got some mad HCP (Human Communication Protocol) skills"

    If you REALLY are dedicated to learning something, others things have to take a lower priroity. If I wanted to learn Nuclear Physics and was really into learning everything about it, some of my time dedicated to computers would have to be cut short to allocate more time for Nuclear Physic, this to me would be a BIG trade off, since I really enjoy about computers. But say, for instance I have ALL this time I perceive as "wasted" by "meaninglessly" watching TV, I could cut this short, giving my time in learning about NP.

    But in this explain above, when my freinds start talking about the XYZ show on Fox last night, I will be totally lost because I didn't watch TV last night. I didn't think it was important, so my freinds view me as LAME because I think that time is better allocated to NP research.

    The same goes for anyone, if I (or anyone else) feels that their time is being wasted by socialing in RL with freinds, then they are going to "cut" this time down so more time is allocated to something more simlauting to them (CS for example). The good side, they become more educated in the nature for 1's and 0's, the bad thing, is that they don't develop socially or emotoinally and their communications skills will be decreased to an immature/jackass state to very awkward and creepy.

    It comes down to "what gets you off". Some people are more acceptable to emotional simuli while yet others are very acceptable to intellectual simuli. People will gravity towards what "gets them off". If "small talk" can just "make your day", then good for you, get off on that. If "quick shell script hack" can just "make your day", then good for you, get off on that.

    But the thing people have trouble understadning, is what gets you off, may not get me off. Just because someone gets off on intellectual simuli oposed to emotional simuli does not mean they are a bad person, it does not mean they should be riducled and humalited, just because they like 1's and 0's more then small talk doesn't mean they are a bad person and should die, it just means they are into something other then yourself.

    >>"Women are just more amusing for me to socialize with than men...."

    Go "get off" on women then and stop flaming geeks for "getting off" on 1's and 0's.

    (and i think there is a limited to how much you can say "get off" in one post without being overaly offense, sorry my lack of the HCP left me without an appoirate word to use)
  • I have to say, that's a pretty impressive stereotype you've managed to throw out there. I beg to differ.

    You haven't seen us, because you haven't looked. We definitely exist. Wander by linuxchix.org sometime and see. Or maybe look at the engineering departments of various software and hardware companies. Or in technical support. I can't speak for all women, just for myself, so I won't make any broad, sweeping statements that put words in everyone's mouth. I do know that I'm here, reading Slashdot and occasionally posting. But I don't feel the need to be loud, call attention to myself, or prove my technical ability. My job at a software company, the things I do with my computers, and the rest of my life are enough.

  • It's annoying how much satisfaction slashdotters seem to take in pointing out Katz's faults.

    No, actually, I was pointing out that if he called my girlfriend that to her face, she'd kick his ass. I'm not "pointing out his faults", I'm pointing out that one of the terms he used (over and over and over) is a sexist comment that would piss off many women.

    Maybe I should elaborate a little on why it would piss my girlfriend off.
    A> Some women don't like being called a chick.
    B> He groups every single female ages 13-30 that use the internet into 1 group.

    So, I realize that ChickClick may be a bright, cheery, postive site but the name is still offensive to some people. I'm not bashing John Katz, just the name ChickClicker.

    kwsNI

  • So because some people call themselve that, every female online between the age of 13 and 30 are now ChickClickers? All I was pointing out was that there are some people that would be really infuriated if they were called that.

    kwsNI
  • Are you surprised ?

    Mr Katz is, and always has been, billed as a 'journalist'. This is what journalists do. They find an audience, and write the type of prose that the audience will pay for. This is entirely consistent behaviour.

  • i think as a general rule most of the people who are beginning to use the web don't know much about computers. Most of the people i know who started using computers as the trend appeared can't do much other than turn on their PC and use IE/games/MS Office. Katz makes the statement that women are coming onto the internet and not really caring about what runs it(or something akin to that). I don't think that statement is limited to women; Its people in general. Look at the new generation of people on the Internet. Most of the people i know don't know a whole heck of alot about computers, the internet, technology in general. They are more interested in what the technology can do for them. My father doesn't have a clue what to do other than startup AOL, and go searching for stuff on architecture. My uncle just goes searching for stuff on car racing. They are just taking what they want to do/learn about into a new medium. They don't care how that medium works(neither have a clue what a web server is nor do they care). On the note that women use the internet as a forum to talk with people, so do men! most of the teenage guys i know who use the internet(just as with teenage girls) use it to talk with friends using AOL(or AIM). They also use it for researching papers, and looking for information about topics of interest, but mainly for communicating with friends. I think much of what Katz said may be true of a number of women who have started using the Internet but it is not exclusively so. -Aaron
  • I think this sort of thing is a good idea in the long run...not because of the gender or sex issue so much as the fact that we're now getting another whole segment of population online that before, for whatever reason, wasn't as interested in going on the net.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm glad men and women are finally coming onto a more level playing field; namely, the Internet. Regardless of what you call them, female geeks are welcome out here--I would like to think that at least the geeks aren't sexist on the net.

  • A few months ago, my boyfriend introduced me to Slashdot. Since then I've been reading some articles off and on, but never felt compelled to post a comment, until now. I just thought I'd make a statement on behalf of the women who aren't "Chickclickers".

    I am a 3rd year Computer Science student at the University of New Brunswick, Canada who has a 3.5 GPA. I was an A student in high school who graduated with high honours and received $2000 in scholarships. (Therefore I don't feel the need to "hide my brain" in school, as one woman said in the article.) I have been programming for approximately 6 years now, and therefore have majored in Software Systems. I don't really like the stereotype women get from this article. I have no interest in these "female" sites where women go to talk to other women and look for clothes and beauty products. I am also not on the net to develop web sites with pictures of naked men (legoboy), so don't worry. :)

    Instead I am on the net to increase my knowledge of computers. I enjoy programming, web design and creating graphics. I am also trying to increase my knowledge of hardware. The net helps me find information on all these things. I do enjoy gaming, yes, but I am not more interested in "the Net to find other women, to have some say in issues they care about, something often lacking in their(my) offline lives(life)." And nothing is *lacking* in my life thank you... except maybe money. ;)

    So anyway, I'm sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but not all women are as described in Jon's lovely article.

    Thanks, from one of the female Slashdot readers... I can't be the only.
  • This reminded me of an article [dispatch.com] in my local newspaper today.

    This whole "Look! Women can do it, too, and we are!" bit is so tiring. Women have been given enough of a start to reach "equality". Enough with the comparisons -- men and women are different, period. That's why we act different, on the internet or otherwise. Use the opportunities you've been given and quit making a big deal of it when you do.

  • I find this story offensive to all women. I demand that it be removed. I really wish some people would learn the difference between an opinion and a fact. You can't find a story offensive to all women the same way you can't find a burrito too spicy for all Americans. Unless of course there's some sort of borg-like universal instant communication channel all women have, in which case, I apologize. And by the way "Chickclickers" was coined by a woman, its in the article. Honestly, I don't find this article the least bit interesting, but if you're going to flame it at least do it for the right reasons, like maybe content not language.
  • I've noticed that there are these sites, like to one in the article, that are aimed towards mainly women, but none are mainly aimed towards men.

    Most of the non-female geared sites, like /., don't care what gender you are and are just there to give information.

    This is just a observation and if you find any male gear sites please mail me.

  • I just went to chickclick or whatever its called, and i had a look at their poll (use?), Which of these retro babes had the best hair? Farrah Fawcett - I'd like to fly away on those wings.. Mary Tyler Moore - iron or not, it's worth it. Pam Grier - simply bad ass. Mia Farrow - no hair should be longer than an inch. Lame or what, I guess that's the equivalent of slashdot's geek-powered polls, ah, personally farrah fawcett really does it for me, although were it a guy making the poll, i think P.Leia would have made it.
  • The concept of a 'clicker,' if that is meant to refer to one who clicks on hypertext links to obtain information, being a geek is anachronistic.

    I think it became anachronistic sometime after Victoria's Secret , Toys 'R' Us , and eBay came online.

    In fact a site called "chickclickers" does nothing to break anti-female stereotypes about women being ungeeky (Is saying women are ungeeky an anti-female stereotype?), a site called "chickcoders" would be better. (Though not much, if you happen to be a woman who thinks of the term chick as derogatory.)

    Of course, there does exist the remote possibility that all of the good site names were taken and that was the best one they could come up with.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:45AM (#1140316)
    ChickClicks is the name of a website (or more aptly, group of sites) run by a woman he mentions in the story.

    Read the whole article before jumping to conclusions next time.
    ---
    icq:2057699
    seumas.com

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:52AM (#1140317)
    :sarcasm on

    They may use the Internet, but . . .

    What is the ratio of men to women that use it for their daily pr0n needs? Certainly there are some women who are using it for that role, but probably not enough. It's unfortunate that the Internet is being so grossly misused for this "business" stuff and this "life enchancement" stuff.

    Sure, maybe Suzy Q can find out how to contact her congressman, where the local Red Cross is or what the gross national product of Madagascar is, but little Johnny can point and click his way to an abundance of naked flesh faster than you can say "grab your peripherals".

    It really is a good thing that more ChickClickers as Jon so quaintly labeled then, are pouring onto the Net. Anything that improves the chances of Joe Six-Pac's IRC cybersex being with a real flesh and blood female is a good thing.

    :sarcasm off
    ---
    icq:2057699
    seumas.com

  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:25AM (#1140318) Homepage
    you've taken women who use the Internet and lump them together as "Chickclickers"

    This is called product placement.

    Notice that Jon Katz talked to the head of a site called ChickClick? I guess she wouldn't object to all women on the Web being called chickclickers, would she?


    Kaa
  • by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:45AM (#1140319) Homepage Journal
    I for one have to say that I prefer to play Q3:A against Females. They tend to be better trashtalkers with less lame gibberish, better players on average, and generally more fun to play with/against. All of the guys I play Q3:A against come off as screaming, hormone enhanced, adolescent losers.
    Hmmm... of course so do most of the guys I run into in real life....
    Heck, my Wife beats the hell out of me at Tekken and any Racing game you can name....

    Anyhow, I'm straying from my point, my point is that it's a good thing that more females are getting onto the net, it means I'll have more victims to frag...>:)

    Valis
  • by Harri ( 100020 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:06AM (#1140320) Homepage
    It's clear on the younger women's sites -- chickclick, bolt.com, gamegal.com, Teenpeople.com (and sites like Mode, Jane and Jump, one of the first-ever sports sites aimed at young women) -- that there are radical differences from male-dominated sites

    Looking at these sort of sites will not give you a full perspective of women online. The women you find in female oriented sites are not representative of all women, they are representative of women who are go out of their way to do women-only things. However, they are the only people online who you can reliably identify as being women. Most women online go to the same places that men do, and do the same things that men do. I hang out on slashdot. I buy books from amazon. I (and probably most women) have no desire to visit any site called ChicksClicking.com or whatever it was.

    In real life, the only place my gender makes any difference is in my love life. On the internet, it makes even less difference. Most of the time people can't even tell what gender I am. Is the fact that (gasp) half the world is female going to wildly change the online world? Nope. Hopefully the gender-bias of the available pron will change to accommodate us ;) Maybe we can buy bras online. Whoopee!

    Is online gender segregation inevitable? For the short run, almost certainly. But a Web site that focused on technology along with social and cultural issues and which offered humane and rational chat forums might fuse the two cultures

    What a lot of rot. Slashdot is a prime example of a site that focusses on technology and also (technology related) social issues, like whether women are on the web or not. We seem to have what are fairly close to humane and rational chat forums here. And guess what? Lots of us are women! We don't segregate ourselves. Thus you don't notice us. You just assume we are all men. And it _doesn't matter_.

  • by ShelbyCobra ( 134614 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:42AM (#1140321)
    "Five years ago, there were not that many women on the Internet," Carol Kovac, a vice president at the Watson Research Center at I.B.M. told the New York Times recently.

    This statement is true, but there were not many people at all on the internet (relative to today).

    I also wonder about what portion of the demographic is made up of the retired community. It seems to me now that my grandma spends more time surfing the internet and writing email each day than I do.

  • by Lowther ( 136426 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:40AM (#1140322)
    What is the ratio of men to women that use it for their daily pr0n needs?

    None - it is a well known fact that women look at 'erotica' instead.

  • by gmpicket ( 143981 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:41AM (#1140323)
    It would be interesting to learn the what percentage of Slashdot readers are male and which percentage are female. I tend to assume comments are posted by men unless there is distinct indication that it was a female. This is probably a response conditioned by our culture, but I think it also comes from the fact that men make comments that give away their gender (like comments about gays, sucking nutz, etc) far more often then women.

    I use the web for getting computer tech info. I installed FreeBSD on my desktop computer at home and have used the internet to find help when something doesn't work properly. I also use to the net to get mp3's and song lyrics, and find quick info on any topic that pops into my head that I hadn't thought about before. I have generally avoided web sites focused on women because they tend to be heavy on romance, shopping, and beauty which I don't need more info about. Get way more than enough of that sort of stuff from TV.

    The article points out that women have a voice on the net which I find to be true. In high school and even in the professional workplace environment, I find that my voice is drowned out. Many times when I start to speak, some male will start talking over me, and if I continue talking, he will start shouting. This subtly gives women the message that they have nothing worth saying. (And yes, I have spoken to my employer about this, but that has changed nothing.) The net is unable to shout over my voice. Many time, the net may not realize that I am a woman.

    As for being called a "chick", it is am improvement over "girl". I guess. I don't respond to either, anyway.
  • Ok...I am female and I chat a lot...I admit it. But interestingly enough, I tend to talk to mostly guys. Sure, I have plenty of girlfriends online but I easily know WAY more guys and we chat quite a lot. So, guys don't chat, huh? Then who am I talking to every night? ;)

    The joke about the furvor over using the term "chick" is that I even use that term sometimes. :) LOL Call me wacky, I guess. Lighten up people...power is taken out of "offensive" terms by making light of them. Just don't let it get to you and it has no power.

    Yes, I like to chat, I also like science, and gaming, and tech stuff. Why do we have to label people? If you labeled me, I guess I would be a geekette. LOL ^_^

    Overall, my point is that gender roles and interests are more blurred than they used to be. Some girls like the same things that guys like. Big Whoop! Am I a freak or something? :) Hehe.
    Ok...that is my two cents. Ciao!

    3 Kat ^_^
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @05:10AM (#1140325)
    It is because women and men are different that I value their viewpoint and contributions.

    Yeah, women and men are different because people are different. By no means do I object to more women online, but this overblown sense of importance gets aggravating quickly.

    I must admit that I really fail to see the point of making such a distinction between men and women online. While there's certainly some benefit to having certain discussions with people of your own gender, these communal feminist (for lack of a better term) websites really don't help anything, in my opinion.

    You talk about the problems of having just guys hanging out and how mailing lists would benefit from a more equal distribution, but that's not what this solves at all. You end up with women (and a good deal of them adolescents in formative years, mentally) who are coming online just to congregate with other women.

    Why exactly can't people just get online and just find some interesting fora to browse? Must everything in our damn culture be about gender? Can't we just once treat women online just like anyone else?

    You'll probably see a lot of comments about how many males (mostly teenagers) act immaturely towards females online, hitting on them and acting crudely and such, but women retreating to gender-centric fora doesn't contribute to equality any more than some ircluser whose first question is "age/gender/location?".
  • by troc ( 3606 ) <troc@ m a c.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:02AM (#1140326) Homepage Journal
    I kinda agree - I always thought one of the bige advantages of the 'net was the fact everyone is equal until they say something stupid (or connect with AOL heh :) It doesn't matter what sex you are, or your sexual orientation, colour, background etc etc and it's up to you whether that is ever revealed to other people and to whom it is revealed.


    It's only recently that differenciation has started with sites like handbag.com [handbag.com] etc catering primarily for women.


    Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen, I assume (IMHO) the only reason these sites exist is that research has shown people are interested in suchthings and that the reason the research has been carried out is because of the growing commercialisation of the 'net as a whole.


    In the "old" days there were a few of us and we just did our own thing and it didn't matter what you were (although real girls were always a exciting find on muds and such like). Now with advertising attempting to become more focussed and specifically targetted, it's becoming important to know who/what you are so THEY can hit you with the right adverts.


    Personally I hate it all really and I think we should all go back to the good old days before the web and IRC when the most complex sites around ran gopher and you did your meeting on an lpmud.


    Well perhaps not quite like that :)


    Troc

  • Mr Katz has written stuff which disagreed with his audience. He got flamed. He then wrote a number of pieces inspired by all the flames he received.

    Really like what? Not all of slashdot is his target audience, he appeals to a certain faction very very consistently with the party line. As for the remainder, he does his best to inspire dislike...because that fattens the powers that be too. Katz is like the "new world" liberal equivelent of Rush Limbaugh, a small percentage adore his every incoherant babble, the rest tune in because they are drawn to it by anger, the urge to fight, yell, or what have you.

    That is journalism - you get paid by the word. Intellectual honesty is nice, but money is the prime motivator for most journos.

    Well first, I think Katz is absolutely the bottom of barrel insofar as "journalism" goes. Secondly, just because the majority of journalists today are worthless hacks, does not mean it is acceptable. Nor, for that matter, does it mean that Slashdot should foist Katz's crap on us.

    BTW, I would be interested to hear the motivation of the Slashdot 'powers-that-be' for bringing Mr Katz to prominence.

    I find this interesting in a way too, but I'm not suprised at all. If you look at the number of comments on Katz's articles, his "articles" easily draw the most comments of any other type of article or author when you average them. In other words, it can be reasonably assumed that Katz articles generate the more banner ad impressions (read: money) than any of the competing alternatives. Even though only a percentage of those comments praise him, the remainder of slashdot appears to be drawn to his stuff anyways (to flame, to argue, to play "devils advocate", etc.), and pack his pockets just as well (if not better) than his fanatics.

    The fundamental problem with Katz boils down to an even more fundamental problem with Slashdot. That is, that while Slashdot claims to be "news for nerds", it is really "arguments for people who like to argue about stuff 'nerds' are interested in." Most of the 'content' on slashdot is arguments, there is little "usefull" content on slashdot that I would call usefull. By usefull, I mean, say, technical questions, like how to install/modify/hack a linux iopener. But these kinds of articles are rare, and they don't (or rather can't) draw a consistently large audience anywhere near Katz's numbers. Most everything on slashdot is of political nature. Since most people in this world are idiots (including slashdot), we have never ending useless arguments for the most part. Those who wish to cling to their absurd beliefs will do so generally, irregardless of the strength of the opposing arguments. To boil it all down, Katz is numero uno when it comes to drawing the arguments. He is slashdot's reason for existence personified.

    My objection to this, of course, is that Katz is absolutely the most meaningless. The fact that he is even called a journalist is insulting. I suppose some part of me hopes I can get the "slashdot juniors" to wake up and smell the coffee. I want them to realize that they're being played. Perhaps then, slashdot will have a financial incentive for turning away Katz. Until that time, well I can argue too... =)

  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:37AM (#1140328) Homepage
    Women on the internet can only be a good thing. There is nothing worse than a ton of guys hanging around and creating the equivalent of the nasty bachelor pad with 7 roommates type of environment.

    It is because women and men are different that I value their viewpoint and contributions. I have a feeling that even the average open source mailing list would have an entirely different feel if the gender ratio were closer to 50/50.

    It is up to us long time male denizens to make everyone feel welcome in our little communities. I think it would make everything that much more interesting.

    Then again, if you browse this thread at -1 I bet you'd find a different feeling entirely.

    Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com] - Funny
  • C'mon, Jon. Can't you ever get a point across without stereotyping?
    It's not enough to refer to every single person on Slashdot as a 'geek', as if we were all cut from the same cloth and were the exact same person, but now you're branching out. Now, you've taken women who use the Internet and lump them together as "Chickclickers". Not only is the name vaguely insulting, but you're once again assuming that you can simply lump a group of people together under a name and it'll all be good.

    People aren't all the same, Jon. Drop the stereotyping, and maybe your points will be better heard.
  • by legoboy ( 39651 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:35AM (#1140330)

    Maybe this will correct some of the imbalance in net content.

    Oh boy! Just what we need... Two million sites with pictures of naked guys.

    ------
    Following line: Good example of Fair Use.

  • by legoboy ( 39651 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:49AM (#1140331)
    One thing I've noticed over the past couple years is that just as in the "Real World", both women and girls online are rediculously compulsive chatters.

    I have a teenaged sister who will pretty much spend every last spare minute she has chatting online, and most of her friends do the same. It's definately not considered geeky any more among a fair number of the younger people here, anyways.. More of a replacement for the 3-way daisy chain phone calls with 15 different people on the line. (Although you'd think they could visit each other in person when they aren't at school or a party.)

    What is more interesting to see is the older females in this group. The ones in the late 20's and early 30's who are not online for recipes, but to chat. I'm sure it's far from normal, but siblings of two different people who work for me are both addicted to online chatting. One ran (note past tense) a quiet craft shop, which now closed until further notice so that she can stay at home and chat. Could the woman not do this on a computer at work, even? The other one quit her retail job to do same.

    I don't really have any opinion on this behavior, and I neither condemn nor condone it.

    It's just... interesting.

    ------
    Following line: Good example of Fair Use.
  • by B. Samedi ( 48894 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:55AM (#1140332)
    Well I do question the figure of 60% of the users online being female but I do agree that there are a lot more of them around. My girlfriend uses my computer more then I do sometimes. When I told her I was having DSL installed she started drooling. I think we do need a influx of females to the online community.

    [warning: metaphor ahead; take with a grain of salt] It's kinda like the frontier towns. You have a largely male oriented society where you have shootings (flames), range wars (flame wars), bars (hostile chat rooms), brothels (you figure it out), and so on. Then people start bring there wife and kids in from back East and the wives decide to clean the place up and all of a sudden you have a modern city where the bars and brothels and ect. are pushed back to the fringe.

    And lets be honest here. If we ever want the media and society in general to take us serious (beyond IPO's and cracker stories)then we need this kind of influence. Personally I welcome it. There will always be the rough parts of town if you want them. There will also be the people who lament the good ol' days but most will be happy and just ignore those.

    So we are in a time of change and we need to decide what kind of net we want. Do we want a city that's quite and nothing ever really happens or do you want a city like Moscow where it's crazed, the police are on the take and the Mafia generally runs everything? I vote for something in the center of those two.

  • by chocolate pi ( 106547 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:57AM (#1140333)
    Living in a college dorm, I see all sorts of interactions between women and the net; from the girls who can't check their own email to those who use supercomputers to check it to those who write their own email programs.
    Sometime at the beginning of the year, my friend's roommate brought a girl back to their room who looked at my friend's computer (a work of art, caseless with all sorts of wires sticking out) and said, "eew, there's too much computer stuff in this room for girls." I was enraged and embarrased by her reaction, but it is a disgustingly common one.
    I had spent hours installing Linux on my computer in good part to show that I could; to provide an example that girls and computers are not mutually exclusive.
    Every time I need to do some programming work, though, I have to ask guys about it, because the other girls don't know; yesterday I had to show one of the compsci majors how to use TeX.
    this is probably just confused rambling, but I've got to go to class now.
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:42AM (#1140334) Journal
    What's that you say? Some large group of people with some common interests are online? Why, it's a revolution! The whole face of the internet is about to change!

    A word for the wise: Open source is a trend, and arguably a movement. Women are NOT a trend.

  • by Mike Belangia ( 133339 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:41AM (#1140335)
    That's great! Maybe it means that all those "women" in the assorted chat rooms may actually be female now?!!!
  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:19AM (#1140336) Homepage
    Everyone seems up in a flurry about Jon Katz's use of the stereotypical 'chickclicker', as well as the term itself, which one post has already called 'vaguely insulting'. Let's take a look at some of the stereotypes that Jon missed (please feel free to add your own):
    1. Fe-mailer
      Women use e-mail, and why shouldn't they have their own type of e-mail? Today, more and more women are fe-mailers, using one of the oldest of mediums to spam other women.
    2. Witch
      We can't forget the trolls, now can we, but troll is so male. Let's acknowledge all the women on Slashdot trying to piss off other women with their own title (and moderation status, Rob?).
    3. Script-gurlies
      With the rise of women online, more and more are turning to the annoying methods of their male counterparts in an effort to annoy the patriarchal IRC server admins.
    4. Mamallama
      These are girls who are new to the whole gaming experience. They're not very good, but all the other llamas tend to congregate towards them because they are women.
    Come on, Jon, there are so many girlie fields that you (and probably I) have left out. Why must you only focus in on the chickclickers? Please, do some more research next time. You might find a much more diversified group of stereotypes to choose from.
  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) <fallline&operamail,com> on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:01AM (#1140337)
    a) Find Receptive Audience. Slashdot "geeks", yes!
    b) Periodically monitor their changing, but consistent, gripes and hopes. "society", "jocks", "corporations", "open source", etc...
    c) Write flowerly articles fully agreeing with them. Where possible, offend all those who otherwise would not read articles.
    d) Rinse, Repeat.

    ...If you notice everything Katz writes essentially fits this model.
  • by Cool Hand Luke ( 16056 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:17AM (#1140338)

    Opinionated persons between the ages of 1 and 100 are pouring online. They're at the heart of the rapidly growing movement of bullshitters onto the Net. Political correctness aside, men, women, sheep, and bullshitters are not alike, at least not online. They may have equal skills, but they choose to do very different things. Along with Slashdot, Open Source, Linux, Napster, JenniCam, the Hampster Dance, and Mahir, bullshitters may trigger another political, media and social transformation in cyberspace.

    There are few reliable numbers on Net use by bullshitter, but I'm going to just guess and say that the majority of Web users -- possibly as high as 99% -- are now bullshiters. And younger bullshiters, especially those between 13 and 30 who are 3l33t, are the fastest growing single demographic online.

    "Five years ago, there were not that many bullshitters on the Internet," Jon Katz, who wants to be a columnist when he grows up and a regular contributor to Slashdot.org, told #phuzzybunnies on IRC recently. "Today, we're on there and using it for everyday things, like flaming on about Micro$oft and surfing for porn."

    "$ BiLlZ gAtEz SuX mY DiCk" Katz added repeatly for the next 10 minutes.

    Contrary to any lingering stereotypes, they aren't the least bit wary either of groping technology or anything else that crosses their paths...

    George Lee

  • by Sapphireblue ( 34155 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @07:03AM (#1140339) Homepage
    I have got to wonder just how exactly anyone, including Mr. Katz, knows what women do online. Sure, you can look at chickclick and say *those* women come online to hang out with other women, but I do no such thing. The IRC channel I hang out on is a web development help channel and I'm one of about three or four female regulars. My nicks usually don't indicate my gender and 99% of the people in and out of there assume I must be male, because I'm hanging out on a geek channel trying to convince people to code in PHP and dropkicking point-and-click WinNuke "hackers"... no nice cuddly "feminine" discourse there. Can't tell you how often someone asks if I've got a website, and when they go look at it, it's "Oh man, you're a CHICK?" Given that the default gender for a person in American language *and* society is "male", that's what women online will be assumed to be unless they explicitly speak up to say otherwise. And a lot of women online see no need to announce it.

    You can't make any generalizations about *all* women based on the preferences/behaviors of the women who seek out online female communities. That's just sloppy; you might as well make generalizations about *all* men based on, say, those who like pro wrestling---it's tempting, I know, but it'd be wrong. I really love how all these "rah, women!" articles written by men wind up being just as patronizing as the usual shit. Is "women aren't smart enough to get online" really all THAT much worse than "women only get online so they can find other women to discuss knitting and childcare and fashion accessories with"?

  • by goliard ( 46585 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @04:16AM (#1140340)

    So, what am I, Mr. Katz, chopped liver?

    Frankly, I am a more than a little tired of being characterized as "healing", "community building", "peace making", "more cooperative" or any of the other bullshit which boils down to "Girls is nice cuz girls is motherly and nurturing".

    I have many fine characteristics, some of which may even pertain to making the world a more touchy-feely place. But, by all reports, my justification for use of oxygen is my finely honed ability to hose idiots down with verbal napalm and a preternatural ability to draw lightning -- attributes in which I have considerable pride.

    (Of course, that I should even have to justify my offense in this day and age is itself irritating.)

    Mr. Katz, maybe you wish to make the argument that there is a subculture which consists of females of a certain age with certain commonalities of behavior -- instead of straying over the line of bigotry into claiming they are a subculture. i.e. "There's this phenomenon called the 'chickclickers', and it's growing like mad, and here's who they are and why this is interesting" instead of "teenage girls going online now are called 'chickclickers' and are like thusandsuch and will change the net because girls are different than boys."

    It is one thing to say "there's this subpopulation with the following interesting traits", and something else to say "female people of this age range are characterized in this way", or even worse say "because they are female they will be thusandsuch way and do thusandsuch things".

    It's the fact that you attribute traits to them because they are female (when there's counterexamples running around) and the fact that you conceive of all people of a certain age/sex as having a culture/behavior in common which is gross.

    Knock it off.


    ----------------------------------------------
  • by DemiGodez ( 138452 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @03:44AM (#1140341)
    Look, all respect to Katz, he clealy captured a SUBSET of women and described how they interact with the net. However, I resent the generalities such as "Now, younger men online are interested in techology -- programming, software and hardware, among other things. Women are also interested in Net-offshoots like gaming, but seem more interested in using the Net to find other women, to have some say in issues they care about, something often lacking in their offline lives." Okay, maybe that's what the statistics say, but we all know statistics are rarely accurate.

    I'm female, 24, and a programmer. I have been programming since age 7. I am deeply interested in techology -- programming, software and hardware. It's not easy being female and a programmer and the people who are the worst about it - the most likely to assume I know nothing - are other women! I would never use the Net to find other women.

    Katz is right, it is still often difficult for young women to show open interest in science and technology, especially in middle and high schools. Why add to it by writing an article about how women aren't as interested in technology online?

    In my world, I don't care if I talk to men or women online. But I am concerned that women don't become "empowered" by isolating themseleves on the net. Most people who make software are guys. If you can't live in that world, you don't stand a chance of changing it.

  • by grrl22 ( 163678 ) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @05:42AM (#1140342)
    - "Political correctness aside, men and women are not alike, at least not online. They may have equal skills, but they choose to do very different things."

    - "Chickclickers . . . are perhaps the single most important social phenomenon online. And online, they make different choices than men."

    The whole point of Jon's article seems to be that women behave differently online than men, yet he never really gives any evidence to support this. He says, "Anyone who doubts that men and women often make distinct technology choices online ought to visit Chickclick and the many "sister sites" that are linked to the top of its homepage." But ChickClickers is one site! How can any intelligent person assume you can tell how a whole demographic behaves based on a site most of that demographic have never visited?

    The truth is, ChickClickers and similar sites are targeted at a select group of the females online. It's no different than any other special interest -- NFL.com for football fans, Shashdot for open-sourcers. It can't be assumed that these ChickClicker sites represent the entire scope of what women are interested in, and how they behave online.

    That being said, I'm a female. My purpose in using the Net is not to reach out to other females "to talk and meet." I don't chat; I don't network. And I don't visit ChickClicker or any other "girl site." Really, my browsing habits aren't that much different than my husband's. We both regularly read Slashdot. We both use the web as a source of news, information, and knowledge.

    And to me, that's the point of the Internet. I like sites where my gender is irrelevant -- where I can read intelligent articles & then be a part of the debate of ideas without it being important that I'm female. In real life, there may be people who look at me or my ideas differently because I'm a girl, but in theory, the web should be a place where appearance, race, gender, etc., don't matter.

    -----

    grrl22

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