jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox
This entry sums up how we were feeling at the time. We're going to try to be more thorough here.

Feelings of inadequacy
  • Very soon after our internship started, our mentor was baffled by our incompetence, and admitted to having expected we wouldn't be having this kind of trouble. We realized that we had misled them as to our level of expertise, and while she tried to encourage us afterwards we felt like a poser pretty much the entire time we were there.
  • We're severely depressed and dysphoric, and surrounded in-person by people who hate us, yell at us, and talk casually about letting us die. We should be on disability benefits, not grasping at straws for tech writing chances. We didn't get as much work as we wanted to done because of this.
Feelings of rejection
  • Pretty much every blog post we made on Planet GNOME drew a ton of negative comments, especially the ones about sexism in tech. And that's even with anonymous commenting disabled. It got to the point where we set it to not email us and had our boyfriend screen comments for us.
  • At Open Help, a Red Hat employee talked openly about how the Outreach Program was a terrible idea and the money should not have been given to us. This caused a day-long depressive episode in the middle of the conference. Trying to talk to our mentor about it made us feel even more alienated, as she didn't understand our concerns and it was painfully obvious that she was trying to be polite.
  • We had to go home alone from one evening out at Open Help because the others there started talking in ways that made us uncomfortable while they were drinking.
  • After the conference, one person (that we liked and thought we had gotten along well with) wrote a blog post summarizing their experience at it, in which they used language that showed how weirded out they were by us and considered some of the topics we discussed there to be very inappropriate.
  • The whole time, we felt like a tag-along who didn't really belong there.
Lack of appreciation
  • We felt that the work we did, both in writing tutorials and in laying the foundation for ongoing JavaScript documentation, was completely ignored. There was no mention of it at all in the latest Planet GNOME posts about JavaScript being the "official" language, except for a note that the JavaScript tutorials were not as complete as the other languages' and someone had to fill them in manually. According to one person who was there, there was no mention of it during their in-person planning either. This was after we'd blogged extensively about it.
  • Bugs that we filed and comments we made on IRC went completely ignored, including ones about pointless and simple regressions which cost us important functionality.
We don't know how much of the problem is "we suck," how much of the problem is "GNOME sucks," and how much of the problem is "we're just not right for each other." We're usually inclined to believe the former more than the latter, which is part of the reason we listed our deficiencies right from the get-go and emphasized how awkward others felt around us.

All we know is that a thing that we were excited about turned out to be a horrible idea, and we're extremely depressed about it now. We don't really want to get involved in any more open-source projects in the future, if they have any of the kind of people who commented in our blog contributing to them. Some people encouraged us, but a lot of people discouraged us, and no one did anything about them.

Which may have been just as well.

Date: 2013-02-06 03:55 am (UTC)
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
From: [personal profile] brainwane
That sounds really terrible and frustrating and I wish you a good recovery. I hope you find yourself in more encouraging environments in the future.

Date: 2013-02-06 08:10 am (UTC)
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
From: [personal profile] sophie
I'm so, so sorry that you had to go through all that. *hugs* It really doesn't sound fun at all.

Personally, I think you guys are great, and I'd love to get to know you better.

Date: 2013-02-06 09:08 am (UTC)
coffeevore: A woman holding her exposed wrist with a flower on it, pale and vulnerable in white lace linen clothes. (vulnerable)
From: [personal profile] coffeevore
Mm. You're not part of their in-group network, so the hard work you do isn't as noticed by them as the hard work that their friends do. That's a natural behaviour that people tend to have everywhere. So when you're in a place in your life where you need appreciation and encouragement for what you do, you won't get it in a group where you have to defend your lifestyle, and don't naturally "click" with the personalities of those involved. Fighting the system with advocacy and an attitude of "this is me, so get used to it" is better suited for people who already have confidence in their skills and their selves.

Also in the "not right for each other" category is probably that a lot of people see engineering as a field where controversy about beliefs and feelings should be considered off-topic. I know that one of the things that draws me to tech stuff to begin with is the relief of not having to discuss such matters. Perhaps to some degree, people feel ambushed by that type of question, and they are blaming their discomfort on your "weirdness" when they really just want to make you stop talking about the topic.

(Since our society is really big on pressuring people to have informed opinions on everything in order to present as intelligent, it can be more embarrassing for them to admit "I feel discomfort with this topic" than to try to get rid of people doing what you did by saying "go away, weirdo". So you end up as the scapegoat for their inability to face their own discomfort with the issues you're talking about. And that's not so much a "not right for each other" thing, nor even a "GNOME sucks" thing, as it is a "people being bad at examining their own discomfort sucks" thing.)


Date: 2013-03-10 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] fujii
Hi, I'm here to apologise.

When you left GNOME I was not around. I didn't read your posts at the time only after a while. And during your blog posts that caused discussions I was usually late and I didn't join the discussion. Well, that was really bad of me and I'm really really sorry.

I know that being silent is as if I agree with the bad people or if I don't care, and I do. I felt bad numerous times when people say they are not the problem, they haven't done anything wrong but they don't call on people being aggressive or show any support at all. And then I did the same in your case. I don't even have an excuse for that.

I really appreciate all your blog posts and for discussing a lot of difficult subjects inside GNOME community. And I'm really sorry we treated you bad. Please, if you can, don't delete your blog posts about Outreach Program. I think it's an evidence of how we suck as a community and we shouldn't forget that if we ever want to improve. And it was your voice!

I wish you the best of luck in any future projects. Please, if there is something I can help at any time, I would be more than pleased!

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

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