When Nerds Collide

My intersectionality will have weirdoes or it will be bullshit.

Fig. 1: weirdoes signaling to other weirdoes. Used with author’s permission. https://twitter.com/puellavulnerata/status/442252850664456192

Drawing hard lines around soft situations — like banning certain topics of discussion or kinds of humour — chafes hard against the hacker drive to discover boundaries through practical experience.

Meanwhile, we’re all just hoping that circumstance never puts us in Andy Dufresne’s shoes.

To a person whose value system gives primacy to identity in all situations, or who believes it’s acceptable to tell others what identities they must choose or how to prioritise their identities, this is unthinkable. The gulf that arises from this little gap is vast indeed.

We’ll start to feel less defensive when we get some indication — any indication — that our critics understand what parts of our culture we don’t want to lose and why we don’t want to lose them.

If you can show us those qualities in yourself, whether by mindblowing works of programming genius or merely by living the values we embrace, you’re in if you want to be.

Trying to convince hacker culture to change its norms by appealing to progressive values alone won’t work. You’re going to have to appeal to hacker values, and nobody’s done that yet.

Because of this, leading with “there are more of us than there are of you, so you have to change to accommodate us” is, hands down, the best way to ensure that your carefully constructed appeal will fall on deaf ears.

Inverting a power dynamic offers no consolation to people who end up on the bottom either way, and nothing of interest to people who would rather that power dynamic not exist in the first place.

I build things with language. Some of them are even in words.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store