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Did I really write that? It must have been one of my more clever moments.


Did I really write that? It must have been one of my more clever moments.


"Hint: A simple yes or no is not an adequate answer."

If that's the case, maybe we could work more on posing open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions. In the list above, only the last item is a true open-ended question.

Why rhetorically push someone to take one of two positions? In this crowd, I definitely don't think we need to push people into debating by forcing them to take a position and defend it! :)

Lisa Stone

Yes, Roxanne, you did -- right here.

Skye, you are right, you don't have to expect a traditional debate at BlogHer. That said, I look forward to playing devil's advocate with all of the feedback I've received from people who have questioned the need for and value of this conference since we floated the idea in March. What would you add to this starting point? And how would you move from open-ended questions (which I think a why/why not follow-up creates in each case above) into an action plan?


Can I add a question or debate topic? Q. has anyone experimented with "passing" on the net? As in passing yourself off as a male, or genderless, net presence? Because I started blogging about computer programming topics, I established this not-necessarily-female identity more or less by accident. But I grapple with the right or wrongness of it all the time.

Elisa Camahort

Just read this quote on Protocol.net:

"While I’m not exactly sure what today’s rules are, I do know that I rarely stumble across women bloggers unless I explicitly look for them. This is especially true when reading political and technical blogs."


There are a couple of women at the top of the political food chain who blog with genderless handles. And of course everyone assumes they are men.

mobile jones

Here's an essay that's rich with food for thought as we consider the BlogHer debate.

When we are needed

Be forewarned, this is not an experiment with the 3 paragraph form. It is a researched, sourced and provocative essay on some of the very issues raised in the BlogHer conversation.

Elisa Camahort

Wow. That piece looks terrific (and deep) as I skimmed it, and I'm sure as soon as BlogHer is done I will revisit it, especially the fascinating historical stuff. Some of Shelley's writing was quite inspirational to me when first writing about why I wanted to do BlogHer.

Thanks for the link.

mobile jones

From the Economist:
July 21st 2005

The conundrum of the glass ceiling

Why are women so persistently absent from top corporate jobs?

IT IS 20 years since the term “glass ceiling” was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe the apparent barriers that prevent women from reaching the top of the corporate hierarchy; and it is ten years since the American government's specially appointed Glass Ceiling Commission published its recommendations. In 1995 the commission said that the barrier was continuing “to deny untold numbers of qualified people the opportunity to compete for and hold executive level positions in the private sector.” It found that women had 45.7% of America's jobs and more than half of master's degrees being awarded. Yet 95% of senior managers were men, and female managers' earnings were on average a mere 68% of their male counterparts'.

Finish reading the article

There is also a discussion of absence of women in leadership positions and C level jobs in Britian, France and other countries. Not promoted and not linked. Could these two conditions be the related?

Tish G

There is also the big problem of women mentoring other women. There is a nasty competitiveness among women--young/old, single/married, kids/ no kids, uppercrust/lowerclass--that, no matter how much lip-service we give it, doesn't seem to go away. Often, we are our own wost enemies.

Think about how we perceive one another as bloggers. Do we diss one blog as being "too personal" while touting another because we think it's "more political"? Or do we not link to others in keeping with a personal philosophy re how we want our own blog to be received/perceived?

And, is this the way that male bloggers perceive one another? Some male bloggers specifically eschew the personal in favor of punditry--how many of the A-listers talk about their personal lives in a personal manner? And, does the dogfight nature of A-lister political blogging work to eclipse more thoughtful political commentary (done by those other than Andrew Sullivan)?

Tish G

A case of linking prejudice

I recently contacted the blogger department (believe it or not) of our local paper to give them a heads up that yours truly would be attending this conference...

And then I remembered that when I requested that my main blog be added to the list of local blogs, I was told that I needed to come up with a blog that was more journalistic than personal in order to be listed.

Strange thing is, among the blogs that were already listed, several are personal and one is rather graphic in nature.

I am not used to recognizing when I've been discriminated against, nor do I know how to handle it, so what I did was create a second blog that would fit what the editor requested. That is the blog that is listed with the local paper, not the blog that I usually write on.

I think this little incident harkens to the perception that all blogging is, or should be, a form of journalism, and if the blog does not fit that category, it does not deserve linking.

Perhaps all the discussion about what a blog is or isn't, and the desire of some to limit the worthiness of a blog by its content or its level of journalism, is what may be limiting the linking of women bloggers.


people read blogs that don't suck. To say that there's a vast prejudice, a "them and us" attitude, and a male conspiracy against women bloggers is just another feminazi delusion. If no-one likes your blog, you're writing about 1) boring shit no-one cares about, so they won't keep coming back 2) shit people don't care about enough to link in their own blog, which in turn gets linked, etc, etc, creating a buzz.

the internet is a free, open place where people read what they want to read. No-one owes anyone traffic. Write something people want to read and they'll read it, write stuff they don't want to, and they won't. simple as that.

80% of sites on the internet use less than 500MB bandwidth a month. a site with moderate traffic can use at least few GB. that gives you an idea how many people are incapable of creating content that can attract large or consistent audiences.

particular cases of linking prejudice, of course, are going to happen for a zillion reasons, but I think it's completely delusional to claim that's happening on a wide scale.

Most of the highly trafficked blogs are political, because of the highly turbulent political atmosphere, and the war.
so maybe one problem there is with how little most women, on average, care about politics compared to men.

this simply doesn't compare to discrimination elsewhere - in the workforce, for example - at all, because internet users care very little about the people behind the website, so little that they don't care to get to know you.

Nick Douglas

Regardless of gender issues, I'm confused by the concept of "sucking up to the A-list." How, exactly, would you suck up? I just posted this question on my site, linkable from my name below.

Elisa Camahort

Someone asked Charlene that during the debate: what are "the rules." And "the rules" are like networking in the brick and mortar world: network, ask for links, then ask a second and third time. Write about stuff they'll find relevant etc.

And most people recoil because it really does sound like you're manipulating your own true voice to be "popular."

So Charlene then clarified that the A-List isn't equivalent to the Technorati 100, but rather every person has their own "A-List", the list of people writing about what you care about and who you want to be be in a community with and noticed by to extend your influence.

Well, maybe...

As for the previous comment, I'll say what I always say. I have a rather checkered professional past having worked in 4 industries to day over 25 years. If you've only been in an environment where the most talented and capable always rise to the top and the less so are held back, then you are a very lucky person. In every field I've ever witnessed things like luck, contacts, timing, relationships rank right up there with and sometimes ahead of skills.

This is as applicable in the online as in the offline world.

Elisa Camahort

Oh, and I'll add: yes this happens to men as well as women, no question.

So, we got together and talked about ways to increase our skills andstrengthen our networks. And the men who came got to do the same.


All in all I try not to make too many gender assumptions (this is partially a response to Roxanne on July 21st which I believe in turn was a response to a quote someone posted from protocol7.net, which by the way is back up), but even with a handful of women blogging at the top and a few with genderless nicks, is it enough? Based on the statistics, is it wrong to make such an assumption? I often rely on the gender-ambiguity of my nick in many online situations, from online gaming to irc to technical forums. I am almost always assumed to be a man and I find that this keeps the trolling down and the attention focused more on the issue at hand (kernel compile failing, mysql not behaving properly, etc) rather than my age and relationship status. This is of course completely simplifying everything but I wanted to try and keep this short! I'm really looking forward to reading about the dialogue that emerges from this conference and getting involved myself!


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