LinuxChix membership policies

This section outlines the behaviour expected of members of LinuxChix and the purpose and scope of our various forums.

Who and what are LinuxChix forums for?

LinuxChix forums are designed to be helpful, friendly, female-oriented lists for women interested in Linux. There are lists for technical questions, discussion of women and technology, learning about Linux, and social chat.

LinuxChix forums are for women interested in Linux. Men are welcome in most LinuxChix forums too, provided that they realise and respect that the lists are primarily intended as forums for women. Women-only forums are all named grrls-only, men are asked not to join these forums.

Forums on linuxchix.org are English language only: some regional chapters have forums in other languages.

Behaviour in LinuxChix forums

LinuxChix has two core rules that all participants must observe:

  1. be polite; and
  2. be helpful.

That's all.

Our most particular specific example is that technical questions of any level are welcome and should be answered helpfully. RTFM is the original example of impolite and unhelpful behaviour.

Failure to be polite and helpful will result in warnings and may result in you being requested to leave or being removed and banned.

Behaviour in technical forums

The purpose of the LinuxChix project is to provide a friendly, woman-oriented environment to discuss Linux. The technical forums exist primarily as a place for female geeks to ask technical questions and get answers from other female geeks. Many women posting to this list aren't just looking for answers to their technical questions, they're also looking for a peer group and a sense of community with other technical women.

While our technical forums welcome helpful and considerate people of any gender, it's easy for our forums to become overwhelmed by male voices. As long as Linux geeks are mostly male, mailing lists about Linux will be mostly male, so members of the list should expect to see a lot of male voices. But then, how do we fulfill the original purpose of the technical forums? We don't want to kick out all the men, who are productive and helpful members of the list. One way to keep the list female-oriented is for the men in the technical forums to self-moderate themselves to some degree.

How do you self-moderate? When you see a question, stop and think for a minute before answering. Wait a few hours and give other people a chance to answer first. It's unlikely that the poster needs an answer within a few minutes. Consider responding privately, or not at all. If you've been answering questions a lot lately, take a break and let other people answer. Examine your motives: Could it be that you race to answer questions mostly because you want to look smart, and only partly because you want to help people?

When you do answer a question, include how you discovered the answer. Did you read a man page? A web page? A book? Did you do a web search? Did the programmer in the cubicle next to you tell you the answer? Suggest ways to find out more about the topic under question, independently of the mailing list. If you were once embarrassed by not knowing the answer to this question, tell your story. It helps to remind people that even the gurus were once clueless newbies.

Finally, every time you think about posting, remember that if every question on the list is answered in 5 minutes or less by a guru, that discourages every single other person on the list from even attempting to answer a question. By the time other people have finished reading the email, the guru has already sent a detailed, jargon-filled answer. We want to encourage people to participate, not discourage them.

The reason the LinuxChix lists are so popular, the technical forums in particular, is that they do have a lot of women subscribed and as a result, have a different "feel" to them then normal Linux lists. We all like this and want to keep it that way. If the list appears to be too male-dominated, the women who make the forums what they are will stop participating and start leaving. Help us keep our technical forums a friendly and helpful place!

Email list etiquette

Keep LinuxChix posts to subscribers

Please do not forward messages sent to LinuxChix lists to non-subscribers. If the message was posted to list publically archived on LinuxChix (some of the technical lists are publically archived), you could give other people a link to the archived copy of their post.

The copyright of any message sent to LinuxChix lists is owned by the author of the message, and is only free for redistribution if the copyright owner specifically allows it. You therefore mustn't forward LinuxChix messages off the LinuxChix lists without specific permission from the author. If they didn't give such permission in the body of their message, you could mail them and ask for it, but please respect their decision either way.

Members make posts to LinuxChix on the understanding that they will not be redistributed offlist. Some members make personal posts trusting in this understanding. LinuxChix has successful mailing lists that discusses sensitive topics and these can only function based on this understanding. Members forwarding posts offlist therefore breach this understanding with the author and with LinuxChix, hurting both the author of the message and the function of many of the LinuxChix lists as a whole.

Do not set up public archives

Any lists not publically archived are not archived for a reason. These reasons include letting people have sensitive personal discussions without making them available for searching and reading for years to come. You must not archive our lists or otherwise republish them.

Do not forward third-party material

Please do not post material to the lists that was not written by you, including articles and forwarded material, unless you are certain that the copyright owner of the material allows redistribution. Otherwise you are violating the owner's copyright. If you come across an interesting article that you want to discuss, you should post a link to the article and a summary of the parts you found interesting. If it is not available online, the only thing you can do is post a detailed description of how to find it (author, title, journal/newspaper/book title, publisher and so on).

IRC Etiquette

Welcome to LinuxChix IRC!

You don't have to be a member of LinuxChix -- or even female -- to chat on our IRC channels. But there are a few rules we ask you to observe to help keep this a friendly and supportive place for all LinuxChix and friends.

First: all LinuxChix IRC channels are part of LinuxChix and subject to our two cardinal rules:

Second: The mission of Linuxchix is "LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux and Free Software, and for women and men who want to support women in computing."

While those seem pretty straightforward and simple, we have some guidelines to correct misconceptions people seem to have about our IRC channels:

No trolling

Trolling ("women are too stupid to be geeks", etc) is not acceptable. Even "jokingly". Insulting members of the channel -- or any other group, culture, religion, etc. -- is neither polite nor helpful.

irc.linuxchix.org is not a dating service

Our members use IRC for all sorts of reasons, some of them social. But believe us when we tell you that no one is there hoping that a random man from another channel will pop in and offer her a date.

Please don't. No, not in private messages either.

irc.linuxchix.org is not a lonely-hearts advice column

Sometimes we get strangers, usually men, popping in looking for a female shoulder to cry on about their difficulties with relationships or other personal aspects of life. Apparently some people assume that because we're women, we're programmed to be nurturing and motherly to anyone who shows up. That's just as impolite on IRC as it is face-to-face.

irc.linuxchix.org is not a porn channel

Yes, there are women here. No, that doesn't mean we want to hear about your sexual fantasies or discussions of body parts. Sex talk on irc.linuxchix.org is forbidden. No, that doesn't mean we hate sex. It means that we like to talk about other things here. There are lots of other channels available for talking about sex. Go find one of them.

Be part of the conversation(s)

Dominating the conversation is impolite anywhere, as is butting in with something completely off-topic. IRC usually has a certain amount of chaos, but just like face-to-face conversations, a little consideration goes a long way.

Other rules

Or else what?

Violating our etiquette guidelines may get you banned from the channel or from the server. "I was just joking" is not a viable defense.

And finally...

You may see some talk from time to time that appears to violate some of these guidelines. Remember, the channel regulars know each other and aren't likely to misinterpret each other. As a newcomer, you're best off staying away from borderline subjects until you've been around for a while and have a feel for the channel culture. If you're not sure about something you want to say, ask an op privately if it's okay.

With that in mind, please don't be put off by this list of rules. Remember, it all boils down to courtesy: "Be polite, be helpful." Have fun, and we're looking forward to chatting with you.

For more information about how to use IRC, see our IRC Basics guide. If you find yourself without "voice," you'll find help there.

Complaints and Disputes

In general, LinuxChix forums welcome differing opinions. Feel free to disagree with people in our forums, but be polite and helpful in your disagreement.

If a dispute arises which you think needs to be resolved, please consider addressing it directly with the other people involved. However, you can also complain about problems or impolite and unhelpful behaviour to the LinuxChix volunteers who run the forum in question or, if you cannot raise it with them, with the current coordinator. Contact details for the volunteers can be found on Who Runs LinuxChix?