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Open Source Programming The Media Technology

Pull Requests Are Accepted At About The Same Rate, Regardless of Gender (techinasia.com) 94

An anonymous reader writes: Remember that story about how women "get pull requests accepted more (except when you know they're women)." The study actually showed that men also had their code accepted more often when their gender wasn't known, according to Tech In Asia -- and more importantly, the lower acceptance rates (for both men and women) applied mostly to code submitters from outside the GitHub community. "Among insiders, there's no evidence of discrimination against women. In fact, the reverse is true: women who are on the inside and whose genders are easy to discern get more of their code approved, and to a statistically significant degree."

Eight months after the story ran, the BBC finally re-wrote their original headline ("Women write better code, study suggests") and added the crucial detail that acceptance rates for women fell "if they were not regulars on the service and were identified by their gender."

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Pull Requests Are Accepted At About The Same Rate, Regardless of Gender

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  • Relationship (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2016 @03:04PM (#53585473)

    Since both men and women have their code accepted at higher rates when you know their gender, I wonder if there is a relationship between knowing more about a person and accepting their code. Does knowing someone better mean you are more accepting of their work? If Beth is a working mother of 5 and you know this, does that knowledge make you more or less likely to approve of her code opposed to only knowing that someone made a merge request?

    • Re:Relationship (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @03:23PM (#53585531) Homepage Journal

      Actually, it's more like an uncanny valley. The first part was that for people outside the community (where you don't really know much about them), if you know nothing about the submitter, you're more likely to accept the code than if you know just a little bit about the submitter. But if you actually know them IRL, you're more likely to accept their code.

      • Re:Relationship (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@ w o r l d 3 . net> on Saturday December 31, 2016 @03:49PM (#53585621) Homepage Journal

        And that is exactly what you would expect. People tend to be open minded when they don't know anything about a person. Once they know enough to categorize them, all the biases creep in. Then as they get to know them, they start to see them as individuals again.

        • Re:Relationship (Score:4, Informative)

          by lgw ( 121541 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @04:02PM (#53585675) Journal

          It must be raining frogs: I agree with AmiMoJo. This is how the human mind works - we are pattern engines. We fit what we see to the patterns we've internalized, even when we see very little. Usually, that works quite well: even our vision is mostly synthesized from minimal data (other than the very center of our field of view, the rest is mostly fake detail), but it works so well we don't notice. But sometimes it doesn't quite work out, from biases that aren't accurate to optical illusions. Helps to be aware of it all.

          • Yea, I'm pretty sure I just watched Satan put on a winter coat too. It's kinda frosty in hell when I agree with AmiJoJo, but it is a fucking cold day in hell when I agree with them on a social justice matter.
    • Re:Relationship (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @03:37PM (#53585575)

      Since both men and women have their code accepted at higher rates when you know their gender, I wonder if there is a relationship between knowing more about a person and accepting their code. Does knowing someone better mean you are more accepting of their work? If Beth is a working mother of 5 and you know this, does that knowledge make you more or less likely to approve of her code opposed to only knowing that someone made a merge request?

      I don't know, but surely there is something we can be outraged about. We must look harder.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        May I suggest:

        - Why are these studies even being funded? Someone is looking for the answer they paid for!

        - The Mainstream Media issued a correction! It's all 100% fake news!

        - My scroll wheel is broken so I was forced to read and comment on this story I have no interest in!

        - SJWs!

        • Re:Relationship (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @06:27PM (#53586237)

          Why are these studies even being funded?

          The original crappy study, that TFA debunked, was funded by the National Science Foundation under grant number 1252995. So your tax dollars paid for it.

          I am not totally opposed to all research related to gender discrimination, but when researchers publish statistically invalid garbage, they should be banned from future grants.

    • "had their code ACCEPTED MORE often when their gender WASN'T KNOWN"

    • Since both men and women have their code accepted at higher rates when you know their gender

      Why was this modded up? The summary says the opposite, both men and women have their code accepted at higher rates when their gender is not known.

    • Personally, I believe the correlation goes in the reverse direction. People who write high quality code, also fill their profiles more thoroughly and are more likely to reveal their gender as result.

      The article makes it seem like the choice of accepting or rejecting a push request is an arbitrary decision based solely on factors associated with perception of the accepter of the personality of the submitter and has nothing in common with actual code quality. No. GOOD push requests are accepted. BAD push requ

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We men write more bullshit, and we are proud of it. Until Linus puts us to our place.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We found that in modern times, misandry is apparently totally acceptable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is it git-specific terminology for asking someone to merge back some branch to the main release?

  • But my preconceived notions! My social justice! ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a huge misunderstanding of discrimination:

    "no evidence of discrimination against women. In fact, the reverse is true: women who are on the inside and whose genders are easy to discern get more of their code approved, and to a statistically significant degree"

    It is still unjust to give them preferential treatment. This is a common misconception from the early days of chivalry: putting a woman on a pedestal just because she is a woman is still discriminating against her.

    If there were no discrimination

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @04:03PM (#53585685)

      I'm against discrimination in my organization. Not for some thing about right and wrong but simply because I feel the best should rise to the top. Gender be damned. It doesn't make sense to decide anything on the gender or sexual preference or color or religion or much of anything else about the person who does the work except for the quality of their work. Most people where I work feel this way too. We have very few women (it's aircraft repair and modification) but those we have are mostly excellent at their jobs and respected by their male coworkers. They constantly try to hire more women but I've seen women show up for an interview, take one look at the work environment, and just walk out. Somehow though, it's alway spun that it's our fault women don't work here.

      • They constantly try to hire more women but I've seen women show up for an interview, take one look at the work environment, and just walk out. Somehow though, it's alway spun that it's our fault women don't work here.

        Well that would be fair if you were doing something which made the environment unpleasant. Are you, and would you know if you were?

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          The environment I speak of is physical. It's unbelievably loud to the point I often wear earplugs plus ear muffs for protection. It's very hot most of the year and it's a lot of very physical work.

    • In fact, the reverse is true: women who are on the inside and whose genders are easy to discern get more of their code approved, and to a statistically significant degree

      This could mean any number of things, it could mean that the sample is skewed. It could also easily mean simply that in those cases the women had better code.

      That is not discrimination, that is pure skill-based result. I see no reason to expect actual discrimination based on gender over code quality, because in this realm where you are ac

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @04:38PM (#53585855)
    Anyone else notice the glaring sexism in the media coverage of this story about purported sexism in programming culture?

    "get pull requests accepted more (except when you know they're women)."

    When it seems like men are getting preferential treatment, the story is portrayed as discrimination against women.

    "Women write better code, study suggests"

    When it seems like women are getting preferential treatment, the story is portrayed as women being superior.

    I propose journalists be forced to write these stories without knowing ahead of time which gender came out on top in a study. After the story has been written, the editor can go back and insert the proper gender-specific word or pronoun.

    • I propose journalists be forced to write these stories without knowing ahead of time which gender came out on top in a study. After the story has been written, the editor can go back and insert the proper gender-specific word or pronoun.

      That won't happen in a world where the goal of the article (and headline) is to get page-views (or newspaper purchases).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Women get their code submissions accepted more = women are better coders

    Women get their code submissions accepted less = women are discriminated against

    We live in a post-truth society where the above is all the a) data and b) conclusion people need to drive action and policy.

    Of course, writers will spend 1% of their text giving some kind of token acknowledgement to "it is hard to know for sure" and 99% to "the conclusion is very clear"

  • Typically a pull request results in pepper spray, a hard slap, a call to the cops or some combination of those.

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