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Proposal: Human Sexual Response and Non-Platonic Relations

I just went through the list of committments to the proposal, and out of 192 committers, I found just three with a recognisably female avatar or name.

I mean, c'mon really. There is a whole swathe of expertise missing.

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    How many with a recognizably male avatar or name? Many women choose intentionally ambiguous names and avatars on the internet. – freiheit Dec 18 '11 at 5:39
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    @freiheit This is the internet, where the men are men, the women are men and the children are FBI agents... – Lorem Ipsum Dec 18 '11 at 6:06
  • Looking through the list, I found 7 out of 198 committers that had a recognizably female avatar or name. I wasn't tallying, but probably a bit over half appeared to be obviously male. I do have to agree that the site looks like it could have a gender disparity issue, with 5% women (10% at the most?) – freiheit Dec 21 '11 at 0:23
  • @freiheit I think a couple of those committed in the last couple of days, after I posted this question. I don't have a stake in this as I am not interested in participating in the site. But I did think that the notion of expertise needed to be carefully considered in this case. It would be all too easy for this site to degenerate into something that attracts only prurient interest. – Verbeia Dec 21 '11 at 0:31
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    How much of a glutton for punishment would you have to be to use a clearly-female username on a sex site where over 58% of the other users were programmers? – Shog9 Dec 21 '11 at 1:39
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    It's important to separate "expertise" from "experience". A trained professional can speak reliably about women's health issues without being a woman. What you're really pointing out is the apparent lack of authorities on the female experience. I think that's partially explained by unreported/unadvertised gender as @Shog9 suggests. And I'm hopeful it will even out once the site goes into beta and becomes more exposed to Internet search. – Jonathan Van Matre Dec 22 '11 at 16:28
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    And yet this proposal only has 2.5% Expert and 2.5% Academic committers. A third describe themselves as Enthusiasts, nearly 30% do not give a designation describing their expertise, and a whole bunch are Just Curious. That is not the basis for a strong site. – Verbeia Dec 27 '11 at 23:50
  • I thought men would be preferred since they are supposed to possess more experience :P – prusswan Dec 29 '11 at 7:03
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    Okay, lots of flagging here -- There may be a larger point to be made about "expertise" in Area 51, but it has been lost in the example you chose. Clearly this is not going to be a site for members seeking sexual partners, so striking a male/female balance is about as relevant as finding that balance on Stack Overflow. Consider that few activities will make this site one big bore faster than endless "wut up!!!! a/s/l, Where r teh women?" threads, so let's close this as the first of what suspect will be a long line of "not constructive" questions. – Robert Cartaino Dec 30 '11 at 15:37
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    @RobertCartaino I'm not asking for you to reopen the question, but I do think you have missed the point. I believe, like the asker of this question, that the Sexuality site is not pitched at an expert audience. By not having enough females, questions about female sexuality will not get constructive answers other than from health professionals, if any actually get involved. And there will probably not be many good questions about female sexuality and women's experience/perspectives. – Verbeia Jan 12 '12 at 5:31
  • I think I am in a position to say I told you so – Verbeia Jan 24 '12 at 21:37
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My motivation for asking this question was to get people thinking about whether sites outside the main computer/technical/science domains of existing StackExchange sites needed additional criteria to ensure they had the necessary expertise committed before going into beta. Sure, it is a worry if a site about human sexual relations has very few women participating, unless of course it is a site targeted at gay men.

But it is more worrying if a site attracts only 2.5% Experts out of 200-odd committers.

The existing expertise designations that people choose when they commit might not be a perfect indication because they would be gamed if they became a criterion. But I think we (or the moderators) need to have a conversation about how we gauge whether sufficient expertise has been assembled to create a viable site, for domains where C# expertise or whatever got you the rep on the StackExchange is not a good guide to your expertise about this topic.

This is in some sense the converse of the issue the Libraries and Info Systems proposal has - lots of expertise but not enough StackExchange rep.

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  • While we've had at least one bit of proof otherwise (the professor trying to get all his students to support that one proposal - forget which), I think Area 51 is less likely to be gamed than most other SE sites. Most people probably don't know about it until someone refers them, or they have SE experience. – Merlyn Morgan-Graham Jan 12 '12 at 8:08
  • The experience with other SE sites is important because SE has a very specific way of operating, and having SE experts available is important for a new proposal to form a trajectory in that direction. SE experience is not meant to convey expertise in the given topic, hence why the different ways of signifying and scoring it. – Merlyn Morgan-Graham Jan 12 '12 at 8:08
  • @MerlynMorgan-Graham I don't deny that SE rep and experience is important. The first version of the proposal I am involved with, Mathematica, was closed because we didn't get enough momentum during the definition stage (even though we only took three months or so to get 100 committers). The essential problem was we didn't really understand the process. We've learnt from that, and the proposal is this close to beta. – Verbeia Jan 12 '12 at 8:12
  • @MerlynMorgan-Graham But I confess that I share the concerns you expressed in your question. I don't think the audience that signed up matches the intended audience. Then again, it's not really my problem. – Verbeia Jan 12 '12 at 8:13

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