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Public digital space

A couple of situations made me feel uneasy and I was exploring reasons for it. The centre of attention is (again) the visibility paradigm connected to the digital space.

For instance, the IRC was there for quite a long time already and I wonder if earlier in the days it was common to pull out resources from it (like shared links) to make them public. It is of course super useful in some cases, but not seeing when it can be troublesome, hmmmm ... it makes me think. I mean, on that particular channel I saw a topic question "Is everyone OK with pulling links out?". I guess the same reason that could make someone feel uncomfortable with it would make this person likely to shut up and not say anything. This is not to blame one or the other, as both are in their rights. It is just an observation on where those semipublic spaces are drifting towards.

I believe it is a reflection of, from one hand, capitalism ("I want to see you, give me your data"; as observed by Debord: what is visible is good, what is good is visible), a trend that we seem to have believed in in our "alternative" circles. But then it also has a segregative effect (doesn't have to, but can) on the gender bases (and alike, other minorisation axis). I mean that traditionally public space is meant for men and their socialisation facilitates that they feel well there. It has to do with feeling of entitlement of how much space you are OK to take (think of typical metro campaigns to make men not to sit legs wide open taking space of three sits instead of one). And maybe it is worth mentioning too that men are not that prone to suffer as much violence and revenge defamation as women are.

So if someone assumes that public space is neutral and that it feels similar for everyone, it denotes that they may be looking from a rather privileged position. For example, quite often communication modes of IRC channels are typical for gendered men, that is to say strong, overconfident, assertive and often competitive style is favoured. Ask yourself how much you have to modify your regular way of communicating when you enter an IRC channel?

And I have a similar feeling when facing the supposedly neutral space of gitxxx. Fairly everything nowadays is managed through gitxxx, hence everything is visible. Code commits are supposed to be gender-blind, but of course they are not (Article). Ending up in building meritocracy for some, more than for others.

So yeah, we need git and we need IRC, but maybe not assuming they are both gender neutral spaces and not pulling everything towards more and more publicness would be a good start.