Sexism and the blogosphere

7 April 2005

Colleague Nicola (or should that be comrade Nicola?) draws my attention to this article from the March edition of Newsweek, moaning that the blogosphere is full of white, middle-class males. It's not a sentiment that really speaks to me, mainly because the site that drew me into blogging back in 2002 was the rabbit blog, which is written by freelance writer Heather Havrilesky. Since then, I've had the pleasure of meeting Suw Charman, a Welsh language enthusiast and actual blog consultant.

The piece did remind me however of a shock I had last weekend when my ubergeek boyfriend was showing me GreaseMonkey scripts for Mozilla Firefox (a greasemonkey script is a script that alters what websites look like automatically - they're fab for providing greater accessibility and ad-free versions of your favourite sites, but they're not for the technologically faint-hearted).

Now, my favourite blog ever is boingboing.net, a collaborative blog that has won the Bloggies awards for the last two years (hell, if you got passed greasemonkey scripts, you probably know about boingboing). Get this. There's actually a script which you can run on top of boingboing that gets rid of all the material posted by their only female poster, Xeni Jardin. The geek that wrote it (and if it wasn't a man, I'll eat my intray) may call it proof of concept and yeah, theoretically, you could modify the script to exclude other posters instead, but it still blows. In fact, as a wise man once said, it blows so hard it sucks.

UPDATE! Looks like Xeni has had her own fun with this one.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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