Anecdotally (and I wonder if there's been any research on this issue), I was originally taught how to use computers and to program by my father. My mother knew how to use the computer but not how to program it, and was vocal about computing being part of my father's domain of knowledge. The fact is, she understated her capabilities; the machine I grew up using was an Apple ][c, and while she didn't write any BASIC she had the list of operations memorized to navigate the filesystem and run programs (knowledge bases that would look a lot like "programmer knowledge" by modern standards). As time has gone on, I consider her to be quite computer literate, though she restricts herself to a subset of usage that she doesn't perceive as "programming" and continues to think of the thing as a tool to get work done, not one of her domains of competence.
I wonder if the prevalence of this notion is due to a one- or two-generation shared notion in the average programmer that "Dad taught me how to use computers?" Personal computers aren't more than a few decades old, and I suspect most entered the home in the way ours did---by the father either buying one to support work or using one at work and deciding it would be useful at home? If so, "the mom test" is probably reflective of the shared experience of a generation of programmers, though there's no reason to believe it will / should continue to be so.
Not your mother’s X
I don’t have any interest in Google’s reputation, I’m just an annoying pedant.
— Jens Ayton (Ahruman 19:52, July 2, 2011 (UTC))
Dealing with statistically important groups of people
The paper linked in this article shows women passwords are 8% more likely to be weak than men's passwords:
Clearly business people need password education the most, but if I were to try to improve password practices, I might target women in business. Is that bad? Is there a way to do that without being offensive? Or have years of unfairly targeting women made it impossible to raise the occasional issue that might be valid?
One could get upset that your site targets men as the perpetrators of crimes against women while completely ignoring womens crimes against women, or womens crimes against men. Statistically, sexual predators are several times more likely to be men than women, so I understand. But is it fair?
Is it predjudice to target any scientifically significant group of people in order to help them in some way? Maybe it's necessary sometimes regardless? When does some consideration like safety trump fairness? Are there good and bad techniques for talking about difficult issues like these?
- Which site are you referring to that "targets men" and "ignores women" as perpetrators? Also, 8% difference in password strength is hardly analogous to women being the majority of the victims of sexual predators. The rest of your questions sounds a bit trollish, so I will refrain from responding to them. Leninflux (talk) 18:57, November 9, 2013 (UTC)