Selected writing

My writing highlights include:

  • Your first fundraiser (puzzling.org, January 2017):

    [A] series of articles with my fundraising wisdom, with the hope that new women in technology groups and other activist groups can skip to advanced level fundraising much sooner. May you spend the least time and the most joy on fundraising that you possibly can!

  • No more rock stars: how to stop abuse in tech communities (hypatia.ca, with Valerie Aurora and Leigh Honeywell, June 2016):

    Don’t set up your community so that if someone has a breach with your community (e.g., is targeted for sustained harassment that drives them out), they are likely to also lose more than one of: their job, their career, their romantic relationships, their circle of friends, or their political allies. Encouraging and enabling people to have social interaction and support outside your organization or cause will also make it easier to, when necessary, exclude people behaving abusively or not contributing because you won’t need to worry that you’re cutting them off from all meaningful work or human contact.

  • The AdaCamp Toolkit, a 20,000+ word guide to running inclusive technology-affiliated events, of which I was primary author and sole editor (July 2015):

    AdaCamp was a popular and effective two-day unconference run by the Ada Initiative and dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture. While no more AdaCamps will be held, the Ada Initiative is happy to share the open source AdaCamp Toolkit, which gives people the tools they need to run events similar to AdaCamp.

  • The Ada Initiative Founders on Funding Activism for Women in Open Source (Model View Culture, with Valerie Aurora, April 2014, also on the Ada Initiative blog and puzzling.org):

    In 2010, the smart money said that the world-wide economic capacity for paid activists for women in open source was well under one person. And only Mary Gardiner, then an unpaid computer science PhD student looking to leave academia, took Valerie [Aurora] up on the offer [to found the Ada Initiative].

    Thus began our long journey towards answering the question: “How does an activist get paid?”

  • Impostor Syndrome-Proof Yourself and Your Community (USENIX Blog, with Valerie Aurora, October 2013):

    That’s the official story of Impostor Syndrome. But it’s not the whole story. How often have you heard comments like these?

    “Fake geek girl. I bet she’s never even seen Star Wars.”
    “Are you here with your boyfriend?”
    “Are there any women in computer science? Not counting use-interface designers, obviously.”

  • Conference anti-harassment: responding to reports (Geek Feminism wiki September 2012 as lead author)

    Your guiding principle should be the safety of your community members from harassment and you should evaluate sanctions in light of whether they provide the safety needed. You and your event are the only people who can judge appropriate sanctions in your community based on the nature of the incident and the responses of the people involved.

    Others have incorporated this into additional resources:

  • Mary’s helpful guide to soliciting research participation on the ‘net (Hoyden About Town, January 2012, original link):

    [Q]uite a lot of the research people are recruiting for on the ‘net wants to get into harassment of women, political affiliations, sexual experiences, why people write slash. That kind of stuff? That kind of stuff in the wrong hands loses people jobs and relationships. You owe people serious, well thought out harm mitigation for that.

  • “Why don’t you just hit him?” (Geek Feminism, December 2010, original link):

    We are talking about an activity where people give talks with projected words and pictures, where people discuss and write computer programs or sci-fi or cocktail recipes, where people say things like “oh wow, you’re Lord Ogre Face! oh wow, everyone, I’ve known this guy online for years and we just met now for the first time ever! oh wow!”

    This is not, generally speaking, an environment in which physical conflict is considered appropriate.

  • Clothes and geek feminism (Geek Feminism, June 2010, original link):

    Within geekdom, clothing is sometimes a pretty unsubtle marker of your allegiances. What cons do you go to? What programming languages do you prefer? What comics do you read? You wear shirts that allow this to be determined on first acquaintance. (This isn’t unique to geekdom of course, see also fashion labels and band t-shirts.)

  • University colleges: nurturing a rape culture, (Hoyden About Town, November 2009, original link):

    One of the profoundly disturbing aspects of rape culture discussions[…] is the way that they reveal the confident assumption that there are rapists, who are evil and other and unresponsive to any form of social control, and then there are the rest of us, who can be exposed to any number of conflicting messages about rape—sexy rape, not-rape rape, that-type-of-girl rape, he’s-such-a-good-fellow rape—and emerge with our anti-rape moral compass intact.

  • Why we document, (Geek Feminism, August 2009, original link):

    I do not in fact find writing the wiki documentation of incidents in geekdom very satisfying. The comment linked at the beginning of the post compared the descriptions to a rope tying geekdom to the past. Sometimes being known as a wiki editor and pursued around IRC with endless links to yet another anonymous commenter or well-known developer advising women to shut up and take it and write some damned code anyway is like a rope tying me to the bottom of the ocean.