WCSF Shirt

I am super-grateful that Randall Munroe replied to my IRC ping and gave his permission for us to use an xkcd strip as the basis for the WordCamp San Francisco shirts. You all know how much I love working on WC shirt designs (2 years in NYC, 1 in Savannah), so working on this one was an extra treat. #867 was one of my first choices, since it’s conference based. I changed herpetologists and ornithologists to developers and bloggers, and wrote some replacement text. Chelsea Otakan turned the PNG into a vector and used a fan-created font to approximate the look of real xkcd text. Mike Ritchey at High Voltage Productions (formerly Lo-fi Custom), who works with a lot of WordCamps on custom shirt printing, did some adjusting to make sure it would be legible. They’re being printed right now on sweatshop-free tees in a cheerful, summery blue color. And here is the WCSF2011 shirt art:

WCSF 2011 shirt design

29 thoughts on “WCSF Shirt

  1. Jane,

    I’m disappointed to see the woman in the modified cartoon is portrayed as not understanding what she’s talking about vs the original comic http://xkcd.com/867.

    In the original comic, she is presenting at a conference and stating she believes a certain species should be reclassified. In the WordPress one, she is saying something works but has no idea how it does (but it must work because everyone agrees it does).

    Did you consider the statements the characters were making and how their gender and power placement before creating this?

    The female presenter look like a total ditz. And even if it were true that she was, it’s the responsibility of organizations to ensure positive (or neutral) messages about gender in the workplace are promoted; not ones that reinforce stereotypes.

    Had to put my $0.02 in on this one because I’m a long time WordPress user, will be attending Wordcamp SF next week, am a fan of xkcd comics and Randall plus truly enjoyed Randall’s Google+ discussion on women / society’s treatment of women and public gender disclosure https://plus.google.com/111588569124648292310/posts/SeBqgN9Zoiu

    • Um, I thought they were both women. Why do you assume the dev track person is male? Why do you assume the dev track person is more knowledgeable? In this cartoon, BOTH sides are saying something intentionally ridiculous, and gender is irrelevant (as they both appear female to me). The fact that you jumped to those conclusions makes me sad for about a hundred reasons, and I hope others will back me on it. For the record, the dev track person has my exact haircut/color now (WC Fayetteville peeps can confirm) and the blogger track person has my exact haircut/color for the previous year (every other WC’s peeps, ditto). And I’m a woman, for anyone that doesn’t know.

      The point is that *both* sides are making statements that are heard over and over again at WordCamps and in community discussions. It’s self-mocking, with great love for my community and intended to point out that the self-imposed division between “bloggers” and “developers” is at its root silly.

      If anything, by showing that both tracks have women on the dais — and putting them there in the real life conference program — I’m arguably thinking more about gender and power placement here than you are giving me credit for. Way to be supportive.

      • “Way to be supportive”? Really?

        It seems rather disingenuous to respond to someone’s well-voiced criticism (whether or not you agree with it) by calling them out for not being “supportive” of you. From the other person’s perspective, you’re asking for them to support your discrimination against other women (which, you can perpetuate regardless of your hair cut, hair color, or gender).

        i’m not saying i agree with the criticism – i don’t, actually, and i read the genders of the characters the same way you did – but the response really disappointed me.

        • I’m not asking anyone to support my “discrimination against women,” because there IS NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN in this comic. There is no discrimination against anyone or any group, period.

      • @d: I can assure you that Jen Mylo’s original comment is intended in no way to discriminate against women.

        You, however, seem to have grossly misinterpreted her statement, accused her of being several uncouth things, and borderline slander her very character.

        In order to try to clear up the air, please consider that her “Way to be supportive” comment was meant to say, “Being so uptight about depicting two female geeks in a satirical inside-joke manner is not very supportive of promoting women’s increased role and involvement in geeky things.”

        Please try to read in between the lines and shouting, “TROLL! TROLL! KILL! KILL!” That’s the same sort of reaction that started DongleGate to begin with.

    • I too thought they’re both women. In fact, as a regular XKCD reader, I have grown to note that only women have long hair in the comic (which makes sense, since stick boobies don’t work so well…).

      And as Jane said both women were being ‘ignorant’ on some level (content doesn’t matter to SEO is incorrect, hello!), which is hilarious.

      If you’re stuck on the ‘OMG! a woman looks like a ditz!’ then you’re concentrating too much on the less important thing, IMO. Obviously the most important thing is that beer is free. (This is a JOKE!)

      (Jane, please tell me you’ll sell these shirts for people who can’t make WCSF? Plleeeease?)

      • @Jane welll.. As soon as I saw the male vs female item come up i thought to myself “Hey, That could easily be me in the Bloggers track..”

        But you’re right, You’ll never get me pimping SEO to a bloggers audience! (Well, If i was, the 2nd paragraph of the 2nd frame would be along the lines of “And as you can see, Design is actually irrelevant to the SEO Optimised content you create!”)

    • I see yin and yang – two sides to the content vs dev conflict. I’ve run a WordPress user group for years – this argument goes back to WordPress’s early days – in fact it pre-dates WordPress.

      I think it’s a great strip and a perfect comment on WordCamps & the tension (healthy tension that keeps us on our toes) between tracks.

      I don’t see a gender issue in this at all, especially given everything Jane mentions.

    • My $0.02 is this should be a hair color battle, I vote for everyone shaving their head, then what? Forget expression.

      Even better, we should re-introduce the West Coast/East Coast Gangster Rap battle and start shooting each other at WordCamps, maybe wear red and blue bandanas? Jane, can you rework the image?

      Some folks like to take the fun out of everything!

      I think it is a great characterization of what we see at WordCamps Jane, and you guys/gals did a great job.

      See you next week :)

    • The idea was not to identically replicate the comic, but rather to make a version of it that applied well to the conference it was being made for. I think Jane did a phenomenal job.

      I’m with everyone else that the gender here plays no part. I too thought they were both women, but in the end I don’t think it particularly matters. What matters is that they represent the epitome of both WordPress user and WordPress developer. Both are wrong and that’s point. To me it showcases that there is a happy medium to be found, by exemplifying the two extremes.

  2. In my opinion:
    a) both figures actually are gender neutral, as thankfully we see no stick-figure genitalia. Hopefully we’ve all moved beyond the days of classifying gender by hairstyle!
    b) if you are assigning gender to the figure in the last panel, then apparently all men are incapable of thinking about actual content and only see the code that make it possible to post content ;-)

    I’m all for gender-equality…I proudly wear the feminist label. But there are times, I’m afraid, when too much meaning is assigned to what is, after all, two gender-ambiguous stick figures making a very funny and painfully accurate observation about (some) devs vs. (some) users.

  3. I loved it.

    I clearly fall on the developer side, am definitely male, and could imagine that exact diagram at the center of any talk I gave.

    Having just attended WordCamp Boston last week, this was both timely and accurate in addition to being funny.

    Our t-shirt was grade-school gym class grey. (But I am wearing it today anyway)

  4. I’d love to leave this silliness behind and refocus the convo on HOW FREAKING COOL the shirts are!!! Going to love on mine:) thanks J, for being so inventive and not just throwing the logo on there.

  5. That’s seven different kinds of awesome, Jane. I’m sorry to see that Adria mis-interpreted (she writes/speaks a lot on gender unbalance in tech, so I think she has a predisposition to look at things from that angle?) Personally, the genders of the speakers didn’t matter to me. I just saw the “Blogger” and “Developer” designations, combined with what they were saying (being caricatures of those archetypes).

    Wish I was going to WCSF!

  6. Jane – I LOVE my t-shirt. I especially like the fact that you chose a really nice blank for women from bella to print on. I was inspired to then buy the wp-admin T with matching zip up hoodie and the code is poetry shirt. All very flattering. It’s great to have a woman watching out for t-shirt blanks that look good (and feel good) on women. The whole conference was outstanding. I am so glad that I flew in to attend. Thank you for all your hard work.

  7. Actually Jane I thought the comic made a great point about priorities. The blogger wants great content and presentation, but the developer wants to provide the most flexibility to make that happen.

    • Actually, in this comic, the whole point was that each track was depicted as the worst excess of skewed priority. So the blogger didn’t care about content or presentation, just SEO, while the developer cared more about open source cred than the tool they were actually discussing. If it had just bee one wanting good content and one wanting flexibility there would have been no joke, since those are both really good priorities. It was a caricature of our very specific WordCamp attitude splits and the way each talks about the other, something other open source communities don’t tend to see as much because most of their “users” are also developers (or at least technically inclined).

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