A useful tool for meetings.
July 22, 2016 12:48 PM   Subscribe

 
Clever, but it has nowhere to press for a homunculus, gollem, werewolf or box of kittens.

What kind of dull ass meeting are people going to?
posted by Keith Talent at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


Not only useful for meetings!

Needs a lock button on left side.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:16 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


oh hey hahahaha once upon a time I made my own little version of an actual, visual representation in meetings of how annoyed I was using leonardo dicaprio's inception face

and it actually worked!

admittedly by that point I had pretty much decided I'd rather burn down my career myself with dairy creamer and gasoline than let the bastards grind me down
posted by barchan at 1:17 PM on July 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


It needs an additional counter for every time someone interrupts someone else.
posted by Hicksu at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


I also want a counter for willful, spiteful ignorance based on prejudice.
posted by bleep at 1:27 PM on July 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


box of kittens

Oh how I wish one of my meetings today had been with a box of kittens.
posted by aught at 1:27 PM on July 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think 'box of kittens' probably fits squarely in the 'not a dude' set.
posted by beerperson at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Homunculi and golems are also without sex or gender, to my knowledge (therefore not dudes). Except for sensory homunculi, of course.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:42 PM on July 22, 2016


And if your sensory homunculus is talking, you probably have other things to worry about.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


If a box of kittens was speaking, I would listen in rapt attention. I would not only need no counter, I would be too rapt to even think of using one. I like to think that it would be polyvocal, like the dragons in Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand only so much tinier and furrier.
posted by Frowner at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


Many years ago I made a rule for myself that in public discussions (Q&As, discussions after lectures etc.) I wouldn't say anything until at least two women had spoken. Almost always that translates to me not saying anything because more often than not it's at most one woman who speaks. It's funny how at first it was weird to stay silent. I hadn't realized that society had conditioned me to think that my opinions and stories were always worth sharing. But, you know, I got over it. I wish more of my fellow dudes would get over it too. It's pretty frustrating to sit and listen to someone try to find something to say on a topic on the fly because society has convinced him he should always have an opinon to contribute.
posted by Kattullus at 1:48 PM on July 22, 2016 [71 favorites]


Actually, to the extent that I like this thing (I get that it's mostly meant as an illustrative joke, but I feel like it should at least take itself seriously enough to allow one to input the number of dudes and not-dudes in the meeting to provide a sense of representativeness and also it's awfully reductive) one of the things I like about it is that it's non-binary in terms of gender, and comes close to identifying the correct problem, which is that cismales tend to dominate group discussions at the expense of everyone else (including but not limited to women). I would like it less if the buttons were "a man" and "a woman".
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:48 PM on July 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


How hard would it be to do this automatically using machine learning? Recognizing words is hard, but identifying male and female voices with decent accuracy shouldn't be too terrible.
posted by miyabo at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mobile App and I'd use it.
posted by Chuffy at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


How hard would it be to do this automatically using machine learning? Recognizing words is hard, but identifying male and female voices with decent accuracy shouldn't be too terrible.

See above re:
one of the things I like about it is that it's non-binary in terms of gender, and comes close to identifying the correct problem, which is that cismales tend to dominate group discussions at the expense of everyone else (including but not limited to women). I would like it less if the buttons were "a man" and "a woman".
posted by phunniemee at 2:02 PM on July 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


Was expecting buttons for "can everyone see my screen?" and "can everyone please go on mute?".
posted by ssmug at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, even among cisgendered people who fit neatly into the "man" and "woman" boxes, there is probably a lot more vocal overlap than you think. My father is as cisgendered as can be (as far as I know) but frequently gets mistaken for female when he's on the phone. That's with actual humans. Lots of people, you'd never be able to guess their sex with your eyes closed.

And yeah, all of that is aside from the elephant in the room, which is that a whole lot of people are not binary cisgendered. The social phenomenon we're talking about tracks gender rather than sex. And of course, even sex is much less binary than most people normally consider it to be.

There's pretty much no way to be sure of someone's gender or sex without asking them. Just because most of us mostly get by on our assumptions doesn't make it any leas true.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:21 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Needs a "well, actually" quad damage modifier.
posted by zippy at 2:25 PM on July 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


Needs also a toggle for "is this person speaking contributing anything worthwhile".
posted by Soi-hah at 2:27 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not sure how to use this when CNN does its 4x2 wall of heads talking over one another.
posted by belarius at 2:30 PM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Great project! Other similar projects include:

Conversation Clock, by Tony Bergstrom and Karrie Karahalios, which automatically listens to the conversation and visualizes the distribution of who's speaking on the table using a projector.

Progressive Clock, which was part of Charlie DeTar's PhD on technologies for consensus decisionmaking, and which includes race/ethnicity.

If you're interested in the psychology of discrimination against women in meetings, Karpowitz and Mendelberg's The Silent Sex is a great series of lab experiments on these issues.
posted by honest knave at 2:30 PM on July 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


also, even among cisgendered people who fit neatly into the "man" and "woman" boxes, there is probably a lot more vocal overlap than you think.

Ok, so machines might be bad at IDing gender based on voices, but given the advantages that accrue to women with deeper voices (relative only to the women without the deep voices) the occasional misgendering might end up being a wash, to be honest.

It alters the question from: "is a dude talking?" to "is someone who is considered more authoritative due to features that have nothing to do with their knowledge or skill talking?" But it's going to give pretty much the same answer.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2016


I get that it's mostly meant as an illustrative joke, but I feel like it should at least take itself seriously enough to allow one to input the number of dudes and not-dudes in the meeting to provide a sense of representativeness and also it's awfully reductive)

I assumed this was more of a data collection instrument. The data analysis to meaningfully interpret the numbers would come after. So yeah, take the numbers and divide each based on the gender composition of the room.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:34 PM on July 22, 2016


Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?

I'll stipulate that I remember the late '90s where some fat besuited old guy says "Now that the ladies are done chattering, can we do some real business?" but that was twenty years ago. Fuck that guy.

Women own businesses, women run businesses. I'm not saying that the fight is over, but hot damn it's being won.
posted by Sphinx at 2:40 PM on July 22, 2016


Um, me? My male Big Boss frequently interrupts and talks over my female Biggest Boss at staff meetings, for instance. They are married, which I think is part of why he gets away with it, but I've definitely noticed the "I've been interrupted and I can't do anything about it without starting a fight and being seen as a troublemaker" face on Biggest Boss when it happens. Even among women in positions of power, this shit happens all the time. Once you start looking, it's everywhere.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:51 PM on July 22, 2016 [24 favorites]


Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?

I guess all the meetings where it's my work under discussion but I have to fight for a few minutes to actually discuss it in between the men bloviating are in my head.
posted by winna at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2016 [13 favorites]


There needs to be a counter adding together all the time and multiplying it by 1.6 and by the number of people present to figure out how much time is being wasted on said meeting.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:00 PM on July 22, 2016


> Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation

Maybe nobody! Maybe sexism is over! Let's try using the counter and find out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:02 PM on July 22, 2016 [32 favorites]


Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?


Ha right, you can barely turn around in a meeting these days without noticing how women dominate offices, especially at senior management level! I mean have you even seen a male CEO recently?!
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:04 PM on July 22, 2016 [24 favorites]


Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?

In one of my jobs the staff is about 90% women but the Board of Directors is 90% men. Go figure. I have to take the minutes at the Board meetings and dear Christ do those dudes love to listen to their own voices. (The Chair of the Board greets me and the other 2 women in my team with "Hello girls." We have a collective age of 146. I digress.)

It needs an additional counter for every time someone interrupts someone else.

To be fair, all the other meetings in that place are 90-100% women and good God this. Not that it's to do with gender, I just work with a lot of people who are incredibly annoying. My contributions usually go something like "Maybe we could.... [crosstalk] I just... [crosstalk] Can we... [crosstalk]" *gives up and creates doodles which would terrify an art therapist*
posted by billiebee at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


When I was heavily involved in unions, awareness of gender roles was constantly re-inforced and some women were in roles of authority BUT all meetings from groups of three to AGMs of thousands were definately dominated by men. And this is with a very progressive group. Definately worse in finance and politics.
posted by saucysault at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's a meeting. 100% Annoyed is a given.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


@sphinx, I was for a long time, because I was the only woman at my office. Then I learned how to be assertive, and my misogynostic boss and the worst of my male coworkers realized how beneficial it was to shut up sometimes. I never did get them to stop calling me "gal", though. Ugh.
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've started just getting up and walking out when we reach the "people (99% men) just talking to hear themselves talk" portion of the meeting.
posted by sallybrown at 3:49 PM on July 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


Sallybrown, you are my hero. I did that once and ohhh boy did it not go over well. That was an incredibly dysfunctional workplace though.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2016


No one has ever even asked me! I was in a meeting once at my old job where the bosses (all men) were chatting about college war stories for the first 15 minutes, and my coworker just got up, said "let me know when we talk about work," and walked out. That was amazing.
posted by sallybrown at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


My office is split 4 men/12 women, and 3 of the 4 top positions are women. It's easily the friendliest place I've ever worked- people listen to each other, help each other, work together... communication is direct, there's like the tiniest smidgen of politics (less than most places I've worked)... Am I just super lucky that *these* women are exemplary, or is this what it's usually like when women are in charge?

During my interview I remember being asked "Are you going to mind working with so many women?" I responded "I'm sorry you even need to ask that," and maybe that was a point in my favor at getting the job? I love it here.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?

I work in tech, there's generally at least a 10 to 1 male to female ratio (at best) at my workplaces. I can think of maybe four meetings in the last fifteen years that any woman got a chance to say much.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I literally have a box of kittens with me right now (foster!), and I have to say, they pretty much dominate everything. It's annoying at times, but their insistence and interruption doesn't bring forth the angry top-of-my-head tingling that being talked over at meetings by men does.
posted by Miss Scarlet with the Candlestick in the Lounge at 6:18 PM on July 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sphinx, where do you work, a women's restroom? My workplace is probably 75% women, but if you closed your eyes and just listened during meetings, you'd probably not guess it.
posted by Miss Scarlet with the Candlestick in the Lounge at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Cathy Deng, the creator of this site (and my co-worker!), debuted the timer at Chi Hack Night. Here's the video
posted by kakarott999 at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying that the fight is over, but hot damn it's being won.

Yeah, no.

It may be like that where you are working, but the data is still ridiculously bad, especially considering the number of women in the workplace. Catalyst has some useful references, as does the Anita Borg website.

For me, as a high level female engineer in a male dominated industry, it is still difficult to be heard. In fact, I sent this link to another woman in my company at my level (there are 4 of us in a company of 50K employees), and her answer was, "what's the button on the right for?"
posted by blurker at 7:09 PM on July 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


Women own businesses, women run businesses.

What does this have to do with the question of how much men and women speak in meetings? Anyway, as you may be aware, men are much more likely than women to own businesses and run businesses, too.

Who is going to meetings where women aren't dominating the conversation?

I would be willing to bet that you are. Remember all that research showing that people (especially men) think there is gender balance when there are 30% women? I'd be willing to bet the same happens with perceptions of speaking time. So I challenge you: At the next five general purpose organizational meeting you attend, keep track. Then count the number of women and men in the meeting and see how many minutes each persons of each gender speak.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


I know my experience isn't typical - and I know it's a real problem for most women. But I work in health care research (and the social science end): the last three formal meetings I've attended were dominated by women because there were only women in the room. This isn't unusual.

That said, I'd be curious as to what would happen if there were a man there. I've read that even in female dominated professions, men are more likely to be promoted, etc.
posted by jb at 8:18 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I make it a game to go for max efficiency: throw the biggest hand grenade in the fewest words.
My favorite go-to interjection lately: "So is that a yes or a no?"
posted by ctmf at 10:09 PM on July 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I know my experience isn't typical - and I know it's a real problem for most women. But I work in health care research (and the social science end): the last three formal meetings I've attended were dominated by women because there were only women in the room. This isn't unusual.

Well of course women dominate the conversation when only women are in the room!
posted by winna at 10:11 AM on July 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


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