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Discussion on: Is Our Survey Biased Against Women?

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas • Edited

[edited: my comment is a response not to the post itself but to another comment, by a popular community member, that ridiculed the criticism the survey got]

I think I understand your sentiment that whenever there's a survey, there's a group of folks voicing their criticism for the sake of criticizing. However, I'd like to just point out that:

  • giving feedback is not necessarily 'shitting on every survey without helping';
  • let's not equate the subject scope of the survey with omission in demographics.

I'm not writing this response because I take an issue with how Sacha addressed the criticisms — I was just taken aback by your emotional comment, in which you seemed to mix research factors that do matter and that perhaps don't (thus downplaying the stuff that is important) just because you “have very little patience”. I appreciate how Sacha is open and honest about the limitations of the survey. Having worked as a researcher, I know what a horrible and unreliable tool surveys are and I usually just accept it as a fact and move on. As long as the survey is clear about methodology (who/how was prompted to respond, what the question were, etc.), I'm fine with the results.

In this particular case, I also don't know how much of a factor gender is in CSS-related subjects or how the gender of a respondent influences the response. Maybe it does when it comes to salary, for instance — but then again, this survey is not about salaries in tech and anyway, the salary data is also here all represented equally across countries even though only 21% respondents are from the US, which makes it irrelevant ($1k in Poland would be okay vs $1k in New York would be very little for this role). So, beyond just curiosity factor, I'd first ask if we even need the data on gender/age and whether the criticism is about the survey or rather the general feeling of not being included/considered in tech — these are two different problems.

However, if it should be kept, perhaps also comparing/representing the answers of women/men/nb/trans/other folks could tell us how the CSS experience differs and why.

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sachagreif profile image
Sacha Greif Author

If I can try and put myself in the shoes of the critics for a second, I think the issue is compounded by the fact that the survey (being named "The State of CSS") tries to speak for the CSS community – and our goal is definitely to make something the CSS community can embrace and be proud of.

So beyond the purely methodological criticisms, I also understand the frustration if you feel that something that's aiming to represent you does not in fact correspond to your own reality.

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas • Edited

Thank you for this comment — just to be clear, I was responding not to your post directly but to another comment that ridiculed the criticism.

I am not trying to downplay the frustration people feel with not being represented in tech (I myself am rolling my eyes and speaking up often because of this). Still, I wonder whether gender does play any part in the results — seeing the differences and learning about reasons for them could tell us a lot about the community and CSS alike.

I really appreciate the transparency in your methodology and your openness about the limitations and imperfections of this survey. I’d be happy to help out in the next iterations even if by distributing it in my networks.