(Q) Why don’t you allow comments? These are important issues to discuss, and wouldn’t it be good to let us discuss them?
(A) We don’t have time to do the moderation that would be necessary. Some of these stories are of very upsetting experiences, and we don’t want to put their senders through the additional trauma of being abused by some of the folks who hang out on the internet. We do think these issues should be discussed, and we urge you to go discuss them!
(Q) Why is this just about philosophy?
(A) Because we’re a group trying to do something about the situation of women in philosophy. Philosophy, at the professional level, is around 20% female, far lower than other humanities subjects.
(Q) How can I tell which stories are the most representative ones, the good ones or the bad ones?
(A) You can’t. Nor can we. And what you think about this issue is probably something of a Rorschach test for what kinds of experiences you have had, or heard about from people you know.
(Q) Then isn’t this kind of useless?
(A) No. It’s useful in many ways. The horrendous stories show just how bad things sometimes get, which is something that many of us are unaware of. The mildly bad ones show the sorts of small problems that can cumulatively have large effects, as discussed in the microinequities literature. (Some nice work on this topic by Mary Rowe can be found here.). The stories of well-intentioned people doing things with unintended bad effects should be very helpful to well-intentioned people who want to avoid having unintended bad effects. The stories of good things can cheer one up. But far more importantly, they can often serve to suggest helpful things that one can do.
(Q) Did all these things really happen to Jender?
(A) Uhh, no. Jender is the person who posts the stories that are sent in– by lots of people.