There was some discussion in chat and in the comments on this question about the choice of example images. Initially the images were criticised for being exclusively of women. The image of Lena Söderberg also had its origin highlighted. The question has since been edited to replace this image with some peppers, which addresses the second issue.

Personally I don't see any problem with the 3 example images being all men, or all women. What stands out to me is that they were all female models. If they were a female scientist, a female bank robber, and a female politician, then I doubt the conversation would have started.

I'd like to see an indication of the community's feelings about how to approach choosing example images, in order to help avoid unintentional stereotyping or exclusion (I believe we already have a community that would deal with intentional problems with downvoting).

To avert edit wars, the name is pronounced "Lenna" but spelt "Lena"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Appreciate the discussion. I'd like to clarify that at no point I intended to accuse anyone of being sexist/malicious. My goal was just to make sure code golf doesn't only cater to a male audience. I'm a bit shocked in the rather radical responses I've gotten, both in support and disgust of my comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – orlp
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @orlp I agree that neither extreme is useful or typical of the views of the community, which is why I'd like to see discussion. Not as rules or policies, but just somewhere to redirect any future arguments. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 23:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you understate the issue. The issue in this case is not about models or women. It is that at least one of the images is taken from a porn shoot. In my view this would always be inappropriate for PPCG. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9206
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lembik yes I agree that is clearly inappropriate for PPCG. I feel that choosing exclusively female models is also an issue, but a different one. I've raised this meta question because I'd rather see a useful discussion about the subtleties of that than the apparent anger on both sides of the comment conversation on main. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


Maybe we don't need an actual policy or statement on this?

Posters should generally try to be neutral, sure. If someone gets offended, we can edit/change an image. There's really no telling what people will be offended by anyway (some things may be more obvious, but in general...). We have a conglomeration of different cultures, so I think we can and should just handle it on a case-by-case basis.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That being said, always seeing Lena as a test image could get boring... on the same token, always seeing the same set of pastels on every question could get boring just as fast. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 6:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak Maybe someone should discourage this by inventing a new esolang that returns the image of Lena using a single character keyword. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Neutrality and diversity are both important. I believe the original selection was in poor taste--not necessarily because they appealed to a particular demographic (though admittedly it was jarring) but because they lack what I believe to be the entire point of example images. Shouldn't example images be designed to be interesting for the challenge at hand? 3 Pictures of women have a remarkably similar color palette, and aren't different or interesting programmatically. That, I believe, is what should be stressed. \$\endgroup\$
    – BrainSteel
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 17:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's generally a good rule not to be sexist or racist and generally to avoid doing things that you know will offend or upset people. Whether this needs to be written down is another matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9206
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrainSteel I think you have misunderstood slightly. The issue is not that they are female per se. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9206
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lembik I believe BrainSteel is making an entirely unrelated point about the narrow range of the images. It's very relevant to the question on main, but I don't think it's relevant to this meta discussion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 18:43

If the author randomly selected two pictures of humans, there's a 1/4 chance the OP selects two women. So what? It's just two people who were selected - it's not like the OP selected 100 people and they were all women. The OP could've just as likely selected two men.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That is not the issue \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 1:07

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