Every year when Hack the North decisions are released, a few unsuccessful applicants flock to online forums to share their convictions about why their applications were rejected on the basis of gender discrimination. Hack the North organizers have made it clear that applications are reviewed without gendered or other identifying information. However, protestors point out that gendered information still appears on websites like Github and LinkedIn, which are supplementary links provided by applicants that are sometimes reviewed in the application process. Their concerns are justified, as gendered content can quite easily come up on those sites.
Our team set out to build a browser extension that removes gendered content from those websites, helping Hack the North organizers and anyone else who seeks a discrimination-free selection process accomplish their goals and giving applicants peace of mind.
What it does
Seahorse (so named because of the sexual role-reversal in seahorses) removes certain gendered words from all websites and replaces them with gender-neutral words. It also replaces all images with the Seahorse logo so as to prevent discrimination on the basis of someone's gender presentation in a photo.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Non-gendered word replacements sometimes require conjugation changes, and as a quick solution we switched our replacement choices to allow for a more seamless user experience. Gendered words can appear encapsulated with other words, and we have a working solution that determines when and when not to replace the gendered word. This determination process can be improved to handle more nuanced cases. Certain websites have quirks with images, some of which we were able to account for and some of which we have not figured out yet!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Some of the fixes we implemented for the challenges we encountered allowed us to save a lot of time so we could get a working product.
What we learned
There is a lot to consider when trying to build something that works on dynamic pages with no set format. It requires a lot of creativity and quick thinking to address each situation as it arises!
What's next for Seahorse
We hope to make the solutions to the challenges we encountered more foolproof, and innovate on top of what we have to better censor gendered content and help make discrimination-free selection processes easier.