Rabid Anti-Feminism Strikes Again

Seth wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Exactly. When there's a stated way to get convention staff to deal with it and you skip that and elect to instead take a photo of the perpetrators and post it to thousands of people who aren't even in attendance (along with by the way, the faces of numerous other people who had nothing to do with it, also without their consent), you're not exactly acting from a position of the moral high ground.

I suppose the followup question is -- how many death and rape threats have Alex Reid and mr-hank received in light of this?

edit:

Jayhawker wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:

There was no sexism or harassment in what those two men said. The whole fiasco is the result of someone being overly sensitive feeling the need to manufacture reasons to be enraged. She then tried to shame them publicly and launched a tirade on her blog attempting to justify her actions by turning it into a matter of sexism. Her insane crusade against two guys, however, has backfired on her. And sadly, it has only generated the kind of sexism she tried to pin on two relatively innocent guys. She shouldn't receive death or threats of rape. She should, however, be criticized for being completely delusional, irrational, and destructive.

Yeah, it's important to protect the rights of two dudes making crude jokes. But let a women voice her disapproval too publicly, and there needs to be a crackdown.

Yeah that's the crux of it. "Bitch yelled too loud" seems to be the running theme here. Pretty astonishing, especially in a GWJ space.

This right here.

Zane, there was a big conversation in IRC the yesterday - and people weren't necessarily objecting to your objection, but instead were objecting to the way in which you were objecting. If that makes sense. Because the above is a nearly identical quote to what you were saying that caused such a ruckus.

Seth wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Exactly. When there's a stated way to get convention staff to deal with it and you skip that and elect to instead take a photo of the perpetrators and post it to thousands of people who aren't even in attendance (along with by the way, the faces of numerous other people who had nothing to do with it, also without their consent), you're not exactly acting from a position of the moral high ground.

I suppose the followup question is -- how many death and rape threats have Alex Reid and mr-hank received in light of this?

edit:

Jayhawker wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:

There was no sexism or harassment in what those two men said. The whole fiasco is the result of someone being overly sensitive feeling the need to manufacture reasons to be enraged. She then tried to shame them publicly and launched a tirade on her blog attempting to justify her actions by turning it into a matter of sexism. Her insane crusade against two guys, however, has backfired on her. And sadly, it has only generated the kind of sexism she tried to pin on two relatively innocent guys. She shouldn't receive death or threats of rape. She should, however, be criticized for being completely delusional, irrational, and destructive.

Yeah, it's important to protect the rights of two dudes making crude jokes. But let a women voice her disapproval too publicly, and there needs to be a crackdown.

Yeah that's the crux of it. "Bitch yelled too loud" seems to be the running theme here. Pretty astonishing, especially in a GWJ space.

I don't see the connection between what you and Jayhawker are saying and what you seem to be trying to respond to. That has nothing to do with her gender. It has to do with an inappropriate and overblown response which seems to be touching off further inappropriate and overblown responses back and forth - including yours.

We have a now defunct, 80 page thread a little ways down that explores in stark detail the connection between what me and Jayhawker are saying, how it relates to things like what ZaneRockfist is saying, how it relates to gender, and very specifically how it relates to calling the actions of a woman inappropriate and overblown.

Jayhawker wrote:

Yeah, it's important to protect the rights of two dudes making crude jokes. But let a women voice her disapproval too publicly, and there needs to be a crackdown.

Man, woman, it wouldn't matter. Adria was way out of line doing what she did. She should have either said something to them or she should have spoken to someone at the conference about it. She didn't try to solve the problem. She just escalated it and turned it into a complete fiasco with very flimsy justifications for doing so.

It does seem that with more facts she was pretty out of line. I really think there was no good guy in this fight, and that people may be trying to take a side - one way or the other - to illustrate the veracity of their own positions. There is a lot of manipulation here to try and make a broader point.

SallyNasty wrote:

It does seem that with more facts she was pretty out of line. I really think there was no good guy in this fight, and that people may be trying to take a side - one way or the other - to illustrate the veracity of their own positions. There is a lot of manipulation here to try and make a broader point.

Great, another discussion about gender in the tech industry that flames both fires and ends up with everyone angry again.
I'd go back to math if it was any different.

boogle wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

It does seem that with more facts she was pretty out of line. I really think there was no good guy in this fight, and that people may be trying to take a side - one way or the other - to illustrate the veracity of their own positions. There is a lot of manipulation here to try and make a broader point.

Great, another discussion about gender in the tech industry that flames both fires and ends up with everyone angry again.
I'd go back to math if it was any different.

DONNIE, YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT!

SallyNasty wrote:

It does seem that with more facts she was pretty out of line. I really think there was no good guy in this fight, and that people may be trying to take a side - one way or the other - to illustrate the veracity of their own positions. There is a lot of manipulation here to try and make a broader point.

Well I think the broader point is that women are treated differently worse than men in the tech industry. I read this story, and -- other than the fact that apparently tech people haven't discovered business attire yet -- I don't see much problem for most of it.

1) two people utter a wildly inappropriate joke
2) someone else shames them publicly, getting them fired
3) VICIOUS MISOGYNY
4) the person doing the shaming gets canned -- hopefully for not following procedure, but assumedly for the VICIOUS MISOGYNY.

Really if it had been Adrian Richards, the dude, who tweeted a pic saying "dude these jokes aren't cool..." would we even be having this conversation?

Seth wrote:

We have a now defunct, 80 page thread a little ways down that explores in stark detail the connection between what me and Jayhawker are saying, how it relates to things like what ZaneRockfist is saying, how it relates to gender, and very specifically how it relates to calling the actions of a woman inappropriate and overblown.

What I said has nothing to do with that thread either. I'd call the same actions inappropriate and overblown if a man did them. If someone is acting inappropriately, taking their picture and posting it on twitter along with posting a scathing blog entry is an inappropriate, overblown response when there are other avenues to resolve it. A respectful response is still called for even when someone is acting disrespectfully, especially when their words aren't being directed toward you.

Personally I think she was totally within her rights not to directly confront the guys in question. Personal confrontation is not for everyone and doubly so if you feel you're in an environment where you are or may be discriminated against. But...
PyCon had in place a channel to directly address the kinds of problem she had and not using it was, however you cut it, pretty unfair on the two guys. Shouldn't they get the chance to apologise and amend their behaviour before being publicly punished?

And this has nothing to do with "protecting the rights of two dudes making crude jokes", they should cut it out, be made to apologise to those they offended and not do it again. And I'm all for the public shaming, there's nothing wrong with doing that when that is needed. But in this case it strikes me that it would have been appropriate only after whatever mechanisms PyCon had in place were shown be inadequate. But we'll never know the answer to that one.

That said, is the atmosphere at PyCon particularly brogrammer? Was there prior reason to assume that PyCon couldn't/wouldn't handle any issues? If so I'm happy with going straight to the public shaming.

Seth wrote:

Really if it had been Adrian Richards, the dude, who tweeted a pic saying "dude these jokes aren't cool..." would we even be having this conversation?

No, we wouldn't. Of course, it's worth noting that no men within earshot felt the need to report the exchange, which goes a long ways in explaining why working through the the conference's power structure to deal with the issue.

This is part of the unseen politics I think Switchbreak is talking about in his excellent post above.

I think there are a lot of unseen politics surrounding the act of setting boundaries as to what is and is not okay at a tech conference. Calling behavior out privately carries with it risks, as does calling it out publicly, as does not calling it out at all. Not having to navigate those politics and risks is one of many privileges men get when attending these things, which when added together into a system form a space that is safe for some and unsafe for others. This disparity of safety is often invisible and plausibly deniable but is always present.

I think it's fair to criticize Richards for choosing to retreat to the relative safety of her own twitter timeline to call out behavior that she found inappropriate. I think it's also fair to acknowledge that there are reasons why she did this, and even if it wasn't the best course of action it is by far the most minor of all of the sins in the entire escalating mess that followed. I think it's fair to judge complaining at all to be a brave and noble act, and a right that needs to be protected in order for any safety to exist, even while criticizing the medium of the complaint.

I don't think it's in any way fair to view the firing of the man who made the inappropriate joke as Richards' fault. I don't think it's in any way fair to characterize her tweet as an "insane crusade" or as a call for the head of the man rather than a criticism of him. I don't think it's fair to draw a moral equivalence between her reaction and the much larger, much more powerful, and much more ill-intentioned reaction to her reaction.

To treat that as the real issue at play here, as the real moral question that needs to be answered and addressed, is dismissive toward the actual problems of safety and disgusting display of solidarity and power that appeared in response.

Jayhawker wrote:
Seth wrote:

Really if it had been Adrian Richards, the dude, who tweeted a pic saying "dude these jokes aren't cool..." would we even be having this conversation?

No, we wouldn't. Of course, it's worth noting that no men within earshot felt the need to report the exchange, which goes a long ways in explaining why working through the the conference's power structure to deal with the issue.

This is part of the unseen politics I think Switchbreak is talking about in his excellent post above.

After attempting to resolve things through the conference and failing... that would be the appropriate time to call it out publicly, in my opinion.

The public reaction has in general been disgusting. I agree on that point. I also don't blame her for the firings. I disagree that her chosen course of action was the appropriate one, though.

Jayhawker wrote:
Seth wrote:

Really if it had been Adrian Richards, the dude, who tweeted a pic saying "dude these jokes aren't cool..." would we even be having this conversation?

No, we wouldn't. Of course, it's worth noting that no men within earshot felt the need to report the exchange, which goes a long ways in explaining why working through the the conference's power structure to deal with the issue.

This is part of the unseen politics I think Switchbreak is talking about in his excellent post above.

One of the fundamental problems in this entire clusterf*ck is that nobody actually seems to know what exactly was said. In Richards' blog post, the exact text of the joke is completely glossed over, while another, very clearly over the line situation is explained in very good detail.

All that has been said is that it was a joke about forking a git repo, and something sexual about a dongle. Note that the terminology Richards used in her tweet was "sexual", not "sexist". That's it. Without more information, it's wrong to label the two guys as mysoginst. Stupid, possibly.

It's yet another thing that everyone is using to reinforce their preexisting beliefs, because nobody's saying exactly what was said.

cube wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Seth wrote:

Really if it had been Adrian Richards, the dude, who tweeted a pic saying "dude these jokes aren't cool..." would we even be having this conversation?

No, we wouldn't. Of course, it's worth noting that no men within earshot felt the need to report the exchange, which goes a long ways in explaining why working through the the conference's power structure to deal with the issue.

This is part of the unseen politics I think Switchbreak is talking about in his excellent post above.

One of the fundamental problems in this entire clusterf*ck is that nobody actually seems to know what exactly was said. In Richards' blog post, the exact text of the joke is completely glossed over, while another, very clearly over the line situation is explained in very good detail.

All that has been said is that it was a joke about forking a git repo, and something sexual about a dongle. That's it.

It's yet another thing that everyone is using to reinforce their preexisting beliefs, because nobody's saying exactly what was said.

The guy who got fired explains himself here though and suggests the forking thing was benign:
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id...

Personally I don't really care what the joke was, for me the issue is about protecting a woman's right to complain about a joke, any joke. Let others agree or disagree with her complaint on its merits, it's the fact that she has the right and the voice to complain at all that is angering the internet hivemind.

OG_slinger wrote:

Amanda Blum's blog has an interesting take on the whole fiasco: basically everyone lost.

She also recounts how this isn't the first time Richards has immediately jumped to public shaming when she didn't like something rather than work with others to resolve the situation:

Why don’t I enjoy Adria? I met her in New York some years ago at a conference and invited her to speak at a conference I was organizing in Boston. She was a very good speaker and I wanted her to help our beginners. She’s not an easy person- she didn’t like the title of her talk, she didn’t like her time slot, etc. Two weeks before the conference, we got a few emails from attendees that she had just threatened on her podcast to boycott our conference because one of our speakers, Danielle Morrill was giving a lightning talk about how to use screencasting software called “Getting the Money Shot”.

She’d never told us she was offended, she’d never told Danielle- she told her podcasting audience and blog readers that we were promoting porn. In the end, after great drama, she attended and deep sixed her talk, instead lecturing the attendees about how porn wasn’t acceptable at conferences. The beginners in her class were less than amused and ultimately, deprived of the opportunity to learn from her.

Weird that this post seems to have been glossed over. To me, it adds a lot of context.

Two Werds for Switchbreak's two posts.

Switchbreak wrote:

Personally I don't really care what the joke was, for me the issue is about protecting a woman's right to complain about a joke, any joke. Let others agree or disagree with her complaint on its merits, it's the fact that she has the right and the voice to complain at all that is angering the internet hivemind.

Has anyone said she didn't have a right to complain?

I myself made the suggestion that the manner in which she did so was inappropriate, professionally given that she had not, apparently, explored any other options for resolving this concern that were provided by the convention itself. What they were talking about, (so one says, anyway) being able to be taken with a different intent than they themselves had, also inappropriate, professionally.

Also paints her as something of a situational killjoy in that she was willing to make jokes about how to make TSA officials uncomfortable in their workplace environment, then crying foul when someone says something inappropriate that makes her uncomfortable.

The way the internet has been reacting to her actions, incredibly inappropriate. I don't think anyone is denying that here at all.

Podunk wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Amanda Blum's blog has an interesting take on the whole fiasco: basically everyone lost.

She also recounts how this isn't the first time Richards has immediately jumped to public shaming when she didn't like something rather than work with others to resolve the situation:

Why don’t I enjoy Adria? I met her in New York some years ago at a conference and invited her to speak at a conference I was organizing in Boston. She was a very good speaker and I wanted her to help our beginners. She’s not an easy person- she didn’t like the title of her talk, she didn’t like her time slot, etc. Two weeks before the conference, we got a few emails from attendees that she had just threatened on her podcast to boycott our conference because one of our speakers, Danielle Morrill was giving a lightning talk about how to use screencasting software called “Getting the Money Shot”.

She’d never told us she was offended, she’d never told Danielle- she told her podcasting audience and blog readers that we were promoting porn. In the end, after great drama, she attended and deep sixed her talk, instead lecturing the attendees about how porn wasn’t acceptable at conferences. The beginners in her class were less than amused and ultimately, deprived of the opportunity to learn from her.

Weird that this post seems to have been glossed over. To me, it adds a lot of context.

I glossed over it since it was linked and commented on by Cube just up the page from that. Yes, that article does lend a lot of context.

Switchbreak wrote:

Personally I don't really care what the joke was, for me the issue is about protecting a woman's right to complain about a joke, any joke. Let others agree or disagree with her complaint on its merits, it's the fact that she has the right and the voice to complain at all that is angering the internet hivemind.

Switch, my post wasn't some at you, it was aimed at Seth's "wildly inappropriate comment" assertion. We cannot say that it was, just based on the two words that have been confirmed in there.

And I agree completely that she has every right to complain, either in person or to the staff privately.

But I don't agree with using her public twitter feed to upload the picture to her large number of followers. I just don't think it's appropriate for anyone to do so if there are other options to take.

The other problem is that Richards, in this case, is the one who misused her power. She has a lot of twitter followers, and is a pretty huge voice in the industry. She clearly was not afraid of the two men finding out who reported them to the convention officials, otherwise she wouldn't have used her blog and twitter feed to talk about it, otherwise she wouldn't have done anything, or reported it to the con staff in private.

Now, if this was brought up privately, and nothing was done about it(and maybe if we knew exactly what was said), my opinion would be different. But to knowingly go out like this to a fairly large audience is just irresponsible.

I should also note(before someone attempts to put the words in my mouth) that none of this excuses the Internet f*ckwad response. That's still beyond anything close to ok.

Given the scorched earth scale of Richards' response to these guys, I initially had assumed that they were presenters at PyCon who had made some sort of crass and inappropriate joke as part of a presentation. I was honestly surprised to learn that they were just having a conversation that Richards happened to overhear.

Switchbreak wrote:

Personally I don't really care what the joke was, for me the issue is about protecting a woman's right to complain about a joke, any joke. Let others agree or disagree with her complaint on its merits, it's the fact that she has the right and the voice to complain at all that is angering the internet hivemind.

You really should care about what the joke was, especially with folks saying it was wildly inappropriate and acting as if it was the very embodiment of male privilege and sexism in the tech industry. The reality was the Richards overheard a private conversation and misinterpreted part of it.

Mr-Hank[/url]]Hi, I'm the guy who made a comment about big dongles. First of all I'd like to say I'm sorry. I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone's repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said "I would fork that guys repo" The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.

Am I excusing the big dongle joke? Absolutely not.

But I also sympathize because I've been at a trade show or a conference and have made off color jokes to my colleagues (both male and female)--and heard them--because, well, those events can get tremendously boring at times. I've heard my male colleagues comment about the appearance of women and have heard my female colleagues do the same about men. To stave off boredom at the end of a day pulling booth duty at a trade show, I've played a round of "Kill, Bang, Marry" referencing fellow employees and clients. I've watched my colleagues get hammered at post show parties or sessions at the bar and I've done the same thing. I've seen my colleagues hook up with co-workers and clients (many of them married) and I have done the same.

All of those things would rightly be viewed as being wildly inappropriate and unprofessional. And all of those things are also entirely normal.

That's because it's tremendously difficult to silo human relationships. You can't spend 40 or more hours a week with a group of people and not begin to blur the lines between professional and personal relationships.

Hell, my brother-in-law used to work with my sister and he only became my brother-in-law because he repeatedly asked her out. Viewed from a personal perspective, he romantically pursued my sister and successfully wooed her. Viewed from a purely professional perspective, he created a hostile work environment and was one visit to HR away from being fired for sexual harassment. Which is a more accurate view of what happened?

In the case of the PyCon incident I would say that Richards overheard a private conversation between a group of colleague/friends, misinterpreted part of it, and overreacted. Yes, the joke was juvenile and not entirely appropriate for a professional setting, but as I said before, there's not an "professional/personal" switch in people. We're messy and our relationships are the same.

Am I condoning the reactions of people? Absolutely not. Am I ignoring that women are underrepresented in the tech industry (and business in general)? Nope.

I just don't think that this incident was the personification of male privilege and a perfect stand in for all the things that are bad in the world and in a rush to brand it as sexist or not people are completely overlooking the personal/professional relationship angle.

OG_slinger wrote:

Hell, my brother-in-law used to work with my sister and he only became my brother-in-law because he repeatedly asked her out. Viewed from a personal perspective, he romantically pursued my sister and successfully wooed her. Viewed from a purely professional perspective, he created a hostile work environment and was one visit to HR away from being fired for sexual harassment. Which is a more accurate view of what happened?

The latter, assuming they had a reasonable HR department.

SixteenBlue wrote:

The latter, assuming they had a reasonable HR department.

No kidding! I can't imagine how awkward it must have been to work with someone who was constantly pressuring you to go out with them.. ugh.

OG_slinger wrote:

I just don't think that this incident was the personification of male privilege and a perfect stand in for all the things that are bad in the world and in a rush to brand it as sexist or not people are completely overlooking the personal/professional relationship angle.

Good post, slinger.

SixteenBlue wrote:

The latter, assuming they had a reasonable HR department.

Except they got married, which means it isn't black and white as you are wont to see it. There is just too much context there to be able to render a judgment.

OG_slinger wrote:

You really should care about what the joke was, especially with folks saying it was wildly inappropriate and acting as if it was the very embodiment of male privilege and sexism in the tech industry. The reality was the Richards overheard a private conversation and misinterpreted part of it.

She tweeted what she heard and that she was not okay with it. Both things were true. You can agree or disagree as to whether or not it's okay, I don't see how her saying that she is not okay with it forces anyone to share that opinion, or where she misrepresented or misinterpreted the joke.

I don't think the guy should have been fired over that joke. I think Adria Richards would agree with that too. But there needs to be a venue by which she can say "I'm not okay with that," and above all that needs to be a safe thing to say and to hear. Boundaries of comfort are not aggressive (and we all have them too - I'm comfortable with a lot more disturbing things than jokes about big dongles, but I have very hard lines on some things and so do you) and when they can't be expressed then certain people simply wind up silently removed from the culture.

On some level I think the guy's boss worked against the ability to safely express boundaries by firing him rather than actually engaging with the criticism productively. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot more to that story than we know.

I feel like I'm being really preachy and annoying here so I'll jump out at this point.

Zane, that's not how professional behavior is defined. In fact, if it's considered OK because the recipient likes it (i.e. she consented and they got married) then it becomes an even more hostile environment for anyone that doesn't like it. There's now pressure that THEIR behavior effects the punishment of the person in question, which is f*cking asinine.

Switchbreak wrote:

I feel like I'm being really preachy and annoying here so I'll jump out at this point.

Not preachy at all, in fact totally on the money.

Switchbreak wrote:

She tweeted what she heard and that she was not okay with it. Both things were true. You can agree or disagree as to whether or not it's okay, I don't see how her saying that she is not okay with it forces anyone to share that opinion, or where she misrepresented or misinterpreted the joke.

She Tweeted what she thought she heard. She assumed that forking was being used in a sexual manner when it wasn't.

Mr-Hank[/url]]Hi, I'm the guy who made a comment about big dongles. First of all I'd like to say I'm sorry. I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone's repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said "I would fork that guys repo" The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.