> While we have a tremendous respect for Mr. Crockford's abilities as a speaker and his contributions to our craft, we became aware that based on private feedback - not simply the dialogue on Twitter - that his presence would make some speakers uncomfortable to the point where they refused to attend or speak.
Okay so you are calling out his behavior making people uncomfortable, publicly, but you won't say why only that it was private feedback? Wasn't he one of the early speakers who accepted anyway? You apologized for lacking nuance on Twitter with your "announcement" and yet continue to do so.
Publicly claiming someone makes others uncomfortable and that someone is an older, white male, you know exactly what you are insinuating. Statements like this, especially against white males today, can be career ending even without proof as long as it simply goes viral.
I think the only responsible thing to do is to release exactly why someone would be uncomfortable. If you can't or won't do that then you shouldn't have made the initial insinuation and, instead, simply state he's no longer coming.
Stating he was "uninvited" due to making others uncomfortable without providing anything further is just irresponsible to the point where it appears you're trying to manufacture drama. Considering your event is $350 to hear some speakers who are yet to be defined this just speaks scam to me like many other talking events.
I saw parallels of this earlier this year against Richard Dawkins, when the NECSS uninvited him over twitter, followed it with a longer post on their blog. After their actions caused a blowback, they apologized for their lack of professionalism. NECSS backtracked on their position because the blowback was from prominent people.
I don't think prominent people in CS will band together like that, so I don't think the Nodevember folks will backtrack either.
NECSS: in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly
Dawkins: Don't you think she should apologise for shrieking "Shut the
fuck up" and "Fuckface" at anyone who tried to get a word in?
I didn't do wrong to her. I posted, without comment, a video of her
screaming vile abuse.
I didn't apologise. I merely deleted, explaining that I did it out of
concern for a person's life.
You have been misinformed.
> had lines like "It's not rape if a Muslim does it."
If that were the case, we could simply take any sexist or racist thing we want to say, bake it into the premise of a joke with a parody outcome, and publish it without consequence.
I have no idea if you meant "jail" literally or figuratively. If you meant it literally, our differences are irreconcilable. If you meant it figuratively, no, Dawkins had to face the consequences of retweeting the video. He got disinvited by NECSS, and he was subjected to a ton of abuse and harrassment on Twitter. He was threatened with violence, which is not acceptable by law. As far as I know, he did not press charges against anyone for that, so they go free.
> bloodstained racist tropes about people of different skin color and/or foreigners representing a sexual threat to women
What racist? There was no racism there. Why would you assume that all Islamists would be of a different race and/or nationality than Dawkins. In any case, Muslims are not all the same race either. He has written plenty against Chrisitians and some British political parties too.
> If that were the case ... publish it without consequence.
Well, that was not the case. Dawkins had to face the consequences of his actions. NECSS had to face the consequences of their own actions.
Crucially, we're not talking about the consequences Dawkins suffered or did not suffer (a descriptive question); we're both talking about prescriptive questions: whether his posting that video should be considered wrong, and if so what consequences are appropriate and proportional.
Your one word response to Dawkins' pretty troubling juxtaposition of Muslims and rape, "Parody." indicates to me that you view parody as something that either means nothing wrong occurred or could occur (ie parody should be excluded from ethical analysis), or that things in the category of parody should be immune from any societal rebuke. You're welcome to correct me if I am misreading you on that.
My counterargument is propose a world in which people were able to make any racist or homophobic (or for example antisemitic) allegation and bake it into the premise of a parody. Should they be automatically immune from societal rebuke? If so, we open up floodgates; anyone who wishes to make racist or homophobic allegations will naturally just take the path of least resistance and sandwiched these in parodies and escape rebuke; it reduces more or less to society having no power to rebuke racist or homophobic remarks in general.
Conversely, if being incorporated into a parody does not exclude an author from moral responsibility for his remarks, then your justification of "[it's a] Parody" is clearly insufficient.
> What racist? There was no racism there
If we are talking about the video made by Sye Ten Bruggencate and published by Sargon of Akkad, then because it is a video we do not need to make any tortuous suppositions about the ethnicity of Muslims in the parody, you can watch the video and see for yourself. It fits quite squarely into a long history of racist caricatures of foreign figures or in cartoons, and even more so into a long and vicious history of presenting foreign or non-white men as a threat to white women.
No, we're not, because I am not.
> whether his posting that video should be considered wrong
Consider it wrong, if you wish, and act accordingly. I don't consider it wrong, and I'm acting accordingly. Therefore, the question of appropriate consequences is not one I'd pay any attention to.
> ie parody should be excluded from ethical analysis
I don't know about shoulds, but so far, I haven't come across any parody that has gotten me all worked up. Let me lay out a few issues: when it comes to abortions, I'm completely pro-choice, and yet, I haven't come across any parodies made by pro-life people that has gotten me worked up. When it comes to human-caused climate change, I believe there is sufficient evidence for it, and yet, I haven't come across any parodies by those who deny it that has gotten me worked up. I'm an Indian, and I have seen plenty of cartoons and skits that parodies Indians, and yet, I haven't come across any that has gotten me worked up.
> Should they be automatically immune from societal rebuke?
I refuse to think on "society"'s behalf, and I'd definitely get worked up if someone claims to think on my behalf. If we are talking about violent activities, or activities that cause large-scale environmental damage , I'd participate in a discussion on how society should deal with it.
> we do not need to make any tortuous suppositions about the ethnicity of Muslims in the parody
All I saw was a caricatured generic Maulvi-type person, who could as easily have been British as Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Pakistani, Indian or Indonesian. I know that in the US, Arabs and Persians are considered "white". When there was a wide-spread scandal of the Catholic Church and sexual abuse of children, I did not concern myself with the issue of the ethnicity or the nationality of priests depicted in caricatures.
 - Edit: or fraud
In other words, diversity does not extend to diversity of opinion.
The talk organizers were faced with a dilemma: either keep Crawford and lose a bunch of other speakers or lose Crawford but keep others
I do think clarification is needed, but I could see "being a jerk " as a legit reason to not want to associate with someone. People do the same with people like Torvalds
Being unliked is also a reason that people won't want to associate with you.
Additionally, in my experience Linus Tovalds is not a jerk. Is this something you sense you get by reading email threads?
Perhaps you associate a lack of politeness and deference with being a jerk, but it really isn't the same.
I would certainly associate those two attributes with being a jerk.
I would contrast this with jerk as being someone who deliberately disregards the comfort and feelings of others to satisfy themselves: the queue jumper, Steve Jobs, someone who humiliates people on minimum wage, who doesn't re-rack the weights at the gym, who parks in the disabled car park.
(And no, Linus tends not to flame people he doesn't know.)
I'm unsure as to who the "jerks" really are in this situation.
Not a good reason.
Removing him as a speaker and remaining quiet about the exact reasons can mean any number of things.
Suppose they have compelling reasons to believe having him speak would be harmful, but that they do not have a firm enough basis that they are comfortable publicising, in which case publishing their rationale could be both unethical itself and could expose them to legal action.
Or perhaps they have received information in confidence, from sources they trust, but believe that information received in confidence is not theirs to publish without consent. Or perhaps their information is alarming and yet primarily circumstantial from a constellation of different sources.
In essence, there is a fairly wide terrain where it is perfectly warranted to have deal-breaking levels of concern about a prospective speaker without being in a position to merit publishing accusations against them.
From the responses here, it seems that many struggle to imagine conference organizers could be placed in such a position. This is exactly kind of bias we might expect to find in an overly white and male subculture where navigating these kinds of murky waters is at most a purely hypothetical exercise rather than a day-to-day reality.
> should only be done with some very compelling facts not just hearsay and conjecture
I have already given several plausible examples of when a conference could have grounds enough to rescind a speaker invitation without having the grounds to make public accusations.
Alright then, nobody ever talk to that offended person in any shape or form again, ever. No biggie when that happens from time to time, right? And I can make a good case for it, too, certainly a better one than then non-case we were being presented with. You can invite her to anything, she can has any job, just nobody be friends with her. When she asks you something, act deaf. That's not too much too ask, correct? Totally fair, no biggie, we're not wearing armbands over here at all.
They didn't have any. Just take a look at the posted transcript of their discussion of this in their slack channel. It shows they had no solid reasons for doing this, and a childlike unawareness of the gravity of the situation.
The conference organizers are making me feel uncomfortable.
If they are going to insinuate things about what he said, they should mention exactly what he said or did.
The fact that they don't somehow tells me there is not much there to go on.
To put it another way, if they have the guts to remove Crockford that should have enough guts to clearly explain why.
I've been saying this before, and maybe it is just me, but it seems Node.js community somehow attracts a disproportionate number of immature people but with big egos. Because, let's call this for what it is -- childish immature behavior. That's at best, at worst it is getting attention and hurting someone's reputation just for a power trip. "Look how important I am, I kicked Crockford out of a conference with a single tweet".
Well the lesson is when you pick some open source technology, the community comes with it. Maybe even if technology has good merits, it makes sense not to pick it because the community behind it is not compatible with what you think a community should be.
It seems to me like numerous advocacy organizations nowadays have run out of genuine grievances and are now attacking largely innocent things, possibly in turn harming their cause.
If you love reading "I found a UFO!" blogs, pretty soon you're going to see something weird in the sky and think it's a UFO.
If you love reading "I found a misogynist!" blogs...
That's a really comfortable environment, indeed.
> The fact that they don't somehow tells me there is not much there to go on.
FWIW organizations will often refuse to disclose the precise nature of these kinds of accusations, because it would (a) impinge on the privacy of a victim, (b) start a circus trial in the Court of Public Opinion (which this thread is already becoming) or even (c) further shame the accused, and it's a favor to everyone involved to stay mum.
As external parties whose involvement probably extends no further than commenting on HN, we're not entitled to an explanation nor should we expect one. It could all be a big screen of plausible deniability, or there could be serious accusations at the heart of this.
Use your own intuition to decide if their behavior is in earnest, but speculating what happened is useless (and distasteful besides).
Given the terrible track record of the JS community with regards to basic behavior, I really have to wonder what is wrong and why anyone should risk their personal reputation by doing public activities in JS.
Perhaps transpiling purely to avoid interacting with caustic elements of the JS community will be the new normal.
Their whole handling of the situation was incredibly unprofessional. Really makes the whole conference sound like utter crap if they can't even handle something like that like adults.
Imagine saying that about anyone, to any group (here it was to the whole world).
Let's say the invite you to a gathering publicly then wrote a tweet about "We will also be removing eli from list of invited guests, to help make the venue a comfortable environment for all".
That is just insulting, because it insinuates something terrible has happened, or you did some shameful unspeakable thing and they are just being considerate and not disclosing it publicly.
Or they might prefer their pal to come speak at the last few open entries, and Douglas got invited instead.
Or they might be idiots.
Or "professional" touchy-feelers....
"We have asked John Doe not to attend the party as we have heard word that many parents would not be comfortable having him around their children".
Claims nothing, insinuates obvious reputation destroying behavior.
The insinuation made in the actual example with Douglas Crawford isn't exactly this clear cut, but it is still very damaging while lacking documented basis in reality.
Imagine your child was expelled from your local school and the reason given was "she made others feel uncomfortable". And that was the end of the discussion.
What's legal/within one's rights and what's right is not the same thing.
To be also right, those HN moderators should also have thoroughly investigated (reviewed) those complaints, not just knee-jerk reacted to them (as seems to be the case here).
And even then, they should publicly state the reasons, not just leave an insinuation open.
And if this did had happened to you personally, with all the possible implications in your reputation, job etc, you'll be also demanding this of them too.
you'll have gotten better treatment than Mr. Crockford did, because clearly there wasn't much reviewing done by Nodevember. Otherwise, they could surely fill us in on what they reviewed?
You want to not invite somebody? Fine. You want to disinvite somebody? Okay, but be prepared to be called a jerk.
But assassinating someone's professional character publicly? You'd better be standing on REALLY solid ground for a REALLY good reason.
Crockford might just ignore this--it's probably the best course of action given his station. He's probably sufficiently more important than these people that he's good.
However, one day these people are going to get someone with financial means all fired up and they're going to be dragged through court for a LONG time--and probably lose because they won't be able to put up the money to mount an effective defense.
Until one of these accusers loses THEIR ability to work in the field, nobody will pay attention to the repercussions.
> The problem is that there is no way for the person affected to receive "justice", "fairness", or "a day in court".
Of course there is. There's 'private arbitration' - just resolve the matters yourself like regular people do. Then then, if the victim feels particularly damaged, there's the courts.
> Crockford might just ignore this--it's probably the best course of action given his station.
Yup. He doesn't need 'justice' because he doesn't feel he's been particularly wronged.
I will embarrassingly admit that I hadn’t heard of Mr Crockford before this article but after doing a bit of research, he seems to have quite a few professional accomplishments. I don’t have any such accomplishments or a professional reputation outside of the small group of people I work closely with, I don’t have much money, and I don’t even have a college degree to fall back on as some basic certification of my competency. I imagine it would be trivially easy for someone, particularly a group online, to completely destroy my professional life based on what could very well be a simple misunderstanding. This is absolutely terrifying to me.
I personally don’t see the offense in his specific comments about “promiscuity” but I’m going to defer to those here who may have had other interactions with Mr Crockford on whether or not he is abrasive and how big of a problem that may present to attendees. With that being said, suppose that at some point in the future, perhaps a week, month, or year from now, it becomes apparent that he didn’t do anything untoward. Will such news make the front page of HN? Hell, would such an article be written at all. How can you regain your reputation after it has already been trashed?
This whole concept of publicly shaming people without an accompanying impartial investigation seems like it’s rife for abuse and sets a chilling effect in motion. I can envision a future where the elite, those with the money, power, or reputation to withstand these kind of attacks, are the only ones permitted, or willing, to speak.
With regards to him not feeling the need for justice because he doesn’t feel like he’s been wronged, we really have no way of knowing that. Perhaps he’s just resigned himself to the fact that this isn’t a battle worth fighting, or even more worrying, it simply isn’t winnable.
It was probably a poor choice of words.
Way to prove the parent's point. You have taken this whole "innocent until proven guilty" scheme backwards...
He may simply have done the calculation and decided that it isn't worth the money/time/press. That doesn't mean he doesn't feel wronged.
In addition, this conference used Crockford's name as a speaker for the purpose of attracting attendees. I didn't see them offering corresponding refunds now that he's not going to be a speaker. Edit: Apparently this is no longer true. How do I create a strikethrough formatting?
they seem to be doing that:
We are altering our refund policy due to this line up change. If you would like a refund please go to your order confirmation on Eventbrite and request it there.
(end of http://nodevember.org/statement.html)
I almost feel in the minority (or just a silent one?), but I honestly don't care what kind of political views, personal preferences, outrageous statements or whatever problems a speaker at a conference might have, as long as he gives a good talk/presentation.
I literally have to force myself to act extroverted in order to succeed in the workplace. People just assume that if you're a guy, you're just a confident hussler.
I know several introverted white guys who are extremely qualified but missed out on job offers because they were honest about their qualifications and didn't talk themselves up like some other guys do.
Being introverted, shy or weak isn't necessarily a female attribute. The fact that someone assumes that makes THEM the sexist one.
This is, literally, what it feels like to be a minority in the US and most European countries. Everything about you is questionable, you get slighted all the time, and you're the representative of an entire ethnicity. So whatever you do or opinions you hold are representative of the entire group.
I'm pretty sure their public removal was a little harsher and unfair without a so-called minority card to play.
No, kind of like in 2016.
>What about those minorities wrongfully imprisoned for long periods of time for nothing short of suspicion before being released with no charges (or worse)?
What about them? I've talked about famous people.
Chris Rock pointed out that in being a black actor he is not allowed to make a bad/questionable movie. He makes one bad film and and all of black Hollywood is out of work for a year.
I think if you're famous/succesful, the minority/victim card can be played to your advantage too.
If you're a poor/unknown minority, nobody gives a fuck.
The same way few care or write indignant posts for sex trafficking victims or exploited immigrant people, but if some minority member at some $1000/person conference hears something they that hurts their feelings, it warrants a small media/social-media storm.
It's the upper middle class minority version of "white people's problems".
I find it interesting if a speaker has vastly different preferences, political views and makes outrageous statements that I'd never make.
That doesn't mean I'm always comfortable with it, but it's interesting to think about how people came to be different than me. It's interesting to see their interaction with others. I might learn something, even if I disagree.
Having all people be "my way" on the other hand, sounds really numb.
I think it's easy to look past someone's personal preferences and outrageous comments when you're already part of the club. But respect that that isn't everyone's experience.
What specifically did Crockford say that was outrageous?
Suppose you are using JSON to keep configuration files, which you would like to annotate. Go ahead and insert all the comments you like. Then pipe it through JSMin before handing it to your JSON parser."
I was addressing the parent comment's point about inclusiveness in general.
and it's rather "put-up or shut-up" time, I'd say.
I've never heard of this conference. I've read Crockfords books, and while any given person on earth may be a total bear to deal with, I'm not buying this greasy smarmy "he'd been uninvited for undisclosed reasons but we'll imply lot's of socially-disapproved-of reasons without confirming nor denying any of them"
what a kafka-esque load of nonsense.
the conference organizers are in the wrong and are doing further damage with every greasy fart they let out by way of explanation.
Way back in the good ol' days, this was exactly the sort of thing used to oppress the minorities: an unknown group of well-connected men would get together to black-ball someone for being the wrong sort of person, with no explanation, recourse, or accountability.
Like I have said before: choose your enemies carefully; you become them. The faces may have changed, but the behavior hasn't.
For the millionth time, this isn't about what people are legally allowed to do. This is about what it's right to do.
Maybe people shouldn't be so precious snowflakes that should always feel "comfortable" and "welcome"? Maybe they should have the courage to be challenged?
I blame it on the BS "you are so special" mode of baby boomer parenting...
Most parents seem to teach their children that, but looking at the millennial generation, of which I am unfortunately part, you're supposed to be "accepting" and "tolerant", unless someone else's uniqueness hurts your feelings or makes you feel uncomfortable.
The former is just plain childish, and the latter is just too vague to base an ideology off of.
The other issue at hand is how this influences tech conferences, because I've always attended conferences with the implicit assumption that I was there to learn first and foremost. Discourse and disagreement with speakers is natural and should be encouraged, as it oftentimes leads to enlightening discussions for bystanders and conference attendees, which was the entire point of the conference in the first place. By allowing certain viewpoints to dominate and silence a subset of speakers, we're ultimately limiting our views and building an echo chamber, which is not what conferences are meant to be. If we're going to dismiss speakers, it should be on merit of their talk and previous talks, not their speaking style.
" douglascrockford commented on Feb 21, 2011
I am sorry I hurt your feelings."
I'll take someone who realizes they made a mistake and apologizes for it any day over someone who seeks to get rid of all the people they don't like.
(I'm not saying that's how it was intended or anything. I have no idea. Just saying this could just as easily be evidence for abrasiveness as against it. I'll also just note that I don't think someone should be removed from a conference for mild abrasiveness regardless.)
Normally without the nuance of speech it might be impossible to tell if it was meant in a genuine way. In this case however the context makes it clear he is being arrogant and egotistical in a manner quite consistent with techie internet forum behavior.
And one can read just as easily that the other party seems hurt by the rejection. I would not readily assume that he can't read that either.
This may not be a court of law, but I always try to think twice before I judge people. It's almost always the wrong approach, at least in my experience, and I certainly haven't always been on the right side of that.
In the end, you don't win anything by being right about this kind of thing and I know it's way too easy for me to do all the things I hate seeing others do :(
In my experience, you should always give people the benefit of the doubt in such things. I've honestly thought otherwise in many other occasions, only to be proven wrong.
I'm not sure what bearing, if any, one's contributions should have on how individuals or communities respond to behaviour and "abrasiveness". Good deeds should obviously be respected and appreciated, however they should not shelter one from criticism.
> automatically associating Douglas's personality with being a jerk.
Being a jerk is usually associated with one's personality.
> By allowing certain viewpoints to dominate and silence a subset of speakers, we're ultimately limiting our views and building an echo chamber,
One could argue that by enabling abrasive and overpowering personalities and cults of celebrity to dominate these events we were already doing that.
> If we're going to dismiss speakers, it should be on merit of their talk and previous talks, not their speaking style.
I would think speaking style matters at least somewhat if one is planning on speaking.
Everyone has bad days, everyone can be an arsehole to others due to the emotions swirling around in their heads. It doesn't mean they are a jerk. It may just mean you asked your question when they were going through a difficult time. If you asked the same question on a different day you got a pleasant answer.
I think this kind of bias is often overlooked
As far as feedback on ideas goes, this is a harsh criticism, but it hasn't really crossed the line into abrasiveness because it's not a personal attack. It's just a given that even smart people can and do have stupid ideas. At no point did he say or imply anything about the person raising the idea.
"You can write all the crappy code you want. I don't care, because you don't work for me. The purpose of JSLint is not to make you feel good about your bad choices. It is to help you conform to a more reliable subset of the language."
I've met many people who are "dicks without knowing it". Sometimes it's because they are that far up their own arse. Sometimes it's raw abrasion. It's common in the private healthcare industry.
Seems like throwing of the dummy out the pram. I'd prefer Crockford's direct approach to sugar-coat. It's how I like to work.
That and if someone's focus is on inclusion, perhaps it's an ill-thought marketing campaign where the result is exclusion.
I find it much nicer and respectful than the passive-aggressive weasel-wordishness so common now.
The commenter literally says "it's important to note that Douglas Crockford can definitely be abrasive . The issue at hand is that whether this abrasiveness is a bad thing..."
EDIT: And I should have made that more clear, thanks for pointing it out.
I agree with this, but we should tease “disagreement about the ideas that are the purpose of the conference” apart from “disagreement about things not relevant to the conference.”
Making jokes or metaphors that touch on contentious social topics like gender roles and so forth can touch of disagreement that may be valuable in a larger social context--like on HN and a whole or the internet as a whole, but it is off-topic for most technology conferences.
It’s a lot like discussing a programming problem on HN, and then someone mentions IQ, and someone else mentions how terrible it is that we can’t give interviewees IQ tests, and then we’re discussing racism, the right and wrong way to interview programmers, and on and on and on with something that si no longer the original programming problem.
None of what I am saying implies that I agree that Mr. Crockford should have been uninvited, and nor is it an endorsement of his choices as a speaker. But in a general sense, I totally get why its ideal that when I give a talk, I avoid jokes and metaphors that invite off-topic debate.
And likewise, I get why conferences ought to attempt to moderate the talks such that they have the highest probability of leading to on-topic debate. It’s much the same as moderating Hacker News threads to stay roughly on-topic and with high quality.
I would say he is one of the more likely speakers to stay on topic.
It's just being abrasive for the sake of being abrasive.
Not that I think that thread is grounds to kick out a speaker
If someone has to be so careful as to not use normal network terminology around people who are clearly ignorant and use their ignorance as a weapon against you instead of take the time to learn what the hell they are talking about, that's not a community you want to participate in anyway.
If this even shows up on your radar and is a priority, then I'd say the mission you're fighting for has been accomplished a long time ago. Time to go home.
I don't know who really benefits from policing every word that public tech figures say. There's no monetary value to this unless this is a PR stunt to make the conference get social justice brownie points in some kind of a twisted form of social posturing. Who's to gain from this? Sociopaths wanting to exert control over others? I'm not quite ready to believe that.
I used to be where you are.
I am now however firmly of the belief that there are these sociopaths wanting to exert control over others.
What's worse is that their righteousness only fuels their fervor.
Yes, and thankfully that sense of righteous indignation very often causes them to eat their own.
People do make money from this by raising their profile. Every successful no-platform campaign that they organise is attached to their name and raises their credentials in this sordid business. Some of the worst examples end up in extremely well paid positions in the biggest tech companies.
Because - academically speaking - its primarily about being sex, sex worker, and trans positive Vs how regressive 2nd Wave was on those issues.
Listen to actual conferences these two have held. Calling others assholes, subhuman, human garbage and worse simply for dismissing their twisted ideology. Kas has shamed Twitter users lives. All of this would be against Nodevembers CoC.
But this seems less like an attempt to avoid exposure to DC than an attempt to prevent others from being exposed.
Culturally, our tendency to troll needs to decrease on the web and increase in in-person encounters. I'm convinced we'd all be better off if we showed some spine and got more vocal whenever we disagree.
I also don't like these (I assume) inter-generational squabbles in our industry. It is clear that moral views can differ between generations, so a little understanding and empathy is needed on all sides.
Please respect your elders. If you disagree with them or feel they are being disrespectful or sexist, how about kindly discussing it with them and maybe getting a feel for their perspective first before launching into public reputation annihilation?
I maintain a tiny blog and because of possible language barriers I decided to write all of my texts in English. It could've been much easier for me to write in German, of course, but this would exclude so many people. And this was simply unacceptable from my point of view.
My command of English isn't very strong but I'd like to paraphrase german philosopher Karl Homann: "The opposite of Moral isn't Immoral but to moralize".
I know nothing about the events there but when I read things like "public shaming" or "slut shaming" or "trigger warnings" or "social justice warriors" then I can only follow the "pragmatic solutions" to solve problems of that kind: avoid conferences, avoid any kind of non-technical discussion in English, avoid the community as a whole. Stay on GitHub.
Sure, it makes you a bit of a loner but at least you sleep more easily and don't get shocked in the morning when you open your twitter feed.
If you have a German accent you can speak more directly. Because many know about this cultural difference, people are expecting you to be more direct, and can cope with it. If you have a British accent and you're direct, this doesn't work. Brits think you're rude, but here's the kicker, won't tell you this - they'll just ignore you.
For me, luckily I met some Canadians (in the UK) that were nice enough to point this out so I could mitigate it a bit. Still wish I had a strong accent again.
Behind you 100% on the Brits ignoring you thing. They're very responsible for the perception of what "polite" means and I blame them for so much passive aggression in what is considered "politically correct" speech. If you've ever watched their politics it's a damn joke. They fall all over each other attempting to "out-polite" each other while stabbing each other in the backs. Direct response is unheard of. Then they export this behavior to the rest of the English speaking world as a standard of acceptable behavior because so much of the world irrationally looks up to the UK for the "right" thing to do.
The expectation that Americans are abrasive is neatly illustrated by your blaming of a 66 million people in a foreign country for the behaviour of over 300 million people in your own. We also think you're needlessly awkward for writing dates in the wrong order like the rest of the planet, but the tendency is to sigh and cope with your eccentric idiosyncrasies instead of calling you out on it.
Perhaps you were hoping a Brit wouldn't respond as you believe we don't do "direct response". We most certainly do, but prefer not to as we find it tedious.
even on conferences, i try to only watch the talks and don't interact with people that much -- you never know if a person will take you the wrong way for using the wrong pronoun.
(anecdote mode: once, i was speaking to a female colleague and i mispoke her name, because i'm not american and her name was kind of hard to pronounce. she got angry at me and some co-workers even 'shamed' me. after that, i train how to speak everybody's name so that never happens again)
Don't let bad experiences turn you off from sharing in the future. I'm glad you used your voice here on HN today! I'd rather hear you say my name wrong, than miss out on what you have to say :D
To be honest, I don't think the issue they have with him is one of words, I think it's one of ideas. If people like this disagree with you, they would disapprove of your ideas in German too.
I am glad you have chosen to write in English, and I believe your reasoning (wider global audience) is a good one. Your English also seems great, so please don't let stories like this hold you back from sharing in the future!
I am posting from a throw away account because voicing an opinion such as this is reason enough to be targeted.
I suspect I'm just as tired of that, as actual conservatives are of their views being mixed in with Trump's.
It's censorship and bullshitocracy.
As someone who considers himself to be liberal left, I'm annoyed by that but I do feel that it's fair to point it out. We shouldn't just bury our head in the sand in the face of an inconvenient reality.
But yes, let's please point out again and again that large parts of the SJW movements have lost track of what being liberal and left is all about, even if that's where they originally started out from.
My educational experience doesn't really jive with what you're suggesting, either. There was certainly a large and vocal neoliberal/SJW caste at my (large, Canadian) university, but I never saw the administration or faculty kowtow to them in any significant way. However, I'm prepared to believe the problem does exist at some schools.
My biggest problem with this Taleb piece is that it doesn't really take into account the probability of success from a particular intolerant minority. In practice there's a kind of signal-strength effect where the further up the chain you go the less effective any one person becomes. Once you factor that into the model Taleb's argument falls apart.
I mean, if you're going to ban Douglas Crockford from your conference it should at least be for his stated prejudice against comments in data-interchange formats. Not vague allegations that may damage his personal and professional reputation, to which he not only has no right of reply, but any response could be damaging by generating more attention. This is the classic trolling strategy, but stepped up a level.
If he actually did something wrong, take him to court and let the facts be decided in law. Otherwise, he's innocent and should be treated as such.
I also wonder, given that the allegations haven't been published, just implied, if he would have a libel case against the conference organisers?
I'm joking of course. The Good Parts is amazing, and JSON is amazing. The attendees of nodevember will miss out on an amazing speaker too.
The allegations are published and the OP links to the original complaint on Medium: https://medium.com/@nodebotanist/why-i-won-t-be-speaking-at-...
Furthermore, the best defense against libel is the truth. Part of the complaint is an opinion based on public statements made by Crockford (the "slut-shaming"). The other published complaint is that Crockford said to the complainant before her talk, "the talks as the day went on just got stupider and stupider.” Unless he can convincingly prove that he never made such a statement to the complainant, he's not going to have much of a libel case. He could argue damages based on "false light", I suppose. 
On a (computer-related) technical standpoint, I disagree with what you think is the right reason ban a technical speaker, e.g. Crockford "for his stated prejudice against comments in data-interchange formats". That's the kind of strong diverse opinions that a tech conference should be thirsty for, just like a Ruby conference should be thrilled to have Edsgar Dijkstra talk about object-oriented programming.
But if someone says, "People who think comments belong in data interchange formats are fucking morons"...Yeah, I could see why some conferences wouldn't invite them.
That passive-aggressive "update" is quite telling of his/her personality: "I’ve switched comments to ‘not visible.’ I won’t be reading them. I don’t feel the need to justify this, either. Thanks <3."
Ironically, that language "triggered" very bad memories of an extremely dishonest and passive-aggressive person I once worked with.
This does not give much more information, but it does acknowledge that the tweet was poorly worded. Not sure how helpful that is though, now that the genie is out of the bottle.
This is hilariously ridiculous. Being unprofessional, uncivilised or objectionable is not illegal. In fact the majority of reasons for someone to be fired do not involve breaches of the law. And even if it was illegal conduct e.g. sexual harassment the onus is on the accuser to have enough evidence to convict. Which is not always the case.
And no he doesn't have a libel case against the organisers.
Unfortunately, there's no rulebook conference organizers (or their Greek choruses on message boards) can consult to say when rejecting a speaker is a good idea or not. It's a judgement call.
So when you've got a speaker with a reputation as a overt, 1950s-style racist in person, and a miles-long online track record of obscurantist racism, the kind of person who when accepted to talk at a technical conference about programming languages will write many paragraphs suggesting that science has established white people are smarter than black people (but maybe that shouldn't matter to us so much!) in his post announcing his talk, then yes, maybe you should avoid inviting that person.
On the other hand, you've got a speaker who used the word "promiscuous" as a pejorative in describing technology, and who spoke disrespectfully about someone else's favorite conference.
If you accept the irrepressibly racist speaker to your conference, you're going to lose most of your sponsors. But if you reject the person who implied promiscuity might be problematic in a metaphor, you're going to fail too, because anyone will be able to get any talk punted from that conference.
Maybe there's something else going on that we're not entitled to hear about. Those kinds of things also exist.
By the way: the implication that flexing and talking about "strength" is sexist is itself sexist, and not in the bullshit "it penalizes men and they have rights too" way, but in the "it reinforces stereotypes about women" way. There are women out there who can kick your ass.
I shouldn't post. But at long last, sir, have you no decency?
I don't think he did this? Do you have a link? The only post I can find of his that discuss race and the conference, is in response to the the accusations of racism and what it means for the conference. In which case it is perfectly fair for him to discuss the two, since that is what the whole issue was about.
There is! if they bothered to write one.
I know, I know, everyone gets up in arms about Codes of Conduct, because they're oppressive SJW tools used to silence men, or whatever. But this, right here, is their use case.
If you want definitive standards, by which we can semi-objectively measure whether someone should be dis-invited from a conference, then consider a community statement of what constitutes [un]acceptable behavior.
Again: there could be stuff going on here that we don't get to know about.
I would hope that we all agree on "no misogyny" as an ideal, but that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What is the actionable threshold? Both personally, and for your community? (Rhetorical question.)
The reader might say "now you're infantilizing convention attendees" and I don't disagree. Over-specifying behavioral standards is indeed infantilizing. But I would say that, to the degree you refuse to specify acceptable behavior, you waive your right to criticize arbitrary action taken by the management.
That's my point: these things are judgement calls. There aren't simple rules. To me, sound judgement suggests that making allusions to physical strength as part of a metaphor about code is perfectly all right (you might not like the metaphor, but you might not like lots of things Crockford says).
Fundamentally, I'm wary of any argument that relies upon "sound judgment" when we see time and again that there is no consensus on what that is. It's like when you see "clearly" in a math paper. OBVIOUSLY it isn't clear to me, otherwise I wouldn't be reading it.
Online communities have values re: misogyny that range in permissiveness from "ban men entirely" (your 'safe space') to the 4chan /b/ model. You can see that there is indeed a spectrum of opinion and that the entire spectrum is dense with examples, and surely everyone thinks theirs is the most reasonable in that given circumstance.
In the extreme 'safe space' model, someone like Crockford would be right out for (e.g.) the implicit misogyny in reflexively valuing masculine physical strength over more typically feminine attributes. You could counter "but the community is not that kind of safe space and doesn't require that level of metaphorical precision" (and I would agree with you entirely) but then we're having a discussion about our common expectations around a community's values.
You can decide, in your experience, that your particular set of biases reflect the zeitgeist. You can conclude "my ruling will alienate the least amount of people" or "this action will give people the sense that justice has been done" with whatever ethical or societal minmaxing strategy you choose. The core task is this: we live in a world that includes all of white nationalists, misogynists, deeply traumatized people who feel pain simply from reading certain words, and all manner of non-normative people; who are you going to exclude, and will you do it implicitly or explicitly? "Just the shitty, grudge-holding radical feminists on Twitter" is a low-hanging fruit, there are plenty other groups to consider.
Rules are worth precisely as much as the people who are interpreting and executing them. In the Nodevember case, we already know what sort of people those are.
This Manichaean view of intolerance to overt racism, sexism, classism, whatever --- it's bogus, and deserves to be challenged. When spelled out: "opposition at private events to (say) racism requires that event to make common cause with the evil, gathering forces of political repression", it doesn't even sound credible.
But that view in fact appeals superficially to message board nerds because it triggers the circuit in our brain that wants social problems to be solvable with simple boolean logic, and that recoils from subjective, contextual, or situational judgement calls. It's easy to invoke it and conjure an argument that will garner upvotes and spproval.
The real world is usually not describable in an if statement that fits neatly into 80 columns. Some judgements even require iteration! That's what "judgement" is about.
Schools. Hospitals. Academic conferences. Political office. Probably even jobs. These are places where the bar for exclusion is much harder to clear. If Curtis Yarvin gets accepted to a postdoc program at Berkeley and leftist programmers picket, I'll be right there with you. But events like Nodevember, Strange Loop, and Lambdaconf are not academic conferences, they're not a serious part of the citation record for their field, they're put on by private citizens with their own objectives, they're fundamentally about entertainment, and they can make whatever calls they want.
From what I can tell, it looks like Strange Loop handled their problem pretty OK, that LambdaConf probably made a mistake, and that this Node.js conference in Tennessee is also probably making a mistake.
But, again, we don't know all the details here. We knew a lot more in the previous two conference cases.
Claiming that a technical conference is "fundamentally about entertainment" is about as convincing a dodge as those "for entertainment purposes only" notices on pirate video sites. Technical conferences are an important way people in a field network, educate themselves, and advance their careers. You're stating that it's okay to blacklist people from advancing their careers because they have a political viewpoint that you don't like. Were you okay with the Hollywood blacklist in the '50s? Because that's what this is.
(And to forestall it: of course they have the legal right to do this, just as the blacklisters in Hollywood did. That doesn't make it morally right.)
Your latter point is pure relativism. What can't you say that about? People make important business connections by going to bars together, by asking their friends for favors, by selecting cofounders, by playing in the same video game leagues.
The argument about the Hollywood blacklist would be biting if I hadn't foreclosed on it in the comment you responded to without reading very carefully. Perhaps you thought that point was crafty or subtle, but it is in fact banal, lumbering, noisome; you can see it coming on the horizon from the first words typed on a thread like this. You might as well invoke Nazism.
My argument is simple, and you'll need to address it head on. The people suggesting that excluding any speaker ever is some kind of Pandora's Box that opens every event up to trolling and zealotry are making two untenable arguments:
* That there is a set of principles about exclusion OR inclusion that is somehow immune to gaming and manipulation by bad faith participants. No, any set of principles you conjure will be gamed if you don't use judgement.
* That there even exists some simple set of rules we can all follow, something that fits in 80 columns to match our source code style guide, that will resolve all these problems. No, these problems are complicated.
You want this problem to be so simple that you can beat people over the head with the obvious right answer. It's not simple. It's complicated, multi-segmented, floppy, unwieldy. You swing it through the air at people's heads, but it curls up on itself as you do, and the only thing that hits your opponents argument is a bit more air.
Anyway, we're getting way off my original point, which was that this weapon of yours doesn't care who it's pointed at. Once you've unleashed the blacklisting, it'll get used against people you don't want it to. As has happened here.
Resolving all the problems is not the goal. The norm of not excluding people for their political views is a truce, not an optimized solution.
Yes, it doesn't perfectly resolve all problems, but the problems it leaves unresolved are less damaging than fights over the correct people to exclude.
Oh? I did not see a single comment to that precise effect. Care to source that? Otherwise, why do you turn what actually is being said into a caricature, then turn around and accuse others of wanting things to be simple?
Judgement is often possible in business because good judgement and self interest are frequently closely aligned. It is also often possible in government, because there are laws and rules in place that try to ensure an impartial and fair process.
On the other hand, projects with high visibility such as conferences are very much exposed to mob justice fuelled by social media and I don't know if it's possible at all to apply consistently fair and good judgement in a context like that. Really the only example I can think of is dang's and sctb's excellent work here on HN and quite frankly I don't know if that model would work anywhere else.
My actual argument was that it's rather difficult to exercise consistently good judgement when surrounded by an angry mob, if that makes sense.
I realize it wasn't directed toward me, but I genuinely appreciate hearing that distinction. Unless things have changed, though, it seems unlikely that Curtis would go back to Berkeley. He describes his disappointment with his academic time there in an eloquent if verbose essay: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/07/my-navr.... In particular, you might enjoy the contrast between his preferred "adversarial approach to CS papers" and what his description of the politicized situation at Berkeley.
Did you happen to see this comment on your "winding down Starfighter" thread?
I'd never seen that twitter account before. Not my cup of tea.
Things that seemed cool until I looked (even a little) closer at the people behind them: urbit, stockfighter, and ESR's homepage.
I'm not sure how to interpret it, but I found it ironic that you (or at least Starfigher) is being lumped in with Curtis. If the trend continues, perhaps in a few years you'll both be on the same side of that picket line!
To me it reads as part nostalgia for the old "promiscuity" and lack of need for complex network security. It paints it as a period of innocence. I did not see any "shaming" of anything.
Unless he followed up with something more offensive, it would seem the person complaining didn't even understand what he was saying.
Perhaps you need to be of a certain age (if anyone told me I'd soon be using that phrase about myself...) to be likely to "get" that this was not a description of "bad old days" but of good old days.
Back in the "bad old days" of the simplex NCP protocol , before the duplex TCP/IP protocol legalized same-sex network connections, connect and listen sockets had gender defined by their parity, and all connections were required to use sockets with different parity gender (one even and the other odd -- I can't remember which was which, or if it even mattered -- they just had to be different).
The act of trying to connect an even socket to another even socket, or an odd socket to another odd socket, was considered a "peculiar error" called "homosocketuality", which was strictly forbidden by internet protocols, and mandatory "heterosocketuality" was called the "Anita Bryant feature".
Anita Bryant  slut shamed not only all gays but even Jim Morrison. It's not like Douglas Crockford held a "Rally for Decency" at the Orange Bowl to slut shame a popular poet and performance artist . Just throw a pie in his face  and move on.
When the error code is zero, the next 8 bit byte is the Stanford peculiar error code, followed by 72 bits of the ailing command returned. Here are the Stanford error codes. [...]
IGN 3 Illegal Gender (Anita Bryant feature--sockets must be heterosocketual, ie. odd to even and even to odd) [...]
Illegal gender in RFC, host hhh/iii, link 0
The host is trying to engage us in homosocketuality. Since this is against the laws of God and ARPA, we naturally refuse to consent to it.
; Try to initiate connection
jrst gayskt ; only heterosocketuals can win!
byte (6) 2,24,0,7,7
] ; Time out CLS, RFNM, RFC, and INPut
gayskt: outstr [asciz/Homosocketuality is prohibited (the Anita Bryant feature)
ife rsexec,<jrst rstart;>exit 1,
> There are perfectly legitimate reasons to put a network interface controller into promiscuous mode
Absolutely - for a long time it was the only way of adding multiple IP address aliases on a single network card in Linux for example (might hav been the same on other OS's - I don't know).
I once had someone imply we were trying to hack because our web servers had the network cards in promiscuous mode for that reason (of course this was a genuine concern - they could not verify the difference between someone innocently adding IP aliases and someone listening in on the mostly unencrypted traffic intended for the other servers connected to the same hub (I don't miss hubs...)
That's weird that it does several different types of moves in a row into the same register -- there must be some kind of implicit calculation going on, or maybe it's just a bug.
I'd use "git blame" to bug-shame whoever wrote that heterosexist code, but I don't think they were using safe source code control practices back then.
It's a tempest in a teapot, not at all comparable to the LambdaConf thing, which I almost wish I hadn't learned about.
It's not that baffling. Being a victim of harassment raises your status in certain circles. People in those circles tend to accept your word without requiring any other evidence, and so naturally some people will find harassment in anything that happens to or near them that can be stretched or interpreted, no matter how far fetched, in some way to be harassment.
This is bad because it makes it harder for actual victims. Too many people making exaggerated or false claims will make people less likely to believe the real victims.
This is probably more general. In general, if some event raises status in a group a person is in, and claims of that event are hard to verify, some people will claim the event even if it did not happen to them. They may not even be knowingly lying. They may be convinced it did happen.
A couple examples are having Native American ancestry and being abducted by a UFO. Many people claim one or both of these, and there are groups in which those claims will raise your status. Result: a lot more people claim Native American ancestry than actually have Native American ancestors, and the number of people who claim to have been abducted by UFOs is way higher than the number who have actually been abducted. My guess would be most of these false claims are from people who believe they are telling the truth.
The desire for status in the groups you are in is very strong. For instance, I recall reading a book about the major criminal gangs on Los Angeles, and they talked about status within the gangs. One of the things that earned you higher status was being arrested, refusing to talk or cooperate, refusing to take a plea bargain, and getting sent to jail. Gaining status was so important to new, young teen gang members that they would purposefully commit crimes that would get them a few months incarceration so that they could gain the status. Note that unlike UFO abduction or Native Ancestry, serving jail time is verifiable, so they young gang members cannot simply claim they served time to gain the status. They actually have to do it, and they do because gaining status is that important.
Any evolutionary biologists here? I'm curious if our need for status is just a cultural thing, or if it predates culture? I believe that most of our current close primate relatives live in groups where status relationships are very important, so it seems at least plausible that this is something that developed very long ago, in the common ancestors we share with those other primates.
Look at the actual people who incite these campaigns (e.g., https://twitter.com/nexxylove/status/771503661956501504).
"Don't bother to examine a folly, ask yourself only what it accomplishes". These people have a laser-focused sensitivity on actions which make certain groups feel unwelcome. They can't be unaware of the messages they themselves are sending. Who are they trying to make feel unwelcome?
"I have a theory, feel free to prove me wrong by "kicking out" "toxic actors", I dare you".
The sad part is, I think she does have a point. People who treat each other decently might soon enough LEARN to be great coders, while being good at something is really no excuse to be a dick. Not that I think Crockford is one, but generally speaking; the better you are, the more polite you ought to be towards "little ones", or you're an asshole. But the whole logic of let's prove it by assuming it's true, with ZERO thought given to what to do if it turns out wrong, is just one gaping wound of a brainfart, I'm just astonished. I'm not not just saying that to be snarky: it does remind me of things Hannah Arendt wrote about totalitarian propaganda, e.g. someone is declared as unfit to live and then killed, proving the theory correct, with some pseudo-scientific, pseudo-compassionate babble on the side. Oh, but they're "just" declaring people as non-existing for them and any decent person, so that's different, right? Well, not different enough to be acceptable. One way in which it is the SAME is that the words are just a bunch of hot air and sophistry, the standards are all double - it's all about the action, the movement, the in-group. You don't have to build concentration camps for there to be something deeply wrong with that.
> They can't be unaware of the messages they themselves are sending.
Oh, as foot soldiers of course they can be unaware. Between https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect there isn't anything anyone cannot get themselves to believe.
I thought it was a joke, I mean... its almost funny now.
How can you possibly be certain of that?
1) I personally don't like Douglas Crockford at all, I find him all together arrogant and overly concerned with presenting himself as an infallible single source of truth. I respect the work the man has done, but I personally think the conference is better off without him.
2) It seems that the conference organisers are all too concerned with coming out and proudly parading there actions without bothering to see if Crockford would be amenable to other courses of action like an apology or retraction of those comments.
To me, these kind of incidents feel more like the conference using the drama to boost their attendance numbers than acting in any kind of best interest of the attendee's. That's not to say that there haven't been serious incidents that need to be dealt with at conferences, but, an outright banning without any kind of negotiation where the speaker is offered to retract/apologise for their comments where the banning is done on a public forum seems designed more towards gaining attention rather than justice.
I don't think the drama is very effective in boosting their attendance numbers. In my case, the whole situation makes me want to avoid attending Nodevember.
If they are, then I have to wonder who is actually deciding to come to these conferences based on this? I would think that people with actual coding skills who want to discuss technical ideas are running away. If anybody is deciding to come, it's the type of people whose main skill seems to be finding things to get offended by.
The only apology that was warranted was one by the conference and they offered a crappy one in their updated message.
I certainly don’t want to see sexist speakers at conferences, but this decision seems to have been made with almost no evidence and almost purely based on unsubstantiated rumours.
I don't want to see a sexist talk (as opposed to a-sexist talk), but an 'objectionable' speaker really shouldn't be a problem if their talk would otherwise have merit and they can be reasonably expected not to be objectionable on stage.
No-platforming and economic warfare are tactics used by the worst kind of political actors, the kind you should be actively avoiding if you value your own livelihood, let alone anybody elses.
I agree, you’ve worded that better than me.
I justify being pedantic here, though, because the justice system is not just a binary system of "Someone got hurt, and now someone will pay in a court of law". Other common-sense factors are taken into consideration (such as the magnitude of alleged defamation, and whether the defendant is a public figure). And in terms of how things are regardless of U.S. civil law, the reality is that Douglas Crockford is Douglas Crockford. Just because some relative nobodies said hurtful things to him and he got disinvited from a privately-run conference doesn't mean he needs to turn to the justice system to find recourse. As we speak, whoever is running Nodevember's Twitter account is probably wishing they were running @CincinnatiZoo, post-Harambe. And the people who made allegations against Crockford are likely getting death threats and other things hurled their way. I'm not implying that I, or Crockford, think that this is the way things should be, but unless Crockford can conclusively argue that being shunned by Nodevember has destroyed his livelihood, arguing that Crockford deserves legal recourse against personally harmful speech would require some radical revamping of First Amendment rights.
Along those lines in this situation, I'm not really part of the Node/JS community, but I have at least heard of Crockford, and have never heard of Nodevember. It seems likely that the Nodevember people will suffer a lot more from this drama than Mr. Crockford. It seems petty and undignified to me for Crockford to start any kind of legal action, as they will probably suffer more from the lack of his presence and the drama related to this than any legal action would be likely to cause.
Maybe someone can tell me what's offensive about the first comment. It seems to be poking fun at programmer machismo.
The second quote is more problematic. I'm firmly of the opinion that it is not slut-shaming because it presented both promiscuity and commitment in a positive light. On the other hand, it is perfectly reasonable for a conference to not want sexual metaphors in presentations. The whole "he used the word correctly" in TFA is a non-sequitur when the first definition is clearly sexual, and promiscuity is contrasted with commitment. Still, I would hope that less extreme measures than banning would be used to address this.
Now to one thing not in TFA, but in the linked medium post:
> I’ve never dealt with Crockford in a way that I felt pleasant afterward. He is rude, unrepentant, and completely (one could argue willingly) oblivious to the meaning of his statements. I’ve never seen a person use the word ‘stupid’ so liberally in replacement of constructive criticism.
A conference is more than a bunch of people giving talks, it's a social gathering. If there were a lot of people who agree with Kas on this, then it's a much more reasonable reason to keep him out.
On a much smaller scale, I often run pencil-and-paper RPG groups. Being a jerk is much more likely to find yourself out of my group compared to game-mechanics related issues.
But I agree with you that no matter whether you are ok with the terms, calling it slut shaming is just strange.
I also agree with you that acting like a jerk would be a better reason for banning someone. But I'd also argue that "outing" him is worse than the alleged behaviour in that respect - if they're going to punish him for what has been reported, then they also ought to punish that kind of public shaming that pretty much makes it impossible for said person to get fair treatment.
Eventually they'll get to that. Hopefully they'll denounce TCP as a result and remove themselves from the internet.
I would hope that everybody with a genuine interest in technology finds these people ridiculous, and their constant demands to kick people out of things for nonsensical reasons more offense than anything that was supposedly said.
Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees.
At the time of the post, Crockford was slated to be an attendee. In fairness, this would imply that Perch be uninvited from the conference for violating the code of conduct. Or does the code of conduct have an escape cause in cases where everyone agrees that the victim has really "gone too far"?
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby
by Donald Barthelme (1973)
It's a fantastic story, and while I'll concede that it's only tangential to critiques of codes of conduct, reading the story would almost certainly be more enjoyable than spending time thinking about the inherent contradictions of tolerating intolerance. If you prefer video, I was amazed to find that a couple years ago someone (Chris Rubino) remade Barthelme's classic story as a short film: https://vimeo.com/149832821
Seems to me to be a useless rule, or at least one that needs some clarification. If criticizing others' works is included in that, then having meaningful discussions is not possible. If criticizing others' works is not included in that, then "Your talk was stupid" which is clearly insulting and (in most contexts) non-constructive, would still be allowed.
At its best, it's redundant with "Be kind to others." Its placement immediately after seems to be intended as an example of unkind behavior, but IMO it muddies, rather than clarifies the situation.
There is some discussion about the reason, and whether Nodevember should disclose a reason or make a public statement. For instance:
"Josh Crews [9:57 AM]
Maybe Nodevember could make a public statement along these lines, "After announcing Crockford as a keynote speaker, we learned from others of things he's done and said at previous conferences that are against our Code of Conduct"
HermitPy [9:57 AM]
why do we need to do that
what does that do other than add more fuel to a fire?
Andrew Albright [9:57 AM]
It would save people time for trying to find the answer themselves
'cause I burned at least ten minutes this morning to satiate my curiosity
HermitPy [9:58 AM]
I personally hope people will do some research and form their own opinion
Andrew Albright [9:58 AM]
^ good point
Josh Crews [9:58 AM]
you are reputation tarnishing somebody if you are not clear about the disinvitation
Andrew Albright [9:58 AM]
opinion and reason for the decision are two different things though
HermitPy [9:58 AM]
Russ Anderson [9:58 AM]
I will say that it’s difficult to do the research. I don’t think the twitter trail is very edifying. This chat has been much more helpful.
HermitPy [9:59 AM]
We're dismissing a keynoter without context other than they didn't fit our view of the community (edited)
Russ Anderson [9:59 AM]
however, I agree that you don’t owe anyone anything
HermitPy [10:00 AM]
All this whole thing has done is ensure that I won't do one more fucking thing for the community, so next year other people can run their own conference and pick their own shit and deal with it (edited)"
Besides, if being rude was a reason to get banned from a conference, Linus, RMS, and countless others would have gotten lifetime bans from every conference out there years ago.
People demand the environments they reside in to be friendly and comfortable according to their definition. In a way they are demanding that all "hostiles" stop being "hostile" towards them.
The more sustainable way to not get hurt is to learn how to emotionally defend yourself and stand your ground. You just have to learn it once and are not dependent on others telling every attacker to stop attacking you for the rest of your life.
The intolerance that Kas is selling is not something that we should value.
A conference has the right to hand pick the speakers, however I also have the right to vote with my wallet and boycott them. Conferences should be required to disclose if they actively support a political alignment(which is what SJW movements are), so that I as a consumer know to avoid them.
A vocal minority of women are offended because white males used some phrases that can be interpreted as sexist in their view. Let's ban white males, problem solved.
Now a religious group is offended that most of the women are not wearing a hijab. Well, we can't have that, so let's ban women who are not dressed "properly".
Bottom line is: whatever you do, you can always find a vocal minority who are offended by that.
When I go to a tech event, I want it to be about tech, what I don't want it to be about is: politics.
PLEASE can somebody do this. There are a ton of people that would support it. If this trend continues those of us with common sense will need to organize to oppose it.
As part of being in a secular society, you have an obligation to put up with public speakers that you might find offensive or irritating. You don't have to attend their events, and you're free to climb on the rooftops and call them an asshole -- but you have an obligation to put up with them.
If you run a conference with lots of people attending, and your speakers have any kind of interesting personality at all, you should be prepared for 1-3% of the attendees to be put-off by their history. That's good: it shows that you're doing a good job of bringing in interesting people to speak. Likewise, if you're a participant in a large conference, it shouldn't be surprising to you if the past history of somebody speaking is unpleasant to you in parts. You are, presumably, a grown-up. Get over it.
In my mind, the only thing that should matter, assuming the speaker isn't a terrorist or criminal on the run from authorities, is whether or not the information they present is worth it to you as an attendee. That's what the conference is about. It's not about making every member feel safe and secure. Screw that. Even looking past the fact that it's an impossible goal, nobody wants to go to a conference that's dumbed down to only cool kids who think correctly. Nobody in their right mind would want to live in a world like that. "Don't hang around jerks" is a fine goal for your family, your team, or your personal social circle. It's a clusterfuck to try to implement at any scale beyond that.
This bothers me because I could see at the extremes, there might be a case for excluding speakers, assuming there was something terrible in their past. Adolph Hitler, had he survived WWII, would have made a bad keynote speaker. People could never look beyond his history. But without a detailed argument over what the situation is here, both conference attendees and future speakers are getting screwed over, operating in the blind.
And that's the final result: everybody affected here doesn't really know what's going on, how to prevent this from happening again in the future, or what they might have missed. This is not about Crockford. This is about nibbling away at the value of a group of people gathering together trying to learn by promoting impenetrable and unclear illiberal values. I'll never go to a Node conference. But I'll remember how this thing played out.
So I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, out of sentimentality. At the same time, I know that one speech and/or book is not enough (if anything ever is) to judge whether someone has or hasn't been harmful to people who are not me.
But after reading the original critique on Medium, and the OP's transcription of when Crockford allegedly "slut-shames the audience", I don't feel convinced to have a negative impression of Crockford. I'm not saying that the original complainant isn't justified in their critique or that there isn't more to the story, because I know that things are different in person. But I could also be sympathetic towards the OP's defense of Crockford.
In terms of Nodevember's decision, well, they have different prerogatives when running a conference. And having a speaker who allegedly so openly derides other speakers is definitely something they have to think about in ways that I as an individual do not.
edit: One thing I personally find disingenuous about the OP's writeup is their appeal to the dictionary definition of "promiscuous" to defend Crockford. I guess it's just up to people's opinion, but I felt that Crockford was clearly using "promiscuous" in the first sense -- "indiscriminate mingling or association". I've never even heard of the second sense, and very little in Crockford's transcribed statement seems to suggest why "promiscuous" would be the right word to use instead of something like "heterogeneous".
That said, I also don't feel that Crockford's statement was slut-shaming. Saying, "Back in the day, you could browse the web like a whore, not caring what your computer connected to. But with the new web..."
But that's not what he says at all. You could read a sexual connotation to what he says, but the words he use is very much about being indiscriminate about security and identity. He even states that there is a benefit to promiscuity -- "because you could go from one thing to another and discover stuff and start forming relationships" and directly implies there's a tradeoff with the security of commitment.
For sake of argument, let's assume that he had said exactly this. Even so, I still don't see the claims being met. First, even though the metaphor may be "sexual", I don't see anything that would make it "sexist". Promiscuity as a behavior is far from limited to females, and he's at least equally addressing males with his "you".
But further, the quote leads off with "So the old web was great because it provided promiscuity". Rather than "shaming", if we apply a sexual interpretation, his statement seems downright "sex-positive". If anything I'd expect the critique to be coming from the "family values" side, for putting such a positive spin on promiscuity.
My guess is that dissecting Crockford's language leads won't produce useful insights, either into him or his detractors. Instead, I think this is increasingly about "power". Some individuals realized that with the right accusations (regardless of validity) they can replace the old leadership, and others (seeing their success) are excited to try their own hand.
The scary part is what happens when the accusations are replaced with actions, as this is when it sometimes get really ugly. I don't know the history well, but I can't help thinking of the violent excesses of the youthful Red Guard in 1960's China: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Guards_(China).
Sure, you could argue that "whore" is used against men, e.g. "He's such a manwhore". Just like someone could persuadively argue that their habit of wearing Confederate flag t-shirts has nothing to do with 19th-century American thinking about slavery. But we make judgments based on a spectrum of pragmatism and likelihoods, and we can make our own decisions to attend or avoid events that invite or disinvite such folks.
In the case of Crockford, I fully support the right for Nodevember to have its own threshold for what makes someone too much of a jerk to be a fit for their audience. And I personally wouldn't be inclined to go to such a conference, because I think that that threshold would likely exclude too many people besides Crockford, such that the event doesn't seem worth my time or travel expenses
Sorry to be snippy, but no, that's not the point. That's your point, and one possible counter argument. The worry is that while true, it's weak and specific, and leaves the way open to further attacks. By concentrating on the counterfactual I'm trying to address a broader issue.
This person inferred 'whore' from 'promiscuous'.
Who is "this person"? I don't think anyone inferred this -- it's a counterfactual. In particular, Perch did not use the term 'whore': https://medium.com/@nodebotanist/why-i-won-t-be-speaking-at-...
I think it's also worth noting that the word 'promiscuous' already has a history in computers.
Both I and 'danso' know the meaning of 'promiscuous' with regard to packet snooping. We didn't mention it here because it's amply discussed elsewhere, and because it's not relevant to the discussion we are having. The real question, as with "daemon processes" and "master and slave relationships" is whether this usage is appropriate today, not whether the usage has precedent.
And this version exactly fits what he was trying to get across.
idk a/b the second comment.. it does appear that's being read into, but w/o context of the talk or intonation, it's difficult to conclude intent. I'd like to think it's not negative.
but the first transcript in the article? the context for that is that dude is not "jacked" or "ripped", flexing on stage like a lumberjack. don't think he's in bad health or anything, but i suspect the first comment was poking fun at himself, mostly.