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[flagged] Blocked by JSConf.eu Twitter account (medium.com)
264 points by ondras 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 168 comments



When you have an international group of people all speaking English as a second language the conversation can become a bit prickly.

There isn't anything obvious here - a bit of complaining but it all seems mild and accurate: https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=%40jsconfeu%20from%3A0ndras&...

Purely guessing here, you might want to avoid tweeting "Stupid fucking white man" at conference organisers. https://twitter.com/0ndras/status/960901913624576001 -- but this is just a guess. I have no idea if that's why they blocked you.


What he writes in the tweets above really comes across as white supremacy-ish and a bit racist - basically blaming the conference organizers that not being accepted is because he is white, or more specifically, is not "racially diverse enough", which imho is just another form of racism... I wound't find the bottom "Stupid fucking white man" tweet (i.e. quote from a great movie) as offending as what he is implying in the tweets above.


Did that second tweet get removed? Can’t see the swearing.

Agreed with the language. It’s a constant stream of fussy complaints, and as unfair as it sounds, I would have probably blocked them too after years of the same.


Scroll down, I linked the first tweet.

Here's a direct link: https://twitter.com/0ndras/status/960917446449356800


He didn't tweet that at the organizers. He quoted an article and linked to the article.


Then someone @-mentioned the conference, and he replied this in Czech (translation courtesy of Google Translate):

————

About three hours ago, they came back from my mail, where they again rejected my talk proposal (or all the Xs that I sent - as every year). Chance? I do not think. :P

Original:

Cca tři hodiny nazpět mi od nich přišel mail, kde opět zamítli muj talk proposal (resp. všech X, co jsem -- jako každoročně -- poslal). Náhoda? Nemyslím si. :P

————

In other words, he suggested that his talks were rejected because of positive discrimination towards minority groups, and he's critical of such discrimination.

I understand the conference could take offense with such statements (whether or not the talks were rejected for that reason).


Here's what I see if I click on the stupid fucking white man tweet. It shows the message is a reply to 3 accounts, including the conference.

https://imgur.com/a/1RlK4MN


Oh wow, I missed the replies because I couldn't understand them. Thanks!


After reading the "code of conduct" on their homepage I would assume that you have unknowligly broken something like

> "Using gendered terms like “dude” or “guys” to address a mixed-gendered group of people contributes to furthering exclusion of underrepresented individuals."

The fact that they included an option to "make an anonymous" report furthers the assumption that you just got under the political wheels of the conference.


I'm fairly certain I saw "guys" used to address even women-only groups in American movies and TV.

Conference that wants to be internationally inclusive, which I assume a conference in English held in Germany wants to be, should not ostracize people based on grammar technicalities.

That's just one word, but pronouns in particular differ greatly across languages. Objects can have genders, occupations can have genders, plurals can differ or be the same, etc.. Someone who is not a native speaker can easily make a mistake that is related to gender.

It's always the intent that should be taken into account, not whether someone was offended.


I've never assumed "guys" to be gendered, here it just refers to a group of people.


That's why it's pointed out in the CoC - to make people aware that not all people feel included by "guys". I know quite a few that don't.


They may not feel included, but it's proper English to use guys as an ungendered reference to a group. It's been in the dictionary a very long time.


It’s also correct to use a male gendered pronoun in German to refer to a group of mixed gender, even though other options exist. But why do you insist on using a term of which a substantial group of people says that it makes them feel excluded once you’ve been made aware of that fact. What does it cost you to avoid that term? Stomping you right feet and yelling that “But it’s correct! The dictionary says so!” just makes you look like an insensitive jerk. Obviously it’s your call to make - it’s not against the law to behave like an insensitive jerk and nobody wants to deprive you of that right. But I totally can relate that people prefer not to be around other people that insist on behaving like an insensitive jerk just because a dictionary says it’s correct. So if you insist, you have to accept the consequences.


Spend any amount of time with an ESOL person and you’ll understand why. This is only an issue in primary english speaking countries. English is a complicated language to learn because of all these “rules” primary speakers make up that aren’t actually defined in the language. Also at what point is there a line? should we remove all words that a group of people find offensive? should the people finding the words offensive adjust their viewpoint? i’ve known people finding words like “petty” (as in petty officer) and even “sir”/“ma’am” offensive so should we also stop using those?


No, you're not required to avoid any word. You're free to use any word that you choose. You just have to accept the consequences. If you come to my house or my office and - despite being made aware that certain language is not welcome - use those words, you'll have to live with the fact that you're not welcome any more. That's what a CoC does - it points out the ground rules for expected behavior. Start swearing loudly in a church and you'll learn a thing or two about informal CoCs.


websters defines it as being genderless when being used to refer to a group of people https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guy


Especially if the person's native language might not even have genders.


It’s proper english to refer to a mixed gender group as male. Whether that is “oppressive” or not and whether we should change the english language is another subject and should be outside the realm of a JS conference


Your quote is disingenious since it cuts the following, quite crucial sentence. The full paragraph reads:

  Sexism
  
  Using gendered terms like “dude” or “guys” to address a
  mixed-gendered group of people contributes to furthering 
  exclusion of underrepresented individuals. We strongly
  advise avoiding gendered pronouns as well as gendered
  terms.
The whole short paragraph is listed in the "please pay a little attention to this" section of the CoC under the following introduction:

  Inclusive language
  
  In our commitment to a harassment-free and inclusive
  environment we strongly believe it’s important to pay
  attention to harmful language patterns.
It's a fair assessment. It's certainly not obvious to foreign speakers - it certainly wasn't for me - but isn't it fair to ask people to think about the words they're using? To point out common speech patterns that may make other people unwelcome and ask them to avoid them? Why not use "folks" or "people" instead of "dudes" and "guys" to refer to groups of people of all genders? Would you as a presumably male person feel included if someone refers to your group as "girls" or "ladies"? Would you prefer if people used that in their talks?

Now, that this pattern has been pointed out to you, you can still feign ignorance and deliberately still use "guys" and "dudes" to refer to people that do not identify as guys and dudes but that would just make me refer to you as "boneheaded impolite dick" even though you might not identify as such.


No, boneheaded impolite dick is fine dude.


At least they make it clear, but that is quite a lot to consider https://2018.jsconf.eu/code-of-conduct/


I really don't get how and - more importantly - why we moved from a common sense of "don't be a dick to other people" to the need to spell out pages and pages of behavioural guidelines.


OK, this is now totally off-topic WRT the original blog post, but... We had a very short code of conduct at SoCraTes Austria.

Then we thought about what might happen when we have a violation (endless discussions about whether that was actually a real violation and whether our response was justified, maybe even within the team).

So, we sat down and wrote a slightly longer version, which tries to spell out some unwanted behaviour and some guidlines for conference stuff ( http://socrates-conference.at/code-of-conduct/ ).

We also wanted to explain why we have the CoC in the first place and how we'd like people to behave. It surely is not perfect (probably too long and too short at the same time).

But if you think "don't be a dick to other people" would suffice as a CoC, imagine you are the organizer of an event, and then try to list all the things that might go wrong. Be creative - I'm sure you can imagine situations where it does not suffice.


Fair enough, but can you imagine a CoC that suffices in any situation? You will have situations where someone is acting out and at the same time you didn't think of it in your CoC and you will still be able to identify the behaviour as unacceptable, in most cases rather quickly.

So if I say "well actually..." on your conference I might get escorted out even if nobody took offense, but if I race around on my skates and make people uncomfortable because they are afraid I might run into them, that's fine because it doesn't really fall under any point mentioned in your CoC?

That's obviously nonsense. Just don't be a dick. And if you are, be a dick somewhere else.


- Moderating communities sucks

- At some point you will have to make a judgement call as a moderator, if you have no written rules every decision is a judgement call

- Someone will not like your judgement call, you then get a discussion

- To make sure you don't waste time having the same conversation again you write it down

- Rinse 'n repeat, you now have a CoC, whether you like it or not


I never had to moderate a community, but I that chronology makes perfect sense to me. I guess it is what it is then.


Yes, I too wonder why all social issues can't easily be solved by 7 word phrases. I also find myself, like you, thinking that everyone has the same "common sense"!


Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know this conference was aiming to "solve all social issues" with their code of conduct.


I have not experience with running any popular twitter handles, but I can imagine that they block lots of people for various reasons, ranging from trivial to non-trivial. Honestly, if I were you, I'd simply let it go and not care if you can.

Also, from the information you have given, from a certain point of view, you might come off a bit needy: You send in 5-6 proposals per year and send direct messages and mails to multiple people when you don't receive answers and you care about whether some twitter account is blocking you or not.

I am not saying you are needy, I am just saying it could come off that way and that might have lead to either being blocked or communicated in non-tactful ways.


> You send in 5-6 proposals per year and send direct messages and mails to multiple people when you don't receive answers

Jesus, if you think that comes off as needy, you should see what founders often have to do to get going.


Is this back door bragging?

So nothing can be categorised if it is not the most extreme example of its potential category?


The existence of the blog itself makes me think the truth wouldn't be as clear as it is presented. Was every rejected talk proposal accompanied by emails and tweets asking for explanation? One can be polite and annoying at the same time.

(that being said, their email reply was still unprofessional)


Yes, I asked for explanation of rejected proposals in 2017 and 2018. And I received it (they even officially encouraged failed proposers to ask for an explanation).


Sounds like a conference run by incompetent people, which is usually the vibe I get from glorified "javascript users".

Definitely not a conference I'd ever attend.

A conference for technology is usually supposed to be a social gathering for people with a shared interest, not a formal conference like a business gathering.

The only thing I can't think of is that you submitted a lot of proposals and they perhaps thought it was spam, but the response they gave you they clearly knew it wasn't spam.

Perhaps they have small children's mentality and didn't like the challenge of someone with a different point of view and perhaps better knowledge; although that alone would be kind of ironic since most people go to such conferences to hear the minds of bright people.

From the information you've given, I'm unable to find a logical reason for your ban.


They also tend to have the "you offended a random folk for the most ridiculous reason, and because we are so fragile, we will ostracize you for the rest of your life" mentality.

Don't get me wrong: harassment or aggressive behavior are not right and should not be tolerated. But on the other hand, over-cautious attitude that make any controversial comment a potential aggression is a really worrying trend today. The ridiculous cases of "code of conduct" dramas - especially on the js community - is a good demonstration.


Indeed, I was most disappointed when I looked at the Django Con Europe twitter and the first thing I saw was codes of conduct and comments about genders and bathrooms. I was wanting to read about Django.


Wow... Is there a way to live and work in tech without having to put up with all this shit ever again ? Why are those politics taking over everything.


There's not escape, every nook and cranny is getting more political these days.

Not sure why, I blame total ideologies that prescribe the personal being political.


Everything is political. Saying that you can just turn off politics is a very dumb and naive attitude.


What politics does the Django web framework subscribe to?


Author here. To clarify: as far as the organizational aspect is considered, those people are competent and top-notch. All the confs were highly professional, their experience with managing this stuff cannot be overlooked. But the social/communication layer is a bit nontransparent, in my opinion.


It could be the number of proposals. I haven't seen his Twitter, but if he mentioned being a member of the "Brendan Eich fan club" on Twitter as he did on his blog, that may have also led to his being blocked. Brendan Eich was forced out of his role as CEO of Mozilla after a few vocal employees there found out he had donated $1,000 to support an anti-gay marriage bill in California many years before he was CEO. If the people behind this conference do not like Brendan Eich because of this, perhaps the author's support of him is to blame for the ban.


The "Brendan Eich club" is actually a small inside joke, as the sign was one of the official "features" of JSConf.eu 2011, where Brendan was an invited speaker :)


Yes, but that was seven years ago, and Things Are Different Now.

(Just leafed through their twitter. I'm seeing a lot of the same clique as were involved in the node.js brouhaha last year. Is this conference really worth the fuss?)


This whole thing is a bit amusing.

So Brendan Eich invented JS, and then led Mozilla.

And being in the Brendan Eich Fan Club in 2011 probably was a positive thing and a cool thing for JS people.

Then much later, Brendan Eich donates $1000 to some political thing people strongly disagree with

So retroactively, being a fan of Brendan Eich means you are a homophobic hater and must be blocked?

I am quite sure this ain’t it :)


You understand the timeline, but the virtue-signalling mob on Twitter probably doesn't.


Eich made the donation in 2008. It became widely known in 2012, when he was still CTO. Nothing came of it until 2014, when he was promoted to CEO.


I also spoke in 2013.


For the record, I think that what happened to you over a years-old, minor donation - regardless of what it supported - was ridiculous. Whenever someone suggests that I move to the Valley because I am in the tech industry, I bring up your story as an example of why I want nothing to do with most of the people that live there.


You prefer to live where homophobia is tolerated?


He prefers to live where people actually are tolerant.


Exactly this.


Didn't that happen several years after 2011, though?


Or maybe someone misclicked. Headline is sensationalist, he could simply create a new twitter account. I don't see how this affects him attending the conference. Don't they send out email newsletters as well anyway?


Do you create multiple email accounts because idiots send one to spam or do you just stop talking to them?

I'd guess not unless money was involved. Personally I'd just stop supporting them by going to the conferences and tell everyone why.


Right, the ban only covers following the conference online. Which is why I mentioned the verb in the title.

But it also might be their way of saying "also pls do not attend again, we do not want ya".


If you care about the content of the conference, and/or you like to talk with some of the recurring participants, you could go to the conference next time and confront the organizers directly, since they won't let you do it online.

But in terms of feeling rejected for unknown reasons, I'd let it slide. The reactions you describe (twitter blocking, "we don't have time to answer" emails) are immature, so expecting more from them is naive.

Since they haven't said "please don't attend again", don't interpret it that way. Don't reward people for communicating this poorly. If you can buy a ticket in your name, and you want to go, go. :-)


After such juvenile behaviour, why should he give them any of his money?


Perhaps so he can network with people he cares about, and ignore them?


I've been blocked by a related account for years, the only altercation I ever had with them was when their founder was drunk one night (their admission) and went nuts at me for not linking the conference enough in my newsletter :-D Social stuff is hard, running events is hard, and people get stressed - it is what it is.


What kind of people tell paying customers they are not worth the time required to answer a question?


The kind of people who don't want to have those paying customers as customers anymore. Also known as "firing the client".


Exactly. This whole episode reeks of unprofessionalism. Even if the author were in the wrong, he deserves a better reply than being told he's worthless.


I deliberately chose not to work in the "enterprise" market with 6-digit contracts anymore and instead sell a consumer product to many more people so that I could fire any customer that annoyed me without thinking twice about it. They get their money back and can find someone else to annoy.

I really don't see what's so outrageous about the practice. There is no moral law that being paid by someone somehow creates a hierarchy where people can waste your time.

Edit, because you seem to have edited your comment: That doesn't happen for a single, innocuous, \question, obviously. Reading between the line and in this thread, OP submitted 30(!) proposals for talks, sent follow-ups on each of them, plus other questions. At some point someone /probably/ got annoyed. I'd even wager money he's a running joke among the organizers.


the key factor is whether they ever _told_ him "hey, you're spamming the conference at this point, please tone it down." - otherwise it's just passive-aggressive. Would you simply close a client's account and refund them without ever telling them that you were considering such actions? Because that would be extremely unprofessional.


Sounds suspiciously like what Google is doing every now and then. Oh, but they don't refund.


> At some point someone /probably/ got annoyed. I'd even wager money he's a running joke among the organizers.

That's fine, these things can happen. But being an a-hole about it is not. Just say it in clear text: "You came off as needy and annoying, please stop". Would probably be more than enough.

But the organizers probably didn't want their decision to be questioned or brought into a public light so they went silent and ignoring.


I didn't modify my comment are you confused?


Given the people they gave speaker slots to this year I don't think you are missing a lot. This conference has become blatantly political, vs focusing on tech, the later of which I'm assuming is why are you wanting to attend.


This is rather surprising coming from JSConf.eu, which is widely respected and run by people who really care about their community. I'd like to hear their side before making any judgement.


You either follow an account that has been banned, or the accounts you follow themselves follow accounts that have been banned. In the other direction, an account that follows you has been banned or they follow accounts that have been banned. @jsconfeu probably use some of the popular lists.


So if I have a banned account I can cause arbitrary people to be banned simply by following them? It doesn't seem like a good idea to give me that power.


BAAS - Banning As A Service


Banning you because you follow someone else. People who do that are braindead.


I was wondering if it was accidental, but then the author did reach out to a few different sources and didn't receive an answer... which could still be coincidence, but makes it seem less likely.


> author didn't receive an answer

He actually did:

> Hi Ondrej,

> dealing with this is at the bottom of our rather indefinitely long priority list. Don’t expect a swift resolution.

> We’d appreciate not being bugged about this again.

It seems they did it on purpose and they refuse to at least clarify why. My bet is that they did it for some childish reason and they don't have a courage to admit the mistake.

I hope they will now shed some light on what happened.


Might not be "on purpose", OP might just be getting caught in some blocklist crossfire.

It happened in a very similar way for a different conference here: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/08/twi...

If they're in the middle of a Twitter dogpile, they probably wouldn't care too much about one particular guy on a blocklist if several hundred sockpuppet accounts organising on 4chan are all sending the same whining emails...

(They could have handled that email response more politely, but I can pretty easily imagine a situation where OP looks like part of the problem rather than collateral damage...)


Honestly, whether he was caught in a crossfire, intentionally banned, or even received a response meant for someone else, this is still utterly inadmissible. There is no possible situation an email of this sort is acceptable in any sort of professional context, let alone coming from a conference organizer.


Yeah you'd think that after Ondřej reached out to the organisers they'd:

a) give him the benefit of the doubt and say "Not sure what happened, sorry we've unblocked you" (most likely thing)

b) tell him whatever heinous deed he is supposed to have done

IME blocks are either accidental or for some really annoying or inappropriate behaviour. I mean it's "just" a block on twitter, but it's pretty weird for a conference to engage with the community like this.


Personally I'd walk away, life is too short to care about why a twitter user blocked you.

But seeing as this is in the EU, the author could use the GDPR to find out why he was banned.


Out of curiosity, what part of the GDPR would require them to explain the ban-reason?


Just speculating here, but if they're storing his twitter account name, that might well be considered PII for the purposes of the GDPR, so they'd be required to disclose that they've stored it and any related information (like the reason they've stored it)... Also, their email response strongly implies they're storing previous requests - I'm not sure the GDPR covers emails he's sent to them though...


IANAL But as I understand it if they have any internal records/messages/emails etc about why they blocked a user on twitter then that would be classed as personally identifiable information and would have to be revealed to the user on demand.

Of course if they just spontaneously clicked 'block user' whilst browsing twitter because they just didn't like something he wrote then the above would be moot.


They probably have personal data / personal identifiable information about you when they blocked you and still know about it... And you can ask them what data they have about you.


You think they are keeping a permanent database of twitter block reasons?


Doesn't need to be a database, a simple spreadsheet or text file would do as well.

And you would be surprised to know how frequent those are (not necessarily about Twitter but in general about customers/employees/visitors in shops etc.)


Or just an email message mentioning the person. That's why I brought up the GDPR in the first place. My wife knew someone who was complaining against his insurance company, they were blanking him. So he put in a subject access request and in all the stuff he got back was an instruction sent to all customer service staff via email telling them to block him if he ever tried to contact them via social media.

The above happened under the 1995 DPD regime, the GDPR would probably be even more useful.


What about a hand written note. Does GDPR cover that?


The GDPR is not quite the magic bullet you seem to believe it to be.


That's not how the GDPR works.


Why do you keep bugging someone when they obviously do not want you to contact them?

Blocking you is a way of saying "Leave me alone!"

Not replying to direct messages or emails is a way of saying "Leave me alone!"

Nobody needs to explain why they want to be left alone.

Maybe stop thinking about yourself, and just accept that the people behind the twitter handles just don't want you to contact them anymore for whatever reason.


What you say is true if it was a private person. This is about a conference that seems to be important professionally to that person.

They even replied to him - why not just say WHY and get it over with once and for all? This is just stupid, not (just) unprofessional. If they could at least point to "we already told you, now get lost" - but never giving a reason... it's not like they could be sued (first, Europe, second, just a Twitter block), so the usual (at least understandable) justifications e.g. when not giving reasons when not hiring someone don't apply.


Perhaps all his 30 speech proposals were completely inane and he's been viewed by organizers as that spammy fellow in late stages Dunning–Kruger syndrome? If that's the case, then muting communications is the least offensive option and it is entirely appropriate. However it does require the other side to be able to take a hint.


Perhaps - then tell him.

The reason does not matter (especially since we are unlikely to hear it from anyone), what matters is that they refuse to say what it is. "Effort" is not an excuse either since they even replied to him - but with something unprofessional while still leaving out the reason for no good reason that I can think of. You can even mask it behind a more fuzzy reason if you think the specific reason is not good enough to be made public, but they did not even make the attempt.

> then muting communications is the least offensive option

Only after telling him. Something, anything - they could even make up a polite "official" reason and keep the truth for themselves as we humans often do, which can actually be perfectly okay. But stubbornly refusing to give any reason at all... no, that's not okay. It would be if it was between individuals, but not for a professional organization, especially one that the person may not be able to ignore even if they wanted to, since he seems to find them a valuable contribution for his professional life.


Disagree.

A while ago I experimented with giving job applicants honest feedback on why they were unsuccessful - not just the old platitudes like"there were stronger candidates".

Big mistake. When you reject people, they really really want to dig in, know why and then refute or try to overturn that.


The platitude lacks detail, but you're still giving truthful feedback. Frankly, that's not bad. I can't tell you it's actually worthwhile for you to do anything more, but thank you for trying.

I graduated in EE and really wanted to go into software. The manufacturing and construction jobs I had worked in over the summers had convinced me that I did not want to be drawing wiring diagrams all day.

I failed the interviews for the first few software development jobs I applied to. After one I thought had gone well, I emailed the hiring manager to ask for feedback. He told me that my technicals were ok for a new grad, but that I fell short on the social side. That was valuable feedback. I had been very nervous and awkward. It gave me the confidence that I actually had the talent to pass an interview with a little more practice. I sent that guy a thank you note, and a few months later I found my dream job in software.

Maybe I would have passed the later interview anyways. Probably. But if not, my life would be completely different today. Just after I got the offer letter for the software job, one of those construction companies asked me to come in for an interview...

Thank you for trying. It doesn't always pay off, but it can make a difference. Giving that sort of feedback is all risk and no reward, so I really appreciate that you gave it a shot.


> When you reject people, they really really want to dig in, know why and then refute or try to overturn that.

That is 101% true. However, when you give feedback you can also politely say that it is not open for a debate.

"We found you lacking in X, Y and Z. We are not interested in advancing our communication. All the best and goodbye."

So IMO just give feedback once and never reply again. If somebody is persistent, block them. Then you would in your full right.

Being fully silent without a single message however is not okay.


Been there ;-)


Did you read my comment? I already addressed that point, twice, two different aspects.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17440121

> it's not like they could be sued (first, Europe, second, just a Twitter block), so the usual (at least understandable) justifications e.g. when not giving reasons when not hiring someone don't apply.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17440185 (all of it, especially the 2nd half)

I would appreciate if you took what the commenter wrote into consideration when you respond. You don't need to change the topic and come up with something completely different - here, job rejections (which I even already mention).


Then simply telling him that would have been just as easy as the response they sent, and no ruder.


They probably have dozens of times.


Do you have a reason to assume that the poster is outright lying? I mean, I can't actually prove that anything in the article really happened, but it seems odd to just assume that it's false.


I bet the reason for the ban wasn't even recorded.


Not to argue if ghosting is a morally appropriate way of communication in one's personal life, but it was not about someone's personal account, rather of one of a professional conference. It is definitely not how one should do their business communications.


I think this is not a private or personal thing, this just unprofessional handling of an yet unclear situation.

Like beeing conficted without a trial (of course this is just a business relationship between him and the conference).

Imagine that Hacker News would ban your account jakobegger, no explanation, no way to get informations why or what you did wrong. Would you just accept this as just "leave me alone"?


The reason we respect HN and its respective admins, is because they explain their decisions quite openly and transparently, and will even discuss issues over email. I was actually banned a few years ago because I was being a negative, hateful, POS due to some events in my life combined with clouded judgment. But I appealed, and began posting better comments that were more in line with what one would expect from a discussion forum for positivity (startups) and rationalism (tech.) I'm sure there are many others like me who the admins treated quite fairly and with respect. "Silent treatment" is a last resort, in all other cases it is just a weak and impotent thing to do.


> The reason we respect HN and its respective admins, is because they explain their decisions quite openly and transparently

...Except when they shadowban people. (Who aren't obviously spammers or dedicated trolls.)


Shadowban is mostly a tool to deal with idiots constantly posting attention-seeking comments. If someone isn't smart enough to realize their comments are not being replied to, they aren't the kind of person you really want to contend with. Shadowban deals with people who post comments where the intent is to rouse, not to converse. So much of the time, they don't expect replies, and thus they can continue to post their crap to themselves, and only themselves. I don't think shadowban is polite or nice but it is effective.


Those are indeed the categories that we shadowban, so if you know of exceptions I'd like to see them.


> Imagine that Hacker News would ban your account jakobegger, no explanation, no way to get informations why or what you did wrong. Would you just accept this as just "leave me alone"?

I mean, they literally do this in the from of shadow banning.


That's not accurate. Shadow-banning is rare to begin with (reserved for spammers, serial trolls, and other forms of abuse), and even when we do it it's always possible for people to get information by emailing us. I can think of a couple exceptions to that but they've all been preceded by long email chains.

If an account has been posting to HN for a while and hasn't been banned under other guises, we always tell them when we're banning them, and nearly always after multiple warnings.


I doubt they'd do it without warning you before hand to comply to the guidelines.


The thought experiment in the GP was what if they didn't


Blocking you is a way of saying "Leave me alone!"

Thats an assumption it could have been a mistake, it could have been temporary, it could have been any number of reasons. Maybe there is a good reason they blocked you, if you knew this reason maybe you could fix it or accept your differences and move on, both good social outcomes for both parties.

You are being anti-social by assuming other people actions. You also assume that the other persons action was also anti-social. You then assume that doing the social thing and talking to the person in a reasonable manor will be treated as unreasonable and anti-social (this makes sense if you think they are anti-social). So you don't ask, their anti-social behaviour is never questioned and they carry on with it. They probably blocked you for a reason, you were being anti-social but since you never questioned that reason you too will carry on with it.

This anti-social behaviour encourages itself.


Adults can verbalize or type the words leave me alone


Look, this is a Javascript conference, and these now are just super about getting only candidates who are "Javascript famous" or have a lot of twitter followers. I wouldn't waste your time, either applying or attending. If being on the conference circut is what you want and in javascript then you've got two choices.

1. Create a Open Source library that is suuuuuuuper popular.

2. Get a shitload of Twitter followers.

Conferences are a business, that business is selling tickets.. big names sell tickets. It's like if I have a music festival, and I open up applications to everyone. I'm only doing that on paper, realistically I'm only getting the biggest musicians.. cause that sells tickets.

If conferences are your dream... Chose a different language, because JS is toxic and the ONLY voices you will hear now are those that have already become "Javascript Famous".


maybe by posting this he is doing (2.) :)


20-30 submissions, in 4 years? Maybe he was blocked as a spam protection measure?


This type of drama is why i don't attend conferences anymore. It is a social minefield.


DefCon and HOPE usually have an assortment of real solid talks, a few 0-days, and new maker products to mess around with or buy. Plus there are plenty of people who actually know their shit. I don't think you'll get the same kind of entertainment from a bunch of coders who solely do JS. But yeah, something about mass audience, technology, and a detached culture makes these conferences more watery every next decade. Still worth it at least for now but I acknowledge your point.


Meh, I was hopping to see some conclusion at the end. I hope there will be some followup.


This is the same when people message a youtuber and expect some reply - they can't see the hundreds and thousands of messages people get and still need to produce youtube content (or organize a conference) - "I can deal with the mails I get, why can't they?"


But this isn't some random person like it is with someone messaging a youtuber. This is someone they have a previous relationship with, receiving and rejecting proposals, and who they took a specific action against, to block on twitter.


Except he got a reply. Someone read his message and took time out of their day to tell him to fuck off.


But just after he sent a message to several people and probably on twitter and different means, they told him - in a rude way - to stop. He probably didn't stop and he was blocked.


He was sending the message because he'd already been blocked and didn't know why.


Slightly off topic: I've always found twitter-style blocking totally nonsensical. I mean: you've got a public account. Blocking should prevent people from replying or tweeting at you, and from sending you DMs, maybe even retweeting what you said (even though I'm not sure about the usefulness of this last thing)... but why should ANYONE be prevented at just READING PUBLIC CONTENT when LOGGED IN?

(I think the same applies for Facebook and yes, I think that's nonsensical as well)


Twitter realises it is stupid. However many of their technologically illiterate users don't and when they tried to change it there was an outcry that Twitter was helping abuse or something silly like that. Keeping the feature is as is easier than educating their users how computers work.


it raises the friction for people quoting your tweets and encouraging their followers to harass you.


Well... raises by how much? Is that really significant? By the way... that's it.


i'm betting it is - it's a classic funnel problem, where the more friction you add to a process the more people will abandon it.


I've also wondered about this, and the only conclusion I could come to is quite cynical. Think about the practical effects. It encourages people to create multiple accounts and also encourages warring of various sorts. These behaviors send Twitter's usage and user numbers up without bots while enabling complete plausible deniability about any complicity. It's a problem with ad-driven networks. Their goal is to increase user numbers which enables them to inflate their advertised reach and thus increase their overall revenue.

One might joke about Facebook bragging about its reach: "We have more than 2 billion users and only 25% are located in the USA!" Subtlety, math, and statistical references all in one one-liner joke - what could be better?


They tried to change the behaviour to the one that makes sense (to us) but there was backlash from users and so they reverted the change.[0]

[0]: https://www.imore.com/twitter-changes-how-block-works-heres-...


I didn't know that. Well, ok.


At some point you offended the wrong person, they added you to one of those shared blocklists, and that's all, you're banned forever.

Who's to blame? I'd say you, for caring. This is the way politics works now, and some software projects have, for some reason, joined the politics battle. By caring you're giving them weight. Just flip them off, tell them to go fuck themselves, and keep thinking the way you do.

It's not worth it to give up on your views on politics just to not be ostracised by these manchilds and circus freaks. They live off attention; if you don't pay attention to them they die. Don't give them any legitimacy, because most of those who take these decisions don't even know how to code and they are there to hijack the projects with their politics.


On the one hand, it is a privately run conference and they can generally do what they want. On the other hand, I am strongly opposed to private blacklists, on the following grounds:

First, I understand there is an effort to create blacklists independently, then contact conferences who have a speaker who is on them, and then publicly shame the conference if they don't ban the speaker in question. This removes agency from the conference to decide who they want as a speaker, and creates a chilling effect, as nobody except the owners of the blacklist knows who is on the list.

Second, if I am a speaker who is on a blacklist, I generally am not told about this. Which is safer in the current political climate, to submit and risk becoming the epicenter of some twitter drama, or to decide not to submit a talk? How many great talks do we miss because an unaccountable arbiter of a blacklist has decided on my behalf who gets to speak and who doesn't?

Third, the owner of the blacklist acts as the judge, jury, and executioner all at once, with no due process. As either a conference organizer, speaker, or member of the public, I am generally not privy to 1. why the person was blacklisted 2. how many other people are blacklisted 3. whether or not (most likely not) there is an appeals process so they can be removed from the blacklist. If this sounds familiar, it's because the TSA does the same thing.

Two additional things: I realize that I am assuming some of the structures of these systems, but it comes from a bit of experience. Second, I understand that the blacklists extend to more than just conferences, also to contacting employers to get people fired, or prevent them from being hired.

I'm not sure if the conference is employing their own blacklist or was contacted by a third party, but my points still apply either way.


>I am strongly opposed to private blacklists

HN uses similar approaches. Just saying. You can have tons of points, but if some of your recent posts were unpopular for whatever reason, your account will be limited to the point that you can't really take part in conversations.


100% agreed. This is why allowing websites like HN, Facebook, and Twitter to become replacements for the public town hall is a very, very bad idea.


I don’t know about you, but I’m quite happy he publicised this (=gave attention). Now I know what conference to avoid!

hbaav6 7 months ago [flagged]

It's good he publicised this but the length of the post and how hard he tried to get a response leads me to think he cares. He should not care about petty, deranged people.


> petty, deranged people

That has not been established. Without knowing the author’s history or any background the only thing I can conclude from the conference’s organisers is that they are disorganised and with misplaced priorities: if a potential speaker alleges they’ve been incorrectly blacklisted (and shows no obvious warning signs) then investigating and rectifying the situation as necessary should be a high priority: that’s just good customer service and community leadership - especially as checking the pedigree of a Twitter blacklist is a trivial 5 minute task.

If the author really was unwelcome for some reason or another they would have ignored his email or replied with an short “because...” message - not a “we don’t care” response - because that really does mean they really don’t care.

(Though I’ll make a snark about how the JS community moves so fast that anything useful gleaned from a JS conf would be obsolete in a year’s time anyway - limiting the potential value of his attendance anyway)


Perhaps he shouldn't care about a conference but when the deranged people start affecting employment, then they have crossed a line. Then it's all out war.

They should be ostracized, shamed, fired and barred from employment. We should prevent hiring anybody who shows any sign of belonging to the PC-brigade. (Make no mistake - they are already doing this to their perceived "enemies", and not just based on opinions but even sex and ethnicity.)

We should make companies understand the incredible damage these people can cause.


Where is the evidence that any “PC brigades” are raising illegitimate complaints affecting people’s careers?

Your post reads like fear-mongering of laughably incorrect activist-left stereotypes. This is HN, we can do better than that.


It's the nature of these things that they are not done in the open so there is mostly lived experience and anecdotes, but if you think people like this https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/internal-emails... won't affect your career if you are not 100% Red Guard-level down with extreme PC-ism, then I think you are quite confused.


Brendan Eich and James Damore, just off the top of my head.


Shared blocklists are a pain. If you at one point happened to make a bad but well-intentioned pun, you ended up[1] on a blocklist meant for blocking fascists[2].

[1] https://twitter.com/wilw/status/688127971337449475

[2] https://twitter.com/wilw/status/688149812881960961


I know this conference is probably not using this particular blocklist, but why should a conference 1) use a blocklist and 2) block people just for being of particular political view?


Possible answers:

1) Some political views correspond strongly with problematic behaviour that a conference would rather not deal with.

2) Virtue signaling for PR purposes.


2) would require the conference organizers to announce we've blocked this person.


No, just to announce that they are blocking based on criteria the audience agrees with.


An announcement would signal the wrong thing. Better to just let some people become aware of the existence of blocking.

This is kind of like considering an "anonymous" donation more deserving of praise than a public one.


1) To ensure that known trolls/predators do not show up.

2) Probably because consent can be enforced this way much easier than it can be created in a real discourse. Especially in Germany it is frowned up by leftists to even talk with people from the right-wing spectrum.

I get (1), but (2) makes me wonder whether we learned anything from history at all.


How does using a Twitter blocklist achieve 1)?


You keep them out of the loop to some degree and would check against that list during registration. It apparently catches some at least, I am told.

I also know of 2 larger conferences in Europe where accounts were monitored and if activity indicates the person is present, they were removed from the venue by security.


>It apparently catches some at least, I am told.

Statistically speaking it should. Do you know if it's proportionally better than just blocking 1 in 10 would-be attendees at random?


I think most conferences will do well without attendees who consider them 'manchilds and circus freaks'.

Calling a organizer that would get you banned too and I think that's perfectly fine. There is no reason to get personal.


"Who's to blame? I'd say you, for caring."

This is logically inconsistent and snarky. The ban came before the reaction to it. In addition, publicizing an egregious sleight because it pissed you off, does not make you "lose" because you cared. If you smash your phone, if you crash your car, if you get angry, sure..then you sort of lose because the reaction didn't measure up to the reason for it. But here...JS Conf organizers are notorious for being a bunch of intelligentsia hipster hacks - and they are pulling in big dollars from corporations like GitHub, Amazon, Microsoft, and the like, because devs get to goto all expenses paid conferences. So seeing continued, firm evidence of pettyness on their part shows that all their bullshit politik-apologies are BS. These people are a disgrace to our industry. And deserve to continually receive bad publicity especially when their public events which rely on public image, are still milking dollars out of our programmers and the respective companies.


It sounds like you dont understand the intent of the post you are responding to or that i am not understanding your irony?


I understand but "Vigilance is noble. Caring enough to cause a stink, even though you know it isn't worth anyones' time, especially your time."


Your advice sounds like it's for Reddit trolls, not for a professional group that just banned a speaking professional. Future professionals will not understand why you have been banned, they will just see your name on a long list.

I feel like re-orienting your psychology to feel better without addressing the situation is ducking your head in the sand.


> [...] and keep thinking the way you do.

I think sociologically it is wrong to just ignore 'them' as considering a change of your own thinking is important to resolve conflicts in general.

Nevertheless, without an explanation there is little he can do so ignoring them might be a reasonable self-defense in this situation.


oh no


I would never join a club that would have me as a member.

(stolen from Groucho Marx)


that's one way to turn someone over zealous for you (a fan) into someone overly zealous against you (a troll)


`@jsconfeu @0ndras I am also in the @BrendanEich fan club`


Plenty of HNers are also fans of Eich..the dude singlehandedly built integral parts of the XPCOM base that Mozilla & Firefox sit on.


You submitted 30 proposals? Maybe they are just annoyed by you spamming them?

Also, they just banned you on twitter, what's the big deal here? You can still attend the conference.




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