On the other hand, looking at git histories is basically how the social parts of engineering (e.g., money and power) at a place like Google works, at its fundamental level.
This has persisted for a very, very long time. I still remember when people would comment things like, "I worked with so-and-so unorthodox former Google employee, and he didn't commit code."
There are a lot of Googlers on HN. There are a lot of people who work at places that culturally align themselves with how that company runs.
It probably has something to do with why some women feel underpaid or unwelcome at these places.
It definitely has something to do with people commenting things like, "So is this the case of the product manager taking credit..." The tension between the product manager who "didn't do anything" and the engineer who "did all the work" and how the "org" sees that and measures "performance" are all swimming in the back of HN people's heads when they snipe some random academic.
Settling the score in a way so reductive is extremely appealing. But at least in duels, the other person gets to fire back.
In my experience, people don't start looking into these things without some other suspicion. In a work setting, that would be things like impressions of poor productivity, claimed output not matching perceptions of competency, etc. But those involve a ton of data points, based on direct interactions with the person. In this case, the article gives us the following demographic data points:
- 29 years old
- Computer Science doctorate from MIT
- Assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology
Which of those data points suggests that her work output should be questioned?