Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
On All That Fuckery (tinykat.cafe)
312 points by idan 31 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 205 comments

Thanks for writing this. As a female developer with 60K followers on Instagram, I went through all this:

– “Programmers don’t look like that!” – “You’re fake. Some dude writes your content.” – “Are you a model or a coder?”

Bullies are not happiest people on the planet: some of them have been harassed or bullied by their parents, in schools etc. I discovered the hard way that when I pay back with the hate, it makes me feel bad and also feeds their hate. The hardest and probably wisest solution is to respond with love to those unhappy folks. Or not responding at all. It's very hard, but it works.

– Julia

I never stop being amazed by how much time and energy people will put into being awful to other people.

It's so frustrating that after being in this industry for over 20 years nothing's really improved, and far too many arseholes are still getting a free pass for their arseholery.

It's getting worse. It used to be socially inadequate highly educated geeks who thought it was funny and/or couldn't really cope with anything other than highly intelligent white males. Now it's far broader than that. Logically because non-phd's can (luckily) work with computers and enter the industry now, but it has the good and bad side effect that people who I would not have to mingle with and who would've never made it to software developer 30 years ago, now suddenly are clients/colleagues etc. This means a rather large (and growing) share of racists, bigots, white supremacists (I thought those were some kind of fringe types living in the woods but then suddenly some rather good coder starts to talk politics to you...) and such. And a lot of guys I know act like they see women coders as equals, but from their subtle (and not so subtle sometimes) actions show they really don't, even while she might have superior skills/experience.

Free speech is a noble ideal, but it seems like the current implementation of the Internet has turned that ideal on its head.

Yes, everyone should be able to say whatever they want to say, but no one should be forced to hear it. The way we implement discussion forums, chats, issue trackers, wikis, etc. is perhaps giving too many privileges to the mob.

I am partial to the idea of someone getting to decide, in advance, who they can see or hear. Letting the mob in, and then muting or banning after the fact can be exploited too easily.

>I am partial to the idea of someone getting to decide, in advance, who they can see or hear.

Who decides? Why were they chosen? How were they vetted? Is the vetting process continuous throughout their stay?

In other words: What checks and balances are in place to make sure they don't abuse the position for the advantage or disadvantage of a group due to personal motivation?

The idea of a constant lifetime blacklist/whitelist makes me envision a world filled with small echo-chambers, all supportive of their own ideas, and filled with ire towards anything they view as opposition.

I believe you misunderstand the post you replied to. I understand it to mean "I want control over what I see" (i.e, the author is the "someone" who should decide what they see). We had whitelists and blacklists back in Usenet days, and they let you plonk bozos just fine.

> I am partial to the idea of someone getting to decide, in advance, who they can see or hear. Letting the mob in, and then muting or banning after the fact can be exploited too easily.

I see that that could be done in a private group setting where everyone knows each other. In a forum for the general public though I have difficulty seeing how that could be done. Do you have any implementation details in mind?

I don't know of an easy or economical way to prevent or discourage abuse of communications.

For social communications, the main problem is: How do I find people I like or trust? That is a tough problem given constraints.

For network communications (IP), practically any two machines can communicate with each other, which opens up a number of serious security risks.

> For network communications (IP), practically any two machines can communicate with each other, which opens up a number of serious security risks.

This isn't quite a correct characterization of the problem. The problem - rather in the style of your previous post - is that a given machine will listen to communications from any other machine, and often react to them. My usual go-to example is that most web browsers will happily execute completely arbitrary code from any random website they happen to stumble across.

There are practical reasons (eg opprotunistic scans for exploitable vulnerabilities) to keep machines isolated, but the root problem is not that your machines can send and recieve communications with arbitrary others, but that they choose to.

> How do I find people I like or trust?

I don't have a general solution to this one even in principle, but I've found it helps if you don't need to trust them. Proper anonymity or pseudonymity means I can have a perfectly comfortable conversation even in the depths of 4chan, and laugh in the faces of anyone who tries to threaten me.

>Letting the mob in, and then muting or banning after the fact can be exploited too easily.

This seems like the popular wisdom online, but is it really something that's abused so much (at all, or relative to the problem it exists to solve)? I've seen many more places with people terrified of the concept of moderators abusing their powers and places that refused to ban outright harassment and bigotry because the moderators were too worried about being seen as power hungry than I've actually seen power abusing moderators issue too many bans. (If you count "refusing to kick out harassers" as a kind of power abuse through inaction though, then I've seen a lot of that. Maybe this reframing would be helpful in general online.)

I believe you can already block people on GitHub and it stops them from interacting with any of your repos, and that doesn't seem too exploitable or broken in my opinion. If anything, they need more features along these lines and what you mentioned.

All that is fine, but in this context you’re talking about placing gates over open source software. I hope the solution to this problem is much more well thought out that a simple comparison of free speech and hate speech.

Twitter for instance should be set to private by the user.

It's unacceptable to set it as public.

If you post in public you are the same as a newspaper. You need to take all that on-board. From mental health of employees to security to legal. Newspapers don't just write stuff and shove it out there.

When free speech turns into free hate, that’s when it’s unacceptable.

> When free speech turns into free hate, that’s when it’s unacceptable.

the reason that both yourself and the parent of your comment seem to fail to realize is that the reason free speech must be protected unilaterally is that we will eventually have a bad actor in the seat of the person who decides what is or isn't hate speech.

'Hate speech' is too ambiguous, to a fault. 'Free speech' is too ambiguous to its' merit.

When Political-BadActor-#23 gets into the role of deciding what is or isn't hate speech, it will probably become very difficult to criticize or police the position of Political-BadActor-#23.

That's why it remains an imperfect system -- once overt censorship is introduced it's up to the censors to remain responsible, a feat never once demonstrated historically.

I keep thinking back of the days of the wild west of the internet, when I was a teenager. Back then, 'trolling' felt like it was done in 'good spirit', and it seemed as though everyone was sort of 'in on it', maybe because people shared similar values and knew there was no ill-intent behind the 'trolling' of the old days. But at some point (and I suspect it has something to do with money, as always), it turned into a weird team-sport. And political. It's no longer acceptable and needs to end.

I was a little shit as a teenager and I hate that I was. Trolling was only "in good spirit" because I was a heartless asshole that completely lacked empathy for others. What comes to mind to me as the epitome of my teenage years was thinking this was funny:


A writer for the SA website made fun a website of a mother who was grieving her stillborn children. Forget any opinion you might have about the mother or her presentation: this a woman who had several children die before she ever got to know them. It's potentially one of the most traumatic things that can happen to someone, and this writer decided to ridicule how this mother grieved:

>Your poison womb is making heaven too fucking crowded.

I hate myself that I thought this was funny. I hate that I used words to belittle the LGBTQ community. I hate that I was that edgelord that held to statistics about crime rates and intelligence as they related to race. I hate that I made fun of people for their sexuality. I hate that I discounted sexism, racism, and ableism.

It was never in good fun. Some people grow out of it and others don't. I am still working constantly to better myself and catch myself when I have prejudice thoughts.

I think a lot of people online don't understand how to get attention besides by acting outrageous like this. Getting attention online by doing something good that everyone else is doing is really hard. A lot of people seek out the seemingly underemployed strategy of doing the outrageous things that others aren't.

Maybe it's got to do with the fact we're competing with everyone online for attention, and the issue could be helped if more activity was in smaller clusters, where people didn't have to resort to outrageous strategies to get attention because there's less competition. (Discord servers provide one specific example of what I'm thinking of.) But it seems like as long as the global cluster exists too, people will seek attention on it too for its greater rewards, unless there's something about the smaller clusters that's even more rewarding.

Thats exactly why you hand out bans or send the teenager to timeout - it teaches them that bad attention seeking is not desirable and not rewarded with attention.

The internet lost the lesson some time ago because even bad attention is good attention when it comes to KPIs. More sharing is good sharing.

Teenagers are complicated creatures. Admittedly, this stuff seems impossibly extreme? Maybe I am indeed rather naive. I must have frequented much more harmless online communities. I never understood the appeal of SA or 4Chan. At the same time I can see how, as teenagers, people can get sucked into these communities, where edginess lures one in with some kind of false promise of 'freedom' from the rules of a society that appears to have rejected oneself. Even if that rejection may be self-imposed. At some point it's just a competition for who can say the most horrific things. I don't know how one would counteract this. The funny thing is, I also cringe at what I wrote online as a teenager, but I never took it to these extremes. However, recognising it (and 'hating' oneself for it) is a first step in fixing the problem, hopefully.

I can't absolve the entirety of my behavior by the online communities I was a part of, but they definitely worsened and encouraged it. I wish I had better role models as a teen and maybe I wouldn't have acted that way. Unfortunately my parents weren't very involved in my life and I spent every moment I could on the internet to escape other problems in my life. I think I had a lot of anger and frustration and places like 4chan were an outlet for that. Clearly growing up with 4chan being your main cultural influence is not going to lead to a well adjusted young adult.

You should relax. It seems like you were doing it because disaster porn is funny. At least you are cognizant enough to realize this. A lot of SJWism is similar, except they don't do it for fun (though, they get enjoyment of some form from it)

Relax about what exactly? You're saying I should just accept my (long) past bigotry?

When was that? Because that is not how I remember the internet from 96 onwards at all. Even more if you were involved in gaming communities, as an example: early MMOs were prime time for dogpiling.

Trolling used to be more prank-ish but it would already at that time certainly devolve to doxxing and start affecting people's real lives. I remember it took me a long time to stop caring on not leaving traces that people could link to my real name, my real pictures or whatever online.

I remember people on online forums salivating when Google came out and was a much better search tool to link an username to an email and from there to your life outside the internet. It was scary to post something confronting these trolls because they could try to find you, they had enough free time for that.

So I don't know when the internet was really that naive and innocent place, it had more innocence but this bad side of it was very present from the get go, at least in my experience.

You are right, I don't think it was ever naive, or ok. Thinking about it, what we used to call Trolls back in the day (1998 ish gaming community boards) were just annoying users. They were considered shitposters and bans were handed out swiftly. At the same time I'd say the discourse online was more coarse, less aware of political correctness, or racial / gender sensitivities. It's hard to think back to the mindset of my former teenage self, but perhaps what's known as 'trolling' today didn't even exist back then. I've never seen someone get doxxed on the forums I frequented. But then, people were also paranoid enough to not let themselves be doxxed, perhaps? This is all so long ago.

Church of the Subgenius? Kibology? alt.pave.the.earth? The epic KFC hoax?

It's good that you used a throwaway account, because I think you already know: it was never done in 'good spirit,' not for the victims of your abuse.

What was amusing and fun to you and your friends drove people out of the industry, and is likely a very small part of why people lament imbalances in ethnicity and gender today.

Teenagers aren't great at understanding the consequences of their actions. I wasn't, you weren't, most of us aren't or weren't. It's hard to look back and realize that things you thought were in fun were not fun at all for the victims, but it's a good start.

Well, I am trying to think back to my former self, back in those mid to late 90s days. It's hard to conjure up that mindset accurately. However, I would say that there was certainly a lot of immaturity to go around. There was no doxxing, there was relatively little racism. But there was a lot of sexism. I guess nerdy male-teenage dominated gaming forums of the 90s were places where women certainly did not feel welcome. I think re-reading what was said back then nowadays would probably be rather cringey. A lot of discovery of boundaries and exploration of social extremes occurred under the monicker of a kind of new-found freedom we'd been given as teenagers by the web. And that probably drove a lot of people (especially women) away. I think I lamented that fact back then, and I lament it now. It's always been my hope that I was part of inclusion rather than exclusion, but I probably failed at times, assuming an edgy 13-year old has no idea how to conduct themselves properly online. Yet, back in the day I do not think harm was intended, even when harm was done. Nowadays I wonder whether harm is intended. I am no longer active on any communities really. I post so rarely. This is one of the exceptions, as I do find it an interesting topic. I would honestly love to know whether I actually hurt anyone online, ever. I hope I did not, but if I did, then all I can do is attempt to be more aware in the future. Which, naturally, 20 years later, I am and continue to be and try to improve. That journey never ends.

When was it? Because while my own internet childhood was innocent too, I later found out a lot of very serious harassment was going on at exact that time - me seeing side pieces of it but not knowing full extend of what went on.

Back then, you was not supposed to "feed the trolls" so victims just left.

Yeah, from reading the replies here, I am beginning to think that I frequented some rather harmless parts of the internet, while left-right-and-centre, people were getting seriously harmed. It's quite eye opening :/

Charlie Gerard made a Github Action recently that uses tensorflow's toxicity classifier to block some of the more horrible PRs and comments on repos - https://github.com/charliegerard/safe-space - it'd be good if Github could roll something like that out across the entire platform.

While neat, this seems like an even more protracted version of the Scunthorpe problem just waiting to happen. We already know mass-automation of morals is problematic (see YouTube, Twitter, Facebook et al's attempts).

This stuff is deplorable, but for now it requires human eyeballs and judgement. Perhaps allow for more granularity on repo visibility and interactivity beyond public/private.

We already know mass-automation of morals is problematic (see YouTube, Twitter, Facebook et al's attempts).

This is different. On Facebook, Twitter etc is that they're trying to use AI to automate detecting general speech. That's a hard problem. PRs and comments on GitHub aren't really general speech, which simplifies the issue, and GitHub already has access to billions of legitimate PRs to use as a dataset for training. It is at least worth exploring.

I'll also add that while I think such an automated system should be opt-out by default for public repos there absolutely should be an opt-out if people want to use one.

I'm curious, what did the poster do to cause 4chan/trols to focus on her?

I know she pointed out some stuff in her article (she's a woman, mixed asian background, lists her pronouns on her page), but, usually, there's some sort of inciting incident that causes people to dogpile.

To ward off any non-constructive replies, I'll point out from the beggining that I'm not blaming her of anything, and the trolls are _obviously_ in the wrong here.

You can trace it yourself by using one of the 4chan archives, but to save you the trouble it started over someone complaining about GitHub having a readme page with a random profile as the example pic, other users looked up that profile, at which point the usual 4chan process took over. Also something about food pics.



It's pretty straight-forward why they dog piled her: She was included in the first tweet that showed off the profile readme feature. You can see it in this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/pifafu/status/1281001171352645633

I wonder if pifafu was similarly harassed.

I had the same question so I dug around. As far as I can tell it really is just one anon that hates her for no reason. He's posted a couple threads with vague insults egging people on to comment on her github.

I know she pointed out some stuff in her article (she's a woman, mixed asian background, lists her pronouns on her page), but, usually, there's some sort of inciting incident that causes people to dogpile.

To ward off any non-constructive replies, I'll point out from the beggining that I'm not blaming her of anything, and the trolls are _obviously_ in the wrong here.

> she's a woman, mixed asian background, lists her pronouns on her page

Not sure if you're familiar with how toxic trolls tend to be, but any one of those things could be reason enough for some (most?) of them.

All it takes is one asshole finding your youtube, github, or whatever. They tell their shithead friends, who yuk it up trying to ruin your life.

Thank you for documenting and sharing your experience. Nobody should have to go through that yet it happens every day, over and over.

Yes, because we designed the internet and web "wrong". I've commented with my opinion on this, here on HN, before. In my opinion, the world should have two internets: the current internet, and a "safe for life" internet.

The former would serve as a staging area and playground for new features. Just as the internet does today, it would provide, roughly speaking, no accountability and no security. My guess is that its main audience would be high-school seniors and college-age kids. In addition, you'd have a minority of techies, and — yes — some vile wingnuts.

The "safe for life" internet's network-layer would have baked-in authentication (eg: part of your IP is a user-id). It would have a protocol for notarization (ie: the ability to have a third party vouch for information. eg: the choice to tie your real name to your user-id, or remain pseudonymous). Its "web" markup would be far simpler and more semantic (no per-site styles, no dynamic features, no scripting).

When someone invents a very useful web feature/paradigm on the old internet/web, the new internet's web-standard could add special tags to support it. So, for example, the NewW3C could introduce a set of "store-front" tags with which one could create an entire online-store without any scripting. The NewW3C would include all sorts of functionality, eg: tags to host a Twitch-like site to stream video, with no JS whatsoever.

With this sort of accountability, the alternate internet would finally provide the ability to effectively moderate — bad actors wouldn't easily "respawn" a sockpuppet or bot account, to evade a ban. It would make commerce and data-sharing much safer (via the lack of dynamic features).

The situation today is absurd. What content do we want the web to promote: interesting photos of Japanese food, by a serious developer... or hackneyed ramblings by a bunch of 20-year old trolls? The internet we have today is "wrong" for most people.

This is an interesting idea, but it wouldn't have helped in this case. The trolling on Github was using a logged in account; this would exist within the "safe internet". The co-ordination of this occurred in 4chan, which would likely be in the "unsafe internet".

With your proposal, the trolling would still happen, but it might have been harder for her to track down where it was coming from.

Trolling is a societal issue, not a technological one.

  it wouldn't have helped in this case.
I'm not certain that is the case.

  The trolling on Github was using a logged in account
Except, if Github bans the user, that user (the actual human being, not their worthless handle) is gone — banned permanently. That's both a disincentive, and a rate-limiter.

Also, if the abuse is egregious enough (ie: a death threat), the troll is now in legal peril. The cost/benefit of reporting a troll to the police (even under a pseudonym) on the new internet is much more attractive. Currently, trying to track down an IP is fairly worthless. It's not tightly-coupled to a human being.

  Trolling is a societal issue, not a technological one. 
We disagree on this, but — let's be honest — there's no way to prove either position conclusively. I'm tempted to bombard you comparisons and contrasts from the various historical periods, but I doubt it would convince you. There are myriad counter-examples with which you could reply.

My take is that the internet, in its current form, enforces so little accountability, that it gives bad actors far more power than good actors.

Are you seriously proposing totalitarian internet? So let's think who would adopt it first. My guess: China, Russia, Belarus, maybe even North Koreans would finally join internet.

No. I actually discussed that, over here, in this other comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24291757

Edit: Here is a more serious reply.

I should have stressed that the new network-layer would support the old internet. So, for example, a user might have a Firefox.app window open on their screen (connected via TCP/IP and displaying a normal HTTP website), and a also an AltBrowser.app (connected via AltTCP/IP and displaying a new AltHTTP website). Sort of like the Tor-paradigm, only if Tor required you to update your router's firmware.

I think, in such an environment, the old internet would still be the first choice of most 20-somethings (aside from when they online-shop). Why? Because young people tend to seek excitement, danger, conflict, boundary-pushing, etc.

The new internet likely would be the primary choice (probably the sole one) of oldsters, toddlers, parents, researchers, sensitive souls, retailers, and so on

I'd be skeptical of a safe-for-life Internet for one reason: safety. Experian, Target, OPM... we've seen countless times that very entities the average person does business with [un]voluntarily can't be trusted with a person's details or credentials. All it would take is for one corporation to mess up and someone else would own a person's one and only safe-for-life identity which, as you noted, means they'd own their victim online entirely. Even if there's an appeal process, since the safe-for-life ID would have to be worldwide, ostensibly it'd be even more difficult for victims than it is to get a new SSN. It's a nice thought, but I wouldn't be willing to trust anyone, especially an organization like Experian that I can't even opt out of, with the safety of what amounts to my professional and a fair amount of my personal online life.

That's an excellent point. I didn't address this aspect today, but I touched on it a little in a HN comment I posted a couple months back.

Ideally, the identity-side would be handled in a distributed way through a network of brick-and-mortar notary businesses. An account "for life" wouldn't be so iron-clad as to ruin someone's life. It would be onerous in the sense that one would have to pay a fee to the notary, and provide government ID to replace their account. At which point (after which the original, compromised user ID is marked as invalid).

The point you make re: security-issues with retailers is relevant, but it applies primarily to the businesses who notarize users, probably not the retailers.

As an example of the difference, the user could request the notary electronically confirm to the public that the user has a high school diploma, but not reveal any details re: from which school, or from which year. I haven't thought this through, but I could envision a "Mailboxes Etc" type business providing both notary, and PObox/reship services so that other retailers couldn't even find out a user's address.

I don't think you'd need a separate internet for that. You can have some kind of ID system where you can authenticate to a site with your ID. Some sites essentially use small credit card payments to do this already. This commonly helps prevent ban evasions in online games that cost money.

You could be right when it comes to the network "piece." The reason I proposed it is to enforce identification tied (indirectly) to a single human being, in perpetuity. It would also be attractive to make transmission of old-style web traffic over the new network difficult, to avoid the existing web subsuming the new one. There may be other ways to wind up with the same result. Ha! Maybe neither way is possible! The internet is so complex, it's hard to reason about.

And what happens when someone hacks your account?

Probably the user would have to dig out their birth cert, and visit the notary they originally used to get internet access. Then the notary would contact their ISP (or maybe they push the update to their public records, and the user asks their ISP to pull the update) with the replacement user ID.

Whatever the specifics, the basic idea is that there be a one-to-one relationship between a user and their account.

Excellent post. Whenever I see the full extent of harassment that an acquaintance endures it usually turns out to be far more than I assumed. So if someone you know is dealing with this keep in mind that there is probably a lot more than they are initially letting on.

Normally I don't support going to peoples employers for shit they do outside of working hours, but I am willing to bet that some of those fucknuggets were using work email addresses/accounts. If I was their boss I would want Kat/Github to reach out and let me know about this.

By using their work accounts, they are stating that the company condones their behaviour - and I suspect that isn't the case in the majority of cases. I would definitely want to know if any of my employees were engaging in this shit so I could explain in very simple terms why it is unacceptable - because they clearly don't get it on their own.

I went through a couple of these GitHub usernames, they are all first deleted, but there's some presence in other sites, and it's clear that none of them likely hold a regular job in any place of consequence. One of these accounts seems to spend time finding other female GitHub accounts and making condescending PRs while another was busy on far right subreddits crapping on various groups of people.

Do yourself a favor and don't contribute to another history of $regular_dude who got fired/life ruined because his account/name was similar to someone else's in the Internet.

when has that happened before?

It’s pretty stupid to use a work account for personal stuff, I even have two brokerage accounts because of this attitude.

But using a work account to harass someone is a completely new level of stupid.

I wonder the consequences of having an account blocked or suspended if your employer used Github. And including your employer to an account you used for harassment would not, I think, be unfair grounds for "disciplinary action".

I don't know why people do this, but to figure out how to stop it, we need to understand it, don't we?


How about, if any employer wants to hold one of these employees to account, how about requiring they make a video apology that begins with an admission of what they did, and an explanation of what was going on in their mind when they did it?

Anonymise the subject and make it public?

Give it to university psych departments for study?

In the US at least that makes them a liability ticking time bomb to an employer, especially if they go beyond mere "asshole jokes" like the bloat removal which deletes everything. Since if the employer got involved in a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit later knowing about it makes them look very willfully negligent and complicit in a lawsuit. The ironic thing about it being for a "wrong reason" is that the incentive doesn't depend upon character of the employer.

Just fire their ass, and walk them to the door. Simple. Of course, lock their internal accounts first.

Sure. And then fire them.

I think they should suspend access (with right to appeal) to all of their employer's repos until they address their employee problem.

Normally I'm not racist but...

This is a false equivalence. You should directly explain why this is bad, rather than pointing to another similar bad thing.

It is encouraging d̶o̶x̶x̶i̶n̶g̶ finding identifying information of that person and using it against them.

>I also received an email from what appears to be an MRAsian... It's sadly not uncommon to see Asian men upholding white supremacy and targeting Asian women for living our damn lives.

This is a bit fishy. The email sender was asking her opinion on certain matters related to racial politics, and our dear author just accused him/them of "upholding white supremacy". This makes me lose sympathy for the author here.

I think you and author have different connotations of white supremacy. It seems to me as though you are thinking Skinheads, KKK, etc.

In typical equity/inclusivity language, the breadth of White Supremacy goes a lot farther. It's similar in concept to Structural Racism -- It's not that the MRAsian emailer literally supports Nazis, it's that they're parroting political and societal points that were created as a result of the White Supremacy being the default state in the USA.

White Supremacy (i.e, Whites, and in particular, (rich) White Males being the defacto "person" that US policy and culture was/is created for) is essentially the state of the world after centuries of actions and policy based on the idea that the White Man is most deserving the fruits of the world, and that their place must be defended from colored people and women. White Supremacy will remain a fact until the long and hard work of including and raising all other people up to the same level of consideration and opportunity is complete, and society stops transmitting toxic memes which are rooted in it.

At least, this is how I understand it. (as a member of the most privileged class; happy to be educated by someone more knowledgeable than I)

I think the call for action by teams/management to ensure sufficient support (including time off) is a really important one. Lots of organisations are investing time and effort into trying to build a more diverse workforce, but the bulk of that attention tends to be in hiring, rather than retaining and supporting minority groups in the workforce.

Lots of energy and thanks for taking the time to protocol your experiences!

Stay strong!

The amount of malice is just very sad

This sounds awful and she obviously does not deserve this. No one does or could. These people attacking her are being absolutely horrible and disgustingly wrong. It's sickening.

I hope that one day their employers (and really, their friends and family) end up finding out the kinds of things they have been saying. It's a lot harder to be a horrible racist bigot in real life than it is to be a semi-anonymous one on the internet.

That said, I would have liked to see more in the "so why me?" section. There are other Asian women in tech, and her "radical" profile honestly seems pretty mundane to me. It's definitely possible that she was just targeted at random like she suggests, but it would be nice if she linked the threads (in addition to screenshotting them) or otherwise provided some more context.

She mentioned giving talks, and those are floating around online, as well as a decent twitter following. Chances are they just stumbled upon her randomly and decided that pure vitriol was the natural response, as is the way with certain communities.

I'd still rather hear her thoughts than guess.

Nobody deserves all that fuckery.

Interesting read.

You are never going to be able to control others' speech. The internet went wrong in my opinion when folks started using their real identity and their real life information. When I was growing up and getting online in the early 90's it was the most common of knowledge to use a handle, and never endanger yourself or contaminate your real life with your online persona. I have an ongoing theory that quite a lot of modern day anxiety and stress levels is due to making this switch to always being connected to online conversations with your real identity that you cannot back out of or turn off.

All that aside and not trying to go really in depth into that whole pocket theory of mine, it's the same as in real life, it's just amplified. You can't do a whole lot about other's opinions about you, or what they say to you and if you're online and you become a target for any reason it just becomes something you have to deal with on your own terms.

It's nasty, it's petty and it's a hurtful thing to continually attack someone else, but it's the internet. All celebrities deal with the way they are talked about online in their own terms. You do understand all the mainstream Brad Pitts, Britney Spears and whoever get death/sexist/racial harassment all the time as well I assume. It's being a public persona that now becomes the problem. You are willingly putting yourself out there where essentially millions of people can online swarm you. It's a responsibility to have all your personal information online, and to talk about what you like, who you are, hobbies and passions and associate these things to your identity on platforms in which millions can hate/obsess/harass.

I think it's a very serious mental and social problem, a load that is taxing the entire human psyche right now. It's obvious to me what this is doing to humans, with everyone trying to be a public celebrity for likes and fans. I don't think it's good.

ICT has a huge problem. We've been collectively in denial about it for far too long. My cohort at compsci classes in uni was a class of ten, in an industry only 20-30 years deep at best and already the gender ratio was in decline. (This is the seventies)

I might say I think gamer culture is bound up in this but it's not just about that. Something very toxic is empowered by current s/W engineering.

I'm retiring inside ten years. I worry it won't be fixed before I leave the field.

Even if you completely removed all factors deterring women from going into CS tomorrow, drastically improved the gender ratio in courses beginning next year, it would still take years for that to affect the ratio in industry.

And then you still have to fix any issues pushing them out of industry once they're already there.

I hate this, but, I think you're right.

What's ICT?

It's what UK schools called IT when it entered the school curriculum. Not really sure what motivated the C, maybe it justified classes using the nascent web.

Communications. I used it, because "software engineer" is too specific, "engineer" is too broad, and we now have sociologists, artists, AI theoreticians, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, VLSI design and layout specialists, systems management, network administration, protocol design....

ICT is a useful umbrella term. I do not believe it is UK specific or School specific.

> Not really sure what motivated the C

People who don't realize that "communication" is an exchange of information, therefore already included in "information technology"?

> Fix. This. Shit.

Not trying to defend the bullies but people shit talking on Internet is pretty common thing. If you decide to share your photos and lifestyle, that is if you open the gate to your private space, you have to account for consequences. People mocked other people before the dawn of Internet and unless there's verifiable harm being done I think this should fall under freedom of speech. It was her decision to go public with her private life. I don't see any way to fix this except being tied into mind rewriting program like in Clockwork Orange. If people mock you behind your back, that's life. You may as well ignore them.

> Fix. This. Shit.

How? I mean, what do you suggest?

> It's a white supremacy problem.

US Cultural hegemony is inevitable, but please, try to contain this stuff in your anglo world, everytime it spills over other countries it's not an improvement.

She's already done step one - highlighted the issue - I had no idea this kind of behaviour was prevalent and if I ever caught one of my employees engaging in it, they'd be out the door.

This issues have been highlighted by at least a decade now, when I started to read english media and sites. If you had no idea, then congratulations, you saved yourself a lot of drama.

> How? I mean, what do you suggest?

Not hiring people like this is a way to fix the culture.

I don't think so, not even comment that won't be possible.

Free speech shouldn't be anonymous speech. You can say what you think, but you should be ready to face the consequences of it as the view society has on you will change. Also I think not all kinds of speech should be free. Racism and hate speech should be something to be clearly defined and prohibited (in my country, Brazil, Racism is a crime with clear consequences).

I’m so sorry people have to suffer from such awful behavior.

Last year a troll at my company Slacked his friend a horribly misogynistic remark about a women’s mentorship group meeting. But by mistake, he sent it on the general channel. Within minutes he was fired and escorted out the door by security.

It’s alarming that github is being used for this bullshit. 4chan is a pile of trash anyway, but GitHub is supposed to be different. This makes me fearful for the future and very sad that people are being harassed in professional platforms like this.

Seems there's enough of these kind of trolls on HN too for this to get flagged. Maybe even some of the same people.

I think this is uncharitable and paints users of HN who want to avoid flame as to enemy. Furthermore as shown in the article trolls are happy to comment with their real accounts. Even furthermore an internet troll craves attention. Therefore the very last thing they want is for this to be flagged.

The alternative is that there's enough people on here who find it uncomfortable when the spotlight is turned on the misogyny and racism that they share, that they flag this kind of article every single time one comes up. It's embarrassing for the community, because tech is deeply toxic and HN, arguably the biggest, most respected tech community online, shuts down every discussion of that toxicity among us. Every time this happens, I lose a little more respect for my fellow HN users, and care less about getting downvoted for calling it out.

> shuts down every discussion of that toxicity

That's far from accurate. There have been many major discussions.

It's true that some people feel that those topics are underrepresented, but that's because every topic is felt to be underrepresented, including the most common topics. It seems to be a consequence of front page space being such a scarce resource [1]. Sometimes people even end up with the idea that the most-commonly-discussed topics are actually being "aggressively removed from discussion" [2].

It's true that users sometimes flag articles that don't deserve to be flagged. We sometimes turn flags off on those. We don't always do that, because not every article on a given topic (e.g. misogyny or racism) is equally likely to support a meaningful discussion.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23624962

I’ve always wondered if internet trolls are all 14 y/o boys or if some of them are like legal adults. The constructions and logic they use are are so simplistic. Is there a pervasive mental disorder common among trolls? Or are they all just a bunch of bad people?

It's sickening.:-( To see so much hate directed at women.

This mystifies me.

They have accounts on Github. Does Github not have any sort of code-of-conduct? If not, why not?

It's insecurity. I browse /g/ sometimes and while there's some very talented and interesting engineers there, there's also a lot of people who are trying to get into programming because it's the path of least resistance for a socially awkward young white guy who spends 18 hours a day on a computer. I think these vitriolic threads mostly involve this latter group of users.

Unfortunately not everyone is disposed towards becoming a good programmer and these guys don't tend to have the best study skills or work ethic anyway, so they often struggle to acquire the skills that they believe are their only way of finding success in life. This causes them to lash out with great ferocity at people who are both technologically able and socially graceful - especially women and non-white people. It infuriates them that these normies with friendship groups and romantic partners and progressive political views are able to do the things that they are inclined to believe are the sole preserve of the lonely basement dwelling nerd, and do those things much better than they can. So they convince themselves that when a non-white woman gets hired in tech it's all the fault of the (((diversity thought police))) and that she's actually a technological incompetent, because to believe otherwise would shatter their world view and force them to come to terms with their own mediocrity.

I have seen super toxic dude who also was pretty good at programming. (All his failures were social non-technical.) Being talented does not guarantee non toxicity.

His ideology was atrocious. (He was actually physically violent to all his girlfriends and build worldview where he was the good one.)

I don't deny that such people exist. There's always outliers. But those who are gifted and capable are not usually as inclined towards hate as those who are not.

What do you base this on? Your hopes and wishes?

It takes very few nasty harassers to harass the vast majority of "targets," since harassment is not a 1:1 activity.

In my anecdotal experience, the most gifted and capable end up with the poorest socialization from early on in life, and are therefore more likely than average to either not understand the profound negative effects of things they say, or to not care.

But those who are gifted and capable are not usually as inclined towards hate as those who are not.

They are. They just hate different groups. People with low cognitive ability tend to hate groups based on things like sexuality or race. People with higher cognitive ability hate others based on the choices they make such as which political party someone supports.

Hate features universally across the spectrum of intelligence.


> "But those who are gifted and capable are not usually as inclined towards hate as those who are not."

I have some passing familiarity with academia and with FAANG companies. Try doing something something that risks a professor getting publications/tenure or risks an FAANG employee their next bonus/promotion and you'll find out rather jarringly why that belief is pure fantasy.

>young white guy who

You see what your doing here right?

No, not really? I'm pretty sure 4chan is overwhelmingly young white guys. I think that's common knowledge.


>This one in particular stood out to me because it's a very specific type of harassment I've received my whole life, usually from East Asians.

Maybe call your commonsense prejudice?

To be honest, knowing what I know about 4chan, I would guess that's a white weeb. Of course, it could be a 16 year old girl from Osaka, but to a first order approximation literally everyone on /g/ is a white guy.

Maybe, but if you fix your comments on skin color your are as racist as those peoples. Even she makes that error, attributes a comment to East Asian and later call it White Supremacy, the most extreme racism i saw in the past was in Africa, second India third Russia.

Seeing as she keeps mentioning how she thinks they're Asian men while apparently linking some of them to their real identities through GitHub, well, I don't think it's that hard to put 1 and 1 together in this case.

/pol/ and /g/ have very different board cultures. Actually, /pol/ and literally any other board have very different board cultures.

They’re bitter unemployed men of many ages and races who are not marketable and feel they will be excluded from society regardless of any technical proficiency they have or could hope to gain.

And with the attitudes they hold, it becomes self fulfilling. Just pathetic.

You're employing the tactic of "poisoning the well", which is a pre-emptive personal attack. Many programmers are introverts, and you calling them antisocial basement dwelling nerds is just a hostile stereotype. There is no way extroverts are inherently better than introverts. I don't like the false dichotomy you're implying. Also, making people "guilty" by association. Also, dehumanizing while taking high moral ground.

Downvoting you, and I'm saying this openly because I despise cowardly anonymous ostracism present on sites like this. Sometimes I wish all downvoting was done with stating the reason.

There were civil ways you could have described these behaviors, but you didn't. For example covert narcissisim, passive aggressive. I have some covert narcissist traits, but at least I'm trying.

I didn't mention introversion and I didn't imply all introverts are antisocial basement dwelling nerds. I'm just describing a particular class of /g/ users and the attitudes they hold.

You can say from the language in those screenshots that at least some of the bullies are not from the US. I don't really know how the US racial 'dynamics' work and feel, as I don't live there, so I'm not taking sides here.

There's just one thing I would like to bring your attention to.

I'm a white guy, born and raised in Europe, in an almost all-white country (+ Vietnamese and Gypsy minorities, but basically no big racial tensions). In my 20-thousand-people hometown there was a black guy and everyone knew him by name, because he was THE black guy. My country had been through fourty years of communism, then had a revolution and then went through a slow, uphill struggle to become a modern country where people vote in free elections every few years, have MacBooks and drive BMWs too fast. The living standard isn't exactly like Germany or the Great Britain, but we manage.

And yet, every time I go online, there are people talking about "white supremacy". About "white privilege". People blaming the whites for slavery and wars, people saying whites are responsible for everything bad that has ever happened to the blacks. There are people who get so offended about everything they slightly disagree with, who are so sensitive and self-righteous, they wouldn't even be taken seriously in my country.

To a white person whose ancestors never took part in any colonialism or slavery, the internet feels pretty hostile and just as judgemental as those 4chan weirdos. I don't like feeling guilty and being judged just because I don't support BLM, don't condemn Trump or don't care for "diversity" in companies whose products I use.

I don't vote in your elections, I'm not the one who doesn't greet your black neighbor, I didn't install an obscure bipartisan system in your country.

I don't feel guilty, yet every time I try to express any of those opinions online I get downvoted into oblivion by a US-centric virtue signalling mob.

I understand the world is a complicated place and I kind of let it fly, but there are people getting slowly pushed over the edge by the hostility and shaming.

Here's a link [0] to a news site discussion under a BLM related article. The opinions expressed there are pretty much in unison with what I hear from people around me.

[0] https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=cs&tl=en&u=https%3...

What you're seeing is utter dominance of the US over English-language web. It's like people in the UK, Canada, Australia and company barely ever post on the web, and Europeans just hang out on local sites instead. Hence, English-language web is pretty much ‘US web’, and US politics is all over it.

Ironically, you're posting this on a California-specific site where even other US people complain of too-local content and discussion.

Among top non-regional sites, one that has more Europeans than Americans is 9GAG—but I doubt it that it's very interesting to grownups.

I'd disagree and say that what we are seeing with all the constant talk about racism and over sensitivity to every little thing that can be turned into an offense of the most egregious nature, is the loudest victim using nasty speech to strongly convey negative-attention seeking behaviors. This is at global scale even if it started from the US social media.

Being from the same region, I just don't feel hostility you describe.

For one, I really don't get offended over Americans discussing American history and society in terms relevant for American society.

For the other, I don't understand why you living in completely different region with very little knowledge of America should talk about BLM. You can ship that discussion entirely if you wish.

But when you join to take side with little knowledge of issues involved, the yeah, should not be surprised that people downvoted you.

Is your point that her politics are bad enough that she deserves this harassment, and is wrong to complain about it?

My point is that her being a little bit annoying may be the last drop for some people, and may unleash a disproportionate response.

I think the harassment is sad and reprehensible, I'm just speculating there's much more behind it than her politics.

>I'm just speculating there's much more behind it than her politics.

Regretfully, I used 4chan a lot over the last decade, and I strongly agree with the author's description of it and most of its users. It really is enough for someone to catch the attention of trolls on the /g/ board if they say that there exists attention-seeking woman who is a fake programmer and who says bigotry is wrong who needs to be taken down a peg.

That is the thing they call bias: you don't really know, but make guesses and imagine events to confirm pre-conceived idea on who is bad, based on political affiliation, gender and race.

This has been flagged, and I would like to speak to why it shouldn't have been. HackerNews is a site for hackers, and among hackers there is still a wide cohort of people who will absolutely deny that women face (and more generally, marginalised people) do not face hate for who they are. This ought to stay up, just so we have another very visible example of what tonnes of people go through.

I also think this shouldn't be flagged. What I personally dislike on sites like this is that anonymous downvoting often works like anonymous ostracism. Many times when some of my comments are downvoted I would at least like to know why I was downvoted. Perhaps there should be a way to post anonymous comments for the purposes of downvoting someone.

More generally, rating all comments and submissions on a scale is wrong for some topics. In some cases there's no right or wrong way to do it, only tradeoffs and context. The +/- voting system has simplistic appeal, but is also a bit archaic.

Agree. Imo downvotes are actually a form of cancelling.

I absolutely agree. It does constantly get used around here just to silence the narrative of something the downvoter doesn't like. I'd posture it mostly gets used for that, and a small fraction of the time is it used correctly or does it serve a "good faith" action.

I also think the mods should manually unflag this. The events in the article are interesting, and the issue of trolling is currently a hot-topic in tech. I could understand people flagging it if she went overboard making political prescriptions, but her essay is pretty tame on that front.

Arrgh, my brain ate up the middle sentence - I meant to say:

"women (and more generally, marginalised people) face hate for who they are."

> among hackers there is still a wide cohort of people who will absolutely deny that women face

That was one of the points of the trolls which is right: this woman is not a hacker. The way they go about it obviously is puerile, but the point still stands.

How do you define "hacker"?

Per the guidelines, hacker news is a "site for things that hackers might find interesting."

Based on that, having the sufficient amount of flaggings suggests that hackers do not find this interesting.

I see why it is important to highlight this, but don't see a reason why HN is the right place for it.

I'm not sure you can draw that conclusion. A significant number of people "flagging" something as uninteresting _to them_ does not necessarily indicate that it is uninteresting to "hackers". People have all sorts of reasons for flagging, but they should normally be positive ones e.g. "this violates some guideline and here's why", not "I do not find this interesting and therefore no-one else will".

Correct- "interesting" was poor wording here, should have been "on-topic."

You write: "having the sufficient amount of flaggings suggests that hackers do not find this interesting".

I think you have misread the dynamics. To start, most people don't flag something just because it's not interesting. I don't - do you?

The piece describes coordinated harassment against the author, by software developers.

How many people does it take to flag something on HN? How many people are involved in that coordinated harassment. Can you therefore conclude that the flagging is not part of that broader coordinated harassment? I ... don't think so.

This coordinated harassment is part of a larger subculture of harassment against women in tech. As an example, 13 years ago Kathy Sierra withdrew from online life due to harassment. Quoting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra#Harassment_and_wi... 'Scoble said "[W]henever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn't happen if the interviewee were a man."'.

As the piece points out, silence - and flagging is an attempt to silence - is one of many tactics used by harassers.

Given the context, you might therefore ask why "hackers do not find this interesting". Is it because a non-trivial number of hackers are sexist, and empathize with the harassment against women in tech, so flag in order to silence?

Or is it because hackers are tired of reading about how sexist the tech field is and want HN as their safe space? Or they feel powerless to change things so flagging is a way of sticking their head in the sand?

Or, really, you should rephrase the question entirely. Don't interpret flagging as a signal for interesting/not interesting, but see it as signal for "should not be on HN" - of which 'not interesting' is only a (small, IMO) part of it.

You're completely right - I misworded the "interesting" part, when I did in fact mean "on-topic."

However, I don't think it changes my ultimate point. All the same, an (assumedly) big enough populace decided this was not on topic.

You make a number of good points, which I won't argue with, except this one:

> Given the context, you might therefore ask why "hackers do not find this interesting". Is it because a non-trivial number of hackers are sexist, and empathize with the harassment against women in tech, so flag in order to silence?

I you're forgetting a very significant populace of "I have a millions issues I could worry about at any given point and just cannot provide meaningful resources to worry about this specific one."

I don't flag topics just because I can't provide meaningful resources to it. Do you?

Flagging may prevent others who might have those resources from contributing, yes? So flagging is not a neutral personal expression but a public negative expression, yes?

I still believe the interesting question is why did a big enough population decided this was not on topic enough to flag it, rather than ignore it.

Well, I'm drifting way into the sea of armchair psychology here, but a part of "I don't have resources to care" also translates often to "I don't want to see anything related to this."

Especially on the web, which tends to be fast-paced system 1 / reptile-brain media for many. Scroll, click, skim read, back, (not interesting topic - flag), f5, repeat.

There's an option to hide stories - it also hides comments for those stories on the new comments page. That's the appropriate action to take for stories one simply doesn't want to see, if one cannot muster the intestinal fortitude to simply ignore them and move on.

Why so aggressive? I’m just speculating on why people might flag.

I'm not intending to be aggressive towards you personally, but Hacker News as a community because I consider flagging abuse to be really toxic behavior, particularly when a better alternative to it exists.

Because it talks about harassment in IT? Those trolls or “kids” as few people names them, are in most cases HN target audience. :)

> Those trolls or “kids” as few people names them, are in most cases HN target audience. :)

Not that I've spent a meaningful amount of time on any "chan", but based on my limited understanding just reducing HN and 4chan into "tech sites" is insufficient.

Again, the flaggings are the obvious signal of what interests people here. Why enforce arbitrary moderation on top?

Yes, for me it’s obvious signal that most of them was hurt by this. It’s not about interest.

> It’s not about interest.

How do you know?

Example: I flag, on every opportunity, posts related to US politics. It's not because I'm "hurt" or annoyed by US politics, it's because I have close to zero interest in them and don't want that to be a content category that takes up space in HN from the actual interesting stuff.

I bet many feel the same for posts about social issues like this, whether it's morally right or wrong.

This social issue is tied with IT, HN and communities/companies alike. It shouldn’t be flagged because it’s hard for many, it should be talked about. Women in tech are treated like second class citizens.

But maybe i spent too much time in tech social media and I see those patterns regularly. Eg. Abuse woman online, if she starts talking about it, discredit her skills, and try to humiliate as much as possible, presenting it as a snowflake kind of attitude.

All of this is typical “nice guy” kind of shit.

This is not an issue tied to IT any more than it's an issue tied to a corner store gas station. You cannot regulate morality.

A "sufficient amount of flaggings" does not suggest that "hackers do not find this interesting." It suggests that some percentage of users find it un-interesting, or want all of us to avoid it, which is not the same thing.

Then your problem is with the HN guidelines, as they specifically mention flagging as a way to filter out ”off-topic” content.

what about all the "hackers" who found it interesting and didn't flag it?

How is this post flagged.

Users flagged it. This is in the FAQ: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html

What does [flagged] mean?

It means that users flagged a post as breaking the guidelines or otherwise not belonging on Hacker News.

Moderators sometimes add [flagged] for the same reasons, and sometimes turn flags off when they are unfair.

How can a post get unflagged? I think more people should see this. I wasn't aware that GitHub was used in such a toxic way and I'm absolutely shocked.

The fact that this article was marked flagged after 20 minutes sort of confirms the point of the article's author.

I'm really disappointed to see it flagged, because this is a real issue in the tech industry and its online spaces. Especially with the widespread moves to work-from-home, it's extremely important that we have online spaces that are better than this.

That was fast and this is the part of the problem.

Out of sight, out of mind? (I hope it's not because enough HN users agree with the haters)

Probably targeted by the subjects of this post. @dang is it possible to get this unflagged? This stuff is important for us to see.

I am glad it was flagged.

People are mainly talking about US politics here. And look at the discussion. Every different opinion is downvoted and dead.

How is gender bias, discrimination and online harassment US politics? Can you point out something in this discussion to me that gives you the impression that this is mainly about US politics? Because I was not under that impression at all.

All of those harassments and trolling mainly happens as a back and forth between two streams of culture within the USA. And typically revolves around the topics of: "Black lives matter", "Racism", "Sexism in tech", "Transphobia" - all these things are internal US politics stuff.

From the perspective of where I live (Eastern Europe):

"Black lives matter" - We have very few black people living here. And very few problems with police in general. When something bad happens it typically happens to the police, not by the police.

"Racism" - we have no history of slavery nor racism, except being subjected to it. Even more - originally the word "slave" was derived from the word "slav".

"Sexism in tech" - there is no sexism in tech here. Tech is not even a prestigious field. People want to work in law, medicine and finance. Some can even be quite ashamed to admit they work in a technical field.

"Transphobia" - even such things as thinking about "sex" and "gender" as different concepts are quite US specific. i.e. where I live we typically refer to people by their sex, and don't even have a term for a separate concept like gender.

Yet these things are so pervasive on the internet. People even post their pronouns on twitter and (in this case) fill their GitHub profiles with that stuff. They can do it of course, it might even be a good thing to do. But I do not think this deserves a front page of HN. Hence why I am glad it was flagged.

To claim that any of the points that you have mentioned are merely political is absurd. Words themselves are apolitical, and to say "that's racist/sexist/etc.", is merely an observation, and does not represent a political opinion.

The author of the article is not trying to promote a political agenda, asking you to support "cause A" or "cause B", they are merely trying to document a traumatizing experience that they have had.

And even if it was US politics? A large chunk of HN users are from the US. And as you have given me your political opinion about transphobia being "US specific", so does the author of the article claim "This thing happened. That's bad."

"Black lives matter" specifically is a slogan with a US background, yes, but European countries do have racism, sexism and trans-rights issues, and there is really no point in pretending otherwise. EDIT: that's not to say that there aren't overly strong US influences in some topics, just that "oh that's a US-only thing" does not apply here.

The article isn't about her politics, it's about the harassment she got.

Ugh, slavs were quite racist against Jews in particular. Animosity against gypsies is clesr too, but treatment of Jews stands out in general. And currently, general opinions of many people in region are pretty racist ... it just does not come up until yoi discuss race.

Also, I would really like to kmow where slavic you are that there ia no sexism against women in tech or girls.

Amd i dont know slavic programmer ashamed of that, the job is pretty well paid.

"all these things are internal US politics stuff"

I do not believe your statement is correct.

Literally the first search I did was "police Poland" in a DDG news search on DDG and the third link was to earlier this month https://www.out.com/news/2020/8/10/polands-stonewall-police-... titled "Poland's Stonewall: Police Attack and Arrest Queer Protestors" :

> Nearly 50 people were arrested following the arrest of trans activist Malgorzata Szutowicz, better known as Margot, on Friday. The protests come amidst a rise in homophobic hate and rhetoric, and the recent re-election of President Duda who called LGBTQ+ rights a foreign ideology that seeks to destroy basic Polish values.

Or from https://euobserver.com/justice/149112 :

> Police were also investigating a separate case, in which a man on a balcony, next to a rainbow flag, grabbed his crotch during a World War II memorial march last weekend, Marczak said earlier. ...

> "No democratic country should allow the kind of incidents we saw, in which police enters people's private homes," [Rafał Trzaskowski] added, referring to police efforts to stop the balcony protester last weekend.

A DDG news search for "racism in Bulgaria" (literally my second search) includes this summary at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-50060759 about repeated racism by Bulgian football fans. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/20/bulgaria-sofia... points out "While racist abuse of players inside stadiums attracts attention outside Bulgaria, within the country it is the Roma who are the principal targets of thugs in black and men in suits."

A DDG news seach for "black lives matter Croatia" finds https://balkaninsight.com/2020/06/10/balkan-protesters-show-... where we read "Activists in Zagreb, Belgrade, Podgorica, Warsaw and Sofia rallied to show solidarity but also to point out the problem of racism and police violence in their own countries. ... Dozens of people took part in a protest march in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica on Monday evening. “There is no doubt that racists are also hiding among all our local Balkan fascists.“"

I do believe my statement is correct.

You find some articles via google search about things like "black lives matter" in Croatia and claim it is relevant there somehow. There was a BLM protest in Lithuania too (where I am from). There were maybe 10 black people in that protest. Half of them when interviewed said they were traveling through different countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Poland) to create and initiate those protest. Then if you look at the people who attended - mostly teenagers. When asked why they are attending this protest they came up with "to show solidarity for US". Which is to say - they are being fed US politics over the internet and found an opportunity to join an event here.

So that's how I see it. These US political things leak to other countries. Through media, through twitter and instagram, and now even through HN.

>"Transphobia" - even such things as thinking about "sex" and "gender" as different concepts are quite US specific. i.e. where I live we typically refer to people by their sex, and don't even have a term for a separate concept like gender.

Another way of saying this is that Lithuania is currently either culturally or politically suppressing trans people, whether inherently or knowingly - I promise you trans people and their alternative identification exist there, too. You just dont see it and/or they are afraid to say so.

A BLM protest in East Europe looks partially ridiculous to me, the amount of black people in those countries and the police brutality is almost null. It is more an US problem.

In those countries there are more important issues to protest about, like what is happening in Belarus, and unfortunately is something that doesn't have the same news impact as the BLM protests.

Are LGBTQ+ rights a foreign ideology that seek to destroy basic Polish values?

Is Malgorzata Szutowicz an Eastern European who thinks about "sex" and "gender" as different concepts?

I quoted a BLM protesters as saying they were there "to show solidarity but also to point out the problem of racism and police violence in their own countries", which includes racism against the Roma people.

Hammering it won't make your point across. Most of this issues are not really very relevant to those societies. What you're looking for is activists (now journalists) writing pieces, and drinking from US narratives.

People in other countries is worried because every time a problem is framed under anglo-narrative constraints it becomes distorted, unnecessarily confrontational, and it distracts media from talking about the real problems people care about.

BLM protests in particular were weird in many places. In my city there was a bunch of people (mostly whites) and it wasn't very well received, because there were other very pressing issues (like people dying by the thousands by a virus).

You don't realize it, but all this toxicity is mainly an anglo thing. I regularly spend time around spanish, portuguese and some french internet and it's quite different.

When there's such drama, participants even use english words to describe this phenomena. It's a clear anglo cultural artifact that spilled over due to US cultural hegemony.

This is an english forum connected to a California venture firm that frequently discusses American tech companies and their workplaces, so of course you're going to find conversations about things relevant to that here.

I find it weird to see this when I rarely see comments so strongly arguing that a subject is too US-centric for HN in threads about stuff like the San Francisco housing market, American workplaces, or other aspects of online sites.

I was just providing explanation, not that I agree that there can't be US-centric discussions in Reddit.

I think there's considerable evidence just from reading the news that Hispanophone, Lusophone, and Francophone countries are _far_ from free of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. I don't think hate speech is somehow limited to Anglophone countries, and it would be extremely disingenuous to claim it is.

I don't have the same impression. The issues are there, but there's much less tension and conflict. If you read news, you're mostly reading activists though.

Some counterexamples:

1. Argentina has one of the highest femicide rates in the world. 2. Brazil elected Bolsonaro, who spends a lot of time spouting homophobic / misogynistic things. 3. France nearly elected Marine LePen last time around.

I'm not sure how one can pretend that only Anglophone countries have issues with misogyny, homophobia, and racism.

I'm not saying that only the anglophone world has this issues. I don't know why you guys keep hammering it. It's not about the numbers, it's about relevance and how it's approached.

Argentina has a lot of issues, and women getting murdered is not of particular relevance among the high level of crime, the high level of corruption and the extremely difficult financial situation of argentinians, who can't even save money reasonably in their local currency, which may be a given for US, but it's a living hell for them. In facto, inflation is consistently the first problem for most argentinians in most polls.

Argentinians don't need to talk about BLM, because it's not relevant to them. Women in tech is probably one of the least problems for them. Energy and time are precious resources, and they need to be focused on important issues.

I think some of you guys just haven't got the empathy to imagine a different setting than your current one. Just being able to put money in a bank and forgetting about it is a luxury some people can't afford.

> I'm not sure how one can pretend that only Anglophone countries have issues with misogyny, homophobia, and racism.

The same way that people in Anglophone countries pretend that they don't have issues with misogyny, homophobia, and racism: by being on the safe side of those issues! Straight men in the ethnic majority are very easily, even naturally, unaware of any tension or issues, and find it easy to dismiss people highlighting the experiences of others as "activism."

The words "macho" and "machismo" come from Portuguese. I've been told that Latino South and Central American machismo culture is very toxic compared "even" to US standards.

But then again, I didn't really put much stock in vague generalizations like this, or yours.

Don't they come from Spanish, since most of South America was colonized by Spain and the words also exist and are more commonly used in Spanish?

Regardless, point taken, it's not a US-centric problem.

Why is this flagged?

Users flagged it. This is in the FAQ: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html

What does [flagged] mean?

It means that users flagged a post as breaking the guidelines or otherwise not belonging on Hacker News.

Moderators sometimes add [flagged] for the same reasons, and sometimes turn flags off when they are unfair.

The fact that this was flagged so quickly shows that HN and its readers are part of the problem :(


Innocent people (the ones on the same subnet/VPN) don't deserve to be banned, that's a bizarre suggestion.

This is 4chan we are talking about. Most of them wont need a github account until they grow old enough to work. They will only see it as a successful troll and move on to their next target.

> Then add firewall rules blocking every VPN and their entire ISP subnet.

So you start targeting random people that weren't involved while the trolls watch from the sideline munching on popcorn. Yes, that will show them.

Yeah. And ban you too. And every other complainer and objecter. Participation is a privilege, not a right.

Also, punishing the entire group is very effective in the military. I am surprised how consistently the unit will turn on the offender, rather than the individuals who are making up the rules and administering the punishments. I think my proposed strategy will work.

> Also, punishing the entire group is very effective in the military.

So how does banning an ISP subnet equate to punishing 4channers?

> I am surprised how consistently the unit will turn on the offender

That implies that you communicated the reason for the ban and there is actually a consistent group aware of what is going on. Randomly banning vpns and ISP subnets does not imply that.

It just needs the right press releases, precisely timed, carefully worded.

You’ll love how effective it is, right up to the point where you discover someone in your neighbourhood participated and you can no longer use github.


So—because you're used to worse abuse you think it's fine others are subjected to abuse? It seems like you're just opting out of any social responsibility.

Your argument for why it is not white supremacy or misogyny is that people like there perpetrators always existed and that they are possibly young?

How exactly does the latter disproves the former? The are independent claims.

If you read my post you can see I mentioned I was the target for chan trolling/abuse/attack (whatever you want to call it) while being a white cis man. Also they attack each other inside the chans while being god knows what every one of them. It has nothing to do with white supremacy or misogyny but with mean kids that will attack anyone.

The behavior demonstrated by the mob is utterly abhorrent, and we should all oppose it as vigorously as possible.

But the "suggestions" section is not constructive.

> When these events happen to your employees, are you investing actual money to support them?

I'm sorry, but you don't even know the human beings on my team.

> It's easy to dismiss these trolls as incel 4channers that we shun and don't associate with. Lol no. These are your people. They work at your companies and write your code. They are harassing or doxxing your other employees. This toxic behavior is still very much a part of your tech culture, and you keep rewarding it.

Well, after building an airtight case for incredibly gross behavior on the part of the mob, you lost me completely. The implication is that "incel 4channers" are mainstream programmers. They are not. Not even close. I have worked with hundreds, and not one of them is like this. This is the vocal minority that the internet enables to speak out of proportion to their numbers, and make us all miserable. And the phenomenon of a vocal malignant minority is present in every domain, so why are we making this about our colleagues in the tech community?

No normal adult with a job, maybe a family, maybe a pet, and a million other things to do has time for this. They are either children, or bitter social and emotional pariahs.

I'm extremely sorry this talented programmer had to deal with them, but becoming bitter only fuels their sense of importance.

The best revenge is living well.

> No normal adult with a job, maybe a family, maybe a pet, and a million other things to do has time for this.

This is simply not true. "Normal", regular people do this too. I remember a while back a Finnish journalist wrote an article about meeting one of his online abusers[1], who had - on a Finnish copy of 4chan - wished that an immigrant would stab him and his whole family to death. Turned out the offender was a regular family man with a job and young children. He could not offer an explanation for his words and was not politically active.

These boards, their super hateful environment, and the presumed anonymity can get even a normal person to sling online hate. Even this person in the article said that his public persona in his normal life was completely different and not representative of his online comments.

[1] https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2019/05/30/nettivihaa-tyossaan... (in Finnish)

EDIT: Found it in English: https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2019/11/06/face-to-face-with-a...

plenty of these people leaving super hateful comments all around the internet are just everday, nice friendly people who choose to say whatever the fuck they want on a forum or chan. It seems a lot of people throughout this very thread, would rather reduce them all to a certain ideology or hardcore stereotype all 4chan users as only white males. You couldn't be more wrong about that. Tons of people get on there and talk a bunch of trash like it's a video game and then go back to their "life."

that's really interesting. thanks for the relevant anecdote.

But say that guy works for me, and he is hiding his behavior well.

What am I supposed to do with that possibility?

As an employer or manager frankly it's neither your responsibility nor your business to investigate how your reports are spending their personal time.

First of all, don't lose any sleep over it. If one of your guys is a huge troll it's not your fault that you didn't know. These assholes are going to look like everyday normal people in RL. Secondly don't go snooping on your employees without cause. This should go without saying.

> Well, after building an airtight case for incredibly gross behavior on the part of the mob, you lost me completely. The implication is that "incel 4channers" are mainstream programmers. They are not. Not even close. I have worked with hundreds, and not one of them is like this.

1. citation needed

2. The fact that people active on Github (i.e. with active work accounts, according to the article) were part of this would suggest that your overall point is probably wrong. Maybe your point about the small sample of people you've worked with is true, but I'd be surprised. After all, how would you know - you think that your colleagues would openly share that they're secretly a racist/sexist/whatever internet troll?

It is comforting to believe that none of the people you've worked with would ever do anything like this.

It is also probably incorrect.

People are usually not very open about their bad behavior, and if they were, that would say much about their perception of you.

I worked with a drug addict who had, more than once, shot up while in the office. I only learned this after he died of an overdose. When I expressed my shock at his use of drugs, several other employees expressed their shock at my shock. It turned out that those of us who were known for smoking a lot of weed had some knowledge of his drug use, while those of us he perceived as squares had no clue at all.

So kudos for being the kind of person the nasty abusers don't want to tip their hand to, but don't assume you haven't worked with nasty abusers.

Of course it's possible, just as it's possible for someone to be an abusive partner when their conduct at work with colleagues is normal.

But what do you do with that information? What is the action you want from this?

Because it seems like the only thing I can do is make it clear it's not tolerated, which seems a little... bizarre... given that it's not happening. Let's all be mindful, aware, and empathetic. But saying they are "on my team" is an unhelpful assertion with neither evidence nor utility in solving this social phenomenon.

That is where she goes really wonky with the white supremacy bit and "Fix this shit these are your devs/employees" like what is any manager to do? Go home with people and do a deep seated documentary on each employee, pry into their personal lives and attempt to root out anyone with ideology that she doesn't like? It's fine to not like bigotry and racism, however it's not fine to tell everyone else what they can think or believe. Huge issue right now. You cannot legislate morality. Period.

Your initial comment was very dismissive, and I believe you erred in your assumptions. So one action I would want is for people to not be so dismissive when you hear about the very real and very widespread experiences of victims of online abuse.

> No normal adult with a job, maybe a family, maybe a pet, and a million other things to do has time for this. They are either children, or bitter social and emotional pariahs.

This is provably untrue, and that bad assumption is driving you to miss out on opportunities to be mindful, aware, and empathetic. So please, try to actually be mindful, aware, and empathetic.


>No normal adult with a job, maybe a family, maybe a pet, and a million other things to do has time for this. They are either children, or bitter social and emotional pariahs.

This is an understandable assumption, but it's wrong. I spend a lot of time on 4chan, and I even know who some of these people are in real life. Some of them are adults with jobs, families who support them (though none have children), and circles of IRL like-minded friends.

> No normal adult with a job, maybe a family, maybe a pet, and a million other things to do has time for this. They are either children, or bitter social and emotional pariahs.

This might be a comforting thought for you, but it is just not true.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact