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How I Deal with Sexual Discrimination in a Positive Way? (tammycamp.com)
114 points by asanwal on May 21, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 220 comments



It's hard to take this blog post at face value. My experience with the industry has been that IT people are terrified of offending women and go far out of their way to avoid being perceived as sexist. I do know a couple guys that flirt with women at work but that's a far cry from sexual discrimination.

As long as we're sharing anecdotes:

* My girlfriend of 3 years also works in this industry, and she has never complained about an incident of any kind.

* I worked with a female developer who was fired and complained about discrimination. But this was not the case, she was fired because she was terrible at her job.

* I also worked with a gay developer who was fired. He complained loudly of homosexual discrimination... but I saw his check-ins (or lack thereof)--he was also terrible at his job.

So the two major cases of discrimination I personally know about in Silicon Valley have both been frauds. Is discrimination real in Silicon Valley? Certainly, yes, there's always a few bad apples in any large community. Is the problem being blown out of proportion here? I think so.


I'm married to someone who went on an IT job interview and was shown a naked picture of the hiring manager, while he was interviewing her.

That's one of the stories I'm at liberty to share.

Happy to cancel you out!


Yeah, I am married to someone who got death threats over email for daring to start a group promoting women's participation in free sofware projects. So never mind that most men in the industry aren't like that, a small proportion of toxic people still make for a poisonous environment.

And this is before we start quantifying how small that proportion really is, and how negative other aspects of discrimination can be. Death threats and sexual harassment are only the showy, extreme points of a very wide continuum of discrimination.


This is incredibly important. It cannot be repeated often enough, because people seem to keep forgetting it:

  that *most* men in the industry aren't like that, 
and

  a small proportion of toxic people still make for a 
  poisonous environment.


Yikes. Maybe it was this guy? http://onion.com/cGj5Xy


This is a serious topic, and you trying to make light of the situation is just absolutely horrible.


Am I supposed to find some clever cat picture to reply to you with?


Would have been better than the snark. Lack of contribution to me is not license to reply with even less contribution.


"I'm sorry. I can't help but be amused that some opinion on a forum somewhere has made your life a less happy place. The tiniest of my violins mourns your loss."


There was more substance to that comment than what you quoted.


Jesus Christ this moron will never get it. He thinks it's all about him.


I agree so much with this. I hate how people in that are in a minority demographics tend to cry wolf and discrimination on everything. Personally, it doesn't even cross my mind that some people are different than me. I've lived all over the world with all kinds of demographics, and now I live and work in one of the most diverse place on earth: SF. It boggles my mind that this is still an issue for people.

An example: I have no problem with gay people, I have a ton of gay friends and spent a year living with a (really cool) gay couple. But what I absolutely cannot stand is people who turn everything into a statement about them being gay. Who try to force me to acknowledge it and use it as an excuse for sucking in general. No, I couldn't give less of a fuck about your sexual preference. But don't try to make it an issues when it's not.

PS: On sexual discrimination: If I'm attracted to a girl, I might flirt with her and see how it goes. If I'm at a party, I may try to hook up with a girl. I don't do it with co-workers because it'd complicate the workplace—but otherwise why not? Since when has it become wrong and inappropriate to hit on a girl…?


"Personally, it doesn't even cross my mind that some people are different than me."

People who aren't rich, white, straight, and male don't have the privilege of forgetting about their own identity the way you do. In the context of tech for women, this means always wondering if you were hired, fired, or asked to coffee because you are a woman or because you are interesting and competent. It's knowing that if you mess up, you are reinforcing stereotypes about all women. When you walk into a room at a conference and you can count the other women on one hand, men may not notice but women definitely do. We don't have the privilege of forgetting our gender in that context. It's not that men are evil, it's just the way privilege works: when you benefit from it, it's hard to see the experience of those who don't.

If you want to hear more about this idea even more eloquently, check out the classic article about white privilege that puts it better than I ever could: http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf


People who aren't rich, white, straight, and male don't have the privilege of forgetting about their own identity the way you do.

Well, from what I've seen, Korean males of high social status who were born in and live in Korea have that privilege. It's hard to get your head around what this stuff is like as an adult. If you're born as a minority and raised to feel the metaphorical target on you from childhood -- there's just no way to convey what that's like. Face that stuff only as an adult, and you can always draw on your memories from childhood to know that's not true. You can always go back home where you know you are safe.

It's quite an eye opener and really weird, being raised by your parents to expect that sort of privilege, then going out in the world to discover the world at large has a very different story to tell you.


> People who aren't rich, white, straight, and male don't have the privilege of forgetting about their own identity the way you do.

You know, not everyone who isn't rich, white, straight, and male has the burden of being constantly reminded of one's own identity.

As a non-rich, non-white, straight male, I think I can honestly say that I was never particularly aware of my non-richness and non-whiteness until I started attending a large university where people make a big deal about class, race, sexual preference, and sex.

Did I get picked on as a child? Sure. But I never assumed it was because I was non-white, I generally thought it was because I was nerdy and small. Once I started standing up for myself, most of the taunting came to an end. Bullies are often cowards.

I think that some people are taught to believe that anytime that something bad happens to them, it can only be because of sexism, racism, etc. These sorts of beliefs are ultimately counter-productive and negative. In particular, they teach people not to take personal responsibility for their own lives.


  In the context of tech for women, this means always 
  wondering if you were hired, fired, or asked to coffee
  because you are a woman or because you are interesting and
  competent. 
Your example also goes the other way around. As a man, you can never hire, fire or ask a woman to coffee without her doubting your motives. The same goes for a gay man, a black man or an old man. As a man, you can't forget your identity either: you always need to be aware of who you are, in relation to the others around you.


Well you can, as evidenced by the attitude of the person I was responding to. That doesn't mean you should, which is I think what you really mean.

But yes, having such an imbalance in our community leads to this being a salient part of social interaction when there are much more important characteristics that should rise to the top.


I hate how people in that are in a minority demographics tend to cry wolf and discrimination on everything.

Isn't concluding that people in minority demographics are either deluded or engaging in deception -- a form of prejudice?

now I live and work in one of the most diverse place on earth: SF. It boggles my mind that this is still an issue for people.

It boggles my mind as well, even though I live in Houston. I've never been harassed in SF, but I've been racially harassed by strangers in Houston, Cincinnati, Oregon outside of Portland (shock!), County Wexford Ireland, and probably a bunch of other places if I try and remember. I attended a New Year's party at a frat-house in Seattle, where my big bruiser square-headed friend told me he had to talk a bunch of frat brothers out of beating the crap out of me for no reason other than that I have asian features.

I don't go looking for trouble, and it doesn't find me very often -- maybe only once in several years or so -- but it does find me from time to time. Most people are good people, but there are a few bad ones out there. (Just like there are a few misogynist douchebags who would rape a woman.)

So don't be disgusted or surprised if I wonder why certain strangers seem to take an instant dislike to me before I've even finished my first sentence or talk over me or don't even deign to look at me even though we're clearly in the same conversation group. That occasional bad person might come out of the woodwork with no warning or provocation to ruin my day.


Hey guys! My limited anecdotal experience on this topic TOTALLY explains the situation.


Unfortunately this is one topic area on the Internet where one person's limited anecdotal experience is treated as Gospel Truth and another person's is considered, well, mere limited anecdotal experience.

Oh well. This particular flame fest has been going on (on the net) since at least the 80's. I don't expect it to ever end.

Have fun solving it folks!


This particular flame fest has been going on (on the net) since at least the 80's. I don't expect it to ever end. Have fun solving it folks!

And what's the controversy, exactly? The people trying to claim that discrimination and harassment don't exist just aren't credible.


When the proportion of women in technology is similar to the proportion of women in the work place in general, you can probably say that the problem of discrimination is over blown. Until then, the situation at least looks a bit suspicious.

Mindful that not all discrimination is malicious or even conscious.


That assumes that across all jobs and professions that there is some uniform distribution of the sexes. But I don't believe that to be the case.

The sexes do divide themselves differently depending on profession and there are many reasons for that: some are just natural nature gender divides, some are socially constructed nurture gender divides, and some are discrimination.

It's not clear that any problem of women in technology actually exists, and it's not clear that if it exists it is a result of discrimination.


Discriminate involves distinction or differentiation. Given this, whenever an uneven distribution exists, some kind of discrimination or bias has occurred. Of course this does not demand that the discrimination was bad, it's just the definition of words. For example, the discrimination done by the semipermeable membrane in your cells is a very good.

So there is not actually a question of whether or not gender discrimination is occurring in technology at a large scale, it certainly is, by about 3 to 1, I think. The question is rather, who is doing the discrimination and why are they doing it. From briefly looking at this thread, I see that at least 3 cases involved sexual objectification by men, and I would venture to guess that this has happen to more than 3 women. I don't think there is enough evidence to suppose that this is the most prevalent form of discrimination, at least I've never heard of it when reading about the gender disparity; though it would certainly be interesting to learn what affect stories like this have on dissuading woman from entering male dominated fields.

I'm not sure how long the study has been out, but I recently became aware of an investigation regarding the disparity of women in professorships. This was actually kind of humorous to me. For some time, it had been assumed that this disparity was related to discriminatory practices by those doing the hiring. But, the investigation didn't find any significant evidence of this, instead, they found that it was the women who were making the distinction; working 70 or 80hrs/week isn't very practical if you want to start a family. Maybe academia is broken, I have no idea, but at least it isn't malicious and yet there is still discrimination.

Regarding technology, or, at least math specifically, there is some evidence that suggests that girls are involved in biasing other girls against it (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2573548). Also, there's evidence that suggests that the different genders respond better to different language (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2571075), so if you have a field mostly dominated by men, it's not unreasonable to see why it would mostly attach men, all else being equal. Again, these aren't malicious and are probably, generally, not well known. But, I think that these sorts of things can be agreed upon by most people as not being good.

Also, regarding some malicious or ignorant discrimination, I think Dave Thomas makes some good points in his keynote during last year's RubyConf about 33mins in to his talk (http://confreaks.net/videos/368-rubyconf2010-keynote).


I think this post is mistitled. Sexual discrimination is about unequal opportunities -- passing over women for promotion, asking inappropriate questions in job interviews, etc.

The OP is describing something more like a crime. Extortion.


Okay, I'm going to reach far now: Sorry, but this is blogspam. You have to ask yourself: What is the purpose of this post here? What exactly do you want to achieve by posting it here? The answer is clear, this is posted here solely for generating publicity. Now let's dig again: Why do you want publicity for this? If there is a real issue here, take it up with someone who is actually responsible for fixing it. If you want to publicly shame people, then keep posting it on sites like HN.

99% of all the people visiting this site won't ever concern this issue, and as surprising as it is to myself, I'm actually a little offended by your insinuation that I should care about this. But that's not the actual problem I have with your post. The real issue is that this kind of topic has been discussed a million times, and therefore has no place on HN.


"If there is a real issue here, take it up with someone who is actually responsible for fixing it." <-- the problem is that addressing the issue with the person who is actually responsible doesn't solve the problem. Unfortunately, in many cases, some sort of public shame is the only real way to rectify behavior. We see these issues of sexual discrimination and harassment all the time, and even with years of lecturing people still don't get the message.

"If you want to publicly shame people, then keep posting it on sites like HN." <-- Unfortunately, I don't think that was her point. If others are made aware of the circumstances, and see that someone relatively influential is making a comment about it, other women won't feel like they are alone. Having been on the receiving end of other types of discrimination, I can empathize with the feeling of loneliness and desire to keep quiet.


What kind of helpful public shame is supposed to come about? Men who are not pigs will probably just think "this doesn't concern me". Men who are pigs are not shamed by the blog post in any way, so they are unlikely to change their ways because of it.

Since no names were called out, there is nothing the innocent bystander could do (like boycotting the conference).


So you agree that women should exchange favors with men for professional speaking appearances or that because of it's frequency it should not be spoken of?


A few days ago I ate at the Sales/HR cafeteria instead of the engineer cafeteria. A table of HR people I didn't know that was 80% female invited me to join them for lunch, and eagerly chatted me up for the next half hour.

This was a really illuminating experience that highlighted for me what an impact the male/female ratio can have. Getting that level of female friendliness/attention at work is totally foreign to me (I don't work directly with many women), and was kind of nice.

I think there is a vicious cycle where women in technology get too much attention from female-deprived men, which conditions them to have a guardedness about them, which conditions the men to feel even more female-deprived (and leads some of them to be creepy). It's unfortunate.

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with a conference organizer who demands sex (it certainly doesn't excuse it, even a little). But I do think there are a lot of lonely guys in tech.


There would be a lot less lonely guys in tech if it wasn’t such a generally female-unfriendly field in many areas.

Also, there is a fair bit of overlap between the “lonely guys” and “guys causing this problem.”


Any kind of accusation made public is a tricky beast.

There are 3 possibilities for the accusation: 1. The accusation is correct in it's entirety and should be taken at face value 2. The basis of the accusation is correct, but additional information casts it in a different light. 3. The accusation is false.

If you discuss it, publicly stating that option 1 is true is the only strategy that will keep your reputation intact. Anything else makes you look like a douche.


And 4. we do not and cannot really know whether the accusation is fully or even partially accurate, and therefore should keep all our mouths closed about it and let the legal system handle it.

"accusation == guilt" is never a smart default


It should be worth noting here that the accused have every bit the opportunity to deny the claims. If a woman—any woman—were to absolutely falsely accuse some guy of having raped her in a very public manner (with or without having gone to the police beforehand), by what logic would the guy, who knows he didn’t rape her, not deny the accusations? He could deny them in equally public fashion and/or go to the police himself.

The thing is: women know that making such an accusation in public will get them harassed for it, whether it's true or not. But it's really only worth the immense vitriol that they will have to endure when their accusations are true.

Additionally, women also don't have some kind of weird "inherent motive" to do this to men, but countless of reasons not to.

Stepping to the police is always the right first move. Publicly outing rapists is a brave (as it is dangerous) additional step to take which, among other good things, will alert other women about the rapist.

Anyone who argues that it is unfair should shut the hell up and first think about how fair it was to the woman that she got raped in the first place. Hint: she didn't deserve what happened to her. The guy who did the raping? Totally does.


Two quick comments.

1. there are many possible motives for a false accusation; all kinds of permutations have happened historically; it happens sometimes

2. no rape mentioned or implied in the OA. just a refusal to have sex, supposedly


1. Yes, there are always possible motives. However, unless you have some data showing there are more false reports of rape than truthful ones, or even that the disparity between the two isn't a night-or-day difference, that's not something we ought to consider each and every case of doing.

2. Correct; my response was more about the general discussion taking place here than the specific OA one. That said, while not speculating on Tammy Camp ever having been raped, these three men who have banned her from three different conferences just for refusing to sleep with them sure are doing their best to interfere with her career.


You're making assumptions again I think. She didn't say there were 3 different conferences and 3 different men. Merely, that something "similar" has happened 3 times in the last year. Technically, it could all involve the same conference and same person. And it might not have even been a tech conference or industry related at all, who knows. Maybe, but not specified.

Assumptions are what put innocent people on death row. And what drive people to break out the pitchforks and torches. They're not a mark of modern civilization. I hope. :)


I'll agree that there was some level of assumption involved, but it's pretty clear this was not "the same conference and same person" given that that doesn't make logical sense.

How could she have been banned three times from the same conference, and why on Earth would she have written this post the way she did if it had been the same person three times in a row?


"Never speak ill of the wrong or negative person. It takes you down to their level."

If someone is trying to force you into sex, and you stay silent about it, they're probably going to do it again. At some point you have to speak up.

But being a guy, I have no idea how hard it would be to come forward with such allegations. I've never done anything comparably brave.


If I were a woman I would take a picture of the guy and post it to my blog and just let it out. There isn't enough for anything to be done otherwise it will get worse if the person is just left to do it again without any consequence... even if the only consequence is a blog post.

It does appear all of the guys decend upon the women and try to take them apart but they have nothing to gain in this... well except for hopefully the next woman in line hopefully won't get harassed (and excluded) in such a way.



Wow, lots of hysteria. I was hoping to find a comment that said something like the following:

It sucks that things like this still happen. I've seen or heard about a few stories like this and it's heartbreaking to think that the industry I love can cause such pain to people. Worse still is the thought that these incidents punish everyone, from the women who are turned away to other, less risky fields, to the managers who struggle to find competent female hires, to the other men who get unfairly tarred for just being in the same gender.

I understand it's tempting to say "but this might be made up!" - yes, it might. We don't have any facts and we should be cautious not to use it as an excuse for a witch hunt. But would you be surprised if it was true? Put-money-on-it surprised? If not, that's problem enough. These things happen and we know it.

The thing that gets me is that theoretically HN is a place for people who aren't satisfied with "oh well, that's how it goes", who instead disrupt and innovate, who find novel solutions to problems nobody thought solvable (or even worth solving), and who change the world for the better in the process. Where's that spirit now? Surely we can find a way to make things like this less frequent or less damaging?


Surely we can find a way to make things like this less frequent or less damaging?

I hesitate to say this, but I think women have some power to make this better. Yes, there are men who are real pigs. It happens. But I'm a former homemaker and now have a job with BigCo and a) most of the women's fashions shown in magazines and such would get me sent home if I showed up at work dressed like that b) in spite of that fact (I mean that the dress code is intended to prevent this), there are still women who show up at my place of employment looking hookerific c) the last time I saw a story of this sort (ie some woman talking about her negative experiences with sexism) on HN, I was dumbfounded that the woman who wrote it stupidly said things that could be interpreted as a come-on/opening after the man had made it clear he was hitting on her, so I then googled her image and in most pictures of her she was displaying cleavage and so on.

I don't say this to "blame the victim". I say this because if you are a woman and you want real power, acting on the piece of it you have control over is a much more empowered position than whining about how "men are still pigs" or some such.

Just trying to respond to your actual request for something positive and pro-active.

Peace.


I definitely found reading posts in this thread rather bizarre. This has become more of a spectacle than an event that happened to an actual human being.


Does "one of the organizers" imply that the other organizers know of the reasons for the ban and play along with it? Obviously there are many jerks in the world, but I admit I find it hard to believe that there could be such a random concentration of jerks. Or were they all jerks who bonded through their jerkiness and then decided to launch a conference?


Your logic is that another organizer would step in when probably they won't because they have enough people to pull from they don't really have to battle it out to get any one person in over another persons objections. And the person with the objection isn't going to say outright what the vetting process was, just that there were other people he thought would be better (after passing her over for the lack of sexual exchange).


This past week I was banned from one of my favorite conferences because I wouldn’t have sex with one of the organizers.

This makes me wonder about all the quips like, "Who do I sleep with at [ ] to get featured in [ ]?"

A part of the public image of companies like YC and Berkshire Hathaway involves their associating with good people -- because good people tend to produce real value. Likewise, if the Silicon Valley startup scene is more than just a hollow reputation market, then there is some real value on which a real stand for values can be based.

Conversely, I feel that such behavior is one symptom of the economics of a possible reputation bubble at work.


It's embarrassing for the entire industry that men act like this. I can't imagine devoting yourself to the business of software with all your heart only to be treated like a piece of meat. Must have taken a lot of courage to write this.

I would like to know who the conference jerks are, though. If you by 2011 haven't learned to treat women decently, you need to be publicly shamed and, if possible, brought to justice; anti-discrimination laws exist for a reason.


It is not embarrassing for the entire industry and any attempt to paint this as an industry-wide issue is insulting to those of us who do not behave like this.


Except that this is far from the only instance of it happening. The reason it is a problem for the entire industry is that people decide it's not their problem and continue to associate with and work with the people who perpetuate these actions. There is very little self-policing that goes on, and that does make it a community problem.

(The problem is considerably worse in the open source software development community, but they at least some provinces therein have started to figure out that institutionalized and institutionally-accepted sexism are unhealthy. Apparently the message has not percolated to the startup/tech-company side of the fence; it does seem to still be very much a men's club.)


What happened?

I have no idea who Tammy Camp is, I have no idea what conference she was banned from, I have no idea why she thinks she was banned from it, I have no idea who banned her, I have no idea of what the response from the other side (if there is an other side) is, I have no idea what happened.


> I have no idea why she thinks she was banned from it

"I was banned from one of my favorite conferences because I wouldn’t have sex with one of the organizers"

Try reading the article.


Yes, I wasn't clear, was I?

I understand her claim: "I was banned from the conference."

I don't understand what that claim means, or how it is verified?

Has she been banned from attending? From presenting? What has she been banned from?

And most of the time, conferences have more than one organizer, don't they? There is usually a committee in charge of who presents.

So you jessedhillon are asking me to believe her conspiracy theory: that the person who wanted to have sex with her has gotten to the entire conference committee and convinced them that this very talented and accomplished woman is not worthy of presenting at the conference. What was she going to present? What did he tell them?

Or if you take her words literally, she was banned from the conference, then the vendor will not take her money even for an admission ticket, and if she shows up, the cops will be called.

All of this seems to provide ample evidence for Ms. Camp to prove her case in a court of law.

And yet, she provides none of it.

As I said, somewhat ambiguously, I have no idea why she thinks she was banned from the conference. She needs to clarify what she was banned from, and how.

"Try reading the article."

I have been friendly. And stated my views. And attacked no one. And taken Ms. Camp at her words and taken you seriously.

You appear to have an attitude problem, Jesse. Not sure why.


> You appear to have an attitude problem, Jesse. Not sure why.

Because you have a combination of two bad habits: being intellectual cheap/lazy and boldly proclaiming stark, binding conclusions based on that lazy reasoning.

I seriously wonder if you have Asperger Syndrome, or are a psychopath, to be this obtuse and seemingly incapable of understanding how a people think and feel.


I am:

intellectually cheap or lazy probably have Asperger's Syndrome, or I am a psychopath, I am obtuse, and Incapable (INCAPABLE) of understanding how a people (a people?) think and feel.

Good job Jesse! We will be contacting you shortly.


Apparently you are surprised or dismayed that someone could draw that conclusion about you based on what you've written here.

I don't have any remorse about considering that someone who's response to "I was asked to have sex with a conference organizer or leave, and it was a deeply humiliating and infuriating experience" is to be glib and interrogative -- feigning curiosity with pointed and IMO malicious questions --

I don't have any remorse about proposing that such a person has deep issues understanding the emotions and motivations of other people.

(BTW, let me know if you find any more typos or grammatical errors, I'm seriously concerned about that.)


" Asperger's Syndrome, or I am a psychopath, I am obtuse, and Incapable (INCAPABLE)"

Jesse, those are pretty strong conclusions to draw after a few short encounters on the Internet.

The world is not as black and white as you insist it is.

That you would draw and state these conclusions, for forcefully, so unabashedly, suggest to me that you are desperate and out of logical ammunition, or that you are a relatively naive and intolerant individual.

Re: "Feigning individual and asking "malicious" questions?" Do tell, what gives you, Dr. Jesse Dhillon, that impression, and how were my questions malicious?

The questions I ask, are the questions I would think any critical (critical in the best meaning) observer of the situation would ask. Her allegations, as they are of this moment, are tissue thin, and are backed up solely by her word, and nothing else.

I am genuinely impressed with how much attention this has gotten, especially by folks who similar to you, unreservedly, uncritically, buy into her story without expressing even a single misgiving about any of the stated details.

I have expressly given her the benefit of the doubt, but I have also expressed my concerns over what seem to be vague ambiguities in her claims that need clarification before I believe it without reserve.

You may wish to ask yourself, how often do you buy into similar tales, how often you do not, and what is it about YOU, that makes the difference.

And yes, in fact, I wonder if the wholesale buy in to her statement comes more from how she is an attractive, powerful, young woman, and less from her very thin statement.

But yes, I am surprised that in an internet conversation, you Jesse would so quickly and enthusiastically jump to attacks and attacks based on diagnosing psychological pathologies over the internet.

If you continue this behavior, I think you'll go far.


First off, the conclusions are partially facetious. Do I think you have a diagnosable mental illness? I don't know. Are you obtuse: yes, I would say you are being obtuse. Do you have Asperger's? I don't know, but you certainly speak like someone who has little ability to understand the motivations of others.

I'm not alleging that we could take you to a doctor's office right now and produce a certificate of verified diagnosis.

The post was largely about how she deals with negative experiences, and only a small part of that was about the event that prompted her experience. Yet you chose to focus not on the part of her post where she focuses on achieving a positive mental state, but to cast doubt -- under the guise of what you claim is rational skepticism (which is where the claim of cheapness comes from) -- as to whether or not she was justified in feeling offended.

Where the claims that you are lazy and cheap come from is that you are apparently operating under the slow-thinking idea that anyone who simply questions anything they are told is a rational, critically thinking agent. In fact, that modus better suits conspiracy theorists than actual, rational analysts.

It's ironic that you think that I'm the one who views things in stark contrast, when you are the buffoon who thinks that claims of the existence and prevalence of gender biases are disproved by naming even one successful female.

> And yes, in fact, I wonder if the wholesale buy in to her statement comes more from how she is an attractive, powerful, young woman...

Wow, if there was any doubt before, now it is removed: you are a verified weirdo. I haven't said anything about whether or not I believe her, only that your line of questioning is motivated by something other than a desire to be purely rational, as you would have readers believe.

I would guess that you are motivated by her attractiveness more than me: if you are like most other male HN readers, you are probably resenting her and other women, especially the attractive ones.


Doesn't that line raise a host of legitimate questions with you, that need to be answered before you can ascertain what miss Camp's accusation entails? For all we know, she could have been wrong about the intentions of said organizer. If being 'banned' means: not being offered a position in the presentation schedule, she could have wrongfully inferred a causal chain between the wrongly interpreted intentions and her not being offered that position. A decade of witnessing professional misunderstandings between people taught me that you can never take a single report at face value, unless you know the person doing the reporting very well.


I have some female friends that work in this industry and none of them complained or even mentioned this kind of incidents. You might say that this is anecdotal evidence, but so is the blog post.


Is it possible that they haven't spoken about it because you are male and they feel as though you may not understand? Is it possible that they haven't spoken up for fear of losing their jobs?

Just because nobody has spoken about it doesn't mean it hasn't been going on.


I doubt they feel I may not understand. I talk to them on various topics including stuff for adults. As for the fear of losing their jobs, most of them are classmates, not (ex-)workmates, so I don't see how talking to me about this might lead to losing their job.

By the way, I asked multiple times one of them about the "Women in Open Source/Free Software" propaganda and she told me she isn't very fond of this positive discrimination. She doesn't see any real barriers in working on software be it FOSS or proprietary. My speculation is that some people might not trust her abilities at first and make some jokes, but that's it.


If your thought process about this subject includes the idea that anecdotal claims are relevant, I doubt that you would leave the impression that you are trustworthy enough to talk to about this.


I think I was a bit misunderstood. I'm not saying that sexual discrimination, harassment, rape etc. does not exist, just that it might not be as common as some people think. All I wanted to do is counter an anecdote with another anecdote. By the way, except for the 1 in 4 statistic mentioned by KuraFire, all I've seen is anecdotes.

Going back to trust, I don't understand your logic. Are you trying to say that because I'm skeptical others might not tell me about these abuses?

You should also take into account the cultural differences between countries. I live in Romania (an European country) and things are bit different from US. Some stuff that's normal or just a bit negative here (read impolite), might be offensive to a lot of Americans. When I visited the offices of an American company, I remember seeing a labor law poster in the kitchen mentioning that managers must take courses about sexual harassment. You won't see something like this in Romania. Another example might be groping. There was some groping in high-school and the girls complained of course, but they didn't make a fuss out of it nor shouted rape.

P.S. Speaking of groping, Japan seems to be famous for it. I wonder if this type of sexual scandals related to the software industry exist in Japan, too. It looks to me like US is prone to them.


> Are you trying to say that because I'm skeptical others might not tell me about these abuses?

It wasn't me making the argument, but yes, this is definitely applicable. Women have very finely-tuned senses when it comes to reading men (because they are conditioned by our male-dominated society to do this, just to survive), so if you're admitting to being skeptical about these matters it is almost guaranteed that the women in your direct vicinity will not consider you trustworthy enough to discuss these most vulnerable and difficult things with.

The reverse is also true: the more open-minded and understanding you show yourself to be, the more people will feel comfortable opening up to you about real things.

You've indicated you live in Romania. While I'm from western Europe myself (Netherlands), I'm fairly confident that everything I just wrote applies just as much here in the US, back home in the Netherlands, and there where you are, Romania.

The fact that "you won't see something like [labor law posters mandating courses about sexual harassment]" in Romania probably indicates that this problem is actually far worse in Romania than you think. That, or it is far lower, but I doubt that given your "there was some groping in high-school" comment.


I'm skeptical to broad generalizations based mostly on anecdotes. I have no problem with some specific cases and I'm always ready to help my friends. After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed. By the way, I asked one of them today if she heard of any sexual scandals at the work place in Romania or Italy and she told me she hasn't hear of any. All she knows about is some rudeness (in lack of a better word).

The problem might indeed be far worse in Romania from a quantitative point of view, but not from a qualitative point of view. People don't make such a big deal like suing the boss for small things, e.g. sexual innuendo or dirty jokes. They might call him a pig like in high-school and break his neck as a friend suggested :-D, but that's it.


Here's some additional elaboration to X-Istence’s great point: 1 in 4 women in the US has been raped / sexually assaulted. Less than 30% of them actually reported it to authorities.


Thanks for coming with a statistic instead of another anecdote. Though this statistic does not say anything about industries, so the "silicone" industry might not be the only one to blame. Of course, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't stop doing bad things, just that we aren't as abnormal as others (or ourselves) label us.

P.S. All I was able to find quickly about this statistic is an editorial review from http://www.amazon.com/Never-Called-Rape-Recognizing-Acquaint... :

Based on first-person accounts, scholarly studies and data from a nationwide survey of college campuses conducted by Ms. magazine, freelance journalist Warshaw draws a devastating portrait of men who rape women they know. The Ms. survey reveals that 25% of the college women polled have been the victims of rape or attempted rape, 84% of the victims were acquainted with the attacker and 57% of the rapes happened on dates.

There are some important technical details missing, like how many respondents were, what's the estimated error and so on. I'll check your blog next week for further details.


I have a blog post in the works that is chock full of statistics, focused on Tech & Design. Check back on farukat.es sometime in the next few days if you want a wealth of resources, research studies findings etc.



Actually, it is embarrassing for the entire industry, as we all make it what it is. Our industry is nothing if not the sum of our individual actions and contributions to society, just like how your individual actions over the course of your lifetime define who you are as a person and how other people perceive you.

If you commit a crime at age 20, it will still have been a crime ten years later when you are 30. You may have served your time and earned “society's forgiveness” so to speak, however, and thus redeemed yourself.

Our industry will need to redeem itself. But right now, the rotten apples in our industry? They represent that one moment when you were 20 and committed a crime.


Whether you like it or not, whether it's true or not, computing has a reputation for being a mens' club. And things like this don't help. So yes, this is an embarrassment to the industry whether you're directly responsible or not.


1842: Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), analyst of Charles Babbage's analytical engine and described as the "first computer programmer"[13] 1893: Henrietta Swan Leavitt joins the Harvard computers, a group of women engaged in the production of astronomical data at Harvard; she is instrumental in discovery of the cepheid variable stars, which were evidence for the expansion of the universe. 1926: Grete Hermann publishes the foundational paper for computerized algebra 1942: Hedy Lamarr (1913–2000), Hollywood diva and co-inventor of an early form of spread-spectrum broadcasting 1943: WREN Colossus operators, during WW2 at Bletchley Park 1946: Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Fran Bilas, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, and Ruth Lichterman, original programmers of the ENIAC 1949: Grace Hopper (1906–1992), United States Navy officer and first programmer of the Harvard Mark I, known as the "Mother of COBOL". Developed the first ever compiler for an electronic computer known as A-0. 1961: Dana Ulery (1938-), computer scientist; first female engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, developing real-time tracking systems using a North American Aviation Recomp II, 40-bit word size computer. 1962: Jean E. Sammet (1928-), mathematician and computer scientist; developed FORMAC programming language. Was the first to write extensively about history and categorisation of programming languages (1969). 1965: Mary Allen Wilkes computer programmer; First person to use a computer in a private home and the first developer of an operating system (LAP) for the first minicomputer (LINC) 1965: Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1914? - 1985) first American female Doctorate of Computer Science (1965)[14] [15] 1972: Karen Spärck Jones (1935–2007), pioneer of information retrieval and natural language processing 1973: Lynn Conway (1938-), led the "LSI Systems" group; co-authored Introduction to VLSI Systems 1978: Sophie Wilson (?), designed the Acorn Microcomputer. 1979: Carol Shaw (?), game designer and programmer for Atari Corp. and Activision 1980: Carla Meninsky (?), game designer and programmer for Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and Warlords 1983: Adele Goldberg (1945-), one of the designers and developers of the Smalltalk language 1984: Roberta Williams (1953-), pioneering work in graphical adventure games for personal computers, particularly the King's Quest series. 1984: Susan Kare (1954-), created the icons and many of the interface elements for the original Apple Macintosh in the 1980s, was an original employee of NeXT, working as the Creative Director. 1985: Radia Perlman (1951-), invented the Spanning Tree Protocol. Has done extensive and innovative research, particularly on encryption and networking. USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award 2007, among numerous others. 1985: Irma Wyman (~1927-), first Honeywell CIO 1986: Hannah Smith "Girlie tipster" for CRASH (magazine) 1988: Eva Tardos (1957-), recipient of the Fulkerson Prize for her research on design and analysis of algorithms 1993: Shafi Goldwasser (1958-), theoretical computer scientist, two-time recipient of the Gödel Prize for research on complexity theory, cryptography and computational number theory, and the invention of zero-knowledge proofs 1993: Barbara Liskov together with Jeannette Wing develops the Liskov substitution principle 1994: Sally Floyd (~1953-), most renowned for her work on Transmission Control Protocol 1996: Xiaoyuan Tu (1967-), first female recipient of the ACM's Doctoral Dissertation Award.[16] 1997: Anita Borg (1949–2003), the founding director of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT) 2001: Audrey Tang (1981-), initiator and leader of the Pugs project 2004: Jeri Ellsworth (1974-), self-taught computer chip designer and creator of the C64 Direct-to-TV 2005: Mary Lou Jepsen (1965-), Founder and chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC); founder of Pixel Qi. 2006: Frances E. Allen (1932-), first female recipient of the ACM's Turing Award 2009: Barbara H. Liskov (1939-), winner of the Turing prize 2009

Let's toss in there Carol Bartz, Meg Whitman, Mitchell Baker, Maria Cantwell, and even Carly Fiorina.

Yael Elish, Co-Founder and CEO of esnips- eSnips is a large social content sharing site that gives its members 5GB each of storage space to upload whatever they want. Veerle Pieters, Founder, CEO and Graphic Designer of Duoh!-Web development services including design, DHTML layout creation, PHP scripting, database support, Flash. Tiffany Bass Bukow, Founder and CEO of MsMoney.com-Financial Web site for women to learn about women’s unique financial needs, financial planning, personal finance, investing, retirement etc. Susan Wu, Founder and CEO of Ohai – Online gaming platform Stephany Alexander , Founder and CEO of WomanSaversWomanSavers – Dating Experts show you how to catch cheating men and screen your date free in the largest database rating men’s relationship history to date. Simone van Trojen, Founder of LaDress- Find the perfect dress for any occasion. LaDress offers dresses in beautiful fabrics, timeless designs and high quality materials. Simone Brummelhuis ,Founder and CEO of The NextWomen- The Next Women is the first Women’s Internet Business Magazine and Community, with a focus on startups and growing businesses, led, founded or invested in by women. Shaa Wasmund, Founder and CEO of SmartaSmarta.com is a business support and advice network for start-ups, small business owners and entrepreneurs. Sandy Kemsley , Founder of Column 2 - BPM, Enterprise 2.0 and technology trends in business. Sally Robinson, Founder and Owner of Ample Bosom- Designer lingerie and bras for women with a fuller figure to order on-line. Rebecca Blood, Founder of rebecca’s pocket- Writing about news, gothica, and web design resources. Rachel Elnaugh, Founder of Red Letter Days- Discover unique gifts, gift experiences, activity days and gift ideas to solve all present buying dilemmas or buy experience days gift vouchers. Nelly Yusupova , Founder of DigitalWoman- DigitalWoman is a web technology specialist, consultant and strategist, and motivating and inspiring speaker. She is the CTO of Webgrrls. Julie Pankhurst , Co-Founder of Friends Reunite- Find ,reunite, contact old friends from school, work, college, university, neighbours, armed forces, expats. Janet Hanson, Founder and CEO of 85 Broads – 85 Broads is an exclusive global women’s network with members who live, work, and study in 82 countries around the world. Iris Ben-David, CEO and Founder of Style Shake – StyleShake empower millions of women to design freely, or personalize our top designs. Dresses are sewn to perfection in just 10 days!

Heidi Roizen, Founder, CEO and Chief Lyrical Officer of SkinnySongs- SkinnySongs motivates fans to lose weight and get fit. Lose weight and shape up with inspirational lyrics that are good for your body and soul. Glenys Berd, Founder of LovethoseShoes - Health and Wellness Footwear Specialist. Now including Free Delivery and Free Returns on all brands. The company stock a wide range of Earth Footwear including shoes, sandals and trainers. Gina Bianchini, Co-Founder and CEO of Ning – An online service to create, customize, and share a social network. Georgie Coleridge-Cole, Founder and Editor of SheerLuxeSheerLuxe.com is a guide to online shopping. Editors bring you the products, fashions and retailers on the web daily. Felicia Jackson, Co-Founder of Netimperative- Delivering online news and digital intelligence to business. Erin Jansen, Co-Founder and Author of NetLingo-This site contains thousands of definitions about computers, the Internet, and the online world of business, technology & communication. Eileen Gittins, Founder and CEO of Blurb -Make your own book with Blurb online. Create photo books, wedding books and more. Design and publish professional quality books to keep, give or sell. Cyan Banister, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Zivity- Zivity is where people just like you rub elbows with models, photographers, and video artists in an ad-free social network. Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company – Primarily white linen, tablewear, furniture, accessories and gifts. Order online or request a catalogue. Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr and hunch – Hunch personalizes the internet by getting to know you and then making recommendations for what you might like. April Henry, Founder of Myspace.com- Social network site. Anne-Marie Huby, Co-founder and MD of JustgivingJustGiving – One of the easiest way to fundraise and donate to charity online. Anne Wojcicki, Co-founder 23andMe- 23andMe provides genetic testing for over 100 traits and diseases as well as DNA ancestry. Amy Millman, Founder of Springboard Enterprises - Offers programs which educate, showcase and support women entrepreneurs as they seek equity capital and grow their companies. Jean Armour Polly, Founder of Netmom.com - A website for kids.


Now do the one for men. Everyone knows that presenting a string of evidence corroborating a claim means that the claim is true.


The theory, often claimed, is that "X" is a man's world.

As I am sure you understand, all it takes is one data point to falsify a theory. I have provided dozens of well known women that have made enormous progress for computing. It took me about 30 seconds.

So for "X" equal computing, the theory fails, it is busted, it should be an ex-myth, pining for the fjords.

In fact, from its very beginning, by which I mean its VERY BEGINNING, women have played terribly important and substantial roles in computing. How is it you are unaware of this? It really is common knowledge.

Showing that there are lots of well known men will do nothing to prop the theory up.

I suggest you might have a more enlightening experience asking yourself why the busted myth persists.


Your base assumption is false.

You think that a single case, or a handful of cases, can disprove the claim because you think the claim is of the type "for all {men, women, industries}" and therefore you think that one, single point can disprove the claim.

Actually, the claim -- as with most human problems -- is of a probabilistic nature and subject to statistical reasoning.

That you think your insistence of the application of binary logic to interpersonal relationships is an enlightened approach is astonishing, and makes me wonder whether or not you're a psychopath.


Seriously? I disagree with you on this issue, and the next leap you take is I am probably a psychopath!?

WELL DONE INDEED GOOD SIR!


Again, wrong. The work force has a reputation for being a mens' club. There is nothing specific to computing about it.

Please do not disrespect the industry you and I are a part of by kidding yourself that we are different and somehow a problem.


Actually as far as I can tell computing has a reputation of being especially this way.

Personally I don't really understand why you'd want to defend the "there's nothing wrong, ignore this woman" point of view. You acknowledge there's a problem, although you don't think it's specific to this industry. Why take the course of action/defend the point of view least likely to improve the situation?


And your sweeping generalization of computing is based on? Some things you read on the Internet? A story you heard once from a female coworker?

I don't know how your shop is but in my shop this shit does not happen because we are overly selective with our hiring and extremely quick to fire. One tactic we have in interviews is to take the applicant to dinner and get him drunk with a female colleague present. Multiple otherwise-awesome applicants have earned a circular file at dinner.


> And your sweeping generalization of computing is based on?

The same thing as yours. My personal experiences and what I've heard. You have no more evidence that there is nothing especially wrong with computing than I have that there is.

> "but in my shop this shit does not happen"

That you've heard about. Although I suspect that if you share the same kinds opinions around your coworkers as you are sharing here, you've made a fair number of your feel uncomfortable and unwelcome without ever realizing it.

> One tactic we have in interviews is to take the applicant to dinner and get him drunk with a female colleague present.

Wow. IANAL but using a female coworker as a honeypot is probably opening your company up to liability. The standard for harassment or unfriendly working environment is what a reasonable person would consider the same. I'd vote in favor of the plaintiff if a colleague of yours asked to perform this duty ever sued your company. As a matter of policy you're knowingly putting an employee in a situation where they are more likely to be harassed specifically for the purpose of seeing if they get harassed.

Well, it's your ass on the line and not mine; for that I am thankful.


You're right, you're not a lawyer so you should be less willing to throw the word 'liability' around. You're armchairing your way to a legal conclusion based on two facts and a situation you're unaware of. Namely that this colleague was the one who came up with the idea and enjoys the responsibility. Look at her angle. She gets a less hostile workplace by helping screen out the creepers who will come after her later.

Feel free to armchair lawyer someone else because you really suck at it.


Feel free to armchair lawyer someone else because you really suck at it.

Armchair lawyering -- from my experience it usually looks and sounds much better to the practitioner than it does to any trained lawyers. Those practicing it are often convinced that they speak with authority, even though they're laughably wrong.


Wait--so you get a potential hire drunk at dinner to see how they are going to behave? Seems a little radical to me.


How far things went during those dinner incidents?


Rarely much further than certain things said.


I see. So someone bans a female from a conference for not having sex with him, and the person who points out that this is embarrassing is disrespectful? I simply don't understand your logic (or lack thereof).


How does this even work? I'm not accusing Tammy of making it up, but how does this even come about? The mind boggles.


Just enough details to start a flame war but really convey no context whatsoever. Cool huh?


The second you provide context you start providing clues that can be used to piece together the person allegedly responsible for this, and then once that cat is out of the bag it turns into a full blown he-said, she-said thing with legal ramifications.


And... crickets.

I know she's going for the high road but it seems like the most good would come from naming names or at least naming the conference.


You should read this thread, about an incident last fall: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1875718

She named names, and was given so much grief because of that.


I think the issue really stemmed from outing individual people. The problem with that approach is that it boils down to a he-said-she-said, and its natural in such a situation to side with the more prolific character.

If Tammy were to out the organizations, I would know which groups not to donate money to


Sex appeal has been repeatedly demonstrated to yield significant advantages. Discrimination, although contemptible, is just the other side of the coin.


Does that mean we should accept it? Does that make it OK?


No, but it means women aren't always discriminated in favor of men.


I've been "banned for life" from things having nothing whatsoever to do with a sexual situation. I've chosen to walk away from other things where sexual stuff (including but not limited to discrimination) was a big part of the problem. I'm wondering if anyone else here can raise their hand and say "yea, verily, I am also banned for life from something and it had nothing to do with sex/gender". I'm sorry for this person's experience and I don't wish to talk bad about them but I really think folks blow some things way out of proportion and make it about "I'm female" or "I'm black" or "I have X issue and everything in life that goes wrong is about that issue". Just looking for some perspective.


Go to the police, writing about it like this on a blog doesn't solve the problem.


It's been a crime for years and the police don't seem to have been able to stamp it out. Gosh, it's almost as if they can't be everywhere at once and that citizens will have to take some responsibility themselves for what constitutes acceptable social behaviour. Writing about it on blogs and news aggregates and raising awareness is the only way the problem will get solved.


Stealing has been a crime for years, and the police haven't been able to stamp it out. Is that a reason for not reporting it? If victims weren't reporting stealing to the police, that wouldn't be helping in any way.

What good does writing a blog post that as far as we can tell doesn't contain any checkable evidence do? (and I'm not advocating publicly shaming the guy -- again, the legal system is the established road for crimes, and this is no exception).


Or a lawyer. Especially if there's documentation involved. Making a private, nasty situation for the jerk who did this (and possibly a settlement) could probably deter future behavior, at least for this one person.


Is it illegal ban somebody from a conference for personal reasons?


There's no rule that a business has to serve everyone (except for in certain regulated cases like the water company, and even then there are limits).

In the situation described, it's definitely not ethical.


We haven't even heard both sides yet - but even if it is not ethical, I don't think the police enforces ethics, just laws.


Exactly... the other side might be "she tried to flirt her way into the conference for free, and things got out of hand". I highly doubt this given what she's said, but there are three sides to everything (mine, yours, the truth).


Yes, there are certain things you aren't allowed to discriminate against. However, these laws are only applicable to organizations of a certain size. IANAL


This does not tickle my intellectual curiosity. The issue is a very important one, but HackerNews isn't god_damn Oprah. Bring on the downvotes.


It is appalling that sexual harassment and discrimination is not outlawed in this industry. Florian Leibert, the harasser who was identified in the incident last November is still working at Twitter. Why haven’t the founders and/or executives at Twitter taken any consequences?


Why should they take consequences for what is quite possibly a false accusation?


Maybe people aren't speaking up because they don't know what to say. If I witnessed this, what could I do? I'm looking for specific ideas here.


For the people saying she should go to the police about this: what crime (meaning something that would be criminally prosecuted as opposed to something that might be the cause of a civil suit) do you believe has been committed in this case (I'm not a lawyer; I don't know)? There was no mention of physical assault in the blog post. Even if this incident broke some law, how would there possibly be enough evidence to prosecute?

Wrt the argument that these things happen because guys will be guys or because nerds have grudges against women: That may be a reason, but it's not an excuse for this sort of behavior. People should be expected to act professionally when in a professional context.

As for whether publicly naming names accomplishes anything: If a person's sense of professionalism (not to mention simple human decency) is low enough to engage in blatant sexual harassment, they clearly need some external incentive to not behave in this way. How does that incentive get provided if the people being harassed keep it to themselves?


> For the people saying she should go to the police about this: what crime (meaning something that would be criminally prosecuted as opposed to something that might be the cause of a civil suit) do you believe has been committed in this case (I'm not a lawyer; I don't know)? There was no mention of physical assault in the blog post. Even if this incident broke some law, how would there possibly be enough evidence to prosecute?

Imagine a store owner standing by his entrance, letting people in one by one without even batting an eye. Then a woman approaches, he likes the look of her. He holds up his hand and says “Hold it! You may not enter unless you have sex with me.”

That doesn’t sound like extortion, sexual coercion and unlawful discrimination to you? Well, it does to any sane judge.

As for evidence: testimonies and/or email trails can produce plenty of evidence, easily.


I'd rather not "imagine" anything or speculate what a "sane judge" would think. What criminal law is being broken, given what we know? If you think it's obvious consider that sexual harassment in the workplace is usually considered a civil, not a criminal matter (though, in some circumstances it can be criminal).

As for the evidence, we don't really know what evidence exists in this particular case, but it seems premature to assume an e-mail trail or testimony other than the "he said/she said" variety.


It seems premature until you read the comments in her thread, wherein Tammy points out that she has received “an alarming number of emails” from other women who experienced the same or similar things.

And while I'm neither a lawyer nor that intimately familiar with US or California laws in particular, I'm fairly certain that this falls under extortion laws, as it is a form of oppressive exaction.


Don't you guys see that she's writing for other women – and anyone else that's encountered some form of ugly discrimination?

She spends most of her post describing what's it like to be on the receiving end, and more importantly, what she's done to deal with it.


I'm sorry that this happened to Tammy Camp, for her, for the other organizers of the conference, and for the attendees.

Regarding many of the HN posters here who argue that Camp shouldn't have blogged about this, or that she must be lying: why assume that it's about you?

As another comment notes, what happened to Camp is attempted extortion. If you've not done this to someone, Camp's blog post is not about you. Presumably, you're able to read about someone's experience of burglary, non-sexual assault, or other crime without immediately impugning the victim's motives or truthfulness, arguing that the crime was an isolated incident, or requesting that the victim just shut up. Camp deserves the same respect her, unless you can demonstrates she is lying.

And for those who doubt that Camp's blog post can achieve anything: it's not about HN. This thread demonstrates, mostly, the same tired back and forth. But there is a whole world beyond HN (really).

In that world, if you've experienced something like what Camp went through, you've just discovered an ally, and maybe the world feels a little less lonely. A win.

And if you have ever been the perpetrator of this kind of extortion, you know not to try this with Camp - a win for her - and maybe the world feels a little less safe for you and your crap. A win for all of us.

Not bad results for a simple blog post.


I don't know this person, but it can't be that hard to actually deduce the conference...


What conferences are there next week?


There are quite a few of them:

http://lanyrd.com/places/usa/


Lucene Revolution is pretty big


I can't believe she edited my original comment on her site.


I'm looking forward to the absolutely riveting discussion that will take place on this submission. Remember Noirin Shirley naming the Hadoop committer who fucked up at ApacheCon? Here's how this conversation goes and I remember because I was involved in one during that fallout:

------

She should name names.

Why?

Good to shame the asshole and get it overwith.

And what good does accusing someone of something like this with an entirely one-sided account in public do for anyone?

It lets other women know he's a scumbag! Why are you fighting this? You must be a chauvinist.

No I just think everyone should be spared from trial by Twitter because character assassination is kind of a big deal and there is always the chance that facts are being misrepresented by either side. We do not have the full story but it will not matter because one story has already been presented and conclusions drawn. Any comeback the accused has is already lost.

You're a pig and the problem with men in IT.

It has nothing to do with gender or sexual assault and everything instead to do with having a chance to defend yourself.

It has EVERYTHING to with gender and sexual assault.

------

Seriously, save yourself the involvement in this thread. We all know it happens but anything objective you have to say about the accusation or the person making the accusation will be drowned out by misandry. Do not read anything below my post. It is a complete and utter waste of time.

Personally I think shit like this should not be blogged at all but whatever. I am not ready to fight this battle again.


What is the alternative - accept that victims of sexual discrimination and harassment stay silent?

If they don't name names, nothing changes; if they do name names, they're accused of submitting someone to trial-by-Twitter. A catch 22 if I've ever seen one!

As to your "shit like this shouldn't be blogged about" comment, that seriously bothers me. Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that victims of sexual discrimination stay silent? Jesus tap-dancing Christ, the Rapture came and somehow I got teleported to the 50s.


You're presenting a false dichotomy between staying completely silent and putting something on the internet. A victim can limit him/herself to talking to the police, his/her community, HR, the principal, his/her friends, his/her acquaintances, etc. The victim can also blog about it once the accused party is found guilty. Until then, putting something like this in writing is considered "bad" (if it's false), broadly speaking, by society, which is the reason behind libel laws.

> As to your "shit like this shouldn't be blogged about" comment,

He didn't write what you quoted.

> Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that victims of sexual discrimination stay silent?

No, he's not.


> He didn't write what you quoted.

Yes, he did:

"Personally I think shit like this should not be blogged at all but whatever. I am not ready to fight this battle again."

It's in the first damn comment. Read it.

> No, he's not.

He's advocating that they not speak about their experiences in a public forum. That's a type of suggesting that they stay silent.


Even though the false dichotomy has been presented to you you are still sticking with it.

I am advocating that the soldier's story of a grave misstep by a person not be presented one-sided with no opportunity for recourse in a very public manner on a very high-traffic blog.


If the conference organizers issued a response, is there ANY doubt that it will make it to the front page of HN?

I agree that it would likely end up being an endless series of accusations and counter-accusations, but it is not as if an accusation is being made with no chance to respond.


Wrong: if they do name names nothing changes. And I am suggesting that your first thought after being the victim of any crime should not be to broadcast it publicly on your blog. Blogs change things for the worse in a lot of cases and this is one of them. How can you expect an impartial trial when the victim has already laid out the entire crime publicly? This is why some civilized countries have insane legal controls on broadcasting a trial in progress.

Seriously I am not going to fight this battle again only in the end to be accused of being a woman-hater.


> be accused of being a woman-hater

This only seems fair, as your opening salvo began with accusing anyone who disagrees with you a man-hater.

I seriously doubt that a blog post was the "first thought" in any of the many prominent incidents of this nature. It's a very serious, very personal topic, after all; and I've seen no evidence whatsoever that putting it up on the internet for all to see was a 'first thought'.

What you really mean in your suggestion is that these women should never make a blog post.

One compelling reason for publicity is that these problems go beyond individual occurrences and permeate the startup/IT culture. No number of quiet police reports or settled lawsuits will bring about changes to that culture, but a glaring spotlight may have an effect.


It doesn't seem fair. We are intelligent entities who can isolate the different points he makes and decide for ourselves whether they make sense or not.

these problems go beyond individual occurrences and permeate the startup/IT culture

Can you provide some dependable data to support this? My experience is that most IT people are terrified of being considered sexist and would go out of their way to be fair and just to women.

In fact, my experience is that women get much better treatment in IT than men any day. The few cases where this does not happen are exceptions, not the rule, and this shows the anti-male perspective of people like you, who carelessly accuse the entire IT culture of being sexist when the truth is that our culture couldn't be farther from that.


What I walk away from discussions like this with is:

Everybody in IT is like this so my behavior is justifiable.

That's the only explanation that makes sense for the sweeping generalizations of men in computing.


I did not accuse those who disagree with me of misandry. I said the misandry will drown out objective discussion of the topic.

You are kidding yourself if you think blog posts like this change things. As long as men have had penises things like this have happened. It will always happen. Ranting about it on a blog will do nothing except ostracize and jeopardize the life of the accused.

There is nothing special about IT when it comes to gender affairs except a bunch of people who think it is okay to publicly ruin lives and justify it under the guise of "defending a profession from sexual impropriety".


> You are kidding yourself if you think blog posts like this change things. As long as men have had penises things like this have happened. It will always happen.

A response, in several parts:

1) So men are mere unthinking animals, victim to their penis and incapable of higher reason, and thus innocent? Who's the misandrist here, again?

2) Perhaps you also believe that skin-color based slavery is also inevitable, natural and inescapable. After all, it's been happening for all of history!

3) IT (and more so, startups) are significantly and noticeably more sexist than many other professions. Also, it's my profession, and I'd like it to be one I can be proud of.

4) Really? "Jeopardise the life of the accused"? The only death threats I recall from recent situations were made against the woman (accuser).

5) Things have changed. For one, others who have experienced similar harassment have another data point to know that they're not alone. For another, those of us who aren't as tolerant of jackassery as you are have been reminded of how far we have to go.


You're so full of yourself it's amazing.

1) I did not fucking waive blame. I acknowledged that it happens.

2) Sure. Dilute my argument by bringing in slavery. Good call. I am totally on your side now.

3) If you want to believe that. I have not come across a profession yet where this stuff does not happen in spades.

4) By life I meant work opportunities and reputation.

5) Things have not changed. At all.


> You're so full of yourself it's amazing.

The only people who say that are people truly full of themselves. People who aren’t full of themselves would be too disgusted by such a comment to ever make it.


> You're so full of yourself it's amazing.

Glad to see that you're easily impressed!

WRT, 1 and 2), your statement was that assault and harassment are inevitable and unavoidable aspects of human nature. Funny enough that is the exact same argument, word for word, that was used by those in favour of segregation (and before that, slavery). How am I diluting anything by pointing out the parallels?

Secondly, do you really think I want you on my side? My goal is to communicate exactly how strongly I disagree with you, not for you to be my pal.

Finally: If you truly believe nothing will change, then why are you putting in so much effort to defend the status quo?


Inevitable and unavoidable has nothing to do with innocence. Which again I did not assert for those that do this.

Parking your car in the ghetto with the windows down will inevitably lead to your stereo or car getting stolen. That absolutely does not imply that theft is OK. You want me to be saying that so it is easier to deflect my argument.

As for the slavery you are intentionally bringing in a more hot-button issue to divert attention from the topic at hand. It's called a red herring.


jsprinkles, you are such a despicable human being that I can genuinely say my life was a happier life before I found out that you existed. Good grief you disgust me.

I know this comment is not contributing in any way, and will invariably get downvoted into oblivion given the general misogyny rampant among many of the HN regulars, but I just could not let that go unsaid. THAT’S how much your behavior in this thread has bothered me.

(btw, I'm a white male)

Update (as I cannot reply a level deeper than jsprinkles reply to this, it seems): the “amount” by which my life is a less happy place is about the amount of sound the world’s tiniest violin produces. But the knowledge is there now, and cannot be forgotten.


I'm sorry but I cannot help but be amused that some anonymous opinion on a forum somewhere has made your life a less happy place. My tiniest violin is mourning your loss. I do not mean to be disrespectful but I fail to see how my words can so deeply impact your life.

I beg you to unplug and go find some peace if this discussion has gotten that far under your skin.

What behavior specifically disgusted you? That I preach moderation in times like these instead of rushing to publicly out someone? That I disagree that IT is a completely women-hating industry? That I acknowledge the inevitability of a gender programmed to reproduce to eventually make unwelcome advances on a woman without forgiving it or removing blame?


So what's your suggestion, besides suggesting that people simply shut up about it?

I think there's an appreciation to the dangers of a very public airing of dirty laundry - but the alternative (shaming victims into silence) seems far, far worse.


Shaming victims into silence

You really need to calm down and think things through. Just because jsprinkles said that blogging about this accomplishes nothing (and he's absolutely right btw), doesn't mean he's saying that she should stay silent. Since when is blogging/tweeting about this the first line of action?

Go to the police. Period.

P.S. Try not to throw the word 'victim' around. All we have is her word. If the allegations are proven, then yes, she's a victim. Till then, she's a blogger.


IMO, she's a victim if the events happened. It matters little whether they are proven.


And how do you know the events happened? Besides her blog post I mean.


Please keep clear in your mind the context of the discussion.

The question in this particular thread of comments was, what should someone who experiences these events do? There is no particular person whose words can be proven or disproven, just a hypothetical person who ("by construction") is a victim.


You should take your own advice and pay attention.

We're not talking about some hypothetical person. We're talking about this specific person. It's ok for Tammy to refer to herself as a 'victim' since in her mind, it may very well be true. But we can't call her a 'victim' since, in this specific case, we don't know what happened.


Nah, you for some reason thought the other poster was talking specifically about Tammy, but you were mistaken. Look again at how they used the word:

I think there's an appreciation to the dangers of a very public airing of dirty laundry - but the alternative (shaming victims into silence) seems far, far worse.


Do you have a reading disability of some sort? That comment was...you know what, you clearly lack the rudimentary reading comprehension skills required to grasp what's going on here. And my time is far too valuable to waste in giving you a lesson.

So if it helps you sleep better, go right ahead thinking that. I am done with this nonsense :)


There is nothing illegal that's been done (if the blog post is honestly reported). This is a social problem.


How about reporting crimes to the police?


While I agree that "trial by Twitter" (or "trial by blog-wars") is probably one of the worst ways of dealing with sexual assault, there's an awful lot of anecdotal/hearsay "evidence" that reporting it to police is likely to be even less effective and probably more personally invasive.

Seriously. Google some stats about sexual assault case's successfully prosecuted. Read up on research about how few rapes are reported, and notice how often victims suggest the big reasn they don't report rapes is because of the way they expect (rightly or wrongly) to be treated by police and courts.

I can fully understand why women who've been raped refuse to want to go through the standard process of reporting and prosecuting that crime.

I can fully understand why anyone who suffers something short of rape would think it's not worth bothering trying to get the police to do anything about it. Seriously - what sort of reaction do you thing she would have got fronting up to a police station and saying "This guy banned me from a conference because I refused to have sex with him. Please have him charged."

In an ideal world? Yeah, the "police" would fix this. In the real world, not s much...


While I agree that "trial by Twitter" (or "trial by blog-wars") is probably one of the worst ways of dealing with sexual assault, there's an awful lot of anecdotal/hearsay "evidence" that reporting it to police is likely to be even less effective and probably more personally invasive.

I've also had to take a friend to the hospital after a rape. I had to listen to her complaints about the invasiveness of the rape kit, and I also had to deal with the subsequent futility of it all.

The way I have decided to deal with this is to choose my friends and associates carefully, based on their code of ethics as determined by their actions over a long period of time.

How about a private service combined with a device to record, encrypt, and upload a "lifestream" style recording? There would be two encryption keys involved, one in possession of the customer and the other in possession of the service provider, who would be under contract to perform their side of the decryption only in certain conditions. This would have saved my friend from rape and also saved me much stress in a situation where I was physically threatened and also in an unpleasant fender bender where the other party lied their ass off.

I think this would be a better deterrent to many crimes than widespread gun carry laws. (Epidemiological studies of gun ownership find it's a net loss due to the higher incidence of deadly violence.)


This, minus escrow requirements, is David Brin's "the watchers" or "transparent society". I'd be really afraid of how the escrow happened, but if I could keep control of recordings, I'd support it.

Of course, one of the main reasons I'd want recordings is so that if I shot someone in self defense, I'd have video supporting that to show to the DA or jury.

The UK has shown that video isn't that great a deterrent of criminal activity. It does make people feel safer, but doesn't actually reduce crime. It is sometimes helpful in prosecutions, but even that isn't a major factor in street environments (in a bank, it's better).

I'm a safe and responsible firearms owner. I'm pretty confident that my firearms ownership, training, and use contributes to my personal safety. I think my safe driving and carrying a cellphone, first aid kit, flashlight, etc. and keeping cases of water and some canned good at home is more of a net win, though.


The UK has shown that video isn't that great a deterrent of criminal activity. It does make people feel safer, but doesn't actually reduce crime. It is sometimes helpful in prosecutions, but even that isn't a major factor in street environments (in a bank, it's better).

AFAIK, those cameras are placed in locations, and the street crime just moves elsewhere, while the bank robbery stays at the bank. I'm proposing to place cameras on people. I bet the crime in specific street locations did decrease.

The reason I propose the (private) escrow, is so there could also be an audio recording. (Not compatible with current laws, though.) An audio recording would've been useful in the posted scenario.


To quote eropple elsewhere in this thread:

  There is nothing illegal that's been done (if the blog
  post is honestly reported). This is a social problem.
Now I'm not entirely sure that's true (assuming there were only words involved), but it's definitely murky territory. I can legally tell someone they can only enter my house if they'll sleep with me, but I cannot legally tell someone I will only hire them if they'll sleep with me. Where on the spectrum is gaining entrance to an event organised by a private society?

I think it's more effective to direct efforts towards solving the social problem.


"Seriously I am not going to fight this battle again only in the end to be accused of being a woman-hater."

If you don't want to participate in the discussion, fine. But please don't try to encourage others to do that.


Huh? I am not sure you know how the legal system works but accusations are supposed to be public. Criminal trials in the US and pretty much every free country start with an indictment which is the accusation of the crime the defendant supposedly committed and that is always public.


A difference between Tammy Camp and Noirin Shirley is that Shirley in addition to naming names, went and made a police report.

That takes Shirley's response from rumor, innuendo, and sex based side taking to falsifiable investigation.

It would suck to be Florian Liebert, but Shirley provided him her name and her direct accusation, and with that, Liebert can take legal action as he desires.

So I find Shirley's behavior admirable. Going after someone in print is a very gutsy thing for anyone to do.

I have no idea what happened to Camp, and I am certain it will promote flame wars, division, side taking, politicization, rumors, attacks, and as of this moment, there really is no reason to believe her apart from not understanding her motive to fake such a thing.


Whatever, anyone that is the victim of assault has a right to talk about it and publicly point out their assailant. Of course the accused has a right to defend themselves. They can blog their story too.

Of course this all may result cacophony of accusations and counter accusations but I do not see how this is worse than simply pretending it did not happen.

It is much preferred that they name the offending party than if they make general accusations in the direction of the tech business as a whole, which tend to paint all male engineers as potential rapists.


I can't even imagine how someone accused (especially falsely accused) could even begin to respond to such a thing with any fairness. If I accuse you of the most hideous crimes against little kids, you have a right to defend yourself. You just won't be taken seriously in doing so, because I'll have already played the nuclear card on you in the act of forming the initial accusation, itself. Nobody deserves to be harassed and nobody deserves to be slandered and unfortunately both happen so often that people will simply be sided with in the court of public (and eternal internet) opinion based solely on the prior experiences and views going-in of the "reader".

And, other than that, I'm staying the hell out of this entire conversation. No good can come of this, even though it would be nice to think that constructive conversations about such topics can be had. I'll move on to something a little less volatile and a little more rational, like peace in the middle east.


To be honest you mostly come across as a troll, but there's one part of your "argument" that I've often seen folk make in earnest. And it just flat-out makes no sense.

I just think everyone should be spared from trial by Twitter because character assassination is kind of a big deal and there is always the chance that facts are being misrepresented by either side.

This line is basically: other people might buy into what is said even if it isn't provable, that would be an injustice, therefore don't say anything.

But from the point of view of someone like Noirin Shirley, that is completely irrevelant! They know what has happened, so from their POV this is a complete nonissue! If the "bad" consequence is that someone believes the truth for the wrong reasons, well, that isn't really their fucking problem!


The logical result of "do not write about it in your blog" is not "don't say anything".


I am not ready to fight this battle again.

Cue jsprinkles answering almost every comment on this thread.

Could you perhaps save yourself a bit more effectively next time, so we could spend more time on fixing the discrimination, and less time listening to how horrible it is to be you in a discussion you can apparently choose not to be involved in?


Regardless of opinions on naming names and whatnot, we shouldn't discourage someone from blogging about it. We only have anecdotes, so we don't have enough information to prove one way or another whether this is a broader issue with our community or just with the individuals, but we shouldn't deny someone their right to raise awareness of it. I think we can agree that it's unacceptable behavior; discouraging people from raising awareness of it (by blogging or otherwise), or broadly categorizing any attempt at discussion as misandry and a waste of time, has a danger of coming off as tacit acceptance, which, if there is a broader problem, would exacerbate it.


> Seriously, save yourself the involvement in this thread.

SPOILER ALERT: jsprinkles, unfortunately, proceeds to ignore his own advice.

> I am not ready to fight this battle again.

He finds the strength.


Personally I think shit like this should not be blogged at all

Please not that only a very small part of the post is actually about sexual harassment or discrimination. Most of it is about how to deal with "the feeling of defeat due to injustice" in a way that is completely (and quite likely deliberately) independant from the nature of the injustice.


Agreed. You're brave for saying it. This is one of those topics where if anybody says something reasonable and nuanced on a Certain Side of this topic, they get demonized by folks on the other side of it. Been there, done that, no T-shirt to show for it. Not a profitable use of anyone's time.


Fuck you. There's no upside for women and enormous downside for them to go public with crap like this. For you to cry misandry pretty clearly shows your position. And your claim that she should just shut her mouth and keep quiet is at bare minimum enabling of the abuse you pretend to disdain.


http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1875927

I'm curious -- do you run around posting in every thread that concerns sexual assault with pitchfork in hand for the accused and ad hominem attacks for those who disagree with the methodology?

Take your pants off to e-mail you? Seriously?


If you want improvement in this area get your daughter to date a nerd in high school.

Men who go into technical fields suffer serious scars from social rejection that's every bit as painful as apartheid. Considering that techie men spend their sensitive formative years being completely shut out and excluded from the company of women, a woman is pretty presumptuous to think she will be treated fairly by technically oriented men.


The downvote button – it works only once! Why?!

> Men who go into technical fields suffer serious scars from social rejection that's every bit as painful as apartheid

Lacking social skills makes one a victim of a crime against humanity? Really? Do you want to go read this and then tell me you still stand behind your remark?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa_under_apartheid

> Considering that techie men spend their sensitive formative years being completely shut out and excluded from the company of women, a woman is pretty presumptuous to think she will be treated fairly by technically oriented men.

That's a little thing called misogyny. The fact that you had a hard time with your social skills in high school doesn't give you, or anyone else, the privilege to be shitty to women. If a particular person did a particular thing to you that's unkind, then you have a right to be aggrieved only with that one person. Anything beyond that suggests you're in need of therapy. Someone having a vagina is entirely unreleated to your traumas and I'm disgusted that the community hasn't downvoted you into invisibility for this nonsense.

Downvote me all you want, women haters of HN. I'd say the same and worse of this stupidity to this "man's" face as well. There's a place where points of view become so poisonous and pernicious, it's a moral duty to become angry rather than tolerate their continued reasonable discussion. This is bullshit of the highest order and if that needs to be explained to you then you're beyond anything my communication can do to help.


i gave you an upvote. ;-)

personally i've avoided overt sexual harassment. there might be a few times I was looking at some {lady,chick,bird,gal,differently-chromosomed person) the wrong way and received a message, sent by a third party, that i smelled bad, but that's it

personally i think the race, class, gender analysis that goes around looks at race and gender too much and ignore class. considering class, I'd say that only 20% of white people are really white.

if people treated every person they faced as entirely as an individual, they'd have no ability to cope with other people at all. you've got to make generalizations and expect to have a certain shared reality if you're going to communicate. for instance, there are different social conventions when you interact with women and men -- a 'feminist' who wants to change that would be on a project to eliminate the feminine.

when that shared reality is out of whack, people make a lot of pain for themselves and others. if you want this problem to change, you should assert your point of view, because this behavior is unfair. but please recognize that these people are suffering too... they're not getting any pleasure out of this BS, they just aren't. they need a kind of therapy that's very hard to get these days.


“but please recognize that these people are suffering too”

Their suffering is not being denied. Their suffering is being pointed out as completely tangential to the problem at hand.

The therapy that they need is simply to try not to mistreat women just because women didn't worship them to their liking in their earlier years.

They don't need to pay a therapist to have people online tell them this simple fact which they can learn from if they're interested in making their lives happier.


I can't disagree more strongly with the things you wrote. In fact, I'm pretty appalled by them.

"Men who go into technical fields suffer serious scars from social rejection that's every bit as painful as apartheid."

I'm not really sure you get what apartheid is.

"[A] woman is pretty presumptuous to think she will be treated fairly by technically oriented men"

Why? Why is a woman, just because she's a woman, supposed to be treated unfairly? Just because some people were treated badly (supposedly) by other women? That's just... random. If I were treated badly by a blond person once, or even more times, that wouldn't make it OK for me to treat blonds badly, just because they're blond.

On top of these points, you're also implying a lot of things that aren't true.

"Men who go into technical fields suffer serious scars from social rejection"

All men? Only in technical professions? Why are you giving weight to this not very accurate representations of anyone going into a technical career being socially scarred? Even if it has some basis in fact, it's nowhere near ubiquitous. And it's certainly not only people in technical professions - many people have scars from childhood.

Besides, you're making it seem like the women are the problem, who "socially scar" and "completely shut out and exclude" technically-oriented men. In truth, it's often the men's fault. They just don't put as much effort into "socializing" that they do into other things. It might not always be conscious, but it's a choice they make. The worst thing to do is to "blame the women", both because it's inaccurate, and because it's unproductive.


> Why? Why is a woman, just because she's a woman, supposed to be treated unfairly? Just because some people were treated badly (supposedly) by other women? That's just... random. If I were treated badly by a blond person once, or even more times, that wouldn't make it OK for me to treat blonds badly, just because they're blond.

I don't think you understand the magnitude to which this occurs. When a man has been rejected/ignored by EVERY SINGLE woman he has met thus far, you can't really blame him for not being very friendly towards the next woman he meets. This is a far cry from being "treated badly by a blond person once, or even more times".

> They just don't put as much effort into "socializing" that they do into other things.

Then perhaps women that want to be a part of the tech scene should put more effort into "socializing" as well. The high school social scene is every bit as brutal to nerds as the tech social scene is to women.


When a man has been rejected/ignored by EVERY SINGLE woman he has met thus far, you can't really blame him for not being very friendly towards the next woman he meets.

Of course and without question you can. The imposition here is that your constructed nerd is emotionally immature to the point where he cannot divorce the actions of one person from another. He may even be so emotionally immature--but that is his problem and nobody else's. Accepting and condoning it cannot be borne.

Then perhaps women that want to be a part of the tech scene should put more effort into "socializing" as well.

I am hoping I am reading this wrong, because the implication behind your use of the word "socializing" seems to not be the same as your post's parent. Please expound on this. What do you expect them to do?


> Of course and without question you can. The imposition here is that your constructed nerd is emotionally immature to the point where he cannot divorce the actions of one person from another. He may even be so emotionally immature--but that is his problem and nobody else's. Accepting and condoning it cannot be borne.

Then what is your solution? When someone gets treated like shit by a group of people for years on end, you can't expect them to turn around and smile to that same group of people who are suddenly interested in him because he's overflowing with cash. It might be a surprise to you, but nerds are not unemotional robots.

> I am hoping I am reading this wrong, because the implication behind your use of the word "socializing" seems to not be the same as your post's parent. Please expound on this. What do you expect them to do?

Just as the quintessential nerd sticks out like a sore thumb in high school, women tend to stick out like a sore thumb in the tech industry. A lot of women in the tech industry tend to capitalize on their "otherness", just as nerds do in high school. In both cases, it's counterproductive.


Nobody's talking about "smiling" at them. They are, however, talking about not demanding sex from them and barring them from conferences because they refused. There's a pretty broad separation here.

You don't have to like every person you meet. I certainly don't. But you do have to tolerate them.


> Nobody's talking about "smiling" at them. They are, however, talking about not demanding sex from them and barring them from conferences because they refused. There's a pretty broad separation here.

Like I said above, I am NOT condoning sexual harrassment or any other illegal activity in any way. I'm speaking in more general terms as to why the poor treatment women receive in the tech industry is not arbitrary or unfounded.


"Some people who had a vagina didn't like me, so I'm going to hate on all people with vaginas." Yeah, that's arbitrary (do you hate on all people with a high melanin count because you're mugged by an African-American?) and unfounded (is there any rational reason to believe all African-Americans are muggers?).

You are desperately trying to rationalize shitty behavior by immature people. The answer's not in "but she wouldn't date me when I wasn't attractive or interesting or socially competent".

.

Again: you don't have to like everyone. You do have to tolerate them. This should be so basic as to be beyond argument.


> but that is his problem and nobody else's.

lol, then why are we reading this article?

you can have all the expectations you like towards realizing your gender-equality utopia. very few of them will ever be respected.

whereas paul points out an actually addressable cultural issue.


then why are we reading this article?

Because sufficient social pressure is not regularly and consistently brought to bear on said misogynists to grow up.

Unfortunately.


> When a man has been rejected/ignored by EVERY SINGLE woman he has met thus far, you can't really blame him for not being very friendly towards the next woman he meets.

a) "Not very friendly" is a different thing from assault and harassment. Don't use weasel words; you are writing a defence of the assaults and harassment in your comments, not "unfriendliness."

b) Where do you think the rejections are coming from?

I can't imagine that many women would want to date someone who resents their entire gender based upon some juvenile grudge.

> The high school social scene is every bit as brutal to nerds as the tech social scene is to women.

Thus the two evils are cancelled out, and everyone is absolved of all responsibility for their actions!

Wait... that's not how it works? </sarcasm>


> "Not very friendly" is a different thing from assault and harassment. Don't use weasel words; you are writing a defence of the assaults and harassment in your comments, not "unfriendliness."

I am not condoning sexual harrassment or any other illegal activity in any way. But I don't see a problem with giving what you get (i.e., not going out of your way to help out or be friendly to women in the industry).

> I can't imagine that many women would want to date someone who resents their entire gender based upon some juvenile grudge.

You're putting the cart before the horse. The grudge is a RESULT of women not wanting to date them, NOT the CAUSE.

> Thus the two evils are cancelled out, and everyone is absolved of all responsibility for their actions!

> Wait... that's not how it works? </sarcasm>

You're still missing the point. People are not impartial and unemotional, even in a professional setting. Years of mental conditioning cannot be undone by just stating that certain rules of professional conduct must be followed.


I don't see a problem with giving what you get (i.e., not going out of your way to help out or be friendly to women in the industry)

Who's talking about "helping women out"? They don't need help. We're talking about not attacking them. You continue to use weasel words, except when directly confronted with your acceptance of harassment and assault, that imply that--hey--it's just not that big a deal.

You are wrong. It is that big a deal. And acceptance of these behaviors--you can say you're not, but to be entirely honest I suspect disingenuity--is also wrong.

You're putting the cart before the horse. The grudge is a RESULT of women not wanting to date them, NOT the CAUSE.

And if they're emotionally unstable and immature enough to hold that sort of grudge, why exactly would anyone want to date them in the first place?

It does, at the end of the day, go back to people who are reasonable and well-adjusted having little interest in close personal relationships with people who are unreasonable and ill-adjusted. Why should they behave otherwise? Why can't the ill-adjusted people with the seething rage toward anyone who doesn't have a Y chromosome grow up a little?

People are not impartial and unemotional, even in a professional setting. Years of mental conditioning cannot be undone by just stating that certain rules of professional conduct must be followed.

It's hard, so they shouldn't do it?


> Who's talking about "helping women out"? They don't need help. We're talking about not attacking them.

I'm not suggesting women in particular need help. Whether it's high school or the tech industry, a helping hand is always nice when you're getting started. But there's no reason to give one to someone who never gave you one when you needed it.

> And if they're emotionally unstable and immature enough to hold that sort of grudge, why exactly would anyone want to date them in the first place?

Emotional instability and immaturity are not personality traits inherent to all nerds. They are a RESULT of years of being ignored by women.

Like I said before, the grudge is a RESULT of women not wanting to date them. At the beginning of high school, the nerds weren't emotionally unstable or immature. That is a RESULT of social isolation.

> It does, at the end of the day, go back to people who are reasonable and well-adjusted having little interest in close personal relationships with people who are unreasonable and ill-adjusted. Why should they behave otherwise? Why can't the ill-adjusted people with the seething rage toward anyone who doesn't have a Y chromosome grow up a little?

For the same reason that high school girls can't grow up a little and stop ignoring all the guys who aren't wearing jock straps and walking around with footballs.

> Oh. It's hard, so they shouldn't do it.

And it's hard to socialize with nerds in high school, so women just shouldn't do it, right?


Ah. I see now. It is women's fault for not understanding the special inner beauty and desirability of nerds, but not nerds' fault for choosing--as in, an active choice--to be avoidant shrooms at the computer. That makes complete sense.

...

Wait...sorry, no, it makes no sense at all. And it's bullshit, to boot. Hell, I wasn't "wearing a jock strap and walking around with a football"--I'm overweight, tried out for the baseball team and totally bombed it, and was legendarily bad at sports in general--but I did all right. I could have been called a nerd in high school and college. I had serious computer interests (and in college I did Google Summer of Code twice), I was horrible at sports, all that. But I chose to socialize and act like a reasonably normal guy. Sports and all that are nice, I'm sure, but a decent--not great--personality, a willingness to take risks and sometimes be embarrassed, and a modicum of wit did, and do, me pretty well.

It's not about playing sports. It's about leaving the basement and choosing to not adopt a victim complex just because some--not all, but some--people don't like you. These are things that our hypothetical nerds can choose to do, but don't.

.

Nerds make it impossible for people to want to socialize with them. I know this from experience, 'cause I did it too--I just realized what I was doing and stopped. Then they turn around and make other people--who, in this case, want to socialize with them, want to go to a conference where they are--miserable. That is, to be completely blunt, utterly fucked. And the blame lies solely on them for refusing to grow the hell up and act like a halfway decent human being.


With all due respect--and your post comes off as misogynistic enough that that is, I must admit, very very little--this is completely off-base and insulting to about half of the human race. In no way does being shut down in high school mean anything as far as acting like professional, reasonable adults is concerned. I work at a company where a large proportion of our management and project management is female; we have a few female engineers as well. And nobody cares. They're people, for christ's sake.

That people who talk the way you are have unresolved issues means they need therapy--it is not a license to hurt other people because they can't take care of themselves.

I would hazard a guess that companies that focus on not hiring assholes would not have the problems the writer refers to. I would further guess that there are enough people in the startup world who don't feel accountable and never had professionalism (hell, basic manners) hammered into their skulls that think their behavior is OK.

(EDIT: Paul's explanation in his reply is much more level-headed and worth a read)


you've got some points.

actually, i don't excuse this behavior; if a i caught a friend sexually harassing somebody, i'd give them a really hard time.

on the other hand, the culture as a whole is experiencing a "crisis of object relations." young people in Japan and Europe aren't marrying and having children at a rate that can support a stable population. i know so many people who've made it into their 40's lonely and i know many people who've suffered the wreckage of divorce both as adults and children. i'm appalled by the murderous destruction that homophobia causes to our communities.

the fact is I'm in a committed relationship with a women that's basically successful. we talk about stuff like this all the time. i can definitely say i've had serious pain in the past. if i've got any real fault, it's that i'm terrifyingly able to work within different and contradictory viewpoints.

it's terrible. but the structure of institutions is that they subject people to traumas and then compel them to transmit those traumas to others. they're selfish memes.


See, I find what you're saying here much more reasonable and without a trace of misogyny--I agree with you here almost entirely. These problems do exist. Where my dander went up (and I apologize for being a bit overly pointed) is in the impression that it's understandable-thus-should-be-tolerated. It is certainly understandable--and I was shot down plenty of times in high school--but it can't be tolerated.


> That people who talk the way you are have unresolved issues means they need therapy--it is not a license to hurt other people because they can't take care of themselves.

sadly you're also making a mistake expecting the victimizers to go out and get therapy.

as an analogy, it would be great if post-civil war impoverished whites had a round of therapy to adjust any racism they harbored towards blacks. more likely only addressing their economic situation was ever going to be effective.

there really is a causal relation between the high school cultural problem paul describes and the situation the op author encounters. that's probably the level we'll have to address this at.


I'm expecting the victimizers to not victimize people. They can get therapy, find Jesus, or just realize they're doing things that are wrong--I don't care which.

The high school cultural problem you're referring to, at least with regard to people who end up in tech fields, etc., seems to be much more along the lines of "they won't turn off their computers and go hang out with people." And I say that knowing full well that for most of high school that was me, too. Look inward, people.


> Look inward, people.

that's just not going to spontaneously happen across all the individuals concerned.

where as paul has actually identified a situation that can be addressed.


Not practically. If your canonical nerd does not choose--choose--to act like a relatively normal[1] human being, then there's no helping them (unless they have parents who'll push them to actually do something, and maybe not even then). At some point, they've got to choose to leave the metaphorical and/or literal basement on their own.

Paul's point is not without merit, but it is not one that leads to a solution. "Get girls to date guys who aren't desirable" seems like a non-starter.

[1] - and "relatively normal" is pretty broad, especially in high school and college; there's a social group, and a social group that is not uniformly male, for everybody who actually wants to socialize.


I was -- depending on the person harassing me -- the fat kid, the gay kid, the goth kid, or some combination thereof for all of my school years. I didn't have a single date throughout school, and I hated every single second of it. And yet, I didn't use any of that an excuse to be an asshole. I learned the skills I needed to succeed socially and treated others with respect regardless of race, gender, etc. Why is it unreasonable to expect that from every other person?


As a coder and geek I find it horrible that I'm not expected to treat women like an equal simply because I might have been "excluded from the company of women". The idea that techies somehow are entitled to women is sad and pitiful.


you've got to recognize the tragedy here.

many young men feel like they're destined to go to the grave alone. they can't picture any chain of events that could lead to having any relationship at all with a women. they get angry and hateful which seals their doom.

yes, they should resist the urge to commit unconstructive behaviors. the fact is some of them won't.

really these people need to get past their traumas AND learn new skills; non-directive therapy alone doesn't work because these people need to develop entirely new software. I hate saying it, but people like Ross Jefferies have come the closest to identifying the needs of these people, but we badly need relationships skills training that's effective through the lifecycle of the relationship.

sexual harassers should be punished, but punishment doesn't get to the root of the problem; it's terrifyingly easy to be born into the wrong family and social context and to just not be equipped for the world of relationships and work -- yet that kind of family background is something you can't choose just like you can't choose to be black or gay.


this is gratuitous, but i want to thank you for taking the time to articulate your point. we need an alternative to viewing everything just in terms of one group of victims and one group of victimizers.


Maybe it was not a feeling of entitlement but rather a problem with dealing with rejection that caused the problem - like a nerd could hurt and hence find it unbearable to be around the desired woman. That would take some practice.


But that's very different from the situation which Tammy Camp found herself in, i.e. requested to have sex or leave the conferences. Being socially inept is one thing, being a discriminating douchebag quite another.


Honestly, I don't think we really know that. We only know Tammy's interpretation. I think there must be some background story at least? Or do conference organizer just go through the photos attached to applications and say "hey, she's hot, let's blackmail her for sex"?


given that we've only heard tammy's one line summary of the encounter, maybe.


And in a professional environment, they should be expected to deal with it responsibly and in a mature manner.

Is propositioning Ms. Camp either responsible or mature?


I think the point of the sub-parent was that some nerds never got a chance to mature. This is not meant to defend such behavior.


I would change your statement to read "never chose to mature" rather than "never got a chance to mature."

If you spend your formative years not taking advantage of the opportunities that exist, I have trouble mustering sympathy. (And like I said elsewhere in this thread, I certainly did that until the middle of high school. It's not easy to break out of it, but the only one who can is you.)


Every single rejection from a girl in high school or a woman after that is a chance to mature. In fact, it's a nearly-spoon-fed opportunity to mature.

Anyone that doesn’t mature at least somewhat from such scenarios is actively choosing not to. Maybe not consciously, but they are making the decision to resent and blame, rather than regret and find out why they got rejected.


There is no why. Nerds think there should be an actionable reason, and that's part of the problem. It's just how she feels, and even she probably doesn't understand it. We accumulate years of damage from bad advice because better advice (rejections are too random to take personally, so forget your big doomed crushes, improve your odds where you can, and try everybody) is somewhat dehumanizing.


Here's the link to my blog post where I discuss this http://bit.ly/ms4QUp

I'd love to cut her a break, but her and I are too similar for me to let this go.


I don't give a flying fuck about your psychological scars. They are no excuse for improper behaviour and do not absolve yourself (or "technically oriented men") from responsibility from their actions.

If you want to see improvement in this area, stop making excuses for sexists and let them realise that their attitudes are not tolerated, let alone actions like the one related from the blog.

It may be "presumptuous" to expect equality and fairness but it is exactly what everyone ought to be expecting, and in its absence the correct action is to fight the culture, not silence.


At those who are saying high school mistreatment by some women shouldn't influence your interactions with other women ... sure, I won't argue that point.

But the fact of the matter is, humans are learning machines, and they will generalize their experiences. So, if a male geek is terribly mistreated by women as a teenager, he will almost certainly resent them for it and probably treat women worse later in life. At least, they'll have a prior belief that women are cruel, cruel creatures unless proven otherwise.

Thus, justified or not, the way group A (women) behaves towards group B (geeky men) does have an influence on how individuals from group B behave towards individuals from group A.

But I don't think dating someone is the only way to show kindness.


I'd probably say the opposite - most of the entitled, pigheaded jerks I know weren't nerds in HS, but the bullies, jocks, and other people who got what they wanted in life handed to them, or grabbed it for themselves.

Once they hit real life and realize that things aren't as easy as they were lead to believe, things get nasty.

On the other hand, most nerds/geeks tend to have had more time looking inward, and are sometimes more able to empathize with others. Or they ignore the social scene altogether.

(just my experience, YMMV)


As a nerd, I feel your pain but equating social rejection from women to apartheid is probably overreaching a bit, no?


If you want improvement in this area get your daughter to date a nerd in high school.

I'm a nerd. My sister's a choreographer. My parents encouraged my sister to date my nerdy friends. It generally had the opposite effect.


GP must have assumed that people who've procreated have enough social awareness to know that if they really want their daughter to date nerds, they have to forbid her from even hanging out with that kind of guy--you never know when they're going to hack a bank, or make some kind of dangerous robot with lasers and rocket engines on it.


"Men who go into technical fields suffer serious scars from social rejection that's every bit as painful as apartheid." <-- That is true of men who go into nontechnical fields as well.

"techie men spend their sensitive formative years being completely shut out and excluded from the company of women" <-- that is not true at all. These prototypical 'techie men' actively focus on things other than social development. There is a way to develop socially whilst going into technical fields, and that involves actually trying to be social.


the person she was dealing with is just as likely (i can't justify saying more likely) of the jock / business ilk.

what the "high school" social rejection you point to really contributes to is a certain lack of empath if not satisfaction with the plight of women in the industry.


Well, it's interesting to hear how some people justify this sort of thing to themselves. I suppose at least the fact that they do need to justify it to themselves gives us some hope; if they didn't even realise it was wrong, they wouldn't need to give themselves excuses.


What is "right" and what is "wrong"?

There are no absolutes.

You have your religion; I have mine.

Each of us is always justifying whatever we do.


Here's an absolute for you: your nickname should read “anonymous dick” — you're trolling with a newly created account. How about you stop hiding, stop trolling, and start growing up?


bullshit


Look up projecting. You're doing it.




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