We've got to grow up. This is 9th grade all over again. You know, those weird people that do things that you don't understand? They're the ones that grow up and make big impacts on the world.
Why can't we get over our negativity? We can't stop ourselves from thinking horrible things, or even saying them out loud to people around us, but surely we can restrain ourselves from publicly humiliating someone in front of thousands (or more) people. And for what purpose? To say "funny" things like "our eyes are bleeding!". Seriously?
I really will never understand why people can't simply be more positive. If I ever start a company the #1 thing I will look for in others is positivity. I wouldn't stand for this crap.
What's conspicuously lacking here is not positivity per se, it's the absence of civility & decency. Those are two very different sets of attributes.
Lack of an outright positive demeanor won't sink a team. Lacking civility and decency, however, will stick a severe wrench in any project.
edit : On a personal note, reading this was unpleasant and embarrassing. I'm sorry the OP had to go through this.
edit 2 : retracting the following statement after reading apologies published by those involved - "I'm glad I now know who not to interact with in the community"
Only one of the three to do so thus far.
All that despite confessing that he doesn't understand why the project was written:
"Are you mad that the Internet disagrees with you? Maybe get off the Internet?"
He's now gotten off the Internet because he's upset. Ironic.
I'm just not replying to you on Twitter because lol
Your entire blog post is a big "The Internet disagrees with me":
You said something in 140 characters that was snarky and mean, that's actually not easy to do to be honest. And then you got called on it, and now you are getting criticized. Not nice, huh?
This is all very confusing.
It's no wonder that no one who made those stingy tweets did respond to author's replies and questions. They didn't want to start a discussion in the first place.
Fortunately, the pendulum can also swing the other way here, as they are people who readily jump to defend against harassment.
I'd say these guys fail that test.
It's a good thing that people are calling this out and giving the participants cause to reflect on the problems with that kind of conversation (along with the rest of us). But I think it's also good if we don't rush to reduce people to some of their meaner moments. A lot of the participants have done a number of good things in the past, and they may well apologize and make this the exception rather than the rule.
I think in the open source community there's an ugly culture of celebrating people that act like jerks about technical things that reasonable people could disagree on (the poster child of that probably being Linus). I don't think that's a useful culture to have around. I think the best way to get rid of that culture is to make clear that those people can go fuck themselves. Just because you can be a dick doesn't mean you should, and the community should reflect that.
I'm not the positivity police, I don't think people should be nice just for the sake of being nice, but there's no reason to go pick on someone's project just because it does something you'd rather do with another tool.
It's not that they're criticizing a woman, it's ~how~ they go about it.
If the author was named Henry instead of Heather, this wouldn't make front page or have a comment thread full of white knights.
That doesn't make the critics right in their aggressiveness, and people overall should be nicer.
That sentiment is a huge pet peeve of mine. Forget the gender of harthur, and look at what's left: someone writes a tool that's useful for them, and thought it would be useful for others (and, based on other comments, clearly it's agreed that it is for some). At least three people publicly take a shit all over said tool because, you know, lolol. Those three people have now been called out, and rightly so.
I don't think those three have been called out because Heather is a woman. I think they've been called out because others can see themselves in Heather's place. I know if I published something I wrote, just a small convenient script I had lying around, I wouldn't feel too good to see it attacked in public. Genuine sympathy can be extended to anyone.
I'm going to have to strongly disagree, I honestly didn't know the author was a girl until I saw the name, well after I had read comments and was intrigued overall with the topic. I think the jump to misogyny or gender bias is a bit premature, but I can't really offer up much evidence other then my own perceptions and interpretations of what I've read.
Simply put, the topic is really interesting in itself and hasn't really been discussed much on HN in this specific way, unless I've missed some previous threads. I think add the fact that the negative comments were from some decently well known people, which all responded to it as well, and I think you have all the explanation you need for it being a popular post outside of any sort of need to resort to guys going to to a girls defence explanation.
You're seriously suggesting that anyone here who decries the rude behaviour described in the blog post, is doing so just to impress the protagonist of this drama with their chivalry? What an absurd notion.
Would it have even made HN at all if she was a man and wrote the same way? I doubt it, but if it did, and she was a he, he would have been pounded to the ground in the comments.
Of course, all of this could have been avoided if people act the way they're expected face-to-face. None of these people considered the "person" who wrote the code. And none of them considered "not useful for me" != "not useful". If it was, why are there so many tools out there besides UNIX?
BTW... Twitter's short form is a lame cop out IMO. You can be curt and still not be condescending. Allegedly "smart" people could have been cogent without being asses.
It bothers me too when people here and elsewhere assume every single negative comment or piece of criticism directed at a woman is due to misogyny, and that somehow women should be "no criticism zones" or something. I really like when people maintain gender anonymity online, because it keeps comments and feedback at a gender-blind level.
Congratulations. You bully in a thread about bullying being bad.
You are trying to make it politically incorrect to talk about the problem of aspergers in the dev community. The parent is a bully? really? A bully? come on.
Maybe these specific people have aspergers or not, but the problem of a high concentration of socially inept people in the technology world causing strife amongst each other is a real problem.
This is a problem and it should be talked about.
1. Someone is rude on the internet.
2. "Ooh, look, undiagnosed ASD, lol, most software devs are ASD."
3. Self-applause, occasionally followed by discussion about whether Asperger's is different than Autism or whether it's a spectrum disorder, occasionally someone mentions the new version of DSM. (Sometimes this really bothers someone, and then there's the meta-thing where people smirk and say that of course people with ASD don't like reclassification, etc, etc. It's so tiresome.)
I think this may well be a worthy successor to Godwin's law.
That sort of thing makes me wonder, if after 20-40 years of being part of our society, that is your understanding of one of the major grievances held by people out there, then there is a missing connection. You don't have to agree with the sentiment or conclusion, but if you can't even understand the complaint then you are either woefully sheltered or perhaps it's time to consider cognitive deficiencies.
And this sort of failure mode happens all the fucking time in this community.
Time and time again you see large groups of people in this community exhibiting behaviors that show that they are unaware of normal social and societal conventions, and an inability to relate and sympathize/empathize with others.
The fondness of this community to use words like retard and retarded as insults and use implications of special needs issues as forms of abuse is disappointing given the overall level of smarts of the community. But at least that's obviously offensive. The folks trotting out autism spectrum disorders don't even seem to realize they're being just as problematic and perpetuating unhelpful stereotypes.
The neuro-typical can be assholes too.
I think a big problem in the dev community is a lot of asshole behavior out there from people who don't intend to, or even _understand_ that they are being an asshole.
Regardless of intent, this asshole behavior has consequences on neuro-typical and atypical people alike.
I think nerdy/geeky/dev/asberger/whatever people need to be more mindful of how they interact with people. Unfortunately the recent asberger pride movement doesn't help.
The word is "Asperger's". 'Asperger pride' is an attempt to reduce the hateful ignorant bigotry that the neuro-atypical face every day. The kind of ignorance that leads to early death, reduced job opportunities, reduced educational opportunities etc.
I think the problem with 'Asperger pride' is it tends to focus on how neuro-typical people have wronged people on the spectrum. A lot of times the painful truth is that person with aspergers is at least partially culpable for the negative outcome of their social interactions.
This becomes a major problem when you work in a place where almost everyone is on the autistic spectrum. There are no oppressive neuro-typical people, yet stubborn asshole behavior skyrockets because all the nerds are being dicks to each other.
If somebody is being a dick because they are hunting for a specific reaction from the other person that is not really Asperger behaviour.
Why not, out of curiosity?
People with Aspergers are "normal" people in the sense that they are generally capable of looking after themselves, communicating and working normal jobs etc
People will full Autism have severely limited communication skills (often no spoken or written language skills at all beyond repeating a handful of phrases) and require a significant amount of assistance in most areas of life. They will often live with full time carers.
The term Autism as it is used today suggests severely delayed language development. This is not a symptom of Asperger's and sufferers of the latter can often develop advanced language skills.
That's because the adults around them don't know how to deal with them.
We are educated in a math & science heavy society. That's good. However, it puts the focus on evidence. Emotions don't leave much of a trace unless you act on it. So we use behavior resulting from emotion as evidence of reality and ignore the experience of reality.
Then we say, "be real" and cut off an entire spectrum of reality -- that of experiencing emotions.
These are the makings of the shadow side, the Jungian shadows. When you disown or suppress experiences, then they get stronger.
So yes. We have not grown up because we don't know how. Or at least, no one told you how.
You cannot "get over" negativity. That's a form of rejecting something you don't want to feel. The only way out is to accept the experience of it as is, without rationalizing it and without acting on it. That's probably the hardest thing you will ever do in your life, but the most important if you want to grow as a person.
There are several methods by which one can do this. One of them, called vipassana, was taught to some prisoners with great results (http://www.dhammabrothers.com/). However, you don't need to be a criminal to use this.
Or is the whole point here that Github accounts are not (necessarily at least, as in this case) anonymous and as long as no individual is identified personally we can all share a chuckle at their crappy code?
Good luck with ever hearing about any problem before it's too late to fix it then...
"Hey Larry, after I spoke yesterday I checked and we've got corruption on our RAID array... I think I can work towards resolving it, but if not then we need to come up with a mitigation plan."
"Larry, we've got corruption on our RAID array. I told you yesterday and you didn't work fast enough on my suggestions, so now we're all screwed. I can't believe your stupidity!"
Look, I'm not saying that a positive attitude is bad, just that it definitely shouldn't be your #1 priority as proposed in the first comment I was replying to.
every person that created something worthwile in this world has been ridiculed. for good reason. i hate the fact that people here spout that uber positivity crap.
you know what, you mess up -> you get ridiculed, what do you do? you make something better.
The world is not this pretty flower place where everyone can be happy and strive at the same time. there is no rich without poor, and there is no great without bad.
please everyone be happy is a stupid argument to make. it actually makes people NOT improve.
it has nothing to do with elitism developer community. it's the same everywhere. you don't get patted on the back for doing something mediocore at best, well that is, unless you're an mba.
And there is a large gulf between "patting on the back" and being an asshole.
We can improve others with constructive criticism.
It's the shit sandwich approach, say something good, say something critical, say something good.
Tearing someone down, just because you can is not productive. I wonder if these same tweeters would have said the same thing to this persons face, and then turned their backs and walked away.
There's a big responsibility that comes with being well-liked and nice. When someone with a good reputation and the means to broadcast it speaks negatively about someone, it matters much more than someone who is routinely rude, frequently negative, or unknown. I know that if the most well-liked and nice person in my lab were to criticize my ability as a scientist (in the same manner), I would worry about what everyone else thought about me now, that someone who never seems to say mean things would so something like that.
These individuals do good things: they contribute voluntarily to communities, they help high school kids learn to code, etc. And these individuals are visible. And if you search steveklabnik on HN, his comments don't seem mean or negative.
It's easy to forget, and it's a little paradoxical, but when you're really nice, there's a different standard. Perhaps there shouldn't be, but it does have a different impact.
Speaking as a hiring manager, if I see people behaving like assholes on Twitter or mailing lists, those people go on my do-not-hire list. Yes, we are all assholes from time to time, but for some people it's a pattern of behavior. Those are not people you want to work with, no matter how smart they are.
If Linus Torvalds applied to work at your company, would you turn him away?
As an interesting point, I learned this lesson in who not to hire from Michael Schroepfer, who is now VP of Engineering at Facebook.
Also worth noting, both [Steve and Corey] have published apologies on their own blogs. Both are worth reading.
I know Corey and don't really know too much about what happened here, so I'll only say he's one of the most positive and supportive people I know.
But the internet can be a strange place. How do you apologize to strangers? With blogs? I mean, these pieces are going around being viewed by hundreds of people. Is it really helping? I'm not sure, but, at the very least, people are trying.
Your code stands for itself. Simple as that.
And I tell this to almost every programmer I work with at some point or another. If they have an emotional response to a code review, or criticism of any kind—"Code is never personal. Whatever I say about your code has nothing to do with you. All I want is for us to improve this together, and we do that by exchanging ideas."
Criticisms are never directed at people, they are never intended to be personal attacks—they are simply evaluations of quality, and we're all trying to achieve higher quality. When you put code out there, you open it up to response. If people decide that it's good, then great; if people decide that it's bad, then great! You have an opportunity to improve it. That is a godsend. It's a million times better than if you received no feedback at all.
Male, female, good coder, bad coder, I don't care who you are: if you go sob in a corner because you receive criticism, then you're not going to improve. You have to join the discussion like an adult. Cramer may have an asshole opinion here, but sometimes assholes are right. Sometimes the world is harsh, but through adversity we can become better. Deal with it.
* Update: Well, I've read up more. These criticisms were not the productive kind, and were tactless and mean. I stand by what I said, but the people in question didn't criticize right, and they deserve the vitriol being directed at them. Shame.
I've heard this repeated ad nauseum (not just in this thread) and I think it's total crap. You cannot tell me that if you spend dozens of hours writing something then someone comes along and goes line by line telling you how what you wrote is an abomination that you're not going to have an emotional response.
If that's the case it has to go the other way as well. Just finish writing a new process that will save the company $30k a month? Doesn't matter. If your code doesn't have anything to do with you then it's not an accomplishment to write good code (I don't believe this).
Just to be clear, I do think code is personal but I do think people should welcome any constructive feedback, particularly the negative. Yes I feel a twinge in my ego any time someone criticizes my code, even minor stuff; but guess what? When they look at it next time they won't be able to make the same criticism, because I will have fixed it.
Who reads code without thinking of the author? When I'm derailed by a bug in some library I'm depending on, or see code that works in a way I find unintuitive, clunky, etc., I absolutely think judgmentally about the person who wrote it.
When I'm reading someone else's code and find a solution that's significantly more elegant than I was imagining, I'm impressed by the person's accomplishment, and they basically get points in my head. If I meet them in person I'll quite possibly shake their hand a bit more warmly.
This is normal and natural, and I have to consciously counter-balance that with the learned (but not instinctive...) knowledge that I've written bad code myself, released buggy or clunky code, taken questionable shortcuts, etc..
When I'm in a position to criticize someone else's code (and it's part of my job to do it sometimes!) I usually rewrite my feedback a few times (and sometimes decide it's not needed at all) before writing or speaking to the developer, because it takes a lot of conscious thought to modify my instinctive response into something more fair and effective based on what I've learned over the years.
That's my experience.
Does everyone else actually think that differently?
Heck developers are still fine, try talking to a doctor about some other doctor's work, even if all you utter is a minor work of praise for the other guy you will receive nothing short of total angry response loaded with utmost display of ego possible.
Never needlessly criticize someone's work or praise a competitor in front of the person. Unless something big is at stake.
Everything is subjective and everything is personal. That's how human beings work.
Maybe this is fine for psychopaths, economists, or machines that can eventually understand the criticism one day, but for normal people it doesn't apply. Someone's code is like someone's child.
It's great and I'd say necessary to use constructive criticism, but I just don't see the need to bully and make fun of people.
Having said that though, when you ridicule someone, you've made it personal. When someone ridicules someone else, there's a high chance that they secretly feel ridiculed by others (Jungian shadows).
I forgot who observed this: adult males will kill off younger competition, unless they are teaching. One of the core values of the Open Source community is sharing and teaching. I suppose, if you stick around in opinionated software long enough, then you start moving away from that core value.
I guess it depends on context. For team work projects, maybe your coworkers don't feel like they have ownership over their work. I feel that this is very different compared to open sourcing your personal work.
You don't start "discussion" with "how to make sed and grep worse", you just don't. She (harthur) even attempted to get some real feedback out of the snarky twitter mob, but it turns out that "nothing's _wrong_ with it, but I don't want to build my app on top of others' code who are at this level of understanding".
I also agree that assholes certainly don't have to apologize, as long as you agree that we're free to carry on considering them assholes.
My father always told me, "It's a damn shame that it's legal to be an asshole in this damn country." But yes, it is, and yes, you absolutely are. I am a strong proponent of calling out assholes when they're being assholes; myself included.
These comments weren't constructive, by any means.
"if you go sob in a corner because you receive criticism, then you're not going to improve."
The corner part is up for discussion, but who says crying renders you un-improvable or non-adult? It's what you do after you cry that matters. I did not know harthur's gender until it was brought up, but women cry more easily than men and it isn't really relevant to their coding nor is it calibrated to feelings in the same way it is for guys. It's not the nuclear option guys think it is.
As for evaluations of code quality, I'd be thrilled to read a discussion of the actual "issue" somewhere. That would at least be interesting.
You don't have to like what he said but he puts it in context and within the realm of Twitter - a 140 limited space of communication.
His original tweet was "Ever wanted to make sed or grep worse?".
Really. Can we not be critical on the internet any more?
And here is EVERYONE saying worse things about him in the comments!?
Go look in the mirror people. I'll take the downvotes.
I think that's a vast oversimplification.
I actually don't think this has ANYTHING TO DO WITH CODE. Anyone can walk into a subway restaurant, ask for a sandwich, take pictures of the people who made the sandwich, tweet their pictures laughing at how stupid they are and what a shitty job they did making your sandwich. You can do that to waiters, barstaff, cleaners, you can do that to anyone... but it makes you an asshole.
If you find yourself pulling up individual repos with <5 users and shouting 'Hey everybody look at these people recreating the wheel! What fools! Let's all point and laugh!' wouldn't you agree that's being an asshole? Is that bettering the community? No, frankly all you are doing is choosing to piss on a few people.
I have a ton of files on github and gist, most of them are absolute crap. I put them out there on the off chance someone happens by a similar issue/problem they might find something useful.
This morning there was a gist I was reading, and yeah it was mostly rubbish but it had the one line of code I was looking for.
That behavior needs to be encouraged by more people. We need to encourage people to put out their code and not delete it. Regardless of if it is crap.
If you see something picking up momentum with a growing base of users that you disagree with then by all means start raising the alarms; create a blog discussing the downside of using process X (examples of X could be nosql, sql, node, coffeescript, python, java, grails, groovy, haskell, go, maven, ant, gradle, etc etc)
It's one thing to be critical. It's another to ridicule. Being critical is rational and objective. Ridiculing is a form of contempt, an emotion. When you ridicule, you are not taking apart what you criticize, you are trying to take apart the other person. Those skilled at this will often do it in such a way to make it sound as if they are being rational, objective, and focus only the work, when in fact, they are projecting emotions of contempt and cutting someone apart. The way our society is structured, you can "get away" with something like that because there's a fallacy ... that what you can somehow separate the criticism and feedback you give from the feelings that you experience (or suppress).
Well. You can't. Emotions arise and pass: they are real, they are experienced, and they affect behavior.
I have a ton of files on github and gist, most of them are absolute crap.
Is it okay for someone else to say (without swearing or making personal jabs) in public that it is also crap?
And again, to emphasize, this is a sincere question.
Will it bother me? Maybe, depends on who it is. XxHackerPants420xX's tweet of 'Columbo is teh code suxxor' wouldn't bother me as much as pg choosing to write a personal blog post titled 'ode to Columbo's shitty github account'.
Is it okay? Meh. It isn't a community I'd want to be part of. I truly believe in the power of constructive criticism and I don't believe anyone can survive this environment by wearing their hearts on their sleeve. However, there's never justification for rudeness.
And I agree - constructive criticism trumps criticism.
Is it okay? Meh. It isn't a community I'd want to be part of
I'd prefer we save the public flogging to those that step over a hard-to-define line. I don't think that line was crossed in his case.
This is part of why I dislike Twitter - the 140-char restriction supposedly makes you to the point and concise, but in reality it just encourages snark and imprecision.
It's a world of sound bites, and "Ever wanted to make sed or grep worse" sounds wittier and has more jazz than "I really dislike this open source project and here's why."
That said, if a platform disallows you from being clear and fair to fellow people, don't use it. Ultimately the responsibility to be good to one another is your own to enforce, not Twitter's.
> "Can we not be critical on the internet any more?"
Honestly? No. The internet is full of flippant, callous, outright dismissals. It's reached epidemic scale - and it extends far beyond our little corner of tech. Everyone wants to have their little sound bite hating on something, and it's juvenile.
Given the current state of things, IMO criticism demands a higher standard than ever before. It's not that we can't be critical, it's that we can't be critical without qualifying and substantiating said criticism - there's just too much "hurr this sucks" floating around.
This may necessitate using communications platforms that permit more than 140 chars at a time ;)
> the 140-char restriction supposedly makes you to the point and concise, but in reality it just encourages snark and imprecision.
This is, of course, a false dichotomy. It does both, depending on the author, and the author's mood. The solution to this problem is to not follow jerks on Twitter. Follow cool people whose tweets have wit, poetry, interesting facts, and/or links to the same.
140 characters forces only minimalism, which exaggerates any number of latent traits, good and bad.
See my other post further down the thread. One of the prevailing attitudes I'm seeing in this thread is the notion that jerks/assholes are somehow exceptional. We're all more than capable of being terrible to each other, given the right context and the right triggers. Pretending that jerks are somehow a different class of people from "the rest of us" is folly.
No one is solely defined as "jerk" - most people have valuable things to contribute, the question is if the system is set up in a way that encourages good behavior.
I don't doubt there are many people who are able to tweet within 140 chars without behaving badly towards others. That's not the part under doubt, the question is if people behaving badly are in large part doing so because of forced brevity. We can make jerks contribute positive things if we set up the system correctly, we can also make more non-jerks into jerks by setting them up badly.
> "140 characters forces only minimalism"
This is a claim often trotted about, but I just don't see this. Looking at my Twitter feed it seems to encourage abbreviations, bad spelling, incomplete sentences, and truncated thoughts. Twitter proponents act like the internet was a giant cesspool of wordiness, and that Twitter was somehow the savior - I don't remember this internet when everyone was writing run-on sentences and long essays about their day.
replace 'critical' 'snarky'
You can, but why? What good is served?
Seriously, what an asshole.
That basically summed it up. I guess it's clear the 140 character limit was never the issue.
Here's the thing - if you ever even consider saying things like this to someone on the internet, you're an asshole. It's not a one time accidental thing. Nope, it's in your personality. I hope I never meet either of these two individuals, but if I ever meet them face to face I will make sure to tell them exactly what I think of them.
Don't you think you're taking this a bit far?
Here's his quote from twitter:
>Ever wanted to make sed or grep worse? http://github.com/harthur/replace
In the world I live in, that's called being an asshole.
Look, I'm not saying these guys should apologize (in fact, if this is how they apologize it's probably best they don't), I'm simply stating that they're dicks. I know a lot of computer programmers just like them.
Edit: And I hate working with people like them. I don't care how brilliant they are, programming is a team sport in most places. If you're a jerk I don't want you on my team, no matter how many awesome sed scripts you can whip up.
There's a difference between "being an asshole" and "sometimes acting like an asshole". We all do the second thing sometimes.
A snarky comment and a bad apology may be an instance of the second thing. But they don't imply the first.
Compare another toxic noun, "racist". There's a difference between "being a racist" and "making a racist comment". If people could apologize for the latter when it happens, understanding that it does not imply the former, the world would be a better place.
Sorry chief, I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. The snarky comment can be forgiven. (although I've since read other tweets/posts from David Cramer and it appears as though he really is that abrasive all the time)
By contrast, a bad apology is a clear indication of someone's true nature. If the apology is backhanded or otherwise poor, it implies a lot. If you issue an apology but don't really feel sorry, then you're just doing it to placate others, and you really are a jerk.
Holly Ass, Twitter, by essence is an assholy thing. What can you expect from someone who has "3500 friends" or "50 000 followers" ? Follow the Holy Shoe of Jerusalem :)
Their actions weren't advisable by any measure, but you've certainly demonstrated a willingness to make up your mind about them, based off a number of extremely extremely short pithy statements. Dial down your indignation, friend: help us get rid of this reek.
I agree with you and gave you an upvote. Maybe my comments do make me look like a "tosser" - but these people were behaving like bullies, plain and simple. And man, I can't stand that shit. I see it every day. People will go out of their way to make others feel miserable. Or they use their power/standing/influence to pick a fight with someone weaker just because they can.
The fact is Nodeites are renowned for rehashing the entrenched. It also, gasp, has callbacks. These people weren't gentle in pointing out a capital example of just these two things. I don't think that makes them bullies or bad people, nor do I guess they even considered the human behind the works nor hardly the work itself: my _guess,_ and indeed, everyone is guessing here, is that they were making a crack on the idea of replacer, as justly emblematic of what Node is renowned for.
And although I think one would be a fool to become so polarized in view as these people showed themselves to be, I would much rather we have open channels where such conduct is permitted, where we can be a little low brow, boorish or lively, and express our ruffian selves: I'd rather have a wildness. I prefer tolerance and resilience. I loath the intolerance that says we must sterilize and purify and be of good behavior, must watch ourselves constantly.
Harthur talks about feeling like her identity has been injured, wounded forever. Yet here we are condemning and slining insults, armed with the zeal she has given us. Here we are, enacting new moral codes, legislating terms where nothing but support and good manners towards one another will be accepted. She felt that she had not been tolerated, not encouraged, yet the response is to mandate intolerance of another behavior, yes a boorish one, but regardless, just another tripline for ourselves to unintentionally trip over. Let's instead seek discourse- which she did- and failing that, tolerance. Let's not go troll hunting, lest we lay too onerous a minefield for any man to hazard.
A girl got caught in the crossfire of polarized communities. She cried. Everyone felt bad, many got indignant and decried other people and other communities for their action or contact with the affair. The internet got more uptight about itself. That, to me, is the absolute losingest situation imaginable, and I'd handily pass out yellow cards to 80% of this topic as contributors towards winding ourselves up, of taking ourselves too seriously, of ascribing way too much levity to an event that was tiny in size, and which we have not been given a codex to understand- it remains a context free situation, one we merely make projections about, without knowing what the real intent was, we just know people tweeted, for whatever reason, because something struck them, and they created, made and shared new content about their experiences.
They shared. I don't understand, they haven't explained, I don't think I'd like it even if they did explain it better, but these were people keeping themselves amused, first and foremost. That that would be subject to so much scrutiny, the cause of injury, is itself the most tragic here. We need to be tolerant, and find good, not focus on censoring bad or fretting about our identities, as first Heather did, and now the three authors are likely doing.
Sorry for labeling your writing as tosser like, not cool of me. I feel like ascribing intent to what happened is an impossibility, and even with bad intent I'm still very uneasy with censoring, with mandatory good behavior. I beg for de-escalation.
First things first, bullying is not always conscious. You seem to imply that and I happen to believe that is not true. Someone can act bullying-ish without being a bully. It happens. It sucks, always. It sucks especially when you're not in fact a bully and you didn't mean to act like one. (someone made a comment about "being a racist" and "saying something racist". It's similar.)
This point has been made over and over again: Someone with such a large audience and such a public channel has a certain responsibility. For better or worse, they represent a certain part of a community, they are looked up to. You can't deny that with a certain amount of, let's say "Power" comes a certain amount of, let's call it "Responsibility" ;)
And that responsibility is that they can't afford the same boorishness and low brow-ness on their e.g. public twitter channels. It's not just a developer expressing an opinion anymore. It becomes a community thing. I even read tweets in German, bashing this github repo. And when it goes that far, the vitriol in the air just grows exponentially. People don't think about it anymore, it's suddenly a hive mind thing. That's why it spreads so quickly. Monkey see, monkey do.
It may have been only one tweet per person by three people, but they happened to be high-profile enough to spread it far and wide. I also want to keep the communication channels open and tolerant, but it is important to conduct yourself in a courteous manner that you would also use face to face. Especially if you have follower counts in the thousands or ten-thousands. (it's a tight-knit community...)
I don't, however think that the public communication channels need to be tolerant or indeed designed for low-brow, ruffian, boorish behaviour. You can do that at home with your friends. Or indeed on Jabber/XMPP. Or on your own forums. Or mailing lists. Not that I would want to ban people from exhibiting these behaviours on public channels (To the tolerance-mobile!), but I would like to see the community frown upon them. In my opinion, they add very little value to the content and they benefit mostly the person exhibiting them and not the community at large. That to me means definitely that it should stay in private circles, especially if it can be detrimental to a single person.
You say that the community doesn't do itself a favour, reacting as harshly as that. But many of us (I think) love the idea of open source. Many of us would put out a small tool like that on github and we would probably be upset if someone (seemingly) just took a quick look at it and go to twitter and just essentially start a high profile pitchfork mob. That is why the reaction has been soo strong and passionate.
Also, the fact that Heather got caught between communities warring (apparently. that was not known to me...) is fairly irrelevant. This kind of conduct needs to stop. If someone wants to duke it out on twitter, take it up with someone who 1. agrees to it, i'm sure there are enough zealots in either community. or 2. is of a similar high-profile stature.
Some thoughts on what was said, what was meant, what was perceived.
What was said: "I cannot even make this stuff up [link to gh:harthur/replace]"
What was meant [speculation?]: "Hmm, I wonder why someone would remake sed with node.js? Weird."
What was perceived [speculation?]: "OMGWTF, LOOK AT THIS IDIOT MORON!!11 DOESN'T TEHY KNOW THAT THIS IS LIEK SED BUT SHIT? ALSO NODE.JS, LAWL!!!11"
This is only one of the examples. This is a problem, agreed? Most people seem to forget that perception is the most relevant of these three things when you conduct yourself in public.
Wow, this got more rambly than expected.
PS: To everyone that says "grow a thicker skin, the world is bad", please don't do this. It should be very reasonable to expect people to not be idiots. It's not a stupid thing. It's something we as a community should strive for. We should be moving towards a community that frowns upon these behaviours, protecting the new and the defenseless. (What you do in your startup world is none of my business, of course.)
Why this hit so close to home for Heather [speculation?] and many of us [speculation?] is because we feel safe in this community and we didn't expect to  be backstabbed out of our own ranks.
"At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. " - Billy Madison
Man I love your version of tolerance.
You are way too attached to your code.
What these guys said was still extremely rude.
> You are way too attached to your code.
For most people this is subconscious. If you're not, good for you.
Someone who's so attached to their code that they can't accept criticism (even harsh criticism) of it is pretty much guaranteed to be writing crappy code.
You'll notice that harthur didn't flip out as if her child was insulted. Instead she asked for constructive feedback, a sign of professional maturity.
Whoever came up with the orig quote does have good sense. I've worked with a lot of people ranging from NASA to new hotness start ups. I would say 95% people would be pissed no matter the skill level if you just made fun of their work as opposed to offering constructive criticism.
> Someone who's so attached to their code
I'm sure that most people who care about the quality of their work is somewhat attached to their code.
> that they can't accept criticism (even harsh criticism) of it is pretty much guaranteed to be writing crappy code
The issue at hand isn't that Heather can't accept any sort of criticism. The issue is still that you don't have to be a fucking dick to criticize someone else's work. It's not hard to offer constructive criticism as opposed to just trashing and making fun of something someone worked on for months or even years.
> You'll notice that harthur didn't flip out as if her child was insulted.
Umm she was crying; not only that - she posted that she cried. I would say she was pretty upset; she just handled herself well despite the circumstances.
I wasn't saying people wouldn't get pissed if you insult their work. I'd be annoyed if someone made fun of my work. But I certainly would not be as angry as if someone insulted my child. Or even my dog.
> The issue at hand isn't that Heather can't accept any sort of criticism.
Obviously not. She handled the situation with an overabundance of grace and asked for meaningful criticism.
> The issue is still that you don't have to be a fucking dick to criticize someone else's work. It's not hard to offer constructive criticism as opposed to just trashing and making fun of something someone worked on for months or even years.
Absolutely. These guys were being jerks. My comment was about being as attached to your code as you are to your child.
> Umm she was crying; not only that - she posted that she cried. I would say she was pretty upset; she just handled herself well despite the circumstances.
I'd say the fact that she asked for feedback is clear evidence that she is not attached to her code the way she might be to a child. Try walking up to a parent and tell them that their child makes your eyes bleed and let me know if they ask you for constructive feedback, vs hitting you, screaming at you, spitting in your face, or just walking away scowling.
Everything in this world is subjective. When you talk about someone's work you are inevitable bringing some degree of comparison into it, and human ego has huge troubles dealing with that.
Nobody ever forgets an insult, it comes back sooner or later.
It's not "a single skill" as if you were telling Torvalds that his juggling skills were crap and he should keep his day job; if someone has enough coding experience that they're releasing OSS on GitHub, coding is quite likely their job (or they're in school to make it their job).
So yeah, snarkily saying that the product of someone's career activity makes your eyes bleed (or whatever) is demeaning to them -- i.e., directly attacking their dignity and others' respect for them.
Also: "should" != "is", I'm afraid.
But I'm going to hope it's not just a post you disagree with. Just like I hope you don't call code bad because it uses OTB or omits semicolons. It should be failing to solve the problem it sets out to solve, and in an interesting manner. (Note: I have not looked at the code tweeted about.)
Edit: Wait how did THIS post get downvoted? I can understand the earlier posts but I can't even imagine what's objectionable about this one.
The outrage is not about constructive (or even unconstructive) criticism of the code itself (which appears to be fine): At least one of the guys ridiculed the author and questioned her competence for the sole reason of implementing a subset of the features of GNU find+sed on top of Node.js.
Thank you for the useful info.
Fact: The vast majority of people would take the twitter conversation Heather posted as a personal attack. Not many people are able to separate attacks on their work product from attacks on themselves (for good reason - since I feel like most people derive a sense of pride from their work).
I dare say it would also take an asshole to not recognize this fact and make rude comments and not realize someone would be personally offended even though "it's just some code".
That's a beautiful bit of writing and thinking, right there :)
Have you really never made a comment without fully thinking out the ramifications, without missing some of the consequences, or just simply without really thinking period? People say shitty things sometimes, but labeling them as an asshole for all time based on that is patently ridiculous.
They picked a repo on Github that they thought was duplicating functionality in Unix (oh the horror!) and engaged in classic schoolyard bullying. Publicly shaming the code and the author, apparently to make themselves feel better and show the world how smart they were. And at the end of it, the apologies they issued after the internet turned against them were poor.
So yes, I do occasionally say dumb things, but I'm never a bully. If I say something mean it's because it was provoked. And if I need to apologize for something, I do it with real contrition.
If you want to judge a person with any degree of finality by one isolated incident that you barely were involved in, that's your prerogative. I think that speaks more about you than it does the person. Hopefully you'll give me some evidence that changes my mind, I'm at least still open to that.
This post was from 2010 where he admits he's a jerk and can't help it. I think that pretty clearly is a victory for my thesis.
The man HIMSELF admits he is intrinsically an asshole, and that even when he uses his real identity he can't help himself. Yes, he's trying to be better. But an alcoholic trying to fight the bottle is still an alcoholic.
Since we are talking about insults, reputation and constructive criticism: Does HN think the quoted text is appropriate?
Personally I think it is about on par with "makes my eyes bleed".
"Twitter makes it so hard not to accidentally be an asshole."
This is really interesting, maybe you want to think for a minute yourself before I reveal the reason. When I watched the documentation to the end I was surprised, but when I think about it now I'm not surprised anymore:
Car driving involves no eye contact, in fact you hardly ever see the face of the other person. People behave differently and more nicely when they look into each other's face. One illustrative example were Laughter Clubs. People go there to laugh. So when a new member joins, all others stand around him, start to laugh and look him in the eye. No matter if the laughter starts artificially, only few moments later the person in the middle cannot stop laughing... ;)
Back to the topic: Twitter is probably the most impersonal way to communicate. E-Mailing with my tax consultant is more personal. I cannot tell how often I realized that misunderstandings were created with E-Mails (which have arbitrary length.) Or even text messages which are limited to ~500 characters; but Twitter? 140 character stubs to talk to complete strangers?
"But open source is right and we are the good guys?!", or...
"But I know those guys and they are usually really cool!"
We want to categorize people as being bad or good, and it messes with our brain when we think we may have to re-categorize. It's more useful to realize that we all have a capacity to do both good and harm. It's also more useful to judge ourselves than others. Recognizing the need to change is the beginning. I know that I need Outside help to maximize the good and minimize the bad that I am capable of.
If one feels that 140 characters isn't sufficient to correctly represent one's nuanced thoughts, then don't tweet.
I doubt you could find many twitter accounts (barring commercial PR stuff) whose history is entirely free of rudeness.
There is no "open source hivemind" so please don't disparage the millions of open source coders who will never make the frontpage of HN by lumping the entire conglomerate into one community.
Look at this quote:
> nothing's _wrong_ with it, but I don't want to build my app on top of others' code who are at this level of understanding
What a prick!
Note that of course there's an element of "uncomfortable truth" to this—evaluating programmers' ability is probably a good thing, and he's right to a degree. We all know amazing and experienced programmers who write libraries that are like diamonds in the rough compared to other coders' work, but 1) you have to be tactful; you don't put people down for their code no matter what, because 2) you have to help them get there, and negativity is not how you do that.
There's no such thing as accidental one-off snobbery.
You are clearly well versed in this subject. So, how would you attribute this remark?
Off-hand snarkiness can be pretty mean, but that doesn't mean that everyone who engages in it is a fundamentally bad person; In fact I sincerely doubt anyone here has never written something similar.
People are treating "being an asshole" like an exceptional state of being, when in reality we're all assholes to someone sometimes. To pretend that some people are just intrinsically assholes, and everyone else is incapable of it, is a pretty surefire way to end up being the next asshole.
The reality is that snarky, flippant comments are easy, and it demands a level of self awareness to not engage in it. Recognizing your own ability to be an asshole is part of that.
And that's basically what we shouldn't do.
Given his apology, he clearly would've not made that remark in person, nor would have he done it if didn't have a receptive audience that appreciates such snobbery.
Also, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. What is to prevent someone from going all Dijkstra on them? So be kind to others, it won't take much for someone much smarter than you to trample you.
This is nothing but bullying and can have a serious affect on the bullied person's mental health.
> @harthvader @zeeg nothing's _wrong_ with it, but I don't want to build my app on top of others' code who are at this level of understanding
This message  in particular is absolutely disgusting. Someone hacked together a script that met their needs, and threw it up onto GitHub in case anyone else found it useful? Yes, let's take the opportunity to condescendingly insult their mental competency.
What does he even mean by saying that he doesn't "want to build my app" on top of harthur's code? Nobody asked him to; steveklabnik himself made the original post, taking the opportunity to show off this smug sense of superiority.
I can't speak for him, but based on another comment further down ("I'll be over here in not-node"), it read like a dig at Node itself by proxy / extension.
> Yes, let's take the opportunity to condescendingly insult their mental competency.
Indeed. This type of behavior is almost never justified, but particularly less so when the object of scorn is clearly an exceedingly talented programmer. One glance at her GH profile reveals several well-used open source projects, including a neural network library and a bayesian classifier.
It really does drive home the point that if this can happen to someone of her caliber, then it really can happen to anyone. In fact, it probably does - except with less public attention.
Everyone writes crap code sometimes (viz. github.com/007 aka craptown USA). Just because you are "exceedingly talented" or have "well-used" projects doesn't mean everything you write is rainbows and unicorns.
If your project is useful to you, then screw everyone else - why care what they think?
https://github.com/harthur/kittydar is useless but brilliant. I'll be bookmarking it for the next time I need feature detection in JS, and because it mentions HOG descriptors.
https://github.com/harthur/replace is useful but not-brilliant. I'll bookmark the 'sed' or 'awk' manpage instead.
Thanks so much for pointing that out (and thanks Heather for writing it :P)! I would have missed it otherwise, and I have always wanted to play with neural nets as well as bayesian filters.. this seems very friendly for me to get into, so it made my week(end) if not more :)
The basic algorithms you need can be found via google.
In my (extremely limited) experience the much more difficult part is using them to successfully solve real world problems.
IMO the problem comes when you have people who's entire ego is based on being smart. In the past they probably had their egos massaged by getting the highest test scores in class etc and "winning" in that sense. Since the world does not work like that anymore they feel that they have to "win" at github instead.
goes ahead and provides one link everybody here has read by now
does see or mention context
But even if it's the case, he is rude with the guys who work with him, his "captains" that he knows since a long time.
He do not bash a random project on Github totally unrelated to him just like that.
You can't compare.
Linus is DFL (not so benevolent sometimes) of Linux, and can lash out when one of his trusted lieutenants is acting like an idiot. What these guys did is call out a stranger on the street and said "YOU SUCK!"
He's usually rude to code presented to him, but he doesn't go out of his way to diss code. It's a big difference.
He goes after people who enter discussions without bothering to understand the details or the history. If you want to code your own kernel in Java, that's your prerogative. But if you come to lkml and start preaching C++ advantages, you will get flaked.
If you don't understand the difference of context, well, look again!
(It's not necessarily good, but it is categorically different behavior.)
a. Linus uses swear words. Steve Klabnik used none.
b. Linus provides substantive criticism. Even if you need flame-retardant underwear to hear it.
c. Linus never ever ridicules outsiders.
So what do the two have in common, again?
I loved the mauro thread because you're seeing Linus talking to an insider of an influential project and tell him that the relative outsider with no status is right. By doing it publicly he reinforces the culture of the kernel: we don't break user code. We are a meritocracy, and if you're wrong I will not be shy about letting you know.
He could do it with less profanity. But I heartily support his doing it so emphatically. Nobody else on lkml will brush something off as a userland bug for a year.
There are many ways to reinforce meritocracy, or reinforce a culture without telling people to shut the fuck up in all caps.
That's actually not true. His "security monkey" references towards other projects being an example.
"I find it incredibly hard not to be judgmental.
I'm not sure what part of my personality makes this happen, but even when I try to curb tearing down other people, I end up doing it anyway. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I think part of the problem is that these kinds of things are rewarded."
His most recent post is http://blog.steveklabnik.com/posts/2013-01-23-node
> Twitter makes it so hard not to accidentally be an asshole.
No, I'm pretty sure being an asshole makes it so hard not to accidentally be an asshole. Plenty of people, including Heather, weren't assholes on Twitter.
"I'm sorry If I made someone feel bad"
"I am sorry. I feel terrible that I made someone else feel terrible."
Corey's apology did feel nicer, but I don't think that Steve's was a bad apology.
I know that a lot of people do that. And I find it incredibily useful, sometimes finding a snippet of code saves me time from jumping extra hoops, just because (for example) driver misbehaves or documentation is incorrect/incomplete.
I hope this incident doesn't stop anyone from sharing their code and findings, no matter how good or "professional" they are.