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Inappropriate comments at pycon 2013 called out (twitter.com)
135 points by nashequilibrium 1320 days ago | hide | past | web | 612 comments | favorite

Hi, I'm the guy who made a comment about big dongles. First of all I'd like to say I'm sorry. I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone's repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said "I would fork that guys repo" The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.

My second comment is this, Adria has an audience and is a successful person of the media. Just check out her web page linked in her twitter account, her hard work and social activism speaks for itself. With that great power and reach comes responsibility. As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.

She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate. Let this serve as a message to everyone, our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact.

I will be at pycon 2014, I will joke and socialize with everyone but I will also be mindful of my audience, accidental or otherwise.

Again, I apologize.

Hopefully you are still reading the comments here as I'm just catching up on all of this and watching how it is continuing to unfold.

Please don't apologize.

As other women before me already have, I want to apologize for this incident; honestly I probably would have been giggling myself if I was in an earshot of you. With respect to Adria's past and her sensitivity to the triggers she refers to, a comment like this is not demeaning to women and her reaction has nothing to do with supporting the future of this industry and the women who partake in it. In fact I'd say just the opposite. Just a few weeks ago we had a similar conversation when Torvalds replied to a woman with the term circlejerk (in regards to the argument they were having) and a few people raised their pitchforks thinking it was offensive in the context of her gender. It has nothing to do with gender.

Taking the photo and posting it for her global audience was just too much. The appropriate course of action would have been to show the picture privately to staff and have them talk to the parties involved individually and maybe bring everyone together to talk about it after-the-fact. I can't even fathom losing my job over something that I know I have made jokes about in the past, jokes that may have a juvenile slant, but that I thought would be acceptable because I was in the company of people who could - if not appreciate them - at least understand what I meant by them, and especially understand that it wasn't sexual.

Some jokes are not okay in the presence of certain people or during certain times. This was not one of them, and again I'm so sorry for what you're dealing with because of it. Best wishes to you.

I don't think it has a lot to do with the gender, to be honest, but with the person.

And yeah, Adria is what I consider a bad person. Could be male, female, whatever. So, you don't have to apologize either.

Totally with you there. I am a huge fan of Amanda Blum's post on the matter, she really got down to the nitty-gritty of it: don't be a dick, you're ruining it for everyone. I also had the privilege of meeting and speaking to Blum a few times at RailsGirls PDX (which she also helped put together) and she was an absolute pleasure; really cared about the even from beginning to end and set a fantastic mood for the day (and a half) with her enthusiasm. If she said this woman was hard to work with, I believe her.

I agree, Amanda Blum's blogpost is great.

Adria did a disservice to other women in IT. Also the whole "Joan of Arc" thing and "I'm fighting for the future of female developers" stuff were hilarious. I don't get how this benefits anybody. How can "I'd fork that guy's repo" be sexist? In which context? "I'd fork that guy/girl" can be, in a way (if you're Adria perhaps), termed sexist/misogynic/misoandric (yeah, lol) but IRL... Only "evangelists", PR and lawyers would do such a thing.

I'd said to my GF (yeah, she's a dev too) that I wanna fork her multiple times and I didn't get one slap or my face plastered over the internet... Behaving like a total enabler she laughed and ... She should have reported me, I'd let her know when she wakes up. Or better yet, post my pic on #sexist or something, because that's what sane people do.

Now being serious. Using offensive jokes is not appropriate. Using offensive jokes in my crowd is kind of expected. Using them outside my crowd. Big no no. I don't deem sex jokes fall in inappropriate. Sexist/racist/N-ist jokes however do. If someone got offended, I'll apologise. Promptly. Like a SANE PERSON. I don't plaster his/her face over the public 'net.

All this was a cold and calculated move that backfired (this time). It has surely done more harm than good. If any good at all. The state in the industry is now much better than it was 10-15 years ago and we should continue driving that forward. Only trust, cooperation and the direct approach in conflicts, not us-versus-them mentality, will drive that change.

I am totally with you on this. I would have chuckled along with you. I also would have made my own comments too. I worked in the male-dominated worlds of turbine enginrs for 5 years and trucking industry for 7. In those 12 years so many inappropriate things were heard and said but not one was ever directed at anyone specific. I was one to partake in makung those comments and also egged on my co*workers. It was fun and funny. This woman has totally blown an innocent comment way out of proportion.

I am glad to see I'm not the only woman with this opinion.

Frankly, I think mr-hank should file criminal charges, under VAWA section 2261A on stalking, which states that an individual is guilty of stalking if, with intent to harass or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to that person.

I think it can be reasonably stated that public shaming is intended to cause emotional distress, and mr-hank suffered damages (job loss) as a result, affecting not just himself but the welfare of his family.

With the addition of the much-touted nondiscrimination clause, the law should apply equally to his situation as it would to a woman under similar circumstances.

Or there is also "Eavesdropping on conversations that are none of your business is just bad manners."

I find this whole situation very frustrating so much so I wrote a blog post about it. It's people like Adria who discourage women to join or take part in our industry.



Hi I am not from India but the US. I feel the need to pint out that your example of perspective would be ill advised in most parts of the us. Ill manners are ill manners. You would be better off to move than to confront. You see you do not know who you are dealing with. There could be consequences, painful consequences. The idea is to live and let live.

It really is unfortunate that Adria didn't just reach out to you. I think we can all agree with that. At this point, it's clear to most of us that we all just need to be a bit more human with each other when running around at tech events. It's about intentions, you didn't intend harm; alas, it seems she did (no doubt to a much lesser degree than what actually happened).

It's classy to apologize when you think you've upset someone. And if that's how you're going to sleep at night, apologize.

What's awful at this point is the amount of hatred going around in regards to this situation. Here we have a sane response to an immature situation. Sine then, there is an army of commenters attacking Adria with hate on your behalf (something I know isn't your fault). People are sending Adria pictures of chopped up bodies with threats that she's next. They're asking for her to be raped, or threatening to do it themselves. She's been called every word in the book, with the worst intentions ever.

Seems Adria got her feminist conversation, but not in the way she had intended. There are some really really horrible people out there in internet land.

Hey Marden, I see you're a new account. Just so you know, you actually replied to my reply to mr-hank. :)

^ Agree. I just wanted to also add that recently I was speaking with a friend of mine, he is in the process of hiring and he was saying that it's hard because he would like to bring a woman onto the team, but is weary because of past experiences of working with women like Adria. But I really don't feel like this situation is gender related, although it's things like this that make it hard for women to fit into a work environment that is male dominant. I happen to be in the military and have been in a few situations where I'm more or less ignored for safety's sake.

You're right on with this. It's hilarious to see all the posts replying to you and saying that you're an adria apologist. Not sure how anyone would conclude that from what you wrote. Thank you for being a reasonable and rational human being who doesn't publicly shame and harm the lives of people over something so small. Hypersensitivity at it's worst.

Its simple: When you are in public learn to think before you speak. Its really not that difficult. I have enough sense not just blurt out things that could offend others when I am in public so I don't have these problems.

People with this mindset have never been to a conference this size before or they're forgetting what the environment is like. You are going to come across opinions and jokes that may not be in your taste, and it is up to you to either choose to ignore them because you were not a part of that conversation, or to discretely alert someone to the presence of this humor because you think it is actually harmful to people and the event itself.

She took a comment that had nothing, nada to do with the sexualization of women and tried to spin it into some sort of anti-women/"This is what we're talking about!" ridiculousness (p.s. this isn't actually at all what we're talking about when we bring up inequality, which is why women like me are furious about this).

We know from her blog post (and her previous tweets about stuffing socks into pants to impress TSA agents and her playing Cards Against Humanity at the same event - where she held up "Eating all the cookies before the AIDS bake sale.") that she wasn't actually offended; she saw the guy was a sponsor and determined that she was going to use him and his total non-issue of a statement to humiliate him because that little girl on the screen was going to grow up so fragile that she couldn't possibly handle two guys in public making an audible joke. Less people congregate at a random public place than at this event, does that stop you from hearing filth there? Can you handle it? Are you going to make a mockery of them over your public and professional Twitter account with thousands of followers?

Worse, she'd already had a dialogue with the men in which she butted into their conversation to add to it just a few minutes prior. So here we have someone admitting they're eavesdropping into conversations, which in itself isn't a crime, but you can't just listen in on what people are saying when you're not a part of the conversation and pull out a penalty flag when you hear something that "offends" you. A flag so big that the dude got fired over a joke that less people overheard than people saw her tweets on stuffing pants and eating AIDs cookies.

> blurt out things that could offend others

Do you have a comprehensive list? Is it calibrated to what country or audience you are in, or do you just avoid saying anything that could offend anyone anywhere. I made a joke about corruption once that hit too close to home for the people I was with, if I would have thought harder about where I was I should have kept my mouth shut.

There's no comprehensive list, and it would be impossible to make one. Anything we do might potentially offend somebody, somewhere, and nobody can understand every little nuance of every culture and every individual's life experiences.

Like, what if you're wearing a green sweater, and somebody was once assaulted by a person wearing a green sweater and your sweater really upsets somebody? There's no way we possibly could have known.

It's really complicated sometimes.

Here's the thing though: it's not always complicated!

Sexual comments around women we don't know? Totally an easy one. We should avoid those comments. Some women don't care, some find them hilarious, but a significant portion of women really don't want to hear that kind of talk from men they don't know.

We don't have to be mind readers, or even particularly sensitive to understand this. (In fact, we don't even have to understand it. Just memorize it.)

Yes, my common sense tells what is appropriate and what isn't in public. You have to keep in mind that every single person has something that they are sensitive about and they usually have a legitimate reason for that. Thew problem is a lot of people don't have a filter between their brain and their mouth. They just say whatever is on their mind without thinking. And this is what can happen when you do that. I basically don't say anything in public that could be offensive to people in general but yes I also take the crowd i'm with into consideration as well, like with your situation.

And of course, before anyone says it.... Its not about being "PC" its about not being a douchebag.

Of course its being PC since this is exactly how PC is defined. You don't get to wish away the label simply because you don't like it, especially when you've just repeated the definition.

I can always tell when I'm talking to someone with a strong filter and it always makes me feel uncomfortable. They don't seem genuine, they don't seem honest, they don't seem real. I wonder how they are really like when relaxed with their filters down. What if they really are a douchebag? I've met plenty of people who filter heavily but are still basically sociopaths.

I've heard there is now corporate training on how to have a strong filter without letting other people know that you have one, by intentionally and strategically letting out noticeable but forgivable gaffes at certain points to make it appear as if you are genuine.

You do realize that your logic is largely flawed.

You can never make a joke that isn't offensive to at least one person somewhere one way or another, unless you give up joking altogether. You said it yourself "every single person has something that they are sensitive about". It could be as legitimately rightful as sexist jokes.. or as unrightful as joking about anything else entirely, maybe my mother was run over by a bus driver.. does that mean that you cannot joke about bus drivers next to me?.. Well actually yes, but only "if" you knew of my particular situation and in this case he did not.

The general rules of decency dictate that you steer away from the generally offensive jokes in your respective crowd and the joke he made was not such, it was if anything something that fits that crowd perfectly. I for one had no idea what it was supposed to mean outside the tech lingo but unlike her I was not in a PyCon conference.

Argh! Ack! I am offended by your use of the word douchebag. You did not stop to think. Where is your filter? Argh. Ack.

"Common sense" isn't as "common as we like to think, is it? "Public" is a state of mind.

Adria was overhearing a conversation not meant for her ears. It was her error.

Thank you for being a voice of reason here. I think AR went too far by posting a pic and hunting people down, but her objection has merit. When you're at a conference in an official capacity, don't general workplace rules apply? And don't most workplace sexual harassment rules include something about not using sexual language and not making the workplace uncomfortable for others? Richards could've said something to the men directly, or to staff at the conference. It didn't have to get so out of hand, and two people didn't have to lose their jobs.

You must work at a very sedate, serious, mature workplace.

Where I work, every time someone says "fsck" or "fork" or "Poller" (it's an elderly in-house system) someone snickers. Usually a woman.

The rest of us have a little fun at work, there's the occasional double entendre, and the work gets done.

Once I was in a meeting during a very high frustration time in a project and as we went around giving status everyone said "fuck" at some point. Including the very genteel female BA who said "I might as well too" right before she dropped her f-bomb. It was a good laugh and a good stress relief.

AR unquestionably went too far - she over-reacted, she broadcast what she should have uni-cast, and she appeared to have questionable motivations.

What a big mess this all is.

Seems this youtube clip here is totally inappropriate too then? See 1:45 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAG39jKi0lI

And this one is even worse, especially in an educational setting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YVA94ZL6e0 (think of the children!)


I was wondering aswell - around 2:00, there is a joke about dongle.

I guess the interesting bit the parent wanted to highlight is that a similar joke to the one that offended Adria, was showed on public television.

Right, I was confused why he thought I would be offended by that when my point was that the joke was a non-issue. That sketch is fantastic and isn't new to me. What I find so silly about this whole thing - which is exactly what the skit helps imply - is that you can hardly even say the word dongle without laughing; you don't even need to know what it really is to see the low-hanging humor in it (no pun intended). It's just one of those words. She'd have an entire magazine spread if she went to some of the gaming-related events I've been to.

We were all in 5th grade once, I think a conference for adults can handle that same behavior.

Although I commented on the wrong part of the thread, my point was that if we are able to accept a sketch on tv mentioning a dongle in good humour, why is it a sackable offence within earshot of someone?

Granted it's toilet humour but who doesn't like that every now and again. Being a programmer, I'd love to have more women in my industry and indeed within my workplace. The problem has been exacerbated by Adria and her knee-jerk reaction to something that should have just been a quick snigger between the two involved and then move on.

If I felt I had to tip-toe around any female colleague for fear of being fired for something so innocuous, I think I would change career or work alone. I don't need that kind of attitude.

I accept every colleague as an equal and certainly I temper the things I say around some people but I never go out of my way to offend, it's simply not worth it or called for.

I guess I hope we all forget about this incident and try to move on and rebuild the damage this has caused. Bring on more women in tech.

  "if we are able to accept a sketch on tv mentioning a
  dongle in good humour, why is it a sackable offence 
  within earshot of someone?"
I don't have an opinion on whether or not it should be sackable/firable, but there's a big difference between something on television and something in real life.

Would you really see no difference between your mother hearing a penis joke on television and a stranger telling her one on a train?

If you hear a joke you don't like on television, you change the channel and maybe don't watch that show again. Somebody's making sexualized conversation you don't want to hear in public, it's not always fair/convenient/possible for you to leave. In the case of the PyCon thing, perhaps Adria could have handled it better, but why should she have to give up her seat and leave the presentation (or even go to a worse seat) because she doesn't want to hear the guys behind her making sexual jokes?

But he's not telling it to her, is he?

If he was telling it to her she would have every right to feel offended and report to the authorities. But that's not the case here.

If you made a penis joke to a friend, would you want — or indeed, expect — to be fired for it?

You might want to re-read my original post, I agree with everything you just said.

This is why I left shitty sendgrid for mailjt. Fuck her and sendgrid. She's not a "developer" she was there for marketing.

Burn in hell adria apologist.

The reading comprehension on these new accounts is phenomenal.

Pretty sure all they read was "Don't apologize" and "women" and then made a stupid assumption. Surely no one could read that and come to think you were defending her


Thanks for speaking up, contributing your viewpoint on HN and not attacking me.

I'm sorry to hear your employer deciding to not to work with you on this and I hope they reconsider, bring you back on and dealing with it constructively.

For context, I'm a developer evangelist.

That means I'm an advocate for developers, male and female. While I hear abou demanding bosses with impossible deadlines for product launches, I also hear about the experiences of women working at startups.

In both cases I offer suggestions, ideas and mentoring to help the developers become problems solvers. Sometimes the answer is our API or not answering email after 7pm while other times it about being assertive and shedding impostor syndrome.

The forking joke set the stage for the dongle joke.

Yes, this time I decided I didn't want to argue my perspective. I decided instead to accept it bothered me and took action based on the PyCon Code of Conduct. It sounds like if I'd said something about the forking you would have denied it having a sexual association. Not sure if I smiled but I'm also unsure what facial expression you would have expected.

I just got done writing my blog post you can read here: http://butyoureagirl.com/14015/forking-and-dongle-jokes-dont...

See you next year.

The problem I see here is that you snapped a picture and posted it in public - being prosecutor, judge, jury and executor in one person. That's not how things should work out. There's two sides of the story and I think it would have been better if a neutral party heard both sides instead of public summary execution. The guys conduct may not have been appropriate, but IMHO yours was not as well. Had you done all of this without posting the picture and let the organizers resolve this in a professional manner I'd be totally on your side, but the way things played out I'm not.

Sorry but the company were judge, jury and executor, not her.

If you report a crime to the police and as a result the person gets sent to prison did you send them to prison? Of course not.

She reported something that happened (which the person in question doesn't deny) - that's a reasonable thing to do.

The neutral party you ask for should then be the employer who can listen to both sides of the story and work out the appropriate way forward. If they felt there was damage to their reputation it feels a public apology from both the individual and the company, plus possibly some sort of corrective training seems more than enough.

Instead, based on what I've read the employer has over reacted and that balance didn't happen, but you can't blame that on the person reporting the event.

Yes it's utterly shitty that he lost his job over this and it really shouldn't have happened but it's not fair to lay it at her door in this way.

No, if I witness a scene on the road, take a picture and post it online, then I'm judge, jury and executor. I might be right or might be wrong in my assertion that a crime has happened - but that's not for me to decide. If due to me posting said picture somebody looses his job or gets into any kind of trouble with a lynch mob, that's the consequence of my actions. And if I'm wrong, or overreacted in the course of me prosecuting a perceived crime, then I'm at fault (and potentially liable).

Now, if I take said picture and hand it to the police, they investigate, then I've done the right thing: The justice system gets to work and the decision about the appropriate punishment is made by a neutral party in due process. This is how we handle things since we've become a civilized society.

Don't get me wrong: The OP may be right and the guys made inappropriate jokes - but she's at least partially wrong as well. She didn't give them any chance to hear their side, maybe clear up any misunderstanding - instead she called for the lynch mob. That's the point I'm criticizing. The way I see it is that she's to blame as well. It's a pity since she's right in what she wanted to achieve, but her means didn't justify that goal.

So once the information is public the person who publishes it responsible for any and all consequences resulting (even if what he or she posts is factual)?

I agree that it wasn't the best way to handle it (at least publishing the photo wasn't, I'm fine with the rest) but that's different to being held responsible for all actions that follow.

The person in question has responsibility for what they did, the company has responsibility for what they did. There are many points during this whole process where the chain can be broken, not just one.

The person who publishes does not bear all blame - every actor gets his own share for his own decisions. However, the contrary is not true either - the fact that other actors made their own decisions does not absolve the person who publishes from all responsibility. So yes, for her own actions, for publishing the picture, she shares the blame. She chose the nuclear option and decided to judge.

I accept that she has to take her share of the blame doesn't make her judge, jury and executioner.

The company had plenty of other options about how they handled it and firing was in no way a foregone conclusion.

As an aside it is another reminder that we now live in an age where we may all be held to account for things that would otherwise have passed largely unnoticed. There needs to be adjustment on all sides - we all need to start acting in ways we'd be happy to be publicised, we all need to be aware that publicising others behaviour might have wider consequences than we'd initially anticipate, and we all also need to be a little more balanced in our judgement when it comes to behaviour which might be closer to an isolated incident than representative of something more.

So, let me ask you: What's your opinion in this case?


And if it's different than the one stated so far, why?

in uk, yes... consider recent case of ex politician being wrongly accused of being paedophile by influential twitter users... they are now getting sued. even those that merely retweeted... there is no defensce to claim it was public knowledge already. it was untrue and damaging

> Sorry but the company were judge, jury and executor, not her.

What would you do in this day if you were a company? No one wants to be dealing with a potential major sexual harassment case ever. This country is based on such limited knowledge of how to communicate with one another, it is upsetting. This post upsets me because she just sounds like a typical American person in that she used others to attack someone, rather than talking to him. Judging by his response, he was not some crazy college kid with aggression problems that would have physically attacked her.

The tech community is not perfect, but I think people in tech are far more open to talking through things than any other spots. SF especially. Maybe these people are not from the bay area,.. I don't know.

This doesn't feel like it's a major sexual harassment case in the making but if it is then the damage has already been done and sacking someone can't remove that liability.

I hope I'd also look at the cost and difficulty of recruiting decent developers, the opportunity to possibly salvage the PR situation (which I think a constructive approach might get us, unlike sacking someone) and the fact that there seems to be genuine remorse and that the individual in question seems like a reasonable guy who did an unreasonable thing rather than some arsehole.

I think you underestimate how much "That person has been let go for their misconduct" does to ease PR issues.

Thing is, due to (mostly righteous) backlash, companies are running shit-scared. If you associate a company with something that could even be remotely construed as sexist (despite in this instance it not being), they will do everything in their power to distance themselves from it.

Your analogy is terrible.

The police here would be the pycon would acted responsibly and dealt with the issue accordingly.

But the report was not towards the police but towards a potential mob of vigilantes, namely the internet at large and an opinionated group of followers which would probably be outraged by the way the report was crafted.

It would be closer to printing hundreds of tracts and poster and posting them in the neighborhood and distributing them to concerned people hoping someone from law enforcement would see them than reporting to the police.

The employer is all but neutral in this issue, the neutral party is obviously the PyCon staff and they did their part as expected from reasonable and sound responsible people, respecting the privacy of everybody involved.

I wonder how you can not see how her actions lead to his demise.

Your inability to take a joke is dangerous for the public image of whichever company you're evangelizing for.

And this after you make "sock down your pants" jokes on Twitter. The irony is delicious.

I hope the OP sues you for reproducing his likeness without his permission. PyCon is, after all, a private gathering.

I would almost contend there are grounds for a defamation/libel (something... not a lawyer) suit here as well considering her comments have severely hurt his reputation and caused him to lose his job.

Cheez and bherms: neither of you guys understand the legal system very well, do you?

Well, this is "Hacker News" and not "Groklaw". There needs to be some recourse to the public accusation. If I was him, I would have just "noped" my way out of it.

Nope, I never said it.

Nope, she misheard me.




Fuck you, pay me.

To be fair, not many people do, and lawsuits have been filed and won for much less.

She works for Sendgrid.

Ah, I hope they realize what a liability they have on their hands. For example, imagine if a developer ACCIDENTALLY looked at her while walking by.

Can you say sexual harassment lawsuit?

LOL. This woman is bad news.

All I'll say is this, and really it's what it boils down to. Regardless of if you think she was in the right or the wrong, she is a developer evangelist. That means she goes around and tries to get companies to pick up her product. After all this, I wouldn't get near her with a 40 foot pole. God forbid I slip and say something that get's misconstrued and I or my company gets dragged through the mud. With that being said, I feel like she's lost the ability to do her job. If she's an evangelist and the people she's supposed to be evangelizing don't want to be around her, where does that leave her or Sendgrid?

I don't want to live in a world where her actions are right so I will stick with them being wrong, childish and immature.

She clearly broke the PyCon rules with her public shaming as well. I hope they don't invite her back.

Can you say sexual harassment lawsuit? LOL. This woman is bad news.

This is exactly the type of attitude that perpetuates the idea that a woman should not say or do anything if uncomfortable.

see: https://twitter.com/jackdanger/status/314604363614134272

Definitely not. She's clearly in the abuser position and her reaction was disproportionate and inconsiderate, to the like of baseless sexual harassment lawsuits we've all heard about.

I'd even go an extra step and say IMHO what she did was misplaced sexism as she misinterpreted and misrepresented the situation and would probably not have done anything if women were making the same dongle joke.

I don't think she shouldn't have said anything. But taking it to the Internet without talking to the guys was her choice.

If someone is making you uncomfortable, you say something. You don't go nuclear just because someone else, somewhere else called you a whore.

This woman is bad news, and she's making all women look bad.

Option 1 - Hire a guy Option 2 - Hire a woman, and out of nowhere she'll cause me trouble with some random harassment charge.

Harassment is a SERIOUS offense. If everything becomes harassment then it stops being serious and it becomes a reason to not hire women.

How many men have caused a stir on a conference over sexism? EVERY single woman so far behaved correctly, in every single conference?

Or is it the fact that when women misbehave men laugh it off (cause it's cool, right? She made a pass at me, right? right?) and women get on a stupid crusade over ANYTHING and EVERYTHING???

Not anymore!

She NEVER had to take a joke. The joke wasn't directed at her and she wasn't part of the group talking.

She OVERHEARD them talking. Completely different matter.

I, for one, am offended when people eavesdrop me.

They were sitting in the middle of a packed conference hall. It was not a private conversation.

In case you still don't understand why she did what she did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBVuAGFcGKY

I find this idea that, just because you are in a public place, you cannot act privately, rather hilarious. Granted, it would be stupid to say something secret you wouldn't want broadcast to the world, in the middle of a crowd, while someone is speaking...but is it really unreasonable to expect to be left alone when all you want to do, is to turn your head to your coworker, and say some sort of wisecrack?

I have been to many conferences, and have, many times, told something to someone that I thought might have been funny. While I don't think I have ever said something that I would think was harmful I nonetheless have said things that I would be embarrassed of they went "public", because I simply would not have wanted to be the focus of the attention.

I have read Adrian's blogpost, and she doesn't give enough detail for me to know just what it was about the comments that was offensive. Whether they were or not, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that the two developers were expecting their conversation to be quasi-private.

Was about to reply with the exact sentiment. She should mind her own business.

They were sitting several feet away, behind her, in chairs facing toward her. How could she not hear what they were saying?

You've never wished the people behind you in a movie theater would hush up?

Adria, its the photo that's the problem. Using to identify the people in question is OK. Posting it to the internet is wrong.

Unlike your explanation states you did not let the staff resolve it. You took matters into your own hands, and served up justice vigilante style. Just as someone has to watch their mouth, you also have responsibilities. I am sure you are sorry mr-hank lost his job. But just like his dumb ass comments posting photos cannot be undone.

Yea I am on accord with you on this. This is a case where she tried to make things better, but her slight immaturity made someone lose their job, and now kind of makes her look worse. cringe why do the people who think they are going to help us (women) the most, make us look the worst at times. I just feel both parties should have communicated to each other. She didn't need to make this about social media and a fight for women on this planet. This is nuts--- everyone thinks that they are speakers for "all of us". I just wish Americans left their high horse standings and realized this is not okay.

Adria, right in line with this comment, your blog post is out of control. You took it personally by taking things you heard earlier in the day and unleashed it on one person. You have to own up and address that your behavior was immature and irresponsible as a person. You should have turned around and told them you could hear and were offended. If there was not proper apology then, contact security. IN NO WAY was it appropriate to post a picture of them in their company's shirts and take something out of context, let alone make a claim that it was a "feminist action" or that you were acting as the "Joan of Arc of the digital age."

You want to do something that fits with your supposed goal set that you keep talking about. Own up to your behavior and take a stand for what is actually right. His company did nothing to defend him for fear of looking bad. At the same time that company and other companies allow behavior that you are so opposed to happen in offices all over the bay.

If you want to be a leader than take an honest evaluation of what beliefs are for the better whole and what you are taking personally and reacting to. I am embarrassed that you are representing us as a female activist because you are actually making it HARDER to gain equality in the space.

I agree with you 100%. I'm embarrassed that she's a self proclaimed representative of 'women in tech'.

If she really wanted to make a point she could have turned around and told the guy that what he said was not OK. Not only would it would have driven the point across that some people are more sensitive than others, but it would be treating the guy like a fellow human being.

Yeah, this is passive aggressive stuff. The guy said you even smiled at him as you took the picture.

I actually read more of Adria's site and I read http://butyoureagirl.com/13871/success-against-the-odds-fill....

"Because of my experiences growing up, I have triggers. This means that I’m always scanning for danger; for situations that seem like something from the past that could hurt me. When I recognize something that matches, I can overreact and feel intense fear, anger or anxiety."

Which explains a lot. I am shocked to read about Adria's experiences as a child, and would urge everyone to go a little easier on her.

"and would urge everyone to go a little easier on her."

She is aware of her behavior and that she overreacts, and also has to take responsibility when she chooses to be a public figure. She makes her choices very clear, and her actions have very real repercussions, just as her childhood experiences had repercussions on her.

Exactly. Hopefully she can get some therapy and learn how better to deal with her triggers.

Heavy sigh. This is the crux of the matter, people. The NSPCC in the UK reports that 30% of girls (and I think you can therefore extend that to women) admit to having been subjected to sexualised assault. And that's admit. Who knows what the true figure is. As your female friends, or indeed, if you are female, have you yourself been assaulted? Now, imagine for a moment sitting in a conference, which is a known space where all kinds of offensive remarks and behaviour toward women occur, which absolutely puts women off going to conferences, or speaking at them. Then the guys next to you make jokes which are sexist, provocative... Potentially nasty... With absolutely no awareness or maturity. Nothing in them thinks 'Well maybe some of the women who are sitting around me might not just be offended by my sexist banter, but might actively be reminded of awful examples of trust abuse'. Of course not! Why would any guy think that? I mean come on, deal with it women, if you have issues! You can listen to us talking about women in an offensive way in public, surely? That's not an unconscious assertion of power, I mean come on! You're being paranoid!

30%.Just remember that.

By the way, me personally, I would have told them to stop being ass holes. However, many women would not. Many women would silently put up with that kind of horse-shit, as Tey do, daily. You really have to wake up, guys. Wake Up. It's not you, who are spending your lives looking over your shoulders. It really isn't. So. Whilst I do not agree it was the best of actions, I wholly defend the right of anyone to take it. And will therefore stand by them if they do.

> You really have to wake up, guys. Wake Up. It's not you, who are spending your lives looking over your shoulders. It really isn't. So. Whilst I do not agree it was the best of actions, I wholly defend the right of anyone to take it. And will therefore stand by them if they do.

I just want to highlight that you're supporting an exaggerated public shaming for people who were just exchanging words in a semi-private conversation. Not even particularly offensive words at that. Words that are and were clearly misconstrued.

And you defend this behaviour because many women suffer sexual abuse? Tell me, should preachers be forbidden from speaking in public because some people were caned by priests as children too? Should visible minorities be cautious around everyone because some people have been mugged by black men?

Joking around is immature, particularly sexist and racist humour, but it's not irresponsible. Suggesting that public witch-hunts are the way to solve these problems is just plain irresponsible.

> Thanks for speaking up, contributing your viewpoint on HN and not attacking me.

No but I will be speaking up and attacking you.

> bring you back on and dealing with it constructively.

And by constructively you mean maybe they'll post his picture on the billboard and call him publicly an "ass clown".

So yeah, how about them insults? Is PyCon a conference where taking face shots of attendees and posting them for the whole world to see then calling them ass clown?

> to not to work with you on this and

Not to work with him on what. What kind of double speak is that? "Don't use toilet humor when talking to your co-workers at a conference". Yes, I hope his employer 'works' hard with him on that.

> I also hear about the experiences of women working at startups.

Do you hear about backstabbing, public humiliations and taking advantage situations for personal profit at the expense of other's lives?

> Sometimes the answer is our API or not answering email after 7pm while other times it about being assertive and shedding impostor syndrome.

Sometimes the answer is public flogging in a middle of the street.

> The forking joke set the stage for the dongle joke.

You are a developer's evangelist and you don't know what "forking" a repo is. You might consider filing a lawsuit against Github and Linus Torvalds because that's all they do. One invented it then other place is where forking happens all day every day.

> It sounds like if I'd said something about the forking you would have denied it having a sexual association.

And that is because ... it doesn't. Your title has 'developer' in it, you should at least find out what forking really means.

A known "Developer Evangelist" with a large following that's been featured on mainstream media tweets a picture of someone in the technology field that has offended her, as opposed to simply confronting him, or just notifying the conference management. You were very aware that there would be repercussions. No offering of suggestions, ideas or mentoring to help solve a problem, simply call the masses and authorities to deal with it. I realize that my opinion doesn't matter to you, however I think that you were wrong in this instance.

You're an developer evangelist for Sendgrid. I can't believe you have not been fired for tweeting those pictures and getting those developers fired without even talking to them.

Since Sendgrid continues to employee you, I'd encourage any developers using Sendgrid to switch to an alternative like Postmark or Mailgun. Let Sendgrid know why you are switching.

For the record, I agree with you that those jokes were inappropriate, but what you did was orders of magnitude more inappropriate and unprofessional.

Good job SendGrid, they fired her right away!

No, you, because of your actions, made a person lose their job. In this environment that is a near death sentence. And with the seeming recent trend of over reacting conventions you knew full well what was going to happen. ( ex. violetblue's issue that I'm sure you are aware of) You acted irresponsibly, publicly, and should feel bad about yourself. You took advantage of a known community issue and leveraged it for your own gain. Please consider your actions in the future WHEN PEOPLE'S JOBS ARE ON THE LINE.

Death sentence? A little extreme, don't you think? Unemployment is pretty low in the tech sector. In the very worst case (no one ever hiring him again [which is unlikely]), he has the skills to create his own projects/business.

I also fail to see what she had to gain by this directly. Best case, she achieves community awareness and growth (which doesn't seem to be happening judging by the threads I've read) and worst case being vilified for speaking out (which is happening).

Jobs are always on the line. If you are at a conference, you are the face of your company and your actions reflect on that company.

Her website is called "butyouragirl" and you don't see what she has to gain by shaming men developers? She calls herself an "activist" but uses the fact that she is FEMALE to get ahead, as opposed to the quality of her work. Joan of Arc would be rolling in her grave.

butyoureagirl would be more correct, I guess she lacks judgement and a knowledge of the English language... <ducks/>

The typo was femaledev's, not Adria's. The correct URL is butyoureagirl.com

He has been fired for cause. Best case is the victim (whose real name we should cease using in this affair) wins a ruinous lawsuit for long-term damage to his career, and Adria Richards is blackballed by the industry as vindictive and profoundly unsafe to have any kind of interaction with. But we know that nothing is going to happen.

Ah that's ok then. Totally ok to threaten the financial future of someone and their kids because they repeated an old bit of innuendo.

Yes, there are massive issues with women in the tech community, but colossally overreacting to something that isn't even wrong isn't going to help, it's just going to create an atmosphere of paranoia and distrust.

Ah that's ok then.

Adria, what did you expect to happen?

You didn't want to argue your perspective so you went full nuclear on people. And that full nuclear got someone fired, simply because you didn't want to have to talk to them. I can understand you may be sick and tired of arguing your perspective with other people, but I hope you've learned something as well here as I doubt that this was the outcome you were looking for.

You could have been a great person by just turning around and telling those guys that this is not cool. Instead you resorted to playing the 'female' card.

Outright pathetic.

"I'm a developer evangelist"

Anyone who makes up a title like this is an ego-maniac, regardless of their sex. Good thing that the start-up you work for is crap and won't get acquired any time soon. Once you hit the job market, HR departments and hiring managers will remember your name and I doubt you will get many call-backs.

"Developer evangelist" is a very common title for folks who manage developer relations. Apple, Google, MS, etc. all have them. It's unlikely she made up the title.

How exactly are forking and dongle innuendos offensive to women? What right do you have to be offended by them other than that you have ears?

You've never heard of a double entendre?

How many terrible jokes have been made along the lines of "I'd like to put my hard drive in her RAM slot".

Jokes like that were old and corny 20 years ago.

HINT: though it uses the terms "hard drive" and "RAM slot", as used, they don't actually refer to a hard drive or a RAM slot.

It's entirely reasonable to know what forking and dongles mean in the normal sense, yet to hear comments about "forking" and "big dongles" and understand they're not being used to refer to the usual things.

First, the "forking" joke was not sexual. It referred to actually forking a repo on github. Second, is the fact that guys have "dongles" offensive to women?

There's a massive difference between general innuendo and innuendo directed at someone. Yes the jokes are corny, but since when have corny jokes been grounds for complete humiliation and losing your job?

Care to explain why you're allowed to make dick jokes but they can't?

I think the basic problem here that you are a documented fraud. You claimed to be some kind of Joan of Arc "minus the visions." Honestly, it seems to be it is more like "plus greater delusions of grandeur." You seem to have jumped on this as a way to drive your popularity; you were just too short sighted to see the backlash, I suppose. Perhaps, you enjoy some of the backlash because it may allow you to pivot toward some other activist role. I just don't think you are, in any way, authentic about this incident or other incidents. My problem is there is a clear pattern and smugness about the way you project yourself. I don't think you speak for all women and I don't think women want you to speak for them. You would take any criticism as simple victim blaming and that is unfortunate because it can be difficult, rhetorically, to argue against. However, I think many people can see through this veneer. As well, it could be innocent but your blog URL is yet another a signal to me; I don't think you intend well for any of this. You are looking for any issue for which you can champion yourself as some sort of Betty Friedan; unfortunately, you are no Betty Friedan, Sandra Day O'Connor or any other great female leader.

Others are focusing on whether or not you can take a joke or if you should have discussed it with the people you publicly shamed instead. We know you weren't really offended, that wasn't the point. This was a prop for you. This is unfair to women that face will discrimination, prejudice, and so on that we should all denounce. This is just opportunism potentially gone awry.

I could applaud you for actually coming to HN and making a statement but what you wrote is just smug and serving.

She was most probably not shortsighted about the upcoming backlash as she said herself on HN a year and a half ago:

adriarichards 473 days ago

We all should realize it's Twitter, home of public flame wars.

It seems she had a pretty good understanding of what she did, and from this we can assume she acted with intent.

Excellent incisive post.

Adria, in all this please take one thing from me. Please do not use the term "trigger" for things that make you angry or uncomfortable or sad. Triggers are powerful psychological events, things that make people near-catatonic, unable to act, have physical and psychological repercussions. A rape survivor, a soldier or police officer or survivor of domestic abuse won't smile, snap a picture, and use their significant power to shame someone if "triggered". Quite in the contrary. Your use of the word sets the stage for people to presume that someone who has a trigger could have "discussed it out" as you could have done. And that is demeaning and dangerous to everyone who really has psychological triggers.

I would just like to add my agreement with this.

A "trigger" is something which leaves the sufferer (and it is suffering) with absolutely NO choice in how we react.

I'd argue that in some cases there's a degree of control that can be developed, but also that this seems to be more the case for sensory triggers than for psychological ones.

You can do just about anything you want, it's the way you do it that matters. You went over the line when you publicly posted their photo, plain and simple.

And your defense of possible misunderstanding is, to be blunt, far short of logical. You don't know that he didn't defend himself to the organizers and that they rejected his defense (unless I've missed something).

Why can't you just turn around and say one of the following:


Take it outside.

You're not funny, and I can't hear the talk.

I'm going to call the conference police if you don't quiet yourselves.

Or something to that effect? If somebody persists after you ask them to quit, fine, blast away.

Of course not. The only logical course of action is to post pictures of them on twitter and get them fired.

The guy apologized, and everyone was satisfied at that point. No idea why PlayHaven fired him but that wasn't something she asked for.

PlayHaven only fired their employee due to the public exposure this all received, which started with Adria's tweet.

The tweet itself is arguably going overboard but the accompanying picture is the real issue, this is the element of public exposure which made all this going way way overboard.

It's actually a serious offense and even a crime in other parts of the world, the kind that can send you in jail for quite some time, and on many websites and communities this could get you a ban.

You're one childish person. You should behave like a grown up, and learn to speak up correctly. Here in the US there's something called "Freedom of Speech" and if someone at a public event cannot make a private joke that somehow overheard by some crazy, cookoo person, then you got it all wrong.

And you are deserved to be forked for being a nasty person. And no, your repos on Github (if you have any) are not even worth to be starred.

I want to believe that I'm misinterpreting your comment about "deserved to be forked", but in the context of this discussion it sounds like a truly crude, offensive and sexist thing to say. I am disgusted. There is no place for a comment with the implications here - in any context, at any time. If I've misinterpreted, I apologize - but next time be more careful with how you choose your words.

It seems to me it was a threat either of being stabbed with forks or sexually assaulted, neither is acceptable.

This guy has all rights to feel angry about what she did, but this is not a welcome comment and he should probably be reported to the law enforcement authorities.

I am constantly surprised at the bipolar nature of HN. It ranges from intelligent and considered posts about technology to unpleasant playground posts relating to politics and especially to sexual politics.

I am usually able to sigh, roll my eye and close the browser tab but your comment 'deserved to be forked' demanded a response.

Your post wasn't intelligent, wasn't constructive and offended me.

Far be from me to defend Adria Richards but "freedom of speech" means something different than what you think. The government cannot infringe on your right to express your opinion, etc. Also, the violent insinuation as no place on HN or anywhere.

"I'm sorry to hear your employer deciding to not to work with you on this and I hope they reconsider, bring you back on and dealing with it constructively."

if you're serious about that, promote this petition as hard as you did the damaging photo: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/374/323/889/give-alex-reid-hi...

Its worth pointing out I'm not Alex, he had no part in this situation and is still employed. The gesture is kind none the less.

Mr Hank, due to your privacy being violated in this crazy creepy manner I was able to find who you are. Good luck to you sir. There are a lot of men and women who are on your side.

One thing I will say is, that your former employer is crazy not to have your back. Is there no way they can change their mind? (I am not sure you would want your job back because they really let you down)

Now she has been fired, you two should start up your own tech company.

Hi there, reporter for The Verge here. We're doing a story on this and need to speak to you off the record. Email me at adrianne@theverge.com. Thanks.

> For context, I'm a developer evangelist.

Actually, no, you are not. You are - by definition - a terrorist, applying unlawful use of force or violence against people with the intention of intimidating or coercing groups of people and societies for ideological or political reasons.

The fact that you do have supporters shows the sad state of affairs this world is in.

My, how flexible the word 'terrorist' has become.

how flexible the word "evangelist" has become

Wow, you give tech a bad name both by your massively offensive accusation, as well as your completely wrong use of the word "terrorist" thereby reducing its significance. The thing showing a sad state of affairs here is you.

I am following the definition given by many dictionaries (and, by the way, 28 Code of Federal Regulations Section 0.85).

Terrorists don't all wear beards and have TNT strapped around their waists while piloting hijacked planes, you know?

I think what she did was awful. But I have a hard time understanding how you cant see that her actions don't meet all of the conditions found in the definition you yourself supplied.

Considering how completely wrong use/interpretation of the words sexism/sexist, thereby reducing their significance, is what this is all about, it seems apt.

Allow me to make a small addendum. You are not a 'developer evangelist' you are an 'arbitrary evangelist'. You've applied internal frustration in a seemingly random manner and you refuse to see it.

I think you've gone too far to apologise now, but you should try and think hard about whether you were right at all to do this.

What a hypocrite. You can joke dirty publicly, but when it comes to 2 friends making private jokes with one another, you become Joan of Arc, a heroine, an activist. Well "calculated" though, I have to say.

> The forking joke set the stage for the dongle joke.

What actually was the 'forking joke'? Because he seems to claim there wasn't one, but you think there was. He's made a claim about what he said, do you remember what it was?

Great job ruining someone's career because you're an oversensitive -- and apparently hypocritical -- imbecile.

Maybe you should work on that.

If I may ask, what made you think it was appropriate to take a picture of this person and distribute it without his permission or the permission of the venue?

You're what Jaron Lanier means when he talks about "digital Maoism".

You smiled while you took the photo you planned to shame them with.

Enjoy your notoriety.

If you really feel regret for this, you should connect him with SendGrid and try to get him hired there.

Without commenting on the comment itself I'd like to note that this post is yet another example of downvoting abuse. Cut that out, people.

There's nothing here that merits censorship or violates the rules. On the contrary, if the article itself is worthy of inclusion on HN then the interaction between Hank and Adria certainly is.

I am curious why this comment has no downvote arrow.

Comments over 24 hours old lose it.

Hey, I never get a downvote arrow ...

Adria, can you please do us all a huge favor and provide for us the exact wording of both the "dongle" and "forking" remarks that were made?

All we have so far are assertions that these remarks were sexual in nature, but not evidence. I'm not saying I'd be surprised if one, or both of them were (knowing all too well the way men sometimes are, at these conferences).

But really, it shouldn't be too hard for you to just tell us exactly what you heard, along with any supporting context that you feel would help us understand your position.

errm no.

because there was no "forking" joke. There was I'd fork that guy's repo. If you don't know what forking and repo means, well to put it bluntly you're out of place @ a dev conf.

I fail to see how either of which is sexist, although if strained may be sexual. And also Adria made the much more lewd big dongle joke herself on Twitter a while back...

It's all in comments here

If you don't know what forking and repo means,

If you think that, you're reading way too much into my question.

> I decided instead to accept it bothered me and took action based on the PyCon Code of Conduct.

Weeell, except you didn't. Or did you miss the part about how PyCon doesn't condone public shaming?

Why were you too afraid to confront them directly and privately about your concerns? You smiled at them when you too the picture...

That is a dead link for people from Europe.

Adria, your actions are not "leaning in". Please, step back.

did you seriously shamelessly plug your blog?

"I'm a developer evangelist"

This is code for professional bullshitter. We (the real developers) don't need any "evangelizing." Our work speaks for itself.

FYI - she took your picture and published it, without a model release . . . technically, per the letter of the law - that is illegal . . . just sayin'

Her taking a picture and posting it to Twitter (which is different from publishing) is not illegal. She didn't need a model release. The only time you need a model release is if you intend to sell the photograph of a person to be used for commercial purposes. You know, sell the picture to a company for the company to use it in an advertisement. At that time, a model release is required. No monetary gain was acquired in this situation, so why would a release be required?

Know Copyright and publishing laws when you comment... just sayin'

>>See you next year.

I doubt they would invite you or let you attend next year. If they do, they shall have to rent a bigger venue just to make room for you and the empty seats around you. Not joking. I wouldn't want to be near you, leave alone having a conversation. Not the hate, it's fear to be fired or maybe sued for sexual harassment.

After looking at Adria's vague explanation, you should show your employer her blogpost because "large dongle" is not sexual harassment. This seems more like a case of someone so deep in a cause that they have lost sight of what the core idea of the cause is. This is very overreaching and I feel this way after reading her blogpost, before I thought her complaint had merit but not now.

Not only that. Overreaction goes both ways. It swings like pendulum. It went one way, Adria's and this guy's employer's way. But I am afraid it went to far, and now on the way back it might damage them more than it damaged this guy.

What do I mean? His employer before evaluating the situation jumped the gun and fired guy with 3 kids to support. That is fucked up.

Adria's online presence will forever be marred by this. It seemed like a win first, and her intentions were perhaps good, but it turned out to be a bad decision. I think she will regret this when the dust settles.

Anyone know the name of the company, I couldn't read it on the badge, so that next time I see them a at conference I have a nice 'pleasant' talk with them?

Some from the tech community might be immature and like to make stupid jokes. What else they don't like is bullying and irrational and bureaucratic decisions. I have a feeling this will come back and bite them harder than they expected.

The company she works for is SendGrid, if random redditors discussing this are to be trusted.

Alright thanks.

Ok it seems SendGrid might be the company that Adria works for not the company that fired the guy.

Guy's company is PlayHeaven.

If I see either one of their companies' booths I will make sure to have 'a nice' chat with them.

That is not what he was asking. SendGrid is not a party to this issue.

Sure they are to the same extent his employer is since her posse made sure they fired him.

She is a horrific bully who has destroyed an innocent person's career to advance her own personal publicity and branding. She's a bad person. I would never hire her or have anything to do with her or anyone who defends her insane, horrific and unethical actions. I also will have nothing to do with PyCon henceforth.

They have made their beds. Let them lie in them.

she did not destroy anyone's career; he made an off color comment at a tech conference, someone reported that he did so, and his employer made a decision to fire him because of how it reflected on their company. had he not said it, she'd have nothing to report; had his employer not agreed that it was inconsistent with the public image they wish to present, they would not have fired him.

If you're going to base your whole argument just on the actions of the companies involved, I think you'll run into a pickle when you incorporate the fact that she was just fired herself over her actions.

Back up your opinion with self-sufficient evidence and justification. It does not suffice to just point at what others have done.

> she was just fired herself over her actions.

Do you actually know what she was fired over? All I've seen in a statement that her employment was terminated.

For all I know the situation went like this:

SendGrid: We think you handled this situation badly, and since you were there as a SendGrid employee, that reflects badly on the company. We'd like you to make a public apology about they way in which you dealt with it. Adria: No SG: We're not asking Adria: But I'm not doing it SG: Then we don't think you can continue working here.

Which is to say, she may have been terminated because of how she handled the situation within SendGrid, rather than what she did at the Con. Or maybe not. I don't think we've been given enough information to know & nor are we ever likely to unless Adria posts it.

Edit: I've just read the more detailed blog post (http://blog.sendgrid.com/a-difficult-situation/) and it seems your interpretation is right.

Actually, not quite factually true. She did not "report" it. She used her significant media presence to shame someone with vague allusions. The right thing to do would have been for his company to get his side of the story (which we see above) and make a public statement, not to fire him over pitchforks and torches at the gates.

PyCon US's response to this incident was measured and appropriate - please don't tar them with such a brush.


Key phrase: "No individuals were removed from the conference, no sanctions were levied."

Yes they are. The same way the guys were representing their company, she was representing SendGrid at the conference. You can't be an "Evangelist" at a tech conference and pretend your actions don't represent your company as well.

Yes. Sendgrid is a party to this issue. She's a public figure for them and she made use of her public image to shame two people and ultimately causing, at least one of them to lose their job.

And she was being a hypocrite, as she made phallic jokes on her twitter account...

I hope sendgrid fires her. Either way I'm not using any of their products anymore.

>I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel.

Boldly speaking, you are a moron. She might feel offended, but i don't think she has any right to be upset.


>@skwashd you should put something in your pants next time...like a bunch of socks inside one...large...sock. TSA agent faint

> [...] you are a moron

Please go away and take your name-calling someplace else. I prefer Hacker News to be a location for civil dialog.

Seriously? You're going to let the fact that he called someone a moron overshadow the fact that he points out her blatant hypocrisy over this entire thing?

It's apparently alright for women to make sexual references in a public setting (e.g. Twitter), but when men do it amongst themselves in a crowd it's just wrong?

Did she ever once say "Hey guys, can you keep it down?" or how about "Your jokes are making me un-comfortable, please stop."? Nope, instead she tries to get people to take out their pitchforks and torches. This is what she does.

Yes. He escalated in the same manner that she did. He made a personal attack.

The ends do not justify the means... especially when that one sentence was completely unnecessary. He could easily have taken a more civil tone... maybe said "Your pandering to her makes me feel uncomfortable"... the same way that you are suggesting that she approach the topic.

me made a joke.... there is a HUGE difference

He's talking about fosap...

a public setting: a personal twitter account a professional setting: a professional conference

One in the same for her...

One and the same.

Ta, http://grammarist.com/mondegreens/ I notice I pretty much use all of these. I blame the kiwi accent and our mumbling ways.

> Boldly speaking, you are a moron.

Please take your boldness elsewhere. This is HN, name calling is frowned at here.

Dude, you have nothing to apologize for. I understand why you feel like you do, I would to, but you don't. She took the liberty to be offended over something not directed at her, at your expense. By doing so she caused great damage, not only screwing you over greatly but also doing a huge disservice to the struggle for equality within the tech industry. I realize women have to put up with a lot of crap. I'm often flabbergasted by the kind of harassing childish behaviour women witness to at workplaces, conferences and user groups. The kind of stuff you can't believe adults can resort to. This is something different completely.

I hope you find a new job soon. Don't let this unexpected bump keep you down.

Luckily she got fired today! +1 SendGrid, -1000 PlayHaven! I am a big fan of SmartGrid now that they got rid of her. I don't know who would hire Adria as "Evangelist" now, since she is probably the most hated person among developers now! I also hope that all the best developers stay 1,000 miles away from PlayHaven!


While everyone is riled up about Adria Richards getting offended and publicly shaming the person who made a joke about big dongles, you should keep in mind that she did not fire anyone. PlayHaven did.

PlayHaven could have decided to be the responsible party and handle the incident constructively, but they did not want to do that. Even Adria, who still appears to think that the public shaming was a good thing to do, also thinks that PlayHaven should have not fired the person.

So please, if you think firing mr-hank was unreasonable, please let PlayHaven know that, and also how this might affect your image of PlayHaven.


I shot a comment over, but the damage has probably been done at this point. I can't see PlayHaven hiring mr_hank back, and to be honest, I would guess it'd be slightly awkward.

Which, if we are taking responsibility for "what we say and do," then the focus really is back on Adria because she decided to make a big deal out of nothing.

Sure, PlayHaven fired this dude. But guess what? Their employee was being marked as sexist all over Twitter? To them, they might not have had a choice.

But Adria, she had a choice. She could have kept her mouth shut like 99% of everyone else who probably also heard the remarks, but instead she decided to post to twitter to whore out her name more, and then perfectly finds herself in the spot light leaving "logical" people to blame PlayHaven for what happened.

Nope, Adria is out of line, hypocritical at best, and now men won't trust women around them in the tech industry. Two steps back for everyone. Bravo.

> I can't see PlayHaven hiring mr_hank back ... I would guess it'd be slightly awkward.

It would certainly be awkward, but it would be a pretty big PR hit not to take them back.

You're right. The company should have practiced a little rationality instead of instantly reacting. But she should be held responsible above all because she took offense to a joke instead of taking it to superiors or confronting the guy, she posted it for all to see and read. Her actions did lead to his firing regardless of the company's questionable decision. You don't publicly humiliate someone for something so small. If he had been sexist or made a sexist joke to her or to someone else around then I would understand the company taking action, but I still wouldn't condone the public humiliation unless it was very egregious.

and the dude acknowledged what he said was inappropriate, i just think the company may have been quick to fire, imho. if this was big corporation, they would have a session with HR for sensitivity training and put the dude on probationary terms and then everyone would go out for happy hour.

sad, sad adria. shes on a crusade to delete everyones opinion that outs her as a hypocrite. shes deleted all the comments on her facebook, all the negative comments on her blog, wherever she can shes deleting it. all of this couldve been avoided if she could learn to act like an adult, and apologize. i HOPE she's really reflecting on all of this and will change her ways. i doubt it though..

Adria thinks she won something here, she doesn't give a damn she destroyed someone's career over a simple sexual pun in a private conversation that she wasn't apart of nor was it directed towards her. I wish you luck in finding a new job where the company will actually try to defend their employee against such sensationalist nonsense masked as equality.

You have absolutely zero to apologize for. It's quite the opposite. I hope you get an even better job, at a place that deserves you - and soon.

Why are you apologizing. She is an asshole who cost you your job. I really hope you are just doing it for potential employers in the future.

Adria is a shitty person for getting you fired over this.

> [...] She is an asshole > [...] is a shitty person

Please go away and take your name-calling someplace else. I prefer Hacker News to be a location for civil dialog.

"It was really shitty of her to get you fired for this. She's making herself look like an asshole." -- Fixed

Maybe you should stop telling everyone how they should post, and instead do something to encourage civil dialog.

I don't think anyone gives a shit what you prefer.

I feel so sad about this. I am not liking the path of sexual harassment cases being so quick to be made in the USA. This is ridiculous that you were FIRED over this situation! As a female, I am upset at the way everyone can be such babies in this country.

This is hypersensitive, passive aggressive, and paints women as fragile and in need of rescuing from every perceived slight.

Stop apologizing.

No. It is unprofessional and unbecoming at an outside of work event.

You don't think he would have been fired for a black or Nazi joke ?

I'm not sure that those jokes are comparable. There's no negative stereotype in a penis size joke.

It contributes to the objectification and dehumanization of male morphological gender norms.

Just kidding. I make dongle jokes all the time.

I did nazi that coming.

Finally. I was waiting for that to happen so everyone will go home and move on.

>The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.

>She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate.

> As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.

So she took the joke way too seriously and in turn caused you to lose your job. Great way to 'teach' someone to make a joke about dongles, right?

Sad that you have to apologize.

Even sadder that your employer doesn't see things any other way. In fact, you should be happy that you are not employed by people who easily fall to emotional terrorism. Might have been a great coding job but it's better to work with people who think like you and not just code like you.

It makes me sad that HN reinforces the fact that women have a hard time participating in s/tech conferences/tech forums/g

PyCon was 20% female this year which was a remarkable milestone. Along with this milestone came an amplification of why it was so hard for PyCon to reach that milestone.

This was not an isolated issue; Titus' post provides a good summary of the general harassment women faced at PyCon http://ivory.idyll.org/blog/pycon-2013-and-codes-of-conduct....

And, yeah, blame your employer for making a poor judgement call on this. If I were you I wouldn't want to work for a place that fires people over Internet drama anyway.

An immature penis joke is not "harassment". You shouldn't throw that word around like it's meaningless. Harassment is a serious thing, and this joke most certainly is not.


Actually, to many people harassment isn't a serious thing. It's just a "casual" snide comment about being cute or looking hot. Many men don't realize they're making women feel uncomfortable in geek circles.

Yes well i don't really like it how some women seem to think its their right to feel uncomfortable at the drop of a hat, ruins it for the rest of us. Anyone can feel uncomfortable about anything for any reason. they should toughen up and say something when they are, it 'll make life easier for themselves and other women like me who have to deal with the stereotype created by it. I am not a delicate flower that must be protected from all the things.

Don't be apologetic. It's people like Adria that fucks everything up for the rest of us. Who cares you made some tech-related joke, hell i give you a thumbs up for the dongle one. Adria shouldnt be calling herself a tech evangelist, but a feminist zealot hypocrit.

Amen brother!

And she REALLY hurts other women when they have legitimate causes of concern.

Also, she makes ALL men uncomfortable.

You're being forced to apologize for being a victim of today's McCarthyism. I'm sorry.

You did nothing wrong and shouldn't apologize to an absurdly psychopathic feminist "developer evangelist" (what the f* is that?). You made a mildly off color comment then she set out to ruin you. She thinks she's a hero for creating an unemployed family of five. She's genuinely insane and genuinely evil, and i'm guessing if you polled average Americans 90% of them would agree with the sentiment (including a huge majority of women).

If I would be Mr Hank I would go and sue Adria as she took a photo of him and distributed it without his consent. This is a serious privacy issue. I would like to read her post after she gets fired in a similar way because of a photo. I'm sure she would feel the pain.

And you would lose.

> In the United States [..] consent is not as a rule required to photograph people in public places and publish those photos. Hence, unless there are specific local laws to the contrary, overriding legal concerns (e.g., defamation) or moral concerns (e.g., picture unfairly obtained) [..]


False, false false!

Try getting away from Wiki and read your local laws. PyCon happend in California, which is so ubersensitive about privacy that even call centers and debt collectors have to inform you and recieve consent to record your conversations.

Having been a vidographer and photographer for bands in and around California, it's a pain in the ass all the legal forms and releases you need to obtain in order to publish the likeness of someone. There's a reason "extras" are paid in California.

First, for taking his photo without consent, then turning around and using it in an official disciplinary capacity - totally against the law. Whatever his wages were, she may be liable for paying him out of her pocket as a result.

Second, she even admitted here in this thread - she took something as being sexual that totally wasnt - so she's made up her mind that this was offensive and inappropriate. Shame on her, and I do truly hope that she joins the ranks of unemployed soon for her actions (turnabout is fair play after all, arent we trying for equality?)

Lastly, she admits in her blog post that they were talking amongst themselves and she overheard something and decided arbitrarily and without invitation to join the conversation. Having done so, it's also your responsibility, not the trade show organizers, to attempt to resolve the situation which she clearly refused to and even refuses to acknowledge - she should have asked them to knock it off.

Instead, she chose to rally the troops instead of talking with authorities directly and skip the step of asking them to knock it off - it's only harassing if they persist.

My local laws would be irrelevant, I'm in another country, which is why I can't take your comment apart very easily.

But paying extras sounds like publishing likenesses in commercial work, which is (AFAIK) usually under a different part of law than publishing noncommercial photos.

And recording conversations on the phone is nothing to do with anything pictorial, that comes under telephony and wiretapping laws.

And "official disciplinary capacity"? What does that mean? What office was she holding what discipline did she decide on?

Harrasment? Overhearing? Troops rallying? Responsibility to talk? All irrelevant to picture publishing, I suspect.

Actually, there's a strong case for 'tort of false light'.

possibly liable for slander though, if she is claiming things said that were not said, wbich resulted in firing

Great link, but it also says this:

"Even in countries that have no law of privacy, there is a moral obligation on us not to upload photographs which infringe the subject's reasonable expectation of privacy."

It was immoral of her to publish that photo, but not illegal.

members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, rest-rooms, medical facilities and inside their homes

- Source: http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

That's about the USA, which is where they were, but I'd be hard pushed to see a public conference as a place with a reasonable expectation of privacy even in a country with no law about photographic privacy.

Although the conference was open to anyone who paid admission, the conference was certainly not a public place.

Hmm, I didn't know that. Thanks for the heads up.

In most EU countries she would have commited a serious penal offense.

pun intended, right?

report this man!


I feel sick to my stomach. There's are openings in my company but I can't get your case past HR. They wouldn't want to be associated with a red flag. Hope you land on your feet.

You need to take legal action. You made a joke which hurt someone's feelings.

They turned around and made a post which is causing you harm.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that being fired without cause is somehow illegal in the USA.

In 49/50 states, it isn't. So there is no leg to stand on.

Unless he was employed in Montana.

California Legal Code 96(k) states that: The Labor Commissioner and his or her deputies and representatives authorized by him or her in writing shall, upon the filing of a claim therefor by an employee, or an employee representative authorized in writing by an employee, with the Labor Commissioner, take assignments of: ... (k) Claims for loss of wages as the result of demotion, suspension, or discharge from employment for lawful conduct occurring during nonworking hours away from the employer's premises.


You're citing a procedural detail that I don't think really supports the claim that his termination was unlawful.

All that section says is that if the guy files a claim with the labor commissioner for wrongful discharge, then the commissioner can "take assignment" of his claim, meaning they can sue the company in his name. It doesn't really say anything about whether his firing was OK or not.

A better reference on at-will employment in California is at http://business.ca.gov/StartaBusiness/AdministeringEmployees....

Edit: s/employment/discharge/ (doh)

Sue her, not his employer.

I don't think she has any legal responsibility here.


This will be a huge stretch of the law. It would be doubtful that one could succeed against her even under UK-type laws, to say nothing of American law.

Truth is a defense. Did they not do what she reported them as saying?

(NB: I'm not saying I approve of her behavior, but trying to paint her as legally responsible is out there.)

I say the guy put up his situation and case on those crowd funding/fundraising sites and raise money for his legal case.

Sue her individually for defamation et al. and tie her up in court. Let her pay the REAL price for wielding a public, 10,000 follower strong opinion against a privately intended comment.

I thought that posting a photo without someone's consent is illegal (at least in EU not sure how it is in USA), but I'm not a lawyer. I always thought that was the case when Google removed faces from StreetView.

Ugh, this just makes me cringe.

Yeah, don't give in.

It just makes you look craven.

I can not believe you lost your job.

You have to laugh at how far things have come. :/

Why are you apologizing? This woman ruined your life because you made a fucking "dongle" joke! Grow a set man. I would be pissed off to no end

> In common law it is usually a requirement that this claim be false

The person involved in this case does not deny the claim.

don't apologize to this publicity whore

was this a private event? she had no right to take your picture without permission. if it was a park or the sidewalk yes, that's a public area, but you could have a case against her.

Absolutely crazy ! That was a harmless joke gone wrong. Sorry mate.


Evangelist? please.

i think that you HAVE TO go to your job and explain your situation, This was not a case of harrassment Adria, i dont know if you intended for this man to get fired. you need to make this right and get this mans job back. Because if you did, spiritually, your in so much trouble, and you wont be able to keep a job your self and become an outcast.

The job is gone, but he definitely needs to retain an attorney. I certainly would, and I would proceed until there was a satisfactory settlement.

A petition to Play Haven to give Alex his job back: www.thepetitionsite.com/374/323/889/give-alex-reid-his-job-back/

Its worth noting I'm not Alex. He was not involved and still employed.

I think it's worth noting that Alex's name badge was clearly displayed and he was prominently framed in the photo. I believe the image and caption published by Ms. Richards implies his involvement. Possibly others in the photo as well.

Well, I was there, I'm in the photo and I'm telling you that Alex was not involved.

Does that make her pointing him out -- she obviously did; some people think he's you -- better?

Worse, in my book. If you differ: Why?

would love to get your side of the story and post it on our site for men around the world to read. can we arrange an interview with you?

Thank you for the offer but I respectfully decline. I feel as though this situation has already received far more attention than it should have. Right now I'm focused on finding a new start-up to pour my heart into and taking care of my family.

If you're remotely interested in any of these: http://tokbox.com/careers, would you drop me a line? janine.yoong at gmail.com

Best of luck to you regardless.

If anyone feels they should not have been fired, blame their company...not Adria.

It's perfectly possible and appropriate to blame both.

While the company is definitely to blame, Adria should not have blown this issue up to such a big proportion.


I just lost all respect for you.

You're a doormat now, congrats.


Does HN have a 'Flag Death Threat' tickbox?

It would be appropriate to submit the poster's contact information to the San Francisco police, and perhaps the FBI.

In the meantime, please flag the parent's post into oblivion. To do so, click 'reply' to the parent's post. Above the text entry field is a link that says 'flag'.

Death Threat?!? Doesn't "you are a doormat" just mean "you are letting yourself get trampled upon"?

Calling that a "death threat" looks an over-reaction on a par with Ms Richards' original one to me.

And, I'm officially a little more ashamed than usual to be a human. How do I leave this fucking industry???

It probably wouldn't be a big deal in a more equitable society, but an innocent remark can easily be taken the wrong way when it comes after the chain of sexism women deal with in any given day.

Someone wrote an article (that I can't find) about how she felt bad about all those times she overreacted to an innocent remark, and how it was probably counterproductive. It's hard to filter the harmless dongle jokes from the sheer volume of real sexism that surrounds us.

Meeting her halfway with empathy and communication was the right thing to do.

"an innocent remark can easily be taken the wrong way when it comes after the chain of sexism women deal with in any given day."

...what? How much effort do you put in to finding everything sexist?

This ladybug mounting another ladybug outside my window? Sexually oppressive. The female ladybug should be capable of choosing which position is preferable for her. This pencil in my hand? It's long. Hence a phallic object. Hence sexually intimidating. I am forced to involuntarily hold penises as I write on paper. This mouse under my palm is being raped as it has no matter of choice by which I guide it and its wheel (symbolic of the empowering clitoris, which I voluntarily scroll with) to accomplish my task. It has no say in when I click it or how I click it. Hence I am depriving it of free choice. Hence I am raping it.

You might like this Portlandia clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohk-Ey01c9k

> ...what? How much effort do you put in to finding everything sexist?

Less effort than you put in to dragging out absurd strawpeople.


Are even logical fallacies supposed to be politically correct now? That's hilarious. Googling strawpeople gets me a New Zealand band.

Language policing helps your argument a lot.

In this case it actually does. There's absolutely no need to change strawman to strawpeople, other than the necessary implied injustice that you feel for the fact that the word contains 'man', and therefore must somehow be corrected to contain both sexes. It's a silly changing of nomenclature for no other purpose than to generate a feeling of self congratulatory accomplishment over a wrong that doesn't actually exist, much like the severity of the injustice that you feel is placed upon women in society every day.

I use it because I think it sounds better, not out of whatever you tried to get at in all those screedy words. But you go ahead with your attempt at mind reading.

Using it because it sounds better can sometimes run contrary with the word and its meaning. In this case being confused with a pretty bitchin' New Zealand band. But let's be honest here, with the sprinkling of select phrases in other posts, we both know exactly what you meant and why you used it.



Only, it's changing the age-old term strawmen to "strawpeople" that is the language policing here.

I can't police my own language. I chose the word. I have that right.

No, apparently you can't police your own language. But your act of "correcting" strawman to "strawperson" IS an act of "language policing" -- you're policing the language of the person who used "strawman".

And it was you yourself who said that language policing proves one wrong.

Sure, you do indeed have the right to prove yourself wrong.

What is this nonsense? Go away.

These are not strawpeople. These are sex jokes.

And her setting a chain of events in motion that got a professional fired for a harmless joke is permissible?

Who said it was permissible? I said it was an overreaction, just like the boss firing him for it.

OK, guess I misread your comment.


The post you're trying to recall was this: http://therealkatie.net/blog/2012/mar/21/lighten-up/

Women in tech often are exposed to a culture of subtle denigration. A single incident may not seem like a big deal (and, in fact, isn't), but when it's the eighth one that day...

We supposedly live in a democracy.

what the employers should do is poll their company employees and customers and target audiences/industry and let the population decide both the guy that got fired and Adria's fate.

I bet that we'd find an overwhelming support for the guy RETAINING his job, and Adria REMAINING fired.

The problem with this case is one woman, with a huge social following and thus a LOUD COMMUNICATOR in the social media sense had a disproportionate affect on people around her. It's always those who yell loudest who seem to get disproportionate attention and time. The best punishment for someone like her is to be shunned and ignored, thus taking away her ability to abuse the power she wields.

As another father of 3 children I am EXTREMELY OFFENDED by her reaction and the impact it has had on the guy who happened to be unlucky enough to be sitting behind her.

His wife, and all 3 of his children, not to mention himself will be put through an incredible amount of stress to their marriage and family due to the loss of his job, and that is simply UNACCEPTABLE just because she couldn't keep out of their business and do what every other mature person would do, ignore them.

I just happened on this thread, even if a day old. Un-fucking-believable.

I'm disappointed nearly all around here. Disappointed in pycon for actually kicking them out. Very disappointed that some would say posting their picture was fine (hint: it was not). Utterly disappointed they lost their jobs over this. I still can't believe they lost their jobs over this. What a sad state of affairs the world is in when someone's twitter rant (with no proof, mind you) gets someone canned.

Additionally, I'm flabbergasted that so few seem to think that Adria is, of all things, NOT the bully in this situation. The way she handled it was sensationalist, abusive, slimy and, most of all, cowardly.

Look, I get it, Adria was offended. We've all been there. I hear someone say something racist around me, I offer up a "not cool, dude" and move on. Handle it maturely, rise above and walk away. Or better yet, explain it. Too intimidated to explain it to them? Fine, write about it in the abstract. What Adria did was as low as it comes.

Could those guys have used some better judgement? Sure. Were the alleged jokes appropriate? Mildly not appropriate (but lets not get hyperbolic here...they were MILDLY not appropriate). Should they have been kicked out of the conf? No, someone should have talked to them about code of conduct. Should they have been fired? WTF? NO!

And, lastly, Adria's hypocrisy would be amusing if not so sad. https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265091791847425

Freakin' absurd.

The PSF did not kick us out, they pulled us from the main convention and got our side of the story. I gave a statement, apologized and thanked them for upholding the cons integrity. They felt I was sincere and let us leave of our own accord. I was also the only one who was let go.

Thanks for continuing to speak in this thread. As someone who has not spoken up when I felt objectified or uncomfortable in the context of sexual jokes at technical conferences, I am relieved by how you've handled this. I wouldn't say I feel suddenly comfortable with speaking out to someone directly, but let's say that I feel a bit more like if I did speak to someone directly, they might not attack me.

It's an unfortunate fact that speaking up often has far more downside than upside for women professionally. It's only recently I think that women have had enough status in the tech community to speak up and not be a) blacklisted or b) harassed by whoever they spoke up to. Clearly, this thread demonstrates that lots of people still feel that their ability to say whatever they want, whenever they want, trumps all. It makes me sad, to say the least.

This is a big community, and I hope you find a new job soon. If there's something I can do to help, you can ping me on twitter or gmail.

Unfortunately in this case there were more downsides than could have been predicted. I personally helped recruit 2 young women over the course of the weekend who were looking for junior/intern positions. They both seemed very passionate about development and well qualified. Before I lost access to my corporate account I was able to get one of their resumes to my manager but I'm afraid the other might have gone down with my inbox. I've been imploring my boss to forward my address or look into my closed account to see if he can find her response. I know how hard it was for me when I was first starting out, how scary it can be, you're putting yourself out there hoping someone will see just how awesome you are. I can only imagine it's more difficult coming in as a minority to the field.

Thank you for your support and I'm glad my response to this incident has given you pause. I don't feel like my reaction is extraordinary, so that's been a bit of an eye opener.

I've already got a few leads, I met with a local start-up guru who's going to introduce me to some CEO's. I feel confidant I'll be employed very shortly. I don't feel comfortable reaching out to you privately based on your contact with Adria over twitter but we do run in the same circles and I will reserve a righteous high five for if/when we meet.

Appropriate reaction: slap on the wrist, "hey dude, that joke's not cool - consider your audience next time", maybe at most a little note in the old HR file.

Inappropriate reaction: what actually happened.

FWIW, I deplore the high-tech lynching that has taken place, and I'm sorry you lost your job over this drama. I know that my sympathies and $4 gets you a Starbucks latte, but I just want to add my voice to the chorus of people saying that this situation sucks.

I agree, though I've got to say, I blame the employer the most here. Unlike in a real "lynching", the internet mob did not kill anyone, or even cost them their jobs. Some HR person at a company decided to make an employment decision based on some internet controversy, and I think they need to own that decision.

In this overall controversy there is a strange amount of blaming two people, on either side, who did not make the decision to fire someone. The people who own that decision are whoever it is at PlayHaven and SendGrid who call the shots.

Word. Good luck.

I'm sad you got fired, however, that was clearly no one's doing but your own employer, not the person who tweeted and not the Con. If you are as good an employee as you have described, then firing you, is the sign of a bad employer and you are better off not working for them any more.

Are you comfortable telling us why you were fired while Alex Reid was not? What were the circumstances? (The post on the PlayHaven blog mentions this, but does not go into any detail.)

> Clearly, this thread demonstrates that lots of people still feel that their ability to say whatever they want, whenever they want, trumps all. It makes me sad, to say the least.

I'm unclear what you mean by this? Could you clarify what you mean here?


Unclear on why you are explaining the internet to me.

Sorry too bummed out about the situation to parse your previous.

Everyone is applauding Adria for her courage, but taking someone's photo and posting it on twitter is not speaking out. I know that turning to someone and saying "what you said is offensive to me" or reporting them to the staff is not easy, but nevertheless it was the correct course of action. She smiled and took a picture of those guys. She never even bothered to give them a dirty look. And now all these women and men are praising her as a hero.

Worse it appears that some assumptions on her part are not correct. Even worse, her own previous blog post states:

"Because of my experiences growing up, I have triggers. This means that I’m always scanning for danger; for situations that seem like something from the past that could hurt me. When I recognize something that matches, I can overreact and feel intense fear, anger or anxiety. "

her blog name is butyoureagirl.com. What does that mean? "you don't expect me to do all this do you?".

Now she can go write a book, while this guy lost his job. This is so sexist and so unfair and so ironic.

"Everyone is applauding Adria"......I think 99% of the comments are all against Adria, then you have that 1% of angry feminists. Adria got fired today.....well deserved!

"Now she can go write a book, while this guy lost his job."

He can write a book too. And he has free time now to do so.

> She never even bothered to give them a dirty look.

How old are you ? 10 ? Grow up.

Do you intend to sue for having your image posted by Adria?

Sounds like she might get some commercial value of it since she is doing talking engagements. A wave of publicity will surely benefit her.

I suspect you might have a job offer pretty soon as the larger community realized that this was terribly unfair and it was someone taking advantage of a situation to create controversy.

Sorry to hear about you losing your job, that was not cool. As a woman in tech who is also a mother and raising 2 daughters, I experience the boys club every day. I love all the men I work with, I think they are great. I don't think that they are aware of some of the things they do that are offensive to women and I try to give them feedback to help them understand. I want my daughters to go into their career of choice and be comfortable in that environment. Maybe something to reflect on as a father is how you can foster a future in tech that isn't all about the boys club, especially if one or more of your 3 kids is a girl.

I'm not so sure the "boys club" is really the "boys club." It's more like the "in crowd." And many people suffer from not being part of it, men included. Anything that threatens the in crowd's exclusiveness is shunned. That said, there more than a few misogynists out there, and not just in the tech realm. You should have worked at my last job. Boss literally thought a woman's place was solely in the kitchen, and hired accordingly (or as much as he could get away with). He also thought all black people should be shot, or so he said on one incredibly surprising occasion.

Try topping it off with her feeling like she did something heroic.


I hope everybody retweets that tweet...with a suitable comment.

And a hashtag. #joanofarc or something.

What just blows my mind, is that Adria keeps referring to this as an issue against females. The comment (as clarified by the terrible perpetrator elsewhere) was about a part of male physiology and not directed towards any person, male or female. She just keeps repeating how this is some sort of female issue. I frankly don't see the connection. I do see how some puritanical folks could be upset, because you know, sex is terrible. I could see how the humor is crass. Adria didn't rescue some poor downtrodden female in distress, she took a sexual innuendo that offended her and blew it up publicly.

She mentions a few times playing cards against humanity at Pycon. http://instagram.com/p/W3htw7gaR5/ I'm not sure how "mecha-hilter", "dead babies", "afterbirth", or "eating all of the cookies before the AIDS bakesale" are less offensive than "big dongles". I guess I have to trust her as a the "Joan of Arc" that she is.

I will be honest with you, she scares the crap out of me. Who's next? What's the next juvenile comment that ends someone's job with a publicly posted picture? I don't want to work with her - how do I know my picture won't end up on twitter with some "This guy was talking about mounting his scsi" caption.

This isn't activism, this is emotional terrorism.

As an aside, I feel like the women in tech might misunderstand a lot of us - which is nothing new, who DOES understand us. We didn't grow up the jocks, the cool kids, or the prom king. We larped. We played D&D. We played MUDs. We sat up late coding. We were the dorks. We got wedgies and swirlies. Our chocolate milk was constantly taken by bullies. We got knocked out cold in dodge ball. We were tread on for most of our lives. I think coming into the tech world with the attitude that men need to be stood up to and knocked down is just going to come across to many of us as the same bullying attitude we grew up with. I think if most women in tech sat down with just about any neckbeard I can think of, they would be amazed at how friendly and awesome we are. We are not "the man" you're trying to overcome. We're simply people, who program, and we are happy that other people are entering the field. And really, we don't want to be crass or offensive. We are actually well known for our extremely awkward social skills. Just pull us aside and ask us kindly not to do that - you'd be surprised how nice we want to be.

But what do I know, I'm no longer an engineer, I'm just a (male) housewife. My (female) partner is the software engineer.

Cards Against Humanity is irrelevant to the issue. Also it's not about being puritanical and easily offended.

Being a male geek/dork/nerd/outcast in school doesn't excuse behavior that causes a hostile, sexualized, or otherwise unwelcoming environment. I, a female geek, was an outcast too and participated in many of the activities you mention, yet I came out mature.

You claim that male engineers (which you referred to as neckbeards) just need to be told that their behavior isn't OK and that everything will work out fine. You know what, I've tried that approach many, many times and it always backfires. The first reaction is quite similar to what you have above. Blame the person for being oversensitive and blowing things out of proportion. Then other defensive reactions ranging from yelling to ostracizing the female from the group follow. Rarely, after lots of back and forth emails and other draining communications (where I have to do tons of research in order to educate them about male privilege and other concepts), the issue is resolved. This successful resolution has happened maybe three times in my career.

Guys, if you are faced with a complaint that something was sexist, not cool, etc., please, don't let your first reaction be the defensive reaction we see all the time. Take time, think it over, ask for more information so that you can understand her position. You might just find an opportunity to grow as a person.

I still don't see how "large dongle" is sexist.

I'm glad you take the time to re-educate those around you. It's probably the hardest thing to do, but ultimately the best way forward for everyone. Maybe I'm overly optimistic on the ability of education though.

What I find really suspect is her feeling like and calling herself a hero. Her reference to herself as "Joan of Arc". Also going public immediately.

I have been, more than once in my previous career, in a situation where a female engineer was actually in a real, abusive situation. I handled these situations "by the book". At one point I was asked by HR if I wanted to know the outcome. Of course I said "NO, but please let me know when she is doing better." I can't imagine feeling like a "hero". These were absolutely terrible experiences for me. I never sought out back slapping. I did seek out re-assurance from my father (also one of these god-awful male engineer chauvinistic pigs), and he was supportive. I can't even imagine going public with something like this. Something just strikes me as completely wrong.

And if you're going to complain about offensive public comments, don't post publicly offensive pictures with racial overtones. Sorry, it is relevant. It demonstrates a double standard.

It creates a sexualized environment, here's a good article:


It's hard to understand the "hero" feeling unless you've been quiet and avoided speaking out on similar (and often bigger) events. It feels good to stand up for your fellow females and community, even if you get negative public attention for it. I think more things big and small should be addressed so that it never leads to a "real" abusive environment again (As an aside, you don't get to decide what is a "real, abusive situation").

Tits in slides make a sexist environments. Blonde jokes make sexist environments. Groping makes sexist environments. Light innuendo does not create sexist environments.

This woman publicly humiliated someone and lost them their job for doing absolutely nothing wrong. That is fucked up.

(nit-pick) There's a difference between sexist and sexualized.

FWIW, I'm not sure where I fall on all of this – but my hunch says there's a bunch to be unhappy about all around. Having said that, I'll throw this out:

In my experience, men (I am one) tend to be more okay with a small amount of sexualization in conversation. Women tend not to be. (extreme generalization, but a real distinction, I believe).

Say what you will about which is right or wrong, but I think that the important point is the general difference between the way men and women see things. That difference is real, regardless what any one of us would want one side or the other to be.

So, the question becomes, how do we deal with it and how do we minimize conflict?

I believe your observation is correct. I'll also throw out a possible reason for women being less okay with sexualisation in conversation: We're the target or object of sexualisation far more often than men are, and sometimes in quite threatening contexts. If you keep getting exposed to something in a negative context, you stop liking even fairly mild occurrences of it. (I'm sure a black person hearing even quite mildly racist jokes will be more annoyed than a white person would, because they are usually the target of these jokes.)

"I'll also throw out a possible reason for women being less okay with sexualisation in conversation: We're the target or object of sexualisation far more often than men are"

Okay, but how does this apply to a "dongle" joke? If the joke referred to female anatomy rather than male, would it have been more offensive or less (to someone in Adria's position)?

I dunno if you're right about the difference between men and women. I do know that there's a difference between a professional and a non-professional environment. If you're talking about sexy stuff in a professional environment where you don't really know all the people within earshot, at the very least you're exhibiting some fairly poor judgment. And, at worst, you might be making some of the strangers around you very uncomfortable.

Nah fuck that I'm going to treat men and women exactly the same.

Hey, sorry. I didn't mean to write "real, abusive situation". I meant "really abusive situation", as in "very abusive situation". It appears I cannot correct it. I was tired.

Having a discussion with folks like you requires tiring surgical precision with rhetoric. It's interesting that given the two possible interpretations, you picked the most offensive. You should be careful with that - not everyone out there is oblivious and unsympathetic to the problems facing women and underlying currents of a male-dominated society.

I'm glad you consider yourself an ally to the cause of women in tech.

However, your claim of my looking for offense is incorrect. My comment was an aside, a point for reflection on the power of naming something as important or not.

Any internet communication requires surgical rhetoric. The English language has a myriad of ways to express things and it's not always clear what is meant when communications lack human interaction (e.g. tone of voice, body language).

It is tiring to translate thoughts, experiences, and feelings into a digestible and understandable format.

> It is tiring to translate thoughts, experiences, and feelings into a digestible and understandable format.

This is a very telling statement-- it's also somewhat ironic, given that one could easily interpret this as a passive aggressive jab at OP's "inability" to communicate. One could ALSO interpret this as a general sentiment about the importance of vocabulary. So either you did not communicate this point precisely enough, or you intentionally left it vague as some intelligent ploy to poke at the flaws in your own argument. I'll go with the latter cause it sounds more meta.

The actual issue is that it isn't about difficulty. It's actually impossible to translate thoughts in a predictable manner across racial, gender, and cultural lines. We are not machines, and so people interpret statements, and, in some cases, jokes, in the way that they are brought up to interpret them. In a victim-culture, jokes are usually interpreted as malicious devices. The problem here is that while some call for equality and understanding of other cultures/genders/races, this usually only applies to the cultures that are victimized. Equality is a two-way street, and understanding semantics is an important step to equality, because in order to respect, you must first understand. Just because culture/gender X makes a dongle joke, does not mean that culture/gender X meant the dongle joke as some insult to culture/gender Y, even though culture/gender Y might interpret it that way. We (all) have to put effort to understand things in the right contexts, so a dick joke between two guys (with no assumption that women are eavesdropping) is just that-- a dick joke between two guys-- it is not an assault on women (especially given the fact that it seems like it wasn't even meant to be heard by anybody else). Some leeway ought to be given to the interpretation of words, just as you should be reading the OP's text as it was intended, not simply as the words aligned on the page.

That said, I actually love how this very statement ties back to the original issue at hand so perfectly, even though it was some tangential argument about semantics, so thank you for pointing this out.

I can sympathize that creating a hostile environment can be damaging and should be addressed. However, she was listening to a private conversation. These weren't the speakers, they weren't addressing large crowds, they weren't even making jokes publicly online. They were two friends talking amongst themselves.

Which still wouldn't be acceptable, except they weren't actually saying anything offensive per se. Your charge is that they're creating an environment where women feel unwelcome, one in which they feel uncomfortable because it is implied that the audience is male (I'm assuming you agree with the article you linked). But the thing is, the entire audience was composed of males because the entire audience was limited to the one person each man was talking to. It's impossible to make the claim that they're alienating people by creating an implied homogeneous culture when they're speaking privately.

Think about a comparable situation. If a man is reading in a break room with two women talking to each other about how periods suck, are they alienating him? Are they creating an environment in which in which one has to be a biologically typical female under the age of 45 to feel accepted? Or are they just talking about issues which affect them and not worrying about who might be eavesdropping? It should be obvious that it is the latter. The case in which Adria is involved is no different. "Addressing" the situation as she did does nothing but create a polarized, vitriolic atmosphere and makes people less likely to get involved when there actually is real sexism present.

Who decides what's the real abusive situation? I suspect the victim. It's not possible for a third person to objectively know, it can only be guessed in which case some kind of "decision" is necessary. Sorry, but what is a bystander to do? You are upset because he decided something was abusive and acted. I guess you would be happier with inaction? I don't understand.

Who says I am upset?

I wasn't making any comment or judgment on his action or inaction in a particular past situation. If he helped someone fight abuse, I'm all for that!

My aside was about the danger and power of bystanders picking and choosing what is real abuse. In this case it was obvious that something needed to be done. Great.

However, if it isn't obvious or seems insignificant to a bystander, that doesn't make it less real for the victim. There was an implied judgment that this situation couldn't constitute "real abuse."

IMHO this is BS. I'm GLBT and I'm 100% cool with nice looking ladies on slides. People don't read me as heterosexual male (not even close), but just because I'm not one, doesn't mean that I can't have the same interests. I feel sort of invisible when people forward these arguments, because it really is actually possible for people other than men to like ladies. (and vice versa, with ladies being not the only persons to like men)

Admittedly, you don't want to actually show porn or something. That'd be unprofessional. But I don't think attraction to ladies (which is probably a majority interest in the predominantly male tech crowd) ought to be some sort of heavily taboo subject just to protect female feelings. Tech people also tend to like things like video games and comics, should we not mention those either? There are plenty of women who like those things, even if they're traditionally a "male" hobby.

This is one of the most misogynistic posts I have seen in a long time. It declares -Woman are delicate, and the mere hint of bawdy humor will cause them to faint dead away. -Woman are weaklings, who need to be supported in their fears. Both of these are BS. These are excuses people used in the 70s to keep women out of the workforce. This whole incident will make life worse for everyone involved.

> I, a female geek, was an outcast too and participated in many of the activities you mention, yet I came out mature.

Perhaps you should try being less insufferable.

The reason why no one should ever give in to this women in tech nonsense is that because the complaints are mostly just a projection of the complainer's own social awkwardness -it is easier to blame other people, and to join causes that attribute your (social) difficulties to things other than yourself. If one complaint is resolved, they will just dream up another -because the content of the complaint is not important to them, it is the act of complaining that sustains them.

Can you please explain why you have declared me insufferable? Surely it couldn't be the simple act of sharing my view and expressing a differing option based on my own experiences with sexism and victim blaming.

This is classic derailing: "You Just Enjoy Being Offended"


P.S. It always warms my heart to hear phrases like "women in tech nonsense."

Awesome site!

Forking and dongle jokes are benign. Unless you are basically a mormon, I'm not sure how being a woman gives you a "right" to be offended by something like this.

Check out this blog, does a great job of explaining the frustrations of subtle sexism.

"You, person who told me to lighten up, saw one little thing. It didn't seem like a big deal, did it? One little line! One joke! One comment! But it's not just one thing to me: it's one of thousands that I've had to endure since I was old enough to be told that 'X is for boys!' It's probably not even the first thing I've had to deal with that day, unless you've gotten to me pretty early.

That's the main problem with subtle discrimination. It leaves those that it affects the most powerless against it, quietly discouraging them. If they speak up, they're treated to eye rolls at the least, and at the worst, are called oppressors themselves. We're accused of not wanting equal rights, but of wanting tyranny."


So someone making a joke about sex is exclusionary to you? Why so sex negative?

And here I thought third wave feminism was sex-positive.

That's postfeminism, I think you mean? And mainly postfeminism isn't "sex-positive" so much as it is a reactionary backlash against 2nd wave feminism's tendency toward slutshaming any woman who didn't fall into line and march alongside her sisters (ALLEGEDLY).

Postfeminism is "sex-positive" in the sense that it's all about how awesome it is to be girly and how gross and narsty those annoying feminists are; girls should go wild! according to this kind of postfeminist attitude. If a woman wants to stay home and raise her kids, well, darn it, postfeminism says there's nothing wrong with that, and it's the dirty stupid "you can have it all" feminists who want to kill the American family! Or who want to shame the women who don't aspire to the things that 2nd wave feminism said women should aspire to. If a man makes a joke that degrades women, the postfeminist says "LAUGH AT IT!!! because it's FUNNY!! why are you so sensitive?!?!" The postfeminist is dtf and she's fun as hell...until you criticize her in some way that she thinks is trying to shame her for just being a woman. And then she's not so much fun.

3rd wave feminism isn't so well defined and I don't think that "wave" has quite crested yet. I see you linked to a wiki page on it, but I'd be surprised to see it offering some kind of cohesive definition. In lots of ways, postfeminism wants to be called 3rd wave feminism...but it lacks credibility since it mostly seems geared towards calling female activists bitches and telling them to stfu about gender-based oppression already.

I'm sorry, but this makes no sense.

Here let me help:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_movement -- "sex-positive" is a term describing a movement meant to embrace rather than repress sexuality. The play on words of "sex-negative" refers to the opposite of sex-positive, ie., sexual repression.

OP is saying that you are sexually repressed because sex jokes make you uncomfortable. This is a good point, because dongle jokes are actually not "sexist", they are simply sexual. Men hold no exclusive territory over dick jokes, or sex jokes in general. Women can tell dick jokes too. They can also joke about vaginas (Sarah Silverman much?) and both genders can appreciate the humour EQUALLY (yay equality!). Those who don't find it funny are NOT victims of sexism-- they are victims of a shitty sense of humour.

Do you make sex jokes at work?

It doesn't surprise me that you can't parse it.

Classy, first you imply that I don't like sex and now that I'm a moron. Boy am I glad that we don't work together.

I like sex, I just happen to prefer my work/professional environments without sexual overtones.

Conferences are generally laid back environments. Of course sexist exclusionary shit that assumes conference goers are male is wrong, but making a totally non-sexist joke to your mate in a talk? Fuck that shit.

Conferences are generally professional environments, which means that some degree of strictures on behaviour is normal. Conferences that are trying to be welcoming to groups that historically have found them unwelcoming try to limit the things that make them unwelcoming. Things like 'Dongle jokes' have been identified as one of those things. The Pythonic way is 'explicit over implicit'. So, Pycon's code of conduct. Can you understand this?

Yes but dongle jokes and forking jokes aren't sexist in any way.

Can you even read?

I'm a Mormon and I definitely wasn't offended. I may have even chuckled.

If we want to be understood we had better start communicating more effectively. The onus isn't on others to understand us, it's on us to make ourselves understood.

That absolutely cuts both ways.

"This isn't activism, this is emotional terrorism."

That's a great quote.

People like this woman make it harder for women to integrate with tech guys. :/

As a female attendee of Pycon this year I was overwhelmed by all the friendly people I met. Now maybe my sense of humor is juvenile or coarse but what was overheard is a joke I'd probably make myself.

Keep in mind Pycon was attended by plenty of minors so making adult themed jokes in a crowded room was really not the smartest move. Regardless it clearly states in the Code of Conduct (https://us.pycon.org/2012/codeofconduct/) that the correct action is to find a staff member and report it and NOT post someones picture on twitter attached to hearsay.

If the comments were directed at OP that's a different story but that doesn't seem to be the case. When I go back to Pycon next year I don't want to be treated differently and as a sound minded adult I certainly don't need people to censor themselves around me.

Thank you. I agree with you 75%.

Just because you would make this joke does not mean that someone cannot find it offensive. Adria was offended, and good for her for speaking up.

Yet later she posts about playing cards against humanity. So Hitler, dead babies, and afterbirth are hilarious but a sexual innuendo is not. Got it.

The card game didn't have the same audience as the comments made. Also you are making assumptions about how she plays the game and what she would find funny.

I do believe the person intended the joke to be private. It wasn't smartest or most mature thing to do, but I don't think it's much different from a couple guys texting each other jokes and Adria just happened to caught a glance of their cellphone screen.

agreed card game is completely irrelevant in completely different setting. very funny game btw.

Do you think she would have been offended if she overheard the same joke coming out of my mouth?

If I may be so bold as to ask, in your opinion, are there any minimum requirements for being offended? That is to say, if apples offend me, and you're eating an apple, is it noble of me to speak up?

Honestly, as a male developer, it's incidents like this that fully and completely turn me away from taking any form of misanthropic misogyny seriously (aside from the obvious). You're attending a public function with hundreds, if not thousands of people and you truthfully believe someone, somewhere, is not going to say something to upset you or to say something you disagree with?

No, stop it. Just grow up or get out; you're actions are not akin to that of Joan of Arc as you so blasphemously decided that they were (who by the way changed the course of history as we know it, you arrogant git), instead they are more akin to that of a bickering child who wishes to see their sibling 'get into trouble' because something they said didn't sit well in your own opinion.

The skinny of it is he said something you didn't like, you blew it out of proportion (remember, you're supposed to be an adult and have the ability to process things accordingly) and this man lost his job; yet you're trying to convince me that you're the victim here?

Just leave.

It defiantly makes me want to avoid PyCon with a 10 foot pole from now on, lest I get fired for joking around near a women.

As a non-American who occasionally attends conferences in the States, this entire incident is rather frightening. I really could not imagine a similar reaction in Europe. It reminds me of the situation last year where a British ruby conference had to be abandoned after negative publicity resulting from tweets, made by non-attending Americans about the entirely white male lineup of speakers.

I don't think this cultural difference is because women and minorities are more oppressed here. I think it's more a result of the simplistic view some Americans take on issues of discrimination.

Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe people do feel oppressed here and there's just less of a culture of complaining. I'm not convinced though.

Actually, brit ruby was initially called out for calling themselves a "diverse conference", which was a very valid point: they had nothing to back that up. The resulting shitstorm was inappropriate, though, and I am very sad that it got cancelled.

Ok, that's possibly unfortunate wording but it could have referred to the attendees rather than the presenters.

At the time the complaint was that they hadn't applied quotas to the presenters which is not the same thing as discrimination.

Not wanting to discuss that in detail (again), but the initial complaint about brit ruby was okay and also accepted by the conference. The whole thing afterward was sadly very messy. This blog post sums it up quite good:


In my opinion, its not a good example, as it is a relatively civil discussion about an important topic gone horribly wrong.

"they had nothing to back that up."

You mean that they received an insufficiently broad (or overlapping) range of presentation submissions?

They didn't have a CFP when that happened. All invited speakers.

You're not too far from right, but you're not fully right either. America is very much a spot where anyone can sue or whine and get people fired.

>I really could not imagine a similar reaction in Europe

As far as I know, nobody was fired, but at last year's EuroPython a male participant was publicly shamed for twitting an "inappropriate" joke while eating at a restaurant[1].

[1] http://www.roguelynn.com/words/really/

Wait wait, so this chick finds something that she thinks is inappropriate, takes a picture of the "offenders," and puts it on Twitter? Even if the comment in question was derogatory towards women in the first place (it wasn't, unless sex and big dicks are automagically offensive to women), how are people OK with that?

BTW, this quote is gold:

> As an advocate for digital equality, my actions today at #pycon made me feel like Joan of Arc, minus the visions

private conversations are private.

If she was feeling that they were being inappropriate, there are other ways to handle it. I'm not a fan of naming and shaming without trying to handle it privately first.

Such as me saying I find the use of "chick" in that way to be unnecessarily derogative, but she really was out of line in my opinion.

"Private" conversations held with people in close quarters (e.g. conference keynote-esqe seating) is not a private conversation. Sexual jokes create an unnecessarily hostile and unwelcoming environment, especially when women are so drastically underrepresented.

I fully support her in calling them out publicly. Quietly informing the authorities does little.

I'm sorry, we just disagree. I'm the type of woman who will speak to people if I find their speech to be that distracting if I'm unable to move. These guys? If I was that upset? I would turned and said "eyup mates, can you keep it down? I'm having a hard time hearing the speaker"

I don't police their conversation, any more than I would like them to police mine.

I don't like passive-aggressiveness. I spent a lot of my life being passive-aggressive and always wondering why nothing ever changed.

> Quietly informing the authorities does little.

As an aside, every PyCon attendee agreed to a code of conduct during registration, and the conference staff are available to address and remedy violations of that code.

I appreciate that PyCon has a good policy and applaud all conferences that make an effort to make their conference a safe place. Through a mix of official (staff) and community enforcement (tweets/public outcry), one day it will be truly welcoming and all members will live up to the code of conduct.

'Be careful about what you say when at PyCon. Otherwise someone might hear you, report you to the authorities and post your photo on the internet resulting in you losing your job'.

You have a truly strange concept of welcoming.

official good. Community enforcement can easily become lynchmob.

And she broke the CoC by posting a picture of the people in question with a derogatory statement on twitter. Thats far worse than the joke they said to themselves.

Don't you think the guys would have been removed from the talk, even if Adria didn't post the picture to twitter?

absolutely!!! but one of them would still have a job

I think this is becoming a much harder area for guys to navigate, in the sense that, are all sexual jokes off the table if females are present? I don't know the answer, hopefully there will be more dialogue around this so that everyone can understand general etiquette rules when in such an environment. I believe that some guys can just be dicks but some might just not be aware that they are being offensive.

> are all sexual jokes off the table if females are present?

Honestly, I wish they were off the table regardless of who is in attendance. They're rarely funny, and they add nothing to the conversation.

Full ACK.

Sexual jokes can be very funny if told correctly, in a non-discriminating fashion, in the right context to the right people. That also means that they can backfire horribly, especially if random people around. To me, thats not even a question of sexism, many feel uncomfortable if that happens, regardless of gender.

An open space conference certainly never is the right place. Also, cheap jokes about "dongles" are never worth it... please, keep it classy...

I don’t find your jokes funny either. Furthermore, they usually add nothing new to the conversation, so please just stop joking altogether.

Oh wait, that goes for everything you say, so just stop talking.

> I wish

There it is. Certainly doesn't warrant people having their privacy violated.

> are all sexual jokes off the table if females are present?

I'd say so - but that doesn't answer the harder question: What is a sexual joke? That matter is open to interpretation and that's where public shaming becomes a problem: The individual that's the most easily offended gets to lay the blame.

Sexual jokes during presentations are tacky no matter who is in attendance.

But does your thinking the jokes between two friends are tacky warrant their private info (photos) being posted online?

i didn't even imply that.

funny story, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. They wanted to get rid of her for sometime but the actual crime she was convicted of was literally "wearing male clothes"

Two men were victimized. Full stop. This doesn't help end victimization of women. This is insane because it's so self defeating. All this does is give ammo to the people who were against the changes being made this year.

Time for the bigotry test:

Lets reverse the genders. It's a woman making the sexualized comments to a friend, and a male attendee eavesdrops. Then he takes a picture her without her consent. Immediately posts said picture online. She loses her job.

What would the response be?

You would be kicked from any sane conference for the picture taking alone. Thats a big no-no without explicit permission.

I would be surprised if she lost her job over an incident in that hypothetical.

I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that the man would be in trouble for harassment or taking her picture.

Reversing the genders doesn't really work because they come from an unequal footing in the first place. Of course, if you reversed all of history and they were female dominated events with a long history of intimidating an harassing males, perhaps the test would stand up.

That said, this woman's behaviour is a massive overreaction and exceptionally irresponsible, and has led to something horrible happening. If I were here I'd be doing everything I can to make it right.

Not allowing to reverse the genders implies treating them differently. That’s sexist.

What other kind of behaviors would you find unacceptable for a man but not a woman? Do you consider yourself a sexist?

My guess is this:

Male picture taker is excoriated for invading her privacy, and the posting the picture was 'intimidation'. She would have lost her job due to his 'abuse'.

I made the same point last night... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398602

I doubt there would have been a response.

My question was posed more to highlight that we only see men as aggressors and women only as victims. If the situation was reversed there would be outrage at the man.

It's frustrating to see people justify that context though. I.E.'of course it's different coming from a man' Why? Do we really expect the most equal minded generation of men in history to take the blame for every other generation who wasn't?

Do we really expect the most equal minded generation of men in history to take the blame for every other generation who wasn't?

What blame is there on a whole generation? These people attended PyCon, they broke the PyCon code of conduct which exists to make the conference a pleasant place for everyone, in doing so they made someone uncomfortable, they were called out on it, and the PyCon organizers asked them to leave.

Which bit of this is blaming every man for the actions of previous men? Which bit of this is unfair against men as a group? Which bit of this changes because other nonpresent men are more 'equal minded' than their parents?

No, you need to go back a bit.

First set up a society that massively favours women for a few millennia, seeing men primarily in terms of sex and procreation, THEN do your experiment, ensuring that there are still a good few people around who still see the world in that way and are happy to both express that view and use it to guide their actions.

Otherwise you're only doing the very, very end bit.

Seriously, you can't just flip the genders, there's a mass of context that ignores. The point is not that everyone is malicious and see the world this way, just that there are many people who do. That means that, while it's often not how the comments are intended by the person saying them, it's an entirely reasonable way to believe that they're intended.

Such a bullshit argument. "no you see, it's ok to be a bigot because of the context!" Such crap - it really sickens me to see people arguing in favor of bigotry and hate because they feel they can get away with it.

Welcome to feminism. Unfortunately, the only group which is actually trying to solve sexism through ending gender-based treatment and stereotypes is (a faction of) the Men's Rights movement, and they're a cesspit. We're all fucked :-(

Does history allow women to be given 20% more latitude than a man? 50%? Is there any harassing behavior that would be unacceptable coming from a woman? How much worse would it have to be?


I guess it's only not okay when men do it, huh? Adria, you are a bigot and a hypocrite. A generally vindictive, petty, spiteful child.

Seriously, Adria (and all of you who are defending her actions)--you got this one wrong; it was a false positive on your sexism scale.

As a philosophical Marxist, I count myself among those who not only inherently support gender equality, but are from the thought tradition that started the damn movement. In graduate school, my thesis focused on the Southeast US from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, investigating the role religion played in the development, acceptance, and perpetuation of the South’s attitudes and behaviors toward race, class, and gender. I get on guys' cases all the time when they're being obliquely and overtly sexist, especially in mixed company. I also point out to women when they're putting up with sexist behavior, because it's so ingrained in our culture that too few even recognize it properly. To say I'm pretty well steeped in both the academic and practical sides of gender politics, identity, and sexism would put it rather mildly.

However, I don't go ape-shit and publicly humiliate someone for making a potentially sexist joke among friends, because I have spent years rationally and academically evaluating whether or not someone is actually attempting to propagate bigotry and discriminatory behaviors--and this is the baseline for sexism, not whether or not a person approves of a statement that includes anatomical or sexual content. To reiterate, years of studying gender issues from a historical and philosophical perspective have shown rather conclusively that not everything sex-related is sexist.

The "big dongle" statement was not in any way a 'sexist joke'. It was an anatomical joke, albeit a childish one on the level of potty humor. Anatomy != sexism.

The forking comment, as explained by mr-hank, was not in the slightest bit sexist. Forking is the sincerest form of flattery (short of implementation, that is). People talk about forking repos all the time. I ask people if they've "forked [person's] repo" on the regular. I honestly don't even care if the guy said, "I'd fork his repo" in that typical, suggestive tone-of-voice. Why? Because for all I know as an outsider, the guys having the conversation could be homosexual, and not to put too fine a point on it, but homosexual men have been the victims of some absolutely disgusting and horrific sexism and discrimination (and much worse). Also, homosexual men don't heavily trend toward making lewd comments that are directed at women, especially where dick comments are concerned.

But even beyond trying to keep that consideration in mind, dick jokes or comments that are made between men without any obvious sign that the potentially offending comment is intended to be overheard ought to give everyone pause before sounding the Sexism Alert. Yes, guys talk about dicks at times and in places that are probably not appropriate. Kind of the way children talk about poop and farts and pee at times and in places that are probably not appropriate.

You know what else I hear a fuckton of at times and in places that are not appropriate? Breasts. Penises. Sluts. Periods. Boyfriend issues. Husband problems. Boob jobs. Male celebrity fantasies. 50 Fucking Shades of Grey. All of these from women. All the time--in offices, conferences, churches, cafes, restaurants, bars ... you name it. You wanna know how frequently I hear women talk about breasts (theirs or someone else's), or periods (theirs or someone else's), or the ways in which [insert body part] is changing during pregnancy, or how hot [insert attractive male celebrity] is, or how juicy 50 Shades is? It's everywhere.

Moreover, I can't even count the number of times I am in professional meetings with clients and notice [mostly younger] women adjusting their bras right in the middle of the meeting. Hey, I know those things get damn uncomfortable, ladies, but it also gets uncomfortable sitting through a meeting for two hours, crossing and uncrossing my legs to give my dick some space to not be a total pain just for existing between my legs. And guess what I never do? Adjust in the presence of women. Ever.

And to be perfectly transparent, I usually ignore it all. I'm one who pretty much defaults to giving women a pass because of all the stupid shit they've dealt with over a long history of men being complete assholes. I mean, really. A woman could make the most sexist comment I've ever heard and I'd just give it a shrug; but I'd say shit to a man if he was even obliquely offensive.

And yet, on this one, sounding the alarm was wrong. This wasn't sexism. Inappropriate? Sure, I'll grant Adria that. There were way too many people surrounding the exchange that it would have been better to not make the dongle comment--especially given that there was a woman in close proximity (and that's not a sly way of suggesting they should have made the comment if a woman was not in close proximity). It was an improper forum for such a comment. But to turn around and smile and take a picture, post it to Twitter, and then continue on calling oneself Joan of Arc? Christ, that is beyond the pale.

Just as the men who made the childish dongle comment agreed to a Code of Conduct, so did Adria. And just as she wanted them to abide by the Code, so should she have. I don't recall there being anything in the Code of Conduct that said one had the option to A) inform conference staff, or B) post a person's picture to Twitter if they say something you don't want to hear.

[edit: spelling errors & wording]

While I am only a visitor from Reddit on this website and I will likely not post on here again, I felt compelled to make an account and reply to your post. You sir, win the internet award for 3-20-13 for your outstanding writing, cogent points, and social awareness. One does not often see this quality of writing and thoughts combined into a singular document on internet sites, and for making me think at the end "oh man, I really enjoyed reading this", I thank you.

As an aside, you were dead-on with your points. Women frequently engage in behavior that, when mirrored in men, would be called out for sexist. One point I was discussing with the girl I currently am dating is that there needs to now be a "mens' rights movement" similar to what women have accomplished for their gender. We are all equals, but men seem to be content to sit back and let the outside world badger us into a box of "manliness" and double standards that negatively affect us based solely on our gender. That is not to say the reasons we were put here in the first place are not completely valid, but that does not mean we should stay there now that we have multiple generations that get it.

I think if want to push true equality, it must acknowledge that both sexes have unique hardships, it must encourage equality for both sexes, and it must be supported by both sexes.

I could go on for hours about the double-standards both men and women place on each other, but I'll stop here and just reiterate my thanks to you for giving me something enjoyable to read on the internet today.

I say that rather than focusing on women's rights or men's rights, we as a society need to put more of an emphasis on equality overall, and making a concerted effort to eliminate sexism from both directions at the same time. In doing so it would help with the issue of the historically oppressed group B from rising to a point in which group A is now oppressed, as either a byproduct of the increase in rights or as revenge for their oppression. While men are oppressed in ways that many people fail to notice, and are expected to act in certain ways and exhibit "manliness", a men's rights movement is not the answer. What is needed is an individual rights movement, to allow everyone equal opportunity to do what they want and be who they are, so long as it does not infringe on anyone else's rights. When the focus is on gaining rights for a single group then typically that group will end up either above the other group(s) or it will remain lower, resulting in continued discontentment. If men fight for equal rights, while not equal they may still receive additional rights, but these may come at the cost of women not having these rights, and so the cycle repeats.

The problem is that people have difficulty in recognizing sexism when it isn't pointed at them.

> One does not often see this quality of writing and thoughts combined into a singular document on internet sites

Maybe because you're a visitor from reddit.

It appears that you do not detect the irony in your own comment.

It appears that your attempt to be clever failed. I never said that all comments on hacker news were high quality. I only implied that most comments on reddit are not high quality.

Please learn to think.

You are in no position to imply anything. Please refrain from posting your uneducated opinion regarding websites you don't frequent.

Redditors got mad lol

What part of my "opinion" was "uneducated"?

The part where you assign a value of quality to "reddit". Would you had visited the website, you'd known that due to its number of users and (this is important) many subreddits, assigning a value to "reddit" instead of a specific subreddit is akin to assign a value to "the internet" when in reality you meant to degrade a specific forum/website.

I've been reading reddit for approximately 7 years, and I have multiple accounts on reddit that are in the 6 year club. I don't understand why you would assume that I don't read reddit based on the comment.

My assumption was that the original person I was replying to came to ycombinator from /r/programming. That is a good example of a subreddit where a vast majority of comments, even generally upvoted ones, are low quality. For a tech related subreddit that has higher quality comments, /r/netsec is maybe the best reddit has to offer.

While I generally abhor the talk about "privileged" groups, there doesn't need to be a "mens rights" movement. We dont need it. What we do need is to get on the bandwagon and propagate the "3rd wave feminism." The sub groups that are repressed/oppressed need the special exemptions, leniency, and attention. If you're worried about mens rights, get on board with 3rd wave feminism. It leaves the focus where it needs to be but also includes that ANYONE should be allowed to be whoever they want to be. Mens rights should be an after thought, tagged at the bottom in small print.

I'm glad to hear that your experience of 3rd wave feminism has been one that includes discussions of men's rights. Mine has been one which identifies any discussion of men's rights as "derailing" and "reactionary." So long as feminists (3rd wave or other wise) exclude discussions of men's rights from their group then there will always be a need for the MRM.

As another visitor from Reddit, I apologize for this comment.

While I agree with the original commenter that this case is overblown and shouldn't be called out as sexism, it flows from error and a reaction to a real problem. To suggest that we need a "men's rights movement" to counter this sort of error seems absurd. If this is the level of "hardship" that men are facing, they have little to complain about. Men should be more concerned about helping women, who continue to face significant sexism (and harassment) in the workplace at levels far in excess of what is faced by men.

Right. So statements like this are the crux of the whole issue, and shows the lack of insight into the matter that makes this so frustrating.

The idea that men do not have unique hardships in this new world culture and specifically American culture is wrong. It's just a short sighted and ignorant view. It's sexism, by the very definition of the word to lump entire genders as being homogeneous. The feminist movement fought against this exact kind of rhetoric you're espousing.

The entire idea that men are derided for even suggesting that men do have their own unique set of unfair social pressures and prejudices is the proof of that bias existing.

Some even acknowledge the bias and in a very sexist way state men should just get over their issues, and we should instead devote all our efforts to empowering women. Oh.

Comments like yours only show the truth of the idea that people think men can't be victims because they're men.

If there were not hard set cultural biases against men stating a rather simple idea that half the population might have unique adversities then this whole debate wouldn't exist. The backlash wouldn't happen, the blind opposition to a problem people seem to not even want to know about wouldn't happen.

For some reason people seem to think that the idea that men might be cultural victims as well implies that women now aren't; as if there is a pedestal for the persecuted that only has room for one.

Now, I expect full well to be attacked for saying something so innocuousness and easily apparent as this point.

I'm not being sexist because I've made zero claims about women, or compared women to anything, or even insinuated that in any way women are the root of this issue or even related. I've only talked about men, and how like all people have their own injustices levied against them.

But sexist is still the label that would be used for some reason because I dare to say that men are actually as susceptible to pain, and attack, and abuse from the culture that harbors them as women are. I dare to compare us, to them.

But no, stay silent, stick to your role. Be a man, you can't possibly be a victim.

I find false accusations, which in this case even lead to the accused loosing their jobs a serious hardship. Consider our societies view of men that are nice to children, most immediately think "pedophile", instead of nice guy. Just because we have to fight for true freedom of women, doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for the same when it comes to men. We need more men in social jobs, and we need a mens right movement to foster this, just as we need more women in IT. The real thing we need though is a unified movement that fights against discrimination of any kind without a label of a particular gender, race, religion or ideology.

How were the accusations false? It seems they were making jokes that made another human being uncomfortable and they took action. One of the two men involved even posted in this thread and admitted that they were making the jokes.

Mmm. Nothing gets the Men's Rights fanatics frothing like the suggestion that they aren't the most oppressed people of all time (OF. ALL. TIME.). So it might help ease their minds to acknowledge that there are a few significant scenarios in which there is actually gender bias that favors women. The worst one is probably child custody. Who says moms are automatically better single parents? I'd say the other bad one is the draft...we don't have one right now, and maybe now that women are allowed in combat, if we do have a draft again it won't only be men who are conscripted.

But yeah, aside from a few outlying examples, for the most part gender bias favors males, so the excessive whining of the Men's Rights movement is just a big steaming pile of Yeah...No.

While I completely agree with you that it is nonsense in suggesting that men are the most oppressed people of all time. Anyone who supports this is a moron. However, there is some truth in the arguments that people are suggest, if you will please hear me out:

Recently near me, there was a crime committed by a teacher. This teacher had been having an explicit relationship with pupils, namely in sending digital photos of themselves to students. When this teacher was caught, they were obviously stripped of their teaching and arrested (My country, like many others, has a system where personal relationships between students and teachers must be consensual and the student must be over 18, it is also frowned upon if they are in school together). When tried and convicted, this teacher got only a few years in prison. This teacher, as I'm sure you've guessed is a female. Now, what do you think the conviction would have been if that was a male teacher? Much higher than a few years I'm sure, additionally there would've been outrage, yet I only heard about it months after the conviction. Don't you see that there are inequalities in life, positive discrimination? I mean, there are laws that there must be X% of women in the boardroom, but I ask you- what if all male the applicants to the job are better than the female ones? Should then the business lose out on a great candidate because the laws force them to choose the worse one?

Look, I am not a Men's rights activist, I am not completely anti-feminism, I agree that 'the oppression' that many men see themselves under is merely a fallacy. However, it isn't as clear cut as you seem to think. Now, I hope I have suggested some things that would cause you to think, it is highly doubtful that I shall come to this site again, so If I cannot answer your reply then I am sorry, but hopefully my comment will start a discussion that will come to a valid and nonbiased conclusion. Thank you for reading this,


I acknowledged that some gender bias does seem to swing in women's favor in my own comment. I acknowledged, as two examples, the way the family courts favor mothers in custody battles (not something I have evidence on--just an impression I have somehow acquired) and the fact that the US military, when it last had a draft (involuntary conscription) only took males and didn't ask females to sacrifice similarly for their country.

The legal system's tendency to give women lighter sentences for crimes may also be a good example of one of these rare issues. But you're acting like I said that there's no such thing as gender bias that favors women. And in fact I did not say that at all.

I also don't believe that there's such a thing as a hierarchy of struggle. Just because women haven't achieved the goal of being treated fairly and equally doesn't mean we have to set aside efforts to redress injustices directed at men. It's all important; it all affects people's lives; no injustice or bias should go unaddressed just because the person impacted sits at the apex of the current power pyramid, or just because there are others who are suffering more.

There ARE some activists who believe that you need to tease out the "relationality" of oppression and then pick which oppressor you have to fight first. A great example of this would be some of the Civil Rights debates that took place... did black women have to "sit down and shut up" about their situation and just support black men in the fight against race-based oppression? The Black Power movement was awfully dismissive of women's issues at times. Black women activists were told, "You have to be a revolutionary first, Sister second."

For me, I can see why some people think you have to pick and choose what to fight and when, but I personally couldn't look at someone who was suffering and just be like, "Yeah, fuck you, you're not suffering enough yet... we'll get to you."

"But yeah, aside from a few outlying examples,"

It's nost just a few outlying examples.


>Mmm. Nothing gets the Men's Rights fanatics frothing like the suggestion that they aren't the most oppressed people of all time (OF. ALL. TIME.).

Speaking as a "Men's Right Fanatic" I don't give a hoot about the oppression olympics. I rarely ever see MRAs make this claim. On the other hand I see feminists making it all the time. Not all feminists, just the ones who thing that fighting sexism is about scoring points for their gender.

Hey, thanks for the compliment and kind words. I appreciate that.

However, I must emphatically and proudly express that I do not support the negation and devaluing of women's (as well as ethnic, [other] cultural, LGBT, etc.) rights by way of reactionary countering with a "men's rights" movement.

One of the most pressing reasons is that such a movement would likely result in a majority of white, heterosexual male adherents (at least here in the US). From a historical perspective alone, males of nearly all notable ethnicity have dominated the world stage in terms of rights, privileges, and power--and white, heterosexual males in particular. This undeniably central component of human history (especially as it leads to Western modernity) is a primary motivator on my part to refrain from supporting an ideological, social, or economic (read: material) crusade that would pose a serious threat to the hard-won and valiantly fought-for progress that has been made in the human condition over the past century+. It could be possible that a notable minority male demographic would join such a movement, but at least in the US, such calls for "men's rights" are typically laden with reactionary white men who feel somewhat despondent at figuring out how to navigate in a world that, at least in words, tries very hard to no longer privilege that genetic inheritance.

More abstractly, a "men's rights" movement would, I think, offer very little gain to humanity as a whole, and would threaten to destabilize and retard the advancement of human rights and greater gender and sexual equality in social relations. This would be a terrible regression to allow to happen. Even when people like Adria raise the red flag in a moment of haste that, I think, will later be reflected on as regrettable, it is still done (I hope) from a position of sincere concern for protecting those who are actual victims of bigoted, discriminatory behaviors.

On this particular issue, I am disheartened to see the fallout from her overreaction, especially as her actions have affected three children, their father, and (assuming she is present) their mother. One woman's dislike of a comment that she mistook for sexist antagonism (or some emotional reaction in the same vein (also: I'm not using 'emotional' in a pejorative sense here)) has now affected five lives. Moreover, in reading her blog post on the subject, it threads through a story of a person who has been hyper-traveling from conference to conference, is exhausted, has already dealt with a person on the same day making a completely inappropriate and objectifying joke/comment that is absolutely inexcusable, and then she basically takes it out on a couple of guys who said something which, given their own statements and the available evidence, bears every indication that she basically went in, guns blazing, to the wrong fight. What is most important is this: the guy who made a comment directly to her about looking under a [table] skirt and finding it "bare, just the way [he] liked it" DID NOT have a picture posted to Twitter and a massive call-to-the-carpet moment. She talked to him. She even told him the comment could be funny in a different venue (her own admission).

The evidence available leaves the distinctly bad taste that the punishment did not fit this crime, while a much more serious issue in which she actually spoke to the offender directly was apparently cause for discussing the comedic appropriateness of a shaved vulva at a tech conference.

Moreover, to go back toward the philosophical end of things, this brief quote from Wikipedia provides a decent enough look at exactly what is meant by the Marxist understanding of gendered disparities in social equality:

>Marxist feminism's foundation is laid by Friedrich Engels in his analysis of gender oppression ... a woman's subordination is not a result of her biological disposition but of social relations, and that men's efforts to achieve their demands for control of women's labor and sexual faculties have gradually solidified and become institutionalized in the nuclear family. Through a Marxist historical perspective, Engels analyzes the widespread social phenomena associated with female sexual morality, such as fixation on virginity and sexual purity, incrimination and violent punishment of women who commit adultery, and demands that women be submissive to their husbands. Ultimately, Engels traces these phenomena to the recent development of exclusive male control of private property and the attendant desire to ensure that their inheritance is passed only to their own offspring: chastity and fidelity are rewarded, says Engels, because they guarantee exclusive access to the sexual and reproductive faculty of women possessed by men from the property-owning class.[1]

We are, on even our worst days as a society, nowhere near a state of affairs in which that synopsis can swap the gendered pronouns and hold true.

I hope that provides a bit more context, as well as a decent enough grappling with why, given how much social inequality actually still exists to be eradicated, a "men's rights" movement is nothing that needs to be on the table.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist_feminism

"However, I must emphatically and proudly express that I do not support the negation and devaluing of women's (as well as ethnic, [other] cultural, LGBT, etc.) rights by way of reactionary countering with a "men's rights" movement."

Then you don't support equality. Men have the same amount of gender equality issues (maybe even more) than women in Western countries.

"From a historical perspective alone"

History has no relevance to the fact tha men today have about the same mount of gender equality issues. In addition, just because the majority of rulers and people in power were men, that doesn't mean the majority of men were in power. In fact, rulers, politicians and CEOs constitute less than 0.1% of the population. You cannot prove anything about the average man by talking about an extremely tiny minority. Meanwhile in history men have been forced to fight bloody wars, work to death in horrible conditions etc.

"More abstractly, a "men's rights" movement would, I think, offer very little gain to humanity as a whole"

It would gain a huge amount of well-being. Such a movement is required so politicians will also try to fix gender equality issues that men face.

List here: http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/uwekw/facts_and_...

> Men have the same amount of gender equality issues (maybe even more) than women in Western countries.

FYI, when you stay stuff like that, you seem totally unhinged to people who have actual contact with the real world. That may sound harsh, but I ain't in this internet arguin' business to baby folks.

The "facts" you link to are pretty laughable. You seriously found a reputable source that says men are more likely to be raped than women? Amazing.

> Meanwhile in history men have been forced to fight bloody wars, work to death in horrible conditions etc.

I hate how women are always forcing men to go fight wars. Also, ugh, hard work sucks! The United Nations Development Programme tells us that

"Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn only 10 percent of the income and own only one percent of the property." (http://tinyurl.com/cy2dtzs)

You can argue with these facts and figures, question them--how they were compiled, what they really mean, etc.--but the vast preponderance of evidence, gathered by scholars and researchers (male and female) from many fields over many years, is going to contest your assertions.

And the worst part is...you probably have a handful of really good points buried in amongst all the nonsense. Like about how courts automatically seem to favor mothers in custody cases, like about the draft exempting women, etc. But how seriously is anyone going to take those genuine concerns when they can't be seen through the morass of much sillier claims?

"FYI, when you stay stuff like that, you seem totally unhinged to people who have actual contact with the real world. That may sound harsh, but I ain't in this internet arguin' business to baby folks."

Irrational argument.

"The "facts" you link to are pretty laughable. You seriously found a reputable source that says men are more likely to be raped than women? Amazing."

Irrational argument.

"I hate how women are always forcing men to go fight wars."

Gender equality problem exists regardless of the causes. Even if men forced other men to fight wars, that doesn't mean men were not forced to fight wars. The problem still exists.

Currently in my country only men have to take part in forced labor. I know, I did my share. Women do not have to do any forced labor. 60% of the voters in recent elections have been women, and they indirectly decide the laws.

"Also, ugh, hard work sucks! The United Nations Development Programme tells us that"

Actually, that claim is unfounded. If you try to follow the trail of sources, you cannot find the original calculation. In addition, your argument has no revelance, because I talked about the past, not the present in the sentence.

"But how seriously is anyone going to take those genuine concerns when they can't be seen through the morass of much sillier claims?"

I'm not a politician, so I try to argue on the basis of what I believe to be true.

I do, in fact, support equality for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. However, you are very selectively choosing facts to draw a picture in which men "have the same amount of gender equality issues (maybe even more) than women".

Sorry, but you are severely mistaken regarding the relevance of history. It is of primary relevance, because without properly understanding how we arrived at this point in history, you couldn't possibly evaluate the actual scale of gender disparities in social relations.

The percentage of male rulers as a total percentage of the human population is not a valid metric. When you study history, and the impact of rulers, you evaluate their impact on the subject population, the society and culture, as well as the world around them. History, because it is ever so relevant, shows a rather stable trend in which one can chart the increases in social inequalities in favor of one gender at the expense of another, or of one (or more) ethnicities at the expense of others, etc. So far, we are looking at about a century of social justice being established to improve the standing of women in relation to their historical subjection by men.

Once you have an adequate grounding in history, you can then start thinking philosophically through how best to proceed without retarding equality. While there are, of course, contemporary social imbalances and inequalities where men are concerned, what we do not need is more gendered lines being drawn in the sand. Moreover, we do not have a social structure in which men's labor and sexual faculties are institutionalized in a form that is under female control, which would be a huge red flag that the pendulum has swung too far.

One can advance equality and be vigilant against sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry and discriminatory behaviors without resorting to more of this us vs. them bullshit that "men's rights" evokes. But understanding the root causes of inequalities--as opposed to merely pointing out instances of what appears to be inequality--is where the real work lies. Not a masculinism cult that establishes its identity as the negation of feminism.

In sum, a "men's rights" movement is not going to increase equality, because it is only going to codify more gendered division in the social fabric. If you're really interested in enhancing equality as a social good, you would do better to champion the cause of equality that is blind to biological and socioeconomic factors, and works instead to specifically eschew attempting to define equality as inversion of a movement whose existence required the specificity of gender because history had only ever concerned itself with the rights of man.

>But understanding the root causes of inequalities--as opposed to merely pointing out instances of what appears to be inequality--is where the real work lies.

No, the real work is in removing inequalities. Talking about "root causes" of inequalities is only a method by which one denigrates the actual fight against inequality itself. There are countless deep and abiding inequalities which one can argue back and forth indefinitely about their origins, and this is especially true in questions of gendered inequality. Is this, that, or the other thing responsible? Here's an idea: who gives a shit? I no longer do.

For example, take the issue which finally broke my ability to take feminism: male rape victimization. Where does the purposeful ignoring of male rape victims come from? Feminists (when they admit that male rape victims exist in substantial quantities and deserve to be mentioned) would argue that the gender system produced by the Patriarchy refuses to recognize men as potential victims because that would feminize them and weaken their social position. Men's Rights Activists would argue that it is because our society systematically refuses to recognize male victimhood, period. I think the latter is a better position to take. The simplest explanation is best, and the solution is far clearer: stop that.

>If you're really interested in enhancing equality as a social good, you would do better to champion the cause of equality that is blind to biological and socioeconomic factors

There are issues that require a specificity of gender because they affect a specific gender. Discussing the development of a growth mindset in mathematics does require some discussion of gender because women and girls are much less likely to be encouraged to develop a growth mindset. Discussing rape certainly requires discussion of gender, since rape is considered as a gendered crime and the sex of the perpetrator and victim hugely affect how it is perceived. Discussion of virtually every single issue that the MRM touches upon requires a discussion of gender since they are about gender. When cops choose to apply different standards to men and women, you have to look at gender. Paternity fraud requires that one look at sex in order to be discussed because it only directly affects one. There are times and places where pretending that everything is solved is the optimal solution to a given problem; there are also times and places where it is not.

The idea that one should ignore socioeconomic and biological factors in championing the cause of equality is systematically wrong. Sometimes people suffer specifically because they are men. Sometimes they suffer specifically because they are women. You have to discuss this or you might as well not discuss anything at all.

"However, you are very selectively choosing facts to draw a picture in which men "have the same amount of gender equality issues (maybe even more) than women"."

I'm not, really. Feminist discourse is based on the claim that women have more gender issues. They never really argue for that position. I've linked a list of gender equality issues (though my primary source is unfortunately not in English).

Here's a book on the subject if you're interested: http://granum.uta.fi/granum/kirjanTiedot.php?tuote_id=18450

"It is of primary relevance, because without properly understanding how we arrived at this point in history, you couldn't possibly evaluate the actual scale of gender disparities in social relations."

Yes you can. We can look at metrics for gender issues: e.g. do women get paid less or more (they get paid the same per hour), do women get raped more than men (not in USA), is the majority of violence made against women (it's about 50:50). It doesn't matter if women were discriminated against more in the past, if empirical evidence shows that they're not.

"what we do not need is more gendered lines being drawn in the sand."

Agree. Many men's rights activists agree on that point, and are against gender roles that hurt both men and women.

"Moreover, we do not have a social structure in which men's labor and sexual faculties are institutionalized in a form that is under female control, which would be a huge red flag that the pendulum has swung too far."

Your sentence implies that men's labor and sexual faculties are under male control, that's not true. Women decide who wins the elctions - majority of voters are women: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20231337

"One can advance equality and be vigilant against sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry and discriminatory behaviors without resorting to more of this us vs. them bullshit that "men's rights" evokes."

That would argue that we only need men's rights movement, not a women's rights movement. Since the women's rights movement doesn't concern men's rights, we need a men's rights movement.

The biggest feminist organizations do not accept me as a member because of my gender. Their organization discriminates on the basis of gender. That's not equality. I cannot take part in the women's rights movement because of my gender. That's why we need a men's rights movement - so that men's gender equality problems are also taken care of. Currently 90% of the gender equality resources in politics is used for women's rights. That number should be 50%.

"In sum, a "men's rights" movement is not going to increase equality, because it is only going to codify more gendered division in the social fabric."

You make the implicit claim that men's rights movement is for gender roles. That's not true. In addition, you can use your own argument against women's rights movement, as it 'codifices a gendered division'.

"If you're really interested in enhancing equality as a social good,"

I'm really interestd in equality, and men's rights is the most important movement in recent years. Almost nobody used to talk about gender equality issues concerning men. In recent years, after the men's rights movement was formed, there have been small mentions of men's rights in official statements in the country I live in. Without a men's rights movement all the gender equality policy would say would be about women. Therefore, it's pretty clear that the men's rights movement increases equality.

I cannot link sources because they're not in English, but it used to be that only representatives from women's rights organizations were given representation in the official gender equality council of my country. They only talked about women's rights. Now a few seats have been given to the representatives of the men's rights movement.

>do women get raped more than men (not in USA)

This is very wrong.

The link you provide in the original comment is for violent crimes (including rape), not for rape alone. There is little doubt that women are more likely to be raped in the US than men.

Here's a relevant study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics: http://bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1146

"Overall, an estimated 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault were female."


"In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women."

Going from a tally of 935 to 216000 is a revolution in DOJ's thinking. It implies that an active suppression of the truth was abandoned.

For rapes outside of prison, yes.

Rapes inside of prison are almost all male on male, and there is evidence suggesting that the numbers of such are comparable to and may exceed rapes outside of prison. So it is not impossible that the majority of rape victims in the USA are men.

True, however, the vast majority of rapes of women are by men, and the vast majority of rapes of men are by men.

It's not like the issue of men being raped is predominantly due to women, whereas the issue of women being raped is predominantly due to men.

I also wonder if all the 'alpha male' bullshit might actually be a detrimental influence on prison rape, since it so clearly reinforces and mimics the sort of hierarchy that exists among men in prisons.

Yes, men perform the vast majority of the rapes. Also most sexual abuse. Nobody doubts that.

But not most relationship abuse. http://moxymag.com/2011/03/man-beater/

The NCVS uses a funny definition of rape.

""Rape" is defined as forced sexual intercourse in which the victim may be either male or female and the offender may be of a different sex or the same sex as the victim. Victims must be at least 12 years old; victims less than age 12 are excluded from all estimates. Includes attempts and threats to commit rape."

You'd think this would include a woman raping a man with her vagina, right? Wrong. Check it: http://bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=31

"Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal or oral penetration by the offender(s)."

>"Overall, an estimated 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault were female." //

It may not change the ratio but of course one must remember that is "victims of rape and sexual assaults that were reported and recorded as such".

The study linked, (text version http://bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/SOO.TXT) says only a third of the rapes reported to them were reported to police and in my cursory glance I couldn't see how many of those reported led to a conviction and how many led to a dismissal of charges, etc..

However I did notice this:

"In 1994 victims reported about 1 rape/sexual assault victimization of a female victim for every 270 females in the general population; for males, the rate was substantially lower, with about 1 rape/sexual assault of a male victim for every 5,000 male residents age 12 or older."

It's often joked on certain forums, eg reddit, that men who're incarcerated are likely to suffer rape (I'd guess women do too but the jokes are always concerning men it seems). I wonder how true that is and how well these figures reflect those crimes.

Men are less likely to report sexual assault and rape against them than women are, for a number of reasons. One being that rape is defined as being penetrated against your will, and not being made to penetrate against your will.

Any study that counts convictions, or even complaints, it going to underestimate male victimhood.

You need to look at victim surveys to have any hope of estimating how many man are raped, and how many women rape.

See my other post in this thread for details on that.

Women are 50% of rape victims, and 40% of rapists. That is in the general population and excludes prison rape. If you included that, men would be the majority of victims.

These figures are from the CDC's 2010 NISVS (National Intimiate Partner Sexual Violence Survey), although you won't find it in the executive summary. You have to look at the data tables. Here is a link to the NISVS: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/specialreports.h...

The executive summary tells the usual story of rape being a male on female crime. There are 2 problems here. One is that they define rape as being penetrated against your will, and not being forced to penetrate (what a female rapist would do to a man). This erases female on male rape.

However, they did ask men if they had been forced to penetrate in the prior 12 months, and 1.1% of men surveyed reported that they had, and 80% of those had been attacked by a woman. 1.1% of women reported that they had been penetrated against their will in the prior 12 months, and 98% of those reported a male attacker.

So we have 50% of victims are male and 50% female. Of the 50% of male victims, 80%, or 40% of total victims, were raped by a woman.

So women are 40% of rapists. Here is a image of the data tables from the NISVS, with the relevant figured circled: http://imgur.com/a/aw0eU

And here is a link to show the number crunching on the CDC's data tables in more detail: http://www.genderratic.com/p/836/manufacturing-female-victim...

Earlier I said there were 2 problems with the executive summary. The second one is that the CDC looked at lifetime victimization, and prior 12 months victimization. Their figures for men as victims of rape (when you include being made to penetrate) are much lower than for women. In the executive summary, they use the lifetime stats to show women as the overwhelming majority of victims, and don't mention the prior 12 month numbers.

Why the disparity between lifetime victimization and prior 12 month? Lifetime stats will tend to underestimate the problem, because, over time, people tend to erase their memory of traumatic events as a survival mechanism.

From the analysis I linked above:

>Researchers into the field of traumatic memory recovery note that the longer the period of time a person is asked recall a traumatic event, the less likely they are to remember it. How this works is that surveys that ask about a traumatic event in the last six months get less false negatives than those that ask about a traumatic event in the last twelve months which, itself, gets considerably fewer false negatives than lifetime prevalence.

> For men this effect is even more pronounced.


> 16% of men with documented cases of sexual abuse considered their early childhood experiences sexual abuse, compared with 64% of women with documented cases of sexual abuse. These gender differences may reflect inadequate measurement techniques or an unwillingness on the part of men to disclose this information (Widom and Morris 1997).


>Only 16% of men with documented case histories of child sexual abuse disclosed that abuse on a survey intended to capture child sexual abuse. Sixteen percent of men compared to sixty-four percent of women.


>That amounts to a disclosure rate of child sexual abuse four times higher in women than in men.


>Is it any wonder that the CDC’s 2010 survey (correcting for their mis-categorization of female-on-male rape) found that 18.3% of women and 6.2% of men were victimized over their lifetimes?

There already is a 'men's movement', and like feminism, it has nutbar crazies that everyone sees and detractors use to paint the movement as a bunch of crazies.

More abstractly, a "men's rights" movement would, I think, offer very little gain to humanity as a whole, and would threaten to destabilize and retard the advancement of human rights and greater gender and sexual equality in social relations.

There are a number of things that need to come from men, about men, for men. One example is the fight against the social stigma for men showing emotion in public. Others are questioning the factors of masculinity, which media seems to paint as aggressive warrior-types and downplay mere assertiveness or mature responses. Another is the mocking of prison rape as a complete joke, or even tacitly approving it as part of the punishment process, this needs to change. Other things like 'mothering takes a lifetime, fathering takes seconds' are a joke, but they also play to stereotypes we have that need breaking.

The context is important - "don't forget about men, they have issues that also need addressing" is indeed doomed to fail if it's genesis is reactionary against feminism, but it can be quite constructive if it's done in the mindset of "while we're working on women's problems, let's also work on men's". Unfortunately, there's a lot more chaff in the voices of the men's movement, but there are still significant issues that should be looked at. It's not a zero sum game - the conditions for both genders can be improved at the same time.

This is a different perspective, much of which I completely agree with. Enhancing the recognition and appreciation of [non-colossal-assholish-douchbaggy] masculinity ought to be accepted and supported.

Males showing emotion in public? Check.

Seriously tackling and solving the sexual and physical assault that is endemic to the US prison system? Absolutely check+. The US prison system is systemically atrocious and I find it sickening. I find it more sickening that people can know about it and even entertain the notion that it is 'part of the punishment process'. That is disgusting.

Male denigration in terms of family law and the ways in which men are the victims of sexism as it relates to parenting is also unacceptable.

It was the point of advocating a reactionary movement that appears to define itself as the negation of (and, in places, the victim of) feminism that I cannot support in any way. Hope that clarifies a bit better.

"This is a different perspective, much of which I completely agree with. Enhancing the recognition and appreciation of [non-colossal-assholish-douchbaggy] masculinity ought to be accepted and supported."

Different from what? And I could equally argue that we need to enhance the recognition and appreciation of [non-collossal-assholish-douchebaggy] femininity, Adria Richards being a case in point.

"Seriously tackling and solving the sexual and physical assault that is endemic to the US prison system? Absolutely check+. The US prison system is systemically atrocious and I find it sickening. I find it more sickening that people can know about it and even entertain the notion that it is 'part of the punishment process'. That is disgusting."

Agreed, just look above. If one even cites statistics showing that -gasp- men get raped too people look at you funny and ask when you're going to go back to talking about women.

"Male denigration in terms of family law and the ways in which men are the victims of sexism as it relates to parenting is also unacceptable."

Glad to hear it.

"It was the point of advocating a reactionary movement that appears to define itself as the negation of (and, in places, the victim of) feminism that I cannot support in any way. Hope that clarifies a bit better."

The term "MRA" means someone who advocates in favour of men's rights. If you care about men being raped in prison then I've got news for you: You're an MRA. That's where the implied association and definition ends. You're also, I assume, a political activist. The nazis were political activists too, but noone says that because of your political activism you "appear to define yourself as a nazi." Many MRAs are anti-feminist, many aren't. It would appear that you're one of the "aren't."

The term "Feminism" is much less well defined. It might shock you to learn that many feminists have come out against the issues you mentioned being addressed and have even argued that they don't exist. I'm glad to hear you don't think this way and think that men's issues and anti-male sexism are no more acceptable than anti-female sexism but many feminists disagree and they appear to define the movement just as much as you appear to define it.

I'm not an anti-feminist, the word means too many things for me to say I stand firmly against it, but there's at least as many feminists that are worthy of criticism as there are MRAs.

But when you heard men's rights you immediately assumed the reactionary label would apply. That is a problem.

No, it's not a problem.

And please, for your own sake and everyone else's, do not assume to have the slightest capability to say what I "immediately assumed" when I "heard men's rights". You haven't the faintest idea.

The comments made by the original commenter who incorrectly thought my comments leaned his way injected more unnecessary division into an already sensitive subject.

It was overtly apparent that the thread was about to get hijacked by tangential bullshit that would derail the actual issue(s) under discussion--which did not include men's rights advocacy or its adherents and there varied motivations.

When I decided to reply, I was responding to the content posted at the time--content that made it perfectly clear 'the reactionary label' fit like a glove.

Whether or not Adria overreacted is irrelevant. If the problem is these guys got fired, then be mad at the company NOT someone who likely has to deal with sexist bullshit day in and day out in a male dominated and sexualized industry.Okay, so she overreacted, big deal, people overreact every day. On the other hand, look at the response - thousands of comments here and at reddit and on twitter posting her real life address, calling for her to be raped or cut, etc. Extreme and vicious misogyny. The original incident may have been a "false positive" as you say (still if the conference organizers thought she was wrong, they could have said eh, we don't think it's a big deal, same with the company HR folks), the response has been 100% vicious and violent misogyny.

> Whether or not Adria overreacted is irrelevant

How is it? Is attempting to publicly humiliate someone and get them fired now preferred over politely asking them to stop?

> NOT someone who likely has to deal with sexist bullshit day in and day out in a male dominated and sexualized industry.

"Society is male dominated, therefore it's acceptable to publicly humiliate someone and get them fired over dongle jokes".

> thousands of comments here and at reddit and on twitter posting her real life address, calling for her to be raped or cut, etc. Extreme and vicious misogyny.

I haven't personally seen any of this; it's mostly just people disagreeing with her behavior.

Rule #1 of the internet: there are trolls.

> The original incident may have been a "false positive" as you say

Wait, do you seriously think that publicly humiliating someone and getting them fired over a dongle joke is not a problem?

> the response has been 100% vicious and violent misogyny.

You mean "100% of the troll posts I looked at were troll posts".

By the way, misogyny is the hatred of women in general. A hateful post is not necessarily misogyny just because it's directed at a woman. Eg. I can hate Sarah Palin and post about how I hope she gets eaten by a grue, but that's not misogyny.

More shouting people down by saying any disagreement is racist, sexist, etc. So sick of this from the first year liberal arts student crowd.

100% fascist thoughts.

If you don't agree with me, you're not only wrong, you're evil. Disgusting that you would even go there.

No sane person, including myself, who vehemently disagrees with Adria's actions is engaging in or supporting threatening Adria at all, calling her obscene names, etc.

Please do not lump us in with the 'extreme and vicious misogyny', for which I am not the only one who has zero tolerance of it and offers it no support at all.

Adria's overreaction and characterization of this event as sexism is very relevant. I understand that she may have 'to deal with sexist bullshit day in and day out in a male dominated' world, and I specifically go to bat for that. But this situation was not sexism, and it is relevant and important to make that clear.

Because a bunch of assholes are using this as a platform to spout misogynistic bullshit and threats does not mean others cannot or should not speak out.

And the fact that I spoke out, along with plenty of others, without being even obliquely misogynist means the response has not been '100% vicious and violent misogyny.'

I don't support that shit in any way, and I won't even hesitate to say that kind of reaction is fucked up. It is exactly why I am a philosophical Marxist who takes the subjugation of women to the material power of men very seriously.

Also, it's not for the conference organizers to say she was wrong. You don't deal with people being uncomfortable about a situation, as an organizer, by saying, "Hey, sorry, but that's not a big deal. Why don't you just go sit down and not worry about it?" You are obligated to deal with it, and the PyCon staff did exactly what they should have done.

The men's comments were inappropriate and wrong for the place and time. Adria's response was even more inappropriate and wrong for the situation.

Threatening Adria's person, calling her names, pillorying her with misogynistic hate speech is completely unacceptable and fucking wrong.

I take it back. You clearly would not fit in over at /r/mensrights... which says only good things about you. :)

I can't judge what happened at this convention--wasn't there, don't know what all was overheard, or what people may have said during an interview with managers that might have led to a firing... nor do I know if the firing was indeed some kind of appeasement gesture that really was massively unjust to the guys. So I'll leave it to those more familiar with the events and people to determine whether or not this was a justified firing.

As an aside, and possibly an irrelevant one...in my experience, which I know doesn't count as evidence towards anything, people get away with making crude jokes at the expense of others most of the time. It's rare to see people held accountable for their poor judgment. You've got to be pretty confident of your own untouchability to make off-color jokes in a professional environment when you're surrounded by people you don't know. Maybe these guys didn't do anything like that, and, if so, what happened to them is quite bad. Even if it was just a misunderstanding (they didn't think they were making crude remarks; if they'd had the chance to talk it over with the person who reported them, she'd have seen that she had misheard them and would agree they were blameless), it'd be quite sad that one of the guys got fired because of it. On the other hand, I'd like to live in a world where people don't feel smugly confident that they can do or say whatever they want and the rest of us will hunch our shoulders and take it.

"However, I must emphatically and proudly express that I do not support the negation and devaluing of women's (as well as ethnic, [other] cultural, LGBT, etc.) rights by way of reactionary countering with a "men's rights" movement."

As GLBT, I really have to politely disagree here. Trans men especially tend to take a lot of shit from women who think they've committed some sort of cardinal sin for being who they are (it's usually phrased as them trying to make some sort of male power grab, or whatever). Women should have rights, but men should have them too. That's what equality ought to entail. Currently, we've made some significant progress not just in recognizing the need for women's rights, but actively forcing a change in the status quo. It's still politically incorrect to even recognize that men are discriminated against in some areas, and that's really disheartening to me.

True gender equality would HELP the GLBT cause because we need lesbians to not take crap for not being feminine "enough" and gay men to not take crap for not being "masculine" enough. Sex discrimination against men is actually a huge issue, but it's so politically incorrect to address it. If you're a man, and GLBT, you can kind of get double whammied by it since you have to deal with the GLBT part and then also the discrimination against men when you're already severely disadvantaged. If you're a woman, you have a lot of social support dedicated to you (domestic violence shelters, lots of other assistance), at least compared to men.

I believe that women and men BOTH should have rights. I don't understand why this is such a problem with the majority of the feminist movement. (I have met some absolutely lovely and rational feminists, but most of them are over the age of 50. I'm not really sure what's happened to this generation of them, but for the most part, it's been really...not good.)

I also really hope that same-sex marriage will help the men's rights movement (as well as the women's rights movement!). As an egalitarian, I'm all for the courts coming to realize that brain breaking moment in a lesbian divorce where they can't just give the kids and all the money to the female, because there are two of them. Perhaps a concrete inability to rotely perform sex discrimination because there aren't different sexes to take up their traditional "roles" will force the legal system to look into itself and realize the magnitude of the discrimination against men that they've been perpetuating.

TL;DR: You and I don't disagree at all in substance. Excellent points. We are on the same page. I just don't think we need a men's rights movement to further draw gendered lines across the social fabric. I'd rather see a federated organization that fights to improve humanity and its social institutions, obliterating inequalities and disparities. This, while making no claim (and vigilantly remaining blind) to sexual, gender, ethnic, or other material identities.


I, too, consider myself to be an egalitarian where the material conditions and social relations of people are at stake. I've made a number of attempts at clarifications, all the while making it explicitly clear that I'm supportive of and advocating for completely eliminating gender inequalities. I'm either doing a poor job of explaining that, or others are doing a poor job of reading my many clarifications.

To put it bluntly, there's no way I could respond to every men's rights comment with a clear and considered explanation of the positives and negatives, as well as an accounting of the pitfalls and errors made. The topic itself is tangential, distracting, and derailing from the issues raised by the event at Pycon, specifically in relation to how the offending men's actions are being erroneously and unfairly contextualized and framed as 'sexist' by the wider tech community.

I did not want to just sweep gender inequalities under the rug where male-identifying persons are concerned, as if it doesn't exist. I wanted to focus attention, instead, on the nuances of properly identifying sexism apart from inappropriate comments in a given situation, and the ways in which it leads to gender disparities in social relations in general.[1]

At first, I ignored the men's rights issues out of a desire to not deviate from the issues I raised, and interest in engaging with those who were replying to the points I brought up. I did not want to kick off a side-thread on men's rights. I wanted to avoid seeing the conversation turn into an us vs them argument. I hoped we could actually discuss the need to correct the reactionary labeling of impolite and inappropriate comments and behaviors as automatically sexist, when so many times it is simply impolite and inappropriate. Even at the worst end of the non-sexist spectrum, someone might deal with an asshole, and I think it's far more productive to the tech community and society at large if everyone could actually tell (and advocate) the difference between someone being an asshole and someone being a sexist asshole.

[I'm not saying my reaction was right; I'm trying to contextualize it within my personal quirks and goals so it's understood.]

By the time a couple hours passed, the men's rights derailment was already well underway, with quite a few reactionary posts following the first that were increasingly divisive, and substantially less constructive to the actual thread. More notably, the discussion consistently conveyed a less erudite, misinformed, and poorly rendered assessment and presentation of incredibly disconnected, questionable, exaggerated, and falsely attributed or incomplete evidence--all conflated to advance a flimsy premise that 'men have it as bad as (and often worse than) women'. Much of what was argued at the time I decided to comment (specifically the one to which you've responded) could not be taken seriously as presented.

So, I had choices. I could dig in, evaluate the evidence & reasoning presented, explain why much of it had to be disregarded as non-causal/incomplete/misattributed/exaggerated/etc., do the philosophically correct and helpful thing by improving their arguments for them so I wasn't just responding to the weakest, most hastily cobbled together rant ... or I could just not engage, and try to bring the focus back to where it should be. I could give in slightly and add some clarifications that would elucidate my intentions and meaning, while making it plain I was not interested in seeing the conversation devolve into a circular exchange of pointless tu quoque; indulging countless iterations of "if a man did x, women would sell their mothers into slavery to claw his eyes out and publicly shame him"; 20 more comments brow-beating people about male-victimizing sexual assault endemic to the US's deplorable prison system; etc. Those are three of the choices I recall considering at the time.

Fundamentally, my goal was to protect the conversation from becoming a cesspool of what was already starting to increase in vitriol and volume on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and other endpoints--preserving and encouraging a space where the tech community, male/female/trans, could constructively grapple with a problem we need to make right for everyone so we don't keep fucking each other up every time we get in the same damn room (to enjoy and participate in the same damn event/hobby/pasttime/passion/etc., no less!).

[1]: A sometimes less-helpful feature of my personality, made habit by philosophical study and debate, I maintain a very strong aversion to changing the subject, lest one damage one's own argument, lose one's audience, or make it impossible to logically conclude a line of thought. It's a quirk that is not well suited to internet threads, I think.

"However, I must emphatically and proudly express that I do not support the negation and devaluing of women's (as well as ethnic, [other] cultural, LGBT, etc.) rights by way of reactionary countering with a "men's rights" movement."

Another redditor I'm afraid. Who ever said that fighting for men's rights comes at the expense of women's (or anyone else's)?

I also find it quite offensive for you to put scare quotes around men's rights like that. If you're genuinely committed to equality you'd do well to read up on the human rights issues which you, as a man, are much more likely to face than the female collegues you mentioned earlier. Men in the MRM (white or otherwise) aren't despondant due to disappearing privilege, they're dispondant due to an assumption of privilege (much of which never really existed) and a willful ignorence of ongoing oppression on the part of society around them. Ignorence even from other men who proclaim their support for social justice.

The identification of gender as an equivalent of class is horribly flawed and a hopelessly blunt tool for examining an infinitely nuanced and a very two sided issue.

> And to be perfectly transparent, I usually ignore it all. I'm one who pretty much defaults to giving women a pass because of all the stupid shit they've dealt with over a long history of men being complete assholes. I mean, really. A woman could make the most sexist comment I've ever heard and I'd just give it a shrug; but I'd say shit to a man if he was even obliquely offensive.

I don't disagree with most of what you're saying, but this really comes across as hypocritical. This is fostering a double standard.

You are not wrong.

That was the point of the preface (on being transparent)--to make it clear that I, too, fail and trend toward auto-acceptance of charges of sexism (or other discrimination) based on the assumption that if someone is actually offended, there must be something to it and it would be best to be mindful of one's actions (including my own).

I don't intend to foster a double standard, and I don't often experience women being sexist (except when they, too, objectify other men or women in homologous fashion as that for which men are derided).

However, this particular case struck me as having too many exigent circumstances (many of which are recounted by Adria in her blog post) that provide very strong evidence that this was the wrong fight, and the consequences of her actions are both regrettable and deplorable.

Not a double standard, because the situations are not symmetrical.

It is a double standard and a symmetrical situation because sexism is sexism. Outside of, say, stand-up comedy and similar entertainment, sexist comments have no place. If a man, woman, or transgendered person is inappropriately making remarks at the expense of another person because of their gender, it should not be accepted.

I wanted to admit that I, too, fail, and wrongly contextualize female-sourced sexism in a historical timeline of taking a lot of unfair shit from their culture, and give them a pass. But I shouldn't. It is no less wrong, and the victim is no less deserving of protection.

If person A has power and person B does not, then A exerting their power against B and B exerting their (lack of) power against A are not symmetrical situations, even though both A and B are people. The 'instance level' sexist act may be the same in both cases, but the problem is the 'structural level' sexism which is reinforced only by one of those acts. So, saying that 'sexism is sexism' is an equivocation, and not a symmetrical situation. Does that make things clearer?

You're rather egregiously conflating distinct issues here. You're also committing petitio principii--i.e., begging the question. You assume your premise(s) is/are true and, therefore, your conclusion is true.

Laying out your initial logic, in order:

p1: A has power

p2: B has !power

p3: A exerts power

p4: B exerts !power

c: if p1 and p2, given p3 and p4: asymmetrical situation

Of course it is! And yet nothing is proven.

It sounds an awful lot like you're either intentionally or unwittingly advancing the logically and philosophically weak argument that [undesiredThing]ism = Prejudice + Power--formulated by Bidol, spread by Katz, cornerstone of Bell's Critical Race Theory, and subsumed by Crenshaw's middle-class-feminism+CRT intersectionality fusion--as if it is inherently true and proven. There are myriad problems with that equation.

This maxim has seen a surge in the last couple years as online blogging has massively repeated it ad infinitum. People encounter it and walk away, impressed that they just reduced [undesiredThing]ism to a neat equation proving racism/sexism/Xism only exists at the intersection of prejudice X and [some kind of problematically defined] power.

And yet this has been repeatedly and adequately contested, while the CRT/intersectionality adherents keep moving the goal posts from one form of power to another over the last few decades (they appear to have, for the time being, settled on institutional power).

Again, your logic, as offered (filling in the latent assumptions):

x: ethnic+sexual group

y: involuntary genetic membership in x

z: x historically exerted most institutional/structural power

p1: power is y + z

p2: if p1, sexism is prejudice/bigotry/discrimination against a person based on sex + offender possessing p1

p3: A committed action X against B because of B's gender

p4: B committed action X against A because of A's gender

c1: given p3 and p4, instance-level act is same

p5: if p1, and A has y + z, A has power

p6: if p1, and B has y + !z, B has !power

p7: 'structural level' sexism is caused/reinforced by p2

c2: if p2 and p5, given p3, A is guilty of p2

c3: if p2 and p6, given p4, B is not guilty of p2

c4: if p7, given c2, A causes/proves p7

Does that make things clearer? There are only about a half-dozen premises there that need actual proving.

Oh, also, fwiw, and I'm being pedantic here: saying sexism is sexism--especially after the lengths to which I've gone to actually define sexism--is in no way an equivocation. I do not use ambiguous language; nor do I prevaricate.

To be pedantic: 'begging the question' is when you import your conclusion into your premises, not when you show that the logical task has been satisfied but merely assume that the material task has been satisfied. Your identification of the problems with my informal reasoning is likewise totally wrong.

Your attempt at informal logic is also pretty laughable. I'll try to give a better response than this tomorrow though in another reply, as you seem to be actually engaging with this, which is actually super awesome (it also doesn't hurt that my degrees were in Logic, and I hardly ever get to bust that stuff out in forum comments).

Well, I would certainly expect the 'attempt at informal logic is ... laughable'. I wrote it to be ridiculous.

I guess I shouldn't have bothered with the reply, as it appears to have triggered a pissing contest over Logic technicalities. Or perhaps you think a dispute on mechanics is going to erase the problems inherent in the idea that selective power assignments to individual agents based on uncontrolled genetic factors is required to determine whether or not an act of sexism is verifiable sexism.

The efforts to redefine sexism/racism/etc as power-dependent are philosophically problematic. I'm rather uncertain we'd get anywhere on the issue.

Okay, so you make an argument, when I say it is wrong and that I am going to critique it formally you say that 'of course it was wrong, I wrote it to be ridiculous' because apparently responding to what you are saying and not just accepting it is 'starting a logic pissing contest', then you go on to reassert the thing that you have not proved where the only argument you have made for it is laughable... fuck off troll.

edit: Also you mischaracterise my entire point. Not surprising given your sloppy thinking. It isn't anything to do with 'whether an act of sexism is verifiable sexism'. It also isn't 'power dependent' - power is only an aspect or manifestation of structure that is easy to talk about. You'll note (if you can read) that in the post where I discuss power I have first an example of a simple non-symmetrical situation that is analogous to sexism (to do with exerting power), then I talk about sexism. I have nowhere said that institutional sexism is solely about power differentials or power relations.

> fuck off troll ... sloppy thinking ... if you can read ...

You might find people more willing to engage in discussion if you didn't resort to abusive language in nearly every comment you've posted to HN.

Thank you for your kind advice. I think that you are utterly mistaken, as you will note (if you actually go through my comment history and read the comments I am replying to) that I respond to comments (or comment threads) where people show that they are sloppy thinkers, subliterate morons, shitheads or trolls (and thus already not engaging or being incapable of engaging) by insulting them, but I do not respond to reasonable comments or comment threads this way. The reason for the preponderance of insulting prose in my comments is the fact that most of the people I respond to on HN very quickly show that they are sloppy thinkers, subliterate morons, shitheads or trolls, as you have done in this thread.

However, I could be the one who is mistaken, so I will see if being more civil in future actually works, and somehow magically cures people of being sloppy thinkers, subliterate morons, shitheads or trolls.

I agree up to the point where you say 'Inappropriate? Sure, I'll grant Adria that.' It feels as if you're giving her argument an inch just so it isn't 100% opposed. A conciliatory prize.

Frankly it's not innappropriate. It's a nothing. A completely irrelevant non-sequitor that is neither against rules or genders.

> Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks.[1]

The CoC was pretty clear to refrain from offensive language, swearing, and the like. Thus, it was inappropriate by the conference's standards.

[1]: https://us.pycon.org/2013/about/code-of-conduct/

I'm not offended by what he said. Did he even swear?

He used sexual/anatomical imagery in his comment. That you are not offended is irrelevant to the issue, because Adria was offended. That's all that matters as far as that portion of the issue is concerned.

I'm perfectly comfortable with sex jokes made by any gendered person. But it was asked not to happen at this conference, and everyone who attended agreed to the CoC.

Grading the subjective offensiveness of the comment is beside the point.

They agreed not to do something, and to me and many others, we don't think it was in violation of the rules they agreed to.

Naturally this would vary from person-to-person. My opinion on the offensiveness (or lack of) is certainly relevant. That's what happens when you have vague, ambiguous terms of service that require emotions for a decision. Every person who heard the comment could have interpreted it differently.

Judging the words coming out of peoples mouths is hard, especially when you don't understand the jargon or the industry.

I do appreciate that, but I find direct adherence to a set of rules (for events of this nature) often completely bypasses the point of them. It's intended to infuse a sense of equanimity and mindfulness rather than be something against which you can be punished. Or at least that's my perspective of it.

Just want to say sorry, I adjust my bra in meetings from time to time. Never realized it would make anybody uncomfortable. I'll try to cut it out.

Please don't apologize or worry about it. Honestly, the intention behind that comment did not communicate properly. I apologize for that. Sometimes, text is hard to parse.

It's not a serious issue that causes discomfort at all. At least not for me.

The comments were couched in an over-the-top tone to mirror the over-the-top nature of Adria's response--particularly from the point that she began employing an appeal to emotion in her explanations, and characterizing herself as a Joan of Arc. I staunchly defend everyone's right to be free of actual sexism, be it a man, woman, or transgendered person. And one doesn't need an appeal to emotion if one can properly identify sexism. One only needs to present the facts. The facts here do not warrant the sexism overtones Adria gave to the situation, or the over-the-top reaction.

I was using bra-adjusting (and all the conversational topics) as examples of utterly harmless actions that occur at a time and place that may not be appropriate, comparing them to a similar body-related action--say, me adjusting within view of women, above the table--that, given the situation we're discussing, could potentially result in a trumped up charge of it being more than just an innocuous action that is (or may be) situation-inappropriate. More likely is the fact that it's just stuff that happens because people aren't thinking that someone is analyzing their behaviors that closely and making it a big fucking deal.

I was implying that junk-adjusting is an action we've been socialized into considering inappropriate, whereas bra-adjusting is very similar. It doesn't actually bother anyone. It's just shit people do, that may or may not be appropriate, and nobody needs to be overreacting to that kind of stuff.

Again, I apologize for failing to communicate all that properly without causing confusion and misunderstanding. Honestly, if I'd known that some of those comments were going to incite the "men's rights" derailment--I now know of the existence of r/mensrights, or whatever it is--I'd have been a bit more explicit in mocking the over-the-top tone. Regrettably, I figured that part out after my edit window expired.

It doesn't. Anyone who feels "uncomfortable" because of adjusting a bra or underwear or scratching feet is fucking stupid and should not be accommodated.

Does that apply to a guy who adjusts his underwear during a meeting to reposition everything and make himself more comfortable too?

Of course it does. Be discreet and don't draw attention to yourself in doing so - it's not really something you want to do when you've got the floor - but if you're not comfortable, you're less focused.

I dunno, I'm pretty sure sticking my hand down my pants to adjust my junk is never appropriate in public. I mean, I've done it if I thought I could get away with it, but I'd be pretty mortified if anyone ever let on that they caught me.

When you read 'adjust my bra' above, did you interpret that as the woman reaching inside her bra cup to reseat her boob? I certainly didn't.


Yes. Being comfortable in meetings most likely makes them more productive.

There are limits, such as nudity, which can be distracting, but it's about being reasonable, and unfortunately different people draw that line of reasonability in different places.

I had the same thought at first -- that "sexual" and "sexist" are not the same thing -- but on reflection I think that it misses the point.

Making sexual jokes in mixed company consisting of your friends is not necessarily offensive -- that's up to the friends, and your may know them well enough to know they won't be offended. But in public, I think it's different. You don't know the people who will hear the joke, and you don't know they'll be comfortable with sexual references being made. A lot of people still associate sexuality with a male/female power imbalance; to force your joke on them -- which is exactly what you're doing when you say it loudly -- echoes that imbalance. If you give yourself permission, as a man, to behave in a manner that is insensitive and disrespectful to women, that reflects a certain sense of male privilege -- and that's sexist.

To his credit, the guy was remorseful once confronted. I don't understand why he was fired.

I think the the differentiation between 'sexual' and 'sexist' is the entire point here--and it's exactly why I even bothered to post on the subject, despite normally remaining quiet. Sadly, it's been lost in all the vitriol and trolls, and has really made me wish I hadn't posted at all.

The reason I opened with a philosophical disclaimer was to make it plain where I was coming from, and that my comments were actually meant to tackle the nuances of the subtler problems with this situation. I wanted people to know my angle and be able to respond, disagree, etc. directly to the philosophical implications. I see it was too much to hope for, but that's what I get for bringing philosophical-historical criticism to a hate fight. It doesn't lessen the importance of actually discussing the point for the wider tech community and society at large.

Being aware of what you're doing in public, particularly at a tech conference that asked you to do otherwise, is an inescapable personal responsibility. What the guys did was wrong--not in an ultimately social or moral sense, but specifically at this venue because of the Code of Conduct.

If we are going to be able to do anything about improving gender disparities in social relations, we must actually understand what that is on a fundamental level.

> A lot of people still associate sexuality with a male/female power imbalance...

When a lot of people make an inaccurate association, it is a signal that a wider discussion needs to be had to educate people on correcting their false associations and improving rationality and understanding. There is a great body of literature both within and outside of philosophy that digs into human relations and power imbalances/struggles. It is a material issue. But the manifestations of interpersonal power struggles in human sexuality are but a symptom, and cannot be viewed through the simplistic and exclusionary lens of being male v. female, because it completely leaves out the parts where sexuality reflects power imbalances like this: male->male, male->female, male->transgender, female->male, female->female, female->transgender, transgender->male, transgender->female, transgender->transgender.

> ...to force your joke on them -- which is exactly what you're doing when you say it loudly -- echoes that imbalance.

You really have to be careful here, because this is just far too wide a net to cast. Overhearing other people's conversations is a part of every day life. When I overhear someone telling a racist joke in the Southeast US, I experience an emotional response somewhere between annoyed and really pissed off. I find it ignorant, bigoted, assholish, and unnecessary, at least. The problem is they are entitled to speak as they please. My reaction is my responsibility. I don't possess a fundamental right to not hear things I don't like. If I did, I'd be constantly telling people not to discuss religion in public.

Let's take that as a nice touchy enough subject that people can get upset over. I'm not religious, and really hate it when I overhear people in a public place--say, a café, bar, or somewhere like that where I'm actually spending a long enough period of time in proximity, trying to do my own thing, while overhearing the content of their conversation. The religion discussion is not being forced on me by virtue of it being loud enough for me to hear. It's only forced on me when, despite my attempts to halt it or escape or whatever, a person is literally talking directly to me about religion as if I wasn't objecting, not allowing me to escape the conversation or physical space.

The same is true for any sort of speech with sexual content. I hear couples, men, women, and transgendered persons discuss sexual matters in public on the regular. It's not forced on me until the point that someone is literally in my space, talking to me about the subject, and ignoring my obvious signals and vocal appeals to stop.

> If you give yourself permission, as a man, to behave in a manner that is insensitive and disrespectful to women, that reflects a certain sense of male privilege -- and that's sexist.

No, that is not sexism, and this is the crux of the issue. Being insensitive and disrespectful to anyone is just being an asshole. Now, it's possible that one's colossal assholery is a product of one actually being sexist, but being an asshole to a woman or a man or a transgendered person is not automagically sexism.

Even 'reflecting a certain sense of male privilege' is not automatic sexism, and primarily because there is not much of a way to objectively determine if an action is indeed a reflection of a sense of male privilege. That is simply a far too amorphous classifier and will just spiral into a series of subjective attacks and defenses.

Sexism is action and speech that inculcates bigotry and discriminatory behaviors, based on a person's gender, seeking to increase gender disparities in social relations. A sexual joke can be insensitive, inappropriate, assholish, or just stupid--but it is not sexism.

The reason this is so important is because we must be able to, as a tech community and society at large, differentiate between the assholes and the sexists. The assholes can and should be ignored. The sexists should not--be they male, female, or transgendered.

More importantly, as I've seen in the whole explosion of vitriol across the internet in the last couple of days, it seems that nobody even knows how to tell the difference. We cannot improve the plight of everyone in tech, including women and transgendered persons, if we cannot tell the difference between an inappropriate sexual comment, and a person perpetrating sexism, misogyny, hate speech, etc. I've read so many tweets and comments from both men and women I would otherwise respect who have essentially participated in a Twitter-based version of that old 'telephone' game, where now this whole debacle is believed by some to be caused by Adria 'speaking up against misogynistic comments at a tech conference'. Why is this a big deal? Because if we can't appropriately communicate what's really at issue, we're never going to solve gender inequalities. We're going to make the workplace a shitty place for all genders, creating a culture of fear, reprisal, and retribution--instead of one that is built on uniting in opposition to bigotry and discrimination when it occurs, and the marginalization of assholes when it does not.

As it is, this is madness. We have a tech community that is now split between a camp who are blindly associating Adria to be a persecuted Joan of Arc, and others who no doubt are very supportive of preventing sexism, misogyny, etc.--but are being vilified as such because they dared to call Adria out for the way she handled the situation, and the way she has improperly contextualized it as a sexism issue. The issue has now been swallowed by a bunch of fucking trolls who are making threats, harrassing people, and should have never gotten involved.

We just lost an excellent opportunity to have a constructive and civil, even if heated, discourse.

I can just see the XKCD for this one. Male programmers are talking in a group. Female programmer walks up; they fall silent. "What were you talking about?", she asks. "Uh..." one says, and falls silent. Awkward moment. She walks away, saying to herself "they don't like me". Back in the group, guy A -- "I wasn't sure if it was a reportable word." Guy B -- "You just gave her the silent treatment because she's a woman."

> The "big dongle" statement was not in any way a 'sexist joke'. It was an anatomical joke

that is, as they say in British politics, a distinction without a difference.

false. a sexist jokes is a joke that tries to find humor in the degradation of women. a joke using a puerile nickname for a penis does not find humor in the degradation of women. it finds humor (very little humor, in my opinion) in a juvenile notion that euphemisms for male genitals are funny.

I see value in both this comment and the one it answers. I'm just kind of trying to put myself in the position of sitting there in that audience, in my professional capacity (and probably in uncomfortable shoes...), and hearing "puerile" and "juvenile" jokes being whispered right behind me, possibly also with some muffled laughter.

Since I wasn't there, I don't know how it went down. But I can at least imagine how that could be a really, really uncomfortable situation--if in my head I am wondering if they are looking at me as they giggle--or really enraging, if it feels like these guys are treating our shared professional space as their private pizza-crust-carpeted beer-stinking bachelor pad living room.

I think their tone might really impact how I'd feel. Laughter can be super cruel. Or it can be innocent and not at all hurtful.

I'll admit it: I got teased mercilessly in middle school & high school for having big breasts. When I turned 18, I promptly had breast reduction surgery...yeah, they were that big, and I am very small-framed...yeah, there were good health reasons to do the surgery, but mainly my psyche was fucking bruised from having so much unwanted and often mean-spirited attention directed at my breasts. All through college, if I heard a group of guys laughing as I walked past, I'd get really self conscious and think they were probably looking at me and laughing about some aspect of my appearance...even though I'd had that surgery and now nothing much really stood out about me. I tell this little story because you have to understand...when you get hit on, teased, picked on, bullied, all throughout your adolescence, just because you're female, the snickering whispered laughter--and sexual jokes--of guys can make you feel very very uncomfortable and bad.

I have no idea if this is something like what happened to Adria Richards, but it sounds like it. She may or may not have misinterpreted the intended cruelty or degradation of the joking.

But the fact remains that none of this would have had a chance of happening if those two guys had behaved professionally in that environment. In the end, if someone got fired, I'd imagine it was the lack of professionalism that did it. Or the lack of good judgment.

When I was in middle and high school I was teased relentlessly also. I'm male so the teasing directed at me was not about my breasts, but it was still very vicious teasing.

I know exactly what you mean when you say "laughter can be super cruel". I still get a chill when I hear people laughing in the way I was laughed at, even when its not direct at me, even when its not direct at anyone but just sounds the same way.

But still I have a sense of decency, restraint, and a enough self-confidence now that I'm able to realize that the chill I feel is from a lingering bad memory and that I can act like an adult now and not feel bad because of cruel laughter. I feel like Adria Richards' reaction was deeply indecent, unrestrained, and revealed a profound lack of self-confidence.

I guess I just disagree with your interpretation of Richards' response. If you were made to feel that horrible chill while you were sitting in a professional space, if you thought about it and realized that the ones making you feel so uncomfortable really shouldn't behave that way in this environment, would you not have the right to speak up for yourself and say, "Hey, this is inappropriate, it's wrong, and it's not fair for these people to be making this space uncomfortable in this way?"

Maybe we just have to agree to disagree. That said, I'm sorry you got picked on, stranger. Fucking sucks, doesn't it? That shit's toxic, and it fucks with your head for a very long time. I am sending you an imaginary virtual hug.

I agree. However I still don't see how a "dongle" joke (regardless of conference policies) makes it to "sexism towards women" as appeared on the Richards' blog. I think the point is to say "I myself am not comfortable with this kinds of jokes, stop it". But making gender generalizations and "taking actions for the community"... well, this is sexist towards women and assumes no personal responsibility. I'm a woman, but I didn't appoint any "evangelist" to speak for me. It's actually more alienating then any off color jokes.

I just want to say I enjoy your input here. I obviously haven't experienced being teased and harassed over the size of my breasts, but I've been awfully close to the damage that causes (which is still very far away). It has had a profound impact on the way I see things, obviously. I really admire and appreciate you speaking out about it, and particularly the frankness and calm with which you've shared what undoubtedly must have been a really difficult decision for an 18-year-old in a society that seems excessively focused on defining sexual identity by what's hanging between a woman's shoulders and stomach. That couldn't have been easy.

I hope that none of my comments on this particular issue have created problems for you, particularly in my choice to make some rather stringent semantic and philosophical distinctions--e.g., between a sexist joke and an anatomical one.

Your final point here is quite in line with my basic sentiments on the appropriateness of the behavior in the given venue--a very poor choice that has, regrettably, resulted in some very unfortunate (and, I think, unwarranted) consequences.

Anyway, thanks again. I hope life has measurably improved since those earlier years.

Do you think that an observer should find those to be different? Bear in mind that at least one observer didn't experience them as different, and went into detail as why.

You cannot take into consideration erroneous assumptions or false knowledge.

Based on what words mean, and the definition of terms (see the comment you replied to), it doesn't matter if someone interpreted it wrong. Anyone can always interpret something wrong and find themselves offended. But that's all on them. It's not productive to go around worrying about that.

"wrong", "erroneous", "false" are strong terms (IMHO, far too strong) for someone having a different perspective and history of dealing with such comments. And IMHO it is productive to try to understand these perspectives.

a person's perspective is not a free pass on matters of factuality. a fact is a fact, regardless of any person's perspective.

you may be right that we should try to understand why a person has developed a false understanding of reality, but we should not accept that their own misunderstanding of facts in any way makes their false beliefs into truths.

FALSE. A sexist joke is a joke that tries to find humor in the degradation of one of the genders.

Why do you assume sexism consists in degradation of _women_? That, itself, is sexist, as most feminists are. Sexist and hypocritical.

I'd like her to justify:

- in what way her accusation is not the moral equivalent of a false rape claim - why it is alright to publish the photo of two people with non-verifiable accusations on a public site, before any form of trial or hard facts have been provided

Rape is a very serious criminal offence. Rape, in the UK, carries a 5 years as a minimum starting sentence, increasing if there are any aggravating factors.

Her behaviour - tweeting a photo of a bunch of people and accusing some of those people of sexual harassment - is unacceptable, but let's not make ridiculous comments comparing it to false rape allegations.

My point has nothing to do with the crime of rape, it has to do with the (reverse) crime of falsely accusing of rape, and in this case, I don't think there really is much of a moral difference:

- the guy was accused of sexual harassment, which is something very much taken seriously here, where society tends to protect the women (rightly so) without much listening to the other party... & therefore a false accusation of rape is something very serious since guys often can't do much to counter it

- in this case the guys are publicly shamed without even having had the opportunity to explain themselves, & one even got fired

so I stand by my comment: I do not liken the attack (from the men) to a rape, I liken the attack (from the woman) to a false rape accusation, in that she falsely accused men of doing something that is vile & for which she has almost every chance to win if the other side is not listened to

false rape allegations have people sent to jail & publicly fired, false sexual harrassment allegations should also be seen very seriously since they are often non-verifiable & lead to some guy losing his work (which is serious)

Hi. Savagedm came in here to sing your praises. I just wanted to let you know--before you graciously acknowledge his adulation--that he represents a large and fairly freaky population of misogynists on reddit who typically congregate in http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/, and who have an especially sharp hatred for feminists of any stripe (be they ever so humble).

The giveaway is > Women frequently engage in behaviour that, when mirrored in men, would be called out for sexist. One point I was discussing with the girl I currently am dating is that there needs to now be a "mens' [sic] rights movement" similar to what women have accomplished [...]

Don't be fooled. The Men's Rights subreddit is just thinly veiled misogyny, often with some white supremacy thrown in the mix. Just go browse the sub--don't take my word for it.

Some of your comments suggest you might fit in over there. Then again, maybe not.

> Some of your comments suggest you might fit in over there. Then again, maybe not.

Absolutely not: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5410463

Please forgive my apparent failure at explaining clearly enough that I was not attempting to draw some sort of straw man argument that "women do it, so it can't be sexist". That's an inherently faulty and pointless line of argumentation (a case of tu quoque, I believe).

My specific contention was this particular case, and only used the examples I did with regard to women as further examples of things that are said "at times and in places that are not appropriate", but are not sexist. They are simply examples of impolite female conversation in certain places/times that shouldn't happen--just as much as similar conversations should not be had by men in inappropriate times/places. That is all.

Yeah, just saw your reply to our "pal" from /r/mensrights. I was wrong about you--wrong to imply you might harbor misogynist impulses. I apologize for the remark and accept that you, sir, are awesomesauce.

Oh, there is no need to apologize. No offense taken.

Wow, typical hypersensitive Reddit feminist... quick to jump in and spout lies without actually reading the content of the comment you're replying to.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. There's really no reason to go tossing pejoratives around. Honestly now, that really crosses the line beyond having civil, even if contentious, discussion and disagreement--and starts to make things here sound too much like the Reddit thread I just found on this issue, where the comments have deteriorated into a bunch of obscene name-calling.

To provide a different perspective, I took the message as attempting to provide a cautionary bit of context, lest I be swept away by internet adulation.

Or were you being sarcastic? If so, my apologies. It's rather difficult to tell.

Yeah... these trolls (and yes, I am name calling, but look through this thread and what it has attracted...what else would you call them?) can't be dissuaded. These Men's Rights guys are frightening. I know you meant well with your original comment, but if you read it again, I think you might see how some parts of it seem to make it sound like you might be interested in joining their little club. I know you're not. You know you're not. They, however, are not yet convinced. They think they can talk you over to their side.

> The giveaway is > Women frequently engage in behaviour that, when mirrored in men, would be called out for sexist. One point I was discussing with the girl I currently am dating is that there needs to now be a "mens' [sic] rights movement" similar to what women have accomplished [...]

what does that giveaway?

how did you unpack "an especially sharp hatred of feminists" from that statement?

God damn. Can you two keep your fight someplace else?

"fairly freaky population of misogynists on reddit"


"Don't be fooled. The Men's Rights subreddit is just thinly veiled misogyny, often with some white supremacy thrown in the mix."


I understand this thread is triggering a Reddit mentality in a lot of people due to the overlap, but just for the purpose of clarification: Comment replies that do nothing more than say "Wrong." and leave it at that really don't have a place here.

My point was to show how the original comment didn't actually argue for anything, it just made some baseless and quite offensive accusations.

I have browsed the subreddit. It's quite apparent that it's easy to derail actual social progress on controversial issues by a few provocateurs. Yes, there is pendulum, and it does have a tendency to swing.

Your green name suggests that you're attempting to provoke a response, now you have one. Take your thinly veiled ad hominem attack back to reddit.

There is an amazing amount of splitting hairs and diversions in this post. Trying to say that it's an anatomical vs sexist joke, as if that made a difference, that's ridiculous. A big dongle refers to size of the male organ, big male organs refer to sex, (not your prowess at the urinal...) The issue that they might have been homosexuals and how that gives them a pass is baseless as well. For someone who has spent years supposedly studying this and who in the end agrees that it was inappropriate, you are certainly going out of your way to argue otherwise.

This is sadly a typical response to any time a women makes claims about sexism in the Internet. It's predictable that there will be a response that says that A) the act was not sexist B) she over-reacted C) and anyways women are sexist too. The first two are made without the person in question having witnessed the incident at all. The third is a meaningless point. Even if it were true, so what? that other people are sexist, does not excuse inappropriate behavior for anyone. I can't hit someone and then say it's ok because other people hit people too. For all your supposed Marxist/progressive credentials, you are making the same tired argument made by every idiot on the internet

Thank you for the critique.

I encourage you to read my comment a bit more thoroughly. Maybe read the others I've left here that expound on the issues. There is far more complexity and nuance to my statements than you appear to have absorbed.

I'm neither splitting hairs nor offering diversions. I am also not going out of my way to argue that this was anything other than inappropriate, or to offer some lame, idiotic, dismissive criticism of a woman speaking out against sexism. My specific contention is that this is not an example of sexism. Inappropriate, yes. Sexism, no. I make a big deal about it because it is very valuable to actually be able to differentiate between inappropriate, unprofessional comments and actual sexism.

Pointing out the distinction between an anatomical vs. sexist joke is anything but ridiculous. A sexist joke seeks to find humor in the degradation of a person's gender, be it male, female, or transgendered. Just as a racist joke seeks to poke fun at a person's ethnicity, whatever it may be. Same for homophobic jokes, etc. But a childish comment about a dongle, despite its sexual content, does not equal sexism. Sexism requires the propagation or promotion of bigotry and discriminatory behaviors that increase the gendered inequalities in social relations. Immature comments about phalluses (no matter what gendered person makes them) don't do that. They are but an adult's version of the potty humor that kids exchange about bodily functions and noises. They most certainly are inappropriate in professional settings like conferences, no matter what. But I don't think anyone has even debated that point.

Additionally, I do not offer the "women are sexist, too" tu quoque argument. And my comments on homosexuality were not at all about giving someone a pass. I was, instead, offering the very real possibility that one could overhear a comment between two guys and that it could have a completely different meaning and intention than that which Adria automatically ascribed to the situation, as puerile as the dongle comment was. Still inappropriate for the setting, but I'd bet my gay friends and I would be rightly confused if a man or woman overheard a sexual comment (outside of a professional setting) and tried to allege there was anti-female sexism happening. Context is just as important as content.

I'm not calling Adria out because she spoke up about the inappropriateness of the comments. I'm calling her out because of the way in which she handled the situation, accused the parties involved, and allowed it to become framed as a sexism issue. Beyond that, I am also calling her out for using the CoC to get the issue addressed, while presuming herself to be above the CoC. She draws on it as a way to get immediate response to the issue, but doesn't follow it herself. The CoC has four phone numbers that could have been used to call or send a text for 'especially urgent' issues. I've met and interacted with both Jesse and Jacob at PyCon and other venues, and would bet a large sum that Jacob and the other two people with contact numbers on the CoC would have immediately responded to Adria while Jesse was on stage. Adria chose instead to go the route of making a very public display of the issue, ignoring the CoC completely. The PyCon organizers acted exactly as they promised. The men who offended Adria respected the CoC after violating it and left voluntarily. Only Adria felt compelled to reserve a different course of action for herself.

I encourage you to read my comments further, as well as Adria's own blog post on the matter--in which she describes how she (apparently very calmly) interacted with a guy who made a comment to her about shaved vulvas, and they apparently discussed the comedic appropriateness of that kind of comment at a tech conference. Then she uses that as some sort of lead-up and excuse for why the dongle comment was just too much.

There is an incredible gulf between calmly discussing the inappropriateness and questionable humor of women having hairless pubic areas with a guy in a hallway, and overhearing another guy comment on a dongle in the ballroom and standing up to take 3 pictures, then posting to Twitter. It is also of no help that she greatly exaggerated the forking comment--this from the guy who commented here about making the dongle comment, but denies the forking comment was at all what Adria took it to mean. There is even debate ongoing regarding the veracity of her allegation that there were "sexual" forking comments at all.

The point in all of this is not to dismiss the inappropriateness--hell, I go to great lengths in my comment to actually admit it and call attention to the fact that we all are guilty of inappropriately timed conversation. The problem here is that Adria specifically frames this entire debacle in a sexist frame of reference, in which she applauds herself as the heroine, the Joan of Arc.

I completely agree with you. In my opinion, she came across as a cyberbully. And its not the first time, apparently. In 2009, she was accused of hacking someone's website who was running for political office. She apparently discovered that by looking at the cached version of the site, she obtained the ip address of the site and was able to look through the directory and found a database file. While she did not repost that database file to the public, she was able to take a screenshot of it and post that to the public. She apparently likes to be pro-active and not let things go through the proper channels. Once again, I say she is a cyberbully.

Wait, she looked at the cached version of the site and found the IP address? My stars! What a hacker! (not even nslookup?) They left a database backup in a publically-accessible web folder with directory listings turned on?! That's shocking. And that's not "hacking." Finding that file wouldn't take very long or very much diligence, and zero illegal access or any sketchy scripts or even much poking-around. I'm not sure this proves anything except that the political party in question absolutely deserved to be called out for their laughably unprofessional practices -- particularly if there was donor information stored there. It would have been polite to give the devs a day or two's head's up (that's what I would have - have - done) but I certainly wouldn't call a screenshot of shitty security "bullying." Who knows whose script kiddize's robot found that file before she did and used it maliciously? People need to know that shit.

Adria, I am a big supporter to equal rights. I am of hispanic origin, and even raised catholic, i believe in gay rights, womens rights, and am as big a tree hugger that you will ever meet. I actually stop to confront people who protest day laborers (while Adria combats her demons behind a blog/twitter etc), and have stood toe to toe with minutemen, and multiple groups of not so happy looking skin head tattoed guys...

when my daughter tries to quit anything, i p;ush her just as i would any child of mine, regardless of sex...and as such she is a four year old who is ahead of her class mathematically, uses a computer (i cant tell you how happy i am when i saw her boot her machine, log in, and launch firefox and type in "p", found "pbskids.org" and proceeded to play her game....at age 3 and a half)...

I am philisophically on Adrias side, but i do break on one count...when sexist talk and sexist ideas are actually used to hinder a womans rights and hinders a womans progression in ANY way, i will roll up my sleeves, jump into the foray and defend any abused person, whether or not its "my fight" to get into.

Adria, sorry...i dont know you...but this was over the top. There are many things we men get blamed for that are truly just over generalized jokes, but i dont anyone to town over it...being forgetful...not being able to multitask...not being clean...all of these things dont mean anything unless they are being used to really abuse you...

my wife shoulkd be brought up on charges for all the "male bashing jokes" i am subjected to...and sadly, i hvae known women like you...the jokes against males, against whomever you see is a target of your angst is ok...but god forbid if anyone who has no control over you at all makes some sophmoric poop joke...then we must have his head on a platter for opressing your delicate sensibilities...

Its a tough call, but I will say that it is not clear who the bully is in this situation.

If the comments were made directly at someone, I am sure all will agree that this is grounds for consequences.

However is it really a "safe space" if people are shamed publicly for what someone finds offensive BEFORE the matter is brought up to STAFF? I mean the two dudes in the photo may have grounds to say that they are the ones being harassed.

So at the same time she accuses them of making sexual jokes. https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/313417655879102464

She is making her OWN sexual jokes, while STILL at PyCon. https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265091791847425


Jokes are only okay when woman do them! Teehee~

this but unironically. because sexism is the systemic oppression of women and not symmetrical

It's not about her being offended by a particular comment, nor is it required that said comment be directed at her. The issue is the environment that is created when such things are quietly tolerated.

Sure staff could have been involved, but then it's not a teachable moment, just another moment suffered in silence while the "authorities" handle the situation for her.

It may seem like a small event to you, but I'd suggest reading about what I like to call "death by a thousand papercuts" (via @skud). There are TONS of "little" things that happen everyday that can be dismissed as insignificant, but they add up to an unwelcoming environment.

I read that article when it came out. This is not a "lighten up honey situation". Adria has every right to be offended and absolutely every right to call out their bad behavior.

I just feel in hindsight it would have been better if she gave the PyCon staff a chance to address the matter before posting pictures of people on twitter. It was her right to take a picture of those guys, its the posting before doing anything else that I humbly disagree with.

> This is not a "lighten up honey situation". Adria has every right to be offended and absolutely every right to call out their bad behavior.

Ah, so the only two choices are 1) condescending, sexist down-talk to a woman, or 2) a woman being rightfully offended.

What about 3)a woman being non-rightfully offended?

Well actually I believe it is against the CoC to take pictures during the conference, so it wasn't her right at all. Yet that's ok because?

I agree. She was totally within her rights to complain about the joke. That ended however, when she took it public, on Twitter, instead of PyCon officials. In my opinion, her actions were far worse than the joke itself. And it doesn't matter if it was the most vile, disgusting sexist joke ever said. Her actions were wrong. And the PSF and PyCon have become so politically correct, they fail to see who the real victim is.

Staff were involved after the fact. The Code of Conduct, which these attendees agreed to, makes it clear that this behavior is not allowed.

Very often with bad behavior, the offender is anonymous and intentional, and the subtext is: "what are you going to do about it?"

Was this so bad? Should she have called out these people in this case? That question misses a larger point.

So many such incidents (and much worse) go unchallenged that I'm happy Adria felt comfortable calling it out and asking the community to stand for the ideals it claims to hold.

There's work left to be done, but we're heading in the right direction.

Agreed. It would be very bad if this went unchallenged. Its fantastic that women feel comfortable enough to speak out when they are made uncomfortable.

But I still respectfully disagree that posting their picture BEFORE confronting them with staff was a good idea.

A PROFESSIONAL tech conference is not the time nor place to make lewd inappropriate jokes. Save that for golf outings with your former frat bros..

Totally agreed. That should go for tweeting sexist and lewd/inappropriate jokes during the conference, which is why we should find out who made this tweet and let them know that it is not okay: http://instagram.com/p/W3htw7gaR5/

Here's context:

The guy behind me to the far left was saying he didn't find much value from the logging session that day. I agreed with him, turned around and said so. He then went onto say that an earlier session he'd been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn't really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development https://us.pycon.org/2013/schedule/talks/.

That would have been find until the guy next to him...

began making sexual forking jokes

I was going to let it go. It had been a long week. A long month. I had been on the road since February and PyCon was my 5th and final conference before heading home.

I know it's important to pick my battles. I know I don't have to be a hero in every situation. Sometimes I just want to go to a tech conference and be a nerd.


like Popeye, I couldn't stands it no more because of what happened next:

Jesse Noller was up on stage thanking the sponsors. The guys behind me (one off to the right) said, "You can thank me, you can thank me". That told me they were a sponsoring company of Pycon and from the photos I took, his badge had an add-on that said, "Sponsor".

They started talking about "big" dongles. I could feel my face getting flustered.

Was this really happening?

The rest of the story I've posted on my blog: http://butyoureagirl.com/14015/forking-and-dongle-jokes-dont...

Can you please explain, because it seems obvious to you but not to me, how a crass joke about male anatomy is inherently anti-female.

Can you also please explain why going public was the best immediate course of action.

Lastly, would you have been offended if the joke came out of a female's mouth (as asked below)?

I've been in a situation where a young female engineer was in a very abused situation, and it took me a much thought to figure out how to handle it, but immediately going public was definitely not the right choice.

Thank you.

I am NOT the OP but I think the answers to your questions are pretty clear. Crass jokes about in the anatomical parts male or female are not appropriate in a professional setting where you don't know everybody who is sitting nearby. There's no need to go into complex discussions about sexual or power dynamics. Immediate action is needed because unlike the workplace there would be no opportunity to speak with these people later

How fragile are women, really? It seems amazing to me that they don't all just shatter the day they are born (from what I read on the internet at least).

Your comment is stupid. Sexual jokes made by strangers create a hostile environment for women. Don't do it. Period.

If you are among friends, go crazy and nobody gives a damn.

I tend to think the people at Pycon are my friends. I've dealt with a lot of them personally for year. We are supposed to be a laid back community, not a toxic environment where people are afraid to say something wrong. Let's leave that to the MS guys.

> Sexual jokes made by strangers...

Is a joke about a 'big dongle' a sexual joke, or an anatomical joke?

Is a joke about someone having fat fingers a sexual joke, since fingers can be used in sexual acts?

> ...create a hostile environment for women

And not men?

Is a joke about a 'big dongle' a sexual joke, or an anatomical joke?

I feel like you're being willfully obtuse here. The penis is commonly used for exactly two things. Sex is the only reason why anyone would consider it advantageous to have a large penis.

And not men?

Sure, men too. Let me repeat that: you are "allowed" to be offended about this if you are a man. People tend to say "creates a hostile environment for women" not because of assumption or stereotype but because of many personal accounts of specific women who say that this sort of joking makes them feel like they're in a hostile environment.

I'm on accord with you, but not accord with the choice to have added photos of the people and never talked to them. I feel this is a tough situation now that the guy lost his job. Is his job loss been verified though? I'd be curious to know that...I mean 3 kids!? I can't imagine.

Also swearing, mentioning body parts, gay people, violence, and unpopular views. All very very bad..

It's not a case of how fragile they are, it how much they have been, and still are, disadvantaged by the way society is structured.

Things have improved in recent years but look at average salaries, representation in government, representation at senior levels in companies and so on and tell me that it's all sorted.

And if women aren't being fairly represented at the top (unless you're saying that there have in history genuinely been no women capable of being, or even running for, US president), why do you think they're represented fairly further down? And then why do you think that is?

Women are fairly represented at the top and at the bottom. They are mostly missing from both ends of the spectrum. If you understood about the differences in expression between males and females (it's not just humans that follow these trends) then you would recognize that while men tend towards greatness and failure, women tend to be average.

Mother nature was too smart to waste reproductive potential on environment testing.

You're trying to solve a "problem" that isn't, and wrecking what works in your attempt.

So your answer: women, know your place.

Can you cite research from reputable journals to support this? And are the measures of whatever the hell it is you're measuring that says women are extraordinary aren't biased in terms of the way society sees the sexes (that is measuring what has been deemed historically useful based on a male perspective) and are judging genuine ability in things that matter, not just one easily measurable thing.

I only ask because rankable measures of ability of the sort you're talking about are generally consider bullshit these days.

Height, weight, IQ, Bone Density, math ability.... you name a quantifiable human trait, men are more diverse than women.

And I didn't say anything about women should "know their place"... it's just biological reality that the top and the bottom are male dominated. As such, you can't expect proportional representation at the extremes of expression.

And to only look at the good end and attempt to create proportional representation there is an anti-male practice.

Don’t believe the crap about the patriarchy. More women are accepted and attend college. More degrees are awarded to women than men. Women outlive men. More men commit suicide. Men are twice as likely to be victims of violence, including murder. If you consider sexual assaults in prisons, twice as many men are raped as women (society thinks prison rape is funny). The streets are littered with homeless men, sprinkled with a few homeless women. Statically, women are happier than men. The myth that girls are being cheated by are educational system is belied by the fact that schools are bastions of femininity, mostly run by and taught by women. Girls outperform boys in school. It is the boys in school getting f*cked over, and prescribed ritalin for being boys. Real wages for men are falling, while real wages for women are rising. Just because someone says something enough times, doesn’t make it true. Men have nothing to feel guilty about.

In that case, the joke should be called out for being inappropriate period, to men or women. A particular gender needs not be mentioned.

I think that's a problem here. An offensive joke is being dressed up as a gender issue. There isn't a gender issue here, there's just a maturity issue with everyone involved.

sure, but taking their photo and posting it as step 1 is not the action of someone being brave

Blogspam. Why don't you engage in this discussion here instead of promoting a private website which is semiblocked anywhere but a tiny part of Northern America?

Frankly, I think you are a cyberbully.

My first reaction to this was that she was being overly sensitive. As several others pointed out she admits that she played Cards Against Humanity while at the conference and obviously that seems far more offensive to most than dongles and forking.

Any girl that works in a place with a highly skewed male to female ratio has to have a cut off. While working at a game company I let little jokes like this slide because I thought they were funny and they didn't offend me at all. Then it got a little worse and it eventually turned into "Oh alukima is grumpy today, her boyfriend must not have given her any dick last night" and when I told someone no, we couldn't do x "on your period?, I'll just take this up with [male supervisor]." I eventually quit.

I don't think it's like that in every unchecked environment but in the future I will speak up much earlier. I'll probably be called overly sensitive then and I'll probably agree with that. But it's worth to keep it from escalating.

From my experience, there can be a lot of one-ups-manship in the office. Between men or between women.

If your environment has this type of atmosphere, it probably will escalate until you make it known where your line is.

I don't think it's a problem to make your line known. People, men and women, interact with others differently. Some of my coworkers are massive flirts for example, I'm not.

Their line is different from mine, and that's okay as long as we respect each other.

This was a private conversation between two individuals. This reeks of a witch hunt to me.

Who's worse in this situation, the men having a private conversation, or the woman who was eavesdropping and decided to make this into her personal witch-hunt? Posting their pictures online was far worse than what they said. The fact that she sees herself as "Joan of Arc" just shows how self-righteous she is. I would be very concerned if I were working with her.

I'm not on the side of Adria in this fight, but I don't agree with your points. First of all, they were not having a private conversation. Presumably Adria wasn't utilizing some telescopic microphone to record their whispers. She was just sitting near them, and heard them speaking. That is not eavesdropping.

What I'll remember from all that: you can lose your job and be publicly smeared and shamed by joking with your friend at a conference. I certainly wouldn't ever want to come at any such conference, at any price. This is political correctness gone completely crazy.

It sounds like it was so crowded that it was hard to have a conversation that could be considered "private", that is, not easily overheard. To me, this would be like saying something offensive at work while on an elevator or in the corporate cafeteria. I may be looking directly at someone else while saying it, but if others can easily overhear it, is it really "private"? Having said that, I would not have tweeted their photos, but I might have said something directly to them without or "before" involving staff. . .which might also be considered a violation of the Code of Conduct.

I hope people here realize how far some people will go when they feel they are given permission to harass others:


This is just awful. And the people who are taking part in the harassment are responsible, not anyone else.

Being that you "thanked" Adria for her deplorable behavior, I'm not sure that you're in a position to speak out against harassment on this issue.

Adria's behaviour wasn't deplorable - it was fine. The response of the two men involved's workplaces (ie firing them for essentially bad PR) was less than fine, but not deplorable. The response of the hordes of screaming shitbags making death threats has been deplorable. Fucking deplore the actually deplorable, not the fine.

The hatemail and harassment is awful. However, I do think pycon staff dropped the ball by not making sure photos taken without consent were taken down/deleted when the complaint was being resolved.

may I ask what started all this?

Trolls are harassing Jesse Noller because of the role he played in responding to http://pycon.blogspot.com/2013/03/pycon-response-to-inapprop...

Asa woman who hangs out at tech events, I've had people make all manners of offensive jokes around me. And a really great way to handle it is to talk to them about it. Or ignore it. Or talk about it loudly in front of them with my friends. Putting someone on public blast for something overheard, and then writing a douchey post about how you're creating safe space for future generations... is just pathetic. Be a !@#$ adult about it.

It's interesting how Adria attaches the importance of dealing with these men since they were sponsors, but then when dealing with it went completely from her personal platform. As SendGrid, her company is a sponsor, shouldn't she have run her response/reaction through the proper channels? This of course had an effect (hopefully short term) on the comment maker, but I think Adria will find in the long run she just shot herself in the foot in the tech space as far as further employment is concerned.

What an outrageous, holier-than-thou, nasty, self-righteous woman this is.

Firing someone for saying something mildly offensive within earshot of a woman is not going to make the community more accepting of female colleagues.

It seems from the comments from the individuals involved in the incident that the "perpetrators" of said offensive have been genuinely apologetic and remorseful. While Ms. Richards although apologizing for the fact that one of the jokers lost their job has not really apologized for making this a big stink over social media. I agree, if you have a concern use the Code of Conduct to your advantage or talk to them directly but why take their picture and post it on twitter with some vague description what you think they said if not to shame or humiliate them publicly. Well, why would she apologize? Being a media personality, (that what she is, a tech PR person that gets in front of people and talks for a living, ignore the Tech. Evanglist BS), using social media effectively is probably integral to her business model. If she admits that the original posting to twitter was uncalled for then its akin to saying she can't do part of her job in an ethical manner. So what is she to do, double down of course. Instead of being an adult and admitting she made a mistake as well, she needs to play the "Joan of Arc" card in order to garner more sympathy and divide the audience. Sure she makes herself look like an asshole to some but doing it but at least she saves face with a lot of people she hopes to potentially sell her services to. Instead she should admit that she got ticked off and decided to use her considerable PR skill to make an example out of two people. Well guess what, pay back is a bitch. I just checked your blog and it's down. It seems cloudfire isn't helping you, and by the Out of memory error message that's returned, (which by the way, if you are a "tech evangelist" you should know is incredibly insecure to display error messages like that on a production website) it seems like that DDOS is working. The internet is a double edged sword and it seems like it's swinging back her way. From my point of view, this is the ultimate in fairness. Her actions caused a person to lose their job, (I don't believe for a second that if she had not posted to twitter, if she had gone to the con staff or directly confronted the jokers, that anybody would have lost a job.) so she should lose an equivalent dollar amount in lost job opportunities and page views.

Didn't GitHub's progress-bar screen while you were waiting for a fork used to say "Hardcore forking action!" or something like that? I think I have a shirt that says something along those lines too. Weren't those guys celebrated for their incredible humor?

She posted a picture of two guys and made public allegations about their conduct which resulted in their termination. To me this looks like grounds for a defamation lawsuit. Did they give permission to use the image of them? Did they admit to making these alleged jokes that she took offense to? There's something seriously wrong with this. I could take pictures of any two guys at an event and put it on Twitter and say they were gay bashing or using racial slurs, and they have no opportunity to defend themselves.

This is seriously messed up.

You could've read this thread to find the answers to most of your questions. Yes, the two gentlemen in question did make these jokes; one of them admits as much in this thread, and said so to the PyCon organizers when they investigated the incident. Yes, they had an opportunity to defend themselves.

You might not be familiar with defamation law in the United States, but understand that truth is an absolute defense against defamation. Nobody is disputing the facts of the incident (the actual content of what was said), and Adria's interpretation of the jokes (whether you agree with it or not) is clearly in the realm of opinion.

I could take pictures of any two guys at an event and put it on Twitter and say they were gay bashing or using racial slurs, and they have no opportunity to defend themselves.

Yet ask yourself: does this happen in the real world? Is there an epidemic of false, Twitter-aided public shamings? We've already established that this isn't an example, since no facts are in dispute. Maybe the implications of this incident aren't as far-reaching and scary as you think.

You're right about the defamation. However:

> Yes, they had an opportunity to defend themselves.

That is to say, they had an opportunity to defend themselves to the PyCon organizers. Who, subsequently, did not kick them out. From what I understand, after discussing the situation and hearing both sides (and, presumably, their apologies), PyCon issued them a warning. At least one individual then left of his own accord.

Where they had no opportunity to defend themselves was against the public shaming (and subsequent outcry) brought about by Adria's twitter post. At least not immediately, and by then the damage was done (I see that later one posted a comment on HN).

Regardless of what the law may or may not say, or whether or not they crossed any lines (and I believe they must have, to at least some degree, for Adria to have felt so strongly about it), Adria really did not give them any opportunity to even apologize, let alone present their side of the story.

Perhaps their jokes were truly indefensible somehow. But it hurts the community when, instead of affording each other some form of due process and making an effort to raise awareness and education, we choose arbitrary scapegoats and pursue vigilante justice.

Now here is someone who deserves to be banned:

compare and contrast https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5402826

Yeah. They were sitting a few feet from me. I caught a whiff of the smoke and my first thought was "are you freaking kidding me?" I don't care what you do in your own home, but toking up in a crowded room at a tech conference is just jackassery.

Honestly, I cant speak to what happened here as Im not sure what to think other than both US government and now its citizens are working to maintain police state rather than a free country. Beyond that, I happen to work in an environment where women are not treated fairly or given the same opportunities as male sw developers. I survive it, try not to be part of the problem, but it sucks! There really is a gender inequality problem in the tech industry and I think both sides are part of the problem. Both sides conduct themselves in ways that propagate the issues. Beyond that, even tech woman within their own gender group become more detrimental to each other than the males. It's sickening!

How do we truly begin to solve this on all layers? I guess the first step is awareness within all layers of the issue, and agree on all sides there are problems that cut both ways, and then we must be willing to resolve it on all layers. We cant just hold one gender responsible, we all are responsible. But really how best to do this???

Single White Female Systems and Sw Developer

Full disclosure: I'm a girl with three older brothers and have been around a ton of guy-humor.


Hey everyone, I do feel really bad for "mr-hank." I personally would not have been offended by his comments ... I probably would have found them funny. I go to a lot of tech conferences (and I have 3 older brothers), but girls joke about things, too. I'm just not one to freak out about the word "dongle" or "fork." The implications seem fairly innocent to me.

But listen, it was Playhaven who sparked this controversy. The funny part ... is that Anonymous touts freedom of the internet ... their founding principle was to be against internet censorship. They attacked the Westboro Baptist Church for taking down a YouTube video of Tom Cruise. So, I'm really surprised they went after SendGrid over a freedom of speech case on Twitter. There's no doubt that Richards has the right to report on something that happens in real-time. That's a basic right for citizen journalism. I come from a journalist and analyst background, so am pretty passionate about the freedom to report.

Long story short, I think there's a lot of attention on the gender gap in technology right now and it's feeling very forced and uncomfortable ... i.e. lots of press and publicity.

I think empowering, rather than squabbling, is really important right now. This gender gap change has to come from the top (as Cisco pointed out recently in their awesome statement about not being very supportive and dedicating to doing better).


It's the long-standing corporate powers who need to be symbolically "fired" (or otherwise reprimanded) - not mr-hank.

And it was Playhaven who started this unjust controversy - not citizen journalism by Adria Richards.

I've been nerding it up my whole life. (And pretty much still giggle every time I hear the word "dongle." Come on! It's just a funny word.) The sexism I have experienced has less often come from men in tech, and most often been from the general population - men and women alike. That's just an aside. I'm not gonna comment on the specifics of this situation because I'm not sure any of us will ever have the facts. All I ask is that people don't use this as an opportunity to spew aggressive, hate-filled hyperbole. It doesn't help anyone's arguments. Let's try to rise above the estimation that the internet is nothing but a cesspool of angry trolls and shut-ins, and use situations like this to have open, practical dialogue. Who wants to cumbaya with me? (No, that's not a euphemism, and I will socially shame anyone who claims otherwise.) (Oh, god, this just went full #meta.)

The question of what is "appropriate" behavior is not something that has an objective definition. It is a subjective judgement which depends on the participants involved. If someone in a conversation is made to feel uncomfortable by the conversation, it is incumbent upon the participants to understand why, and make an informed decision on how and whether to modify their behavior.

Rejecting a person's objections to a given behavior out-of-hand is tantamount to telling that person "we don't care whether you stay or leave."

We can foster an inclusive industry by instead saying "we want everyone to participate, and we want to understand what you're saying when you say what we're doing makes you feel uncomfortable."

In the end, it's not a male vs female or race vs race thing - it's just a question of adopting essential patterns of civil collaborative engagement.

So what if you offended? Why should anyone have to worry about offending everyone? I find your assertion that because I am a white male I somehow have more privilege and my accomplishments are somehow less significant then a women offensive. Why are you offending me please stop! Seriously i'm sure Christians are offended by openly gay couples, should a gay person be fired for "offending" someone by his lifestyle? Muslims are offended by seeing a uncovered women, should they be allowed to fire her because they are offended? What makes your definitions of offensive anymore valid then theirs? I also find your belief that somehow your opinions on what is offensive is more valid then other peoples.

Hey everyone - before commenting, please notice how many people have already commented with essentially your opinion. No need to pile on.

What we have here is a cascade of overreaction. HN and other communities are overreacting too. Think how much better it'd have been if, for example, PlayHaven had waited a day or two to think through this (assuming we've already got the story right, which is unlikely). That applies to you too. Let's just take it easy for the time being. Probably by tomorrow we'll have a clearer view of the facts.

Don't try to hurt someone on the internet, especially when others are doing the same.

What a bunch of melodrama (on all sides, but the anti-Adria faction is definitely uglier). These are adults? Glad I never got into Twitter, what a waste of time and energy.

I don't know if I'll ever go to PyCon. But if I do, I'm not saying anything but "hello" and "good bye".

What's next, are they going to go out and get the news, television programming, and all other media outlets to stop the sexism? Why are they trying to ruin all conferences? Why does the court of public opinion not target those outlets?

Oh, because they can't get any traction. That's why.

From what the guy has said (one of the two guys), there was no warning, no complaint at the time. Just a picture taken. This lady had a size-able twitter audience that she tried to exploit. So it was unfair to the male who got let go for what seems a very minor thing.

I got downvoted for saying it at the time and later quoted out of context on shithnsays, and I wish I wasn't in a position to say I told you so, but: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4982330

You can debate whether she should have been offended, but it's clear that she was offended. It's possible to offend people unintentionally.

Given that, her actions are totally understandable. I doubt that she intended to get the guy fired.

Nice image for sendgrid, they should be thankful. Although SES is faster already.

I think you all need to spend a few weeks in rural Africa and realise how fuckton crazied we westerners can get at times. (Am nicking that phrase if thats ok, @bobwaycott?) Word!

I snicker every time i hear the word dongle in a meeting...

By the way, let's not forget that besides Adria Richards, there is another party to be shamed and boycotted: PlayHaven.

I am pretty good at what I do and I would never ever in a million years work for them or anyone like them. Good engineers are in demand and thus in a position of some influence.

Don't take the victim mindset. Your employer needs you at least as much as you need them. Boycott PlayHaven. They need to know there are consequences. It's the only way anything is going to change.

I saw a petition to re-hire the guy who got fired. Fuck that. I know I wouldn't want that job back.

This goes for Adria Richards' employer SendGrid as well. Andria has publicly embarrassed you and put on the blacklist among many good engineers. I would never work for you or any other company that has position reserved for "developer evangelists."

OMG I just read the comment from the real victim, the guy who got fired and he is apologizing!

DUDE what are you apologizing for? She should be apologizing (will never happen). Your employer should be apologizing as well. But YOU have done absolutely nothing wrong.

At the very least I hope your apology in insincere and you're only doing it to get another job, which is somewhat understandable.


Now you made her point valid. Thanks.

So, some people were acting immaturely at a tech conference, violating the CoC. They offended someone with their antics, and most likely embarrassed their employer, a sponsor of said conference.

The employer might have been a bit knee-jerk in their reaction, but maybe not. No matter how many children you've got, publicly embarrassing the company at a sponsored event is certainly ample grounds for termination.

I am not a member of the python community. But I've gotta say, it's nice to see that it was handled in the way that it was.

And then you people. This Hacker News crowd. Jesus H Christ. You're talking about how Adria failed to use her power responsibly? Give me a break. If I was sitting where she was, I might have done the same exact thing. When you are childish in public, and behave in a manner that the organizers of a community event do not want you to behave, you get kicked out. When you make an ass of yourself while waiving a company logo around, you can expect to have your career impacted.

It's unfortunate that such an example was made of them. It is not a wise strategic move, clearly, because doing so mobilizes the asshat army, as we're seeing.

The non-apology http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681 is just disappointing.

My hope is that the boys involved in this incident can learn from it, and behave more appropriately when in public.

how about this?


Note: Public shaming can be counter-productive to building a strong community. PyCon does not condone nor participate in such actions out of respect.

She violated such a code of conduct herself and didnt actually report to staff; even by her own admission. This was twitted out and an army of angry whiteknights informed someone on staff.

> army of angry whiteknights

Please refrain from racist comments.

'white knight' has nothing to do with racism. It evokes the mythical imagery of the paladin, whose surcoat is clean and white because he is so pure and uncorrupted.

Just because you're not offended by a racist comment doesn't mean it isn't racist.

Thank you, Adria, for fighting the good fight. I hope that the voices of support for you drown out the rampant hate that you're receiving. Seems like HN turns into a complete shithole the second a woman "has the nerve to choose to be offended" or whatever bullshit these misogynist assholes peddle.

The benefit that I always see from situations like this is that it empowers the women who, in the past, have been too nervous to call people out on their shit. Just know that you're doing amazing work and are paving the way to creating an environment of gender equality.

I second rmrfrmrf here. People are acting like it's easy or fun to be the one to stand up and try to do what's right. It isn't easy or fun and part of the reason people don't do it is that when you stand up, you become a nice visible target.

Oh for fuck's sake.

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