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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 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.

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.

^ 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.

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. :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

"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.

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.

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?

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.

> 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.

"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)

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.

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

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.

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.

> 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?

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?

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

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

Maybe you should work on that.

"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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

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.

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