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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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'
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.