She didn't make a mistake, she made a calculated play -- she fancied herself a hero and victim at the same time, the level of self-aggrandizement on display was dizzying, she did it in public to make the mob lash out.
SendGrid is in an ugly place, probably losing customers by the minute. If I was currently a SendGrid customer, I would be taking my business elsewhere... for a variety of reasons.
SendGrid would have come out stronger from weathering the storm as a defender and promoter of women in tech. Instead, they're giving in to terrorism. Anyone feeling a sense of relief out of this situation is out of their mind.
I am not sure I agree. I don't think that their customers want to be dragged into any of this, they just want working mail... and will be unforgiving when the service is down.
As for being a "defender and promoter of women in tech" -- I guess it really depends on if you see her as the victim or the bully in the situation. Being a defender and promoter of bullies in tech is a far less noble badge to wear.
"SendGrid would have come out stronger from weathering the storm as a defender and promoter of women in tech."
Is that what they would have been though?
People are drawing attention to a load of things she's said on twitter and elsewhere that are more than a bit dodgy. A picture begins to form of someone on a mission which may not really be aligned with Sendgrid's requirements for an evangelist.
I guess it seemed relevant to me, because the whole point was that Adria was (perhaps too easily) triggered by comments with sexual undertones. There is something scatological and offensive about photocopying your bum, but it doesn't seem all that sexual. Mooning a stranger is obnoxious, but exposing yourself to a stranger makes you a sex offender.
(And yes, it's pretty easy to photocopy your ass without photocopying the other parts if you sit on the photocopier the right way.)
IMHO, it's more public and potential offensive than muttering 'dongle' in a crowded theater.
The point I was trying to make is that every party involved is in definitely in the gray area between offensive and unoffensive. She made sexual humiliation jokes in front of thousands of twitter followers. Her company made scatlogical jokes in a much more professional setting than a conference. Compared to these, muttering 'dongle' in a crowded theater is, you must admit, at least equally as offensiv, if not quite a bit less.
And nobody gave a damn about her twitter jokes or the company jobs page before this.
Every single piece of communication and action taken as a result of this whole boondoggle reads like satire. If I read an account of these events on the Onion, I'd think maybe they'd taken the satire too far; to the point of ridiculous that passes suspension of disbelief.
SendGrid is in a lose-lose situation. Either they keep Richards, deal with the DDOS (which has crippled their mail server), and deal with disgruntled male devs who've sworn to never use their service, or they fire Richards, get good PR from their client base (the male devs who had previously sworn to never use SendGrid), get that DDOS off their back, and deal with some negative PR from the 'feminists in tech' group.
> it only reinforces the 'tech world systematically suppresses women' meme.
No it doesn't. It actually reduces it. She is being treated as a complete equal here, in being called out and held accountable for her actions. It would be a setback if she were protected purely because she was "speaking out" about sexism.
It's one thing to make a mistake. It's another thing to make a mistake when you're a public spokesperson/evangelist for your employer, use a widely public communication channel to publicly shame someone, and not expect your employer to do anything about that.
> People make mistakes. Couldn't SendGrid have offered the guy a job and apologized profusely.
That sounds like it'd be really awkward for both Adria and the guy and eventually make it worse for SendGrid. If you've followed Adria's comments on her blog post, you'd realize it'd be a serious about-face to back down. The guy would probably have to grovel, and personally, in this case I'd rather be out of a job.
> You could argue that her job is to be an advocate for SendGrid, and this incident has done the opposite. But I assume she was just fired so the ddos would go away.
Why not both? It didn't give me a terribly negative view of SendGrid, but certainly warned me to steer clear of ever working for / with them for fear of stepping on overly-PC toes.
This story is an embarrassment for everyone involved except perhaps the 2 guys who started the whole thing.
* Adria Richards had a number of options starting with explaining to them that the jokes made her feel uncomfortable to reporting them to staff. Instead she went for the nuclear option of public shaming.
* Sendgrid will only appear to have done this in response to their site being subject to DDOS.
* Playhaven have overreacted in dismissing one of the guys (although their blog post suggests there might have been more behind it).
The guys involved apologised at the time and have done so publicly. I can't help but feel that if Adria had apologised for her course of conduct at the first opportunity, this thing would have blown over.
Instead you have another story about misogyny in the industry that has run for over 24 hours with nobody looking good at the end of it and everybody suffering.
This sucks. Regardless of your opinion of the situation she hasn't been fired because what she did was wrong, she has been fired because the internet is blackmailing her employer by destroying their business. It's almost guaranteed that she will have been well aware this was going to happen, they'll have parted on friendly terms and will be doing everything they can to help her get another job. Hell, she might have even been involved in the drafting of that Facebook post herself. This isn't a victory, SendGrid have been bullied/blackmailed into doing something they don't want to do.
If she was going to be fired for it should have been because of her actions, not because some dickwads are blackmailing the company. How very disappointing and now we'll never hear the last of this. Time to make use of filtering options in HackerNew (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hackernew/lgoghlnd...)
Blackmailing? You have a very odd definition of blackmail.
Do you consider it blackmail when people refuse to buy Apple gear because of their patent trolling? How about people who refuse to buy Chik-Fil-A because of their donations to homophobic groups?
Sendgrid keeping on Adria after her actions would appear to a casual observer to be tacit acceptance of her actions. A stance, which after the thread yesterday, would seem to be morally unacceptable to a great deal of people.
There is nothing immoral about refusing to do business with a company based on their actions or inactions. Welcome to the free market!
The refusal to do service with a business is fine, free will and all that, the problem is that people are attacking the business and preventing them from doing any business with people that want to. This is a reaction to the DDoS...
It doesn't matter if it's speculation or not. The DDOS attack is disgusting and the instigators of the attack should be ashamed of themselves.
It doesn't matter if it's speculation or not. Anyone that boycotts a company because an employee used her bully pulpit to call out someone's misogyny is an asshole. Any company that reacts to that loss of business is also a company full of assholes.
It doesn't matter if it's speculation or not. The DDOS DID happen and anyone that says that it didn't influence their poor decision, is very confused about the world.
It doesn't matter if it's speculation or not. Everyone has lost in this situation. The original dickhead that didn't have enough sense to keep his misogyny out of ear shot which cost him his job, the company that fired him because they didn't want the exposure of keeping a sexist who was caught red handed being a sexist, the woman who has had to put up with some of the worst trolls on the web because she called out someone making sexist jokes, and the company that felt that they had to fire her because of the exposure of keeping her on the payroll AND because of the vicious disgusting amoral assholes that have attacked that companies servers.
Frankly. Frankly it doesn't matter. This situation sucks and the trolls are behind the steering wheel nearly every step of the way.
I really think you should check the definitions of misogyny and sexism
misogyny n.: The hatred of women by men.
sexism n. : Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, on the basis of sex.
Now go back and read what the men were actually making jokes about. As much as I hate to burst your bubble, dick jokes, as crude and inappropriate as they may be for a professional setting, do not show any "hatred" or "discrimination" towards women. Hell, women can make them as much as men can too. If a male overheard two women making vagina jokes do you think they would start to claim they have a "hatred (or discrimination) towards men"? Hell no. I thought the feminist movement was supposed to be about equality?
she went to the internet instead of actually speaking to the men. as she stated in her blog it was a `calculated` decision... she forgot that there are many other people outside of her twitter circle that could interpret this incident differently than herself. every company involved had to react to the PR storm that adria had caused. no one has gained anything from her actions, and it is a step backwards. the only good thing to come of this is PyCon amending their CoC.
So what, they're going to give her a hidden paid vacation for a while and hope the attackers just forget about the whole thing? It'd seem to me if they are doing this to give into a demand, then they'd just get DDoS'd after it was found out they lied. Right?
Maybe SendGrid found out more information or found more persuasive arguments and changed their stance of support.
What? How can that make any sense? If they didn't need a Developer Evangelist then why did they have one in the first place? Are you seriously suggesting that their timing in firing her is completely coincidental?
I agree that this is probably a response to public actions - the public actions she made as a public representative of their company.
Even if that is not THE reason, it's certainly a plausible reason, and one I find much more likely and commendable than reacting to a DDoS. However, perhaps we shouldn't just jump to conclusions ahead of a comprehensive statement.
And when she pulled SendGrid, her employer, publicly into the fray via her twitter feed, who didn't know it was simply a matter of time?
I mean, what else could SendGrid possibly do? She basically forced them to fire her.
Her value to the company is being a public face to developers. She very publicly destroyed that value. Further, she pulled SendGrid in with her tweet about them "supporting" her. Had she not done that, she might have had a fighting chance, but it almost seems like she wanted to get fired.
Not to mention that a company wants to employ people with impeccable judgement, particularly for public facing positions. She showed incredibly horrid judgment in how she initiated the situation and continued to display horrid judgement in her handling of it. Do you want someone with horrible judgement being your public face and voice?
I don't put much stock in the DDoS talk, FYI. No reputable company fires someone b/c they are being blackmailed. Though, perhaps I'm giving too much credit here, I don't know.
Either way, it should not comes as a surprise to anyone that this is the outcome.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. This all seems like such a trivial issue, but now TWO people have lost their job over a bad joke.
Adria should have apologized, and that should have been that. Of course, if she insisted on not apologizing, then maybe she deserved to get sacked. She should have kept her employer out the spotlight and the best way to do that would've been an apology.
That's exactly the issue here - rather than apologizing for her actions, she insisted on painting herself as a hero speaking out against sexism, and clearly thought that her actions were thus justified.
It should have been, but Adria decided to take the fight to the Internet when she made that blog post and posted the tweets. She chose to do this instead of talking to the guys behind her. If you take a small issue to the online masses it always ends wrong.
This doesn't seem to be known by most of the people raging about it. PyCon organizers talked to the parties involved. They didn't even kick anyone out, let alone post pictures or get either party fired.
1. Two men make crude jokes to one another at conference.
2. Adria shames them.
3. PlayHaven fires one of them.
4. Internet goes berserk and threatens her.
5. SendGrid fires Adria.
I bet all parties wish she would have simply turned around and said "Y'know, boys, I'm trying to watch this lightning talk can you keep it down or keep your jokes to yourself for now?" Or, kept her twitter posting to simply asking Pycon to take care of it.
Really shitty to publicly announce a firing, regardless of how much of an imbroglio has formed around the situation. I think it would've gotten out without the press release, enough people are watching. Hard to see what Sendgrid gains by officially announcing it.
Congratulations, internet; a completely banal, pointless disagreement with zero stakes has ended with reputations tarnished, factions formed, threats hurled, feelings hurt, and two people out of work- and still nothing has been solved.
edit- this went off the front page REALLY fast, wtf
Wow - any idea on why this disappeared from the front page? It's only received more votes since my last refresh here... perhaps YC is moderating to mute drama from HN? Not a bad idea really... HN != lynchmob
The reason it has come to this is that Adria Richards never expressed even a minor amount of remorse for costing the other person his job.
She never re-evaluated her actions and acknowledged that she did something wrong.
She had every right to be offended and A) confront them or B) Report them to convention staff.
She reported them to convention staff and that was the right thing to do.
Unfortunately she also decided to publicly shame them and that resulted in a knee-jerk firing.
If Adria had expressed any amount of remorse vs. proclaiming herself a "hero" multiple times in the situation then the whole thing might have been perceived differently.
I'd like to think that everyone will learn something from this situation but the world is really divided into those who can accept responsibility and those who always find someone else to blame when things don't go as they expected.
"She reported them to convention staff and that was the right thing to do."
She reported them to convention staff and that was an option available to her more as a technicality than anything else. I doubt that those guys were being unreasonably obnoxious. The right thing to do was inform and educate and apply some degree of proportional response. This woman didn't want to create change, she wanted to guarantee hits to her blog by destroying someone else without due cause.
the best comment yet.
there seems to be a growing segment of the population (mostly from the left) that wakes up each day looking for ways to be offended. It seems like such a miserable way to live one's life.
They're free to end her employment without cause at any time (depending on local employment regulations). I don't see them making any other statement other than the fact that she no longer works for them, so they're probably in the clear.
This is exactly the kind of situation where people discover their well-laid plans were faulty. NewsBlur learned this recently. And it's hard to test it out beforehand if you don't already have the traffic to test it with.
Odds are, this is just hundreds/thousands of new people trying the API out after this incident. DDoS by your own prospective customers.
- Adria should never have done what she did. The best option would have been to turn around, ask the guys to politely stop. If they continued, she should have spoken with a con rep (like she did).
- I'm tired of people saying they're offended by things and not acting on it. Offence in itself is weak and means nothing to someone else. Saying "I'm offended" or "this offends me" while expecting people to stop what they're doing is self-centred and immature.
This whole ordeal could have been avoided with some common sense.
1) In a professional setting, keep the conversation professional.
2) Don't publicly shame someone, especially if they most likely didn't mean any offense. A tweet and a blog post that withheld names would have been much more effective and professional.
3) If you are a company, don't fire someone until all the facts came in. An internal investigation/reprimand would have been more than sufficient in both these cases.
Due to these actions, I'm afraid that women will be less likely to talk about sexism online in fear of retribution. And I'm also afraid that those that do talk about sexism in the tech world will be met with skepticism just because of this one incident.
Gosh, no one did the right thing here. Not the developers. Not Adria Richards. Not SendGrid. Not PlayHaven.
This was simply an immature joke blown out of proportion. No one did the right thing and there is a lack of human emotional intelligence when dealing with people.
Adria could've turned around and called the developers out on it. This was an incident for private discussion, not a public one. People make mistakes. Adria could've been more forgiving. The joke shouldn't be seen as an example of sexism, just immaturity. Where is Adria Richards' emotional intelligence? Is she logically right to feel what she feels? Absolutely, but she needs to forgive people when the say stupid things.
Same with SendGrid and PlayHaven. These people did not deserve to be fired. And Adria Richards did not deserve SendGrid's public posting on Facebook about her termination.
This is why we need more women in tech: The guys will watch what they say more carefully if there are more women around. The ideal work environment is that men should be more sensitive to what they say around women, and women should be less sensitive to what men say around women.
It's tragically stupid with overreactions from one woman and two companies.
But still: that doesn't mean it isn't inappropriate/rude (to the point of being talked to by conference organizers) to use sexually suggestive potty humor loudly at a professional tech conference during a talk.
That's stupid. Save it for your buddies at the bar
Everything about this incident is so upsetting. It just makes it feel like the whole tech scene is a tinderbox waiting to catch fire at any moment -- an unstable equilibrium where the slightest disturbance can dredge up a whole sea of barely suppressed anger and frustration. And conflict like this always ends up attracting the worst kind of people who want to escalate to name-calling and explicit threats. It's awful.
Short story (from what I gathered): she took a picture of two guys saying they were making sexist remarks. Some of the remarks were silly but some of them were plainly made up by Adria Richards. One of the people in the picture lost their job over it and then the internet came to their defence claiming it wasn't just exaggeration but fabrication. Adria Richard's employer then decides to end their relationship with her.
It is an overreaction to say anything was "plainly made up by Adria Richards." She did, I think, misconstrue comments about forking. But there was a little room for misconstrual.
The problem isn't that Adria Richards lied (which makes this sound like a supposedly-typical 'woman lies about being raped situation'). The problem is that she overreacted and then chose to act self-righteously instead of de-escalating.
Sendgrid should have put their employee in mute while the whole scenario played out. The employee made things worse for all involved by continually taking part of the situation.
Playhaven should have not fired the programmers right off the bat. They have had them go through disciplinary measurements, and a sexual harassment program/seminar. They could have suspended them for a week or so. But not firing them. This sent a really bad message to their team. I cannot fathom what their devs are feeling right now.
Nobody should have been fired.
This is an issue of bad management calls rather than one of sexism in the industry. And very, very bad handling of PR. Both companies should hire a PR expert to clean this up.
This whole story stinks, all of it. Since when do you post a facebook status when you fire somebody...
People do mistakes, and all the persons involved in that drama have: these guys for a bad joke, and her for going public with it in an attempt to publicly shame them. Now, their employers are just ridiculous at firing them for such a ridiculous story...
I guess it is our fault as well, if we stopped making a fuss about everything, this would not happen. Finally, we are seeing the consequences of the social networks and the delation that comes with it... I miss the time where someone would actually turn over and would ask you to stop doing something, using their voice, not their public influence..
What a total, total mess. To be clear, though: there is still no confirmation that SendGrid being down is a result of this incident. The timing certainly bears that out, but let's deal with the facts we actually have here.
To her credit, Adria stated that she didn't think the guy should have been fired. Perhaps she went further with her complaints than many would like, but I think it's fair to say that this has escalated far beyond what any party would have liked or wanted.
I can't help thinking that this is another inappropriate response to this whole debacle. Wouldn't it be better if they said "we won't fire someone because of an opinion they hold, but we will publicly ask the other company to reinstate the fired employee, assuming the reasons leading to the dismissal weren't unrelated to the incident"?
Amazed at the immaturity shown by pretty much all parties involved here. The dev. guy, his employer, adria and now sendgrid. I mean seriously sendgrid ? The only way to stop the DDOS is by firing adria (not that i am supporting what she did). This says a lot about where we stand in today's tech. world.
If anything this entire situation made me realize how something as seemingly benign as using your smartphone can result in such rampant chaos. 'Oh the times they are a changin...'
Note: Im not in support of either side here, just stating an opinion
If her role was "Developer Evangelist" she has done more harm than good. The thought of walking on eggshells worried about everything I say would be enough to get me to either switch companies or avoid working there.
If someone's making "fire the $@!#$ or your web site gets it" threats, I would hope SendGrid would have enough integrity to get law enforcement involved rather than just giving the people making the threats whatever they want.
She is a developer evangelist for SendGrid, who overheard two male developers, who were a row behind her on the last day @ PyCon 2013, crack a joke something about a Dongle in an allegedly sexual context.
Instead of reprimanding them of their inappropriateness, she took their photo without explicit permission, quietly notified PyCon about this inappropriateness, got them sent out of the conference. Then uploaded their photo to twitter, publicly shamed them, called them ass clowns on her own blog, while calling herself modern day Joan of Arc, while also previously making some stupid dick jokes on her own twitter.
All this ultimately led to one of those two male devs losing their jobs at PlayHaven. This unleashed the fury of the internet who called her on her bullshit and threatened SendGrid of no-more-business-with-you, some DDOSed their website. Since all this was turning into a PR disaster for SendGrid, they had no choice except to remove her.
Nooooo.... this is NOT a good thing. The good thing would have been PlayHaven reinstating the fired person, and everyone apologizing to each other for bad behavior.
Firing is NOT the answer for such minor transgressions. Yes, there were mistakes on both sides, but to lose your job over it is a huge overreaction from HR. Perhaps the DDoS should've been directed at PlayHaven for overreacting and not SendGrid?
If she sues the shit out of them (successfully or otherwise), it would be one of the worst things for women in tech. Companies would become very wary of hiring women, as they would risk a lawsuit / backlash if they ever fired her for anything, such as in this case, where clearly a lot of people think she was in the wrong.
She was fired fairly. She used her position and her platform to identify two individuals with the goal of publicly shaming them. If the people involved were a little younger, it'd be a clear-cut case of cyber-bullying.
No, this situation is the worst thing for women in tech. I can't begin to imagine the waves of misogyny that're about to run rampant through the tech community knowing that any woman who speaks out will be fired.