Amazing that a guy who disappeared almost 4 years ago can make it to the top of Hacker News, more than a few times, just by an obscure change to a basically defunct website.
I think it's pretty safe to say people love why the lucky stiff. He's funny, provocative, mysterious, strange, smart, creative... how could anyone _not_ want to see him back? We need more men & women in the world like _why.
As a corollary, we need more men & women in the world who love and appreciate people like _why, so that people who are like him but are less confident about showing their character in public (or even just to their immediate peers) would be more comfortable with doing so.
In other words, to be more accepting and appreciate of each others' quirks and differences.
That's easy for you and I to say, who are (presumably) fairly strong willed in being who we are. But what about our peers who are afraid, right now, in being themselves?
Yes, seeing others shake off the naysayers as they blaze a path of genuine individualism and (positive) weirdness is encouraging, but surely this isn't a binary situation where we can only have one or the other.
What I like are safe zones, such as smaller communities within a larger. The club I run does that (http://www.fvrb.org). We really strive to not only be accepting, but encourage others to take risks and be willing to fail or look foolish.
If someone threatens that safe zone at our club, I remove them. We simply do not tolerate people who are disrespectful to others. That doesn't mean we agree on everything (in fact we argue all the time!) but as long as things remain respectful, and apologies are publicly made when the line is crossed, our club remains healthy.
Smaller communities are, IMHO, the best way to foster growth in those of us with fears about being different.
I'll also speak candidly about this issue, knowing that what I'm going to share will offend some people. If you find religious stuff offensive, please just move on and disregard this comment. This isn't for you.
"I also think it's up to individuals to grow a tougher skin"
What makes this line of thinking so utterly useless is that you can't force someone to "toughen up" versus bullies/assholes if they lack the capacity at a particular point in time. The attitude only empowers the bullies and assholes.
Having a thick skin isn't sufficient. Simply patiently explaining your position to people who are being hostile (eg: my previous experience on HN) doesn't do anything more than make them form up into mobs and start pursuing you and harassing you. (Seriously, everything from blatant name calling, to finding personal revelations in past comments and then posting them publicly to be mocked... ok I'm a minority, I should feel bad about that? Mocking me for being a minority was massively upvoted, while me asking why this was tolerated here was downvoted.)
Eventually, I find this site to be too much to waste time on, and simply left. (I doubt this account will last more than a day anyway.)
This site has a narrow minded and intolerant culture. (And those who are within the range of whats "Acceptable" think that its quite the opposite so they never see it.) This culture knows that it can call people names, attack them personally, dig up private information and harass them and get away with it because there will be no punishment-- since they all vote each other up in their game of "smear the queer".
This is, of course, why they do it. Hounding those who are different into leaving until you have an ideologically pure little "community".
Meanwhile the moderators of this site hellban people for the "crime" of linking to a scientific paper that disagrees with global warming (since this is a leftist site, obviously, if you disagree with global warming you're not part of the realm of people where "tolerance" applies.)
And so the people who are different leave, the "community" sits around and congratulates itself on how tolerant it is, never recognizing how completely homogenous it is.
> Meanwhile the moderators of this site hellban people for the "crime" of linking to a scientific paper that disagrees with global warming
Hellbans are not always moderator implemented. Usually hellbans are the result of people downvoting. Since climate change denialism is usually bullshit I can understand why that kind of link gets many down votes.
The other stuff sounds horrible, and surprising, and I'm sad if your account of it is accurate. For what it's worth I've seen personal attacks heavily downvoted, and I've seen homosexual-positive comments upvoted.
I agree with you, having a thicker skin is not sufficient, but to me it's not either/or, it's both/and. We need better communities and people with thicker skins. Sometimes things can become so evil and caustic, no skin in the world is thick enough to endure it. That's when it's necessary to leave.
HN is probably too large of a community to improve the vitriol that sometimes flows here. I like what http://lobste.rs is trying to do, where you need a recommend to submit and post.
This site has a narrow minded and intolerant culture.
Perhaps... I am not sure I agree, but I did not have your experience. I did, however, notice that people sometimes react more to the style and less to the substance of what has been said. Which is remarkable considering how much effort is usually spent on focusing on the substance. I suppose we are all human.
It is fairly homogenous, in that it's made up of mostly men with a strong engineering/computing/scientific bent. I've not seen people react that violently to anything, though. You must have either said something that stirred people up a lot, or you may be overreacting. It's almost certainly not due to your status as some sort of minority.
For a tolerant, civil, agreeable collection of intelligent human beings who are interested in perusing anti-global warming literature while taking your throbbing martyr complex into nuanced account at every step of the way, please navigate to about:blank. It loads a hell of a lot faster than HN.
I agree you have to pick your battles on HN. You have to realize, however, that it comes with the nature of the animal that the progressive left is much more outspoken and mob like in their views. There are more people that agree with you than you realize, it's just that few of them bother to make it public.
_why, to respond to your questions in SOLICIT, you don't have to play the _why character if you don't want to. Most of us are happy to see you, whether you act bizarre or not. We miss your insight and commentary and sense of humor. Experiment if you like, and ignore the jerks.
Mostly people who were understandably pissed off that along with wiping out his blogs, twitter, etc., he took down his github and abandoned his projects without helping to oversee a transition of stewardship. This included a few high-profile rubyists.
And then presumably also some people who always thought his whimsy was a detriment to the ruby community (by making it seem less professional or something).
There's a difference between talented programming and good engineering, and _why is almost a perfect example of that. Engineering is more about discipline and maintainability than cleverness and artistic expression.
the second image uses the word "exile" several times. Exile is typically associated with being cast out from one's group. The _why saga was before my time as a Rubyist but I always thought he vanished, i.e. left on his own accord.
Was there an "exile" event that I am not aware of? Or does anyone know what he's talking about?
I can't think of any specific "exile event", but it did seem some time before he left that there was a trend in the Ruby/Rails community that made him feel unwelcome. That trend was "replace why's libraries and make noise about how his library wasn't any good".
Hpricot in particular was under heavy assault. I'll be the first to say that maybe it wasn't always the most performant solution, but for a long time it was the only good solution (and I tried a few). So when people are ripping your libraries left and right, forgetting to pay a little bit of respect to how big an impact he had on the community, then yeah...I could see how he'd feel the need for a self-imposed exile.
While I've never followed either of the stories that closely, isn't that fairly similar to what happened with Zed Shaw? Only in Zed's case he ended up finding a happy home in the Python community vs. completely disappearing from the face of the earth forever.
Zed (his real name? Seems like one) became famous by putting on a loud obnoxious persona, plus complaining that people used his work (mongrel) without appreciating him.
Why (not his real name!) became famous for his work's weirdness. And his "enemies" disliked how capricious and weird his work was, not the sort of thing to build a Real Serious Business on. and he fled from the public eye into self-imposed exile when people started piercing his intentional veil of anonymity.
There are a lot of different ways to be exiled. From what I gather, his privacy was violated so he left. Whether his privacy was violated out of excessive fanboi zeal or as an expression of lack of trust/attempt to verify something or some other reason, it was a form of hostile event which drove him off. He was not being accepted on the terms he wished to set, in essence.
I'm not going to link to anything for reasons which will be obvious, but basically, _why asked for privacy and someone doxed (outed) him. At this time, _why decided to vanish. I don't know that _why ever said why he vanished (he vanished, after all), but most assume that he left because he was doxed. This made Hacker News at the time and a follow up article about _why I read a couple of years later appeared to verify his identity.
For those who don't know what all the fuss is about, you should check out _why's Poignant Guide to Ruby (http://mislav.uniqpath.com/poignant-guide/book/). It remains one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've ever had, not even just limited to programming books. It exudes so much joy and enthusiasm in its constant absurdity, it's unbelievable. The sidebars are legitimately laugh-out-loud funny. It's really hard to write humor well, but holy crap. I mean, just read this:
"At my local Barnes and Noble, there is a huge wall of Java books just waiting to tip over and crush me one day. And one day it will. At the rate things are going, one day that bookcase will be tall enough to crush us all. It might even loop the world several times, crushing previous editions of the same Java books over and over again."
"What I’m Going to Do With the Massive Proceeds from this Book
Anyone who’s written a book can tell you how easily an author is distracted by visions of grandeur. In my experience, I stop twice for each paragraph, and four times for each panel of a comic, just to envision the wealth and prosperity that this book will procure for my lifestyle. I fear that the writing of this book will halt altogether to make way for the armada of SUVs and luxury town cars that are blazing away in my head."
(This is a completely free book)
I've made a Latex version of WPGtR, available here: https://github.com/agravier/wpgtr-latex . I think that it makes a nice printable version, but I welcome pull requests and would like to see some beautiful forks.
I started working with Latex again not long ago, so I'll maybe improve it soon, too.
_why's blend of programming with collages remind me of the blend tonke dragt did with children's novels and physics or michael ende's short stories to his father's surrealist paintings or experiments with interactive fiction.
a refreshing sense of adventure. crossing boundaries
Based on a cursory examination of the comments, it seems like this would be a lot of fun (I'm guessing it's like a riddle or something)? Would someone care to offer a primer or background on what this is / how you start following the clues?