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.