Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp
Possible blokey jokey sees cross woman in pink slip
Life can imitate a Charlie Brooker drama, after all.
A programmer who made a "dongle" joke at a Python developers' conference has been fired, unleashing a Twitter lynch mob. His feminist accuser has also been fired after her employer suffered a DDoS attack.
"Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry," wrote Adria Richards, a social media "consultant advisor and coach" at Sendgrid, who sparked the storm in a blog post called "Forking and Dongle Jokes Don't Belong At Tech Conferences", along with a related Twitter post. Which you really have to read.
(There will be a quiz on Monday.)
Richards was attending the Python conference when a nearby fellow attendee made a joke about "forking repos" [code repositories] and a dongle.
"The stuff about the dongles wasn't even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive," she explained. "They're intended for network connectivity and to service as physical licence keys for software. I'd consulted in the past with an automotive shop that needed data recovery and technical support. I know what PCMCIA dongles look like."
"I was telling myself if they made one more sexual joke, I'd say something ... Then it happened ... The trigger" [our emphasis].
Richards realised that the dongleur was sitting behind her, but instead of giving him an earful, instead went to Twitter. The [unnamed] developer was then investigated by his employer and fired. Now Richards has been fired by her employer, Sendgrid, which suffered a DDOS attack after the palaver. Sendgrid explained she'd turned out to be the wrong kind of evangelist, after all:
A SendGrid developer evangelist's responsibility is to build and strengthen our Developer Community across the globe. In light of the events over the last 48+ hours, it has become obvious that her actions have strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite. As a result, she can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid. In the end, the consequences that resulted from how she reported the conduct put our business in danger. [Eh?—Ed.]
"Yesterday the future of programming [again, our emphasis] was on the line and I made myself heard," Richards declared in her blog post.
That much is certainly true. ®
Why should they have kept their mouth shut? People need to stop getting so easily offended over trivial things is more like it.
I've noticed a trend over the last decade where more and more people seem to be getting offended over everything and anything and it's just getting ridiculous now. Is this the future, where the whingers end up getting their way and we all end up becoming human robots?
And even if what you hear is so incredible offensive to your ears, is it really so difficult to just talk directly to whoever is offending you? Over at her blog, Amanda Blum has recounted her personal experiences of dealing with Adria Richards. This dongle incident is by no means an isolated incident. If anything, it's part of an established pattern of behaviour. Richards gets offended by something and instead of expressing her concerns directly to the people involved, she deliberately engages in histrionics and tries to create an internet shitstorm. The only difference is that this time her antics have spiraled out of control, and now herself and a father of three have both lost their jobs (in an American state with one of the highest levels of unemployment). The mainstream media have made things worse by largely failing to investigate the incident in detail. And let's be honest, the fact that a joke about dongles (in essence, a dick joke) is being reported in the press is just ridiculous, especially when you consider that Richards has made dick jokes on twitter in the past.
This whole incident has become a farce, and essentially nobody has acted correctly. Should the developer have made the joke? I don't know, seeing as nobody has bothered to actually repeat the wording of it. Was Richards' response to the joke appropriate? Holy shit no. She could have at least tried to talk to them directly, and instead she chose to escalate things way out of proportion. Should PlayHaven have sacked the joker? Fuck no, it was an overreaction to an overreaction. Should Richards have been sacked by SendGrid? Once again, no - it was an overreaction to an overreaction to an overreaction. What's especially tragic is that Richards will likely see all the unwarranted hatred that's being directed against her as vindication of her actions. I very much doubt asking herself "could I have handled this differently?" Hell, she's already said that her actions have made her "feel like Joan of Arc."
I know it sounds ridiculous, but the internet has actually allowed people to engage in what I describe as passive-aggressive bullying. Don't like something somebody has said or done? Why deal with the problem yourself when you can summon an angry mob with a twitter post or an outraged podcast!
Congratulations Adria. When confronted with a situation where two guys were making inappropriate comments (there is a line between a bad joke and something that just isn't appropriate) you managed to do pretty much the only thing you could that would make yourself as bad as them.
Rather than deal with it like an adult (reminding them that facial hair suggests their dongles haven't seen many female adapters) face to face you just HAD to use it as a way to draw attention to yourself. That does rather seem to be a theme with you. Did your parents not pay you enough attention? Or too much? Were they helicopter parents? Are your preschool paintings still on the fridge? I bet you still know how many gold stars you got in 2nd grade.
Women deserve parity and respect, pathetic self serving attention seeking does nothing but feed the trolls. If you are going to deal with people being juvenile a good first step is not to lower yourself to their level.