Thursday, March 28, 2013

Donglegate Refuted

Practically everyone (even me) has heard something about donglegate by now.  For those of you who haven't sobered up enough in the past week or so to read the Internet news, I'll give you a quick rehash, after which I'll proceed to my very own personal rant.

Caution: Adult language and themes ahead.  Click at your own risk.

Let's say that you, personally, are attending some sort of public conference that has to do with a topic you're interested in, either professionally or as an avocation.  You've just seated yourself in the ubiquitous cheap metal folding chair and are braced to hear a speech from some noteworthy personage that has something important to say.  You're minding your own business, when low and behold a pair of assholes seated right behind you start talking and making jokes that you, personally, find offensive.

Do you:
  1. Ignore them.
  2. Ignore them, figuring that they'll shut the fuck up eventually and if they don't, you might say something to them.
  3. Turn around and give them the stink eye.
  4. Turn around and ask them politely to please keep it down, you're trying to hear the speaker.
  5. Don't speak to them at all.  Instead, you alert the local security to the problem.
  6. Don't speak to them at all.  Take their photo and broadcast it over the Internet while alerting local security at the same time, and castigating these two cretins bitterly.
I usually select item 2.  I escalate to item 3, then when that doesn't work I'll go to item 4.  The worst result I've ever had when using item 4 was a lot of back talk while the noisy trio of unsupervised youth moved to another part of the theater.  I ignored the comments and was rewarded by a quiet atmosphere.  Seems sensible, right?  Well, keep reading...

There's this convention for propeller heads called PyCon 2013  - March 13 to 21, 2013
PyCon is the largest annual gathering for the community using and developing the open-source Python programming language.
Okay so far.  A huge number of keyboard jockeys get together and swap lies about how great the Python programming language is, and listen to speakers and have a good time.  In the middle of all this a couple guys have the bad luck to be seated behind an infamous feminazi.  One guy made an off-color joke about a dongle, which the feminazi says she was offended by.  The feminazi in question, one Adria Richards, elected to rectify the situation by using item 6, above.  You can read all about it here, in Adria Richards: Forking and Dongle Jokes Don’t Belong At Tech Conferences. The speculation is all mine, and is based on Ockham's razor (lex parsimoniae) - when you hear hoof beats think horse, not zebra.
The guy behind me to the far left was saying he didn’t find much value from the logging session that day. I agreed with him so I turned around and said so.
There are two men behind Adria having a private conversation about the conference.  Adria butts in with an unwanted rejoinder and is ignored.   This, I think, is where the trouble really started.   This isn't some nameless hoi polloi talking to these to men with penises.  This is Adria Richards!  She has over 7000 twitter fans and is a major player in the blog world.  How dare they ignore her majesty!

Then one guy makes a reference to forking, which is a legitimate coding term, and the other guy makes a dongle joke.  This gives Adria the opportunity she needs to walk all over both these cretins with her high heel FMPs.  But she needs something a little better than 'they had the audacity to ignore big important me'.  So in a clear departure from reality, we have Adria making a truly Olympian leap to conclusions:
I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop.
I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.
Who is this bitch trying to kid?  These are two men in a crowd of thousands who will very likely never meet any of the principals involved here.  However none of this is even considered.  Briefly, Richards snapped a photo of the two and uploaded the photo to her twitter account along with a description of what the two were guilty of.  PyCon security got involved, and both men tendered an apology - which should have been the end of the story, but thanks to Adria Bitchards Richards efforts, it wasn't.  One guy got fired, then the hacker community got wind of what was going on and passed judgement.  As a result another company (SendGrid) got attacked and Adria was fired.  Here are a few links:

arstechnica: How “dongle” jokes got two people fired—and led to DDoS attacks

arstechnica: “Donglegate” is classic overreaction—and everyone pays

In the aftermath, one of the developers lost his job and Richards eventually lost hers too. While I believe that Richards unfairly shamed these guys in public (two wrongs don’t make a right, as they say), PlayHaven and SendGrid emerge as the real reputational losers here. Ironically, the companies shared in the same core mistake Richards made. The asymmetry of incident and response has now elevated Donglegate from dust-up into life-changing event for at least two people, and it didn't have to end this way at all.
This fallout over a non-event is Moonbat behavior at its finest.  It isn't enough to simply tell the person next to you that you find their behavior offensive for some reason, or to get up and move to another seat.  That would be far and away too reasonable.  The folks who have dared to tread on your sensitive toes must be publicly humiliated and made to suffer.

My hard spot with this does is not confined to an angry black woman whose vindictiveness is exceeded only by her enthusiasm for publicly punishing anyone she deems guilty of some nebulous offense against humanity.  No.  I have a hard time believing that she'd be able to find more than five sympathizers anywhere, including cyberspace, and I cannot imagine the office culture in a company that would fire someone for making an off color joke in a private conversation.

The supporting Moonbats in this case are complaining about sexual harassment,  the good ol' boys network and Lord only knows what else.  I've worked a lot of different places and I've never seen sexual harassment or sex discrimination among workers in the IT department.  Now, in other departments, sure.  Marketing, for instance.

We live in a litigious society, and I hope Adria Richards gets sued for her back teeth.

1 comment: