About a week ago Adria Richards, a developer evangelist, overheard a couple guys behind her engaging in “dongle” jokes and may have misconstrued a “forking” reference as another crude joke while attending PyCon. Frustrated at the situation she snapped their picture and called them out on Twitter for their behavior. She also alerted PyCon staff to what was happening and they responded by talking to the individuals in question.
A couple days later one of the guys she called out was fired from his job at Playhaven, a sponsor of PyCon.
Word got out and the internet exploded. DDoS attacks were made against Adria Richards’ web site, her employer’s web site, and Playhaven’s web site. And Adria’s been flooded with the most vile of vitriol, threats, and harassment.
Plenty of commentary on this incident, from many different perspectives, have already been written and there’s little, if anything, of value that I could contribute to the situation. All I have to add is utter frustration at the whole situation. The guys making jokes could have been more aware of their surroundings. Richards didn’t need to call them out in such a public manner. Playhaven didn’t need to overreact and fire one of the guys because of it. The internet didn’t need to lose its shit on Richards in such an unconstructive and counterproductive manner. Now everyone is polarized over this and any chance of having a rational dialog about what happened is about as likely as Israelis and Palestinians settling their “disagreement”.
How do we prevent shit like this from happening? Education. Open dialog. Open minds willing to explore all perspectives. Santa Claus.
And, when all else fails, an emergency anti-rage app for you phone that shows you cute as fuck kittens. Feeling angry? Want to share that rage on the internet in a brutally uncooperative manner? Why don’t you watch some cute as fuck kittens first, then see how you feel.
In their defense, after about a minute it doesn’t feel so bad.
This is Team Dick.
This is also very early in our internet existence. As such there’s not much to it at the moment, but we’ll get around to doing something.