Adria Richards did everything exactly right


We keep talking about making appropriate responses to sexism — not just those of us who are strongly pro-feminism, but even the regressive thugs on the other side will say that, although we’ll argue about what level of response is appropriate. But this is where I lose patience every goddamned time: apparently no response other than silence and submission is acceptable.

We’ve all seen how “guys, don’t do that” was turned into cause for outrage. Here’s another instance: Adria Richards was at a tech conference when, during a presentation that was about women coders no less, a couple of guys behind her started cracking suggestive jokes.

The guys were clearly in the wrong. They were being rude, distracting, and trying to assert their dudely privilege in one of the few moments granted women during a conference dominated by men. So Richards turned, snapped their picture, and tweeted it to the conference organizers, asking them to handle it.

This was a measured response. It wasn’t a blast of anger, it was a request that the conference enforce its code of conduct. It disrupted the meeting less than a couple of chattering smart-asses did. This is exactly what we should want people to do: polite confrontation through appropriate channels.

The conference organizers also did exactly what they were supposed to do: they called the two men aside and asked them to stop and behave themselves.

I assume the two men also reacted appropriately. There are no tales of angry shouting or rejection of the admonishment. I charitably presume that they were chagrined and a little embarrassed, nothing more.

This should have been the end of it: a happy story of a minor breach of manners handled by grown-ups who moved on to do their jobs professionally. Lessons learned all around; don’t disparage or harass minorities (women were only 20% of the attendees), trust the organizers to manage hiccups smoothly, deal with problems through official channels. Except you know more happened or it wouldn’t be news.

A whole bunch of otherwise uninvolved people completely lost their shit. This is ridiculous.

But instead, the internet decided to throw one epic fucking tantrum. First, one of the men pictured in Richards’s photographs was fired from his job (his company was one of the sponsors of PyCon). Richards did not call for him to be fired, nor did she celebrate the decision, according to this post. Nonetheless, Richards’s company SendGrid—NOT the company that fired the dude—was subject to a DDoS attack courtesy of 4chan (their express purpose was to “ruin her life”). She’s also been subjected to the usual avalanche of violent harassment and rape threats that descends upon any woman who dares to criticize male-dominated tech culture (see: Sarkeesian, Anita; also everything else ever). Sidenote to tech dudes: GET A FUCKING GRIP.

SendGrid subsequently fired Richards.

Firing one of the men over a brief incident of inappropriate behavior: totally inappropriate and excessive. That would only be reasonable if there were far more severe breaches of courtesy.

4chan getting involved: disgraceful. Launching a denial of service attack against Richards’ employer: what the fuck is wrong with these people?

Worse: Richards’ employer, SendGrid, caving in to extortion and firing her. I hope she’s considering legal action. That was incredibly craven.

Worser, appallingly disgusting: the violent reaction by some assholes.

Richards has been called practically every name under the sun. Some Twitter commenters demanded she kill herself. A 4chan user allegedly released Richards’s personal information. But few reactions were more disturbing than this one, sent to her Wednesday evening: a photo (blurred but still NSFW) of a bloody, beheaded woman, bound and stripped, with the caption “when Im done.” Next to it was a home address and phone number, ostensibly Richards’s.

And of course the usual slymepitters are crowing over all this on twitter, taunting via the #ftbullies and #wiscfi hashtags, as they always do. This is the kind of behavior they love to applaud.

This is the heart of the problem. We can build all the protocols for reasonable responses we want; women like Adria Richards can use them; responsible people can implement appropriate reactions.

And then, beneath it all, lies the festering sewer of rape culture that rises in rage at any damned uppity woman who dares to speak out against our very own homegrown Taliban.

And one last bit of insult: the conference organizers retroactively revised their code of conduct to exclude public shaming.

Public shaming can be counter-productive to building a strong community. PyCon does not condone nor participate in such actions out of respect.

Cowards. Just remember, ladies, decorum must be maintained, and the proper young woman will be meek and silent in the face of offense. The men can’t build a strong community if women keep speaking out publicly.

I wonder how many women will now think twice before complaining about asshole behavior at their job or at a meeting? If they’re inhibited, congratulations, scumbags: you got what you wanted. On the other hand, maybe we’ll finally reach a critical mass of outrage, and the next time some dudebro starts with the sexist shit at a conference, a dozen people, men and women alike, will rise up and tell him to grow up or get out.

I know I’m even less inclined to let casual smears slide now. I hope you feel the same way.

Comments

  1. unbound says

    Completely agree. Nothing will ever get better by burying our heads in the sand. You have to confront the problem head on.

    I don’t visit 4chan, but I hope there are at least a few brave souls there that will stand up and call out the asshats on those forums. Same goes for the twitterasses.

    In the end, you have to treat them like the children they are. You have to educate and put in both positive and negative reinforcements to change their attitude. We also need everyone that is able to take a stand. When everyone starts to stand up to the asshats, it becomes easier to see that the asshats are actually the minority…they are just a very loud minority…

  2. bittys says

    Before I say anything else at all, I want to make it clear that I entirely agree that the death/rape/etc threats that she’s had as a result of this are completely and utterly disgusting and unacceptable, although sadly not particularly surprising.

    That said, I entirely disagree that she did everything right, and I find it interesting that you didn’t bother to quote the apology she received from one of the men involved:

    “Hi, I’m the guy who made a comment about big dongles. First of all I’d like to say I’m sorry. I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone’s repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said “I would fork that guys repo” The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.
    My second comment is this, Adria has an audience and is a successful person of the media. Just check out her web page linked in her twitter account, her hard work and social activism speaks for itself. With that great power and reach comes responsibility. As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.
    She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate. Let this serve as a message to everyone, our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact.
    I will be at pycon 2014, I will joke and socialize with everyone but I will also be mindful of my audience, accidental or otherwise.
    Again, I apologize.”

    (source: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681)

  3. DLC says

    This is completely fucking idiotic. The woman made a complaint in a reasonable fashion and it was handled reasonably (assuming PZ’s account is true, and I have no reason at this time to doubt it.)
    And as a result, a minor nuclear war erupts. 4chan has a snit. People get fired. Over something that wouldn’t have happened at all had two guys just kept their stinking traps shut.
    Okay, so guys — Sexist crap , not funny, don’t do it. Don’t even say it when there’s no women in the room.
    There is a whole universe of funny jokes you can tell that do not involve belittling someone else, use those instead.

    [meta: it’s late, I’m having level 4 pain, and I don’t feel like editing this much. I hope you all understand]

  4. says

    Intent isn’t magic.

    That these guys had a private meaning for one of their jokes doesn’t change a thing; I have no idea why you highlighted that bit as if it excuses the joke. And no, I don’t quite believe the excuse. The reason they were using a sexual innuendo as praise is part of the problem.

    Otherwise, though, I agree with the guy, in that he’s also doing something right. He apologizes. He promises to be mindful of the audience in the future (although I hope its not mindful in the sense that he’ll only make sexist jokes to an all-male audience). He shouldn’t have been fired over this, especially since he expresses remorse. This doesn’t sound like someone who threw a tantrum over a rebuke.

    But no, Richards did everything right. That this fellow’s company did something wrong is not a mark against Richards.

  5. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    That said, I entirely disagree that she did everything right, and I find it interesting that you didn’t bother to quote the apology she received from one of the men involved:

    I’m not sure how his apology and your bolded section makes what she did in anyway wrong?

    Should we ignore the dongle comment? Should the people around her have some magical insight into what they really truly meant about “forking”?

    It’s a professional conference. Act like professionals.

  6. John Morales says

    [meta]

    bittys:

    That said, I entirely disagree that she did everything right, and I find it interesting that you didn’t bother to quote the apology she received from one of the men involved:

    Perhaps PZ was not aware of it?

    He did write: “I assume the two men also reacted appropriately. There are no tales of angry shouting or rejection of the admonishment. I charitably presume that they were chagrined and a little embarrassed, nothing more.”

    (It ain’t them PZ is decrying)

  7. daemonios says

    I can’t agree that what she did was appropriate.

    First off, yes, sexualized conversation in public can and in certain cases does reinforce a sexist culture. So the guys were in the wrong doing the dongle jokes and Adria Richards was within her right to report the behavior.

    However, she did not tweet the guys’ picture “to the conference organizers” as you put it. She posted it on her public Tweeter feed. It was put on display for the Internet at large. That is not a measured response by any standards. I cannot condone public shaming and have difficulty even with those sites that reproduce personal information of convicted felons or criminals. Seriously PZ, even if someone behaves inappropriately, that does not merit eternal condemnation on the all-remembering Internet.

    A measured response would have been to address the issue with the organizers of PyCon, if she felt she shouldn’t point out the inappropriateness to the two guys. The conversation, from what I’ve gathered, was not sexist in itself, nor was it directed at anyone – present or not. It was sexual in nature and as I said above that’s inappropriate, but not demeaning to women. There was no harassment.

    That said, the issue of the firings (of one of the guys and of Adria Richards herself) seems to be more complicated than you report. Apparently the developer had previous issues with his employer, and as for Adria Richards, she was there to network with possible developers for her company. If those developers suddenly fear being publicly shamed for anything they say, that can certainly impact the company’s business – and by implication all of her company’s staff.

    All in all, I think this was a case of over-reaction.

  8. Susan says

    Whatever you do, don’t read the comments to the article on Richards’s firing. The usual “she deserved it” and the kicker, “How dare she, he has a wife and children to feed.” What if she did, too? The place is crawling with privilege and misogyny.

  9. bittys says

    Should we ignore the dongle comment? Should the people around her have some magical insight into what they really truly meant about “forking”?

    She works with developers, her job is to deal with them every single day. She should know exactly what they meant.

    I can understand why people outside IT might not, but she doesn’t have that excuse.

    Now, by way of explanation, to “fork” a software project is to take a copy of it so that you can work on it yourself, it’s “fork” as in “fork in the road”, not “fork” as in “hehehe, that sounds a bit rude”, and “repo” is short for “repository”, which is the copy of the code.

    If you know that, which she really should have, then it’s perfectly reasonable to think that “i’d fork that guys repo” can be taken as a compliment with no sexual undertones at all.

    Plus, my first reaction to somebody who assumed it was full of innuendo and took offence wouldn’t have been “oh, I was being sexist”, but rather “you should stop being so damned homophobic”.

    Yes, the dongle comment was unprofessional, and worthy of being apologised for. An appropriate response on her part would either have been to ask them to stop, or to approach the con staff herself and ask them to have a word with them. Not to publicise their photograph to her 10,000+ twitter followers to shame them because they made a dick joke.

    Particularly as she’s not above making them herself: http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p89/drumhellar/andrews_zps4ec48ccb.png

  10. says

    That said, I entirely disagree that she did everything right, and I find it interesting that you didn’t bother to quote the apology she received from one of the men involved:

    So what exactly did she do wrong? You don’t mention it.
    You mean after ONE disruptive sexual comment, she mistakenly interpreted a second disruptive but allegedly non-sexual comment as sexual?

    Or do you mean the fact that she identified the people disrupting things to the organizers, who then followed what was then their policy? Was she supposed to have told organizers without noting who it was?

    Or was it that she used a way of notifying organizers that made what the disruptors were saying and doing in public… public?

    And as for not mentioning the apology – it’s hardly surprising that someone might be apologetic after having been caught. Is that really worthy of note? That’s what usually happens. Or have we gone so far that an apology is something special, that denial and outrage is what is now the norm?

    If the apology IS worthy of noting, it is because of the one thing that YOU neglect to mention – that the apology includes an admission of guilt. It’s not a full not-pology. (It’s only a partial not-pology.)

    The horror – these men had their actions and words COUNT AGAINST THEM. How truly unfair.
    Can’t have THAT happen again.

    I’ll be very interested to see how the new policy of “don’t reveal improper behavior” is handled.
    I kinda don’t think that’s very enforceable. If a convention I attended had that policy I would have no qualms against violating it, and the hell with them if they banned me from future events for it.

  11. thumper1990 says

    Personally, I’d have given them a warning first. “Guys, I find that offensive, please pack it in”. If they keep going, then report them. However, I’m not her, she may not feel comfortable doing that, I don’t know. So while I may not agree she did everything right, she certainly didn’t do anything wrong.

    His company’s reaction was way over the top. Her company’s reaction was cowardly and ridiculous. I don’t even understand how it’s legal; what did they even fire her for? PyCon are cowards. 4Chan are arseholes, but what’s new? I hate that site with a passion. I have a friend who used to go on there and I read over his shoulder a couple of times; it really is a disgusting pit of sociopaths. And who are these losers who are so offended by this they think death and rape threats are an appropriate response? God, I hate people sometimes.

    At least the guy seems to have learned something, and has accepted her admonission and his completely wrongful firing with good grace. Got to give him some kudos for that.

  12. daemonios says

    Or was it that she used a way of notifying organizers that made what the disruptors were saying and doing in public… public?

    Twitter is not a way of notifying organizers. A few hundred people conference (of which perhaps a dozen were in a position to hear the conversation between the two developers) is not public in the same way as the Internet is public. Are we back to public sentencing of criminals in the town square?

  13. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I can understand why people outside IT might not, but she doesn’t have that excuse.

    I’m the head of IT for a not so small company. I know about these things.

    Still not appropriate especially during a conference when someone is on stage speaking.

    Plus, my first reaction to somebody who assumed it was full of innuendo and took offence wouldn’t have been “oh, I was being sexist”, but rather “you should stop being so damned homophobic”.

    Are fucking kidding me?

    However, she did not tweet the guys’ picture “to the conference organizers” as you put it. She posted it on her public Tweeter feed.

    If you don’t want to be called out for doing questionable things in public, don’t do them.

  14. Anri says

    However, she did not tweet the guys’ picture “to the conference organizers” as you put it. She posted it on her public Tweeter feed. It was put on display for the Internet at large. That is not a measured response by any standards. I cannot condone public shaming and have difficulty even with those sites that reproduce personal information of convicted felons or criminals. Seriously PZ, even if someone behaves inappropriately, that does not merit eternal condemnation on the all-remembering Internet.

    If you do something shameful in public, you might get shamed.

    In public.

    Anyone is free at any time to protect themselves from having someone pointing out their being publicly sexist… by not being publicly sexist. The guy made his call.

  15. says

    Agree with daemonios @7. Tweeting the photo publicly was not the right way to handle this. If she was concerned about identifying the guys in question, she could have taken a photo and showed it to the organizers as she spoke with them later.

    Nobody should have been fired.
    Nobody should have been harassed.
    Nobody should have been subjected to DDoS attack.
    All of that is batshit crazy, wrong, perverse, fucked up.

    I still think it was a strange and unfortunate move to handle two chatty guys making inappropriate jokes during a talk by tweeting a photo of them with a complaint.

    That doesn’t make any of this her fault, and it doesn’t make what anyone else did okay.

  16. Pteryxx says

    Are we back to public sentencing of criminals in the town square?

    Apparently, given the Verge article I just linked, as long as the “criminals” are women.

  17. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Are we back to public sentencing of criminals in the town square?

    Hyperbole much?

  18. bittys says

    so, daemonios and bittys: got anything to say about the inappropriateness of death threats as a response to Richards making that photo public on Twitter? Or just about what she did wrong and what she’s not above doing?

    What was the very first line in my very first post?

  19. hillaryrettig says

    Jokes about body parts are included in the EEOC definition of a hostile work environment, one form of legal sexual harassment.

    Sorry that these guys had the bad luck to be called out, but if they were clueless enough to behave this way in a professional context, much less one about female coders, I have little sympathy.

    I’m sorry they both lost their jobs (esp. her), but if this episode results in an overall chilling effect on sexist, Beavis and Butthead behavior in tech conferences, that’s a good outcome.

    It’s nitpicking to debate whether her tweet was inappropriate, when the massive inappropriateness here was their employers firing them. If that hadn’t happened, all the guys would have suffered would have been a small ego bruise.

  20. daemonios says

    If you do something shameful in public, you might get shamed.

    I’m sorry you feel that way and will have to disagree. It’s one thing to be called out publicly within the conference. It’s another entirely different thing to be shamed on the Internet, where it can be and already was shared to millions of people. It’s grossly disproportionate. I don’t support disproportionate punishments.

    so, daemonios and bittys: got anything to say about the inappropriateness of death threats as a response to Richards making that photo public on Twitter? Or just about what she did wrong and what she’s not above doing?

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/21/4132752/thug-mentality-how-two-dick-jokes-exploded-into-ddos-and-death-threats

    Yes, I do. Those are obviously shameful and unacceptable. What does that have to do with the appropriateness of Richards’ response?

  21. says

    Isn’t it interesting how this comment thread is so quickly shifting to “the woman was wrong, the guys’ behavior is excusable”? Let’s find fault with Adria Richards, and find justifications for the men’s behavior!

    It never seems to go the other way.

  22. says

    Daemonios,

    It’s a tech conference. If you aren’t aware that you are surrounded by people with megaphones to the Internet in their pockets who are prepared to use them you’re at least guilty of being completely oblivious.

    I was tempted to say something about her method of outing them which I first thought was over the top, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a good thing that people be made aware that anything they say or do in mixed company has the potential to be outed in a very public way.

    The light of day is the strongest disinfectant. Welcome to the 21st century.

  23. John Morales says

    bittys:

    If you know that, which she really should have, then it’s perfectly reasonable to think that “i’d fork that guys repo” can be taken as a compliment with no sexual undertones at all.

    Only if, additionally, you’re ignorant about the concept of double entendre.

    (Router)

  24. shouldbeworking says

    Are you sure those poor men made sexist comments? I replied to one of the comments on the company’s FB page and now I’m being swamped by replies that the only one at fault is the woman and she deserved to be fired for being uppity and for having no sense of humour.

    I think this weekend is going to be a no-Internet one.

  25. says

    My friends and I had decided forking someone’s repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said “I would fork that guys repo” The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.

    So…a gaggle of dudebros “decide” that a phrase that sounds both sexual and insulting to most English-speaking people, is now “flattery;” and one woman who didn’t get the memo of that decision (because they didn’t send it to her) is to blame for not keeping up with the dudebros’ changes in the meaning of words. If this guy is really immature enough to think this (and immature enough to try to push it along with an otherwise-sincere apology), then I’m guessing he could have been fired for other incidents along with the PyCon kerfuffle.

    Also, Richards didn’t “seal his fate,” because she had no power over his fate. HIS EMPLOYER had that power — and in the classic tradition of scapegoating, this guy is blaming the wrong person for his troubles because his conditioning won’t let him blame the people who are really at fault.

  26. says

    #7….so, it’s bad for her to complain about them publicly, when they were acting out publicly? Think about it.

    #2—so one of them apologized? Who cares? Too many people seem to think that any excuse for an apology rights all wrongs, resets the clocks, raises the dead, erases the damage. This is especially true when a man makes any kind of apology to women.

    Finally, his apology is semi-negated by whining about his wife and three kids. Not my problem, but he sure is trying to make people feel bad about the fact that he fucked uo not just his life but that of other people. He’s angling for sympathy in his so-called apology, for pete’s sake. It’s especially slimy because he’s doing what so many other guys do: using his fependants as human shields, and in effect blaming others for doing the damage.

  27. says

    It’s another entirely different thing to be shamed on the Internet, where it can be and already was shared to millions of people. It’s grossly disproportionate.

    Nope. Every day I get accused of all kinds of amazingly malicious behavior on the internet: there are whole blogs and forums where people are scanning every post here and outright inventing horrible claims. Do I see anyone gazing aghast at the spectacle of the slymepit and expressing outrage at the disproportionate slanders carried out regularly? No? Not even I am doing that, and I’m one of their targets! It always amuses me when people wax indignant at the possibility that poor behavior might be called out on twitter or the web, when those media are already so thoroughly saturated with lies.

    I suggest that you go over to these many other places that make these kinds of noises — you could start with Gawker media, for instance, or the Huffington Post — and tell them privately and quietly that they are grossly disproportionate by publishing those stories where millions can read them. And then you can stop complaining in these publicly accessible comment threads where thousands of people will see you chastising Adria Richards.

  28. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m going to a Sharepoint conference in 3 weeks. How appropriate would it be if in the middle of a woman speaker’s talk I nudge the person next to me and said ” I’d like to share my point with her”

    Should the people around me laugh it off and let me continue to disturb the people there to actually learn something / do their job?

    Should the women around me just excuse it off “Oh IT boys will be IT boys”?

    Should they feel empowered to react to something that?
    1. is offensive and inappropriate for the situation?
    2. is disturb the point of the actual gathering of people?
    3. should she have to go out of her way to get up and find a conference official to have it taken care of instead of using a quick and easy tool so she can get back to what she is there for?
    4. should she have to weigh the repercussions of pointing out his bad behavior with the reach of tool she uses to do it?

    Should the person making the comment be the one who is at fault or does it all fall on the people hearing the comment?

    Should the person making the comment know better and have some professional decorum?

    If that person does not then is it the duty of the people around him acting like professionals (and decent humans for that matter) to have to suffer through it while or have to consider that pointing out his actions might have some repercussions for him?

    Why does the burden fall on the people he is subjecting to his inappropriate commentary?

  29. shala says

    I don’t even understand how it’s legal; what did they even fire her for?

    Unfortunately, she’s in California, which is an at-will state. So the answer is that they can fire her for any reason or for no reason at all. Legal action is unlikely to result in anything happening.

    Which is a shame. Poke your head up above the serfs, who are trying to stay low, to voice anything and you get terminated. I’ve even read a case where “liking” something on Facebook got someone fired, and was defended by the fact that “likes” are not protected speech.

    It’s the kind of atmosphere that corporate America is trying to develop – one where no one gets too involved in anything. Keep your heads low, don’t do anything that might challenge the status quo, and behave like good little feudal serfs.

    It’s a disgusting culture to be a part of.

  30. says

    My second comment is this, Adria has an audience and is a successful person of the media. Just check out her web page linked in her twitter account, her hard work and social activism speaks for itself. With that great power and reach comes responsibility.

    She’s famous, therefore she can’t stand up for anything unless we can all be sure no one will be affected by it? If childish straw-grasping was an Olympic sport, this guy would win the gold.

    This guy was dreadfully wronged — by his employer, not by Richards — despite his trying to do the right thing and apologize. I think we should all respect him for that. But he’s also acting VERY immature, and he really needs to grow up a bit more.

    I suspect this may prove to be an example of how the whole hipster-misogyny culture hurts men as well as women: this otherwise-decent guy was encouraged to act like a junior-high mouth-breather in the wrong venue; and then when he got unfarly punished for it, the same “culture” that rewarded his misbehavior then turned around and told him (and the rest of the world) to blame someone who had nothing to do with his unfair treatment, while letting the truly responsible party get a free pass. Who benefits from this sort of misdirected rage?

  31. rr says

    daemonios:

    It’s another entirely different thing to be shamed on the Internet, where it can be and already was shared to millions of people.

    Like the people trying to shame Adria Richards? Are you as outraged about them? Suppose Adria Richards made a sexist remark during her presentation – do you think the men in the audience would refrain from posting it on the net?

  32. says

    #36: gee, a piece with “over-reaction” in the very title, all about how the writer doesn’t like Roberts.

    Also, dudes? She doesn’t have to talk to you. She does not have to notify you. She does not owe you shit. I wonder what would happen if I asked for a show of hands among women, to see how many women have confronted guys who were being jerks, only to be greeted with Slymepit-level outrage?

  33. Irmin says

    @36, chadwickjones:

    Yes, just wanted to post this article. Because I can agree with that much more than with PZ on this matter.

    And no, I would not consider a remark of a private conversation, even in public, the same thing as a remark directed at the public. Because there is such a thing as private space, even in public. Yes, it’s possible to overhear a private conversation, but then it’s also possible to confront them on equal terms. So, @37, rr, is giving a wrong example, because that’s not what the two guys did.

    Additionally, just taking a photo of someone without asking them is also against the code of conduct. It’s actually illegal in some countries. And two wrongs definitely don’t make a right.

    Whether the remarks made by the guys actually are sexist is a completely different matter, but not at all relevant here. So I just want to say that there’s a difference between sexual remarks and sexist remarks and everything I’ve read about what was said points to the former.

  34. sqlrob says

    Unfortunately, she’s in California, which is an at-will state. So the answer is that they can fire her for any reason or for no reason at all. Legal action is unlikely to result in anything happening

    I can see it argued in court that she was fired due to sexual harassment. I don’t know how it would fly, since the company is a degree away in that and the proximate reason is the DoS.

  35. says

    #39, so……she was snitty and “overreacted”, the dudes were actually in private—–another popular dudley defense, “eavesdropping”; and finally, let’s really really get anal to excuse the guys—–and blame her.

    Funny how it always turns out that way, among some segments.

  36. rolandcecily says

    PZ is entirely correct: Richards did everything right.
    And that is exactly why she got the response she did. Because the forces of privilege and casual misogyny are absolutely terrified at the idea of there being a way for their victims to hit back that is
    -Effective,
    -Appropriate,
    -Proportionate, and
    -Eminently, self-evidently reasonable and impossible to fault.
    And when such a way becomes apparent, the guardians of privilege and casual misogyny go into absolute screaming insanity mode to try to stop anyone from using it. No response is too outrageous. You gave me a nasty look? I’m going to rape and torture you to death, along with all your relatives. That’ll teach you. And happily for them, they can always count on the cultural acclimatization of the patriarchy that has taught the average bystander to always find fault in what the Other did, rather than what the hegemon did, even if they do the same thing, even if the hegemon did it about a million times more severely.
    It’s really an astonishing sight to behold. Richards is at fault for having engaged in ‘public shaming’, but the guys she was reacting to are not at fault for publicly belittling and minimizing someone else. Richards deserves to be criticized at length for having disrupted the gathering in the manner specifically proscribed by the rules, but the guardians of misogyny get at best a token finger-wagging for graphically threatening to torture and murder someone for the stated purpose of “destroying their life”.
    Everyone who even considers implying in the mildest manner that Richards did anything wrong should log off and go stare into a mirror until they see what’s wrong with themselves.

  37. says

    Maybe Richards is a really snotty, awful person. Maybe you can dig up more cases of people who don’t like her. I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. The question is how women should handle this kind of incident, and I think she did it exactly right.

    The sole defense people seem to be bringing up is that she shouldn’t have made it public. Right, and the cockroaches always complain when you turn on the kitchen light, too.

  38. Irmin says

    #41, no, I didn’t said that they were in private, but that they had a private conversation. There’s a difference between publicly announcing something and doing so in public. In the latter case it can happen that someone overhears your inappropriate remark and reacts, but in the former you know that the general public will hear that. It’s the difference between a stupid remark and wilfully insulting someone. Neither is good, but I would argue that the latter is worse.

    Also, I didn’t excuse the guys – actually I can’t, because I already said two wrongs don’t make a right. The remark of the guys doesn’t excuse taking a photo of them, as well as making stupid remarks isn’t excused by any reaction thereupon.

  39. says

    #42—-actually, the con organizers changed the rules after she acted, thereby punishing her more than the guys and sending a message about harassment—-and you better make sure you’re a perfect lady when you criticize the dudebros.

  40. shouldbeworking says

    Unless you have FB notification emails going straight to a spam folder, I would avoid visiting the company FB page. The stupid and MRA are out in all their might again. World champion levels of stupidity and assholeness are present.

  41. Matthew Best says

    No, PZ, I’m afraid you’re quite wrong, and I’m afraid Adria is quite in the wrong.

    First you state the following: “That these guys had a private meaning for one of their jokes doesn’t change a thing; I have no idea why you highlighted that bit as if it excuses the joke. And no, I don’t quite believe the excuse. The reason they were using a sexual innuendo as praise is part of the problem.”

    Actually, it changes quite a bit. Forking a repo(sitory) isn’t a sexual innuendo, it’s a *literal thing*. It’s a thing that you can actually do with a repo. Had you bothered to read a little further, you’ll notice his next comment is about implementing the repo.

    His statement, if you’d bothered to do a little cursory research, reads “Me and my friend decided that taking somebody’s repository and using it to create our own derivative by forking it was very flattering — the only thing we consider more flattering is not even bothering to make our own derivative and just using his work on its own.”

    But you, personally, don’t believe that. I want you to be perfectly clear here with your readers.

    You believe that a man who has admitted to making sexual innuendo in one regard would immediately deny making sexual innuendo in another regard, when there’s a perfectly logical reason for us to believe his statement?

    In other words, you want your readers to multiply the entities beyond their necessity simply to condemn him — what, extra-hard? — for something he’s already admitted to.

    To what end? To make you feel extra-smart? So you don’t have to admit that perhaps your lofty post is incorrect? It’s not the man in question’s fault the word “fork” and “fuck” happen to rhyme.

    Your statement “[t]hat these guys had a private meaning for one of their jokes doesn’t change a thing” is insufferably asinine and pompous. This is not a private meaning. It is the literal, actual meaning of the words.

    If I say “I want spaghetti for dinner tonight” and some eavesdropping jackass decides (entirely in their mind) that that actually means I would like to drag black people to death behind a pick-up truck, that doesn’t make me an actual racist, despite whatever thoughts wander through their (or your) head, it means I want spaghetti for dinner.

    You will further note that this innocuous statement about forking a repository, which we (contrary to your assertion) have every reason to believe is true, is Adria’s own stated reason for why she acted as she did. Had she not chosen to assign meaning to a perfectly normal, non-sexual statement, none of this would have happened.

    Of course, if you accept the above paragraph as valid and true, that would mean you’d have to issue a minor retraction. Unfortunately, the above comment is valid and true, and I doubt a minor correction is coming.

    If it makes you feel any better, PZ, here’s a Tweet from Adria telling a guy to stuff his pants with a sock for a TSA agent to grope: https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265576896679937 … Written, you will (not) note, during the very conference she freaked out at.

    By the way, I asked my girlfriend if your use of the word “slymepitters” was a derogatory term for her vagina. At first she said no, but when I explained your deranged, Wonderland-esque logic, and how it was important a woman simply feel that something a man says is sexist so that I could win an argument on the Internet, she agreed, and told me that I “owed her”.

    So, she agreed that your use of the term “slymepitter” is interpreted, in her mind and her feelings, as a derogatory reference to her reproductive organs.

    Welcome to the patriarchy, I guess.

  42. says

    Additionally, just taking a photo of someone without asking them is also against the code of conduct.

    If she hadn’t taken the photo, the dudebros would have accused her of making accusations without evidence, or of accusing the wrong dudebros, or something. Seriously, in the eyes of some people, there’s no “right” thing she could have done.

    Some guys said something that made someone else angry; that soneone else responded in anger. What do you expect? That sort of thing happens, and most of us learn to anticipate and deal wtih it as we grow up.

  43. chadwickjones says

    @38 I wasn’t agree or disagreeing with the ‘over-reaction’ blog post… I’m just following some of the coverage.

  44. says

    If she could hear it, it wasn’t private, and she was not wrong, so enough with the false equivalency of “two wrongs.” The point that you seem to be energetically missing is that the guys were in public and at a professional conference. With all the minimizing and false equivalencies, one gets the impression that the two guys were practically whispering delicately about the weather when Roberts stomped up to them and started freaking out over something—-but because the dudes were totally innocent, you can’t imagine what.

  45. rr says

    Irmin, if a third party hears your private conversation, it isn’t private anymore. Was she supposed to somehow un-hear the conversation?

  46. chadwickjones says

    52– don’t be an idiot, I had just read this post, then jumped over to AllThingsD and saw this… I posted it, doesn’t mean I endorse it. Wow, really?! LOL!

  47. harvardmba says

    What P Zed and other “solutionists” are learning the hard way, is that the internet is not the solution to every problem. Transparency? Yeah — as it turns out, not always the best thing.

    There was an old-school way to handle such a simple event. She could have just turned around, said “excuse me — you’re being inappropriate, could you please keep it down. Thank you.” 99.9% of the time, everything would have been fine.

    Instead, the “solutionist” approach was taken. Just rub a little internet on the problem! Transparency! Accountability! It’s a new age! Gee — didn’t turn out too well did it.

    Now all the apologists will attack me as defending the men, which I’m not.
    Now all the apologists will attack me as blaming the woman, which I’m not.

    What I’m attacking is “solutionism”. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of existing problems that don’t need the internet rubbed on it to solve. As it turns out, the organizers of the event realized that and changed their policy. Good for them.

  48. Daedelean says

    Shorter 47: “How dare you suggest that there could possibly be alternate meanings for words? Everyone always speaks in a purely literal and unambiguous fashion, and nobody could possibly be expressing sexist sentiments without using words specifically categorized as sexist words. If someone sees a woman speaker at a conference and tells his friend that he’d like to log into her private account and install his data through his adequately-sized dongle, it is completely irresponsible for anyone to believe that he could possibly mean anything other than the literal, non-sexual sense of those words.”
    Did I miss anything? Just make sure to remember that, no matter what the situation, the only person who can ever possibly be in the wrong is the woman. She’s so mean and unpleasant as a person, you know, unlike the people posting her personal information and saying they’re going to rape and murder her.

  49. Irmin says

    #48, okay, in what way does a photo prove that a stupid remark has been made?

    Additionally, you’re assuming quite a bit. Not everyone making stupid sexual innuendos about “dongles” is a “dudebro”. Perhaps they would have just apologised and nothing further would have happened, who knows? Maybe they are assholes, but you cannot deduct that from what they’ve said. There’s a difference between a sexual innuendo and sexist “jokes” or even sexual harassment.

    And yes, “forking a repo” may sound like an innuendo, but it isn’t actually one.

  50. Pteryxx says

    As long as that so-called apology is out there, with “The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us”, compare to Richards’s account of the same situation, where she describes the two guys making the sexualized jokes to her face as part of their conversation:

    What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this –

    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. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

    began making sexual forking jokes

    By her account, they continued, while speaking to a woman at a 20%-women conference and during a closing session where the speaker mentioned initiatives encouraging women and girls to become coders. (Richards herself says that was the last straw.)

    I’m sure the guys thought they were just being friendly and didn’t see anything wrong with reflexively making innuendoes at a fellow sponsor and potential business connection, who happens to be a woman. Which is, of course, part of the problem: the tendency for guys in any dudebro-infused culture to respond to women’s presence by defaulting to innuendo.

    *reads #47* And seriously, if you’re going to apply so much weight to every turn of phrase and elision in the guy’s side of the story, then you should give at least as much consideration and weight to her account as well. (Or even read the thing. “eavesdropping”? lawl.)

  51. Daedelean says

    #54: fun fact. Just saying “I’m not blaming the woman or defending the men” doesn’t actually undo the fact that your statement blames the woman and defends the men.
    Simply put, what you’re saying is that she should have handled the matter in the way that preserves the dignity and privilege of the aggressor, and does nothing to change anyone’s future behavior. And that’s okay, if your goal is to preserve privilege. But if that’s your goal then you are a bad person.

  52. says

    The comment, the tweet and the organisers response at the conference are irrelevant. You can argue the finner points but they are insignificant.

    The guys company fired him. The girls company fired her. People went into uproar and brought that about. That is fucked up and scary.

  53. Matthew Best says

    @54: Bingo. Christ, you don’t even have to be all that polite about it. “Would you shut up?” is acceptable if a discussion is being disruptive to something you’re listening to, whether that disruption is immature, puerile, sexual, or even very relevant and on-topic but overly loud.

    Snapping a picture of guys making a “big dick” joke during a conference and posting it to the same twitter feed you just made a “big dick” joke on during the same conference and yelling “Save me, Internet!” is just… baffling.

  54. Duckbilled Platypus says

    @chadwickjones:

    I can’t quite agree with that article. I’m having particularly trouble with the conclusive paragraph, which seems to be a variation of “this wouldn’t have happened if Richards had reacted more sensibly”, somewhat disguised as a “perfect world” scenario. It seems to forget that whatever happened after the incident is actually at the heart of what started it. For some inexplicable reason, the worst offenses seem to be the furthest out of shot.

  55. says

    Forking a repo(sitory) isn’t a sexual innuendo, it’s a *literal thing*.

    Yeah, a literal thing described using words that sound like a dirty joke. That’s why the dudebros consider it funny.

    This is not a private meaning. It is the literal, actual meaning of the words.

    Do you really not understand that a word can have more than one meaning? I’ve understood this since junior-high school.

    In other words, you want your readers to multiply the entities beyond their necessity simply to condemn him — what, extra-hard? — for something he’s already admitted to.

    No, moron, he wants his readers to condemn the hateful vindictive threats of violence that a mob of cyberbullies have directed at Adria Richards. Did you not read the post?

    By the way, fool, those two guys weren’t reprimanded just for using those words. They were reprimanded for acting like class clowns during a grownup conference. Why do you choose to ignore that clearly-stated fact?

    By the way, I asked my girlfriend if your use of the word “slymepitters” was a derogatory term for her vagina. At first she said no, but when I explained your deranged, Wonderland-esque logic, and how it was important a woman simply feel that something a man says is sexist so that I could win an argument on the Internet, she agreed, and told me that I “owed her”.

    So your girlfriend said one thing, then changed her answer after you gave her a totally incoherent and ridiculous bit of mansplainin’. And that proves what, exactly?

  56. thumper1990 says

    @Daemonios

    A few hundred people conference (of which perhaps a dozen were in a position to hear the conversation between the two developers) is not public in the same way as the Internet is public. Are we back to public sentencing of criminals in the town square?

    Are you fucking serious? That is such a stupendously ridiculous false equivalency I don’t even know where to begin.

  57. Irmin says

    #50:

    If she could hear it, it wasn’t private, and she was not wrong, so enough with the false equivalency of “two wrongs.” The point that you seem to be energetically missing is that the guys were in public and at a professional conference.

    How do you come to the conclusion that she was not wrong? If taking photos of people without their consent is wrong, she was wrong.

    Also I already said multiple times that the remark is inappropriate for a professional conference. So I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. Is it so hard to grasp that someone could criticise one behaviour without supporting another?

    @rr: No, and I never said that. I don’t think we’re discussing whether reacting at all was the right thing to do, but the aptness of the reaction. You don’t use sledgehammers to crack a nut, after all.

  58. Matthew Best says

    @57 Yeah, I am going to give the guy’s story weight and credibility. Why? This part:

    “While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking.”

    Now, maybe the whole “Yeah I made sexual jokes, but just to be clear what was a sexual joke and what was a literal statement” doesn’t carry much weight to you. I don’t know why it wouldn’t, but it apparently doesn’t, but when a man fully admits he said something while pointing out something else wasn’t, I tend to ask myself, “if this guy was really, truly making a sexual innuendo with ‘fork’, why would he deny it but admit to making a sexual innuendo with ‘dongle’.”

    See, on the planet I’m from — Earth — shit has to make sense, and there’s no sense in denying doing something in one instance you’ve already admitted to doing in another when the penalty for doing either one alone is the same as the penalty for doing both and you’ve already suffered that penalty. See that there? That shit doesn’t make sense.

    So yeah, there’s some credibility points there. And 50 points from Gryffind-err, Adria for complaining about dick jokes on the Twitter account she uses to make dick jokes. Hope that helps.

  59. says

    #53—-it’s right there in the title, dude, what do you want? Suck it up and drive on. You picked it, and aside from the title, it’s a pissy grudge post.

    #54—–read my comment at 38. Not that you give a shit, but this whole issue is about how”

    1. Guys will overreact (death threats, 53, THAT is an overreaction);

    2. And other dudes will do anything to defend them, but listening to women is just too much.

    Most women, if they dare ignore or object to what a certain type of asshole dewd has decided for them is a compliment, has had this experience:

    “Hey, nice ass!”

    (Withering glance or silence.)

    “BITCH.” ….Or worse, and more of it.

    Take notes. Learn something. So, no, women don’t owe you shit. One of these guys has msde it a point to try and guilt people over his wife and kids. Either. He’s married to a Chill Girl, or he doesn’t talk or more likely listen to women at all.

  60. mildlymagnificent says

    She could have just turned around, said “excuse me — you’re being inappropriate, could you please keep it down. Thank you.” 99.9% of the time, everything would have been fine.

    Are you 99.9% sure of that?

    I’m not. I wouldn’t even give it a 50/50 chance. And you’re overlooking the issue of time and place. Risking starting a discussion or even an argument would be extremely unprofessional – if you’re at all concerned about maintaining the appropriate level of decorum/noise within an audience and not distracting (even more) from the presenter.

  61. says

    #65…..wow, you’re totally right. Let’s totally accept the word of the guy who’s trying to get away with something.

  62. says

    Now all the apologists will attack me as blaming the woman, which I’m not.

    You explicitly said the woman had done something that was wrong, and that she should have done something else. That’s blaming the woman. Did they teach you to lie that childishly in Harvard, Mr. MBA?

    What I’m attacking is “solutionism”.

    Sounds like you’re attacking the idea of finding solutions to problems. I know that’s not what you mean by that word — but why are you using such a vague neologism, when you could be using a more descriptive phrase, like “posting her complaints over the Internet?” Trying to be clever and misleading, Mr. MBA?

  63. Irmin says

    #66, it sounds a bit like you think that saying “Hey, nice ass, bitch!” or something about big dongles should cause the same kind of reaction. If that’s the case, I definitively disagree. I think the former is much worse. Had one of the guys actually said that, reacting by taking a photo and publicly shaming them would be appropriate (even though it probably would still be against the code of conduct).

    But he didn’t. You can’t just take any sort of inappropriate behaviour against women, throw it in a kettle and stir. That really doesn’t help anyone (as it can be seen in this case).

  64. says

    Matthew Best @65:

    See, on the planet I’m from — Earth — shit has to make sense, and there’s no sense in denying doing something in one instance you’ve already admitted to doing in another when the penalty for doing either one alone is the same as the penalty for doing both and you’ve already suffered that penalty. See that there? That shit doesn’t make sense.

    Yeah, your interpretation is the only one that makes any sense, because a guy who just got fired is going to have zero interest in making the person he blames for his firing look bad in any way. There’s absolutely no sense in that. People who get fired never, ever, ever want to see anyone else hurt over it.

    Or maybe you suffer from a basic lack of thinking things through?

  65. karmacat says

    I am so tired of people obsessing about past events, nitpicking over what the speaker did wrong. How about using that energy to do something productive, like working with conference organizers to come up with a way that speakers can complain about disruptive participants. Maybe they can set up a private twitter feed for complaints. Or encouraging other people on the internet to be more reasonable. So far all the comments on this blog have been reasonable. No one here is demanding to kill or rape those guys. Why aren’t you going after people who are saying such things about Adria?

    The other problem I see is the nitpicking over whether or not these guys were being sexually suggestive. What really matters is that they were being disruptive to the speaker and to the people around them. What made those guys think that people wanted to hear what they say instead of the speaker.

  66. Matthew Best says

    Do you really not understand that a word can have more than one meaning? I’ve understood this since junior-high school.

    They taught you that if somebody says something and you decide to interpret it in a way that’s wildly different from the intent of the speaker, it’s your interpretation of the meaning that’s valid, and not the speaker’s intent?

    Jesus, what retard junior high did you go to?

    No, moron, he wants his readers to condemn the hateful vindictive threats of violence that a mob of cyberbullies have directed at Adria Richards. Did you not read the post?

    No, moron, I want him to address a comment he made about how he doesn’t “believe” their excuse even though disbelieving it requires pretzel-like mental leaps. Did you not read the comments after the post?

    Alternate reply: Condemning violence doesn’t grant you license to simply act like a lack-wit after the fact in lieu of rational discussion.

    By the way, fool, those two guys weren’t reprimanded just for using those words. They were reprimanded for acting like class clowns during a grownup conference. Why do you choose to ignore that clearly-stated fact?

    Because, fool, I’m not in disagreement with the fact that they ought to have been reprimanded, fool. Fool, I think people who are disruptive during presentations that people want to attend should be reprimanded, fool. I also happen to — fool — think that running to the Internet for help instead of telling the foolish fools to shut their foolish mouths or getting in contact with the staff through “normal people” channels is a lot less foolish than fooling around writing letters to the Internet editors asking why nobody will come save your fool ass from a burning building, fool, and that those kinds of foolish actions will predictably cause massive blow-back, fool. Why do you choose to create strawman arguments?

    So your girlfriend said one thing, then changed her answer after you gave her a totally incoherent and ridiculous bit of mansplainin’. And that proves what, exactly?

    Oh, glad you agree that PZ’s mansplainin’ is wholly in the wrong. Sad to see you can’t recognize cudgel-like, over-the-top parody when you see it, though. Though there was the part where you admitted to going to a junior high where they taught you that your interpretation of a speaker’s intent is more valid than what the speaker actually means, so… there’s that.

  67. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    All you dumbfucks defending the “forking” joke, read the first source:

    What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this –

    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. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

    began making sexual forking jokes

    THAT’S when she snapped the photo.

    Fuck each and every one of you defending the guys. She did the right thing.

    Oh, and all this …(thumper1990 comment #11 and the comments expressing the same sentiment )

    “Personally, I’d have given them a warning first. “Guys, I find that offensive, please pack it in”. If they keep going, then report them. However, I’m not her, she may not feel comfortable doing that, I don’t know. So while I may not agree she did everything right, she certainly didn’t do anything wrong. ”

    Well, bully for your privileged ass that you can deal with it that way. EVERY instance, by EVERY person needs to called the fuck out. Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    Good for her for pointing it out publicly with a picture so she could have evidence instead of having to worry about losing the “she said, he said” battle, since we all know how that turns out.

    The actions that ARE terrible are absolutely not the fault of Richards, that’s the harassers, threat makers, companies and 4Chan’s fuck up. And you know what? Maybe if we called shit out more, louder, stronger and had more and/or better allies, those reactions would change. Maybe if we focused more on how terrible those actions are (instead of poo-pooing on Richards’s for being all “hysterical”), those reactions would change.

    But no, let’s call out the woman who had enough for doing everything right.

  68. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    blockquote>The other problem I see is the nitpicking over whether or not these guys were being sexually suggestive. What really matters is that they were being disruptive to the speaker and to the people around them. What made those guys think that people wanted to hear what they say instead of the speaker.

    Well both do matter, a lot.

    But yes, professional conference, act professionally.

  69. thumper1990 says

    @Irmin #70

    #66, it sounds a bit like you think that saying “Hey, nice ass, bitch!” or something about big dongles should cause the same kind of reaction. If that’s the case, I definitively disagree. I think the former is much worse.

    Why? It looks as if you’re assuming dongle was an innuendo about nobs. What if it was about boobs?

    Friend 1: “bla bla bla… dongles”
    Friend 2: “Yeah, check out her dongles”

    That’s still innappropriate, is it not? Even if I’m wrong and it was a nob joke, it’s still innappropriate, is it not?

  70. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    god damnit.

    blockquote>The other problem I see is the nitpicking over whether or not these guys were being sexually suggestive. What really matters is that they were being disruptive to the speaker and to the people around them. What made those guys think that people wanted to hear what they say instead of the speaker.

    Well both do matter, a lot.

    But yes, professional conference, act professionally.

  71. says

    PZ, thank you for posting this. As a woman in STEM it’s disenheartening but not surprising that this kind of thing has happened yet again. Adria was not in the wrong for what she did. She took a stand and she was destroyed for it.

    She works with developers, her job is to deal with them every single day. She should know exactly what they meant.

    I’m sure she knew exactly what they meant. She probably also knew that the way they were discussing it was sexual in nature and that it was inappropriate for the forum.

    Her tweet you linked to is her public twitter feed, not a conference, not something she said in the middle of a conference. Your introduction of that is a red herring. Doesn’t matter if she’s made sexual jokes in the past. We’re talking about what happened in that particular situation that she’s now being sent rape and death threats over.

  72. says

    See, on the planet I’m from — Earth — shit has to make sense, and there’s no sense in denying doing something in one instance you’ve already admitted to doing in another when the penalty for doing either one alone is the same as the penalty for doing both and you’ve already suffered that penalty. See that there? That shit doesn’t make sense.

    I know you spent a lot of effort trying to come up with that rationalization, but I’m sorry to say it was all for naught: none of that makes the guy’s excuses or scapegoating more credible, nor does it make the guys’ class-clown behavior excusable, nor does it justify any of the mindless cyberbullying and threats that Richards has received since then. In fact, it doesn’t even address the heart of the issue covered in the OP AT ALL! The above paragraph is, in fact, one of the most ridiculous bits of small-minded hairsplitting excuses I’ve ever read. If you can’t handle the real issue here, then STFU and go to bed.

  73. karmacat says

    Looking at my comment, I realized I am minimizing the sexual aspect of the comments. Sexualized comments and suggestions are a way to be aggressive towards women. And of course, the men hide behind well it was a joke or saying I wanted a technical discussion after delivering a sexual innuendo. Yea, right….

  74. thumper1990 says

    @JAL

    Well, bully for your privileged ass that you can deal with it that way. EVERY instance, by EVERY person needs to called the fuck out. Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out?

    I did point out she didn’t do anything wrong, but you’re right. I don’t know why I felt the need to point out what I would have done differently, when in the same breath I also wrote about how she might not have felt comfortable doing that. I had a priviledged moment. I apologise.

  75. glodson says

    Fuck.

    Mention a woman who gets harassed and threatened, see people trip over themselves to decry her for any reason, including ignoring the fact that double entrendres exist.

  76. says

    #70…..the point is that these incidents happen now and male geeks rise up in outrage and do it for the guy or guys in question. Even if you’re not threatening death or rape along with the dewdz, you are missing that this is what women go through, but you’re too busy pretending that the guys are blameless but the girl freaked put and, voila! She’s actually the bad guy.

    After Elevatorgate, there’s no way to ignore this, even if lots of guys are probably comforting themselves with the idea that ignoring womens’ lives is a whole lot better than that violent backdrop that women are fighting against.
    It’s always there for us. Always. How many times does this have to happen before guys stop pretending that their anal little arguments aren’t exercises in belittlement?

    No excuse.

  77. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Matthew Best “73,

    Jesus, what retard junior high did you go to?

    Don’t use “retard” here, it’s an ablist slur and using it makes you an ablist asshole.

  78. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #81 thumper1990

    I did point out she didn’t do anything wrong, but you’re right. I don’t know why I felt the need to point out what I would have done differently, when in the same breath I also wrote about how she might not have felt comfortable doing that. I had a priviledged moment. I apologise.

    Thank you.

  79. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Jesus fucking Keerist. So a woman in tech, who is constantly exposed to this kind of shit (according to her, and I fucking well believer her, I’ve been there too), does the “unladylike” thing, goes into a “snit” and posts a picture to twitter when someone does this YET AGAIN. The situation is handled by organizers, but one of the guys boss fired him over this, and Richards gets blamed for that to the point of losing her job and targeted death and rape threats?

    And there are STILL people arguing that it’s her own fault?

    Yeah, fuck you. She did nothing wrong. If your issue is public shaming then WTF IS HAPPENING TO HER RIGHT NOW? Why aren’t you speaking up against THAT?

  80. Irmin says

    #76, thumper1990:

    Yes, but there’s more than one kind of inappropriateness which should be treated differently.

    As for the whole assuming things: Well, that’s exactly why publicly shaming should be the last resort, in my opinion. After all, PZ also felt the need to explain himself lately and there was a lot of talk about assuming the worst possible interpretation isn’t always that nice. So why is it the correct response in this case?

    As long as we’re having conflicting information about what actually happened, assuming too much could lead to wrong conclusions. I’m actually at fault myself there, if that what she said later on and was quoted here (that about sexual jokes starting when she joined the conversation) is true (even then, I would have liked her to prefer other means of resolving this conflict). But I won’t believe that just because it’s coming from the victim. That would be a funny juridical system if it worked like that.

    I’m also having a bit of a hard time regarding the “she doesn’t owe you a thing”. While that’s of course true, it still isn’t a blank cheque to do whatever you please.

  81. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #86 Gen, Uppity Ingrate.

    Yeah, fuck you. She did nothing wrong. If your issue is public shaming then WTF IS HAPPENING TO HER RIGHT NOW? Why aren’t you speaking up against THAT?

    Word.

    And the one line I agree what is happening to her now but…” being followed by several paragraphs complaining about Richards CLEARLY shows which person’s action they want to focus and shame (hers), and which person’s actions they want to ignore (everyone else).

  82. glodson says

    If your issue is public shaming then WTF IS HAPPENING TO HER RIGHT NOW? Why aren’t you speaking up against THAT?

    Because she deserved it for even confronting the guys on their privilege! She’s the worst! She’s all wrong, and this is just a bunch of people joking, even though they are posting her address with explicit threats. Women need to tougher and deal with these higher level jokes, the real crime is the company of one of these men overreacted and fired him. He’s the real victim!

    Or… these idiots don’t give a shit about the harassment the woman is facing and really just want to make sure people don’t talk about this level of harassment she’s receiving for guys making sexual jokes at a conference as they don’t want to think that kind of behavior is wrong.

  83. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    EVERY instance, by EVERY person needs to called the fuck out. Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    Good for her for pointing it out publicly with a picture so she could have evidence instead of having to worry about losing the “she said, he said” battle, since we all know how that turns out.

    QFT and because this deserves restating.

  84. Pteryxx says

    (opinion) Personally I’d be fine with eventually talking about photos, networking behavior, and such tangents and minutiae after the belittling, dismissing, excuse-making crowd moves on. At the moment it’s just derailment fodder. ( /opinion)

  85. says

    My my, isn’t Mr. Best getting blustery and defensive…

    They taught you that if somebody says something and you decide to interpret it in a way that’s wildly different from the intent of the speaker, it’s your interpretation of the meaning that’s valid, and not the speaker’s intent?

    In this case, the speakers’ intent was to make dirty jokes using words that have more than one widely-understood meaning. That inent was easily discernable, based on the WIDELY UNDERSTOOD MEANING of the words that were heard, and by the tone and place in which they were said. Your lame-assed attempt to pretend that only the speaker gets to interpret the words he uses is just more childish immaturity. I’ve heard it from MRAs before, and I know it’s bullshit. (I also tried it myself, but my parents and teachers were smart enough not to let me get away with it. Been there, done that, grew up.)

  86. omnicrom says

    This shit makes me very pessimistic. Because it keeps happening. Time and time and time and time again a woman calls out privilege and every time the asshole dudebros come out of the woodwork to defend their rotten steaming privilege. I am sick and fucking tired of this shit. Adria Richards did indeed do everything exactly right, and I am tired of a world where she’s still castigated and punished for it.

  87. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I’m actually at fault myself there, if that what she said later on and was quoted here (that about sexual jokes starting when she joined the conversation) is true (even then, I would have liked her to prefer other means of resolving this conflict). But I won’t believe that just because it’s coming from the victim. That would be a funny juridical system if it worked like that.

    Okay, what you say makes little sense in any case but this here takes the fucking cake. Are you the judicial system? Are you currently commenting in your capacity as the judge, jury and executioner of this specific case?

  88. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Harvardmbray:

    What I’m attacking is “solutionism”.

    What I’m attacking is “solutionism”. No, what you are attacking is changing the status quo, and making society better. Because you might have to change in the process. We here know that. Deal with it elsewhere.

  89. physicsphdstu says

    The crazy thing is that whatever she does, she loses.
    If she had taken a more circumspect route, told them or the con officials privately, received their apology and then mentioned the incident withholding their name, Viola! You have the elevatorgate incident all over again.

  90. unity says

    Yes, PZ, the ‘defence’ here is that she should not have immediately made this a public matter by using a public Twitter feed to communicate with the conference organisers.

    That is simply unprofessional conduct and turned a situation that could reasonably have been dealt with via a private warning from the conference organisers and, perhaps, a disciplinary warning from the guy’s employer into one which led to one of the guys being dismissed for making a schoolboy joke, an outcome that is out of all proportion to the original offence.

    That there are known issue in the tech sector surrounding attitudes to women does not automatically justify the use of blunderbus in this case, not least because this is not a case of direct or deliberate harassment.

    I fully agree that any private meanings or potential misunderstandings are irrelevant to the question of whether Adria was justified in complaining to the organisers about these guy’s behaviour. She could only report what she heard and it is then up to the organisers to investigate the matter, unpick any possible misunderstandings and the extent to which this may or may not provide a degree of mitigation, and arrive a fair, equitable and proportionate means of dealing with the issue, but the organisers were not given that opportunity because she took it upon herself to make it a public matter before it could be investigated.

    The issue here is not whether she was justified in complaining about this behaviour – of course she was – but that the manner in which she chose to make her complaint was grossly disproportionate to the nature of the offence and, as such, she didn’t so much complain as try to act and judge, jury and executioner.

    Had she complained privately to the organisers, and she could easily of done so via Twitter simply by sending them a direct message, only for the organisers to either fail to respond or fail to address her complaint in a satisfactory manner then it become a different matter and she would, of course, have been fully justified in taking her concerns into the public domain.

    But, irrespective of the circumstances, it remains an overriding principle for me that people in these situations are entitled to due process, whether they are the person making the complaint or the person who is subject to the complaint, and it unreasonable for anyone to act in manner which denies that right to others unless there are significant extenuating circumstances, such as an imminent risk or threat that others that the conference need to be made aware of as a matter of urgency.

    A couple of guys in the audience cracking an off-colour joke is not significant extenuating circumstance.

  91. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The most disgusting thing about this is that we’re watching a system chew up and spit out individuals for trying to exercise some little bit of control over something that the system has more power and responsibility to change. The overarching corporate, employer-employee, broader-society structure is shitting on all parties involved and those of you deriding Adria are doing exactly what it wants you to do: scapegoat the individual with limited power so that you ignore the failure of responsibility of the larger and more powerful structure.

    In short, it’s exactly like ordinary working people shitting on welfare and food stamp recipients for “takin’ mah stuff’ instead of placing the blame on the inhuman corporate/work/healthcare system that fucks everyone.

    Both Richards’ and the guy’s employers treated them outrageously. These companies fucked over individuals instead of stepping up to support both the employees and set an example of how to address this crappy behavior in professional settings. They could have acknowledged what happened and taken both Richards and the guy’s (I’m sorry, I didn’t see his name cited, maybe I missed it) efforts to right the wrong and used it positively.

    Instead, the companies have evaded responsibility altogether by punishing individual people for reacting the only way single, individual people can. What the guy did was wrong, and he acknowledged it. Even though he’s trying to weasel out of some responsibility, think about it—how can we blame him? Any one of us who was instantly put out of work by a big company would feel reactive, scared, and defensive. I’m sure I’d be flailing about, too, and would probably place blame in the wrong place.

    This is just what corporations want. They want Richards and the guy to see each other as enemies and as the real problem. They want onlookers to cast this as two rogue individuals, and for us to pick one as the hero and the other as the villain.

    The outcome is that both people get punished in shamefully unfair ways by an opponent with far more power than they’ll ever have. Instead of using this as an example of how a bad situation can be solved while highlighting the societal problem with tolerating casual sexism, we get handed mallets so we can whack the prairie dogs who stick their heads up too far.

    It’s disgusting.

  92. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    That is simply unprofessional conduct

    Ladies and gents, that screeching sound you heard and smell of brimstone was your irony meters being sucked into the void

  93. sqlrob says

    Actually, it changes quite a bit. Forking a repo(sitory) isn’t a sexual innuendo, it’s a *literal thing*

    What do you think an innuendo IS? I can think of some very quickly that are all valid things in IT.

  94. says

    Because, fool, I’m not in disagreement with the fact that they ought to have been reprimanded…

    Inother words, you know the guys were in the wrong, but you still care more about attacking a woman for her response to them. And you continue to do this, after at least one of the guys admitted his behavior was wrong? That’s just one of the more innocuous signs of the uncontrollable obsessive malignant hatred that’s coming out in response to men being held responsible for their actions.

    Fuck off, Mr. Best, you’re just another mindless nitpicking hater.

  95. thumper1990 says

    @Irmin

    Nob jokes, boob jokes, fanny jokes, whatever, are all under the same category: gender-specific, sexual jokes. Which I think we can all agree are inappropriate at a professional conference, yes?

    And OK, I’ll conceed the point that possibly sticking their names and faces on a public twitter feed may have been a bit harsh. However, how would you suggest she dealt with it? Don’t make the same mistake I just made: she is not you. Simply walking up to them and saying “Shut up” may not be an option for her. I would also ask you to ask yourself this: would your reaction be the same if they’d made jokes a black person would find offensive? Or a gay person? Would you then object to them being publicly shamed on Twitter?

  96. Irmin says

    #83, oh, come on, you can disagree with me all you want, but please don’t make stuff up I didn’t say. To quote myself, just because I’m criticising one party that doesn’t mean the other is blameless. If you like, I can start all my comments from now on with “What the guys said was inappropriate”. Better?

    See, I can be polemical, too.

    #86: At least from my perspective, because that’s much more clear. While there probably are some stupid fucks that would argue in favour of death and rape threats, at least from my perspective that’s far below everyone discussing here right now. So I would assume that holding this opinion is a non-issue and pretty much expected of a normal human being.

    Yes, that doesn’t say much and you probably should be stating “obvious” things more explicitly. In that, you’re perfectly correct. Even if one accepts that posting the photo is right (which I’m not), everything that followed is pretty scary.

  97. says

    #86—-forest, trees. Don’t you know women are supposed to apologize for their existence? You get given things by benevolent dudes, but don’t get above yourself or think you can just sort of have rights or anything, without a guy first deigning to validate you or something.

    These instances of threats and attacks against women always feature dozens of dudes trying to make the reaction seem a leeeeeeeetle bit more justified by picking ridiculous nits.

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, glad you agree that PZ’s mansplainin’ is wholly in the wrong.

    Funny how mansplainin’ trolls accuse PZ of mansplainin’. After all, trolls always accuse others of the behavior they engage in, that’s there in the troll/MRA manual. Try not engaging in it.

  99. glodson says

    The issue here is not whether she was justified in complaining about this behaviour – of course she was – but that the manner in which she chose to make her complaint was grossly disproportionate to the nature of the offence and, as such, she didn’t so much complain as try to act and judge, jury and executioner.

    No. The issue her is that after taking this pictures and doing a mild public shaming of two guys, her employer fired her and the internet went crazy with death threats, threats of rape, and published her fucking address.

    A discussion of the pictures, and even the conduct of the guys who kicked this off by acting like jackasses, is secondary. The companies that fired Richards and one of the guys are overreacting. It was dealt with, and we shouldn’t even be commenting on it, it should have just passed without further comment.

    But a guy gets fired by his company for a bad reason, and it is her fault, which justifies a campaign of vile harassment in the minds of some truly bad people. That’s the fucking problem.

  100. PatrickG says

    (opinion) Personally I’d be fine with eventually talking about photos, networking behavior, and such tangents and minutiae after the belittling, dismissing, excuse-making crowd moves on. At the moment it’s just derailment fodder. ( /opinion)

    Quoted for fucking truth. I personally find the picture going to Twitter to be a bit excessive — in isolation, and partially because I loathe Twitter. But so fucking what? Even if — as many people here won’t concede, and I’m not really trying to argue that position — said tweet was over the top, it in no way justifies the reaction it got. Why, from the reaction of fools like Matthew Best, you think she’d reported them to the UN for crimes against humanity.

    In a perfect world (yeah yeah), she would have posted this to Twitter, the guys would have been embarrassed, and the conference organizers would have asked her to approach them privately first in future. And apologies would have gone ’round, and the incident would have been forgotten in a week, and everyone would get a pony, too. But you know what? Perfect world scenarios are fucking useless in situations like this. Amanda Blum’s post may provide an interesting hypothetical, but it’s irrelevant.

    Matthew Best: Why don’t you go tell the companies involved that firing people over this is probably the stupidest PR move they could have made, instead of making a grade A fool of yourself. Oh, and FOOL. You fool.

    The “responsibility” for this is not on Richards. The responsibility rests squarely on the people who decided to fire people over this, the conference organizers who 180ed, and last — but certainly not least — people like Matthew Best, who not only can’t see the forest for the trees, they’re literally scraping themselves raw on the bark of the biggest oak out there screaming “NO FOREST! NO FOREST!”

  101. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #97 unity

    The issue here is not whether she was justified in complaining about this behaviour – of course she was – but that the manner in which she chose to make her complaint was grossly disproportionate to the nature of the offence and, as such, she didn’t so much complain as try to act and judge, jury and executioner.

    Oh, yes little women trust the system that’s designed to fuck you over and that has being fucking you over since the beginning of time. No, no, don’t look behind the curtain. The Great and Powerful System with take care of you.

    *snort* Most likely, she wouldn’t have been believed, and the men wouldn’t have been talked to at all. Fuck the system. It needs to be corrected and clearly the organization knows which way to go.

    (Hint: They decided to screw Richards over, make her an example and send a clear silencing message to every woman in attendance.)

    Oh, and NOW public photos are problem?

    Funny, how when women complain about douchebros posting photos online (nude or otherwise) of regular women, it’s defended with “It’s a compliment!” and “These are my photos to do with as I please!”

    Oh, no, but one woman takes one photo of two guys use to report them publicly and ALL of sudden it total focus must be about how morally wrong it was to take and post the photo.

    *snort*

    Fuck you, your horse and your cavalry.

  102. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Funny how mansplainin’ trolls accuse PZ of mansplainin’.

    Always cracks me up. Makes it so clear they have no cooking clue what the fuck the word even means, they can’t see past the “man”.

  103. says

    #107—-the fuckin’ article blames her for it, using many of the same fuckin’ arguments assholes are using her. Disclaimers don’t fool anybody.

  104. giuocopiano says

    PZ and others, I’m having trouble squaring this post and some of the following commentary with some of the messages in the “Oh No I’ve Been Exposed” post a few months ago (about PZ’s using a woman volunteer in an onstage sexualized cardgame to demonstrate recombination).

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/13/oh-no-ive-been-exposed/

    PZ said,

    You could argue that I’m a bad comedian, but there’s nothing anti-feminist in any of those clips…that is, unless you think that humor and joking about sex are somehow incompatible with feminism.

    and

    I did have that woman come up on stage so I could have sex with her. Of course, it was in a talk about sex and genetics, where I used a deck of cards to illustrate recombination, so it was a little less provocative than you might think — we swapped cards for a bit. Lasciviously.

    In the comments, Hyperdeath said:

    They genuinely seem unable to tell the difference between harmless banter and actual harassment. I suppose this stems from the same lack of emotional competence that leads them to simultaneously shriek abuse at people, and sob about being bullied.

    And PZ, regarding whether the woman volunteer was being put on the spot:

    If she’d shown any reluctance or embarrassment I would have let her step down, no problem.

    (I bring up this last statement in the context of what would have been the appropriate way for the woman volunteer to handle the situation if she had in fact felt uncomfortable.)

    I should say that I don’t think PZ’s behavior was necessarily problematic. But in the context of this post I can’t help wondering whether he or others see that situation differently now than they did in December.

  105. glodson says

    @ 111

    Ah, Damnit, I think I misread the post I replied to. No. I don’t think that, looking back, I know I misread it. Going back, I am trying to say the same thing, in that her getting blamed for all this is the problem, and then being harassed for it with people lining up to say that her harassment is entirely justified.

  106. PatrickG says

    @ giuocopiano:

    The hell? Did someone get fired over this? Did people launch DoS attacks against sites? Were death threats uttered? Do you think if a woman found herself uncomfortable with PZ’s humor had said something, these things would have happened?

    Otherwise, how is this even relevant?

    What are you on? Must be some pharmaceutical-grade stuff, can I have some?

    P.S. Curse your black heart, ginmar, for using the forest-trees analogy while I was writing my first comment.

  107. says

    … it is then up to the organisers to investigate the matter, unpick any possible misunderstandings and the extent to which this may or may not provide a degree of mitigation, and arrive a fair, equitable and proportionate means of dealing with the issue, but the organisers were not given that opportunity because she took it upon herself to make it a public matter before it could be investigated.

    So you’re blaming the woman for denying the organizers the ability to do something they actually did — after they did it? That’s gotta be the most ridiculous bit of victim-blaming I’ve heard in a long time. Fuck off, “unity,” you’re too stoopid to even tell a believable lie.

  108. thumper1990 says

    @JAL #109

    Funny, how when women complain about douchebros posting photos online (nude or otherwise) of regular women, it’s defended with “It’s a compliment!” and “These are my photos to do with as I please!”

    Oh, no, but one woman takes one photo of two guys use to report them publicly and ALL of sudden it total focus must be about how morally wrong it was to take and post the photo.

    That… is a very good point…

  109. Irmin says

    #94, I probably didn’t clarify what I meant, because what you said is definitely not it. I just generally want to have my opinions based on facts. It’s solely my opinions, not what the general public should think (although I think that everyone else also should base their opinions on facts). I’m not really sure why you’re this aggressive, as the only point I wanted to make in this paragraph is that I might be wrong, but I don’t know if I am. It’s just that someone isn’t right just because I or anyone else want it that way.

    #102, thumper1990:

    Yes, they are inappropriate, which I think I’ve already said about twenty-three times. If she doesn’t want to confront them themselves, she should ask someone from the conference’s organisers to deal with this problem. If they’re not to be found, then that’s their fault and they’re also to blame for not giving victims of inappropriate speech possibilities to deal with it.

    And your example, well it depends on the joke, obviously. But let’s assume they said something around the lines of something being “gay” in a derogatory sense. Yes, in that case I would expect anyone offended by this to either confront them directly (On the lines of “You do know that gay isn’t a slur, do you?”) or report that to the organisers of the conference. If they stand their ground and don’t apologise, there’s enough time for public shaming.

  110. says

    My my, isn’t Mr. Best getting blustery and defensive…

    I blame Adria for compelling him to out himself as a misogynistic loser on the Internet. Has she no sense of human decency?

  111. unity says

    109. JAL

    “Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.”

    George Orwell – ‘Notes on Nationalism’, May 1945

  112. PatrickG says

    @ Irmin:

    I’m not really sure why you’re this aggressive

    Not to put words into Gen’s mouth, but probably because your comments — particularly in the context of many comments in this thread — have a strong whiff of “she ruined those student athletes’ tech guys’ lives”.

    In the context of what has actually happened, nitpicking the nuances of Richards’ social media etiquette is fucking infuriating. Get it now?

  113. carlie says

    I’m sorry. I really want to dive in and fight for this, but I just… can’t, not today. Not when there are so many of these on top of each other, not when they all go down exactly the same way. I support fighting this kind of sexism openly as much as anybody, but that doesn’t mean each individual can be on the hook for all of them all the time, and I realized by comment 2 (didn’t take long) that I’m at my limit for the moment.

  114. Irmin says

    #114, PatrickG:

    No, I think his point is precisely the difference between “harmless banter” and “actual harassment” and an appropriate reaction towards both.

    Now I wouldn’t say that the guys in this case discussed here are only guilty of “harmless banter”, but it isn’t sexual harassment either. So the question what the correct response should be is perfectly valid, I think.

    That everything that followed only showed some of the scariest things the Internet has brought us is entirely outside the scope of the point giuocopiano wanted to make.

  115. sonofrojblake says

    First point: there’s public, and there’s public. My house is not a public place. The street outside it is, but there’s hardly ever anyone there. My place of work is NOT a public place – access is restricted to people with a reason to be there. Was not this conference restricted access? Twitter is MORE public than the street outside my house. Twitter is more like the front cover of the free newspaper that gets shoved through my letterbox. We’re still, as a society, getting our collective heads around the varying definitions of “public”. It’s not the simple concept it was.

    My problem with PZ’s wholehearted support for Ms. Richards is the phrase from the original post:

    “Richards turned, snapped their picture, and tweeted it to the conference organizers”

    Now, my understanding of how twitter works would fit in a matchbox without taking the matches out, but it seems to me if she’d done what this wording implies – i.e. sent a message TO THE CONFERENCE ORGANISERS complaining of inappropriate behaviour – then yes, absolutely she did exactly the right thing in a measured way.

    But it seems that in this case the phrase “tweeted it to the conference organizers” actually means “tweeted it to the conference organisers AND TWELVE THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE”. And I can’t agree that that is a measured, proportionate response to an overheard double entendre. (And I don’t buy for a minute that “fork” in this context isn’t meant as a double entendre. Yes, it has a literal technical meaning which is the primary meaning, but that’s kind of how double entendre is supposed to work…)

    The guys were in the wrong. This is beyond dispute. They admitted as much. But in immediately escalating her complaint beyond the conference hall, and denying the organisers any opportunity to resolve it satisfactorily for all concerned immediately and within the context of the conference, Ms. Richards was, imo, not acting proportionately or in a measured way at all. The conference presumably had a code of conduct which included a protocol for raising complaints. I’d be surprised if announcing your complaint to twelve thousand people, most of whom were not at the conference, fell within that policy.

    The cynic in me is forced to wonder whether someone with 32 THOUSAND tweets under their belt couldn’t predict at least some of the ensuing shitstorm, and might have considered the raising of their profile possibly worth it.

  116. unity says

    115. Raging Bee.

    Sorry, are you really so stupid that can neither understand nor appreciate the importance of confidentiality when dealing with complaints that might conceivably result in disciplinary action in employment?

    Do you work, and if so would you be happy if your employer chose to conduct your performance review, or maybe even a disciplinary hearing in full view and earshot of your work colleagues?

  117. says

    Heh. I’m enjoying all the spectacle of these people complaining that it was overkill to make a complaint about public behavior publicly….by complaining about public behavior publicly. If you’re so certain that such indiscreet behavior is reprehensible, why are you complaining about Richards here? Shouldn’t you be, like, writing her a friendly, professional, and personal letter?

  118. PatrickG says

    So the question what the correct response should be is perfectly valid, I think.

    And as I said above, and as many people have said above, this a trivial and rather ridiculous point in light of actual events.

    In light of what’s actually gone down, bringing up a tangentially related point from a different post and raising questions about the ethics of PZ’s past behavior rates nothing more than snort of disgust. You see a perfectly valid question, I see a massive attempt at derailing. There’s a Thunderdome for that sort of thing, after all.

    Opinions will vary, but in mine, the question of what the correct response should be is perfectly stupid.

  119. says

    #120—-it might have something to do with both your point and the demonstrated fact that no matter how many frickin’ times I describe why it’s so fuckin’ easy for him to say she should have said something, he just kerps ignoring it ans saying that she should have said something. Also, wimpy little disclaimers versus hundreds of words going after her give the lie demonstrably to those fuckin’ disclaimers.

    Goddam already.

    The real reason people don’t want to fully commit to atheism, I realize right now, is the failure thus far to offer vivid, forceful, useful, vehement, descriptive, and suitably-insulting-while-devastatingly-accurate expletives. For situations like this. I could offer a frickin’ pop quiz and some of the guys arguing would get it wrong.

  120. jamessweet says

    Yep, that’s pretty much my reaction. I just posted this to Facebook:

    Okay, let’s assume for a second that the guys telling the allegedly sexist jokes did nothing wrong, and Richards was totally overreacting to it.

    SO. WHAT.

    It’s now a fireable offense to say, “Hey, here’s a pic of a couple of guys I heard telling some jokes that I didn’t like”?!?!? How is that inspiring death threats and hack attacks and job termination??? It’s just crazy.

    FWIW, I think it’s a little messed up that one of the guys got fired. Even taking Richards’ account at face value, what they said probably merited a brief talking to along the lines of, “Hey, I know you didn’t mean anything, but that kind of banter can make people feel unwelcome. Don’t do that, it’s not cool.” But Richards didn’t fire him, his employer did, so she shouldn’t be blamed for that.

    This whole thing is just kinda messed up. It’s amazing to me how passionate people get over their “right” to tell a joke without having anybody say they didn’t like it…

    I’ll repeat it again: even if Richards was overreacting (and I don’t think she was, but just for the sake of argument…) since when is it some horrible thing to, um, not like somebody’s joke?

    That’s one of the big lessons I’ve learned in the last several years: Yeah, sometimes when people get offended, they are indeed overreacting, but unless they are like actively trying to censor you, who cares? Better to listen and think about why they are offended (and possibly decide you don’t give a fuck, which is your right) than to throw a hissy fit over your alleged right to tell any joke you want and have everybody like it.

  121. Irmin says

    #120, PatrickG:

    Well, then I don’t get where this “strong whiff” is coming from. I don’t care for these guys at all. I’m just discussing the commensurability of a reaction to stupid remarks.

    I also don’t think “Stop discussing that, there’s worse things in the world” is an argument at all.

    Because what should we “discuss” there? That we all agree that there are a lot of misogynist assholes in this world?

    Perhaps I’m arguing a bit too harshly or my point of view is actually that far away from a “sane” one, because I really don’t get the aggressiveness of the reactions towards my posts. I don’t really want to come over as an apologist for stupid behaviour, and if I did, I can only apologise for that. It’s just that I think that there was a case of using a sledgehammer to open a nut here, that’s all.

  122. Asher Kay says

    This is the second thread in a row where I’ve seen a comment that takes the form:

    [Statement that agrees sexism is bad][Statement that makes some sort of excuse, as if to say, “let’s not go too far with it!”]

    It always seems like the second part is the most important thing to the commenter.

  123. garlic says

    And then, beneath it all, lies the festering sewer of rape culture that rises in rage at any damned uppity woman who dares to speak out against our very own homegrown Taliban.

    Remember kids, cracking a “big dongle” joke at another guy is totally the same thing as stoning women to death and shooting them up in stadiums.

  124. says

    People have problems with wholeheartedly supporting Adria Richards?

    No. Just no.

    This is not the time to talk about the fucking Twitter photo. Who fucking cares?

    The interesting part of all of this is the fucking pattern. Over and over again. Speak out against sexist comments, get an avalanche of abuse, rape threats, DDOS attacks, people attempting (sometimes succeeding) to get you fired.

    All in the defense of dudes who made sexist comments.

    Until this bullshit stops, there’s just no conversation to be had about the fucking Twitter photo. You want to have a discussion about whether HER response was inappropriate? Too late, and you know who’s to blame? The legion of sexist assholes who have been attacking her. Take it up with THEM if you want to quibble about whether Adria Richards use the precisely correct tone and the precisely correct method of reporting inappropriate, sexist behavior at a conference. I’m sure you’ll find them a VERY sympathetic audience. I mean, it’s not like you’re about to criticize THEM, oh no! The MOST IMPORTANT THING here is ensuring that ladies are ALWAYS LADY-LIKE even when expressing anger and discomfort because of sexist behavior!

    In conclusion, fuck you. Fuck anyone who thinks it’s REMOTELY okay to be criticizing Adria Richards for taking a photo and posting it to Twitter right now! FUCK YOU ALL.

    <

  125. blitzgal says

    We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    QFMFT.

    When we are polite, we get death and rape threats. When we are angry, we get death and rape threats. When we are silent, the constant barrage of inappropriate comments and actions continues with no end in sight.

    When we get the same response no matter how we present our objections, perhaps it’s time to admit that it’s not our objections that are the problem?

  126. says

    Remember kids, cracking a “big dongle” joke at another guy launching an avalanche of rape and death threats is totally the same thing on the same spectrum of misogynist behavior as stoning women to death and shooting them up in stadiums.

    FIFY

  127. says

    #132—-because the former sets the stage for the latter, you disingenuous little buttnugget, partucularly when asschapeaux comme vous attack the woman for not finding your puerile wit equal to Oscar Wilde after a snootful.

  128. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #125 unity

    Sorry, are you really so stupid that can neither understand nor appreciate the importance of confidentiality when dealing with complaints that might conceivably result in disciplinary action in employment?

    Oh, yeah fucking right. I don’t trust the conference organizers to do the right thing when it’s been demonstrated they usually fail hard on this subject. I bet dollars to donuts the ONLY reason they talked to the two men was because the complaint was made publicly. Plus the conference organizers clearly don’t give a shit since they made that retroactive change to their policies. If they do nothing when we complain “nicely” what the fuck else are we suppose to do?
    We’re always damned if we do, damned if we don’t so why not use the tactics that clearly get things accomplished?
    .

    Do you work, and if so would you be happy if your employer chose to conduct your performance review, or maybe even a disciplinary hearing in full view and earshot of your work colleagues?

    That’s by your boss which is a totally different fucking story than a stranger calling out your public conversation made to said stranger in professional setting.

  129. says

    I’m just discussing the commensurability of a reaction to stupid remarks.

    You’re like the guy quibbling about the temperature of the hotel pool, while a tsunami that will destroy your town is bearing down on you.

  130. Irmin says

    #128: And you keep reading only one half of my posts. Or at least interpreting them the way it fits you best.

    So let me say it to you once more: She didn’t have to confront the people directly. I never said this would be the only correct response, just my preferred one. Still, there’s something between confrontation and public shaming. Clear now?

  131. says

    sonofrojblake:

    The cynic in me is forced to wonder whether someone with 32 THOUSAND tweets under their belt couldn’t predict at least some of the ensuing shitstorm, and might have considered the raising of their profile possibly worth it.

    So you’re saying she was asking for it.

  132. says

    We need a new word that combines “mansplaining” with “hairsplitting.”

    “Hairsplaining?” “Mansplitting?” Hmmm, the latter sounds kinda painful…although I gotta say it’s appropriate, since — as Josh noted @98 — there’s a lot of interest-groups actively seeking to split men (as well as women) against each other.

  133. Irmin says

    #138, SallyStrange: Actually, I feel more like the guy that is angry about potholes in my street while there are homeless people in my country.

  134. PatrickG says

    @ Irmin:

    I can only speak for myself, but my aggressiveness is due in large part to the absolute range of assholes who’ve deigned to come speak in threads lately. The Steubenville verdict threads, the Shakesville threads… FTB — and Pharyngula in particular — has not been a calming place to read lately!

    A great part of that is people displaying great interest in parsing the nuances of etiquette, civility, how things should have gone, what terms really mean, etc. and much less interest in focusing on actual awful events.

    Thus, when I see people coming in saying “yeah that’s all horrible, but what I really want to talk about is PZ’s messaging”, it’s a red flag to me, and apparently to others as well. Particularly with jerks like Best popping in.

    Frankly, I disagree slightly with PZ’s take of “everything exactly right”. But who cares? Even if Richards overreacted — and how I’m coming to loathe that word — the Great Crime of tweeting their picture only had consequences because of the army of raging assholes. This is not intended as an argument from greater evil, it’s an argument from frustration.

    If I’ve misinterpreted your motives, I apologize. But I hope the above explains — for my part — why intellectual discussions of behavior-in-perfect-worlds cause me to break the glass on my personal hammer of rage.

  135. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    # 139 Irmin

    #128: And you keep reading only one half of my posts. Or at least interpreting them the way it fits you best.

    You don’t get a goddamn cookie for the one fucking disclaimer sentence agreeing the dudes were wrong when there’s many paragraphs devoted to the attitude of “She’s hysterical! She just talk to them man to man like I would! Bitchez be trippin!”

    Every other thing you’ve said makes your disclaimer sentence a farce. Just like with “I’m not a racist but…” statements.

  136. jeffsutter says

    She used a homophobic slur and took a picture without their consent. I would hesitate to say she did everything right.

  137. says

    #138, SallyStrange: Actually, I feel more like the guy that is angry about potholes in my street while there are homeless people in my country.

    So you’re saying you’re ANGRY that Adria Richards tweeted a picture of two dudes who were making sexist remarks as a means of communicating their inappropriate behavior to the conference organizers?

    That makes you ANGRY?

    What is wrong with you?

  138. unity says

    126. PZ

    Had I been the employer of these two guys, then you can rest assured that I would have communicated my displeasure, privately, to Richard’s employer in regards to the unprofessional manner in which she raise her concerns about my own employee’s conduct…

    …but only after I’d given my own employees:

    a) a bollocking,

    b) possibly a disciplinary warning (depending on their response to the bollocking and whatever might or might not already be on their employment record),

    c) due consideration to any other remedial measures I deemed appropriate, which would probably include written letters of apology to Richards and to the conference organisers.

    What I would not have done is sack anyone, and I would certainly have made the point to Richard’s employer that I do not believe that she should be dismissed over this one error of judgement.

    However, what I might have done in that situation is moot, not only because I’m not involved in this matter as a employer but also because the matter is already in the public domain and open for public discussion, having been put their by Richard’s own actions and the sequence of events that followed on from it, none of which I condone in the slightest.

    This is simply a clusterfuck in which none of the main parties come up smelling of roses, save for the conference organisers who in the circumstances could do nothing to prevent this situation getting completely out of hand, and to try and complete exonerate either Richards or the two guys who behaved inappropriately is frankly ridiculous.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.

  139. thumper1990 says

    @Irmin ‘117

    Yes, I’m aware you don’t think their behaviour was appropriate, I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. However, you’re missing the point a bit. She shouldn’t have had to go and find the organisers, or stand up to them. The guys shouldn’t have said it in the first place. So she dealt with it in the way that was best for her. It’s all very easy for us to sit here and say what she should have done, and we probably wouldn’t have acted the same way, but the point is that whether what she did was over the top or not doesn’t justify the reaction she got. And I know you don’t agree with the reaction she got, but we don’t really have the right to sit here discussing the subtleties of the situation when that discussion is taking the focus off of the actions of the two men and putting them onto the actions of a woman who shouldn’t have had to deal with that in the first place. By doing that we are endorsing the sort of reaction which justifies the reaction of the 4channers, because they are doing is taking the same logic that is fuelling this conversation and following it to greater extremes.

    It’s the same argument we use against moderate religionists. Sure they themselves aren’t too bad, but they still lend credence to the institution which gives rise to the fundementalists. Same here, the apologetics you are indulging in aren’t too unreasonable, but they lend fuel to the same culture which gives rise to the more extreme reactions we are seeing. It’s the culture itself that’s the problem.

  140. says

    She used a homophobic slur and took a picture without their consent. I would hesitate to say she did everything right.

    Well, that certainly excuses and justifies an avalanche of rape and death threats, DDOS attacks, and firing her.

    What? That’s not what you were saying? Except that is what you said by making that particular remark in this particular context.

    Just like joking about dongles may not be offensive of sexist if you’re hanging with your bros at your poker game or whatever, but IS sexist during a tech conference, complaining about Adria Richards’ lack of perfection with the backdrop of that huge landslide of misogynist abuse aimed directly at her without mentioning said abuse is implicitly justifying that landslide.

    I am beginning to think that PZ said that “Adria Richards did everything perfectly” on purpose, as a shibboleth to see who is a decent person and who is not. Decent persons, like myself, might think, “Eh well, maybe email would have been better than Twitter, but whatever! that’s beside the point. I’m not going to share my opinion about that right now because clearly this pattern of public misogynist abuse of women who speak up about sexism is the more important thing here.” Non-decent persons, like you, think, well. I don’t know what the fuck you all think because I’m a decent person. Maybe you can explain.

  141. says

    Sorry, are you really so stupid that can neither understand nor appreciate the importance of confidentiality when dealing with complaints that might conceivably result in disciplinary action in employment?

    Are YOU really so stupid that you can’t understand, either that PUBLIC behavior is not subject to “confidentiality,” or that people who didn’t CHOOSE to hear what you say have no obligation to keep quiet about it?

  142. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Please use commenters’ nyms and or blockquote them. Please do not write “#94″. That makes it impossible to follow the convo for all the scrolling. Thank you.

    I’m irritatedly amused that after my own comment noting how corporations and conferences duck responsibility and scapegoat individuals, so many are doing just that. Seriously. Please think about that—it’s a crucial part of the power dynamic and not acknowledging it allows people of good will to carry water for entities that shouldn’t be supported at the expense of Richards and the other conference attendees.

  143. chigau (違う) says

    Why do they always have a girlfriend?
    Why does she always agree after the man explains things to her?

  144. Irmin says

    #143, PattyG

    the Great Crime of tweeting their picture only had consequences because of the army of raging assholes.

    Okay, now I understand what you are getting at. And that’s not sarcasm, I’m probably just that dense sometimes.

    And yes, with that I wholeheartedly agree. I hope I didn’t implicate something different anywhere around here. That’s what I meant earlier – that assholes are assholes is pretty much a given for me. But yes, I didn’t think of the fact that without these assholes, probably nothing much would have happened (except something against the guys making the remarks, of course).

    And yes, in this light, tweeting the picture is actually not that big a crime; but I always intended my nitpicking to be just that, it really was always just meant as being angry that the potholes in my street aren’t fixed. My approach is probably wrong in this case, so I apologise again for anything that could be interpreted the wrong way – and also for the things I actually got very wrong. It was a bit of a heated argument, but that doesn’t excuse anything.

    #144, please read what I answered above. Because the same is true for me for the guys’ behaviour: That was wrong and not worth a discussion for me. That’s probably wrong, so, well, then I’m wrong. But I really didn’t have any sinister ulterior motives behind that.

  145. roro80 says

    @Carlie #121:

    I’m sorry. I really want to dive in and fight for this, but I just… can’t, not today. Not when there are so many of these on top of each other, not when they all go down exactly the same way.

    Yup. I feel exactly the same way. No matter how clear-cut the ugly, there’s always a horde of assholes lined up to say that it’s the victim who’s really at fault.

  146. giuocopiano says

    PatrickG @114

    The hell? Did someone get fired over this? Did people launch DoS attacks against sites? Were death threats uttered? Do you think if a woman found herself uncomfortable with PZ’s humor had said something, these things would have happened?

    Otherwise, how is this even relevant?

    This post, and many of the following comments, are not just about people being fired, or cyber-attacks, or death-threats. This is also about what is or is not appropriate at conferences, what kind of stuff women may reasonably be expected to put up with in such environments (and what are reasonable guidelines for “banter” or whatever), what is the right way to handle possible infractions, etc.

    as JAL said:

    EVERY instance, by EVERY person needs to called the fuck out. Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    I can’t know whether the woman onstage with PZ felt uncomfortable, but I can certainly imagine that it was a situation where she might have kept quiet even if she had. Seems like the point of this post and many comments was partly to help drive home the fact that women should never be put in that spot and the burden should not be put on them to brave a shitstorm in order to avoid dealing with this stuff. On the other hand, it’s also obvious that some people don’t think “innuendo” or whatever is necessarily inappropriate. This is a tricky balancing act.

    My post wasn’t questioning PZ’s ethics about harassing women, which I am quite certain are beyond reproach (by my standards) — it was about what makes a truly safe space — and which spaces need to be truly safe — and to what extent people are on the same page about this.

    I’ll step out now, because I certainly don’t wish to derail.

  147. PatrickG says

    @ SallyStrange: I’m starting to wonder that too. Help us out here PZ! :)

    And thumper and SallyStrange made my point far better than I was able to. Hairsplitting the details is like brushing your teeth when your house is on fire. Sure, it’s good to brush your teeth. But probably shouldn’t be top priority, and yet we keep getting people strangely focused on dental hygiene…

  148. Asher Kay says

    This is simply a clusterfuck in which none of the main parties come up smelling of roses

    This is part of the strategy of shitstorming people who say, “guys don’t do that”. Make a big enough clusterfuck, and people can walk away from it, saying nobody is in the right.

  149. says

    angry that the potholes in my street aren’t fixed.

    To abuse a metaphor, the potholes aren’t even in your fucking street. They’re in someone else’s street. And the person whose street the unfixed potholes are in is fighting an unjust eviction.

    I’m glad you apologized.

  150. says

    #139: and you keep ignoring the death and rape threats

    Got a news flash for you, dude: I do in fact get to ‘interpret’ your posts when you’re talking about shit that I have to deal with, while you don’t. You’re a guy who sniffs about how he wants the facts and only the facts—–while making statements as if they’re factual. We’re not discussing a science experiment. Oh, and your bewilderment at my ‘aggressiveness’ is a not-at-all subtle tone argument, considering that I have repeatedly explained precisely why your ignoring what I have said over and over is so infuriatng.
    In some situations, as in this one, where women repeatedly explain what it is and men repeatedly wail, like Freud, “But Woman, what does She want?” while shoving aside answers they don’t like, the facts are simple and yet some people keep claiming they don’t have all the facts.

    You just don’t like the answers you’re getting. That does not mean you have not gotten answers.

  151. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #145 jeffsutter

    She used a homophobic slur [1]and took a picture without their consent [2]. I would hesitate to say she did everything right.

    1. Evidence of the homophobic slur. Where? You mean she used one at one time or she used on in her tweets about the men? If the latter, I’ve read those on her post and don’t see it. Oh, and if it’s just that she tweeted a dick joke previously so now she can’t complain about guys making dick jokes ever? Fuck bullshit. Do you dig around a man’s history for petty problems to ignore a bigger issue he’s talking about? Think about it. By saying she did everything right when it comes to the sexual harassment it doesn’t imply we think she’s a perfect little angel and has never been wrong ever. Any guesses why people are bringing it up and making this assumption an issue?

    2. Absolutely besides the point. I’m probably an outlier here, but I’m much close to the any means necessary camp. Why play by the patriarchy’s double standards? Fuck it, I’ll play by their rules and when the douchebros complain I’ll be sitting with a sinister grin, saying “How does that make you feel? Oh, you don’t like it? Then let’s make sure NOBODY gets to pull shit instead of you assholes getting away with murder while I get death threats for calling you a douche. Hmmm? Sounds good, don’t it?”

    I don’t want to play the “make myself squeaky clean so they can’t find fault” because they ALWAYS find fault so what’s the fucking point?

  152. Irmin says

    #146, SallyStrange: no, being angry was part of my metaphor. I’m not actually angry at Adria.

    #149, thumper1990:

    I see now what you meant, as also written in my post #154. My bad for nitpicking, because I didn’t really diminish neither the guys’ stupid remark nor death and rape threats.

    #150, SallyStrange: Well, that probably makes me a non-decent person in this case, and I probably deserve that mark. I hope I could explain myself enough to be at least a little bit less non-decent.

  153. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    This is part of the strategy of shitstorming people who say, “guys don’t do that”. Make a big enough clusterfuck, and people can walk away from it, saying nobody is in the right.

    Exactly. Damned if you don’t, damned if you do. There’s literally no fucking way to win.

    Oh, and giuocopiano, fuck you too, specifically. Really. Because the thing I needed today was some dood whose never had to live with days and days and days of the shit not ending mansplaining to me how a woman should feel about an interaction.

  154. PatrickG says

    I’ll step out now, because I certainly don’t wish to derail.

    I’ll respond in the Thunderdome after I refresh my memory on that particular scenario.

  155. James Deng says

    Honestly, PZ I think you’re missing the broader picture of what happened.

    First of all, most of the discussion even on twitter has been reasonable. the internet, as with any social network, has a tendency to over represent the extremes — in this case adria supporters and sexists.

    People weren’t angry just because he got called out for a bad joke but rather that he was publicly called out without any attempt at resolving the issue privately with event organizers.
    There was also the part where the joke — in a private conversation — had nothing to do with women. So a guy makes a dongle joke to his friend.. where do women come in? You’d have an easier time spinning adria’s response a homophobic response more than anything.

    Taking the picture and publicly posting it was also a violation of pycon’s policy which she must have read because she cited it in a few of her tweets.

    Also, adria herself is racist and much of the comments are made sarcastically in response to this tweet: https://twitter.com/adriarichards/statuses/6039856858
    in conjunction with a series of tweets dismissing legitimate criticism about her posting the picture itself because that person was white:
    https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/313946261055221760

    She also has a history of being unreasonable and making a public fuss about pretty much nothing.

    But at the Boston conference, great strides were made to have a strong female presence. Almost 40% of attendees at Boston were female, almost 40% of speakers (at the time these numbers were VERY high), there were multiple women (including myself) on the organizing committee. Jane Wells has long sought to inject opportunities for women into WordCamps and the tech community at large. Danielle Morrill was a highly regarded female in the startup arena, at the time the first employee at Twilio who spoke frequently at conferences. Unequivocally, each of us would have been very receptive to Adria if she’d just approached us instead of attacked us.

    http://amandablumwords.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/3/

    Furthermore she’s also guilty of making dick jokes herself, during the convention, publically over twitter and IIRC even once with the pycon tag.

    I agree there is rampant sexism in tech, but this is not a case of that.

  156. thumper1990 says

    @Irmin #164

    Yeah I saw your #154. I’m glad you got it :) and well done for being big enough to apologise. I hope that doesn’t sound patronising; it genuinely is nice to see somone get it and admit they acted wrongly.

  157. thumper1990 says

    @James Deng #168

    Fuck me, you guys are just crawling out of the woodwork today, aren’t you?

    You’d have an easier time spinning adria’s response a homophobic response more than anything.

    This is the second time someone has tried to say she was homophobic. I would like some evidence, please.

    All your other points have already been answered. Please read the rest of the thread.

  158. alexpetrov says

    I’m just going to go ahead and put my two cents in here:

    The only thing wrong with Richards reaction was that as far as I know she took two people’s picture without their consent. Everything else is perfectly reasonable. If she did ask if it was okay to take their picture, and they agreed, then there was nothing wrong with what she did.

    Some people have pointed out that Richards also made dick jokes during the conference via Twitter, but that’s not inherently disruptive to the people listening to the actual conference.

    I also believe that the sexual content of their discussion is irrelevant here. What matters is that they were disruptive, that she posted about them being disruptive on Twitter, and then people overreacted to her reaction because she is a woman.

    Had they simply been disruptive in a non-sexual way and she reacted the same way, the same thing would’ve happened, because she’s a woman. Had everything been done the same except Richards was a man with the same Twitter capabilities, no overreactions to the male version of Richards’ reaction would’ve happened, because it would have been a man pointing out two other men were being disruptive.

    The aftermath of Richards reaction tweet is clearly an example of patriarchy in play.

  159. says

    Ohhhh, Adria’s “racist” too now! Wow, that TOTALLY justifies an avalanche of rape and death threats, DDOS attacks, and firing her! Especially since she’s African-American!

    Dollars to donuts the alleged victims of Adria’s alleged racism are white.

  160. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #168 James Deng

    Also, adria herself is racist and much of the comments are made sarcastically in response to this tweet: https://twitter.com/adriarichards/statuses/6039856858
    in conjunction with a series of tweets dismissing legitimate criticism about her posting the picture itself because that person was white:
    https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/313946261055221760

    Clearly you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. I see nothing wrong with those tweets. I agree with them and the second tweet has an excellent article to read on the subject. Pharyngula actually had a post about that very article.

    She also has a history of being unreasonable and making a public fuss about pretty much nothing.

    But at the Boston conference, great strides were made to have a strong female presence. Almost 40% of attendees at Boston were female, almost 40% of speakers (at the time these numbers were VERY high), there were multiple women (including myself) on the organizing committee. Jane Wells has long sought to inject opportunities for women into WordCamps and the tech community at large. Danielle Morrill was a highly regarded female in the startup arena, at the time the first employee at Twilio who spoke frequently at conferences. Unequivocally, each of us would have been very receptive to Adria if she’d just approached us instead of attacked us.

    http://amandablumwords.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/3/

    I don’t give a shit if she’s hard to work with and I don’t give a shit about that accommodating article. That maybe those people’s style but it sure as fuck ain’t mine. In that article they are literally complaining about making deep rifts, I say good! Fuck being accommodating to sexist asshats.

    You also apparently need to read PZ’s #43 comment:

    Maybe Richards is a really snotty, awful person. Maybe you can dig up more cases of people who don’t like her. I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. The question is how women should handle this kind of incident, and I think she did it exactly right.

    The sole defense people seem to be bringing up is that she shouldn’t have made it public. Right, and the cockroaches always complain when you turn on the kitchen light, too.

  161. unity says

    Raging Bee:

    Are YOU really so stupid that you can’t understand, either that PUBLIC behavior is not subject to “confidentiality,” or that people who didn’t CHOOSE to hear what you say have no obligation to keep quiet about it?

    My clear understanding is that this was a tech conference that all parties were attending in a professional capacity, and if they are on the clock for their employer then normal professional standards of conduct apply, which includes considerations of confidentiality and an obligation not to conduct themselves in a manner which might have an adverse impact on their employer’s public or professional reputation.

    You’ll note that at no point have I suggested that she should have kept quiet or that her complaint was unjustified, only that the manner in which she made her complaint – via an open Twitter feed – was disproportionate to the situation she was in at the precise moment she made the complaint.

    A professional conference is no less a workplace than an office and is NOT public in the manner that you seem to assume.

  162. says

    Why do they always have a girlfriend?
    Why does she always agree after the man explains things to her?

    Apparently having sex with a person who is a member of a marginalized group is a magical inoculation against bigotry directed towards that group. Also, all women speak for all women all the time.

  163. says

    She tweeted a joke about TSA, suggesting that someone who had been frisked at the airport ought to wear a padded sock next time. That’s not a dick joke. That’s a joke about the ridiculous security theater hell we all go through.

    She tweeted “Black people CANNOT be racist against White people. Racism is a position of the oppressor who has the power”. That’s a fairly standard position, with reasonable theory behind it. It’s not racist.

    She also linked to this well-known Scalzi post with which I agree completely.

    So, yeah, you guys are just whining about a woman daring to suggest “guys, don’t do that”. It’s pathetic, and getting kind of old.

  164. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #172 SallyStrange

    Dollars to donuts the alleged victims of Adria’s alleged racism are white.

    Bingo!
    They are.
    For those who can’t, won’t or don’t want to click the links –

    Her first tweet James Deng linked is Adria saying “Black people CANNOT be racist against White people. Racism is a position of the oppressor who has the power”

    The second tweet of Adria’s linked is: “@smarx Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by @scalzi http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/ “…

  165. James Deng says

    @#170

    I’m not saying she’s homophobic, I’m saying the accusation of sexism is weak.

    She overheard maybe 2-3 seconds of conversation here and there, the word dongle and the word fork. No part of the conversation involved more than the two “jokesters”

    Hell the fork part wasn’t even a joke, one of the guys said he’d fork someone’s repo.

  166. thumper1990 says

    @James Deng

    Apologies, this one has not been addressed:

    Also, adria herself is racist and much of the comments are made sarcastically in response to this tweet: https://twitter.com/adriarichards/statuses/6039856858
    in conjunction with a series of tweets dismissing legitimate criticism about her posting the picture itself because that person was white:
    https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/313946261055221760

    She also has a history of being unreasonable and making a public fuss about pretty much nothing.

    Her being too stupid to understand what racism is does not make her a racist. Nor was her second statement racist; it’s true. I myself am a White, cisgendered, heterosexual male from a middle class background with no known physical or mental disabilities, and I freely admit that there are very, very few people on the planet with less obstacles in their life than me. By your logic that statement makes me a racist, cisphobic, heterophobic, misandric, classist and ableist. Except it doesn’t, does it? Acknowledging the priviledge of certain groups doesn’t mean you hate said groups.

    Now all your points have been answered.

  167. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    *shakes fist*

    PZ, you beat me and posted that information first! *grumble* All Hail King Poopyhead!

  168. glodson says

    Ohhhh, Adria’s “racist” too now! Wow, that TOTALLY justifies an avalanche of rape and death threats, DDOS attacks, and firing her! Especially since she’s African-American!

    And don’t forget she made dick jokes herself on her twitter, apparently. Which is the exact same thing as making them during a conference. She should have her address smeared across the internet with threats of rape. Tots justified. (No, not at all.)

  169. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #178 James Deng

    She overheard maybe 2-3 seconds of conversation here and there, the word dongle and the word fork. No part of the conversation involved more than the two “jokesters”

    Fucking idiot. This has been posted twice already but apparently it needs to be again. She actually talked to one of the men, that man responded to her and the third guy started making sex jokes. Seriously.

    What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this –

    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. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

    began making sexual forking jokes

  170. unity says

    #171 AlexPetrov.

    No, Alex, even the taking of a photograph as means of allowing the conference organisers to identify the guys she was complaining about was fine.

    The problem here arose, initially, because she contacted the organisers via an open Twitter feed, pushing her complaint out to 12,000 followers, the overwhelming majority of whom were not at or involved in the conference.

    It’s the taking the issue outside of the conference environment without giving the organisers a chance to deal with her complaint in-house where the problems lie.

  171. says

    James Deng: I just had a look at the tweets you cite, and, right or wrong, they DO NOT support your assertions about Richards. Saying “blacks can’t be racist” because of current power dynamics may be airheded, but is it NOT “racist.” In short, you’re a fucking liar.

  172. ChasCPeterson says

    She’s racist, sexist, homophobic, stupid, deaf and hypocritical.
    heh heh. That oughta shut her up.

  173. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    STOP MISREPRESENTING AND LYING Adria’s “dick joke” was in response to a Tweet where a guy joked about having his “nuts fondled” by TSA security. Yes, those are his words. Her response was to fake out TSA the next time by wearing socks down his trousers.

    Stop fucking lying. Stop acting like no one knows the difference in context. Stop acting like YOU don’t know it. You damned well do and everyone can see your desperate need to make what happened ZERO BAD. Except of course what Richards did.

  174. says

    James Deng bleats:

    She also has a history of being unreasonable and making a public fuss about pretty much nothing.

    She is welcome to sit by me.

  175. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #179
    thumper1990

    Her being too stupid to understand what racism is does not make her a racist.

    184
    Raging Bee

    Saying “blacks can’t be racist” [against whites] because of current power dynamics may be airheded,

    I don’t want to derail the thread on this but just..no. No. (and I find leaving out the ‘against whites’ specification troubling) I’m just going to quote PZ on the subject of Adria’s first tweet and leave it at that (#176)

    That’s a fairly standard position, with reasonable theory behind it. It’s not racist.

  176. PatrickG says

    @ Irmin, 154:

    Thank you for your gracious apology there.

    But please don’t use diminutives in responding to me. My name is Patrick. Not Patty. And yes, that’s my real first name, and yes, I’m just as demanding when people do this in real life. :)

  177. James Deng says

    @#173

    she accused a group of women who worked hard to create a welcoming environment for women of being sexist over a non sexist comment instead of bringing it to their attention

    she like to make a fuss over things instead of working to resolve them. that is the problem.

    i have no problem with the fact that she tweeted about the incident but tweeting their pictures without permission AND any attempt to resolve the issue is stepping over the line for me

    gloating and glorifying her actions AFTER the accused apologized only makes it worse

    live by the mob, die by the mob

  178. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can’t know whether the woman onstage with PZ felt uncomfortable, but I can certainly imagine that it was a situation where she might have kept quiet even if she had.

    Gee, what a misrepresentation. The “volunteer” was an organizer and PZ had her premission for what he did. Why can’t you actually read beyond the superficial OP and find the comments what actually happened? By not doing that, you are showin yourself as an ignorant buffoon. So, you compare kumquats to apples. Funny how those who attempt to embarass PZ usually show the same lack of context and perspective as they claim PZ misses. Must be a character flaw.

  179. glodson says

    i have no problem with the fact that she tweeted about the incident but tweeting their pictures without permission AND any attempt to resolve the issue is stepping over the line for me

    And none of this justifies any of the treatment she’s received.

    And yet, here people are, bringing up irrelevant noise.

  180. thumper1990 says

    @JAL

    I actually disagree that her position on that subject is in any way correct; but that’s a conversation for another time. The important thing is that it certainly doesn’t make her a racist, and neither does that second tweet. James Deng is clutching at straws, not to mention employing a tu qoque.

  181. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “But she does amateur boxing on the weekends—why’s she complaining about getting punched in the office?”

    “But she admits she’s on a diet—why’s she complaining about someone taking her lunch?”

    “But she confessed she’s had sex many times—why is she crying rape?”

    “But she played along with a joke started by a friend about getting his crotch groped—-why is she complaining about having a-contextual sex jokes thrust in her face in a professional, public setting by people she doesn’t know?

    This isn’t difficult to understand.

  182. Matthew Best says

    @101 Raging Bee

    Inother words, you know the guys were in the wrong, but you still care more about attacking a woman for her response to them.

    Really? Hmm. I thought what I pointed out was that no, Adria Richards did not do everything exactly right.

    And you continue to do this, after at least one of the guys admitted his behavior was wrong? That’s just one of the more innocuous signs of the uncontrollable obsessive malignant hatred that’s coming out in response to men being held responsible for their actions.

    Hmm. How to explain this so that it plays into your own sexist behaviour that you’re projecting onto me. Ok, here. Let’s make an analogy!

    Let’s say I, a man, was at this conference. And I really wanted to listen to a presenter. But behind me there’s a couple of girls talking about their sexual conquest the night before. Now, I find this really disruptive. They have every right to be sexual beings, but this is neither the time nor the place for it, especially not in public.

    So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    And after this disgusting slut shaming, just as a cherry on top, one of them gets fired from her job specifically because of this public slut shaming.

    And then PZ Myers comes along and makes a post titled “Matthew Best did everything exactly right” even though what I did was obviously and completely beyond the fucking pale.

    Now look long and hard at your deranged and unhinged behaviour here and ask yourself would you not maybe, just maybe point out exactly what I’ve been saying?

    That maybe dragging the entire general public into a couple of people being pedestrian morons and stigmatizing them with accusations of “sexism!” — especially when one comment wasn’t even sexist but an error in judgment on Adria’s part — is kinda the exact opposite of doing everything right?

    I mean, if me pointing out that no, she was quite wrong, was enough to make you flip the fuck out, I shudder to think of the drywall you’d crash through, Kool-Aid man style, if I did something like that.

    Nah, I can tell the only word you know that ends in -ection is projection, cause it sure as hell isn’t introspection.

  183. James Deng says

    read the hacker news thread FFS

    Hi, I’m the guy who made a comment about big dongles. First of all I’d like to say I’m sorry. I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone’s repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said “I would fork that guys repo” The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.
    My second comment is this, Adria has an audience and is a successful person of the media. Just check out her web page linked in her twitter account, her hard work and social activism speaks for itself. With that great power and reach comes responsibility. As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.
    She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate. Let this serve as a message to everyone, our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact.
    I will be at pycon 2014, I will joke and socialize with everyone but I will also be mindful of my audience, accidental or otherwise.

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5391667

  184. glodson says

    So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    Fuck off.

  185. James Deng says

    @#195

    she overheard a private conversation at a convention

    hardly “thrust in her face”

  186. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Josh,

    The most disgusting thing about this is that we’re watching a system chew up and spit out individuals for trying to exercise some little bit of control over something that the system has more power and responsibility to change. The overarching corporate, employer-employee, broader-society structure is shitting on all parties involved and those of you deriding Adria are doing exactly what it wants you to do: scapegoat the individual with limited power so that you ignore the failure of responsibility of the larger and more powerful structure.

    It’s disgusting.

    Your comment #98 is spot on. It’s notable how people are ignoring it. I finally managed to get to the last comment, and it looks like a minority of people is focusing their rage on the right target. (No, not threats, just rage)

  187. says

    Let’s say I, a man, was at this conference.

    Gosh, what an interesting hypothetical! I’m sure it will shed LOTS of light on what it’s like to experience sexual remarks that make you uncomfortable as a woman at male-dominated conferences.

  188. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    My clear understanding is that this was a tech conference that all parties were attending in a professional capacity, and if they are on the clock for their employer then normal professional standards of conduct apply, which includes considerations of confidentiality and an obligation not to conduct themselves in a manner which might have an adverse impact on their employer’s public or professional reputation.

    Deep from the void a mass of a million irony meters screams for justice.

  189. Irmin says

    #160, SallyStrange: That’s probably a better metaphor and pretty fitting to what I did. So while there is certainly a time and place to be angry about potholes, that wasn’t it.

    #167, grinmar: Well, I could try to convince you that I really didn’t meant anything I said in a “I’m not racist, but…” way but more like what SallyStrange described in #160, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort.

    I also demand neither cookies nor a symbolic pat on the back nor a “good job for apologising” from any of you. So I’ll probably leave it at that.

  190. Pteryxx says

    re this and more:

    She overheard maybe 2-3 seconds of conversation here and there, the word dongle and the word fork. No part of the conversation involved more than the two “jokesters”

    All the conveniently wrong assumptions draw on stereotypes: she “overheard” a “private” conversation (cuz women are nosy), she “misheard” or just heard “a word” (cuz women go looking for things to be offended by), she doesn’t know what the word ‘fork’ means (cuz women are stupid and incompetent even at their own freakin’ careers). Meanwhile her own first-hand account of the event gets completely ignored (cuz what a woman says is not evidence)(unless it’s some random tweet that could be used to go NO U at her, then it’s all important and shit! *spits*)

  191. thumper1990 says

    @Matthew Best

    Hmm. How to explain this so that it plays into your own sexist behaviour that you’re projecting onto me. Ok, here. Let’s make an analogy!

    Let’s say I, a man, was at this conference. And I really wanted to listen to a presenter. But behind me there’s a couple of girls talking about their sexual conquest the night before. Now, I find this really disruptive. They have every right to be sexual beings, but this is neither the time nor the place for it, especially not in public.

    That’s a shit analogy, considering they weren’t talking about their own sex lives but making sexual jokes and innuendos to her face (see JAL’s post #182). Do you genuinely have reading comprehension issues, or are you just being obtuse?

  192. blitzgal says

    read the hacker news thread FFS

    Read this thread, FFS. Every point you and Best are bringing up have already been discussed in this very thread.

  193. Asher Kay says

    @Matthew Best

    You forgot the part where you get deluged with attacks and rape threats.

  194. PatrickG says

    @ unity, 174:

    My clear understanding is that this was a tech conference that all parties were attending in a professional capacity, and if they are on the clock for their employer then normal professional standards of conduct apply, which includes considerations of confidentiality and an obligation not to conduct themselves in a manner which might have an adverse impact on their employer’s public or professional reputation.

    That’s nice. Maybe it should be an issue between Richards and her company, instead of the topic of discussion for people who just obliviously continue to spout off like their opinion matters. That’s you, by the way.

    For the umpteenth time: This is irrelevant. Your opinion of whether she met professional standards is completely irrelevant unless you’re (a) her boss, or (b) working in her company’s HR department. So just shut the fuck up already, k?

    And for the umpteenth time again: I don’t care if she charged the stage, threw coffee at the presenter, and then proceeded to break into an aria from La Boheme (well, actually, that’d be kind of an awesome YouTube video). It. Does. Not. Justify. What. Happened. And it certainly doesn’t justify pendantic and sanctimonious driveling about how Richards Was Wrong And That’s What Matters.

    You’ll note that at no point have I suggested that she should have kept quiet or that her complaint was unjustified, only that the manner in which she made her complaint – via an open Twitter feed – was disproportionate to the situation she was in at the precise moment she made the complaint.

    I’ll note that you continue to think that this is The Important Issue Here. And I’ll note, once again, that you should just shut the fuck up already.

    A professional conference is no less a workplace than an office and is NOT public in the manner that you seem to assume.

    The hell are you smoking? The panels were webcast, audience members were engaging on social media regarding the proceedings, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t get much more public than that. I mean, maigod, someone probably tweeted about going to the bathroom during the conference. HOW UNPROFESSIONAL!

    In closing, BZZZT WRONG — try again.

  195. Johnny Vector says

    Can one of you people complaining that fork has a totally non-sexual technical meaning please clue me in to what version control system includes a fork command? Cause it’s not in CVS, it’s not in Subversion, it’s not in git, nor in Mercurial. As far as I know, you can only technically fork a process. And while the word has also come to mean splitting a project, you can’t actually fork a repo. You could clone it, or branch it. And yet, the phrase is “fork his repo”. Why might that be? Why use “fork” when there are other words that are more technically accurate? And after thinking about it, do you still maintain that there’s nothing sexual about it?

  196. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    @#195

    she overheard a private conversation at a convention

    hardly “thrust in her face”

    James, this is just factually untrue. Here’s what Adria wrote:

    What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this –

    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. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

    began making sexual forking jokes

    I could understand why you’d take your position if Adria had in fact merely overheard a private conversation. But that wasn’t the case. She was an active participant (it’s normal for people to strike up chats with seat partners at conferences, so we don’t need to act as though this were a breach of decorum). They spoke with her. They did not say, “Excuse me, but this is a private chat.”

  197. Erik says

    There are already so many comments on this post, this will probably get buried in the mudslide. But I just wanted to respond to all the bike-shedding over whether or not “forking” has some implied sexual innuendo (I believe this started with bittys @ #9).

    I just wanted to point out that until fairly recently, when you forked a repository on GitHub it displayed on the screen “hardcore forking action in progress”. So that should just about settle that. I’ll admit, with some shame, that I was a little disappointed when they removed the text–at the time I thought it was kind of cute and funny. But in light of all this I can see that it should have been obvious all along that it was inappropriate.

  198. glodson says

    You forgot the part where you get deluged with attacks and rape threats.

    That’s not the part he cares about. Nor is the fact that this kind of behavior is systemic. Nor is the fact that in his hypothetical he called the women whores whereas Richards tweets just referred to the men as “guys.”

  199. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How to explain this so that it plays into your own sexist behaviour that you’re projecting onto me.

    We aren’t projecting anything onto you, except your own words and attitudes. If you don’t like them, shut the fuck up.

  200. Irmin says

    #190, PatrickG:

    I should probably just Copy-Paste the names of people I’m responding to… I actually thought your name read “PattyG”. No hard feelings :)

  201. thumper1990 says

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, PatrickG.

    @Unity

    My clear understanding is that this was a tech conference that all parties were attending in a professional capacity, and if they are on the clock for their employer then normal professional standards of conduct apply, which includes considerations of confidentiality and an obligation not to conduct themselves in a manner which might have an adverse impact on their employer’s public or professional reputation.

    “[N]ormal professional standards of conduct apply”. ” [A]n obligation not to conduct themselves in a manner which might have an adverse impact on their employer’s public or professional reputation”. I couldn’t agree more. You are aware, of course, that most workplaces would fire two guys for making offensive jokes in the workplace, yes? So by your logic, the two should have been fired.

  202. PatrickG says

    @ Matthew Best:

    So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    And after this disgusting slut shaming, just as a cherry on top, one of them gets fired from her job specifically because of this public slut shaming.

    And then PZ Myers comes along and makes a post titled “Matthew Best did everything exactly right” even though what I did was obviously and completely beyond the fucking pale.

    If you honestly think PZ Myers would defend that kind of shit, I’m amazed you can manage to type at all, given how far your head is up your own ass. I mean, really, that’s your counterfactual?

    But I’ll give you this — you actually made me laugh out loud. I can’t wait for your next contribution; you somehow manage to get stupider with every post. Don’t disappoint!

  203. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    i have no problem with the fact that she tweeted about the incident but tweeting their pictures without permission AND any attempt to resolve the issue is stepping over the line for meM

    Jesus fuck. She reported it to the organisers of the event, who then talked to the guys in question. So she did “attempt to resolve the issue”.

  204. Matthew Best says

    @208
    You forgot the part where you get deluged with attacks and rape threats.

    How does that factor into whether or not I did everything exactly right?

    Is it your position that the Westboro Baptist Church does everything “exactly right” because they get deluged with threats?

    What they do is as equally legal as what Adria did, and what those threats of murder and rape are as equally wrong. That doesn’t perforce mean that the Westboro Baptist Church is “exactly right” — though (and I note this only because some fuckwit will invariably claim I’m comparing Adria to the WBC and not making a comparison of disproportionate retribution as retroactively making wrong behaviour “right” and the inherent absurdity of that) in WBC’s case they’re so provoking that the emotional response is hardly surprising.

    In other words, suffering hardship — however hard, and however vile — does not make your own bad behaviour retroactively justified.

    Bonus fun-fact: Adria being in the wrong also doesn’t make the two guys magically right either (because I know some people seem to think I think that because it makes no goddamn sense to extrapolate that, and if there’s one thing you can count on choads doing, it’s shit that makes no sense), because right and wrong don’t work like that, and there’s a surprising amount of bandwagon fallacy goofballs that don’t seem to get that sometimes a continuum of idiocy doesn’t have an innocent and totally justified victim, as pat and convenient as that would be.

  205. PatrickG says

    @ Irmin: No problem. And thanks again for your retraction/apology. As someone said upthread (yes, I’m being lazy), it’s all kinds of awesome to see people be up front about not getting something at first.

    I’m just really particular about my name is all. But yeah, no hard feelings. :)

  206. Pteryxx says

    Jesus fuck. She reported it to the organisers of the event, who then talked to the guys in question. So she did “attempt to resolve the issue”.

    This. She also took the picture to ensure the two guys could be identified by the organizers, instead of dispersing with the rest of the thousand people sitting in the closing remarks of the conference. As she explained, in her own blog post, which none of you dedicated whiners even bother to Jeezus freakin’ cheerios.

  207. blitzgal says

    But I’ll give you this — you actually made me laugh out loud. I can’t wait for your next contribution; you somehow manage to get stupider with every post. Don’t disappoint!

    Considering that his very next post compares Richards to Westboro Baptist Church…..I think he didn’t disappoint.

  208. Matthew Best says

    @218 PatrickG

    If you honestly think PZ Myers would defend that kind of shit, I’m amazed you can manage to type at all, given how far your head is up your own ass. I mean, really, that’s your counterfactual?

    No retard, it’s an analogy meant to reduce the opposing argument to the absurd conclusion. It is prima facie obvious that PZ Myers — and no sane fucking person — would defend that kind of behaviour, and that’s exactly my point.

    It’s literally the exact same scenario, just with the genders reversed, and when you reverse the genders, nobody would call it “exactly right”.

    It’s hilariously fucking telling that that went directly over your head and your only response was to ask if I seriously believed PZ would defend that when my entire point pretty much relied on the fact that he obviously fucking wouldn’t.

    But you’re totes right dude. You miss that obvious bit when I even disclaimed the entire thing as an analogy, a hypothetical thought exercise that relied on the situation not coming to pass to prove my point, but I’m the idiot. Congratulations on that. Sincerely.

  209. PatrickG says

    @ Matthew Best:

    Wow! I said you were getting stupider with every post, but not in a million years would I have seen this coming:

    Is it your position that the Westboro Baptist Church does everything “exactly right” because they get deluged with threats?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    The stupid, it almost killed me with laughter!

    /points
    /laughs
    /laughs some more
    /laughs even harder

    You should go on stage with this material! Your inability to comprehend basic logic is too precious to not share with the world!

  210. Matthew Best says

    @224 blitzgal
    Considering that his very next post compares Richards to Westboro Baptist Church…..I think he didn’t disappoint.

    Actual post in question:

    (and I note this only because some fuckwit will invariably claim I’m comparing Adria to the WBC and not making a comparison of disproportionate retribution as retroactively making wrong behaviour “right” and the inherent absurdity of that)

    Christ, can I call them or what?

  211. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see MB is totally irrelevant, just like most bad male behavior apologists are when they think they have to defend their sex (they don’t have to defend anything). Nothing cogent being said. Just WAHHHHHHH, I might have to inhibit my behavior if I don’t throw a tantrum.

  212. James Deng says

    @205

    I read her entire first hand account within 4 hours of the event, all of her tweets, most of the posts by her employers and people who knew her as well as most of the 5 major hacker news threads

    but please

  213. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No retard, i

    STOP IT right the fuck now. We don’t use retard or other disability based insults here. Can it and don’t whine about it.

  214. thumper1990 says

    @Mathew Best

    So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    Except Adria didn’t do anything even remotely comparable to that, did she, dipshit?

  215. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and MB, your evidenceless opinion can and will be *floosh* dismissed until you learn the humility that nobody has to care about what you say.

  216. blitzgal says

    Christ, can I call them or what?

    Nope, you don’t get to make the comparison and then make it go away by saying, “But I waved my hands *like this* when I said it.”

  217. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Again, please please please stop typing “#205″. It makes it really hard to follow the conversation. It’s not too much to ask. Us regulars usually do it for you, so meet us halfway.

  218. Matthew Best says

    @226 PatrickG

    You should go on stage with this material! Your inability to comprehend basic logic is too precious to not share with the world!

    Oh totally man. Hey, want to see the next part of my routine? It’s the magic show part of my act. I predict the people that can’t read:

    (and I note this only because some fuckwit will invariably claim I’m comparing Adria to the WBC and not making a comparison of disproportionate retribution as retroactively making wrong behaviour “right” and the inherent absurdity of that)

    Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: argument from absurdity), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial

    I’m sure you’re for real smarter than Aristotle, though.

  219. Pteryxx says

    I find it telling that Matthew Best at 197 thinks an appropriate comparison is to talk about ‘girls’ at a tech conference getting fired because of someone publicly slut-shaming them… as a hypothetical. Holy fuckballs.

  220. Matthew Best says

    @223 blitzgal

    Nope, you don’t get to make the comparison and then make it go away by saying, “But I waved my hands *like this* when I said it.”

    You’re absolutely right, hand-waving has nothing to do with it. The fact that it’s a valid argument to take a point to its idiotic extreme to demonstrate the sheer absurdity of that point — like, say, suffering threats after bad behaviour makes that bad behaviour acceptable — is why I get to make that comparison.

    In fact, given that I explicitly stated it, hell, it seems to me like you’re the one waving your hands and trying to get away with claiming some serious bullshit. Deal with the argument, or cede the point. Don’t invent straw men — you’re smarter than that.

    Who am I kidding, you only claim to be smarter than that, and we both know– well, I know there’s a difference, anyway.

  221. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #225 Matthew Best

    No retard,

    Look you fucking scumbag, quit it. I’ve already told you NOT to use that ablist shit here.

    It’s literally the exact same scenario, just with the genders reversed, and when you reverse the genders, nobody would call it “exactly right”.

    Tweeting your scenario = “About what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.”
    IS NOT and NOWHERE NEAR THE SAME
    as Adria’s actual tweet of: “Not cool. Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles. Right behind me ”

    Seriously. The first is slut shaming, which you admit, and the second is simply pointing out bad behavior. She didn’t even insult them, let alone use slurs against them.

  222. PatrickG says

    So let’s see, by your logic, the following tweet:

    Not cool. Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles. Right behind me #pycon pic.twitter.com/Hv1bkeOsYP

    is “literally the exact same scenario, just with the genders reversed” as:

    I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    Do I really need to point out the obvious, glaring, in-your-face stupidity here? Given your absolute density on this subject, maybe I do — here’s a hint: it centers around equating “not cool” with “stupid whores”. And I really want to highlight this again:

    It’s literally the exact same scenario

    And you accuse me of missing the point? I’m starting to question my atheism, because such weapons grade stupidity almost has to require either intelligent design or a capricious and malevolent deity!

    Oh, note also that using ablist slurs like retard is strictly verboten* here. Please avoid them, because you’re just too funny to see banned.

    * That means “forbidden”. Just trying to be helpful.

  223. blitzgal says

    It’s literally the exact same scenario, just with the genders reversed, and when you reverse the genders, nobody would call it “exactly right”.

    Multiple people have already explained to you specifically how your analogy is not in any way “the exact same scenario.” You’ve chosen to ignore them.

  224. James Deng says

    @190
    @194

    I’m sure you would also like to argue that a dongle joke, while certainly sexual, does not prove that they were sexist.

    I’m done with this thread, you can find me on g+/fb

  225. Matthew Best says

    @237 Pteryxx
    I find it telling that Matthew Best at 197 thinks an appropriate comparison is to talk about ‘girls’ at a tech conference getting fired because of someone publicly slut-shaming them… as a hypothetical. Holy fuckballs.

    Well, let’s hear it. You’re one of the few that brought up an objection without bringing up rambling nonsense — now bring up the actual meat of the argument.

    What do you find telling? Do you think it’s an invalid analogy because slut shaming is considerably more severe than what happened here?

    Come on, man (or woman, I don’t know) — tell me what’s telling. Make a rational argument with true premises and I’ll cede the point. Support it.

  226. PatrickG says

    Have you missed the multiple telling you exactly what’s telling? You’ve been told several time. Not our job to help you with reading comprehension, cupcake.

    Holy fuckballs indeed.

  227. PatrickG says

    Whoa, typo beast took over my fingers. Make that “multiple people” and “several times”. I wouldn’t want Matthew Best to miss my point due to typos… it appears he can barely read as it is.

  228. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #242 blitzgal

    Multiple people have already explained to you specifically how your analogy is not in any way “the exact same scenario.” You’ve chosen to ignore them.

    (Jumping off from this comment)

    It’s also a quite telling example. Slut shaming, belittling girlswomen is exactly the same in his mind of saying “not cool guys don’t do that”.

    Same shit, different day. No wonder I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall.

  229. Matthew Best says

    @240 PatrickG
    Do I really need to point out the obvious, glaring, in-your-face stupidity here? Given your absolute density on this subject, maybe I do — here’s a hint: it centers around equating “not cool” with “stupid whores”. And I really want to highlight this again:

    Ooh, a real point. Ok, let’s amend my analogy to incorporate your for-real valid point and see what changes. “Girls talking about fucking a few guys right behind me. Not cool” and that changes… what, exactly, in your opinion about the entire rest of the analogy?

  230. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, damn I missed Pteryxx saying the same thing as my #247.

  231. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Fuck right off you rude bastards who won’t even use style conventions that we ask you nicely to use so we can follow the conversation. What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t even do THAT?

  232. Gregory Greenwood says

    It is sadly inevitable that the first response to a woman who has been treated so badly (being fired over calling out public sexism at a conference by use of the proper channels? Seriously?), well, after the expected deluge of repugnant rape and death threats from misogynistic arsehats everywhere, is a concerted campaign of character assassination that so many people are so eagerly awaiting. They want to believe so very, very badly that this is somehow all the victim’s fault – that somehow Adria Richards was asking for it by allegedly being racist/homophobic/having a ‘difficult personality’ – all ridiculous and often utterly disproportionate accusations fabricated by wilfully misinterpreting what she has said or written.

    Why do so many people seem to lose all rational faculties so completely about this stuff? We have now reached the point that ‘asking for it’ essentially means ‘being caught breathing while female’, and any woman who takes any kind of stand about sexism, no matter how mild and reasonable, is demonised as evil incarnate for failing to live up to a toxic myth of ‘demure womanhood’ that apparently is supposed to be seen (and periodically employed as a living sex toy/ambulatory incubator) but not heard.

    Even here on this very thread we have had a swarm of people turning up straining to excuse the sexism and paint Richards as Emperor Palpatines’s meaner sister. Stuff like this makes me despair for the future of the tech industry and for geek culture at large.

  233. thumper1990 says

    Mathew Best #235

    *crys tears of laughter while holding his stomach and repeatedly banging the desk*

    Seriously man… please… I’m begging you… stop. My diaphram is physically hurting right now.

  234. blitzgal says

    I’m just going to go ahead and re-quote what JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness said in #74, because it bears repeating for the folks who keep insisting that Richards brought everything down on herself solely because of how she raised her objections:

    Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    What is crystal clear in our culture is that IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW A WOMAN RAISES AN OBJECTION. She can be polite, she can say, “guys don’t do that” without even naming or identifying the person she’s talking about in any way, and go on to be incessantly harassed for over a year. Polite objections by women result in the exact same onslaught of violent hate speech, death threats, and rape threats.

    So keep on focusing on what Richards did to “bring this on herself.” Just understand that by doing so, YOU are contributing to this culture of misogyny and YOU are part of the problem.

  235. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #250 Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Fuck right off you rude bastards who won’t even use style conventions that we ask you nicely to use so we can follow the conversation. What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t even do THAT?

    Seconded. I wanted to and should’ve seconded your early comments on this subject.

  236. bovarchist says

    No, Adria Richards did not do anything exactly right. Her first mistake was aspiring to live and work among grownups, which she is clearly unqualified for. This is what it’s come to? Double entendre is now not allowed, because rape? Pathetic. If you can’t handle hearing a guy joke about dongles without white-knuckling, then you are the one with a problem. And if you think that your personal foibles somehow translate into laws for the rest of us, well…then I’m the one with a problem.

    I’m glad she was fired. And for a change, PZ’s characterization of my thinking is exactly right: maybe the next woman will think twice before trying to get some innocent guy in trouble.

    And just for the record, PZ Myers has no moral grounds to object to 4chan. He loves horde harassment. He’s just pissed off that he doesn’t have the biggest horde.

  237. PatrickG says

    Ok, Matthew, let’s pretend you have an argument for a moment.

    Obviously, you deserve death threats, to be fired, and to have DoS attacks leveled against your company. Right? What, not your argument? Well, in the absence of anything coherent….

    Oh, and I missed your earlier comment:

    some fuckwit will invariably claim I’m comparing Adria to the WBC

    Not my fault you chose a ridiculous example to support a ridiculous argument. And Flying Jebus, you really can’t understand what other people write, can you? Let me make it very, very clear to you:

    I did not claim you compared Adria to the WBC. I don’t know why you think I did. I never said that. Perhaps the strawman in your head said that? I mean, the strawman in your head is apparently telling you this:

    In other words, suffering hardship — however hard, and however vile — does not make your own bad behaviour retroactively justified.

    Nobody is arguing this. Nobody. You seem to think people are. They’re not.

    Once more, because you seem to miss things: Nobody is arguing what you claim they’re arguing. It’s your own complete failures in critical thinking that are setting you up to fight this mythical beast of an argument. In fact, I’ve bookmarked this thread under the category “Strawman Argument: Textbook Examples”.

    I’d say you should step away and cool down until you can think clearly, but all available evidence is that this is the best you can do anyway.

  238. Matthew Best says

    #247
    It’s also a quite telling example. Slut shaming, belittling girlswomen is exactly the same in his mind of saying “not cool guys don’t do that”.

    Saying “not cool guys, don’t do that” to their faces? Yeah, that would be fine. Skipping that entire part, taking the picture of some guys, publicly broadcasting that out — not in a private tweet just to alert the staff, mind you, but publicly — and then tacking on to it the only thing the Internet at large is going to know about these guys is a single dick joke and a (likely good-faith) misinterpretation about forking/fucking repos?

    Yeah, that actually is exactly like slut-shaming, I’m sorry. It reduces these two men, publicly and without addressing the problem to them first, to nothing more than frat-bro level morons after a single bout of immaturity exaggerated through taking a benign comment and making it sexual.

    So yes, pretty much identical to reducing a woman to an object of contempt for a single inappropriate remark about her sex life in a public place.

    And that behaviour isn’t right, no matter how much you try to engage in minimizing behaviour by pretending Adria simply told them it wasn’t cool, which she distinctly did not do, and which would have been an appropriate course of action, along with privately raising it with a staff member instead of very, very publicly.

    See, it’s that whole public part that makes it slut-shaming if you do it to a woman. If I asked a woman not to talk about (again) her sex life in public in a disruptive way, privately and to her, it might be awkward and embarrassing, but you know what it wouldn’t be? Slut shaming. Sorry, boss. It’s the public humiliation aspect of Adria’s actions that make her most definitely not right, and it’s public humiliation that makes slut shaming as insidious as it is.

    I’m sorry if I don’t base my moral standards around the idea that things are less bad if they happen to a demographic that’s traditionally been privileged.

  239. Asher Kay says

    @Matthew Best

    How does that factor into whether or not I did everything exactly right?

    The point is that your whole focus is on finding a narrative that blames her. So of course you wouldn’t find the threats and abuse important.

  240. thumper1990 says

    @James Deng #243

    I’m sure you would also like to argue that a dongle joke, while certainly sexual, does not prove that they were sexist.

    Actually, I would argue that, if by sexist you mean they actively look down on women and, for example, wouldn’t hire them if they came for a job interview. However, what they did was innappropriate, and it did make her uncomfortable, and they shouldn’t have done it.

    I’m done with this thread, you can find me on g+/fb

    We can, but we won’t. Tatty-bye.

  241. says

    …So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    Your analogy fails for two simple reasons: first, you could, in all likelihood, have gone to the staff with every expectation of being heard, and no chance of hateful retaliation by a mob of femistasi sluts or whoever looking for any excuse they can to portray you as evil and wrong no matter what you do. Women reporting inappropriate male bahavior have no such expectation, so going public is, for them, more likely to be seen as necessary to get anythng done.

    And second, chances are you would not have had a long train of such experiences, of which the latest is only the last exasperating straw. Seriously, women overhear demeaning sexist remarks a LOT more often than men hear women talking about their sex lives.

    But I’ll ignore these problems with your analogy long enough to say that, yes, I would say the women in your example were to blame for talking about private matters in a place where it was inappropriate and they were bound to be overheard. So if you’re trying to pretend you can write me off a hypocrite, well, you can’t.

  242. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Her first mistake was aspiring to live and work among grownups, which she is clearly unqualified for.

    Gee, this from an obviously immature person. She was a grown-up. You need to become one…

  243. PatrickG says

    And just for the record, PZ Myers has no moral grounds to object to 4chan. He loves horde harassment. He’s just pissed off that he doesn’t have the biggest horde.

    thumper, we’re in real trouble. There’s two of them now!

    No, you pathetic impersonation of someone with an intellect, “Horde harassment’ and 4chan harassment are not quite comparable. Or has PZ been launching illegal cyber-attacks when no one was looking?

    Please don’t go any further. My throat is raw from laughing at Matthew Best as it is.

  244. thumper1990 says

    @bovarchist

    I’m the one with a problem

    This one, singular piece of your post I can at least agree with.

    Now, if you would kindly fuck off, that’d be fantastic.

  245. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why does MB think anybody cares about his *floosh* drivel? I don’t. Not even good for a laugh. Nothing but pathetic self-centered WAAHHHHHHHH.

  246. says

    James Deng @178:
    Having caught up with this thread, it is apparent to me that you do not understand double entendres. Just like everyone else dismissing the forking comment.

    @191:
    Your focus on her actions, which you deem inappropriate despite not having a wealth of microaggressions built up over time, is telling. You are indignant that she tweeted their pics. Boo hoo. I am sure their lives are ruined forevermore.
    Too many people like you are fixated on this idea that shaming people is somehow a greater wrong than the actions that led to the shaming.

  247. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I’m glad she was fired. And for a change, PZ’s characterization of my thinking is exactly right: maybe the next woman will think twice before trying to get some innocent guy in trouble.

    Okay, I think I’ve reached my limit now, because the only thing I can think of is to shriek incomprehensibly about what a fucking asshole shit stain the person with this attitude is.

  248. Asher Kay says

    @JAL

    Same shit, different day. No wonder I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall.

    Yeah. I am really feeling for the regulars who are saying, “I just can’t do this today”. Seeing the *same exact* patterns, repeated over and over, has got to be extremely tiring.

  249. davidporter says

    In the recent threads about Melissa’s list for how atheist men could make the movement more inclusive, many people discussed how it was important to have places like Pharyngula as well as places like Shakesville because the arguments that regulars make to expose misogynistic bullshit here enable well-meaning (but prone to mistakes) allies to learn how to be better. I wholeheartedly endorse this argument, because I have personally learned a ton from the awesome Pharyngula commenters explaining over and over why some well-meaning would-be ally’s statement is offensive, hurtful, misogynist, etc. I learn from those sorts of discussions because, when done in response to a well-meaning but misguided person’s bullshit, I learn how things I do might fall in the same category and thus to avoid them in the future.

    I say this all as a preface to the point that the crap that Matthew Best is spewing in this thread does not fall in that category – someone who equates calling out bad behavior with slut-shaming is clearly not well-meaning, and not merely misguided and blinded by privilege, but actively hateful. And given those circumstances, I think I agree with Melissa that Pharyngula could be made a safer space by simply ban-hammering him, and that no harm would be done to the ability of lurkers like me to learn and improve our own behavior if PZ were to do so.

  250. thumper1990 says

    @Patrick G

    If the two of them pool resources, they might even be able to come up with a net IQ that’s measured in triple digits!

  251. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #257 Matthew Best

    See, it’s that whole public part that makes it slut-shaming if you do it to a woman.

    No, it’s the reducing women to sex objects and putting them into “Whore or Angel” categories to control, deny or abuse their sexuality that makes it slut shaming. Doesn’t matter if you saying that vile shit to a woman alone in your living room or in a public place, it’s still slut shaming.

  252. says

    It reduces these two men, publicly and without addressing the problem to them first, to nothing more than frat-bro level morons…

    No, dumbass, THE MEN REDUCED THEMSELVES to the level of frat-bro morons. In public. In a conference aimed at women who were likely to find such conduct unacceptable. The woman didn’t make that happen, any more than a woman makes a man rape her. Take your stupid-assed victim-bashing and shove it back where it came from.

  253. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    257
    Matthew Best

    Also, dumbfuck. I don’t care about the photo attached or the fact that it’s made public.

    Saying “Not cool guys don’t do that” isn’t the same as saying “what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked”. NOT in any way, shape or form. Nope. Even with photos and in public, it’s. not. the. same.

  254. says

    Just FYI: forking is not always a compliment. Sometimes, a coder will fork a repository because the execution of the code in the repository is so poor that it needs to be done up from scratch. It can be the ultimate statement of coding incompetence.

    So, you know, it’s not necessarily a positive thing.

  255. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #257Matthew Best,

    Here’s a clue-by-four since you don’t know what words mean:

    Put in the most simple terms, slut-shaming happens when a person “publicly or privately [insults] a woman because she expressed her sexuality in a way that does not conform with patriarchal expectations for women” (Kat, Slut-Shaming vs. Rape Jokes). It is enabled by the idea that a woman who carries the stigma of being a slut — ie. an “out-of-control, trampy female” — is “not worth knowing or caring about” (Tanenbaum, p. 240).

    -Source: Finally, Feminism 101

  256. vaiyt says

    @James Deng, 168:

    People weren’t angry just because he got called out for a bad joke but rather that he was publicly called out without any attempt at resolving the issue privately with event organizers.

    In which way does that justify rape and death threats?

  257. thumper1990 says

    @davidporter

    On the plus side, he is kind of fun to argue with. It’s even more fun to watch PatrickG argue with him. It’s like watching a mouse with lower-than-average intelligence trying to work out how to get at the cheese, while a cat sits on the shelf above occasionally batting him away just so we can watch him try again.

    It’s a lengthy metaphor, but I think it works.

    On a serious note, I think it’s important for priviledged people to know that this is where such attitudes lead. Before I started reading here, I’d have been firmly of the opinion that Adria over reacted. Watching people like MB get torn apart by the regulars taught me stuff and changed my attitude.

    Another example; I thought we lived in a post-sexist society, where women were equal and it was only the occasional nutty misogynist that still thought otherwise. Boy, did reading Pharyngula ever change that opinion. Without the trolls, none of that would have happened, and I’d still be the blithely priviledged self-described Liberal Atheist I was back then. It’s not a space for everyone, but it certainly has it’s benefits.

    /derail.

  258. PatrickG says

    @ Asher Kay:

    I am really feeling for the regulars who are saying, “I just can’t do this today”.

    I hadn’t intended to participate in this thread quite so much, but I had the time and the energy, and there’s just been so much asshattery around lately I’d resolved to try and be more active. Now if only I could get my writing skills up a bit… :)

    @ thumper: Ha! Too generous by far!

  259. PatrickG says

    Oh, and @ thumper again — thanks! That’s probably the best complimentary metaphor I’ve ever had applied to me. :) Meow!

  260. Rey Fox says

    Clearly, I’m late to this particular party, but I’ll go ahead with my little tangential point anyway. I’m getting a little sick of this knee-jerk reaction of immediately firing someone once companies get any amount of bad publicity. It seems like in most of the country, employers have this unquestioned right, and the fact that in this economy they’ll doubtlessly have scores of people clamoring for any open position just seems to embolden them. Problem With Capitalism #27890, I guess.

  261. says

    Yo, Best, here’s another problem with your analogy: a gaggle of women talking about their sex lives may be annoying and inappropriate, but it’s not in any way demeaning to men’s achievements, nor does it represent an attitude that may hold back any man’s professional achievements. Turning serious matters into dirty jokes — within earshot of women who are trying to focus on professional, not sexual, matters — is kinda differnt in that regard.

    And here’s another problem: a man approaching a group of women can do so without any implied possible danger. A woman approaching a group of men, who are already acting in disregard for manners, is not as likely to feel safe in doing so.

    Analogy: UR DOIN IT RONG!

  262. says

    Matthee Best @197:
    Wow. Victim blame much?
    Adria is not responsible for the guy getting fired (which he should not have been). What, did you think she runs the company that employed him? You think she sat in the discussion room with his bosses and flexed her power as CEO to fire him?
    His termination was the fault of the people who fired him.

    It is not that hard to grok.
    And one more thing–this is a community that does NOT tolerate ableist slurs or sexism. Referring to anyone as a ‘retard’ or describing women as ‘whores’ is unacceptable.

  263. says

    davidporter:

    I say this all as a preface to the point that the crap that Matthew Best is spewing in this thread does not fall in that category – someone who equates calling out bad behavior with slut-shaming is clearly not well-meaning, and not merely misguided and blinded by privilege, but actively hateful.

    Not to mention clueless enough to engage in said behavior on a site with a high enough Google ranking that it will likely show up in future HR pre-interview searches.

    “Hmmm. This fellow Matthew Best seems to be completely behind the curve on sexual harassment issues. We don’t need that kind of liability exposure! Best we give Best a pass.”

  264. says

    I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got. As a conference organizer myself, I will just note, taking a picture and tweeting it is not an approved method of reporting an instance of harassment.

    Should she have been fired? Of course not. The man shouldn’t have been fired either. There has been major overreaction everywhere. Gee, where have we seen this before?

    Let me make a prediction. Donglegate will be going on two years hence and people will be screaming for Adria’s head and photoshopping her.

  265. thumper1990 says

    @PatrickG

    Hmm, maybe, but judging from the fact they can both type I feel fairly certain they’d at least be on a par with a Rhesus monkey. And not at all :) it’s a joy to behold.

    @Chris Clarke

    Not to mention stupid enough to engage in said behavior on a site with a high enough Google ranking that it would likely show up in HR pre-interview searches.

    PfffffBWAhahaha! Oh, good point! I wonder if he’ll read that and stop posting? Would half a Rhesus monkey have the intelligence to take the hint?

  266. Matthew Best says

    #270 JAL
    No, it’s the reducing women to sex objects and putting them into “Whore or Angel” categories to control, deny or abuse their sexuality that makes it slut shaming. Doesn’t matter if you saying that vile shit to a woman alone in your living room or in a public place, it’s still slut shaming.

    I’m pretty sure that’s just flat-out domestic abuse. The same rule applies to men — reducing them to “well-behaved programmer or sexist Beavis-and-Butthead choads”, and doing so publicly. I’ll defer to your definition of slut-shaming if you want to move onto something more substantial. Namely, that slut shaming’s still semi-public acceptance — that is, you can slut shame a woman and have it be accepted to a grotesque degree as we saw with Sandra Fluke — is sickening, and what’s sickening about it is that it’s done publicly, with absolutely no repercussions.

    Again, I don’t think the fact that until the last century male privilege not only existed but was systemic and institutionalized makes it acceptable or “exactly right”, in PZ’s words, for the same situation of public humiliation to play out simply because the genders are reversed.

    @271 Raging Bee
    No, dumbass, THE MEN REDUCED THEMSELVES to the level of frat-bro morons. In public.

    No, they did not. The men acted like frat-bro morons. That does not reduce them to that level. That does not warrant public humiliation against them. The very fact that you think that without knowing anything else about them that they are “reduced” to anything is frankly fucking disturbing.

    The man in question’s sincere apology, where his only defence is to plead that he didn’t make two sexist comments but most definitely made one, and otherwise accepted full and unequivocal responsibility for his actions, is not the behaviour of a beer-guzzling, ass-slapping frat-bro moron. It’s the behaviour of a man who sincerely regrets his actions, recognizes that it was right that he was removed from the conference based on his behaviour, and regrets that it cost him his job — and still has the poise not to put any blame for losing his job on Adria.

    The fucking fact that you claim that this man is reduced is disgusting.

    As for victim-bashing, get a fucking grip on yourself. The men were held accountable for their wrong actions and nobody is defending their behaviour. The world does not need to pussy foot around your sensibilities disclaiming every argument by pointing out all the other times people have been wrong if they were obviously in the wrong. They, both men, were obviously in the wrong. That’s not up for dispute, and your deranged obsession with it is as hilarious as it is alarming.

    Adria did not do “the right thing” by virtue of two guys acting like assholes for a minute or two. Adria had other options that would be the right thing to do. That’s what you don’t seem to be getting: Adria does not deserve laudatory defence of being “right” for taking an actual breach, dressing it up with an exaggeration, however in good faith she might have misjudged their comment (when you take the right steps, those good-faith errors in judgment get nipped in the bud before they cause damage, and that’s why you take the right steps), and then putting two people who might otherwise be decent folks up for public humiliation. No matter how you slice it, that isn’t by any stretch “right”.

  267. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    It is really unfortunate that Adria Richards didn’t use her psychic powers to divine that some asshole boss is going to act totally out of proportion and fire one of the guys. People with special powers should really use them more responsibly.

  268. thumper1990 says

    @EllenBeth Wachs

    I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got.

    No, but there are many people mansplaining away about how completely unfair it was on the men while completely disregarding her, and banging on about how she shouldn’t have done what she did and making that their focus, so at the very least there are many people lending tacit endorsement to the response she got.

    Let me make a prediction. Donglegate will be going on two years hence and people will be screaming for Adria’s head and photoshopping her.

    From the (thankfully) little I know of the Slymepit and their cohorts, I would not be even remotely suprised. And that really does make me a bit sad.

    I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure who you’re supporting here… Or are you being “nuanced”?

  269. davidporter says

    @thumper

    I certainly don’t want to detract from anyone’s fun. Personally, though, I think there were better examples of the “blithely privileged self-described Liberal Atheists” you and I used to be (hopefully I can fairly put this in the past tense) earlier in the thread, in response to which there were plenty of good explanations as to why Adria’s response was appropriate, something I too probably wouldn’t have understood not so long ago. I think there are people who are honestly trying to be decent, but haven’t yet gotten to the point where they understand why a woman in an overwhelmingly male dominated industry with a major problem with institutionalized sexism might not want to deal with what Adria heard in the same way that those people would deal with a teenager talking loudly during a movie. And I think that though intent isn’t magic, it does matter to the extent that a conversation with someone who actually means well is likely to be far more productive and educational than one with an unapologetic misogynist. And I think several of the more recent interlocutors have fallen in the second category rather than the first.

    I recognize, of course, that Pharyngula also is a place for people to enjoy themselves by ripping into bigots, and it’s not my place to spoil that for anyone. But I wonder if at some point the sheer magnitude of awfulness overwhelms that particular benefit.

  270. says

    Aaargh, I actually agree with Best on one thing!

    The man in question’s sincere apology, where his only defence is to plead that he didn’t make two sexist comments but most definitely made one, and otherwise accepted full and unequivocal responsibility for his actions, is not the behaviour of a beer-guzzling, ass-slapping frat-bro moron. It’s the behaviour of a man who sincerely regrets his actions, recognizes that it was right that he was removed from the conference based on his behaviour, and regrets that it cost him his job — and still has the poise not to put any blame for losing his job on Adria.

    Yes. He should not have been fired. He made a perfectly reasonable response.

    Where we disagree is in that, when “two guys act like assholes for a minute or two”, then people should point it out, loudly, so that everyone learns that that is asshole behavior. The reason the problem has grown to such widespread levels is this idea that everyone should just quietly accept that boys will be boys, and not call attention to it.

  271. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    At this point, I don’t care whether Adria could have handled the situation better. I don’t give a flying fuck if there was some action that would have been just perfect for the situation and that that action wasn’t the one she took. She is not at fault for the absurd reaction of the guy’s boss. She in no way deserves the shit she is getting and no one deserves rape and murder threats.
    Get some fucking perspective.

  272. thumper1990 says

    @Mathew Best

    The men acted like frat-bro morons. That does not reduce them to that level.

    If it smells like shit and looks like shit…

    They did reduce themselves to that level. They acted like Frat-Bro morons. They should know better. They reduced themselves.

  273. blitzgal says

    I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got.

    Here are two just in this thread.

    “Live by the mob, die by the mob.”

    “maybe the next woman will think twice before trying to get some innocent guy in trouble.”

  274. says

    Mathew Best @287

    Your commentary about how these men are having their lives ruined because Adria reported them in the manner that she did sounds a great deal like CNN’s coverage of the Stubenville rapists and how hard it’s going to be for them in the aftermath of the trial.

    You are completely erasing the backlash that Adria has received. You think she was in the wrong, that’s your opinion. Your continued insistence that she was wrong makes it seem like you’re endorsing the rape and death threats she’s receiving. It’s despicable.

  275. moarscienceplz says

    I haven’t read all 286 posts, so maybe this point has already been made:

    IMHO sexism isn’t even the point of this. If your are sitting in an audience, ANY audience, you are obligated to not disturb the others around you. You need to keep your voice low, but more importantly you really shouldn’t be talking AT ALL in most cases. If you feel your opinion is more important than whatever is being said up on the stage, TAKE YOUR VOICE SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    Those two yahoos deserved public shaming, they deserved being ejected, they even deserved to be banned from future gatherings. They did not deserve to lose their jobs – and this is indeed a problem with American capitalism, as well (I suspect) as a problem with inexperienced managers.

  276. thumper1990 says

    @davidporter

    I was being flippant; I certainly didn’t mean to imply you were a killjoy. I apologise if I did.

    I’m afraid this will have to be quick.

    I think there are people who are honestly trying to be decent, but haven’t yet gotten to the point where they understand why a woman in an overwhelmingly male dominated industry with a major problem with institutionalized sexism might not want to deal with what Adria heard in the same way that those people would deal with a teenager talking loudly during a movie. And I think that though intent isn’t magic, it does matter to the extent that a conversation with someone who actually means well is likely to be far more productive and educational than one with an unapologetic misogynist. And I think several of the more recent interlocutors have fallen in the second category rather than the first.

    I certainly used to fall into the first camp, and reading the troll bashing threads changed my mind. So it’s useful for that. The second camp; many people have delurked recently to tel people how much they appreciate people’s performance in threads like this one. There are lurkers out there who, from what I can gather, are a bit depressed with the world and are sick of seeing this shit go past without being challenged. So they like to see people get their heart ripped out for saying it, and they appreciate people doing it. So it’s good for that too.

    You may have a point about the “magnitude of awfulness” (nice phrase, btw :)) but I personally don’t think it’s got there (that said I am a particularly priviledged individual, as mentioned upthread, so the people who actually matter might disagree), and I would leave it up to PZ to decide when someone has gone too far.

  277. Matthew Best says

    @282 Tony!

    Wow. Victim blame much?
    Adria is not responsible for the guy getting fired (which he should not have been). What, did you think she runs the company that employed him? You think she sat in the discussion room with his bosses and flexed her power as CEO to fire him?
    His termination was the fault of the people who fired him.

    No. Not victim blaming at all. If a woman is being beaten to death by a man, she has every right to kill him to protect her life. On the other hand, if a woman gets into a minor fender-bender after getting rear ended by a man, it would be psychotic to claim she has the right to kill him.

    Her response — photographing and publicly broadcasting that photo — is totally disproportionate to two off-colour comments, neither of which are particularly objectifying to women since one was about a large penis and the one that she appears to have misinterpreted appears to have been directed towards “forking” a male speaker. Not that that’s not sexual, or could be interpreted as sexual harassment on the part of the male speaker, but “it’s objectifying to me as a woman to overhear a man want to have sex with another man” is one hell of a fucking stretch.

    It’s a matter of common sense that publicly humiliating two people when other, saner options are available, especially with the stigma of sexual harassment or sexist attitudes, can have consequences.

    Did Adria ask them to stop? Nope. Did she take her issues up in private with a staff member, asking them to intervene on her behalf from breaking the Code of Conduct? Nope. Did she publicly shame them only after exhausting every measured recourse and getting no satisfaction. Fuck no.

    And that’s what disgusts me about her response — like shooting a guy that accidentally rear-ended you, it’s complete overkill, and she’s being called “right” and “justified” for doing it. It’s fucking crazy.

    And one more thing–this is a community that does NOT tolerate ableist slurs or sexism. Referring to anyone as a ‘retard’ or describing women as ‘whores’ is unacceptable.

    Yeah somebody told me earlier to can it on the retard comments — I posted here a while back but my temper flared when I saw Adria being defended for unacceptable behaviour, so for that I unequivocally apologize. I’ve not called a woman a whore here save for thought exercise, and that I won’t self-censor. That comment most definitely was not directed at anybody.

  278. says

    davidporter @268:
    PZ handles things his own way. Just as Melissa does.

    Here, shitstains like Matthew Best and bovarchist the misogynist get shredded and ripped apart. This makes Pharyngula a safe space-for some-because here it can be publicly seen that attitudes like theirs are not tolerated. They are eviscerated, shamed, mocked and given the disdain they deserve. There are people for whom an approach like this creates an atmosphere they feel comfortable in.
    The banhammer is not always needed.

  279. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    287
    Matthew Best

    I’m pretty sure that’s just flat-out domestic abuse.

    While slut shaming can and often is apart of abuse, just because it’s being done in a private home makes it abuse. For instance, when you see a commercial, TV show, movie, anything and respond with “Wow, she’s such a nasty slut.” that’s still slut shaming.

    Namely, that slut shaming’s still semi-public acceptance ..

    Why are you clinging to it being public? It says in the very definition I quoted you that it happens in private so fuck your attempt at removing it. It doesn’t matter whether you have an audience or not, calling a woman a slut just because she doesn’t fit the patriarchy’s role for her is slut shaming.

    is sickening, and what’s sickening about it is that it’s done publicly, with absolutely no repercussions.

    So the fact that it’s public is what bothers you? WTF is wrong with you?

    No wonder you cling to the word “public”, if it happens in private you can just ignore it. No wonder you hate Adria’s respond because it removed all doubt and made it so you had to actually think about this issue.

    You’re a disgusting disturbing creep.

    No, they did not. The men acted like frat-bro morons. That does not reduce them to that level. That does not warrant public humiliation against them.

    Causing harm and supporting sexism absolutely needs public humiliation. Every single little thing adds up including “harmless funny dick jokes” to create a chilly climate. It fucking matters. So yeah, shame the bastards.

    Adria did not do “the right thing” by virtue of two guys acting like assholes for a minute or two.

    How the fuck do you know they are usually “decent folks” and only “acting like assholes for a minute or two”?

    Oh, look An object lesson for those who doubted. A thread dedicated to the fact that people, just like you, using the same lines of defense against this poor man who just made some tweets in poor taste. Turns out he’s a fucking rapist.

    This is why we have to call out everyone on every incident every time. Defending assholes gives them cover. Gives people cover to hide their more heinous crimes because everyone defaults to “they’re nice guys! Leave them alone!”

    Congratulations, you’re making the world a worse place and giving cover to rapists.

  280. says

    Still torn on this one. The thing is, these guys were making crude jokes that, if they made it in the workplace, would be grounds for dismissal. They weren’t at work; they were at a conference. Still, the conference has a zero tolerance policy, and many companies have policies regarding publicly embarrassing the company, and from the photo they had on gear that identified their employers. The conference also have a clear policy on how to handle reporting violations of the policy.

    Clearly, both parties are in the wrong. The people who are definitely way past being in the wrong are the people who have DDOSed both companies, sent death threats, and so on.

    I know from previous employment that sexual, religious, or racial harassment knows no sexual or gender bounds, and that depending on the severity, can be grounds for immediate dismissal. They also had clear rules on how to report violations. While they did have whistle-blowing clauses, the policy was clear about having to go through proper channels first.

    And really, I don’t blame PyCon for changing their policy. I really don’t! They just reached the 20% female attendance this year, want to raise the number, and because TWO PEOPLE made a dick joke the conference has gone from being a more inclusive environment in years past, to being perceived as being a woman-hostile environment.

    Regarding SendGrid, however, it’s clear that Adria Richards, fairly or unfairly, had become a liability for the company, and the president of the company said as much. He has a responsibility to all the company’s employees, and again, fair or not, Adria Richards had become a divisive force while holding down a role which expected her to unite developers. They’ve been put in a damned-if-you-do-or-don’t position. California, being an at-will state, allows them to fire her imho.

    I’m sure both parties will find gainful employment soon enough, and people will forget about Adria and mr-hank soon enough.

  281. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Correcting myself in #303 for clarity,

    just because it’s being done in a private home doesn’tmakes it abuse.

  282. thumper1990 says

    Anyway, it’s quarter past six on a Friday and for some reason I am still at work rather than in the pub. I intend to rectify this situation immediately. Good night all, have fun.

  283. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got.

    Aside from the fact that is not true, as blitgal pointed out, don’t you think it’s a bit telling that in a situation where

    a) two guys act unprofessionally at a professional conference
    b) a woman tweets about it
    c) guys apologize
    d) one of the guys gets fired
    e) shitstorm … at the woman, including rape and death threats.
    f) woman gets fired

    In all this, the woman’s actions are being dissected and discussed as totally out of line and horrible. Unbelievable. Unprofessional. Childish.

    In all this, her actions are under the scrutiny.

    Not why the hell boss fired a guy just because of that one tweet. For an action the guy apologized for.
    Not why the hell this woman is getting rape and death threats.
    Not why she was fired.

    Nope, it’s all about how “she could have reacted better”.

    And really, people tweet about all kinds of shit, all the time. I don’t even have a Twitter account, but I’ve noticed from linked tweets that people tweet about everything from “I just got a daughter!!!!” to “LOL, dude has a chewing gum stuck to his pants”. But we are suddenly supposed to be horrified about a woman tweeting about two guys action unprofessionally at a conference. Yeah, I’m shocked.

  284. davidporter says

    @thumper and @Tony

    Fair enough. This may not have been the right thread for this discussion anyway, and I certainly don’t want to tell people who may be affected by this shit how they should want to see it dealt with. Thanks for the responses.

  285. says

    Tony:

    This makes Pharyngula a safe space-for some-because here it can be publicly seen that attitudes like theirs are not tolerated. They are eviscerated, shamed, mocked and given the disdain they deserve. There are people for whom an approach like this creates an atmosphere they feel comfortable in.

    It’s worth idly noting that there are people in an open thread on this very blog this very [timeperiod] saying that there’s no way they’re coming in here because of Best and his cohort.

    Not intending to pick on you per se, Tony: your comment was handy at the top of the pile. Just thought it, well, worth idly noting.

  286. says

    No, they did not. The men acted like frat-bro morons. That does not reduce them to that level.

    This statement is so stupid, so childish, and so oblivious to basic notions of consequences and responsibility, as to prove that Mr. Best is arguing in a whole new dimension of bad faith.

    The very fact that you think that without knowing anything else about them that they are “reduced” to anything is frankly fucking disturbing.

    YOU are the one who used the word “reduced,” you stupid babyish hypocrite.

    +1 to the earlier suggestion to ban Mr. Best. He’s not even willing to admit the basic concept of adult responsibility; so he’s really not up for a conversation at this level.

  287. omnicrom says

    Michael Best: The problem you have is that your views of unacceptable behavior and the views of Pharyngula do not cross.

    You seem to feel that bringing up people acting like dudebros at a conference with the conference organizers is unacceptable. Pharyngula meanwhile feels it’s unacceptable in any circumstances to use Ableist and Sexist language, to spread misogyny, to fire people for disproportionately small actions without allowing for reconciliation, and to engage in an unrelenting tide of hatred, scum, and vile misogyny for trying to stop people from making inappropriate sex jokes.

    It seems clear to me that you don’t consider just about anything Pharyngula finds unacceptable to be unacceptable to you as well. I suggest you leave, you were initially interesting in how out of tune you were how deep you were swimming in toxic privilege, but now you’re being actively bad.

  288. PatrickG says

    Oh my, another wall of word vomit. I gotta watch myself for carpal tunnel. I also look forward to all my points being made for me (and made better!) while I labored at this comment. Onward Christian Sol — wait, wrong song, wrong place.

    JAL:

    No, it’s the reducing women to sex objects and putting them into “Whore or Angel” categories to control, deny or abuse their sexuality that makes it slut shaming. Doesn’t matter if you saying that vile shit to a woman alone in your living room or in a public place, it’s still slut shaming.

    I’m pretty sure that’s just flat-out domestic abuse. The same rule applies to men — reducing them to “well-behaved programmer or sexist Beavis-and-Butthead choads”, and doing so publicly.

    Wait, what? Have your reading comprehension skills slipped even further? How could you take JALs point that social constructs surrounding female sexuality (a) exist, and (b) are used to approve or vilify their sexual choices, and end at … that’s domestic violence? Get a CAT scan, you’ve got some serious neural misfires going on there.

    And then to make it better, and apparently without any pause for reflection, you apply that rule to men. Reducing a man to “well-behaved programmer” is flat-out domestic abuse? Seriously dude, what the fuck? I can only hope that was a grievous copy-paste error, because wow. Just wow. Maybe it wasn’t what you meant, but it sure as hell is what you said.

    No, they did not. The men acted like frat-bro morons. That does not reduce them to that level. That does not warrant public humiliation against them. The very fact that you think that without knowing anything else about them that they are “reduced” to anything is frankly fucking disturbing.

    Uh, without knowing anything other than that they chose to act like frat-bro morons, I think Raging Bee is quite correct to say that they “reduced” themselves to… the level of frat-bro morons. At that time. While they were acting like frat-bro morons. Would you prefer “lowered themseves” or something else? Would that lesson your oh-so-disturbed-disgust?

    Newsflash: it is possible for someone to reduce themselves to a level, and then even have that reduction stop. For instance, you’ve reduced yourself to the level of an asinine nincompoop in this thread. It’s your choice that’s keeping you at that level. Don’t let yourself be reduced! The choice is in your hands!

    Oh, and many people in this thread have said the apology was rather cool in that it included a frank admission of error, and an indication that this person wouldn’t be engaging in the same troubling behavior again. Bonus points for totally missing that.

    As for victim-bashing, get a fucking grip on yourself. The men were held accountable for their wrong actions and nobody is defending their behaviour. The world does not need to pussy foot around your sensibilities disclaiming every argument by pointing out all the other times people have been wrong if they were obviously in the wrong. They, both men, were obviously in the wrong. That’s not up for dispute, and your deranged obsession with it is as hilarious as it is alarming.

    Bold 1: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Except all those people who are. Who said that it was just harmless fun. Who said that it as totally fine to make those jokes. We’ve established you can’t read, otherwise I’d refer you to Google, where you can easily find people saying these men did nothing wrong.

    Bold 2: Damn it! I’m going through irony meters so quickly today. It just flashed “Critical failure at self awareness” at me before melting into a puddle of hot slag.

    Adria did not do “the right thing” by virtue of two guys acting like assholes for a minute or two. Adria had other options that would be the right thing to do. That’s what you don’t seem to be getting: Adria does not deserve laudatory defence of being “right” for taking an actual breach, dressing it up with an exaggeration, however in good faith she might have misjudged their comment (when you take the right steps, those good-faith errors in judgment get nipped in the bud before they cause damage, and that’s why you take the right steps), and then putting two people who might otherwise be decent folks up for public humiliation. No matter how you slice it, that isn’t by any stretch “right”.

    Actually, a lot of people have sliced this quite thoroughly, in this thread, which you apparently didn’t bother to read. See, there’s this thing called “history”, in which “events” “happen”. People who are familiar with “linear time” recognize that in the “past”, people taking your advice to “take the right steps” often find that it bud-nipping does not, in fact, happen. They find, in fact, that the “right steps” were objectively the “wrong decision”. You might even note that people have given examples of this in comments above. Oh right, reading. Not your thing.

    Anyway, you continue to beat a dead horse. Even if you think she was wrong, or could have done something better, that point is irrelevant. As I said up above, if the ravening horde of assholes like you hadn’t reacted the way you’re reacting right now, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    You’re upset by people losing their jobs and all this balderdash? Go look in a mirror. It’s people like you who made this happen. Not the tweet. The reaction to the tweet, from people who obsessively worry over the UNMITIGATED CHAOS of one woman tweeting a picture of two guys and deprecating their humor.

    I mean, c’mon, man, your reaction to this whole thing is rapidly approaching CATS! DOGS! SLEEPING TOGETHER! levels. And it continues to lend to the perception that you think the reaction against Richards was justified, because the most important thing here is proving she was wrong. At all costs.

    What a sad little person you are.

  289. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    They weren’t at work; they were at a conference.

    Why don’t people get this: While at the conference, they are probably wearing badges with the company affiliation displayed on them. They are representing their company. They should be on their best behavior. Once that is a given, change the rest of your post to correspond with reality.

  290. says

    Matthew Best:
    “…other, saner options…”

    You are bound and determined to fill my sexist bingo card.

    Now you are dismissing her by calling into question her sanity?
    Oh, and you can plug your ears all you want, but blaming Richards for the guy getting fired-an action she has no control over-IS victim blaming.

  291. Gregory Greenwood says

    bovarchist @ 255;

    I am going to assume that you, like me, are male. I think you might benefit from trying to put aside your male privilege for a moment and consider what it is like being a woman in this culture – imagine not encountering sexism and sexual objectification of your gender and you personally once or twice a year, or a month, or a week, or a day, or even an hour. Imagine encountering such attitudes constantly, day in and day out for your entire life.

    Imagine that any attempt to call people on their prediliction for treating your whole gender as nothing more than a collection of sex toys is met not with acceptance that such behaviour is wrong, or indifference, or reasonable disagreement (not that you can reasonably disagree with the proposition that women are people too), but with the most excessive, dehumanising vitriol. Imagining receiving a deluge of rape and death threats that goes on and on for over a year. Imagine that your employer is targeted with denial of service attacks and hate mail until they cave in to the extortion and fire you. Imagine a concerted campaign to ruin your life simply because you had what is apparently considered the sheer gall to violate the ‘good, obedient woman’ trope in order to stand up and say that you aspire to be more than a bit player in some dudebro’s idle sex fantasies. That you are a human being, and that you believe that you are deserving of the respect that should be accorded to all people irrespective of the shape of their genitalia.

    Imagine if this wasn’t about sexism. What if the bigotry had been of a different flavour. What if it had been a gay person objecting to overhearing grossly homophobic ‘jokes’? Or a member of an ethnic minority objecting to racist ‘humour’? Would you still be ‘glad’ they were fired? Would you still consider such a response to a person taking a stand against pervasive bigotry reasonable or proportionate? Would you still think it ‘pathetic’ that a member of an ethnic minority objected to racist jokes made in a public space because of the long standing history of racism and the pervasive racial bigotry in contemporary society? I think you should ask yourself – what is it about women that makes you feel that their suffering – that their struggle against discrimination and abuse – is so unworthy?

    Can you do that? Can you put aside your privilege and assumptions for just a moment, and really try to empathise with women and what being a woman might be like in this society? It is very difficult to truly succeed in looking past your own privilege and ego, as I have discovered on many occasions.If you find it hard to get your head into the right space, I recommend not commenting for a while, and instead just listening to the women – do all you can to really read and understand what they are saying. When you run across something you don’t like, can’t reconcile, or can’t understand, don’t instantly rail against it. Rather than assuming that women don’t have a clue about their own lived experiences, try asking yourself why these women feel that way and hold those opinions. What experiences could have lead a person to this conclusion? What experiences could lead you to feel the same way in your own life?

    I recommend all of this, but be warned – once you take that ‘red pill’, and see how terribly all pervasive misogyny is in our culture, there really is no going back. You will recognise it all around you. It will taint many things that you currently enjoy, and you will see it in people you know, people you love, and even in your own actions, both former and current. Not everyone is able to face just how toxic and messed up our society really is. It takes courage to look at the world without the rose tinted spectacles that reassure us that the status quo is just fine, and that anyone who disagrees is hysterical and paranoid. Do you have the intellectual honesty and personal fortitude required, or would you rather stick with a comforting lie that things aren’t really so bad? No one can do this for you – you have to choose for yourself which is more important to you; the truth or a false sense of your own superiority.

  292. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I’ve been to only one professional conference in my three months old career, but I’m pretty sure there’s some professionalism expected.

  293. ibbica says

    304 shanesimmons

    Clearly, both parties are in the wrong.

    No. No, no, no, no, NO.
    There is NOTHING WRONG with publically noting others’ public behaviour. The conference had public exposure. There is NO reasonable assumption of ‘privacy’ when you’re in a conference room with hundreds of other people, many of whom you KNOW are reporting about the events at the conference.

    Richards’ tweets were not denigrating or dehumanizing. She did not call for the men to lose their jobs, or even to be punished. FFS, she asked for someone to “talk to these guys about their conduct”. Goodness, me what a horridly wrong thing to do!

  294. says

    Agreed. One thing I’m quibbling with a bit is that she probably was angry. And she still reacted in a measured way. An angry response can be measured and appropriate (it doesn’t have to screaming to be angry, and he doesn’t have to be a rash decision and can still come from being angry, see also Greta Christina’s book).
    I’m guessing at her feelings here, but they certainly sounded angry to me. And that’s fine, especially since a big problem is that while men expressing anger are seen as strong, female anger is either laughed away as hysteria or seen as a threat to the power structure and answered with violent or vile demonstrations of power, as here. That is a big problem, since it creates an anticipation of respectability. But that doesn’t matter.

  295. PatrickG says

    Couldn’t pass up comment on this particular gem.

    It’s a matter of common sense that publicly humiliating two people when other, saner options are available, especially with the stigma of sexual harassment or sexist attitudes, can have consequences.

    Oh, I think we’re all aware of that now, if we weren’t before. Richards certainly found that out, right? Next woman will think twice before saying anything, mission accomplished!!11! FREEZE PEACH FOR EVERYONE!

    Blech. How many times does it need to be stated that the firing was an overreaction by the company? And how many words can you write while continuing to be so dismissive of the overreaction towards Richards?

    I’m voting in favor of the banhammer too*. This is just getting more and more unhinged… and worse, kind of boring.

    * I don’t care if PZ is a totalitarian autocrat when it comes to ban decisions and my vote is meaningless. I’m voting anyway, so there!

  296. Matthew Best says

    @303 JAL

    So the fact that it’s public is what bothers you? WTF is wrong with you?

    Uh, no. I’m pretty sure where I unequivocally called it abuse I made my stance clear on it. The fact that slut shaming is one of the few avenues of abuse that remains acceptable in public is part of what makes slut shaming, in particular, extremely disgusting.

    Rush Limbaugh did not get fired for taking Sandra Fluke’s testimony on treatment for PCOS, deliberately misrepresenting them, and claiming she was just a huge whore. If Limbaugh had punched Fluke in the face in the same public manner as he slut shamed her, he would have been not only been fired but jailed.

    So yes I kinda have a problem with the fact that it’s publicly acceptable.

    No wonder you cling to the word “public”, if it happens in private you can just ignore it.

    Yeah totally that’s it. It’s not at all the fact that when it happens in public, people not only act accepting of it but actually pile on like they would with virtually no other form of abuse. It’s totally that I love abuse and hate slut-shaming because it draws attention to abuse and what in the holy fuck are you talking about?

    Causing harm and supporting sexism absolutely needs public humiliation. Every single little thing adds up including “harmless funny dick jokes” to create a chilly climate.

    “Harmless funny dick jokes” that create a chilly climate like the one Adria tweeted to a man about stuffing a sock down his pants for a TSA agent to grope while she was at the very same conference this incident happened it?

    Or is it just “harmless funny dick jokes” that create a chilly climate that you can use to call every male who thinks disproportionate retribution and public humiliation disgusting, regardless of who it happens to, a member of the patriarchal and privileged set?

    How the fuck do you know they are usually “decent folks” and only “acting like assholes for a minute or two”?

    I don’t, and that’s kinda the key, isn’t it? When the fuck did Adria become God and know all the sins these men had to have retribution called down on their heads for at that exact moment? How in the fuck did she know these two to know that men who hadn’t disturbed her at all previously, and with whom she’d exchanged some mild — and by her own statement, cordial — small-talk moments earlier, “deserved” to humiliated publicly, their faces forever attached to her accusations, one of which was likely a good-faith error in judgment, but an error non-the-less?

    This is why we have to call out everyone on every incident every time. Defending assholes gives them cover. Gives people cover to hide their more heinous crimes because everyone defaults to “they’re nice guys! Leave them alone!”

    Good. Now put your money where your mouth is and call out Adria as a rapist-enabler for making a dick-joke and giving assholes cover.

    https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265091791847425

    Remember, she made a dick joke, so don’t give her cover. The fact that by your standards you’d be calling the same woman you just claimed was the victim a rapist-enabler who deserves no defence might want to cause you to question just how loosely you throw those accusations around.

  297. says

    Still torn on this one…

    That’s probably because you don’t care, or don’t have the guts to try to understand all the issues at play here.

  298. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Matthew Best,

    You know that woman who gets rape and death threats and who got fired because she’s getting rape and death threats?!

    What a bitch.

  299. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    That was a bitter and cynical use of “bitch” in my #322.
    I hope that’s obvious from the first sentence.

  300. says

    shanesimmons @304:
    I feel PyCon was wrong to amend their policies to forbid public shaming. Men get away with s microaggressions like talking to a womans chest, whistling at women as they walk by, or ogling them like a piece of meat…all the way up to sexually harassing, raping and issuing death threats to women. The system is disproportionately favorable towards men (patriarchy please fuck off) and now this conference has closed one avenue women had for calling out bad behavior. People already dismiss women. They already treat their concerns with contempt. They already write off dudebros being sexist asshats.
    Women need more options for dealing with sexism. Not fewer.

    Also, the message SendGrid sent to its employees by firing Adria is horrible for employee morale.
    And I wish I shared your optimism that they both will find jobs soon enough.

  301. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see MB is still crying up an irrational storm, not making any sense. That requires him to acknowledge he is wrong, he needs to calm down as he is hysterical, and stop with the inane hyperbole and sexism. Just like he says the womenz must do.

  302. omnicrom says

    As has been mentioned before it is incredibly telling how HARD Matthew Best twists and turns to victim blame, and respin it so that Adria is clearly in the wrong and the two guys weren’t, and to ignore the really heinous hateful tidal wave of sewage that Adria is just the latest victim of.

    Also Matthew: Your most recent post at 320 has already been thoroughly answered. All of its points. And as for the joke people have told you repeatedly there’s a difference between a joke where the punchline is “That’s a woman I’d like to objectify” and “The TSA is stupid so let’s mess with them.” But you know this already even if you don’t let yourself recognize it consciously and that is exactly why you are so vile.

  303. PatrickG says

    Oh for the love of … we’re back to the sock tweet objections? Dude, that was sooooo 100 comments ago. Get with the times, man.

    You’re either really that dumb, or you’re being deliberately obtuse. I’m honestly not sure, since you’ve demonstrated a staggering capacity for cognitive failure and inability to read for comprehension. I mean that in the nicest possible way, cupcake.

  304. says

    When the fuck did Adria become God and know all the sins these men had to have retribution called down on their heads for at that exact moment?

    When the fuck did anyone ever say she was “God?” And since when was talking publicly about other people’s public behavior a “godlike” act? If you want to accuse someone of “playing God,” accuse the people who fired your poor put-upon fellow dudebro — but even then it’s a stupid accusation.

    Seriously, Best, how old are you? Eight? That’s the level of coherence, maturity, and sense of responsibility you’re showing here.

  305. Matthew Best says

    @314 Tony!

    Matthew Best:
    “…other, saner options…”

    You are bound and determined to fill my sexist bingo card.

    Now you are dismissing her by calling into question her sanity?

    Nope. I’m saying that acting sanely is showing good sense. That’s not just something I’m making up, that’s what sane means. Not in a vague, roundabout way. It’s the literal definition of the word:

    sane
    adjective \ˈsān\
    san·ersan·est
    Definition of SANE
    1: proceeding from a sound mind : rational
    2: mentally sound; especially : able to anticipate and appraise the effect of one’s actions
    3: healthy in body

    It is irrational to skip better options and go straight to the last recourse.

    Of course, it’s equally irrational to abandon the principle of charity and assume your opponent in an argument is claiming a person is mentally deranged because the word he used correctly might also mean that if you want to use a straw man to call him a sexist, so hey…

    Hell though, go for broke: Sane also means healthy in body — I think you should accuse me of claiming she was riddled with venereal diseases next.

  306. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #320 Matthew Best

    So yes I kinda have a problem with the fact that it’s publicly acceptable.

    So do I, but you’ve made it clear that you think: if it ain’t public, it ain’t slut shaming.

    I don’t, and that’s kinda the key, isn’t it? When the fuck did Adria become God and know all the sins these men had to have retribution called down on their heads for at that exact moment? How in the fuck did she know these two to know that men who hadn’t disturbed her at all previously, and with whom she’d exchanged some mild — and by her own statement, cordial — small-talk moments earlier, “deserved” to humiliated publicly, their faces forever attached to her accusations, one of which was likely a good-faith error in judgment, but an error non-the-less?

    Idiot. You’re making my point for me. We can’t know, so that’s why we call out EVERY instance of such behavior. Duh. To give a blanket benefit of the doubt, gives cover to the rapists. I say, rip the covers off and if you’re a decent human being you can handle the repercussions of your sexist/racist/ablist/transphobic actions. If not? *shrug* sucks to be you, you should learn not to be that way.

    Remember, she made a dick joke, so don’t give her cover. The fact that by your standards you’d be calling the same woman you just claimed was the victim a rapist-enabler who deserves no defence might want to cause you to question just how loosely you throw those accusations around.

    Nope, it makes me realize how I need to be clearer in my language, especially when talking to someone as dense as you. I think Josh said it best:

    #186 Josh, Official SpokesGay

    STOP MISREPRESENTING AND LYING Adria’s “dick joke” was in response to a Tweet where a guy joked about having his “nuts fondled” by TSA security. Yes, those are his words. Her response was to fake out TSA the next time by wearing socks down his trousers.

    Stop fucking lying. Stop acting like no one knows the difference in context. Stop acting like YOU don’t know it. You damned well do and everyone can see your desperate need to make what happened ZERO BAD. Except of course what Richards did.

  307. omnicrom says

    So Matthew Best: What is the better option she could have taken? What would be the nice and submissive option that Adria could do to make it absolutely clear that she was of a lesser gender than the two guys and while she does not want to step out of line she thinks that making stupid fratboy sex jokes is inappropriate?

    I mean you’ve invested so much energy into attacking Adria Richards instead of the legion of hateful sexists who have a bone to pick with her for being female on the internet or the companies who fired people stupidly, what was the correct way to solve the problem without rocking the boat that would have reinforced the gender stereotypes you twist yourself double to defend?

  308. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Matthew Best:

    “I won’t self-censor.”

    Not true. You self-censor all the time when it’s people you think have any worth or value. You don’t mock your incontinent grandmother at the table by saying YOU STINK. You can find a myriad of other instances where you (and every human being everywhere) self-censor.

    What you mean here is,

    “I won’t self-censor FOR BITCHEZ.”

  309. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #329 Matthew Best

    It is irrational to skip better options and go straight to the last recourse.

    Oh, for fucks sake. Enough with this shit. Did you read her post? She walks through the steps of her thoughts and it was a reasonable decision. It’s all laid out. I’d quote it but seriously, that’s like half the whole post.

  310. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I WOULDN’T CARE EVEN IF ADRIA’S ACTIONS WEREN’T THE ABSOLUTELY MOST PERFECT THINGS SHE COULD DO.

    She’s not at fault for the guy getting fired by an unreasonable boss and she in no way deserved getting fired herself or getting rape and death threats.

    Why are we still discussing how her actions possibly weren’t the perfectest, when there are all these injustices going on in this case?!

    MATHEW FUCKING BEST, it’s a bit telling that you are focusing all your attention where you are.

  311. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #334
    nooneinparticular

    A much better appraisal of this kerfluffle than can be found here.

    http://amandablumwords.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/3/

    IMO, of course. YMMV.

    That post was linked to earlier regarding Adria’s history trying to discredit her (which is ridiculous because her history with that organization doesn’t have shit to do this,) and quite frankly, I don’t like it. That post says,”

    Most importantly, women didn’t win. The ugliness I’ve seen in the last week shocks me, I didn’t know it could sink to such depths. Adria reinforced the idea of us as threats to men, as unreasonable, as hard to work with… as bitches. Her firing in some way sanctifies the ugly things said to her as effective- the social terrorism won. It doesn’t heal the divide, it slices it deeper.”

    Which is what I had in mind when I wrote earlier: Fuck those accommodation. They don’t speak for me or all women. They can do it their way, and I’ll do it my way. I’m quite fine with the photo tweet tactic.

  312. PatrickG says

    A much better appraisal of this kerfluffle than can be found here.

    Which, if you’d actually read the comments in this thread (admittedly a daunting task, as the Stupid is strong today), has already been raised and discussed.

  313. nooneinparticular says

    Sorry. I did not see that this was already posted and commented on. My bad.

  314. says

    Nope. I’m saying that acting sanely is showing good sense.

    What the fuck does Mr. Best know about “good sense?” He hasn’t shown any such thing in any of his own relentless, infantile, trolling comments.

  315. says

    @307 Beatrice, I am not sure how you get that I have only made it about how the woman needs to behave better.

    @289 Thumper most people generally don’t find me “nuanced” I am usually accused of being to blunt. So here it is.
    I support Adria for what has occurred in the aftermath of the tweet. I do not agree with her decision to tweet this. I thought that was rather clear. By doing so, she involved many bystanders unnecessarily.

    Were the guys out of line? Yes.
    Did they deserve to have a complaint filed? Yes.
    Does Adria get a pass for doing it in an inappropriate manner because she’s a woman in a ragingly sexist environment? No.
    Did she deserve to get fired. No.
    Did the guys deserve to get fired. No.
    Does she deserve rape and death threats? Well of course not.

  316. says

    Ok, I haven’t read the whole thread, mostly skimmed Matthew’s excavator adventures in hole land, so there probably will be overlap with other responses, but as my response to his first post also gives a likely explanation for his question in #65: “if this guy was really, truly making a sexual innuendo with ‘fork’, why would he deny it but admit to making a sexual innuendo with ‘dongle’.” I might as well post it anyway:

    Matthew Best:

    Actually, it changes quite a bit. Forking a repo(sitory) isn’t a sexual innuendo, it’s a *literal thing*. It’s a thing that you can actually do with a repo. Had you bothered to read a little further, you’ll notice his next comment is about implementing the repo.

    Like Johnny Vector pointed out, forking a project is a real thing. I’d like to fork Linux works. I’d like to fork Torvald’s repo doesn’t (at least to my knowledge, feel fre to provide prior art where forked is used that way).

    Had you bothered to read adria a little more carefully you’d have noticed that she didn’t “[choose] to assign meaning to a perfectly normal, non-sexual statement”:

    Adria:

    He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.
    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…
    began making sexual forking jokes

    So, sure, forking is not necessarily a double entendre, which is why she didn’t have a problem with it… until it was used as a double entendre.

    So, unless you have evidence that Adria made up the sexualised forking joke she says heard after the innocent use then it sounds like the following actually applies to you:

    Matthew Best:

    Of course, if you accept the above paragraph as valid and true, that would mean you’d have to issue a minor retraction. Unfortunately, the above comment is valid and true, and I doubt a minor correction is coming.

    Now, to be fair, in his apology the man said that:

    no sexual jokes were made about forking

    So we are in a he-said/she-said situation, where Adria heard a perfectly proper use of the word fork followed by its use in a sexual joke whereas the man didn’t hear any such joke about forks, only about dongles…

    When you connect those dots with Adria saying:

    The forking joke set the stage for the dongle joke.

    You have to wonder: How did they go from a nonsexual use of fork to a sexual use of dongle without an intermediary sexual use of fork given that dongles don’t have much (if anything) to do with forking?

    It seems that the hypothesis that best satisfy Occam’s razor (which I suppose is what you were referencing by “multiply the entities beyond their necessity”) is that some sexual joke(s) about forking were made, thus going from innocent use of forking to ribald use of forking to ribald use of dongle but the man apologising only remember the beginning of the train of thought (innocent forking) and the end of it (ribald dongle) and forgot the middle of their train of thought.

    That kind of thing certainly often happens to me and people I know (how did I get from thinking X to thinking Y?) so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a common phenomenom and it certainly would explain his claim not to have heard a ribald forking joke.

    Matthew Best:

    If it makes you feel any better, PZ, here’s a Tweet from Adria telling a guy to stuff his pants with a sock for a TSA agent to grope: https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265576896679937 … Written, you will (not) note, during the very conference she “freaked out” at.

    Indeed… Written, you did not note, during not at the very conference she freaked out at. Context does matter you know. You can attend the conference without attending a particular attendee’s twitter feed.

    Matthew Best:

    By the way, I asked my girlfriend if your use of the word “slymepitters” was a derogatory term for her vagina. At first she said no, but when I explained your deranged, Wonderland-esque logic, and how it was important a woman simply feel that something a man says is sexist so that I could win an argument on the Internet,

    By the way, I asked a dictionary if your use of the word “deranged” was a derogatory term for insane. I didn’t even have to explain to it your lack of logic and how it was important that you could strawman PZ so you could win an argument on the internet, it said yes:

    Adj. 1. deranged – driven insane
    crazed, half-crazed
    insane – afflicted with or characteristic of mental derangement; “was declared insane”; “insane laughter”

    Just FYI, ableism is treated around here in the same way sexism is.

    she agreed, and told me that I “owed her”.

    You got a sucker deal as you owe her for giving you an occasion to use both a strawman and a tu quoque (of the strawman) in the same paragraph, thus giving you one more opportunity in your post to be an example of “It’s better to be thought a fool than open your mouth* and prove it”.

    *figuratively speaking of course.

  317. says

    Matthew Best:
    You copypasta a definition of sane as if that refutes what I said? You fool, you are judging her level of mental stability. Aside from the fact that you make the asinine assumption that your choices are better than hers, you also played the “bitchez be hysterical” card
    Keep it up, I have two squares to fill.

  318. Matthew Best says

    JAL
    Oh, for fucks sake. Enough with this shit. Did you read her post? She walks through the steps of her thoughts and it was a reasonable decision. It’s all laid out. I’d quote it but seriously, that’s like half the whole post.

    Yes, I did read her statement. She mentioned, among other things, speaking via text message with the conference security. In other words, they were receptive to and responding to her concerns.

    A tweet timestamped 10:32 reads:
    Not cool. Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles. Right behind me #pycon
    …and is accompanied by the photo of the two in question.

    At 10:34, two minutes later (I hope we can agree on that much):
    Can someone talk to these guys about their conduct? I’m in lightning talks, top right near stage, 10 rows back #pycon

    She was perfectly able to give directions to where she was. In fact, that was probably a lot more necessary than the photo for finding those responsible.

    So why did that tweet come after? Was it because as some here claim that she’d never gotten responses due to sexism before? Doubtful — she seemed perfectly willing to take the correct course of action two minutes after publicly shaming these guys.

    I’d be behind her 100% if that sensible Tweet was her first one and she’d received no response. Code of conduct violation, disruptive, being interpreted as sexual in nature, and the people in charge of enforcing the code of conduct aren’t doing anything.

    But she hops straight to the “if the authorities won’t help me I’ll turn to the public” before giving the authorities responsible for the CoC enforcement the necessary information even though she’s perfectly willing and able to.

    It’s that that makes what she chose to do wrong. Whether her temper flared or not makes no difference any more than whatever was running through “dongles” head excuses his behaviour. Turning to that course of action, without even trying to go through some good-faith motions, is wrong.

  319. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    # 341 EllenBeth Wachs

    By doing so, she involved many bystanders unnecessarily.

    *sigh*
    For the umpteenth time, that irrelevant.

    And I’ve said this several times already, good. It was evidence for who was making the inappropriate jokes in a huge crowd, made it publicly know this kind of behavior is not allowed and it did get a quick response from the conference.

    So, what the fuck is the problem here? Oh, that’s right. Making it public. Because this shit is just “a private civil disagreement” and everyone gets to ignore it if you don’t “make a big deal out of it”.

    Well, if anyone actually READS Adria’s post this is not the only instance of this kind of thing at this conference at this time. It’s a good thing she spoke up and the way she did it is just fucking fine!

  320. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    344
    Matthew Best

    It’s that that makes what she chose to do wrong. Whether her temper flared or not makes no difference any more than whatever was running through “dongles” head excuses his behaviour. Turning to that course of action, without even trying to go through some good-faith motions, is wrong.

    Not everyone has the privilege of being able to give good faith. Since we’re just going in a circle, here’s my very first comment, #74

    Well, bully for your privileged ass that you can deal with it that way. EVERY instance, by EVERY person needs to called the fuck out. Every single day, all damn day women are subjected to this kind of shit and there’s no reason to give “mercy”. We’ve done the “guys please don’t do that”, remember how that turned out? Every fucking day at work, in public, even at home with our friends and families, we’re pressured to be quiet, speak softly, which adheres to that sexist “ladylike” expectation. FUCK THAT.

    Good for her for pointing it out publicly with a picture so she could have evidence instead of having to worry about losing the “she said, he said” battle, since we all know how that turns out.

    The actions that ARE terrible are absolutely not the fault of Richards, that’s the harassers, threat makers, companies and 4Chan’s fuck up. And you know what? Maybe if we called shit out more, louder, stronger and had more and/or better allies, those reactions would change. Maybe if we focused more on how terrible those actions are (instead of poo-pooing on Richards’s for being all “hysterical”), those reactions would change.

    But no, let’s call out the woman who had enough for doing everything right.

  321. Matthew Best says

    343 JAL
    You copypasta a definition of sane as if that refutes what I said? You fool, you are judging her level of mental stability. Aside from the fact that you make the asinine assumption that your choices are better than hers, you also played the “bitchez be hysterical” card
    Keep it up, I have two squares to fill.

    Sorry boss, you claimed I called her mental stability into question. I said she acted irrationally. People act irrationally all the time without being insane. A straw man’s a straw man, whether you like it or not.

    Then you double down with the same straw man just for kicks. Again, sorry about this boss, but that’s not how it works. I dispute that rationality of her actions because I see them as irrational and I see other rational options not exercised.

    This might shock you, but that has fuck-all to do with the fact that she’s a woman and everything to do with the fact that when I run down the “correct course of actions” checklist, turning to the public to force an action the authorities won’t take comes only after trying to get the authorities to take an action. It wouldn’t matter if the person doing that was man, woman, trans, 20 years old, or 40, or 60.

    Nobody gets a pass on that basic human behaviour on the basis of gender.

  322. thedude says

    This is just sad. The saddest part is the firing, death threats, rape threats and DDoS attacks over what is really a minor incident. It is also sad that some people, who obviously hasn’t been near the software industry in their entire life, insists that forking a repository means something that it really doesn’t mean even after they have been explained the proper meaning several times. I guess that to some people everything has a sexual meaning. It is also sad that some people feel the need to characterize their fellow human beings as “Fuckbrained assholes”, “moron”, “idiot”, “fool”, “dumbfucks”, “asshole”, “mindless hater”, “stoopid”, “misogynistic loser” and “buttnugget”. I will not be doing any business with any of these firing-happy companies in the future.

  323. says

    As expected, the whole thread is saturated with people trying to attach the blame to the woman.

    Why am I not surprised?

  324. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #348
    thedude

    It is also sad that some people, who obviously hasn’t been near the software industry in their entire life, insists that forking a repository means something that it really doesn’t mean even after they have been explained the proper meaning several times.

    STOP LYING. THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

    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. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

    That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

    began making sexual forking jokes

  325. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    that forking a repository means something that it really doesn’t mean even after they have been explained the proper meaning several times. I guess that to some people everything has a sexual meaning.

    Fuck you. I don’t even believe you really believe that. Don’t insult us.

  326. PatrickG says

    He’s like a dog with a bone, just can’t let it go.

    I’d be behind her 100% if that sensible Tweet was her first one and she’d received no response

    Bullshit. No you wouldn’t. I cite this entire thread as evidence, but particularly your dishonest and repeated attempts to use the TSA tweet as some kind of smoking gun, your assertion that “not cool” and “whores sucking dick” are morally equivalent as tweet material, and your dogged insistence that everybody just admit that Richards was WRONG because that’s the most important thing here.

    Yeah, you’d totally be behind her 100%, if only she’d adhered to your peculiarly fluid idea of proper behavior. *snort*

    Anyway, at this point you’re just repeating yourself over and over. Got any new material, cupcake?

  327. blitzgal says

    Were the guys out of line? Yes.
    Did they deserve to have a complaint filed? Yes.
    Does Adria get a pass for doing it in an inappropriate manner because she’s a woman in a ragingly sexist environment? No.
    Did she deserve to get fired. No.
    Did the guys deserve to get fired. No.
    Does she deserve rape and death threats? Well of course not.

    But she is getting them. Not only is she “not getting a pass for doing it in an inappropriate manner,” she is in fact getting rape and death threats, and her employer was attacked until they fired her. So this is where we stand. Why do you keep focusing on what she did wrong, unless it is to imply that she was asking for it?

  328. Matthew Best says

    346 JAL
    Not everyone has the privilege of being able to give good faith.

    I understand what you’re saying, and I also agree that past actions towards a person mitigate future behaviour that that person might take. I completely, 100% agree with you there.

    But by the same token, I don’t think a potential explosive or volatile reaction is “right”. You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others. Battery, rape, murder, torture — any and all of those are likely to happen if you do that. And that child may never have the privilege of being able to act in good faith or with anything resembling even the slightest shred of trust.

    But, all the same, if that person takes a destructive action against an innocent bystander, they did not act “exactly right”, even if they were seriously abused previously. They are not to be praised for what they did.

    I really do understand your point that past events lead to future responses that are based around the past; I simply don’t agree that any of those responses will be automatically “right” or acceptable.

  329. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #354
    Matthew Best

    But, all the same, if that person takes a destructive action against an innocent bystander, they did not act “exactly right”, even if they were seriously abused previously. They are not to be praised for what they did.

    Her tweet wasn’t destructive asshole. It wasn’t her fault or her actions that lead to him getting fired – it was the push back from fuckers like you that blew this thing up.

    I really do understand your point that past events lead to future responses that are based around the past; I simply don’t agree that any of those responses will be automatically “right” or acceptable.

    You don’t understand a damn thing. Fuck you for dismissing me and my position as if I hadn’t thought this through. As if there’s no other reason why I choose this side of the argument. Oh no, of course not it always comes back to: “Bitchez stick together, that’s all. It’s just automatic. Can’t trust ‘em. Can’t believe ‘em. You don’t care or think about what you’re saying. Bitchez be hysterical.”

  330. says

    You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others.

    Dude, your analogy is like Hitler at an ice-rink.

    But, all the same, if that person takes a destructive action against an innocent bystander…

    “Innocent?” Please. Even the guy she took action against, has admitted he was not “innocent,” and even apologized for his actions. Why are you still trying to pretend he’s innocent?

    Your pathological hatred of one uppity woman has overruled your grasp of the most obvious facts of the case. Do you really think you’re credible anymore? GET HELP!

  331. Matthew Best says

    Bullshit. No you wouldn’t. I cite this entire thread as evidence, but particularly your dishonest and repeated attempts to use the TSA tweet as some kind of smoking gun, your assertion that “not cool” and “whores sucking dick” are morally equivalent as tweet material, and your dogged insistence that everybody just admit that Richards was WRONG because that’s the most important thing here.

    The TSA tweet is what it is. Some people want to claim that dick jokes are never funny — then they’re never funny, even when Adria makes them. I personally don’t see anything unacceptable about the Tweet, given that it was initiated by another and in a context totally unrelated to disrupting a presentation, but that doesn’t change the fact that when you make a rule as asinine and absolute that “anybody who makes a dick joke is creating a chilly atmosphere”, you’re applying that absolute rule to Adria as well. The lesson here isn’t that I think it’s a smoking gun against Adria, it’s that maybe you shouldn’t go around passing absolute moral judgments to arbitrarily decide who is and is not sexist, instead examining the entire situation.

    Now you can believe whatever you want to believe. I’m not going to stop you. I think her actions were wrong, and I’ve stated why I think her actions are wrong. I don’t think she should get a pass because she’s a woman and sexism and male privilege are things. I think the Code of Conduct was specifically and very, very explicitly set up to put a stop to the kind of behaviour Adria was witness to, and I think that instead of using that code of conduct — a code of conduct those two men knew existed and consented to follow when they attended — and enforcing it, she went straight to the public shaming.

    I don’t agree with it, nor do I agree with her being called right. I don’t see how that implies I think the men were behaving acceptably or Adria deserved death threats or threats of rape. Though you’re doing a good job of telling me how I feel for me, so do go on, I’m sure I’ll hear all about it.

  332. says

    A young black woman, not unattractive mind you, goes in to a heavily male dominated field as a career choice.

    She has undoubtedly dealt with sexual harrasment of one form or another on regular basis while she fought against institutionalized misogyny from day one, likely going all the way back to her days in high school or college.

    She probably remembers being told over and over again through out her young adult life that coding is for boys, because boys are better at math don’t ya know…

    But despite that, and despite knowing that as a black woman in a field dominated by white males, she would have to work many times harder than her compeitors to get the same jobs, despite playing life on the highest difficulty setting, she has achieved great success in her field.

    She was chosen as an ambassador by her company to work with developers in recruiting and relationship building, so she clearly has composure and social skills.

    She is at a tech conference, watching a presentation about women in tech, and see’s a picture of a young girl who is used as an example of someone who would have future aspirations in the field…

    And behind her a bunch of white dudes are making dick jokes.

    Right, and some of you fucking assholes think she over reacted. Some of you douchefreightliners think she should have had the perfect fucking response, that she brought this all on her self.

    Fuck off you entitled little shits, grow a sense of empathy.

  333. says

    Rebecca Watson.
    Anita Sarkeesian.
    Zerlina Maxwell.
    Now Adria Richards.

    Who am I missing?

    This is becoming a thing.

    Which is why I am angered by those who focus on Adria Richards’ actions. It doesn’t matter what she did. If it hadn’t been her it would have been some other woman in the tech field. Or in gaming. Or science. Or atheism.

    This is not a religious thing, people. It’s misogyny. The relentless focus on Adria’s flaws is a desperate attempt to avoid confronting that.

  334. Matthew Best says

    Her tweet wasn’t destructive asshole. It wasn’t her fault or her actions that lead to him getting fired – it was the push back from fuckers like you that blew this thing up.

    I think it’s destructive to use public shaming as a first recourse, period. I think her action would have been destructive whether or not he got fired.

    “Innocent?” Please. Even the guy she took action against, has admitted he was not “innocent,” and even apologized for his actions. Why are you still trying to pretend he’s innocent?

    I’m not applying the analogy to the situation at the conference. I’m applying the analogy to the idea that somebody can have an ultimately destructive act be called “right” because of the past behaviour or reactions of somebody else. You may note that that was the substance of the post I was replying to.

  335. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, more MB inanity to dismiss out of hand as hysterical blather, with nothing cogent going, on or likely to go on. Just like he dismisses being refuted. Why some folks don’t understand the best thing they can do is to shut the fuck up and listen. Apparently MB can’t shut the fuck up. Listening can’t happen with his mouth open, but he knows that. He mistakenly thinks his OPINION is worth more than the electrons used to process it, whereas the horde knows better. Pure drivel.

  336. PatrickG says

    … what the hell was up with that analogy with tortured-child-as-future-monster? You’ve come up with some doozies, but this was just kind of creepy.

    By the way, note that this analogy sort of fails with the “innocent bystander” thing. You started off claiming that Richards had attached sexual content to jokes where there was none, but you changed your tune after a while and acknowledged that what they had done was wrong. Have you changed your mind again? Sure sounds like that.

    Had she not chosen to assign meaning to a perfectly normal, non-sexual statement, none of this would have happened.

    From your very first comment, cupcake. Just in case you want to pretend we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

  337. roro80 says

    Let’s all collectively wonder why oh why there aren’t more women STEM’ers…

  338. says

    Best is best banned. He’s descended from being aggressively offensive to being incoherently creepy. He adds nothing but detracts a lot from the possible conversation here.

  339. says

    You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others. Battery, rape, murder, torture — any and all of those are likely to happen if you do that. And that child may never have the privilege of being able to act in good faith or with anything resembling even the slightest shred of trust.

    I didn’t do any of that and I have not harmed anyone else. You, like most loathsome assholes, manage to forget you’re talking about and to actual people. Many of the people here had childhoods filled with endless torture and no way out. Myself, a family member started raping me at the age of three. That was not the only, nor the worst of what happened to me. Many of the people here have experienced being raped,* many of the people here have experienced being harassed (pretty much every single woman in this thread and everywhere else), many of the people here (and everywhere else) have experienced or witnessed people being inappropriately sexually suggestive, seen and heard and experienced active sexism and on and on the list goes.

    Part of being a decent human being is demonstrating a willingness to listen, see things from another’s point of view and actually think about all the toxic shit happening every single day, most of it right under your obtuse nose.

    *Not all of them women, either, you sad excuse for a human being.

  340. says

    I’m largely confused as to how Adria’s behavior on twitter in the past is in any way relevant to this post and/or thread. Isn’t this about the utterly undeserved response she got to her actions here?

    Why are there so many utterly unable to stay on topic?

    Whether or not you agree with how Adria handled the situation at the conference doesn’t fucking matter. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about the rape and death threats she’s received, and that she was fired from her job over it. None of these things were asked for or deserved, and that’s what this is about.

    Seriously.

    How hard is it for people to stay on topic?

    Stop screaming about “oh she makes dick jokes!” and “she shouldn’t have posted their pics to twitter!” and “oh she got that guy fired!” (he should not have been fired, but that was not Adria’s fault). How any of this relevant, unless you think sending her a picture of a beheaded woman along with Adria’s own address, is perfectly legitimate response to what Adria did (and if you do think that, please do the world a favor and take a long walk off a short-but-high cliff, thanks).

  341. says

    @345 JAL just because you say it is irrelevant doesn’t make it so. Also, I get that you think the way she handled this is acceptable. I disagree. See how that works?

    PZ, this isn’t about assigning blame to Adria because she is a woman. She made a misstep in not reporting the men appropriately. Conferences have adopted harassment policies for specifically this reason. It seems we have set ourselves up for a situation in which a woman, therefore, could never be blamed for actually doing wrong. I don’t accept that.

    I had a harassment complaint filed against one of my speakers at my last conference. Had she tweeted the complaint rather than bring it to me directly as done, I would have been rather perturbed and my speaker would have been within his right in filing a counter-complaint. After discussing this with her, she chose to withdraw the complaint. Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.

  342. Pteryxx says

    Responding to this:

    Not only is she “not getting a pass for doing it in an inappropriate manner,” she is in fact getting rape and death threats, and her employer was attacked until they fired her. So this is where we stand. Why do you keep focusing on what she did wrong, unless it is to imply that she was asking for it?

    Because EllenBeth Wachs said in 284:

    As a conference organizer myself, I will just note, taking a picture and tweeting it is not an approved method of reporting an instance of harassment.

    While the person involved can decide whether to go public or not, a conference has a different set of responsibilities. It would be completely out of line for a conference representative to have tweeted that claim and photo instead of Richards, for instance. However discussing conference rules and responsibilities can’t really go on here because of a certain jerk making the conversation hostile.

  343. PatrickG says

    when you make a rule as asinine and absolute that “anybody who makes a dick joke is creating a chilly atmosphere”, you’re applying that absolute rule to Adria as well. The lesson here isn’t that I think it’s a smoking gun against Adria, it’s that maybe you shouldn’t go around passing absolute moral judgments to arbitrarily decide who is and is not sexist, instead examining the entire situation.

    Ah, back to arguing with the strawman in your head, eh? I can’t seem to find someone who made that absolute statement. Just you. Way to refute yourself!

    If you learned how to read for comprehension, you’d note that many people commenting here have expressly said that dick jokes can be awesome. In the right context. The absolute rule you abhor and demand we adhere to comes with a rather significant modifier, notably that the context in which the dick joke was made matters. While talking to people — in person, right to their face — about professional matters in a professional setting is not the right context. It’s really that simple!

    Make sense, cupcake? Did I use enough bold letters to crack your impenetrable bubble of willful ignorance?

    So, that particular straw set on fire, let’s move on to your oh-so-tired TSA complaint. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m just going to quote Josh (for what, is this like the 19th time?):

    STOP MISREPRESENTING AND LYING Adria’s “dick joke” was in response to a Tweet where a guy joked about having his “nuts fondled” by TSA security. Yes, those are his words. Her response was to fake out TSA the next time by wearing socks down his trousers.

    Stop fucking lying. Stop acting like no one knows the difference in context. Stop acting like YOU don’t know it. You damned well do and everyone can see your desperate need to make what happened ZERO BAD. Except of course what Richards did.

    To recap:
    1) There is no absolute rule against dick jokes (outside of your fevered imagination) — context determines when dicks are both funny and appropriate.
    2) You continue to dishonestly represent the tweet. Or, in Josh’s words, you’re fucking lying. Again.
    3) Your arguments are pathetic. And yet you keep trotting them out again and again (and again…).

  344. glodson says

    I’m largely confused as to how Adria’s behavior on twitter in the past is in any way relevant to this post and/or thread. Isn’t this about the utterly undeserved response she got to her actions here?

    It is “relevant” because they don’t want to talk about the sexist environment, the threats, or even admit that she was right to report the men, even if there is room to discuss whether or not if it was the ideal course of action.

    Don’t want to talk about that. They want to demonize her so that they can pull a tu quoque, and blame her for the firing of one of the men. Even though she got fired. They want to say she deserves it without saying she deserves it by saying she made dick jokes herself. All the while ignoring the context, and the where the joke was made. Or by calling her racist, which is wholly irrelevant.

  345. says

    Matthew Best:
    You have sailed by the sea of reason. Your pathetic analogy fails on all accounts. You continue to victim blame. You continue focusing on Adria’s actions, rather than the significantly worse responses she got. You display a severe inability to comprehend chill climate, microaggressions, sexism, and slut shaming…hell you do not understand her TSA Tweet.

    This is not the place for you.

    Logic, reason, compassion, empathy, passion for equality–by your words you demonstrate none of that for others. Retire somewhere better suited for you. You have no place here.

  346. Richard Smith says

    Given his Humpty Dumpty-esque comprehension of language, I’m sure he’ll understand that, when I say that Matthew Best’s behaviour here is that of an awful shit, I truly and honestly mean it, in that “awful” clearly means awe-inspiring, and “shit” clearly means manure, a promoter of growth.

    So, thank-you, Matthew, for repeatedly and clearly demonstrating what an awful shit you are at increasing our understanding of how wrong Adria truly was.

    PS: Given that this word refers to an action that is usually very pleasurable, I also very generously offer you a hearty “fuck off”.

  347. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #358
    Matthew Best

    “anybody who makes a dick joke is creating a chilly atmosphere”, you’re applying that absolute rule to Adria as well.

    No, you’re right I wasn’t specific enough in my wording so clearly I meant every mention of dick, ever. No, like really ever. Let’s strip all context from this situation, Even when you just think it in your head. Oh, no! I said dick so I’m a hypocrite!.

    *snort*
    This is why I quoted Josh the last time. I’m having such a hard time finding the wording now. Context always matters, duh. I’m sorry I though you were smart enough to figure it out. Context makes Adria’s TSA Twitter joke okay and the “my big dick” jokes in professional setting wrong.

    Every sex/dick/vagina joke in a professional setting is wrong, at least, which is what we are talking about here. Do you even know what “chilly climate” is?

    #361
    Matthew Best

    I think it’s destructive to use public shaming as a first recourse, period. I think her action would have been destructive whether or not he got fired.

    I’m not applying the analogy to the situation at the conference. I’m applying the analogy to the idea that somebody can have an ultimately destructive act be called “right” because of the past behaviour or reactions of somebody else. You may note that that was the substance of the post I was replying to.

    By this logic the Jane Doe in the Steubenville rape case “wrong” because her testifying and prosecuting of her rapist was “destructive”.

    Fuck. you.

  348. PatrickG says

    Logic, reason, compassion, empathy, passion for equality–by your words you demonstrate none of that for others. Retire somewhere better suited for you. You have no place here.

    Reads like an pastafarian exorcism. So very well said.

    Meatspace calls, I must attend to it… sadly I’ll have to miss the Episode 93 of The Dumbening. Cheers all.

  349. blitzgal says

    If the guys were silently making dick jokes using their Twitter accounts while the presentation was going on, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because Richards wouldn’t have made a complaint. They were publicly making dick jokes directly to a woman who’d made a single comment to them while attending a presentation in a professional forum. Seriously, people cannot understand the difference?

  350. chigau (違う) says

    Y’know blockquoting is really no more difficult than using italics.
    <blockquote>paste quoted text here</blockquote>

    paste quoted text here

    <i>paste quoted text here</i>
    paste quoted text here
    —–
    When I was a teenager ‘fork’ was used to mean ‘cheat’ or ‘steal’.
    “I gave 10 bucks but he forked me out of a nickle-bag.”

  351. unclefrogy says

    partially from reading this blog and the posts about these kinds of incidents my tolerance has dropped and my reaction has increased, it is harder to let it slide very long.
    now I will go and read the thread.
    uncle frogy

  352. Matthew Best says

    PatrickG
    Had she not chosen to assign meaning to a perfectly normal, non-sexual statement, none of this would have happened.

    From your very first comment, cupcake. Just in case you want to pretend we’ve always been at war with Eastasia

    You mean the comment about forking a repo? Yeah, I tend to believe his statement that it wasn’t sexual in nature and that she attached a sexual meaning. Perhaps, since you’re so sure we’ve always been at war with Eurasia, you can show me where I admitted that that was a sexual comment. Protip: I haven’t, you’re just not good at reading.

    Caine, Fleur du mal
    You, like most loathsome assholes, manage to forget you’re talking about and to actual people. Many of the people here had childhoods filled with endless torture and no way out.

    You mean like the one I had, where I still have the cigarette burn marks on my hand from my mother? Oh, I said mother — maybe that explains my mommy issues. Only nope, because you know who got it worse than me? My sister, and she was all I had. I got that abuse protecting a woman from another woman who got it even worse than me.

    You manage to forget that you don’t have a monopoly on pain. Some of us, both myself and my sister included, have managed to know right from wrong and never use the misfortune of the house we were raised in to simply abandon that morality — nor have I ever seen that woman, who now works with troubled patients who pour bleach into their eyes because they’re sick of seeing the world, ever use her uterus as a shield for morally fucked up behaviour.

    Hey, you know what makes a lot more sense? Maybe it’s that, growing up as I did, I learned to despise that behaviour. Not despise a stereotype of the person who did it to me, like “all women”, or “all adults”, or “all white people”. What I learned to hate was watching one person abandon human decency and inflict pain on another, whether or not they were a privileged class, or women, or men, or parents doing it to their kids or kids doing it to their parents, or nursing home nurses doing it to the people they were charged with caring for.

    See, here’s the kicker. That’s all it is. I don’t care that Adria is a woman. I’d find what she did abhorrent if she was a male that did it to a female. She gave up all semblance of caring about her fellow human beings and the consequences of her public tweet, and she did this not because she trying to get out of a situation that shouldn’t have existed after trying everything else, but because she said fuck it, skipped the “whole everything” else part, and used the nuclear option to deal with a situation that, while wrong, did not warrant that level of response.

    Funny how growing up getting punched in the mouth for not doing your homework kinda makes you hate disproportionate responses for bad behaviour, isn’t it? Nah. Must be that I think if you don’t punch a kid in the mouth for not doing his homework, it’s cause I’m encouraging truancy and dropping out of school, right?

    Her act was purposely destructive. The end.

  353. Ogvorbis says

    You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others.

    No. Just no. On so many levels, no. No, no, no.

  354. glodson says

    If the guys were silently making dick jokes using their Twitter accounts while the presentation was going on, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because Richards wouldn’t have made a complaint. They were publicly making dick jokes directly to a woman who’d made a single comment to them while attending a presentation in a professional forum. Seriously, people cannot understand the difference?

    We wouldn’t be talking about it if the guys hadn’t started making the jokes. Or if, after the Con got involved, that was the end of the story. Which it should have been. Guy acted like a jackass, got called for it, and stopped. They got a little embarrassment, but it was done.

    Then one guy was fired as well as Richards. No word if the guy making the jokes has gotten rape threats, death threats, and the like. Probably not, even though he was his actions.

    But people cannot tell the difference because they want to talk about how she was wrong. Not about the problem itself.

  355. Matthew Best says

    No. Just no. On so many levels, no. No, no, no.

    Sorry, but reality is what it is. If you breed nothing but distrust and pain into something, they will react fairly predictably, and likely hurt others. It does not and never will make what they do because of that suffering “right”. Understandable, absolutely. But “right”? No.

    “I experienced trauma and when triggered I became destructive” is understandable, and it’s sympathetic, and it’s tragic, but it’s not “right” and definitely not “exactly right”.

  356. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Her act [my posts] was purposely destructive.

    Fixed that for you MB. She was right, you are WRONG, and you are afraid to admit that your opinion can and is dismissed for being irrelevant. You want to become more relevant? Admit you made mistakes, apologize for them, and fade into the bandwidth.

  357. glodson says

    Sorry, but reality is what it is.

    Fuck that. Asshole, you are talking to people who have lived through that kind of trauma, and you are using their suffering to make your asinine point.

  358. says

    @353 Blitzgal

    Why do you keep focusing on what she did wrong, unless it is to imply that she was asking for it?

    Reading comprehension- get some. Look at what you quoted from me. Not only am I not implying she was asking for it, I stated quite clearly she doesn’t deserve the fucked up response.

  359. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Sorry, but reality is what it is. If you breed nothing but distrust and pain into something, they will react fairly predictably, and likely hurt others.

    Oh, fuck right off, you dehumanizing peace of shit.
    You are preaching “reality” to people who have lived through shit you can’t even imagine , so don’t you tell them what they are supposed to be or feel. They are certainly much better people than you can ever hope to be.

    Can we please get a kick in the ass out of this place for this peace of shit?

  360. Matthew Best says

    389 Nerd of Redhead
    She was right, you are WRONG, and you are afraid to admit that your opinion can and is dismissed for being irrelevant.

    You’d figure people would stop responding if they were being dismissed as irrelevant. Noise is noise, so I’m not sure why people keep acting like it’s signal if it’s irrelevant. Not something they agree with, that’s for sure.

    Admit you made mistakes, apologize for them

    Oh, I have. You can pretend the posts where I unequivocally apologized for breaching Pharyngula’s code of conduct on ablist language which I fully admit I was aware of and disregarded doesn’t exist, but at the end of the day, it does — which means you’re just making statements contrary to reality now.

    You know, I’d probably be more likely to take orders like “fade into the bandwidth” from you if you had some credibility, but that would involve not making shit up, wouldn’t it?

    Now keep replying to me while telling me I’m irrelevant. That only helps your credibility.

    Or, you know, engage what I’m saying and make an argument. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, show me. You obviously disagree with me, and you’re obviously certain you’re right, so it should be easy, right? Take the time stop just inventing things, and point out where you disagree, why, and why the evidence supports you.

    I assert that she was wrong to react how she did, her reaction was disproportionate and destructive, and that does not make her right.

    Go on, use your words for something other than whole-cloth fictions. It’ll be fun. I might even end up agreeing with you!

  361. says

    Sorry, but reality is what it is. If you breed nothing but distrust and pain into something, they will react fairly predictably, and likely hurt others.

    YOU ARE WRONG. Did you even bother to read my post @ 368? If you did, did you comprehend it, you loathsome asshole?

  362. PatrickG says

    Oh for fuck’s sake… in your own words (from #287):

    As for victim-bashing, get a fucking grip on yourself. The men were held accountable for their wrong actions and nobody is defending their behaviour. The world does not need to pussy foot around your sensibilities disclaiming every argument by pointing out all the other times people have been wrong if they were obviously in the wrong. They, both men, were obviously in the wrong. That’s not up for dispute, and your deranged obsession with it is as hilarious as it is alarming.

    So there we have you explicitly stating that they were in the wrong. Your own words, and all that. Now we combine it with your starting position (which apparently is unchanged and never has changed!):

    Had she not chosen to assign meaning to a perfectly normal, non-sexual statement, none of this would have happened.

    ?

    Let’s be clear. In your own words, they were in the wrong. But it’s still all her fault. What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously!

    Idiot.


    And now I’m late for my meatspace stuff. That one was just too asinine to pass up, though. Bye!

  363. Pteryxx says

    Not quoting what he said, but it’s bullshit. Lots of people who were abused grow up without making a point of victimizing others. Including many who are speaking up right here.

  364. PatrickG says

    Flying Jebus Monkeys, just ban this asshole already. Refreshing the page from submitting my last comment… holy fucknuggets, this guy just needs to go.

  365. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    On behalf of all the abused children I have come to know and the adults who survived childhood abuse: Fuck you, Matt B.,you creepy asshole. You don’t know the first thing about any of the topics you are trying to pontificate about in this thread. Run along and find some other nasty little fuckwits to bray with.

  366. Matthew Best says

    390 Glodson
    Fuck that. Asshole, you are talking to people who have lived through that kind of trauma, and you are using their suffering to make your asinine point.

    393 Beatrice
    Oh, fuck right off, you dehumanizing peace of shit.
    You are preaching “reality” to people who have lived through shit you can’t even imagine , so don’t you tell them what they are supposed to be or feel.

    Huh. I experienced the same thing, but that hasn’t once stopped you — or anybody else — from telling me how I think or feel.

    And yet (oddly enough, for moral defenders such as yourselves), you seem to think that I should let a statement that amounts to “Adria is right because bad things have happened in the past that resulted in trauma” go unchallenged simply because to challenging it by drawing partially on my own experiences will upset sensitivities.

    Make a statement on trauma somebody might disagree with that can only be discussed in terms of trauma. If somebody disagrees, claim that trauma as a shield. Ignore that person disagreeing may have suffered the same trauma while telling them how they feel, while simultaneously claiming moral outrage that they’re telling others how they feel simply by virtue of disputing the original point. Nifty argument winner. Not logical, but it does work on that raw “appeal to emotion” level.

  367. says

    Ogvorbis:
    I hope this assclam does not trigger you.

    ****
    Matthew Best:
    Yo! Rockstar!
    Fuck off.
    You have no idea the harm you could be causing with your destructive statements. I am sorry you were abused as a child, but this is no excuse for your horrible display of assholishness in this entire thread.

  368. glodson says

    Matthew Best, save the trouble and just fuck off.

    You have douched up this thread enough. Victim blaming, slut shaming, and now this irrelevant non sequitur post which triggered people for no reason other than your need to assert a nonsensical hyperbole.

    Fuck off.

  369. says

    If you would refer to the “apology” you would see that although the guy denies that the forking comments were sexist. Admits that the dongle jokes were.

    Sexist jokes are against PyCon’s code of conduct. It is simple as that. They can claim that they weren’t meant other people to hear them, but they were making the jokes just in the middle of the conference.

  370. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Matthew Best,

    FUCK OFF, you piece of shit. You are hurting people with your dehumanizing, horrible words about the “reality” of abused kids.

  371. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    Fuck fuckitty fuckfuckfuck.

    M. Best, I’m going to add to the chorus of fuck off. You’ve almost had some decent points, but that las bit with the “torture a child”, that just takes the proverbial cake.

  372. vaiyt says

    She gave up all semblance of caring about her fellow human beings and the consequences of her public tweet, and she did this not because she trying to get out of a situation that shouldn’t have existed after trying everything else,

    Of course, she is OBLIGED to do everything she can to avoid stepping on the toes of two fratbros being immature in front of her. Fuck you.

  373. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You’d figure people would stop responding if they were being dismissed as irrelevant. Noise is noise, so I’m not sure why people keep acting like it’s signal if it’s irrelevant. Not something they agree with, that’s for sure.

    I’m dismissing you because you dismiss other people and their experiences, instead of shutting the fuck up, and actually listening and learning. But then, you would rather hear yourself talk than to learn something.

    Oh, I have.

    But not the main one. Victim blaming. Quit blaming the victim for what happened to here. She deserves nothing like what she is getting. But you do deserve all the abuse you receive, because you have the option of shutting the fuck up.

    You know, I’d probably be more likely to take orders like “fade into the bandwidth” from you if you had some credibility, but that would involve not making shit up, wouldn’t it?

    Actually your problem is you won’t take advice from people, or shut the fuck up and actually listen. But then, who the fuck cares what you think? Too many folks like you think we are waiting for your “wisdom”. Except you have nothing to say. You should realize that.

    Now keep replying to me while telling me I’m irrelevant. That only helps your credibility.

    Actually, what I am doing is treating you the way you are treating the vitcim. Dismissing her experience and putting the blame for what happened upon her, not the jokers who caused the problem. So I dismiss what you say. Don’t like it? Develop some empathy. My credibility is established here. You pretend to have instant credibility with your arrogance, but you don’t.

  374. Matthew Best says

    Jackie
    You don’t know the first thing about any of the topics you are trying to pontificate about in this thread.

    No, I definitely do. Excusing immoral or unethical behaviour with a trauma trump card is not ok. You might not believe this — in fact I know you won’t — but I’ve seen things most people wouldn’t want to imagine, and which I won’t bother to describe here.

    I appreciate and understand that people don’t like to go back, so I’m going to refrain from repeating it. But rest assured I do know the first thing, experienced first hand.

    Nobody has a monopoly on pain and suffering, and it’s my opinion that perpetuating a cycle of destructive behaviour, or excusing it, or enabling it, or shielding it behind race or gender or age or orientation, just feeds a cycle.

    You want a little gentler example that’s actually germane to the situation at hand, fine: This guy that got fired decides that that was an uncomfortable experience. He lets out one asinine, puerile piece of bullshit spew in what he thought was a comment only to his friend, and the next thing he knows his life is wrecked because of one woman with a smart-phone.

    So he gets paranoid around women, never knowing if he’s doing the right thing or the wrong thing anymore, walking on eggshells. He goes to another conference, another woman has a smart phone, snapping pictures of the crowd and happens to catch him. He goes nuclear, shouting, slapping it out of her hand.

    She’s rightly terrified, so she gets paranoid around men. So the next conference she goes to, she’s sitting in front of some guy ad infinitum.

    Unfortunately this shit actually happens. And it is reality. One person uses trauma as a justification to harm somebody else. Then that person uses their trauma to harm somebody else. Couching destructiveness in personal suffering just makes it never end, because there’s always somebody who’s going to personally suffer from that act.

    Maybe it should just end and not ever be tolerated.

  375. Richard Smith says

    @Matthew Best (#354):

    But by the same token, I don’t think a potential explosive or volatile reaction is “right”. You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others. Battery, rape, murder, torture — any and all of those are likely to happen if you do that. And that child may never have the privilege of being able to act in good faith or with anything resembling even the slightest shred of trust.

    @Matthew Best (#383):

    You mean like the one I had, where I still have the cigarette burn marks on my hand from my mother? Oh, I said mother — maybe that explains my mommy issues. Only nope, because you know who got it worse than me? My sister, and she was all I had. I got that abuse protecting a woman from another woman who got it even worse than me.

    So, just out of curiousity… which one of you has harmed more others, you or your sister?

  376. says

    And plenty of women were tortured by their parents and did not grow up to be Hitler.

    I’ll repeat myself and say that forking can be a compliment OR a profound intellectual insult, as in ‘your code is so bad someone is going to have to redo your entire repository.’ The fact that those men were making dongle jokes during a presentation (preventing the people around them from being able to fully concentrate), and especially during a presentation on involving more women, aggravates the problem. They had no reasonable expectation of privacy for what they were saying, and whether or not the reference to forking was benign is in the ear of the listener–it’s entirely possible that they could have been joking about the code author’s incompetence or stupidity.

  377. blitzgal says

    Reading comprehension- get some. Look at what you quoted from me. Not only am I not implying she was asking for it, I stated quite clearly she doesn’t deserve the fucked up response.

    Oh, I understand you just fine. You are officially against the rape and death threats, but it’s vitally important that we all hear again and again and again and again and again and again exactly what Adria Richards did wrong. Your emphasis on how wrong she is makes your intentions crystal clear.

  378. jefrir says

    Matthew Best #287

    Again, I don’t think the fact that until the last century male privilege not only existed but was systemic and institutionalized makes it acceptable or “exactly right”, in PZ’s words, for the same situation of public humiliation to play out simply because the genders are reversed.

    Wait, what? You think male privilege is a historical thing, that it no longer exists? Seriously?

    #383

    Funny how growing up getting punched in the mouth for not doing your homework kinda makes you hate disproportionate responses for bad behaviour, isn’t it? Nah. Must be that I think if you don’t punch a kid in the mouth for not doing his homework, it’s cause I’m encouraging truancy and dropping out of school, right?

    Except that in this analogy, you are the one saying “well, he should have done his homework” and going on about how important homework is while totally ignoring the abuse.

  379. notsont says

    I don’t know if its been mentioned here in 400 posts my eyes started going out at around 150 but

    The guy was not fired because of her tweet, it was one factor of many and probably just a final excuse he would have been fired anyway.

    I know its irrelevant to the topic but it seems to matter to so many people here.

  380. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More victim blaming by MB. *floosh* dismissed as irrelevant.

  381. Pteryxx says

    So, just out of curiousity… which one of you has harmed more others, you or your sister?

    Let’s not go there.

  382. Matthew Best says

    Actually, what I am doing is treating you the way you are treating the vitcim. Dismissing her experience and putting the blame for what happened upon her, not the jokers who caused the problem.

    Who says they’re not to blame, Redhead? I admit my earlier hyperbole about “nobody is saying that” (as in nobody in my conversation) was fairly interpreted as nobody ever, anywhere is saying that, and that’s clearly not true.

    But I’m not saying she wasn’t subjected to unacceptable behaviour, and I’m not saying she had no right to react. I’m only saying she was wrong to react at the level she did, with the immediacy she did.

    Am I clear in that? I don’t agree with their behaviour concerning the dongles comments at all. I believe that the guy who got fired was telling the truth when he said there was nothing sexual about his forking comment. I also believe that given the context of the dongles remark, Adria made a good-faith error in judgment in thinking that forking was sexual. I think that if she’d taken the proper steps, instead of taking the most extreme non-violent option she had, nothing would have come of it except the removal of the two men from the convention.

    My point, Redhead, is that being the recipient of shit doesn’t entitle a person to behave in whatever manner they please. It’s not unreasonable to think that Adria knew or reasonably ought to have known the potency of a public tweet could have had on this guy’s life for being a two-second shithead.

    People have lapses, and that doesn’t make them bad people deserving to get dragged through the mud. It has nothing to do with the fact that he was fired for it, it has everything to do with the fact that the level of public humiliation is disproportionate. His lapse wasn’t that he “got drunk” and “forgot” that he wasn’t supposed to sexually assault or strike women, like actual, genuine pieces of shit try to claim.

    His lapse was that he made an asinine comment to his friend when he should have known better, and in return Adria took his photo, branded him a sexist frat boy pig when she should have known better.

    That doesn’t mean Adria deserves the death threats she’s been receiving, or the threats to assault her. It just means she wasn’t “right”, “exactly right”, or even “nearly right”. It also doesn’t mean that the two guys were in any way “right”.

    That’s all my position is. That’s it. And no, I’m genuinely not swayed by appeals to emotion or claims to credibility. Every time somebody tells me what I truly secretly believe about women or rapists or patriarchy, or how I think that she deserves to be threatened or the guys behaviour was excusable, that credibility you and everybody else claims goes down the drain a little more. Which might not be a problem for you, but if you sincerely want me to stop posting, just know that I won’t give in to hectoring or claims of knowing what I “feel”.

    Fuck, if you or anybody else can show me that I’m wrong — without special pleading or emotional appeal or anything like that — and Adria’s response was proportionate, then I’m better for it. I’d rather be wrong and learn something and understand the world a little better, than be right and learn nothing.

  383. says

    @ 413 Blitzgal

    Oh, I understand you just fine. You are officially against the rape and death threats, but it’s vitally important that we all hear again and again and again and again and again and again exactly what Adria Richards did wrong. Your emphasis on how wrong she is makes your intentions crystal clear..

    My intentions? Okay Kreskin, care to tell me what exactly they are?

  384. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    I don’t find this particularly encouraging as a woman in STEM who has a large amount of interaction with external companies.

    Even outside IT this makes it clear that companies are entirely willing to fire employees for circumstances wildly out of their control.

  385. Matthew Best says

    414 jefnir
    Wait, what? You think male privilege is a historical thing, that it no longer exists? Seriously?

    Jesus Christ, no, I know male privilege still exists. Did you not notice the mention of how it was institutionalized, as in I was making a point that not only was male privilege a thing, people didn’t even bother denying it, they simply flat out told women they couldn’t hold property, or vote, or be employed or attend higher education? Fuck you’d have to be an idiot to think male privilege (and white privilege) doesn’t still exist.

  386. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m only saying she was wrong to react at the level she did, with the immediacy she did.

    That is your OPINION. And I dismiss it as self-serving fuckwittery. Your OPINION does not supercede any of those other posters here. You have had your say. Stop trying to force us to accept your inane and unevidenced definitions.That’s all my position is. Blame the woman victim who did nothing wrong, by pretending she did wrong by being sexist, and mourn the dudes catching the grief what they should. That is my OPINION of what you keep saying. You can dismiss my opinion if you wish. But, since you’ve had your say, why should you make any more posts? You won’t change anybody’s opinions with further posts.

  387. says

    I’m beginning to suspect that Matthew Best’s histrionic and emotional response to this issue is driven by guilt and fear. It’s the only way to explain his frantic efforts to shift blame.

    You can admit it, Best. You’re afraid someone will out you for your sexism, aren’t you?

    Too late! Here you are!

  388. says

    Matthew, could you please stop? Could you please just stop? I don’t think you fully comprehend the emotional damage you’re doing here. I don’t think you fully realize what your comments are doing to other real people. So please just fucking stop.

    I’m begging you.

    Please. Just stop. Back off, cool down, and stop. If that means going away, then go away. You are not making any point here, you’re just causing damage.

    So fucking stop.

    I don’t know how else to ask it.

    Just stop.

    Please.

  389. says

    Shit.

    I am not going to read the 400+ comments that have been posted since my last one, I’m sorry if that is bad of me, but DAMN.

    So I apologize if this point has already been made.
    I went to bed thinking about the “he has a wife and kids to support” thing (not that I think he should have been fired.)

    I wondered where I’d heard that before, and then I remembered.

    I’ve heard it as an excuse for not hiring women.
    I’ve heard it as an excuse to pay women less.
    I’ve heard it as an excuse for not giving women promotions.

    I think I really don’t like that argument.

  390. says

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize?

    Just sayin’

    While it may have been Adria’s choice to make the tweet and not the conference organizer’s, ultimately the conference also paid a high price for her choice.

  391. dianne says

    I’m only saying she was wrong to react at the level she did, with the immediacy she did.

    So you’re saying that informing the conference organizers of a breach of protocol at the time that breach occurred was inappropriate? What would you consider an appropriate response?

  392. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You can admit it, Best. You’re afraid someone will out you for your sexism, aren’t you?

    Too late! Here you are!

    That’s why the concern/tone trolls are so anxious to get us to stop labeling folks as bigots/sexist/misogynist, etc., even if accurate.

    Oh, and MB, the Redhead is my wife of many years. I’m just the Nerd, whose hair color is bald.

  393. Richard Smith says

    @Pteryxx (417):

    Let’s not go there.

    Agreed. I had second thoughts about posting it, as in seconds after hitting “submit”. Preview doesn’t give the pit-of-the-stomach feel that seeing the same text once it can’t be taken back does. If this was one of Chris’s threads, I’d ask for #411 to be bunnified.

  394. says

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize?

    Sure I’d like it, but guess what?

    It really wouldn’t be my choice, would it?

    Are you arguing that it should be?

  395. dianne says

    Oh…wait. I see in the relevant picture she said…”Not cool.” NOT COOL? How could she be so cruel to the poor, oppressed, sensitive men? It’s almost as bad as saying, “Guys, don’t do that.” Bring out the fainting couch!

  396. dianne says

    You can admit it, Best. You’re afraid someone will out you for your sexism, aren’t you?

    I’d have to say that the person who outed Best on his sexism was Best. There’s just no other way to interpret his remarks.

  397. jkthurman says

    It is also sad that some people, who obviously hasn’t been near the software industry in their entire life, insists that forking a repository means something that it really doesn’t mean even after they have been explained the proper meaning several times.

    The fucking shade on some of these excuses….

    I know that male and female are the technical terms for certain connectors, and why. This doesn’t negate the fact that the terms are sexist to begin with. Nor does it change that my introduction to them was when I was a 16 year old summer intern. Nor that the combination of the terms and the fact that men teaching them to four hs students were snickering like fucking 12 year olds as they did so made for an extremely hostile work environment. Which was at cross-purposes to the goal of the internship.

    The same applies to double entendres using terms like “forking” and “dongles.” Especially when used in this exact situation.

    “She could have just turned around, said “excuse me — you’re being inappropriate, could you please keep it down. Thank you.” 99.9% of the time, everything would have been fine.”

    I think someone (several people, obv) need to go check out #IAskedPolitely

    For the record, I never complained to the adult men about the snickering. I stayed silent. I’m sure I made a face though. I know, unlike the other three teens, I didn’t laugh or even nervously giggle. These adult men soon found it not worth their time to teach me what I was there to learn, and sent me off to do filing for the rest of the week.

    I spent the rest of high school thinking I wasn’t very good at science after all. Luckily, college taught me how wrong I was about that, but the sexism – esp in the sciences that I like best (math, physics, cs) – has generally made being employed by those industries not worth the suicidal thoughts they prompt.

  398. says

    (forgive my nonsensicalness, cobwebs still not cleared.)

    Obviously I meant I would like to have the chance to apologize & retract.
    But I have no right to DEMAND it.

  399. says

    EllenBeth, stop. You’re defending the politically powerful (the conference organization) from the politically powerless (the attendee) here. You’re in the position of demanding something you can only, rightfully, ask for because of the rest of the context of the situation. This is a very bad time and place for that.

  400. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #418 Matthew Best

    Unfortunately this shit actually happens. And it is reality. One person uses trauma as a justification to harm somebody else. Then that person uses their trauma to harm somebody else. Couching destructiveness in personal suffering just makes it never end, because there’s always somebody who’s going to personally suffer from that act.

    Your examples are shit. Smashing or grabbing someone’s hand is physical assult and property damage, which again is nothing like tweeting “Not cool guys stop with the sex jokes.
    Seriously. YOU are the one that’s jumping to extremes. You’ve been doing this the entire threat.
    You’re the one who brought the word “trauma” into the discussion, which is completely different than pointing out that not everyone can give the benefit of the doubt because we’ve seen this script play before and are tired of it.
    You are just parroting other assholes from the “guys don’t do that”, the Staudenville rape case and every other feminist threat we’ve had here.

    Fuck, if you or anybody else can show me that I’m wrong — without special pleading or emotional appeal or anything like that — and Adria’s response was proportionate, then I’m better for it. I’d rather be wrong and learn something and understand the world a little better, than be right and learn nothing.

    We have been this entire thread. We can’t actually crawl inside your head to do the reading comprehension and thinking for you. There’s nothing else we can do, but continue to rip apart your harmful, disgusting comments to show solidarity to the people you are harming. That fact that you don’t get it isn’t our fault and we aren’t obliged to hold your hand through an entire Feminism 101 to clue you into the topic at hand.


    #408
    vaiyt

    Of course, she is OBLIGED to do everything she can to avoid stepping on the toes of two fratbros being immature in front of her. Fuck you.

    QFT
    —-

    #396
    Caine, Fleur du mal

    Sorry, but reality is what it is. If you breed nothing but distrust and pain into something, they will react fairly predictably, and likely hurt others.

    YOU ARE WRONG. Did you even bother to read my post @ 368? If you did, did you comprehend it, you loathsome asshole?

    QFT. I seriously just had to run away for a minute from his nastiness. Talk about triggering. Fucking a.

  401. Amphiox says

    On the contrary, Michael Best, a little tweet and what would have been just a small amount of public shaming is THE MOST APPROPRIATE response imaginable for a situation like this.

    It is not destructive in the least.

    All the destruction that did occur came as a result of completely unjustifiable overreaction BY OTHERS to something that is just as mild as Rebecca Watson’s “guys don’t do that.”

    Which of course is the problem.

    That you fail to see this simple reality boggles the mind, and is rather telling of the kind of person you are, in a way that does not flatter in the least.

    See, what has happened here is the equivalent of someone saying, in a crowded movie theatre, “My popcorn is salt”, and then have SOMEONE ELSE hear it and shout “OMG! DANGEROUS SALT! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”, and then have enough OTHERS believe that to start a panicked stampede.

    And what YOU are is the idiot who accuses the first person, with zero reasonable supportable justification whatsoever, of yelling “fire!” when she clearly has not.

    It is a ridiculous, pathetic, idiotic line of argument, and you make yourself look like a ridiculous, pathetic idiot in using it.

  402. Amphiox says

    Public shaming is THE MOST EFFECTIVE means of curtailing unwanted behavior within social groups. This has been known and employed since humans became communicating social creatures.

    And the proper, appropriate response to ALL acts of misogyny in fact SHOULD be public shaming.

  403. says

    Seriously??? Are you reading the same responses from Matthew Best that I am?

    They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol. WTF?? Why are you calling for his banning? Because he disagrees?

  404. dianne says

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time?

    Oddly enough, I have managed to make it this far in life without making a single sexual joke at a conference. Perhaps it’s because I’m there to listen to the speaker and think about what they’re saying. Thank you for pointing out that, apart from everything else, the boys in question don’t appear to have been very interested in the conference. Perhaps the one’s company was right to fire him. He clearly wasn’t getting much from the meetings they were sending him to.

  405. Amphiox says

    And given the manifest mildness of Richards’ tweet, which absolutely anyone with a first grade understanding of the English language can tell at a glance, the onus is on YOU, Michael Best, to demonstrate why it is NOT appropriate, no the other way around.

    Which you have manifestly and spectacularly and utterly failed to do in the slightest.

  406. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #439
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Seriously??? Are you reading the same responses from Matthew Best that I am?

    They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol. WTF?? Why are you calling for his banning? Because he disagrees?

    …..What color is the sky on your planet?

    Oh, no that’s right he’s a man so he’s automatically all calm and rational and you’re playing chill girl? Is that it?

    This is my surprised face.

  407. Amphiox says

    They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol.

    “Coherent” in the sense that one word follows another in an understandable pattern? Sure. But also irrelevant.

    “Rational”? Hell no.

    Every blister vitriol he has received is richly deserved.

  408. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    EllenBeth Wachs,

    Of course we want him banned just for disagreeing. It’s standard for Pharyngula. In fact, we won’t even let him comment at all because no one who disagrees is allowed to comment here. That’s why we’ve been talking about tea and cupcakes for the last 440 comments. I don’t know what thread you were reading. There is no disagreement on Pharyngula. Ever. In fact, your comments don’t exist either. Who am I talking to?

  409. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #426
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize?

    Just sayin’

    While it may have been Adria’s choice to make the tweet and not the conference organizer’s, ultimately the conference also paid a high price for her choice.

    What high price? They’ve changed their policies against women reported and being vocal about this inapprioapateness.

    Sounds like women attendees are the ones being fucked over. Oh, you’re a conference organizer too so hey, defend them and blame her for bringing up other’s bad actions that drive away women. But hey, it’s so easy to blame the whistle blower.

    I wish I had my bookmarks to the threads that discussed when this exact same blame got placed on women calling out shit publicly at atheist conferences.

  410. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    In fact, we won’t didn’t let him comment at all because no one who disagrees is allowed to comment here.

    I messed up my sarcastic. :/

  411. says

    EllenBeth: Wrong question. If I said something really stupid and rude, of course I’d rather no one knew about it. If I robbed a bank, I’d also prefer that no one ever caught the guilty party.

    The guilty party doesn’t get a choice.

  412. says

    @442 JAL lol- at chill girl. No, how about you don’t assume that I think it’s just because he’s a man he’s being calm and rational, m’kay?
    Frankly there’s quite a few men here that aren’t being calm and rational so shove that theory.

    and @440 Diane, I didn’t just reference conferences, did I? thanks

  413. Matthew Best says

    @Nerd of Redhead
    That is your OPINION. And I dismiss it as self-serving fuckwittery. Your OPINION does not supercede any of those other posters here.

    Absolutely. Nor does their opinion supercede mine. Though as long as people keep telling me it’s wrong, I will defend it — opinions do work that way.

    @NateHevens
    Matthew, could you please stop? Could you please just stop? I don’t think you fully comprehend the emotional damage you’re doing here.

    Of course. I realize that people’s opinions do differ from mine, and so I’ll bow out by saying this:

    I do sincerely apologize for those who have suffered genuine, emotional distress. I share many of your experiences (and that is the truth, though our different approaches will undoubtedly leave some of you in disbelief of that). I stand by my opinions, of course, but know that I don’t think Adria has warranted the threats towards her, nor do I think what prompted her to act was acceptable.

    If I’ve upset you, I’m sincerely sorry–and with what many of us have gone through, nobody, not even me (despite what you might think of me)–doubts your right to be upset or enraged, especially on a subject that affects so many. For those of you who are convinced you know something about me, I won’t sway your thoughts otherwise, though I hope one day you’ll come to realize that perhaps their truly is one less person in the world you thought would be willing to hurt you.

    I came looking for a discussion on accountability without excuses, and without any rocks to hide under, and that goes for men and women, and any other petty division we’ve used to divide ourselves as a people. I suppose it’s more important to hold myself to the standards I expect from others than to expect people to be so easily swayed on a subject that so often touches raw nerves.

    I wrote earlier that I believed Adria acted without regard to human decency, and yet here I am writing this out because even as I made an effort to adjust to the code of conduct here about ablest behaviour, I disregarded that very human decency towards you folks.

    I could tell you that I did it because as some began to chime in with experiences so similar to my own, I felt like my own past was being turned against me. And I responded to the threat. Disproportionately. As I accused Adria of doing. I stand by my belief that she was wrong.

    And clearly, so was I.

    PZ, you’re quite wrong to think I’m sexist. I’ll spite you by knowing you think that of me, however little you think of me, and still reading and valuing your opinions, regardless.

  414. says

    Seriously??? Are you reading the same responses from Matthew Best that I am?

    They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol. WTF?? Why are you calling for his banning? Because he disagrees?

    Jesus Christ. What is wrong with you? I want no part of any conference you’re involved in.

  415. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #448
    EllenBeth Wachs

    @442 JAL lol- at chill girl. No, how about you don’t assume that I think it’s just because he’s a man he’s being calm and rational, m’kay?

    Sarcasm dumbfuck since nothing he’s said qualifies for either descriptions you used for his comments.

  416. glodson says

    EllenBeth:

    So instead of taking it privately to the staff, or addressing them as individuals what I do is a take a picture of the girls on my phone, and then I tweet — not a private tweet, but a public tweet — about what stupid whores they are talking about all the dicks they’ve sucked.

    Yeah somebody told me earlier to can it on the retard comments — I posted here a while back but my temper flared when I saw Adria being defended for unacceptable behaviour, so for that I unequivocally apologize. I’ve not called a woman a whore here save for thought exercise, and that I won’t self-censor. That comment most definitely was not directed at anybody.

    But by the same token, I don’t think a potential explosive or volatile reaction is “right”. You can torture a child endlessly and give them no escape, then turn them loose on society. And there’s a strong likelihood that that child will come to harm others. Battery, rape, murder, torture — any and all of those are likely to happen if you do that. And that child may never have the privilege of being able to act in good faith or with anything resembling even the slightest shred of trust.

    Sorry, but reality is what it is. If you breed nothing but distrust and pain into something, they will react fairly predictably, and likely hurt others. It does not and never will make what they do because of that suffering “right”.

    Yea….

  417. Amphiox says

    And even if Best’s arguments were in fact “rational”, that too is irrelevant.

    His position is morally abhorrent. The degree of “rationality” in the language it is presented in makes no difference to that fundamental abhorrence.

  418. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why are you calling for his banning? Because he disagrees?

    Gee why does EllenBeth keep sounding like an apologist for misogynist behavior?

    It’s never the disagreement per se, but rather how they go about disagreeing. Showing attitude, arrogance, and the fallacy that we must accept any bullshit opinion they give at face value. And never, ever, backing up their opinions with pertainent evidence. At the end of the day, they can’t put up an evidenced argument, and they can’t shut up. They can simply be loud and obnoxious until we give in to quiet them (at least that is how they are arguing).

  419. says

    PZ – You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence. The conference organizers have the obligation to determine the facts. Thus the need for the harassment policy and the various ways to report violations.

  420. says

    JAL:

    QFT. I seriously just had to run away for a minute from his nastiness. Talk about triggering. Fucking a.

    No shit. I really didn’t need to be triggered a second time this week. Asshole. And now we have EllenBeth supporting said loathsome asshole, a person who is all happy and impressed with herself for talking a woman out of a harassment complaint at one of her conferences. :eyeroll:

    So, I’m out of here.

  421. Radi says

    Ginmar(at #136)

    … “disingenuous little buttnugget”…

    I’m going to add that to my repertoire (with your permission, of course) – that’s the most AWESOME insult, not even using any bad words, that I’ve heard/read so far today! :-)

  422. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Though as long as people keep telling me it’s wrong, I will defend it — opinions do work that way.

    Sound like a true misogynist bully there. Nobody has to accept your version, period, end of story. So, why don’t you evidence your opinion to help it along. Otherwise, it will continue to be *floosh* dismissed by all of us here as self-serving fuckwittery. Welcome to science, where you are wrong until you evidence yourself right. And you haven’t done that.

  423. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence.

    Non-sequitur. We aren’t in a court of law at a criminal trial, the only place the presumption of innocense must be used.

  424. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence.

    Does Pharyngula look like a courtroom to you?

  425. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #455
    EllenBeth Wachs

    PZ – You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence. The conference organizers have the obligation to determine the facts. Thus the need for the harassment policy and the various ways to report violations.

    Seriously seconded Caine’s comment about not wanting to go to any conferences you’re involved. Your words and actions here seriously call into question what actually happened in this account you posted earlier:

    I had a harassment complaint filed against one of my speakers at my last conference. Had she tweeted the complaint rather than bring it to me directly as done, I would have been rather perturbed and my speaker would have been within his right in filing a counter-complaint. After discussing this with her, she chose to withdraw the complaint. Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.

    “Irrevocable damage”? And I’m wondering if you didn’t put her on the track of withdrawing her complaint. I don’t trust a single thing coming from you. It wouldn’t be the first time a conference closed ranks and protected the organization instead of the people attending.

  426. blitzgal says

    Seriously??? Are you reading the same responses from Matthew Best that I am?

    Yes.

    They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

    This thread has well over 400 comments. His first comment was way back at #47. He started off by mocking the very idea that what the men were saying could possibly be interpreted as being sexual in nature (he hasn’t even maintained that point consistently throughout the thread, btw). He is only rational if your definition of “rational” is the exact opposite of the one found in any standard English dictionary.

  427. says

    PZ – You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence.

    The apology contains an ADMISSION.

    For fuck’s sake.

  428. says

    FFS, now I’m an apologist for misogynist behavior? Are you fucking kidding? And I’m getting called a “dumbfuck”

    Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences. It’s terrible I treat people fairly.

  429. dianne says

    EllenBeth, your comments come out as suggesting that a victim must behave in a perfect manner or everything that occurred is all her fault. The basic problem here is that two guys decided to be assholes in a conference. Whether Rich’s response was perfect or not is irrelevant. They made the “mistake”. They violated conference rules. They exposed their sexism for the world to see. If they’re embarrassed that their their sexism got a larger audience than they expected, that’s their problem. Why are you defending them this way?

  430. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    The apology contains an ADMISSION.

    He must have been pressured into making a confession by the feminazi thought police.

  431. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    465
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Ooooooh, Ellen keeps putting all our cuss words in quote marks to show she’d never say anything so dirty and wrong.

  432. dianne says

    Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences.

    So now you’re threatening Caine? She’s unworthy of being at any of your conferences? Nice demonstration of how “fairly” you treat people.

  433. Denverly says

    Why does every single thread about women in general or an individual woman have to have a “she interpreted it wrong” or the “she could have handled it better” indictment? Every. Single. Time.

    Rebecca Watson didn’t identify the person in the elevator (that I know of), and all she said was “guys, don’t do that” and the misogyny was like tendrils of the dark lord Cthulu emerging from the dark corners of the internet to devour the souls of the nasty, disgusting and quite mistaken people who agreed with her. I don’t recall anything along the lines of “she could have handled it better.” If I remember correctly, it was more along the lines of “she shouldn’t have said anything at all” and “she should have taken it as a compliment”.

    I would argue that the outcome would have been just the same for Adria as it was for Rebecca, had Adria “handled it better.” The only differences would be the minions of misogyny springing to the defense of two unknown and clearly misunderstood men, and Adria would be followed around at future conferences to “protect her safety”. Not to ensure she is really safe from sexual harassment, just to make sure she doesn’t accidentally misinterpret something as sexist.

    In my opinion, she did the right thing.

  434. dianne says

    Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.

    Translation: “If she’d tweeted it, we couldn’t have covered the whole thing up.”

  435. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    EllenBeth, your comments come out as suggesting that a victim must behave in a perfect manner or everything that occurred is all her fault. The basic problem here is that two guys decided to be assholes in a conference. Whether Rich’s response was perfect or not is irrelevant. They made the “mistake”. They violated conference rules. They exposed their sexism for the world to see. If they’re embarrassed that their their sexism got a larger audience than they expected, that’s their problem. Why are you defending them this way?

    Ellenbeth, I’ve seen you over at Ophelia’s and I would appreciate it if you consider the bit I quoted carefully. Try to see it from the P.O.V. of the victim instead of the powerful organisation who organised the conference, and see how what you said looks.

    Please.

  436. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #464
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences. It’s terrible I treat people fairly.

    That’s not even funny. You don’t ask for people’s real name or information in blog comments. That just creepyyyyyy. Most people know not to cross that line.

  437. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Why does every single thread about women in general or an individual woman have to have a “she interpreted it wrong” or the “she could have handled it better” indictment? Every. Single. Time.

    YES. EXACTLY. FUCKING HELL.

  438. rumson says

    Lonnnnng ass thread, but here it goes:

    If they were behind her making “nigger” jokes, and she made the same moves to call them out on it, I sincerely believe you guys who are trying to blame her would be singing a different tune.

  439. says

    EllenBeth:

    PZ – You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence.

    … in a court of law. Which this is not.

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize?

    Just say

    I am puzzled why this matter so goddamned much to people.

    Fine, great. It was the wrong response.
    CAN WE FUCKING MOVE ON NOW?

  440. says

    Ellen Beth Wachs @370

    I had a harassment complaint filed against one of my speakers at my last conference. Had she tweeted the complaint rather than bring it to me directly as done, I would have been rather perturbed and my speaker would have been within his right in filing a counter-complaint. After discussing this with her, she chose to withdraw the complaint. Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.

    Definitely not accusing you of this, but this story raises all sorts of red flags for me. Maybe because I’m dealing with a broken workplace whose response to me raising issues is to deny my very perception of reality, up the mind games, and make the environment even more hostile.

    As such, I can easily see how someone, already taking themselves out of an experience they were enjoying to complain about something can be easily dismissed by a con who is already defensive about actually enforcing their harassment and safe space policies. Putting the pressure on the complainant to drop her story or change it in order to protect the institution as a whole and to reduce their work.

    Bringing it outside official channels ensures that the complaint is treated seriously, as it was by the con staff who immediately responded rather than spending their resources on making extra double sure she wasn’t a liar (because you know how women always be lying to get men in trouble).

    Overall, the whole affair also smacks a little of Steubenville. A woman notes something wrong, reports it, is immediately raked over the coals, has her whole life scrutinized, is fired from her job, and given an unending stream of rape and death threats. Even the man who was fired wasn’t put through the same ringer even though he’s the only one in the story who actually did something wrong.

    I know that convention organizers want to be proud of their official channels, but for a lot of these spaces, they simply are not trustworthy to be on the female con participant’s side as a matter of course and the impression that a woman complaining is going to be talked out of it rather than heard is a powerful one built over years of inaction by cons on the subject.

    Matthew Best @410

    You want a little gentler example that’s actually germane to the situation at hand, fine: This guy that got fired decides that that was an uncomfortable experience. He lets out one asinine, puerile piece of bullshit spew in what he thought was a comment only to his friend, and the next thing he knows his life is wrecked because of one woman with a smart-phone.

    But it’s never just one stream of puerile bullshit or diminishment, now is it? Oh sure, when men do things, homosocial “jokes” in inappropriate contexts, sexist slams at their coworkers, slurs about the competency of women in the industry. It’s always “one little slip-up” in their otherwise feminist, women-affirming lives.

    But for women who criticize these events, often because of encountering a long string all their lives of “once off slip-ups”, suddenly everyone is running to find the one thing they didn’t do perfectly to ruin them or justify the hatred generated simply for being a woman who stood against this dismissive culture and daring to push back.

    That says volumes. And if the smart phone really is so powerful in dismantling a part of that entrenched toxic culture that makes so many women flee in terror from these industries or conferences, then I applaud it loud and clear.

    Because it wasn’t a one-off. If you read her initial post (if you can read it what with her site being targeted and all), you see that the jokes weren’t singular. They were a continuous stream of dismissive sexist drivel in the context of interrupting one of the few spaces at the conference actually about women’s issues. I can understand Adria’s frustration. I have got into confrontations with assholes in public spaces before who were interrupting something I was actually interested in with their ignorant -ist bullshit and the privileged way they would never tolerate something similar to something they actually held interesting (like hell those guys would have politely tolerated someone bitching about how geeks are sexless or that they’re all gay behind them at any of the panels they were interested in).

    But somehow Adria gets singled out and accused of doing the wrong thing when her actions actually got the conference to care and intervene and cease something the guys in question should have known damn well better than to do.

    EllenBeth Wachs @426

    Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize?

    At work or as a representative of my workplace? No. And there have been a number of opportunities when it would have been damn appropriate for me to. I have however seen incredibly sexist, racist, or classist displays (they seem to be increasing ten-fold with the toxic environment of my department at the moment) that either hurt me out of sympathy for the children affected by these attitudes or me personally because they are “jokes” designed to attack groups I’m a member of (usually women, we had one “joke” in our back room about how every single female in our department must love shopping (because girls am I right), with someone’s only response that there were “a few exceptions” hint hint).

    I guess, what I’m saying with all this is that the system has a history of siding with the powerful and the privileged. When an oppressed class makes a complaint, the system defends itself and the bigotry first as a matter of course. Those of the oppressed class who have made a difference have always gone outside said system in order to improve it and by doing so have forced the system to address inequalities because they can’t just cover it up.

    As I stated earlier, I do not at all mean to accuse you of being one of those types, but I can very easily see how your argument would be made just the same of those conference organizers who were invested either consciously or unconsciously in making women retract their complaints about con harassment before taking it seriously.

    And I can see how it is being wielded in my life to create a system where sexism, racism, classism, transphobia, etc… are supported, but push-back against them isn’t.

    And for many, I can see why they would not feel that they should be the one receiving scrutiny, “convincing”, a possibly corrupt system, and having to take the responsibility unto themselves because someone else did wrong and continued to do wrong.

    All the apologists@A lot of times

    I understand the desire to side with the douchebros over the woman. Homosocial sexist bonding is seen as “normal” in our society and men are used to not getting any sort of direct negative response or complaint for doing so. As such, finally getting called on it seems threatening. Many are probably thinking of times when you were shooting the shit in that casually sexist way somewhere and worry that it could be taken negatively.

    But here’s the thing. It’s never been okay. It’s never been neutral to the women who overhear it or the men who are trained to be worse people to women by participating in it. And these cultures have done real harm.

    And maybe it’s just the timing, but I’m also reminded of another homosocial sexist bonding experience that is seen as “normal” in our society and rarely punished in which the men finally realizing consequences were shocked an the sexist backlash against the victim was intense.

    I’m sorry guys, but sexism is sexism. Even when it’s with your buddies. Even when you’ve “always got away with it”. The guy didn’t deserve to get fired and if we had a system with a real safety net, it would have meant a lot less that he did. But what has happened at every step to a woman who’s only crime was calling out something too many women have been beat too much down to challenge is offensive to such a degree that those participating in the piling on, no matter their rationalizations of their own arguments are engaging in intense misogynist actions for which there really aren’t any legitimate excuses.

    If you don’t like that this is being applied to you, I’m sorry, but that’s on you to fix. Not me, not any of the other women on here, not anyone but you.

  441. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    FFS, now I’m an apologist for misogynist behavior? Are you fucking kidding? And I’m getting called a “dumbfuck

    Yep, that’s what comes when you essentially keep blaming the victim. How you would have handled it is irrelevant; a non-sequitur. So, quit telling us about how you work. Or rather, don’t for the women.

  442. says

    <blockquoteCaine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences.

    So now you’re threatening Caine? She’s unworthy of being at any of your conferences? Nice demonstration of how “fairly” you treat people.

    Are you kidding me? How out of context can you get? He/she was the one that said they wanted nothing to do with me.

    and try to see it for the POV of the victim? That precious saying that to me.

  443. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Are you kidding me? How out of context can you get? He/she was the one that said they wanted nothing to do with me.

    Because you don’t need the name of someone who said she’s going to avoid your conferences. I don’t have any idea why you said she should give you her real name.

  444. says

    oh ffs this thread has completely spun out of control.

    This isn’t that difficult, whether Richards chose the best option of all possible options is not relevent to the real problem, which is the sexism inherent in this industry and culture at large that caused the situation to begin with, and the horrific response of the companies involved and misogynist assholes that have been harassing her ever since.

    Blaming her because she had a strong and possibly overblown reaction to yet more sexism going on right in the middle of a lecture about bringing more women in to the field misses the point entirely!!!

    The problem is sexism!! The problem is not people that object to it! How they reject doesn’t fucking matter!

    One more time for the especially think indivduals: THE PROBLEM IS SEXISM

  445. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #476
    Tony! The Queer Shoop (now with clucking lights)

    I am puzzled why this matter so goddamned much to people.

    Fine, great. It was the wrong response.
    CAN WE FUCKING MOVE ON NOW?

    Silly! Of course not Tony. Now they’ll want to explain why it was wrong so they can draft up policies and punishment for women who cross the line to make sure to protect those poor innocent men.

    The next time a woman does it, they do the same tactic. Get us to admit how our reactions are wrong so they can draft up ways to keep us down.

    Is that what the right wingers are doing with abortion in America? Hanging us with the very rope we gave them because didn’t push are enough to the left for any abortion at anytime on her terms since it’s her decision.

    Give ‘em an inch, and they’ll take your life.

  446. says

    Why does every single thread about women in general or an individual woman have to have a “she interpreted it wrong” or the “she could have handled it better” indictment? Every. Single. Time.

    And it really is EVERY single time. There is a definite, at best unconscious, misogyny here in these actions that no matter what women are assumed to be responsible for being flawless in every way before they are “allowed to challenge” attitudes and actions they have noticed over and over again from “isolated incidents”. Why are male actions always assumed to be innocent mistakes not worth mentioning even when they are omnipresent? Why are female actions always assumed to be dastardly or wrong-headed no matter how technically correct they are? Why do women always seem to “deserve” the intense backlashes against them no matter how twisted and vile they are?

    Why is this always the case in every example no matter how many come up?

    For those of you on the wrong side of this, it might be worth asking yourself this question and seeing if the response back is a bunch of defensiveness. It might reveal a lot about how you’ve been reacting to the swamp we all swim in when it comes to culture.

  447. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I almost forgot:

    Why does every single thread about women in general or an individual woman have to have a “she interpreted it wrong” or the “she could have handled it better” indictment? Every. Single. Time.

    YES. EXACTLY. FUCKING HELL.

    Thirder.

    You have two* unreasonable firings and a woman getting death and rape threats, but lets discuss how she could have handled it better. *facepalm*

    *possibly one, if guy’s firing was a result of previous problems with this one just being the trigger

  448. pyrobryan says

    Wait… she makes a dick joke, then publicly shames a guy for making a dick joke?

  449. kate_waters says

    EllenBeth:

    I really don’t think you’re in any position to tell ANYONE how to act “properly”. I am familiar with your version of “proper” and it’s fucking gross.

    I don’t think any woman here would want to have anything to do with any conference where you were in charge of anything, even if it were just hiring the caterer. You’re just plain ol’ icky.

  450. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #479 EllenBeth Wachs

    Are you kidding me? How out of context can you get? He/she was the one that said they wanted nothing to do with me.

    Look, brickbrain, then you should’ve phrased it differently. Like saying “This my real name and these are where I’ve worked so now you know to avoid me” or “If you want to give me your real name..”

    Though the last one still worries because no way in fucking hell am I trusting a stranger online (especially one like you) with my real identity.

    You certainly don’t say “I will need your real name so I can black list you to not be at any of my conferences”.

    and try to see it for the POV of the victim? That precious saying that to me.

    You’re not the victim here. You’re really going to say you’re the victim because we cussed at you for what you’ve said and called you out on your bullshit? Fuck you.

  451. Gregory Greenwood says

    EllenBeth Wachs @ 464;

    Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences. It’s terrible I treat people fairly.

    As noted by other commenters, it is highly inappropriate to ask for real identities or any other personal information on a blog like this. Pseudonymity is very important to many of the people who post here because they justifiably fear that if their real identities were known – if their opinions freely expressed here could be linked to their meat space identity – then the consequences might be very severe. Some fear for their jobs if their bosses are the type of hair trigger reactionary who might fire or otherwise seek to professionally punish someone for not being sutably conformist. Others are concerned that it might cause rifts with family and friends, but many more fear far worse outcomes, including potential violence.

    Bear in mind that we also have no proof that you are who you claim to be, and it would be risky indeed to hand out personal data to just anybody on the internet. You might also want to remember Caine’s personal history that she has discussed on this very thread – suffice to say that she has ample reason to be concerned about certain types of people getting hold of her peronal details.

    I am going to provisionally assume that yours was an innocent request made in good faith out of a lack of knowledge about how it might appear to others, but whatever your reasons, the mere fact that you asked for such data in such a venue is inevitably going to make people wary of you and will lead them to question your motives. That might be worth bearing in mind for the future, especially given your role in organising conferences and providing recourse against those who engage in undesireable behaviours like sexism.

  452. glodson says

    Wait… she makes a dick joke, then publicly shames a guy for making a dick joke?

    Read the thread. We’ve already discussed this to death.

    See Josh’s comment here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/22/adria-richards-did-everything-exactly-right/comment-page-1/#comment-585165

    This is a deflection and a lie about what happened. Further, one was done on twitter, the other was done at a professional conference, against the express rules of the conference.

  453. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #484
    EllenBeth Wachs

    So Nerd, do you think being abusive to me is helpful to the discussion?

    You’re the one derailing the discussion to complain about how Adria reported the incident.
    And you clearly don’t know what the word in bold means. How dare you, especially after that triggering shit Best pulled to us that word against us when we’ve treated you fairly based on the crap you posted.

    Do you think misrepresenting who I am and what I stand for is appropriate?

    Didn’t happen. We only have your words to go on, the proof is in the pudding as they say.

  454. John Morales says

    pyrobryan, your attempted tu quoque has already been addressed in this very comment thread.

  455. says

    Oh FFS, people, it was made snarkily.

    and Kate Waters? I suggest you get your facts straight.

    I can see what happens with merely disagreeing here. It’s too bad.

  456. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #494
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Oh FFS, people, it was made snarkily.

    That’s still not a line to cross, especially on a thread about a woman getting rape and death threats. And you want to talk about “proper”. WTF is wrong with you?

  457. kate_waters says

    My facts? That you’re a victim blaming, misogynistic “chill girl” who lacks basic reading comprehension? The facts you yourself have presented in this very thread?

    I’ve got them plenty straight. You’re gross. You’re icky. You’re a bumbling fucknugget who lacks basic decency and has no idea of how to behave properly.

  458. glodson says

    Oh FFS, people, it was made snarkily.

    We can’t read snark, or sarcasm. Try to be more explicit if you are attempting write a snarky request.

    And as JAL points out, it was still over the line.

  459. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    merely disagreeing (yeah right)

    Another couple of words that never bring about anything good when they’re together