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SendGrid Fires Employee After Firestorm Over Inappropriate Jokes 1145

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-calm-down dept.
tsamsoniw writes "Hoping to strike a blow against sexism in the tech industry , developer and tech evangelist Adria Richards took to Twitter to complain about two male developers swapping purportedly offensive jokes at PyCon. The decision has set into motion a chain of events that illustrate the impact a tweet or two can make in this age of social networking: One the developers and Richards have since lost their jobs, and even the chair of PyCon has been harassed for his minor role in the incident."
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SendGrid Fires Employee After Firestorm Over Inappropriate Jokes

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  • More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @05:57PM (#43240549) Homepage

    I think we nerds need to get more facetime access to the rest of the world. All these "stranger danger" kids are now stranger danger adults.

  • Silly humans. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @05:59PM (#43240565)

    This is what happens in a culture where anything is offensive. Even a silly dick joke will get the hypocritical opportunists to raise a stink, and then everyone loses their jobs, and the companies get to hire younger staff at cheaper wages while hiding behind policies to be "wholesome" and "unoffensive". It's a wonderful game until you're the one who accidentally sneezes something that sounds a little like "penis" and end up on the cutting room floor.

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elysiuan (762931) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:00PM (#43240571) Homepage

    Two men being immature at a conference and they lose their livelihood because someone quasi-famous tweeted about it? I'm sure many people would disagree but the tons of triumph in the reporting that they lost their jobs is very distasteful to me especially in this job market. I don't want to live in a society where everyone is so uptight that they don't say anything without 5 levels of mental filtering because other some random stranger can completely screw them over.

  • Twitter-shaming. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:03PM (#43240595)
    Well, I can't read her blog unless I enable javascript so I'm going to have to skip reading her point of view. But the calmly reasoned and stated response from one of the audience members behind Adria (a Mr Hank) whom Adria "twitter-shamed" (rather than speaking to directly) said (in quotes below) :
    He was less forgiving of her reporting him and his associate in the manner that she did -- that is, taking her complaint to Twitter, complete with their photo, rather than confronting them face to face. He pointed out that she is well known for her work and social activism and has an extensive Web audience. "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 three kids and I really liked that job," he wrote. -- from http://www.infoworld.com/t/technology-business/twitter-shaming-can-cost-you-your-job-214956 [infoworld.com]

    I think that he's right. In the time that it took to turn around and take that picture, she could just as easily have said "Hey, cut it out! Those kinds of comments are inappropriate, and I'm offended, okay?" This is a point where saying "don't make a federal case out of it" may be apropos. Does she want them to walk around wearing big "L" for losers on their foreheads, or "D" for "dicks" for what offensive things they said? Maybe she needs to reread that Scarlet Letter book.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:04PM (#43240609) Homepage Journal
    Mod parent up: Insightful, ironic and funny all at once.
  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hardhead_7 (987030) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:07PM (#43240645)
    Does anyone even know what the jokes were? A "dongle" joke could be anything from a lame hammy pun you might catch on a sitcom to outrageously misogynistic rape-humor. It's kind of hard to form a valid opinion of the whole thing without that bit of info.
  • How many people... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CyberSnyder (8122) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:08PM (#43240657)

    ...considered posting a comment in this, then stopped and deleted it just in case *your* employer takes offense?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:11PM (#43240693) Homepage

    If sexism were to be defeated, it would mean hearts and minds would change and it would become a non-issue.

    This is something very different. This is a chilling effect and a one-way weapon against males. The same would never happen if the roles were opposite. This is no different than the mentality we generally maintain that it's funny for women to hurt men but tragic and horrific for men to hurt women.

    This doesn't "fight" sexism, it defines it. The worst thing is all of this harm is done without the benefit of a trial, a warning or any sense of fairness.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bremic (2703997) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:14PM (#43240715)

    At conferences, most of the moronic, insulting, self-serving and offensive comments I hear are labeled "marketing". However I can't complain about them.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:15PM (#43240729)

    They're comments were immature and out of place, sure, but they were hardly sexist nor misogynistic nor directed toward Adria Richards. She might as well have gotten angry about someone swearing or talking about farting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:16PM (#43240739)

    She's just a dick. She's doing this because she can. She didn't have to listen, didn't have to be offended by something that's utterly inoffensive to anyone with the thinnest of skins, and didn't have to go on a crusade that would obviously bring down a disproportional penalty to the guys.

    And as for PlayHaven, I wish them luck finding employees of any skill. Only desperate kids will want to work in a place where they have to police their thoughts and can't even make an innocuous joke to their friends once in a while. I think their decision was just as heinous as Adria's one-woman quest to set women back in technology.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:16PM (#43240755)

    At least justice was served by the firing of Richards.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#43240773) Journal

    Two employees, in public, on company time, wearing badges clearly identifying what company they work for, making totally inappropriate comments - they most certainly should be fired.

    Firing Richards herself is the moronic thing. You don't fire the messenger. I have zero idea what SendGrid does - but "all publicity is good publicity" is a lie.

    So random comments should get you fired because someone somewhere could possibly find them offensive? We don't even know what was really said. It likely, based on the odds, was probably fairly innocuous. Yet two people got fired and have had their lives severely damaged because someone else was slightly offended.

    If certain groups are supposed to get special "don't offend" privileges then don't be shocked when other groups view that group as trouble and lawsuit magnets and don't want to associate with that group in any context where a single phrase or word could get them damaged.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fish waffle (179067) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#43240775)
    There's no doubt the tech-industry could use a lot less pimply-teenage-boy-ism. But in this case, no: firing Richards is about on par. If you TFA you'll find she made jokes herself, on twitter (not even an overheard private conversation), about stuffing socks down pants in TSA pat-downs. That's pretty much exactly in the same stratum as the jokes she was complaining about---both childish and sex-related, neither sexist. If one is worth firing, then so is the other (although both firings are over-reactions, to put it mildly).
  • Re:More facetime (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#43240779)

    Irony is that overracting and over sensitivities like that is the exact type of thing that make it difficult women in tech to begin with.

  • by ildon (413912) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:18PM (#43240791)

    Whatever happened to just turning around and glaring angrily at people who say stupid shit in public? Or possibly telling them to "grow up" to their face?

  • by atriusofbricia (686672) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:20PM (#43240811) Journal

    If sexism were to be defeated, it would mean hearts and minds would change and it would become a non-issue.

    This is something very different. This is a chilling effect and a one-way weapon against males. The same would never happen if the roles were opposite. This is no different than the mentality we generally maintain that it's funny for women to hurt men but tragic and horrific for men to hurt women.

    This doesn't "fight" sexism, it defines it. The worst thing is all of this harm is done without the benefit of a trial, a warning or any sense of fairness.

    Truth.

    The reaction was completely out of proportion and entirely based on her claim. I'm not saying she's lying. I'm saying there was no evidence and I doubt anyone even bothered to listen to the guy's side of it.

  • Re:Wait a sec (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:22PM (#43240837)

    IMO she deserved it. This was a matter for reprimands by the conference and if needed by their employers, NOT but the public at large. She breached the two mens privacy in a serious way and if I was her employer I'd be worried about blow back from what she did now and what she'll do in the future.

    IMO it's never OK to "twitter shame" someone, it's the pinnacle of passive-aggressive behavior where you take a complaint public and ask for mob justice. What happens next time where she calls for the pitchforks and torches and someone actually is harmed by some mentally ill person that got fired up by her?

  • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:24PM (#43240853)

    Yeah, the comment wasn't even sexist. It was sexual and it was inappropriate but that does not make it sexist. Doing shit like this only has the effect of alienating people who otherwise agree with the fact that there are large scale issues of genuine sexist and creepy stalker behavior that is directed towards women at conventions and in the greater tech community at large.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:26PM (#43240875)
    Two people at a conference telling jokes you find offensive? Ok, say something to them. Her taking it to Twitter is no different than the faceless drones threatening her via twitter - too coward to confront someone face to face - instead attacking someone via the Internet.

    She is a self described activist, who is too afraid to confront two nerds?

    A bit of human decency, on both parties (aka: talking to another human being) would have mitigated this entire situation and two people would still have their jobs.
  • Re:More facetime (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:26PM (#43240881)

    I suspect that was entirely intentional. Why say the banal truth when you can whip up great drama for your anti-sexism crusade.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:26PM (#43240893)

    No, no they shouldn't. They're not drones.. They're not slaves. They're employees. There's supposed to be a difference.. Telling jokes should not get you fired. Bad performance at your job should get you fired.

    These PC pantywaists are going to be the ruin of us all. Telling a joke based on stereotypes is not 'sexism.' Deciding (not) to hire or fire someone based on gender is sexism. Of course, insecure people like Richards rule the roost now so now suddenly we're all responsible for HER feelings.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:27PM (#43240903) Homepage

    Two employees, in public, on company time, wearing badges clearly identifying what company they work for, making totally inappropriate comments - they most certainly should be fired.

    Two humans making jokes (a human trait, FYI) about human body parts... and the problem with this is what, exactly?

    Just because some people are humorless puritanical douchebags doesn't mean the world should cater to them. If employers want robots intead of humans, they should have hired robots in the first place.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happylight (600739) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:27PM (#43240907)

    Only one of the two were fired. The person who was offended was also fired.

    But really if she had just said something to them quietly no one would have been fired. But she had to take it to crowds of people who weren't even there.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:27PM (#43240911) Journal

    Also, he wanted to fork a repo.

    Which wasn't a joke at all.

    But she still took offense to it.

    Because she's a dick joke.

  • Re:Hurrah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:28PM (#43240925) Homepage Journal

    I like how you just take her word and immediately assume she is right. The way you applaud her ability to destroy people lives just on her word.

    ""Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard.""
    I read it and about barfed. How big does ones ego need to be to think that?

  • Re:Why fire HER? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StormyWeather (543593) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:31PM (#43240969) Homepage

    I'd fire her for being poisonous to the work environment, and hire 10 easy going females who have senses of humor to replace her. This kind of wretch drags an entire organization down.

    She overheard someone talking NOT TO HER, and tried to make sure they couldn't feed their families. That makes her a hero? Bullshit.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:31PM (#43240977)

    Is it? Richards herself tweeted publicly to a friend about stuffing his pants next time he goes through a TSA check. If the first guy deserved to get fired for making stupid jokes to his friend sitting in the audience at a conference why shouldn't Richards get fired for doing the same thing publicly via Twitter?

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:33PM (#43240987) Journal

    You don't have a right to not be offended.

    So fuck off.

  • by X3J11 (791922) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:33PM (#43240997) Journal

    Anyone else remember when people had thick enough skins they could just roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, and not give a crap about what other people were doing or saying (provided no one's really getting hurt)?

    I am tired of everyone feeling so entitled - the whole world has to conform to their ideals, and if it doesn't then by Gawd they're going to bitch, complain, threaten legal action, and sue until they get what they want.

    Shit like this just pisses me off no end and makes me pine for the days when the Internet was an exclusive club for us nerds (and perverts).

  • Re:Wait a sec (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:35PM (#43241033)
    Only if she was not sexually harassing the men. That is right. She was sexually harassing the men. She did not complain because the joke was sexual in nature, as those kinds of jokes clearly don't offend her, as she was making sexual jokes at the same event. She made the complain because she didn't feel that "men" should be afforded the same rights as women, and she used her position in the media to harass these men.
  • by tylikcat (1578365) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:36PM (#43241043)

    Because making sexually charged jokes in public is central to your being a man? That's really sad, if so.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:36PM (#43241045) Homepage

    Here's some things that get to me.

    The tech/geek realm is primarily male to the point it is virtually male. Women join in knowing what it's like before they enter. It's like going to a bar and when you enter, you expect people to immediately put out their smokes and change the way they speak. Sorry miss priss, but this is how men relate to one another. We aren't saying you're not welcome in our world, but I am saying you'd better know what you're getting into and be prepared to accept it. Why do women think the world needs to change when they enter a room? And why do people reinforce this moronic and impractical notion?! It's a damned good thing I've never had this problem at a strip club... somehow a men's club would cease to exist if the women were offended by men acting like men.

    But you know? It's just about time men started becoming more vocal about women and their offensive behaviors in the work place. A lot of gossip and rumor milling is rather forbidden and is typically unreported. And when women try to fit in when they make any form of sexual comment, we should discourage that in the same way. I had a female co-worker who made comments about getting wet and getting her juices flowing... and not a week or so later tried to get someone fired for "inappropriate comments" of a sexual nature.

    As I read through related chatter about this incident, I read where she even made comments of a sexual nature herself... not at this event but in other places. Pot calling the kettle black much?

    Want to end -isms? Want them to be a non-issue? It starts with TOLLERANCE and ends with public disapproval. Getting legal and jobless over it is pretty damned ridiculous when it comes to personalities and moments in time which are subject to interpretation to say the very least.

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:37PM (#43241053)

    There is *no* right not to be offended. US case law (and the First Amendment) is clear on this.

    If the guys are being inappropriate, that is one thing, but no-one ought to claim they have a right to not be offended. What was offensive to Richards was clearly not offensive to many other people. Personally I find hyper-sensitivity to be somewhat offensive, yet I don't feel the need to wage jihad against her. I've seen this behavior before from women (including getting guys chucked out of university for chuckling at inappropriate jokes). If *she* was offended then it is up to *her* to point this out to the culprits - without doing so in an offensive way herself. That's what a mature person would do. She can't claim they were threatening in any way, because their apologetic posture shows they were probably approachable for a mature person to make their point to.

    Furthermore, there are a number of troubling aspects to Richards' claim (and those that support her narrow-minded point-of-view):
    Who gets to decide what is offensive or not?
    Should government, the legal profession, or business decide what is an appropriate joke or not?
    There is only one solution, Free Speech. Free Speech is not about stuff you agree with - it is a principle that protected stuff you don't agree with (provided it is not out-and-out hate speech; eg. such as the racist and anti-Semitic core doctrines of the political ideology called Islam).

    The solution is for companies to say, "We did not mean to offend you. However, we stand up for Free Speech for all out employees and don't believe we have the right to dictate what they can think or say, provided it is legal.". Too bad the World is full of beta personalities who cower at the thought of causing offense, rather than alpha personalities who may be brusque, but at least they stand up for moral principals (even if this is unpopular).

    So grow some 'nads by fellow Slashdotters. You are either for Free Speech, and would not fire these guys (even if you would take them aside in private to tell them to cool it off a bit), or you believe in Political Correctness where someone else may dictate what you can say, hear and think. The real problem with PC is not that it dictates and denies what people can say, it denies that multitude of other people the right to hear (what can often be unpleasant but truthful).

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:37PM (#43241073) Homepage Journal

    She is a modern feminist. Men are bad, rules don't apply to her, and if anyone dares disagree, they are WRONG!!!

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:38PM (#43241077)

    Why not blame the people actually doing the firing? Some random person posting on twitter does not have the authority to fire anybody. The people who make the decisions (in both companies, in this case) should take responsibility for their actions.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:44PM (#43241169) Homepage
    She's obviously a true geek which means avoid confrontation and resort to passive aggressive behaviour.
  • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:45PM (#43241177)

    Some, but not all, of the creepy stalker behavior is being generated by this type of shit.

    I myself have been in the situation before. I like to joke a lot. My jokes aren't usually terribly offensive, but the funniest jokes usually offend SOMEONE. Thats part of what makes them funny. So I was interested in this girl, but while I didn't work with her, her boss knew my boss and so on. So I ended up walking around completely frustrated because if I walked over and was my usual self it could go off fantastically, but if it went wrong and she turned out to be some kind of total psycho-bitch(without seeing the joke the man made I can't state outright that this adria woman is one such, but I would deem it likely) I would have gotten fired, which I couldn't afford to do at the time. I ended up staring at her a bit too much apparently because I was trying to figure out what the fuck to do with it and then she got offended because I was apparently being "stalkery" with my staring.

    So what the fuck is a man supposed to do in this day and age? Never leave the house? Its getting to that point for a lot of men already. Most of us just aren't as socially wired as women. The males of our species are hunters, warriors and workers. None of those things lend themselves to being able to read someones emotions and mind just by looking at them, which women seem to have a knack for doing. It completely BOGGLES me what women think is NORMAL for you to be able to see about someone just by looking at them.

    Now outright misogyny, abuse, attempting to limit womens rights etc I'm totally against... but for fuck sake's... STOP TRYING TO NEUTER EVERY LIVING MALE.

    There are a lot of people out there arguing for free speech and the "you do NOT have a right to not be offended" line comes up a lot. Why the hell doesn't it apply to women too?

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:46PM (#43241191)
    And this is a different female AC who is fed up with stuff like you from a certain subset of women. You'll just assume the parent poster is male because they thought the outcome was disproportionate and didn't 100% back the woman in the story? And that helps resolve sexism and stereotype issues how? Yes, there are a lot of immature people out there, but over reacting and throwing a tantrum does the opposite of differentiating you from that category.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:48PM (#43241221) Homepage

    Richards, in public, on company time, wearing a profile clearly identifying what company she works for, making inappropriate and factually inaccurate tweets should not be fired?

    Double standard much?

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:50PM (#43241243) Journal

    Two men being immature at a conference and they lose their livelihood because someone quasi-famous tweeted about it? I'm sure many people would disagree but the tons of triumph in the reporting that they lost their jobs is very distasteful to me especially in this job market. I don't want to live in a society where everyone is so uptight that they don't say anything without 5 levels of mental filtering because other some random stranger can completely screw them over.

    If you bother to have read it, 2 men didn't lose their livelihood. 1 man did, and the person (who is female) who tweeted it did.

    Sort of surprised you are +5 insightful when you missed the whole point.

    2 people make a joke amongst themselves, loud enough that a person in front of them could hear it. Instead of turning around and asking them to stop, she posts on Twitter about it. She turned something that was private (as in, just a few people around where aware of) into something very very public. Public beyond the event she was at, she brought it out to the real world. On top of it, she included a photo of the guys.

    She completely over reacted, and made a big issue out of something that might of been in bad taste, but was in a small way. And she lost her job for it. Which is good. Unfortunately, one of the guys lost his job also, which I don't feel he should of. But thanks to her, what he did became public and his company comes out looking bad.

    She went drama queen and it cost her job. Also cost a father of 3 his job also. Her fault for losing her job, and her fault for getting that other person fired.

  • by Chirs (87576) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:51PM (#43241253)

    An inappropriate joke about a "big dongle" is not sexual harassment, it is anatomical humour. It was not aimed at her, or her sex. It was certainly not appropriate for that setting, but not worth firing someone over.

    She overreacted by publicly shaming them on twitter instead of just confronting them directly or complaining to the conference organizers (as per the code of conduct for the conference).

    The employer of one of the developers overreacted by firing him.

    There was a backlash against her for her actions, and so her employer felt that she could no longer do her job (developer relations) and fired her.

    The conference organizers did the right thing...everyone else screwed up to varying degrees.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:52PM (#43241265)

    women in the workplace are just as bad, as anyone who passes by their gossip-groups at lunch know

    I'm especially amused by all the posts by the outraged saying the guys referenced in the article were "pricks" or "dicks", but they would fire up the holy sexist smokescreen should the woman be referred to as a "cunt" or "twat".

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:52PM (#43241269) Homepage Journal

    if the intention was humor and not hurtful, it could be said that what the joke was didn't matter at all, no matter how offensive,

    It makes no difference if your intention was humor and not hurtful. Intent does not make a difference.

    The only thing that makes a difference is your judgement. If you showed bad judgement, even if you're intent was innocent, then you might be too dumb to employ.

    (note: I'm not talking about YOU, I'm sure you have great judgement. I'm talking generally.)

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:54PM (#43241291)

    The first thing you see (still, actually) when you look at her Twitter page is that she's an evangelist at SendGrid. So her comments are just as much linked to her company as the two yahoos' behind her were.

    Personally, I don't think anyone deserved to get fired, unless there were a lot of other things going on. The two male jokers were being childish, in relative private. Richards was being childish in a very public way. All of them needed to be told to knock it off.

    The whole "striking a blow against sexism" is a silly attempt to spin the incident into something it's not. There's nothing in the story that suggests anything sexist, unless Richards did what she did because the jokers were male.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @06:57PM (#43241325) Homepage Journal

    I just went through a freaking training course for sexual harassment. More than one scenario wasn't much different than the one she was in. Two employees say something that offends a third. In each case the action was to speak to the employees directly vs trying to make an instant federal case out of it and if uncomfortable doing that speak to a supervisor. In no scenario was a single action bad enough to warrant a firing or going nutz over it. This surprised me since in some of those scenarios I was escalating earlier than the test said i should be.

    Honestly this woman shot herself in the foot. Supposedly she's supposed to be an evangelist and interact with developers right? As a developer, having seen her get two other developers into deep shit, would you want this woman anywhere near you? Would you even want to speak to her? She's supposed to fit in and get other's interested in her product?! Firing her was a smart move and IMO they should probably have done it sooner, hell look at some of the crap she's tweeted in the past! these two guys were talking among themselves and while it might not have been a completely private conversation it certainly wasn't one pointed at her. She could have simply asked them to keep the jokes to themselves but instead thought Oh Noes I must save the children! Give me a freakin' break, she is an idiot and she wanted her moment of fame. Good, now she has it and i hope that any future employer who considers her for ANY sort of opportunity that includes interfacing with people thinks twice. I not only wouldn't want to speak to this woman I wouldn't want her on the premises for fear she might become traumatized over something and cry to the world. People who have nerves this exposed shouldn't be allowed in public. Should these guys have been a little smarter, sure. But what she did was over the top and the company involved is obviously not too bright either. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if their HR policy was violated over this if it's anything like the policies in companies I've worked.

    What a mess. Sorry lady but you didn't advance anything and in fact you made things worse if anything. If there were anyone around me like you I'd steer very clear of them and make sure never to find myself alone with you lest you make an accusation I couldn't disprove. Sheesh!

  • by Macgrrl (762836) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:00PM (#43241351)

    She's doing this because she can. She didn't have to listen, didn't have to be offended by something that's utterly inoffensive to anyone with the thinnest of skins, and didn't have to go on a crusade that would obviously bring down a disproportional penalty to the guys. ... Only desperate kids will want to work in a place where they have to police their thoughts and can't even make an innocuous joke to their friends once in a while.

    We weren't there. We didn't hear what was said. We don't know how offensive it might have been.

    Women live in a culture where the NORMAL response to reporting rape or sexual assault is to be asked what they did to provoke it (what were they wearing, were they drunk, did they lead him on, were they out by themselves after dark). If you follow the press coverage of the recent case in Ohio, most of the concern was about the damage being done to the lives of two promising football players and not the damage that have been done to the 15 year old girl who was pack raped over a number of locations by a number of guys and broadcast on social media.

    The constant difficulty for women in predominately male environments is when do I speak up and say "you are making me feel uncomfortable with what you are saying/doing" without coming off as a jerk. Say it too early and you risk being called thin-skinned and are consequently ignored if you want to raise things later (crying wolf), say it later and you run the risk of everyone thinking you 'gave consent'.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:02PM (#43241381) Homepage Journal

    I suspect that was entirely intentional. Why say the banal truth when you can whip up great drama for your anti-sexism crusade.

    Oh, man...

    I guess this isn't going to be the generation that sexism finally becomes a historical artifact.

    Here's a hint: If you're doing something professionally, you don't make dumb sex jokes. Just don't do it. If you're hanging out with your frat buddies, you can indulge in all the crude humor you want. If you're around anyone who has anything to do with work, you should not. If you can't understand that you may not be smart enough for anyone to hire you, unless your job is as a joke writer for Hustler magazine. It doesn't matter if you didn't mean to offend. Try to understand that.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:03PM (#43241385)

    I don't think they were dumb or stupid. Naive is probably more accurate. They came from an environment where dongles and forking were not seen as offensive.

    They met the one type of person in the world, the type of person they've probably never met before and nobody warned them about, that decided that such kinds of double ententdre are intolerable and offensive.

    I work in a mixed office. The guys make jokes. The girls make jokes too. The girls watch sports and make comments about the masculinity (or lack thereof) of various players - and if you've ever happened to overhear women talking when they think nobody else is around in the break room, you might be shocked yourself.

    There are lines that should be drawn but I just don't see these guys as having crossed it. This is about one person who has an axe to grind and a radical agenda to advance. She may think in her mind that she represents all women in this, but that is far from the truth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:03PM (#43241401)

    In real life the claim only has to be taken seriously if it was filed by a woman.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:03PM (#43241403) Homepage Journal

    Intent does not make a difference.

    Funny, that doesn't seem to be the situation in US Law [wikipedia.org]. Intent appears to make a major difference there. Why must people be held to a higher standard in their personal lives? Oh, yeah, the all-important political correctness thing...

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:05PM (#43241415) Homepage Journal

    Bullshit! Certainly these guys could be taken aside and counseled for conduct that reflected badly, certainly apologizing could be in order. But firing? No way. In fact the conversation didn't even include her - she eavesdropped on them and when she realized they worked for a sponsoring company she figured out she could make a grand splash. Drama drama drama, she got exactly what she wished for - oodles of attention. What she didn't bargain for was the fact that most of us with common sense see right through her for what she is.

    As for firing her? Oh that had to happen. No way should she be considered for a position that requires her to interface with a group of people she just alienated.No way would I send her to talk to programmers as a manager. If I were a developer and she were brought into my workspaces I'd leave. I wouldn't want to be in the same room as this woman. Why would I risk my job around someone who has a proven track record of blowing things out of proportion and casting aspersions?! Forget it, she can stay far far away so far as I'm concerned. When she figures out how to act like an adult and grows a thicker skin then maybe she should be allowed out with the big kids. She can't possibly function in the position she was cast for and shouldn't be employed as such. For that matter I sure hope any future employer figures out Google well enough to see what's in store for them if they hire her...

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:08PM (#43241437) Homepage Journal

    Frankly I have no issue with firing her. She has just proven herself to be a hypocritical drama queen (see some of her other posts). She is apparently supposed to be an "evangelist" and yet just screwed over members of the community for which she must interface to do her job. They should have fired her sooner! Sorry miss, you've just become ineffective in your position, there's the door.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:13PM (#43241491) Homepage

    They were having a private conversation and neither of them was offended. They probably shouldn't have said what they did, but the correct response would be to tell them it's offensive. I'll bet they would have apologized and stopped.

    If they didn't at least stop at that point (or take the conversation elsewhere), THEN a more extreme measure might be called for, but that measure should probably have been a lecture on appropriate conversation in public places.

    I don't think Richards should have been fired either, but a little coaching in conflict resolution might have been a good idea.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:16PM (#43241515)
    She's a hypocrite. She's made the same sorts of jokes but in public, not as part of an overheard private conversation. From the article:

    Incidentally, making off-color jokes in public doesn't necessarily make you a horrible human being who deserves public shaming, a point that Richards herself should appreciate as she recently joked [twitter.com] with a fellow Twitter user about stuffing his pants with socks the next time he has to undergo a TSA pat-down.

    Apparently, it's only sexist if done by men (which is a very sexist attitude for her to have).

  • by Agent.Nihilist (1228864) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:17PM (#43241527)

    News flash:
    They didn't make a sexist joke
    They made a penis joke via "dongle"

    Jokes about male genitalia are not inherently sexist. In order to be sexist, the joke would need to directly denigrate women.

    Inferring that any joke that referencing male genitalia is sexist on the other hand, is sexist in and of itself.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Latentius (2557506) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:18PM (#43241533)

    First off, the jokes (as described) were juvenile, but in no way misogynistic.

    Second, you're creating a false dichotomy for her choices. Richards also had the option to privately go to the event's organizers and present her complaint. Instead, she decided to publicly shame these guys for a stupid joke, resulting in getting one of them fired. She most certainly overreacted as well, making a move that belongs every bit as much to the confines of a high school as did the jokes by the two men.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:18PM (#43241543)

    That's utter nonsense in Adria's case, though. The men let her take their pictures. She DID "confront" them, just in a way that would make them look even worse, and herself look like some crusader for women's rights. Listening to her rant on her blog, you'd think she felt she was saving programming by doing what, if a man did it, would make his peers label him a complete asshole.

    If you think every girl is some delicate flower that can't speak her mind, then that's your prerogative. I'm a woman who's had this career for almost 20 years now, and have seen just how hard the male end of my industry have been working to better themselves. Now it's time for the woman to prove themselves, and not lie waiting in the laurels to get flimsy ammo for a moral crusade that no one needs.

    Women have it hard enough without ruining it for themselves by being prissy little attention-seeking missiles. She deserves to be roasted for being even less mature than the people whose lives she chose to upend because they shared a dick joke that broke her poor little mind.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:19PM (#43241553) Journal

    Exactly, the woman was one of those "politically correct or die!" ultra radicals that frankly make a workplace into a shithole. My ex had one of those at her work and man they just could not wait to find an excuse to fire the bitch, they went from having a fun working environment where everybody cracked jokes and had a good time to a place that was like working in a mortuary. She even tried to get my ex labeled as racist for telling an Indian joke...and she is a fricking Navajo! When people would confuse her with Mexican and start speaking Spanish at her she'd go "Me no Mexican, me Indian, me kind scalp your kind" which always got a laugh and diffused what could have been embarrassing situation for the person that made an assumption based on skin color but nope, can't have that when little miss cob up her ass was around.

    So I'm sorry for the guys but after reading her comments I say good riddance to Ms PC Police, I hope she has trouble finding work because I've dealt with them before and if you want to take all the joy and happiness out of a workplace? just hire one of these little politically correct types and watch the mood deflate like air out of a balloon, they really need to lighten the fuck up.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:21PM (#43241567) Homepage

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:25PM (#43241609)

    A Funny force multiplier... that post just used more offensive language to a much larger audience than what cost this guy his job, and possibly a big hit to his career.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:25PM (#43241621)

    What if my 'frat buddies' are also my 'coworkers'? Black & White this is NOT...context matters regardless of work or personal settings and 'private conversation' should be worth something...eg. if 'you' get offended by something 'you' hear in a private conversation that clearly did not include you that's YOUR problem not mine...

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:44PM (#43241765) Homepage

    I'm a man and wouldn't feel comfortable working in an environment where woman were constantly talking about men's "packages" and making jokes about the server having PMT. Sorry, but if we have to work together then we both have to have some consideration for each other.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drcagn (715012) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:47PM (#43241797) Homepage

    How was it sexist to talk about big dicks? I'm sure if they talked about big boobs that would be "sexist" too?

    So is talking about sexual body parts inherently sexist or something?

    It seems to me that making that accusation in the first place, inherently, is sexist... as if women can't talk or hear about about body parts.

    This situation is especially funny to me, because I still do occasional support for my ex-girlfriend's mother's small business. She is an ultra-liberal feminazi type. I recall a few months ago mentioning a dongle... and she cracked a "haha dongle sounds like a slang word for penis" type of joke. I guess this means she must secretly hate women or something?

    Sure, it was probably an inappropriate joke to make in public--but because it was juvenile, not because it was "sexist." It seems me that Adria Richards saw some type of moment to be seen as a crusader for women and lost site of the actual non-issue at hand. Her website is "butyoureagirl.com," after all. She needs to take a step back and stop trying to define herself by the fact that she's a woman doing things that primarily men do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:52PM (#43241827)

    Let's say I'm a great technologist, awesome project manager and give good client-meeting, but when I hang out with my friends I refer to women as 'bitchez' and my favorite pasttime is thinking of them in the most physical way -- and on occasion penetrating said bitchez.

    My general attitude is that if you're offended, then you offend me with your rigid mindset and efforts to control the way I act and think.

    The basic problem here is that many feminists simply loathe male sexuality and its outward expression. They believe they have the right to determine what is 'acceptable' and what isn't.

    How is that philisophically different from condemning homosexuality?

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:58PM (#43241875)

    I still do occasional support for my ex-girlfriend's mother's small business. She is an ultra-liberal feminazi type. I recall a few months ago mentioning a dongle... and she cracked a "haha dongle sounds like a slang word for penis" type of joke.

    That is funny. And exactly the problem they have trying to make us men feel guilty about these things. They make the same comments, in the same innocent manner, and would be shocked if they found out that someone felt offended by their words. (Not that you were offended, I imagine.)

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:18PM (#43242033) Journal
    I cannot control how other people interpret my words no matter how carefully i fashion them. Words are extremely crude vessels for human thought. To say intent doesn't matter is incredibly naive.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:36PM (#43242197)

    But it wouldn't bother others of us at all. Why are your personal feelings more important than mine? Or why is a single person's feeling more important than the other twenty people they work with?

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@noSpAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:41PM (#43242249) Homepage Journal

    As I said, if she was uncomfortable asking them to stop having a private conversation that didn't include her that she found offensive she was welcome to seek a supervisor of some sort. She didn't, she instead took PICTURES, tweeted them, and screamed to the world that these guys were "bad people think of the children". Have you not read the crap she wrote? A Google cache exists http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://butyoureagirl.com/14015/forking-and-dongle-jokes-dont-belong-at-tech-conferences/ [googleusercontent.com]

    I'm sorry you have issues with confrontation. I find that if someone is annoying enough for me to shush them in a theater that any threats made by them are usually met by the growls of a dozen or more patrons around me. They also have these things called ushers, they can be asked to intercede on your behalf if you cannot stand up to others. I'm told they have these at conferences too, why they even have them at ballgames for when the dork in front of you gets too drunk and begins cursing the players in front of your child. These are the appropriate people to contact, not take pictures of the offending person and whine to the world about how they are just going to RUIN little Suzie's potential career. Spare me, she wanted attention, she got it, now she's discovered it cuts both ways - I hope she has a tough time finding another job as a result and gets to think deeply about her actions.

    Yes, she was out of line. If I'm offended am I justified in throwing a tantrum? NO. Do I demand that no one ever offend me? Is it a requirement? NO IT IS NOT! Do you really want to live in a world where you're not allowed to say anything that might offend another? Even while speaking to someone else in a public setting? I don't, not ever. Offending others isn't the end of the world and neither is "being bothered" by something. Grow up and please do not pass this crap onto your children.

    So NO, it should NOT have been a Federal case, It was a conversation that did NOT include her, that she actually misinterpreted, and that she had no reason to intercede in. She made a fool out of herself and out of her company for being a damned drama queen and I for one am quite happy to NOT work with people such as herself. The women I work with are reasonable and on the occasion that someone has offended them they have said something to the offender and the behavior has ceased without anyone having their paycheck dinged. If one of them say something I don't like I tell them too and it's not a problem. This is how adults handle themselves, this woman acted like a child.

  • by tftp (111690) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:53PM (#43242333) Homepage

    Did she never hear men talk before? Yes, sometimes we make rude jokes, some of which sexual-themed. All men do.

    It is much worse in a 100% (or nearly so) female company. I had a few brief jobs in places where most employees are women, and their jokes would make a grown man blush. Oh, and that would be spoken not occasionally, but all the time, interleaved only with lively debates about certain qualities of this or that person. An occasional man within an earshot is only seen as an extra spice in the dish; some women are even enjoying being "accidentally" overheard.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:55PM (#43242353)

    Oh good, so she's just a blithering idiot.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:56PM (#43242363)

    AFAIK this is the penis joke she made:

    http://i.imgur.com/1ND42rS.png [imgur.com]

    Whether or not you're into penis jokes it's, IMO, worth making a distinction between a talking loudly at a conference and a twitter mention. IIRC, her twitter post was semi-private, being automatically visible to the intended recipient (and potentially mutual followers) but nobody else. Someone could see that she posted that, but they'd have to go looking. Not only that, but twitter is a medium for both professional and casual postings. OTOH, if you're talking loud enough to be overheard in a crowded conference hall that's far less private, but is typically intended to be a more formal setting than twitter. From what I can tell, she wasn't eavesdropping, but the two guys were being loud enough to be disruptive (regardless of whether the topic of their conversation was appropriate or offensive).

    Look, I enjoy a good penis joke... but I you know what? I'm a guy and I get tired of the frat house / Bevis & Butthead mentality that seemingly pervades so many tech things. I went to the last MongoSF with my then-boss. At one of the talks I sat next to a woman who was an employee for a government contractor looking to glean some insight into fixing the problems they were having with their Oracle to Mongo migration. I spent some time before the talk picking her brain. At every opportunity my boss interrupted with jokes and comments that were off-topic at best. After the talk, my boss came up to me and asked if I got her number and if was going to fuck her. Is it really that hard to act in a semi-professional manner in public? Dunno, I've made a point of not going to tech conferences with my boss any longer, so. There's a time and a place for dick jokes, and a conference is neither that time nor that place.

    What amuses about this situation is how much all of the free speech champions are nailing Adria to the wall for someone else's actions. Free speech is good and well unless you don't agree with it or the reactions to it, right? Right-o.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:04PM (#43242431) Homepage

    No. It's not inherently sexual harassment.

    However people like to dilute the term to the point where it has no real meaning anymore.

    That's ultimately not a good thing for your little crusade.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:28PM (#43242585) Journal

    In today's corporate world, the test for "sexual harassment" is "made someone uncomfortable". No rationality applies. A manager can be sued personally (and lose) because someone on his team made a joke that made someone else feel uncomfortable. It has become over-the-top ridiculous these days.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:30PM (#43242601)

    "IRC, her twitter post was semi-private, being automatically visible to the intended recipient (and potentially mutual followers) but nobody else."

    Um, no. It depends entirely on how you are viewing Twitter. Since it wasn't a Direct Message, literally anybody could go to her Twitter page, for example, and see the tweet. So it was public as hell. In fact, if you think about it, her tweet was a hell of a lot more public than some stupid jokes at a conference, because only a few people heard that. But by now, thousands upon thousands of people have SEEN her tweet, not just heard about it third-hand.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:42PM (#43242703) Journal

    I guess this isn't going to be the generation that sexism finally becomes a historical artifact.

    It won't be. Nor will it be the next generation, or the one after it - so long as we keep redefining "sexism".

    (Joking about "dongles" is not sexist, in case you didn't get the idea. Inappropriate in a professional conference, yes, definitely. Sexist, no.)

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:49PM (#43242763)
    This. Thank you.

    Plus, it drives me crazy when women (I have known many of them) try to call anything that makes them personally uncomfortable with "sexism".

    Believe it or not, one time another woman at work said it to my face, in so many words: "Sexism is anything that makes me uncomfortable." [emphasis mine] She really did. My jaw hit the floor. Because anybody can be "uncomfortable" about anything. That is not a social standard. It's the sort of thing said by someone who is either terminally insecure, or a power monger. Take your pick.

    In the case of Adria, I vote for power monger. Look at this tweet. [twitter.com] Joan of Arc, my lily white ass. At least Joan actually had the guts to go to war. She didn't just have people assassinated.

    I have news for you guys... but maybe it isn't news after all: in the locker room, women are just as crude and lewd as men are. They just try to pretend otherwise in public.

    In this case... well, I'll just say she needs to grow up. Maybe getting fired will wise her up a little.
  • Re:More facetime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:50PM (#43242775)

    You're missing the most insidious point of all, which is that a certain segment of anti-offense activists believe that EVERY time a man talks about sex it involves the objectifcation of women. I.e. it is impossible for men, because they are men, to not objectify women in relation to sex.

    Chew on that; it's pretty fucked up.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:52PM (#43242785) Journal

    Me.

    So, can we string her up now that there is a self-professed aggrieved party, or is there more to it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:52PM (#43242791)

    1. They were sitting right behind her. What, they didn't notice she was there?

    2. Look at the expressions on the two men's faces in Richards' picture.

    3. The tech industry has a bad rap for promoting or even hiring women. It's easy for developers to denigrate women in stereotypic fashion without being contradicted. I see it here on Slashdot on a regular basis - the attacks on Richards in this thread are representative examples.

    4. The SendGrid CEO got it very wrong. I suspect he may be pandering to the majority of males that make up his potential customer base. Looking at this thread (and from reading previous threads on Slashdot having to do with women in the tech industry), he probably realizes that most people he's trying to sell to will agree with him.

    I wouldn't want to work in a company run by him.

    Richards should not have been fired. The CEO or someone of his designation should have had a long conversation with her first, with the aim of listening more than lecturing.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:00PM (#43242845) Journal

    I'm not trying to conflate off colour comments with rape - but they are all part of the same spectrum (opposite ends) which says men can impose their sexuality on women in whatever form they want at whatever time they want and if a woman complains she's at fault, humourless or contributed to provoking the men to act that way in the first place.

    Right, because men are never [wikipedia.org] automatically assumed guilty by accusation in a rape case.
     

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:01PM (#43242855)

    a distinction between a talking loudly at a conference and a twitter mention. IIRC, her twitter post was semi-private...OTOH, if you're talking loud enough to be overheard in a crowded conference hall that's far less private

    You have it wrong. A twitter is permanent, deliberately documented, and publicly available. An overheard conversation is anything but. Your claim that twitter is somehow more private is ludicrous - this /. post wouldn't exist if it were. Likewise, their conversation wouldn't be known except for her publicizing it via twitter.

    Free speech is good and well unless you don't agree with it or the reactions to it, right? Right-o.

    And you don't see the irony? She obviously agrees with you. She thinks she has the right to post their pictures and quote a private conversation in public, but they're wrong for making a dirty joke (which wasn't directed or told to her) in private conversation?

    People have no right to not be offended. They need to get over it and learn some tolerance.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by greenbird (859670) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:13PM (#43242939)

    The only thing that makes a difference is your judgement. If you showed bad judgement, even if you're intent was innocent, then you might be too dumb to employ.

    If you're so sensitive that you find something as stupid and mundane as that intolerable offensive you lack the judgement to interact with people. Pretty much any statement could be interpreted as offensive by someone. Expecting everyone to read your mind to ensure they don't say anything that might offend you is asinine. You have no right not to be offended.

  • by Macgrrl (762836) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:16PM (#43242971)

    I think you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I don't think every woman is a delicate flower unable to withstand even the slightest breeze. I have worked in predominately male environments, first in construction and then IT for over 20 years and have stood my own ground any time I've needed to.

    There is however a problem that most women face where the blokey culture can be excluding to women or derogatory and on rare occasions threatening. I've worked with people who thought that on face value that I would be incompetent based purely on the contents of my underwear even though I was generally the team leader of the relevant team based on experience and merit.

    I've had colleagues about whom I've struggled with the decision on whether I should tell them their behaviour was offensive and whether telling them would make any difference. They were the type of guys who would make quite explicit comments about other female coworkers, clients or vendors in front of me and made me wonder what they said about me behind my back.

    As a team leader I've had to talk to team members about bullying of a young coworker who was gay. I've mentored young female graduates who have had older coworkers make suggestive comments and persistently ask them out when they've said no. In most cases I've dealt with it within the team without involving HR - though these days they prefer to have everything on record just in case.

    The point I made in my previous post was that we don't know exactly what she heard - or thought she heard. We weren't there. And that it is always difficult to judge at what point to say "No, Stop". Maybe she pulled the trigger early and Twitter probably wasn't the smartest move. As a result people will dismiss other complaints like hers in much the same way people joke about the woman who sued McDonalds for spilling coffee on herself without knowing the facts of the case.

    There are serious issues in how women are treated in IT and other male dominated businesses. A lot of them are to do with male entitlement and are expressed in the form of sexual harassment. There is no clear litmus test that defines 'this is acceptable' but 'that is not acceptable' and the boundary can vary from person to person and how they are feeling on the day. This will probably always cause conflict, or at least for many years to come. Certainly most guys are working to improve how they behave around women in the workplace, but there are also plenty of neanderthals still out there and coming to the party fresh from college and university.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:26PM (#43243013)

    This is a direct quote taken from her writings, as in she was not quoting anyone, she directly said this:

    Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive. Theyâ(TM)re intended for network connectivity and to service as physical licence keys for software. Iâ(TM)d consulted in the past with an automotive shop that needed data recovery and technical support. I know what PCMCIA dongles look like.

    She used the word dongle twice, but even worse, she used the term license key which deeply hurts and offends me even more.

    I demand she be ejected from the internet and barred never to return again!

    At least I know she will understand and thus willingly do so, since we can't have a world where people like her do things that might offend someone else like me.

    Of course I'm sure she won't leave the internet quietly or willingly. Fucking hypocrites. Always trying to offend others and then demand special treatment for themselves as some kind of exception to their own rules.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Macman408 (1308925) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:30PM (#43243047)

    I've been watching a lot of Mad Men recently, and your first full paragraph sounds to me like something one of the incumbent males would say on that show, or in that era in general.

    Part of the problem with this whole thing lies in the power dynamic. As white males (well, at least I am - and I suspect a large number of others here are too), we are rarely put in situations where we are not in power. We dominate government, corporate management, high-paying jobs, and just about every other thing that in some way confers or implies power.

    On the other hand I imagine that some women in the tech industry feel about as comfortable as I would if I were walking through Harlem alone at night. I've been to developer conferences, and there can be 100 men to every woman. The speakers are men, the attendees are men, the organizers are men. At events like these, despite the professional atmosphere, women are likely to be pursued sexually - with so few women, this attention becomes very focused, and might seem nonstop to the women. Even if it comes from many different people, (who have no idea that she was just asked out two minutes ago, or ogled thirty seconds ago) it obviously can start feeling like you're a piece of meat for sale. The men, on the other hand, might only ask out a single woman the whole time (because that's the only one they interact with), and don't see what the problem is. Or they might make just a single sexual joke.

    If you believe that women have a right to be in the workplace, then I think you should believe that they have a right to feel as safe and respected as we do, and that they should not have to endure a hostile workplace just because "we were here first" or "there's more of us".

    The best thing we can do is be aware of what we're doing, and acknowledge that we can behave better. None of us are perfect (especially me, I love inappropriate jokes) - yes, women make these jokes too, and it's usually a lot easier for men to brush it off because they aren't subjected to it as often, and because we're still in the position of power. Also, "but mommy, she was doing it too!" didn't work when we were kids, and it doesn't work now either.

    And, in this light, I agree with a common opinion that just about everybody behaved badly here - the men for making jokes in what should be a reasonably professional environment, the press for making a big deal about it (I was going to say that some of this was the woman's fault, but her tweet wasn't really seeking attention - just asking for help - so I feel like it's less her fault than others'), and the employers for not handling the situation in a way that would be more positive for those involved.

  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:10PM (#43243269) Homepage

    You know, I try to avoid making comments on things I know are going to be controversial because I'm always going to piss off xx% of people, and I really don't set out to piss off anyone. (Except when I do...) But sometimes, something so heinously, irredeemably, goddamn stupid happens, and I have to vent or I'll simply explode. So here goes all my friggin' karma... PLEASE NOTE: My opinions are simply based on events as they have been described.

    While I wish I could be all diplomatic and say that everyone involved shares the blame for this incident, that wouldn't be honest. He's a nerd, making nerd jokes, to another nerd, at a nerd convention. The stuff he supposedly said is just silly. Sure, there's SORT OF innuendo there, but it's like middle school stuff. There was nothing overtly-sexual or graphic about it, and he was having what he thought was an at least semi-private conversation. It was those two computer nerds in WarGames. It wasn't a truck stop on the Jersey turnpike.

    I get that she found it offensive, and that's her right. But the fact that she was (supposedly) smiling as she took the damning TwitPic just seems... I don't know. Malicious? What was that supposed to be? "Heh, I'll fix YOU! I'm going to tell the INTERNET!" The whole thing just seems so damned petty.

    Replace her phone with a gun, and now we're closer to what happened; *Bang!* There goes your job.

    Let's take that analogy and run with it, as one might with a pair of scissors! (Well, as I might, anyway.) If I overhear someone making dumb comments behind me, I'm probably going to just roll my eyes. The most I might do, is tell them to shut up. I'm not going to turn around and SHOOT them. (Probably.)

    She defends her actions, saying that in order to make the IT industry safe for women, she HAD to shoot him.

    I really don't want to sound biased just because I'm a guy, because on its most fundamental level this has nothing to do with gender. Look at the situation; You have two people carrying on a private conversation, albeit a dumb and juvenile one. A third person overhears them, and instead of asking them to kindly shut the hell up snaps a photograph of them, grabs the internet bullhorn (With which they are apparently quite skilled), and says "Internet, you wouldn't BELIEVE what these two bozos just said!". Then one of those 'bozos' loses his job. Twitter shaming; No less asinine and juvenile than the dongle jokes.

    I want to see more women in the tech industries, I want to see more female makers and tinkerers. Why? It's not just because I think we need more beauty to balance out the neckbeards. It's because I think technology and making things are TOTALLY FUCKIN' AWESOME and everyone deserves a turn!

    This is not how that happens. This is how the gap gets bigger. Please stop. Sexual harassment is a completely reprehensible thing, and it happens way too often. In the tech industry, in every industry, in society in-general. But every time an incident like this gets ink, it only makes things harder on those experiencing legitimate harassment.

    Okay, putting all that aside, so far, this has just been my reaction to what actually happened at PyCon. That was admittedly a very small slice of the pi--incident. (I couldn't go through with it, sorry.) Let's talk about the aftermath.

    So, 'Mr-Hank' loses his job... That's really unfortunate... I think his employer overreacted, but the reality is, with the way everything goes viral these days, dropping him like he's radioactive and ON FIRE probably seemed like the best course of action from a PR standpoint, since it was like he was very publicly being accused of sexual harassment, and you don't play around with that. I even feel bad about his apology, because while it was ultimately the right thing to do, it just felt like too much for what he did, like it was just more shaming...

    Ms. Richards loses her job, which is also unfortunate, but I can't say that I hold her blameless. Her employer had no choice but to fire her; they're a media

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:11PM (#43243271) Journal

    Part of the problem with this whole thing lies in the power dynamic. As white males (well, at least I am - and I suspect a large number of others here are too), we are rarely put in situations where we are not in power.

    I'm a white male and am in situations where I am not in power all the time. The way the corporate world works puts engineers at the bottom of the org chart.

    On the other hand I imagine that some women in the tech industry feel about as comfortable as I would if I were walking through Harlem alone at night.

    Except in Harlem at night, particularly if you chose to walk through the grounds of a housing project, you might actually run across persons who not only feel you do not belong in their neighborhood, but are perfectly willing to enforce their preferences with violence. And you will have no one who will back you up, during or after the fact. Comparing geeks to gangbangers is ridiculous.

    If you believe that women have a right to be in the workplace, then I think you should believe that they have a right to feel as safe and respected as we do

    How they feel is largely up to them. If they're going to feel disrespected because someone somewhere made a dick joke, or unsafe because there's a lot of guys around, that's not something anyone needs to cater to.

    Also, "but mommy, she was doing it too!" didn't work when we were kids, and it doesn't work now either.

    You don't see a problem with a person trying to establish a standard and punish another person for violating it, when she herself does not follow said standard? There's a related legal principle called "unclean hands"... sometimes "she did it too" does apply.

    (I was going to say that some of this was the woman's fault, but her tweet wasn't really seeking attention - just asking for help - so I feel like it's less her fault than others')

    Naa, that's BS. Did you read her whole mock-heroic (though I think the 'mock' was unintentional) description of her rationale?

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:22PM (#43243319)

    I'd prefer to say until the day it's equally tasteful for women to talk about men's dick size as it is for men to talk about women's cunt size.

    But in my entire life, I've never heard anyone talk about a woman's cunt size.

    A more fair analogy would be when men can talk about the size of a woman's wallet the way women talk about a man's butt then the sexes will be gender blind.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pseudonym Authority (1591027) <(SammyKake) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:37PM (#43243389)
    Why should I have to mind my tongue just in case an eavesdropping cunt like Adrian is hiding around in the bushes waiting for an opportunity to promote herself?
  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:13AM (#43243513)

    Intent does not make a difference.

    Intent makes ALL the difference in humor and satire. Without intent, there would be no such thing as irony.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:15AM (#43243531)

    Worse, she's a blithering idiot with a following of other blithering idiots.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:32AM (#43243569)

    Even more so since it seems like it was predicated on what sounded like an explicable, rectifiable employee mistake.

    She posted an image of two guys and accused them of misogyny, then compared herself with Joan Of Arc when people started complaining she was out of line. THEN she claimed her company backed her, basically implying her company agreed with all of her actions and subsequent writing.

    All of this pubic on the internet. How exactly do you "rectify" all that? You can't un-post everything, it's all way too public and endlessly re-quoted. Not possible.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday March 22, 2013 @03:24AM (#43244187)

    Why should I risk personal harm in defending my rights, when the government exists to defend them?

    Oh, I don't know. Perhaps because you'd like to be able to face yourself in the mirror when you get up in the morning?

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wienerschnizzel (1409447) on Friday March 22, 2013 @03:41AM (#43244247)

    First off, the jokes (as described) were juvenile, but in no way misogynistic.

    This.

    She didn't even bother to look up what the term 'sexism' means before going on a tantrum.

    What she think it means: Any kind of language oriented on sexual organs or any kind of sexual acts.

    What it means: Sexism /noun/ - Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

    A couple of examples:

    Not sexism: "I'd like to fondle my dongle." "I want to have sex with that girl".

    Sexism: "OMG a woman behind a steering wheel! Everybody run for cover!" "Get back into the kitchen, biatch!"

    Of course, there is this other thing, called "sexual harassment" which does include things like asking somebody for sexual favors. However, from what I can gather, this is not what the guys in question did. They were not addressing her or even talking about her. It really was just a case of using foul language.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2013 @05:52AM (#43244723)

    I am female and have worked in IT since leaving school, studied Computer Science at uni, and have worked in tech support environments since. My experience has been mixed, and I think the point the lady was trying (albeit badly) to make was that encouraging more females to enter a male-dominated career is really important, and super difficult. Most girls don't want to have to deal with the fact that geeks are kind of juvanile. And I say geeks - NOT males. I have said things and acted in ways in my youth that I look back on with shame. I have always identified better with the 'male' persona - though really it is just the geek environment. I would never have survived on a building site - I am far too shy. I have to put up with regular comments while walking down the street about - either how sexy I look or how ugly (make your mind up, 13 year old boys).

    There is something freeing about being in a geek community. For most of your young life you are suppresed by the popular and outspoken crowd. Once you go to uni and join with other geeks you are suddenly part of a unit that is just like you, and you identify with it. It's wonderful. For the first time ever in your life, you feel some power. And with that bonding axperience comes stupidity and inappropriate joking. You are trying to grow up, and later on you will learn - usually by people politely calling you on bad behaviour. It can feel bad at the time, but later (if you are turning into a reasonable adult) you realise it was a really good thing.

    I think it would be really helpful to realise this, and be proud of this, and for guys and gals to stop going on about it when they are looking at it in completely the wrong way. Let's all work on encouraging girls into IT. Stop scaring them off with stories about guy geeks being awful. And let's have all good-guy-geeks unite in calling on those rare idiots who make a stupid, genuinely inappropriate comment and making it clear that that shit is unwelcome. But let's not totally ruin people's lives for saying the odd wrong thing. We all take time to grow up, and learn, and realise what happens beyond our own perception-bubbles. Give them a chance to think, explain to them why it's wrong. Allow them to disagree, or not. If they KEEP being dicks after that, life will usually deal with them. Exclude them from the community.

    So I never had a problem during university. I was seen as a rarity, one of about 6 girls out of 250 on the course in my year group. I had an incident with a professor who assumed I didn't know how to use a mouse, but I lauged about it later with friends - it didn't seem a big deal and in fact made me hungry to prove myself (feminists may argue whether that is healthy, I haven't time to debate that right now). During that same class I was the first person to successfully write a Hello World program in Java. So that showed him. I guess it's a shame I 'needed' to show him - but whatever.

    Later on I got a job out in the real world. I worked in a call centre for a major IT name (holding back to retain some anonymity - yes, I'm afraid to speak on these topics openly - this is part of the problem) covering a night shift since we provided round-the-world support. There were around 10-15 of us on this shift, and there was one guy who was utterly disgusting. He would tell jovial tales about his various hook-ups with women outside of work. It was graphic in detail - one story is forever etched on my brain where he described pounding a woman so hard that he split her open between her anus and her vagina. He hadn't realised he'd done it - he described going down on her afterwards and tasting metallic blood and thinking, hey, she's on her period. Nevermind, I'll carry on. He never called her afterwards, but bumped into her a few months later. "You really hurt me", she said. He was getting ready for the usual experience when meeting a one night stand after the fact, but was surprised to find she meant - literally. He split her open, and she needed reconstructive surgery. Haha.

    Now I remember being u

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:23AM (#43245147) Journal

    Why is it so hard to keep it clean around women?

    Wait, I have to change my behaviour depending on the gender of the person I'm with? You sexist fuck.

    I treat women equally. It's what I've been told my entire life that I must do. Now you're telling me I'll get into shit for it?

    I can't win. I wont play if I can't win. Fuck 'em, they can deal with it or they can fuck off.

    In the workplace this translates to: I bitch about the company having a 'Women's Network' and not a Men's one. (Hell, I joined the Women's Network - to be fair, they welcomed me.) I point out the hypocrisy that men have to wear suit+tie, women can wear slacks+t-shirt. I point out that giving carparking spaces to women ahead of men "because they're scared of being attacked" is actually counter-intuitive, given that men are far more likely to be attacked. I bitch about the disparity between maternity and paternity pay. I bitch when a man is expected to work longer hours but the woman is allowed to leave early for her kids. (Hey - that man has kids too!)

    I also support women getting promoted, getting equal pay and being able to make the same politically incorrect jokes as men. Just don't expect me to act differently because they're women.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ffflala (793437) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:04AM (#43245449)

    If you believe that women have a right to be in the workplace, then I think you should believe that they have a right to feel as safe and respected as we do...

    This is the only part I disagree with. I don't believe people have a "right to feel" anything. Had you said "they have a right to BE as safe and respected as we are" I'd be with you 100%.

    And maybe that's part of the problem. A lot of human interaction, in the workplace, involves disrespect. Happens between men, happens between women. Even non-sexual disrespect between men and women can occur. But people respond differently to scenarios: what can make one person feel uncomfortable can make another feel amused and yet another feel nothing in particular at all. We can and should shape our behavior when working and interacting in groups, but using the feelings of others as our guide seems like a very poor way of going about it. Rather, developing explicit, fair standards of behavior seems to me the better way to go.

    For example: do not commit violence, and do not intentionally disrespect others. If such an environment can be created --and I believe it can-- however one person might feel in an environment where they actually are safe and respected is a personal matter of their own. Claims of wrongful behavior can be reviewed using these more objective guidelines --was it violent? Was it disrespectful?-- rather than bothering with the necessarily subjective moving target of how it made someone else feel.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:15AM (#43246159)

    So I should risk harm because my rights are so important.

    That is correct.

    If I'm not willing to die for my rights, I shouldn't have them.

    It's not that you shouldn't have them; everyone should have them. It's that you cannot reasonably expect to keep them when at the first challenge you willingly abandon them. Obviously then you will eventually lose your rights.

    Great elitist attitude you have there.

    To be an elitist would mean that I demanded other people protect my rights while I sat on a couch, fanning myself and eating grapes.

    To be for the commoner is to realize that unless everyone is willing to fight for basic rights, everyone is in danger of losing them. People like you are the weak link that allows rights to be diminished for everyone - after all you are in a real position of power compared to the poor, so when you do not fight for your rights the rights of a thousand thousand others fall.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anyGould (1295481) on Friday March 22, 2013 @02:02PM (#43249789)

    She was as safe as she could *ever* be in any crowd in that room.

    Yes, because men have such a long-standing and renowned respect for women's opinions, particularly when being told that they might be a bit disrespectful.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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