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Author Topic: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience  (Read 4396 times)

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Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2013, 01:43:46 AM »
I am skeptical of the defense of the forking comments, but willing to accept it weakly. It is possible to use it in this way, yes. It's also certainly possible for it to be sexualized, and it's not like we've got any impartial party weighing in - or even the actual wording or context. As to the reason only one was fired... this makes sense, yes.

Perhaps, but I managed to find the post again: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681

Edit: Probably should note that while some of the comments can be insightful, a lot of them can be pretty vitriolic as well.  Reader beware.  Also, Adria put up her own response to his response, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5399047.  Same warning about harsh comments.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 01:47:59 AM by Sethala »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #51 on: March 31, 2013, 02:07:15 AM »
Perhaps, but I managed to find the post again: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681

Edit: Probably should note that while some of the comments can be insightful, a lot of them can be pretty vitriolic as well.  Reader beware.  Also, Adria put up her own response to his response, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5399047.  Same warning about harsh comments.
...having read that, I'm willing to accept his explanation, but not the unfortunate attitude about how she got him fired. His employer chose to fire him; the closest she came to having anything to do with that outcome (which she explicitly did not want or seek in any way) was documenting his poor behaviour.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #52 on: March 31, 2013, 02:09:33 AM »
How many of these were in a professional context?

All of them, I didn't interact with them outside of my work place.  A computer tech center for Hewlett Packard Handhelds and Laptops.

Quote
EDIT: I do want to take a moment to thank you for expanding on your position in a thoughtful and reasonable manner. I still seem to disagree with you on some key points, but I appreciate the response to my request.
I try to be as amenable as possible.  I know that people have had different experiences than mine, and for some odd reason, mine seem to be different than most other people.

Now that I think on it, it might just be I'm more willing to call it out.  Personal experience, of course, nothing verifiable.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #53 on: March 31, 2013, 06:43:34 AM »
All of them, I didn't interact with them outside of my work place.  A computer tech center for Hewlett Packard Handhelds and Laptops.
Then those were highly questionable at best, too.

Offline consortium11

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #54 on: March 31, 2013, 07:51:01 AM »
In all honesty I struggle to get particularly motivated either way on this controversy.

Basically because I think the eventual end result is basically right.

Two gentlemen are involved in a conversation with a sexual element/humour which is in direct contravention of the convention rules. More than that it made at least one of the people in the vicinity uncomfortable. That's the sort of behaviour that should be pointed out... and pointed out why it's wrong. Now, losing your job may be a seemingly harsh punishment for what was little more than some crude humour between friends but the reality is that's the risk that people face in a professional event such as this (and despite their reputation as being a bit of a jolly, conventions are a professional environment). I've worked as a lawyer at a high profile corporate firm; they wouldn't care if I got drunk and made a bit of an arse out of myself on my own time (within reason). If I was at an event where I was representing the firm on the other hand...

But Ms. Richards didn't either point out the behaviour at the time or, if she was unwilling or uncomfortable mentioning it to the pair directly, telling the convention staff about it. She instead publicly named and shamed them without the pair having a chance to explain or apologise (hence the slight argument about what was meant by "forking"). She essentially set herself up in a sort of martyr position (and quotes like "Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard" certainly fall into that category). I'm somewhat reluctant to say "she handled it badly" or other such wording because it falls dangerously close to the tone argument. However, from what I understand of her job role, she needs to have the trust and respect of the development community. The way she publicly named and shamed the pair meant she lost that and so I'm not outraged that she in turn lost her job.

Just to mention one thing that I dislike in the discussions.

A lot of people have been bringing up the fact that she herself has made dick-jokes in the semi-public (and also semi-professional) world of twitter. I can't see the relevance outside of a cheap way to do ad-hominum attacks ("OMG hypocrite!" and the like). I don't believe it's either controversial or anything but common sense that people may be happy to use certain terminology or a certain type of humour in one place with one group of people that they wouldn't in set of circumstances. To take the most obvious one, a number of minorities have at least attempted to reclaim words that were traditionally used as insults against them. The most obvious is the n-word and the way its become almost a term of endearment in certain circles... but the same could be said for "bitch", "fag" (to even things as mundane as "geek" or "nerd") or countless others. I think we can all see that because someone is happy for their friends to call them the n-word (or even a wider view where they wouldn't object to any black person using it) they would if a white person did.

Adria was comfortable exchanging dick jokes with someone she knew in a certain context (although if someone who read the exchange had been offended they'd have been perfectly entitled to point it out). The fact that she wasn't comfortable overhearing dick jokes in a different context is in no way hypocritical of that... and she was perfectly entitled to point it out.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #55 on: March 31, 2013, 07:58:04 AM »
But Ms. Richards didn't either point out the behaviour at the time or, if she was unwilling or uncomfortable mentioning it to the pair directly, telling the convention staff about it. She instead publicly named and shamed them without the pair having a chance to explain or apologise (hence the slight argument about what was meant by "forking"). She essentially set herself up in a sort of martyr position (and quotes like "Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard" certainly fall into that category). I'm somewhat reluctant to say "she handled it badly" or other such wording because it falls dangerously close to the tone argument. However, from what I understand of her job role, she needs to have the trust and respect of the development community. The way she publicly named and shamed the pair meant she lost that and so I'm not outraged that she in turn lost her job.

Curiosity here: Given that the only contact info available for staff was phone numbers, how was she supposed to have notified them without rudely leaving in the middle of the presentation or even more rudely whipping out her phone and talking on it?

Offline consortium11

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #56 on: March 31, 2013, 08:11:54 AM »
Curiosity here: Given that the only contact info available for staff was phone numbers, how was she supposed to have notified them without rudely leaving in the middle of the presentation or even more rudely whipping out her phone and talking on it?

1) Wait till the end of the presentation and inform them in person.

2) Text message

3) Direct message on Twitter

4) Email (about 20 seconds on their website brought up this list of contact details)

5) Public tweet without any specific details of the pair asking for someone to contact her.

That's basically off the top of my head...

Offline Endorphin

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #57 on: March 31, 2013, 08:14:15 AM »
That incident is such a sad reflection on society.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #58 on: March 31, 2013, 09:49:06 AM »
1) Wait till the end of the presentation and inform them in person.
Which does what to solve the currently-unfolding problem?

2) Text message
Assuming those numbers are cell phones, which they may or may not be.

3) Direct message on Twitter
Was unaware that Twitter allows this, actually. Perhaps this would have been better.

4) Email (about 20 seconds on their website brought up this list of contact details)
Which was there at the time? Not the impression I was given earlier.

5) Public tweet without any specific details of the pair asking for someone to contact her.
...which would, I'm sure, have gotten timely and serious attention. Right.

Offline consortium11

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #59 on: March 31, 2013, 10:10:59 AM »
Which does what to solve the currently-unfolding problem?

But the problem wasn't unfolding. It had unfolded. The pair cracked their jokes (and from what we know then stopped). Ms Richards waited until a natural break in proceedings (the end of an introduction), stood up and took the photo. She then waited a little more and then sent the tweet. A few minutes later some staff came to her, they went outside and had a conversation, they came back in, she pointed out the pair and they were then escorted out. The "jokes" (and I use the term loosely) were by all accounts done and dusted by then.

Assuming those numbers are cell phones, which they may or may not be.

But they may have been (and Ms Richard's has spoken about exchanging text messages with conference staff). More, there's no indication that she ever thought about doing anything but tweeting.

Was unaware that Twitter allows this, actually. Perhaps this would have been better.

I believe both participants have to follow each other to be able to send DMs, so it may or may not have been a practical option,

Which was there at the time? Not the impression I was given earlier.

The website doesn't appear to have been updated since prior to the event (hence why there's a reference to sorting out visas on there).

...which would, I'm sure, have gotten timely and serious attention. Right.

I think if someone sent a tweet along the lines of "Why are @PyCon allowing blatant sexism and misogyny in the conference; who do I talk to about this #pycon" would have got someone from pycon's attention pretty quickly.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2013, 11:41:23 AM »
I don't mind crude humour and if they had been just joking about having a big dongle then I would be fine with that personally. However they were allegedly joking about how they'd like to "fork" a particular person with their "big dongle" and to me that crosses a line into an inappropriate area.

Then on the other side, publicly posting a person's photo online without their permission is a huge breach of a person's privacy. This is also inappropriate behaviour.

I think all parties involved acted very poorly indeed, however I have a lot of sympathy for Adria Richard's point of view here. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm aggravated that the person they were talking about was there simply to do a presentation of some sort and was viewed as a purely sexual object. I think that this does create a barrier for women to enter technological fields.

I do not think this justifies her actions though.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2013, 12:26:13 PM »
But the problem wasn't unfolding. It had unfolded. The pair cracked their jokes (and from what we know then stopped). Ms Richards waited until a natural break in proceedings (the end of an introduction), stood up and took the photo. She then waited a little more and then sent the tweet. A few minutes later some staff came to her, they went outside and had a conversation, they came back in, she pointed out the pair and they were then escorted out. The "jokes" (and I use the term loosely) were by all accounts done and dusted by then.
If someone was still made uncomfortable, then the situation was still unfolding. Not until that was dealt with is it over.

But they may have been (and Ms Richard's has spoken about exchanging text messages with conference staff). More, there's no indication that she ever thought about doing anything but tweeting.
So your ideal response is "Fire messages that may or may not be received and are not documented off, then sit and wait for something to happen"? Seems like a poor way to get things done.

I believe both participants have to follow each other to be able to send DMs, so it may or may not have been a practical option,
...striking the only less-public option likely to get a quick response from the list. What are the chances that an event feed is following every attending employee of every sponsor?

The website doesn't appear to have been updated since prior to the event (hence why there's a reference to sorting out visas on there).
Here I know you're wrong, as there has been a policy update since.

I think if someone sent a tweet along the lines of "Why are @PyCon allowing blatant sexism and misogyny in the conference; who do I talk to about this #pycon" would have got someone from pycon's attention pretty quickly.
Maybe. Or maybe it would have been written off as generalized bitching and not a specific currently-ongoing issue, and swept under the rug. All too common.

The story here is that she asked the conference to enforce its policy, in a specific and practical manner that happened to include publicly available documentation. This is not wrong. The firings were - but hers more so than his, given that this is the action that led to her firing. Why is his the one that is called out as shameful, and hers defended as just? Why is every action she took at any point prior, during, or afterward under intense scrutiny for any excuse to justify what happened to her, when we don't even get his name?


Then on the other side, publicly posting a person's photo online without their permission is a huge breach of a person's privacy. This is also inappropriate behaviour.
No, no it isn't. He had zero reasonable expectation of privacy. I reiterate: If you don't want to be publicly shamed, maybe you shouldn't do something you're ashamed of in public.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2013, 12:32:53 PM »
Here I know you're wrong, as there has been a policy update since.

Just for the record, according to the wayback machine there were emails on the website on Jan 22nd, so long before the incident - http://web.archive.org/web/20130122045437/https://us.pycon.org/2013/about/staff/

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #63 on: March 31, 2013, 12:38:12 PM »
Just for the record, according to the wayback machine there were emails on the website on Jan 22nd, so long before the incident - http://web.archive.org/web/20130122045437/https://us.pycon.org/2013/about/staff/
Then I stand corrected on this point. I know that, in her position, I'd be uncomfortable using email as a channel, though - there are a lot of cases of conventions - even ones that claim to be trying to raise female participation! - that have swept incidents for which no public documentation was available under the rug, or pretended afterward they didn't happen. (I'm looking at you, TAM.) Perhaps this affected her choice of medium?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2013, 12:40:39 PM »
Oh yeah, Im not making any point about whether she should have used email or whatever, just clearing up a point of discussion.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2013, 12:56:10 PM »
I don't mind crude humour and if they had been just joking about having a big dongle then I would be fine with that personally. However they were allegedly joking about how they'd like to "fork" a particular person with their "big dongle" and to me that crosses a line into an inappropriate area.

Then on the other side, publicly posting a person's photo online without their permission is a huge breach of a person's privacy. This is also inappropriate behaviour.

I think all parties involved acted very poorly indeed, however I have a lot of sympathy for Adria Richard's point of view here. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm aggravated that the person they were talking about was there simply to do a presentation of some sort and was viewed as a purely sexual object. I think that this does create a barrier for women to enter technological fields.

I do not think this justifies her actions though.

I want to note that, as far as I can tell, Adria was the only female party that was actually involved in anything.  The speaker onstage when everything happened is male, and while the gender of the speaker that the two men were referring to in Adria's recollection of events wasn't specified, I would find it highly unlikely that she would omit a detail like that if they were talking about a female presenter.  So there wasn't any particular person that was being objectified. 

The story here is that she asked the conference to enforce its policy, in a specific and practical manner that happened to include publicly available documentation. This is not wrong. The firings were - but hers more so than his, given that this is the action that led to her firing. Why is his the one that is called out as shameful, and hers defended as just? Why is every action she took at any point prior, during, or afterward under intense scrutiny for any excuse to justify what happened to her, when we don't even get his name?

Personally, I would think that sending a picture text message to the staff would be far more effective than posting it on twitter and hoping to get a response.  She had the phone numbers of staff, and I highly doubt they'd give individual peoples' phone numbers if they were landlines.  (It's also clear that her phone is able to send picture messages, since she's able to post a picture to Twitter from it, so that's not an issue.)

Regardless of what the proper procedure would have been to alert staff to the men making jokes, what I don't get is why is it acceptable to then make a lengthy blog post calling him out on his actions?  I'm not completely convinced that tweeting his picture was the best way to do things, but I'm willing to accept it's not as bad as I first thought and it's a reasonable step to take.  I'm also willing to accept things if she later contacted PlayHaven's HR department to lodge a formal complaint with the company about his actions - it's clear that he was there in an official manner and that he should be considered as "working", so his actions reflect on his company and he should be held responsible for them.  If PlayHaven had fired him after discreetly being told about his actions, I'd also be fine with that - in that case, it would be a matter between PlayHaven and the man himself, and while it would be influenced by Adria's complaint, it would be entirely up to company policy.

After a public shaming like this however, it's not up to the company's own policies and procedures.  It's up to their PR department, and Adria is using her political clout to force them to take action when they might not have otherwise.  A post like that, calling them out for their actions and calling out their company, puts the company in a very tight position that is difficult to simply ignore.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2013, 01:08:31 PM »
No, no it isn't. He had zero reasonable expectation of privacy. I reiterate: If you don't want to be publicly shamed, maybe you shouldn't do something you're ashamed of in public.

So you believe that it is appropriate to take photos of people in public places and report a conversation you overheard being undertaken with someone else to the entire planet?

I don't. I guess we're just not going to agree on this one.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #67 on: March 31, 2013, 01:17:34 PM »
I want to note that, as far as I can tell, Adria was the only female party that was actually involved in anything.  The speaker onstage when everything happened is male, and while the gender of the speaker that the two men were referring to in Adria's recollection of events wasn't specified, I would find it highly unlikely that she would omit a detail like that if they were talking about a female presenter.  So there wasn't any particular person that was being objectified.

Oh sorry, I misinterpreted the original article. I just reread it and I see where I went wrong.

So... wait... where's the sexism? I don't get it. What's she complaining about?

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #68 on: March 31, 2013, 01:27:11 PM »
Yeah, just been reading some blog articles and whatnot about this.

Her tweet was a general one, not directed at PyCon, I think the argument that she was using that to file a report is weakened by the utter lack of any @PyCon or similar - anything to suggest she was aiming it at them.  Further she states in her blog post that she then text messaged the staff.  What, then, was the point of tweeting? And the fact they saw it without it being directed at them means they were following her (as I understand it) so the direct message was an option.

Further even if there is some point to the tweet that I don't see, what was the point of the photo?  She could simply have given her location, she mentions that one of the staff came to her and she pointed the two of them out.  There's no benefit to including the photo other than to cause a fuss.

I actually am beginning to agree with Louise.

Obviously the vitriol being directed at her is waaaay over the top and somewhat worrying.  And, as mentioned earlier, two wrongs certainly don't make a right.  But I can't see any real argument for her having acted sensibly or professionally here.

This was relatively interesting.  It points out that her self-congratulatory blog posts ends with the message that it only takes three words to make a difference - "Thats not cool" - but she did nothing like that at all.

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2013, 01:32:01 PM »
Personally, I would think that sending a picture text message to the staff would be far more effective than posting it on twitter and hoping to get a response.  She had the phone numbers of staff, and I highly doubt they'd give individual peoples' phone numbers if they were landlines.  (It's also clear that her phone is able to send picture messages, since she's able to post a picture to Twitter from it, so that's not an issue.)
You are apparently unfamiliar with the phenomenon - which I have already mentioned in this thread - of convention staff pretending that incidents did not happen when there is not clear and public documentation. As to those phone numbers: There's no such thing as an office number?

Regardless of what the proper procedure would have been to alert staff to the men making jokes, what I don't get is why is it acceptable to then make a lengthy blog post calling him out on his actions?  I'm not completely convinced that tweeting his picture was the best way to do things, but I'm willing to accept it's not as bad as I first thought and it's a reasonable step to take.  I'm also willing to accept things if she later contacted PlayHaven's HR department to lodge a formal complaint with the company about his actions - it's clear that he was there in an official manner and that he should be considered as "working", so his actions reflect on his company and he should be held responsible for them.  If PlayHaven had fired him after discreetly being told about his actions, I'd also be fine with that - in that case, it would be a matter between PlayHaven and the man himself, and while it would be influenced by Adria's complaint, it would be entirely up to company policy.
Because we can't move toward social justice if we can't talk about it publicly. Or are you saying that there is no issue with sexism in the tech industry? I found some of the ways she patted herself on the back distasteful, but talking about the incident at all? That's perfectly reasonable and, frankly, expected.

Important note you don't seem to be getting: She did not want anyone fired. Or, in fact, any action taken beyond what the PyCon staff did. She has publicly expressed her regret that this is what happened. So no, going to Playhaven's HR department wasn't even in the cards.

After a public shaming like this however, it's not up to the company's own policies and procedures.  It's up to their PR department, and Adria is using her political clout to force them to take action when they might not have otherwise.  A post like that, calling them out for their actions and calling out their company, puts the company in a very tight position that is difficult to simply ignore.
Which is why only one of the two individuals she put in the spotlight and did not distinguish between was fired, right?

So you believe that it is appropriate to take photos of people in public places and report a conversation you overheard being undertaken with someone else to the entire planet?

I don't. I guess we're just not going to agree on this one.
If it's in a public place, sure. This is a well-established legal and ethical principle at this point, and I'm sure a GIS for "public" would turn up millions of pictures of people who never gave explicit consent that were considered completely unremarkable. But this one is completely unacceptable, because the people she took the picture of were involved in actions they're embarrassed about that were in violation of stated policies? Bullshit.

So... wait... where's the sexism? I don't get it. What's she complaining about?

1. Once again, flagrant violation of a policy that was explicitly designed with the goal of creating a welcoming environment for women.
2. Regardless of whether they're the direct target, highly sexualized environments tend to make women uncomfortable, because they tend to go poorly for them. This is still sexism. I can't believe this needs explaining.

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2013, 01:36:17 PM »
Her tweet was a general one, not directed at PyCon, I think the argument that she was using that to file a report is weakened by the utter lack of any @PyCon or similar - anything to suggest she was aiming it at them.  Further she states in her blog post that she then text messaged the staff.  What, then, was the point of tweeting? And the fact they saw it without it being directed at them means they were following her (as I understand it) so the direct message was an option.
Like the #pycon tag, which was pretty certain to be monitored by staff? As to the point of it: Public documentation makes it so this can't jsut be swept under the rug. This is valuable.

Further even if there is some point to the tweet that I don't see, what was the point of the photo?  She could simply have given her location, she mentions that one of the staff came to her and she pointed the two of them out.  There's no benefit to including the photo other than to cause a fuss.

I actually am beginning to agree with Louise.

Obviously the vitriol being directed at her is waaaay over the top and somewhat worrying.  And, as mentioned earlier, two wrongs certainly don't make a right.  But I can't see any real argument for her having acted sensibly or professionally here.

This was relatively interesting.  It points out that her self-congratulatory blog posts ends with the message that it only takes three words to make a difference - "Thats not cool" - but she did nothing like that at all.
That's... basically what she did. "That's not cool" works (when it works, which is nowhere near as common as it should be - see every instance of a woman speaking out against sexism on the internet ever) precisely because it puts the spotlight on the perpetrators and shames them. Shame is a valid tool to rein in unacceptable behaviour on a social/informal level; it's used all the damn time for all sorts of things. Why is it magically transmuted to inappropriate behaviour when it's a woman talking about sexist behaviour?

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #71 on: March 31, 2013, 01:39:00 PM »
Yeah, just been reading some blog articles and whatnot about this.

Her tweet was a general one, not directed at PyCon, I think the argument that she was using that to file a report is weakened by the utter lack of any @PyCon or similar - anything to suggest she was aiming it at them.  Further she states in her blog post that she then text messaged the staff.  What, then, was the point of tweeting? And the fact they saw it without it being directed at them means they were following her (as I understand it) so the direct message was an option.

Further even if there is some point to the tweet that I don't see, what was the point of the photo?  She could simply have given her location, she mentions that one of the staff came to her and she pointed the two of them out.  There's no benefit to including the photo other than to cause a fuss.

I actually am beginning to agree with Louise.

Obviously the vitriol being directed at her is waaaay over the top and somewhat worrying.  And, as mentioned earlier, two wrongs certainly don't make a right.  But I can't see any real argument for her having acted sensibly or professionally here.

This was relatively interesting.  It points out that her self-congratulatory blog posts ends with the message that it only takes three words to make a difference - "Thats not cool" - but she did nothing like that at all.

Oh, how did I not notice that the tweets weren't directed @PyCon?  (Sidenote for those not used to twitter: If you have part of your message including "@Name", then whoever's name you put in there will see it directly on their twitter feed, no matter if they're following you or not.  Anything with #Something is just a tag that's easy to search for, so PyCon staff would have to actively do a search for the tag in order to see it and respond to it.)  That... changes things significantly for me, honestly, and right now I'm no longer convinced that even tweeting it was the right thing to do, since that's likely not even what got PyCon staff's attention in the first place.

I will say that the picture isn't a bad idea though, as that makes it easier for the staff to find the guy in question and to make sure they don't get the wrong guy that happens to look similar by mistake.  Of course, it should only be shared with the staff (and probably deleted afterwords), not tossed in public.

(And Ephiral put up that post while I was typing this one, replying to it now.)

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #72 on: March 31, 2013, 01:52:16 PM »
You are apparently unfamiliar with the phenomenon - which I have already mentioned in this thread - of convention staff pretending that incidents did not happen when there is not clear and public documentation. As to those phone numbers: There's no such thing as an office number?

If PyCon staff were notified and did nothing, then I would say that putting everything in public, so people could judge both the men making the comments and PyCon staff's lack of action, would be the next step to take.  I think that doing so would actually be far more effective than preemptively going to the public option, because that also puts PyCon in a situation where it's known that they ignored a complaint, and encourages them to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Now, even though they did this action, there's still the threat that the next one that's not publicly announced will go unanswered.

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Because we can't move toward social justice if we can't talk about it publicly. Or are you saying that there is no issue with sexism in the tech industry? I found some of the ways she patted herself on the back distasteful, but talking about the incident at all? That's perfectly reasonable and, frankly, expected.

Agreed, but what part of talking about the incident requires putting the picture of the people in question and listing their company in the public space?  It would be just as effective for her to tell the story without pictures and saying that they were from one of the companies sponsoring PyCon without naming it.

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Important note you don't seem to be getting: She did not want anyone fired. Or, in fact, any action taken beyond what the PyCon staff did. She has publicly expressed her regret that this is what happened. So no, going to Playhaven's HR department wasn't even in the cards.

Judging from her comments and her complete lack of acknowledging that she may have done anything wrong by putting it in the public, I'm not so sure her regret is genuine, honestly.

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Which is why only one of the two individuals she put in the spotlight and did not distinguish between was fired, right?

Answered already, one was telling the joke, the other was listening to it.  Are you honestly going to tell me that someone should be fired because someone else told them a bad joke?

Like the #pycon tag, which was pretty certain to be monitored by staff? As to the point of it: Public documentation makes it so this can't jsut be swept under the rug. This is valuable.

A tweet directed at PyCon would have @PyCon, not #PyCon.  They would be actively monitoring tweets to them, not just tweets about them.  If it were one tweet I could see it being a typo or something, but she made three tweets.  (And saying "she didn't know the difference" isn't going to work for someone that has over 10k followers.)

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That's... basically what she did. "That's not cool" works (when it works, which is nowhere near as common as it should be - see every instance of a woman speaking out against sexism on the internet ever) precisely because it puts the spotlight on the perpetrators and shames them. Shame is a valid tool to rein in unacceptable behaviour on a social/informal level; it's used all the damn time for all sorts of things. Why is it magically transmuted to inappropriate behaviour when it's a woman talking about sexist behaviour?

Uh, no, that's not what she did.  She went straight to staff (and later, her public blog) without saying anything to the guys.  The only hint she gave them that something was amiss was that she took their picture.  If she did that and they kept making jokes, I'd agree that something else needed to be done.

And there's a world of difference between publicly shaming them by calling them out in person, where only people in earshot could hear, and publicly shaming them online, where anyone with an internet connection can see it.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 02:04:43 PM by Sethala »

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Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #73 on: March 31, 2013, 01:56:39 PM »
Like the #pycon tag, which was pretty certain to be monitored by staff? As to the point of it: Public documentation makes it so this can't jsut be swept under the rug. This is valuable.

Once again, Im not a twitter user myself.  But my understanding from here is that PyCon staff would need to be actively searching for that hashtag (which I agree they probably were) for her tweet to show while an @PyCon would have shown it immediately in their feed.  It would also, my core point, have signalled that she was reporting it to them not to the world at large.  Yes, there is a benefit to public documentation.  But it seems clear the intent was to send a message to the world about whata  crusader she was rather than to send a message to the conference organisers about the problem.  She did that seperately via text message - its not even clear they saw her tweet at all.  Why would they have?  She didn't send it to them, it requires someone searching at that precise moment or soon after to notice it. 

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That's... basically what she did. "That's not cool" works (when it works, which is nowhere near as common as it should be - see every instance of a woman speaking out against sexism on the internet ever) precisely because it puts the spotlight on the perpetrators and shames them. Shame is a valid tool to rein in unacceptable behaviour on a social/informal level; it's used all the damn time for all sorts of things. Why is it magically transmuted to inappropriate behaviour when it's a woman talking about sexist behaviour?

I disagree.  I don't think thats what she did at all.  As I see it, they told an inappropriate joke.  One, like I say, I would likely have got fired for had I told.  That's not, for me at least, in question.  It was also against the code of conduct, which is - or should be at least - a secondary point. 

At that point she has a few options.  She could have told them to knock it off, said "thats not cool" or words to that effect.  They probably would have done but yes that takes a certain degree of courage and...errrr... "botheredness" that she might not have had at that precise moment.  I don't criticise her for not doing that so much as I criticise her for, having not done that, finishing her blog post with that homily after having done quite the opposite. 

Shaming does work.  And had she spotted them reading her twitter feed then it would be different.  But they weren't, they were chatting amongst themselves.  They, had this not blown up, might well never even know that the tweet had been sent.  It clearly wasn't aimed at them.  She didn't even tell them she was doing it.  "That's not cool" needs to be said to the person or at least in a way they could possibly know about. 

She didn't say that's not cool, she didn't attempt to shame.  They didn't know it was going on.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Feminism and Adria Richards's PyCon experience
« Reply #74 on: March 31, 2013, 01:57:05 PM »
If it's in a public place, sure. This is a well-established legal and ethical principle at this point, and I'm sure a GIS for "public" would turn up millions of pictures of people who never gave explicit consent that were considered completely unremarkable. But this one is completely unacceptable, because the people she took the picture of were involved in actions they're embarrassed about that were in violation of stated policies? Bullshit.

Yes, we disagree. How could this be made any clearer? I thought I covered this already. I particularly don't appreciate you swearing at me based on our holding different moral values.

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1. Once again, flagrant violation of a policy that was explicitly designed with the goal of creating a welcoming environment for women.

The design goals of policies are irrelevant to whether an action is sexist.

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2. Regardless of whether they're the direct target, highly sexualized environments tend to make women uncomfortable, because they tend to go poorly for them. This is still sexism. I can't believe this needs explaining.

I don't agree. I know plenty of women who enjoy crass and profane conversations, many of whom would be offended by being typecast by their gender in such a fashion. I also know many men who would be uncomfortable in such an environment.

The convention is welcome to adopt its code of conduct as it sees fit, and I certainly have no objection to it enforcing a professional standard of behaviour in which all its participants have a safe environment in which to interact.

However I fail to understand how this is in any way sexist.