IT Employment

Off-color remarks at conference result in two developers getting fired

Sexual jokes made by a couple of male attendees at the Python Developer Conference are overheard and two firings result.

I'd like to get some stats on how much the workload at the ACLU has increased since the advent of Twitter and Facebook. Not only are most people blissfully unaware of the consequences of social media posting, but the line between inappropriate and appropriate has become more hazy, causing more firing cases to hit the court room.

Try this one on for size: Last month, Adria Richards, a developer evangelist for e-mail vendor SendGrid, attended Python developer conference n Santa Clara, CA. During one of the sessions, two male developers sitting behind Richards made a couple of sexual jokes about a technical term.

Richards tweeted "Can someone talk to these guys about their conduct? I'm in lightning talks, top right near stage, 10 rows back #pycon." She also took a picture of the guys and posted it on her blog.

The result was that one of the developers was fired from his employer. Richards was also fired from SendGrid. Now, I know, you're saying you can kind of see the two developers getting fired, but Richards? She was not fired because she had a problem with the language from those guys. She was fired because she went public with it, which divided the dev community she is supposed to be working with as an evangelist. I can see their point but I'm sure there's going to be legal aspects involved in defining what is protected speech under Title VII.

Richards maintains that she was doing her part in getting people to change behavior that might be offputting to future female developers. Of course, this didn't keep her from getting rape and death threats on Twitter.

Here's the kicker for me: The developer who was fired issued this statement:

She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate. Let this serve as a message to everyone, our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact. I will be at pycon 2014, I will joke and socialize with everyone but I will also be mindful of my audience, accidental or otherwise. Again, I apologize.

Did he have to have this experience to understand that "our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact"? So, basically, he is apologizing for getting caught saying inappropriate things.

I'm sure everyone in this situation sees himself or herself as the victim. What do you think?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

318 comments
tiedmyhands67
tiedmyhands67

I firmly believe this lack of maturity is a result of stress, depression and probably lack of sleep... Come on-- Only stressed out, sleep deprived people really take things that mean almost nothing to heart. All that confusion only resulted in a downward spiral of hurt and anger. Stress, it's a killer. It's just funny how social events impact higher up IT members versus other jobs that can get away with so much lack of responsibility. Now I am not saying that IT workers in general are less socialy mature, but we do have to put up with everyone else's laziness or inability to teach themselves. There definaltey is more than one side to every stone and there are inequalities in the work place. Just bringing it up would normaly stir arguments across the boared. My sympathy goes out to all those working for a labor broaker... Grosse!!!!!!!

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

Especially if she is snarky, nasty, has no taste, is completely hypocritical, sociopathic and manages to get a guy with 3 children to support fired because she has an obnoxious penchant for vulgarity, imposing her power to ruin others -- making a difference, not not in a good way. The company that hired her as a developer evangelist is apparently totally incompetent and did not qualify her in the interview process. Forking a repo is not at all any kind of sexual innuendo, which underscores her incompetence as she went through to express her hatred of men publicly and claim herself a hero on the order of Joan of Arc. Just imagine what would have happened if the guy said, "clone your fork" instead. If she did not understand what "forking a repo" meant, she is totally incompetent and should not have even been at the conference. If she did know, she is a reprehensible human being engaging in psychopathic behavior playing games. She has made her mark as a developer evangelist as making it embarrassing to even be associated with IT as a professional. But of course, let us just say she does not represent the preponderance of the adult female population, or let's hope so.

wingnut1024
wingnut1024

This has stirred up a whole lot of controversy. First in the original article by Toni who left things out and presented a heavily woman biased view as pointed out by other people. Second were posts by 5 others (maybe I missed one or two) that were very opinionated and biased like Toni. I could post the handles of those but I'm going to keep it above board and not do a Richards. If you want to find their comments a few minutes of reading will do. Now I will say this as some of you have said the opposite especially against the 2 guys and their private joking. You are allowed to say what you have said in favor of Richards (and against the guys) as you have the right to free speech. Even if you leave facts out and add hearsay and present it as a fact you still have the right to your say. You must, however, be careful as you can be HELD accountable for defamation and liable. Also so just because you say something doesn't make it true. It is an opinion, your opinion. Going through a lot of the buzz on the Internet has brought up many things. Much of this goes back to double standards. Forking a repo is a very complementary term. Nothing sexual and especially nothing sexist. Look it up. Now let's say we add a sexual connotation to it. So how many men would complain to PyCon organizers if they heard one woman say to another "I'd like to fork his repo"? How many women would complain to PyCon organizers if they heard one guy say to another "I'd like to fork her repo"? Richards took a complementary technical term, not sexual, not sexist and especially not directed to her, and added her interpretation to it. She could have blogged generically about her feelings about "forking a repo" and that would have been free speech. The problem is that she posted pictures and enough information that she might as well have named names both the guys and the companies. The right to free speech ended two sentences back and now defamation / liable (and double standards) have taken over. Here's another very public instance of double standards. Scroll to the bottom for the last video and watch it both as presented and then stop and recreate it in your mind with a woman getting a body part cut off and men discussing in the same fashion. I am not talking about the reason it came about and I am not talking about any justification to do this as there is none. This couple have issues. The issue is how is it allowed from one side and be a court case from the other side. Even the subsequent apologies are not heart felt. I would hazard a guess that if men had given this type of apology that the saber rattling would still be going on. http://taran_123.kinja.com/adria-richards-and-donglegate-right-or-wrong-462159597?rev=1364535693 Are the comments fair?? If it is fair for the comments made by some women get applauded but if those same comments made in a male talk show but reverse directed could get those men fired or wind up in court? If it's fair for these women's comments to be MADE, ACCEPTED and CHEERED FOR then surely it's fair for some of the comments (not the death threats) against Richards. Is it fair that Richards can show her potty mouth / brain and make comments about stuffing socks PUBLICALLY? Then conveniently object to a private but overheard conversation in a non public setting and make it public? If both sides can realize and accept that either side can make faux pas then we are further ahead for being able to work together and through things. Obviously taking the direction of pointing out every real or imagined faux pas didn't work out. I tip my hat to those women who have come back and said that Richards went too far. They truly have a much more balanced view and in saying so have not done a disservice to any women.

kirk_augustin
kirk_augustin

What is important to remember from all this is that it is illegal to take someone's picture without their approval, and post it publicly. Too many people don't know the law and violate privacy out of ignorance. It is too late for these people however, and the damage has been done. There are too many cameras out there and people have to learn or it will only get worse.

GrizzledGeezer
GrizzledGeezer

..."overreacting to triviality, sticking a nose where it should not be, causing needless harm to those with whom they associate, disrupting team camaraderie, and acting on trivial personal feelings rather than regard toward the purpose and goals of their jobs" is all too true. I've lost jobs because of this. When it comes to getting along with coworkers... Men are bad, women are worse. Far worse. To quote Professor Higgins... "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Part of the problem is that businesses /don't/ want employees resolving their own problems. If you're having problems with a coworker, you're supposed to report it to your manager. This only encourages this sort of childish tattletale behavior.

laseray
laseray

Everyone should be sick and tired of these crybabies who get offended at everything that doesn't fit their idea of good and proper. She deserved the firing for being an ass, being an instigator of trouble for others. Oh, no, someone made a remark, a joke, that someone else did not like. It cause for a lashing because her feelings were hurt. Hell no!

jrmatthews123
jrmatthews123

First, if she was so offended by the jokes she could have asked them to stop, or got up and moved. Instead she had to escalate a minor incident into a major one. The fact that she took pictures of these men and posted them on a public forum without their permission is far worse behavior than what they were engaged in. As for off colored jokes, it is hardly behavior which is confined to males. I have heard women come out with remarks as bad as anything a guy would say, but you wouldn't see a guy snapping pictures of the woman who said them and posting them on twitter because they felt uncomfortable about the remarks. Richards needs to grow up, and hope the two men she publicly humiliated don't sue her for costing them their jobs.

SamJRB
SamJRB

My issue is with Richard's. If it offended her, why didn't see say something direct to the two involved. This would have been the best approach if she really was concerned about the behaviour.

kirk_augustin
kirk_augustin

Unless a person has already waived privacy rights by being a public figure, it is illegal to post their images publicly. Adria broke the law. Internet violations are rarely prosecuted, but it was still a crime.

eye4bear
eye4bear

If everyone who made an off color remark I have heard was fired, no one would be working anywhere. Such grade school morals do not belong in professional places.

fred64
fred64

Great job Richards --NOT... Dinosaurs had long felt women could not participate well with men in any workplace that required significant interaction, teamwork and camaraderie to attain high rates of achievement. Reasonable men and capable women offended in such a way would react with a quiet "Would you mind? ..." or ignore it altogether. You're shrill reaction to inconsequential jabber in which you had no business, serves only to reinforce that old stereotype of women over reacting to triviality, sticking a nose where it should not be, causing needless harm to those with whom they associate, disrupting team camaraderie and acting on trivial personal feelings rather than regard toward the purpose and goals of your job. No surprise you were fired.

ts3765
ts3765

Would reporting what was actually said be politically incorrect? Or just bad reporting?

doug.lewis
doug.lewis

It seems to me that MOST people now-a-days have such thin skin that if someone sneezed the wrong way they'd end up in court. We can waste our time TRYING to get others to improve but it seems to me to be counter productive. How about instead we set the example, encourage our co-workers to act appropriately instead of running off behind their back yelling Mommy/Daddy Johnnie just did something wrong. She was a coward in this situation because she did not have the courage to stand up and confront what she considered was wrong. As far as the other two go, get over it someone somewhere someday will ALWAYS say something you feel as inappropriate. Live and let live.

Gerald_Hilton
Gerald_Hilton

And here we go again???. In the world of social media, you are being watched more and more. Your boss may be watching you right now. Look up software like MSPY which starts with the “protect you family” ideal, then goes on to build paranoia in the workplace with this kind of rhetoric: “Prevent the risks of data leaks or any unwanted behavior at work. mSpy Business tablet and cell phone tracking software allows you to monitor your employees, keep track of their productivity in and out of the office and timely address policy or data security breaches.” If you have a company cell / mobile phone, you may be bugged. Seriously ladies and gentlemen. I used to work as a private investigator in North America for many years, and personally, planted many listening devices in areas that were stated as “Clean Rooms”. Also just to let you know that as this series of responses started with “Off Color” remarks, the washrooms are a lot more fun than just reading the paper while taking a dump. Over the years, conversations were recorded with conversations about investments, contracts, government grants, promotions, how to get a promotion without doing the actual job. Get it? I’m going to hear about this one I know, but, LADIES, SHUT UP!!! As much as men have said they are tired of hearing you all chatter, they are listening. And for the men, she may be setting you up for a fall. Stick to business. This is why I went from the Private Investigations and Security, into stand-up comedy. You screw it up, and I will make a joke of it. Like sleeping with the Boss. If the Boss is that boring that you can sleep through the event, try someone in the mailroom. They are usually younger and more eager. Cheers.

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

Where have they all gone? It's beginning to be embarrassing to admit I ever worked in IT.

bodeen657
bodeen657

I can understand Richards point of view..why do we as adults have to be reminded of how we speak, had a child been there..would it have been justifiable....just as they would have held back their inneundos with a child presnt..why not show respect to those within ear shot of such conversations.. Its ok to have fun but then again we are all grownups and sometimes it takes embarrassing a person or persons for the message to get across.. Good for u Adria Richards......your company should have thanked u instead of firing you... As for those who said she was evesdropping in the conversation behind her..does that mean we all evesdrop...we all sit next to friends or strangers at an IT meeting or convention...and we all overhear conversations not meant for us..

LalaReads
LalaReads

I've been commenting on the comments and hadn't read the post first. I still stand by my 'pre-read' comments. I just read the post. I think everyone's responses are missing another issue - that you apparently are condoning Ms. Richards' actions because you feel the same way as she does and you have totally missed the point that Ms. Richards acted totally unprofessional in how she handled her frustration. Frankly, I'm quite surprised that you took this position. It seems that your opinion focuses solely on your own bias as a woman that she was fired, like it's a situation that we as women shouldn't have to overhear others' off color remarks. Women power unite? Not this way! Actions like this only hurt women. You need to separate the 'message' from how it was handled. Ms. Richards abused her position and embarrassed her company by treating a discreet indiscretion as a personal attack on her. She did not have the right to expose two men to public ridicule for sharing a private remark, regardless of how immature it may be. I hope you can see how Ms. Richards is NOT the victim here. The men are. Like men are the only ones to make off-color remarks under their breaths. Really?!?!

radleym
radleym

I posted a couple of comments about how people should be polite and considerate of others - and you'd think I spit on the flag. I NEVER said Richards' reaction was appropriate - just the opposite. And here I thought there would be some adults in the conversation - instead it seems to be populated by a bunch of spoiled self-centered brats. Grow up!

majikcecil
majikcecil

I'm sick & tired of the pc world but, especially of women playing a double standard. Yes, I am a woman. I was a Deputy Sheriff for 25 years back when it wasn't quite common & heard so much, I acquired a mouth that would make a truck driver blush. Seriously, you can't handle some jokes for a few minutes? The easiest thing was to turn around & give them "the look" like you would at the movies. Seriously, taking a pic, then tweeting it to the world? How low can you go? Thanx for sending women back several generations. This witch better not cross paths w/me, I have a few words for her.

dapaine
dapaine

Dear Fraud Toni Bowers, Please check you facts . . . if you are able to recognize them. And please print the comments made by the developers. They are innocuous. Your are playing the same sickening game as Ms. Richards . . . stirring "it" up with a big stick!

Dave Keays
Dave Keays

the right to be wrong was conveniently being forgotten. Almost every revolutionary thinker has been told they were wrong, and many (if not most) of their thoughts were wrong ("We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb", Thomas Edison). Assuming that everybody will follow society in lock-step is dangerous both to our civil rights and to societies ability to evolve.

mikef12
mikef12

This is the Antarctica of imbecility. Using various pieces of software, I've often had the feeling that developers have a talent but not, necessarily, any brains. Sorry to say, this incident suggests that truth is becoming more and more self-evident. Then again, it could be said the success of twitter and f-book suggests that dumb devs are merely products of their environment. So is it nature or nurture in the dumbed down nation? Ah, these deep questions.... To the prescription! Slap 'em all a couple of times, including Ms. Precious, and give them their jobs back.

kc6ymp
kc6ymp

ok ? who remember the rym for the color code ? did some fem-a-natiz have that changed too ? it never ends slowly eroding away my rights to freedom of speech and ideas + my right to presue happiness and or good humor ? please Richards if you going to be offended by this type of behavior ? try grooming dogs or working for jack in the box or here i have it ? you would fit in nicely at the local DMV ? but please stay out of my world ? freedom and creativity are not your strong points ?

bkblake
bkblake

Why is it these days that when someone has a problem with something, the first thing they do is try to go way over the top and create as much trouble as possible rather than just addressing the issue directly, like an adult. If she had a problem with what those guys were saying behind her, the right way to deal with it would have been to turn around and tell them. If they were reasonable people, they would have apologized and everyone would have gone about their day. She would have felt good about expressing her feelings, and they would have learned a lesson about being more respectful. The truth is, she was scared to confront them, so she made a passive-aggressive attack on them for everyone to see. I think she got what she deserved more so then the guys she attacked. They indirectly, verbally offended her, so she tried to ruin their lives... Seems fair. This reminds me of the grade-school parents who aren't happy with their kid's play time in a sport, so they contact the head of the athletic association to complain about the volunteer coach, rather than just walk up and ask the coach why...

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Up until the last decade of my working life I worked in machine shops and garages; an environment that didn't see any women. In all twenty years I worked with three women. The guys sometimes were ribald and there were a few inapproprate calanders. It's just my opinion, but with no women in these settings little was done or said, everyone was focused on work. However, the last ten years I worked in the computer industry it was drastically different, not in just one company, but in a large number of companies. I was a consultant and saw a lot in my time working in the computer industry. You couldn't go a day without some innuendo, ribald comment, prank or some other tom foolery. I chalked it up to the fact that most of the people were twenty something and that there were both men and women sparking off each other. But, there were nights I would go home and talk to my wife about it and she was aghast. In my mind the women were as racy as the guys if not more so. It got to the point that anytime I was in my office with a (man or woman) I left the door open and tried to have another person present. By that time being an old white guy made you are target for anyone with a chip on their shoulder and it became prudent to cover my back. I always thought working with women would be better. I guess it is because of the influence that my wife had on me. I thought women would add more stability etc. to the workplace, but all it did was rev things up and turn these companies into a cross between a pick up bar and comedy shop. The boss was lucky he got any work out of them at all. With all the social networking toys, shopping online from the office, watching playoffs and so on I can see why companies want a pot of gold for their software, having to pay for all that play time trying to get a product made.

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

No one should have been fired for this, not the evangelical chick that "blown the whistler" nor the horny guys who where joking. It was a personal conversation between friends (or coleges or whatever), that someone was able to overhear them is inconsequential. I would sue the hell out of my employer if i was fired over this. PC is one thing but this is totally against the right of all people involved. The girl had the right to complain and the guys had the right to joke among themselves. They could be hailing Hitler for all i care. This is constitutional level shit 101 for crying out loud.

gahmr
gahmr

I would give you my opinion, but my actions and words, big or small, could have have a serious impact.on my future.

rdavis
rdavis

If it was me (except I wouldn't be making hideous childish sexual innuendo) that got fired for a PRIVATE conversation my employer would be facing a VERY big law suit for unfair dismissal. Isn't there something about freedom of speech!

wizard_of_oz
wizard_of_oz

First, the comments the developers supposedly made were pretty mild and could have been taken out of context. Second, she could have resolved this quietly and easily. Turning around and saying "do you mind?!" would have probably made them shut up. If she didn't want to confront them herself, calling the conference management and asking them to speak to the individuals (conference management did, and the developers at least left the session and I think the conference). Third, Richards was there as a developer evangelist. That means it was her job to connect with (mostly male) developers and convince them that her employer had cool stuff they should check out. It's hard to do that when you manufacture a controversy that makes those (mostly male) developers scared to talk with you. And after she continued to escalate this, said developers will see *her* and not the products she would theoretically try to push. An evangelists' job is to build bridges, not burn them. Fourth, Richards posted an image of a non-public individuals on private property without securing a model release from said non-public individuals. This is a major no-no and exposed both her and her employer to legal risk. Fifth, others have come forward with both anecdotes and evidence that Richards had an axe to grind about "male chauvinism" in general. My take on the situation is this had more to do with Richards' issues with men than what the men actually said. Sixth, this situation did not end at the conference, it began there. Richards continued to gather the pitchforks and torches and point them at the employers of those developers. If Richards had posted that, had the developers ejected, and let it go at that, then this would have blown over. I believe that the developers in question should have been questioned, and probably reprimanded, by management at the companies at which they worked, with maybe some sort of mandatory "workplace tolerance" classes (just about every large employer has these, and they have to get them from somewhere), and maybe some sort of letter of apology. That's usually what happens when management hears about an "off-color" remark at work. Yes, these developers were at work since their employers sent them there. I also believe that Richards' issues with men not only made her unable to do her job and generated significant negative PR for her employer, but exposed her employer to legal risk. Furthermore, the flames she kindled and fanned won't go out quickly and easily. Her employer was right to fire her. That said, IANAL, but I am an amateur photographer and I've had to educate myself on the relevant legal issues.

richard233
richard233

She was not wearing a Shirt with a slide to open slogan on it. Really, here she is being "offended" by jokes in a conversation she is not a part of and she is wearing a shirt in public (her blog photo) that is itself somewhat salacious. Her presentation is one that actually invites inappropriate touching vs a lame joke about dongles and code forking. You judge which is more "offensive".

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

No one should have been fired. The 2 guys cracking their jokes should have been given a warning and that should have been the end of this. It also would have been roper for these 2 to apologize to the lady for effectively being rude and showing a lack of respect for another at a public event however the decision to apologize should be voluntary and not something the individual was coerced into doing by their employer. What happened instead is a perfect example of the world’s zero-intelligence policy also known as zero tolerance. Today’s HR related decisions are based on covering one’s own backside (from retaliation by their own employer for failing to fire someone over the incident) and protecting their employer from litigation. There’s no more common sense and mutual respect. This has come about because of societal level change, a push to move the culture from one of mutual respect and privacy to one of 24 hour surveillance and mistrust amongst each other. People no longer respect each other but instead seek ways to raise themselves up and or seek selfish satisfaction even if it is at the expense of others because this is “a dog-eat-dog world”. Had something like this happened 10-20 years ago then the supervisor/mange of these 2 would have verbally reprimanded them for failing to represent the company in a courteous and professional manner and that would have ben it aside from a possible voluntary apology. This is what you get in a zero-tolerance (aka zero intelligence) world and its only going to get worse until the people say enough is enough and kick out the corrupt politicians and corporate pirates that are the ones behind this push.

Slayer_
Slayer_

How often does a guy do something like this over two women making distasteful jokes? Has it ever happened? Equality....fail

giovanni.augusto
giovanni.augusto

It's just absurd that two people has to lose their jobs for joking (even roughly) during a conference. I don't think either that she had to be fired too. The most incredible part of it is: "She gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic" Social media helps...socializing or UNsocializing?

F___M
F___M

This twitter post>>> https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/312265091791847425 Adria Richards?@adriarichards @skwashd you should put something in your pants next time...like a bunch of socks inside one...large...sock. TSA agent faint She can dish it out, but God forbid anyone else talk like that around her. What a FAKE. She's a disgrace to all Fe techs. And a lawsuit waiting to happen........ Oh and one more thing. Is this all you "developer" people do at a con? Twitter utter nonsense instead of learning, challenging, growing? Don't tell me.... you high schoolers were in on writing that nasty Windows 8, nosey, ugly, overly connected OS just so you can stare aimlessly at the tweets and FB posts tiles like a brainwashed, braindead tool.

gathagan
gathagan

On the one side, I believe that the manner in which far too many people speak and what they discuss in public has gone far beyond an acceptable level of crudeness. But that is not a new circumstance; the civility boat sailed a looong time ago. Given that fact, I have no idea who Richards is or what she is like, but I would hazard to guess that she's heard people make coarse remarks and or swear in public before. As others have pointed out, she could have done several things to either remove herself from two developers' presence or to call their attention to the fact that their remarks were being overheard. She did none of those. As has also been pointed out, she also went so far as to act duplicitously in snapping their picture without them having a clue as to her motives. That would suggest a punitive desire, as opposed to actually being concerned with improving others' public behavior. I admit to being somewhat conflicted about this, but in the end, I believe that what Richards did was wrong, she was rightly fired for doing what she did and and that the developer should not have been fired.

Jester2Wisdom
Jester2Wisdom

I am in agreement with all the comments above. I'd like to add the following perspective. There is a huge difference between "overhearing" a conversation and having comments "directed" at you. If someone insults you or uses inappropriate language/comments, then it is up to you to respond and stand up for yourself. If you are overhearing a conversation then you can walk away, or in this situation, Richards could have turned around and told the guys to shut up. To take the approach she took, surreptitiously going online to put forth her attack, is back to elementary school, running to the teacher, as has been said. I also think that the companies who fired these people are cowards. People are not perfect. The guy and Richards should not have been fired. They should have had a long discussion with what's up. I'd rather have a team member who learns from their mistakes than someone who I expect to be perfect. Who among us wouldn't like to take back a statement?

SaraGersbach
SaraGersbach

I honestly do not understand how this issue has gotten so out of control. I am a female in IT and have been for 30+ years. Both I and my male and female counterparts frequently make jokes about various terms used in our areas of expertise and I have yet to hear of anyone getting offended by it. It is a harmless way to relieve stress and break ice. Granted, we are intelligent enough not to do so in public within hearing of people outside of our group. Having said that though I would first and foremost put it in perspective - I absolutely agree that the individual making the complaint, whether male or female, should have the courage to speak to the person they have a problem with rather than go to Twitter with it. In this particular case, as a proclaimed evangelist they should be well aware of the biblical quote "Judge not..lest ye be judged."

Not~SpamR
Not~SpamR

I remember a black guy I worked with some years ago. He was heartily sick of a lot of the "equality" drivel that got spouted. As he said, he's quite capable of deciding for himself whether someone is teasing him in an inclusive way or being offensive racist and he's quite capable of asking them to stop it if he believes they have crossed the line. He doesn't need white people deciding what he, as a black person, might find offensive and endlessly self-censoring just in case. There are jokes I'd tell my drinking buddies that I wouldn't tell my professional contacts. There are jokes I'd tell some professional contacts and not others. There are jokes I wouldn't tell my mother-in-law. If people are truly so offended by casual comments between two people that weren't even intended for them they really need to get over themselves and stop expecting the world to revolve around their own sense of what they might happen to dislike. For all the advances women have achieved in their quest for equality in the workplace, some idiot like Richards comes along and sets the cause back a decade. So thanks to people like her, it's far more likely that women will be seen as potential liabilities who will throw their toys out of the pram at the slightest provocation rather than professionals in their own right.

hanglide
hanglide

"The computer industry also uses quite a bit of sexual terms... [male and female connectors] ...." If the difference is not obvious to you than your perception is probably hopelessly twisted... but I'll try anyway. "Gender" describes physical characteristics while "Sexual" is a matter of perception. I doubt the people that design electrical connectors have anything "sexually" related in mind when they design them (they are just using terms that they hope will make it obvious, even to stupid people, which side of the connector they are referring to.) Truth

Gisabun
Gisabun

The "greater" IT world is a man's world. Go to a conference or seminar and with some exceptions 90%+ of attendees are male. The computer industry also uses quite a bit of sexual terms [male and female connectors] and how the male connector generally has a "smeckle". Richards did go to far by not first asking them to stop and then by publically show the picture. The developer that got fired represented the company [we'll assume his bad mentioned his company's name]. Whatever he did reflects on the company. Most companies will have a clause in employee contracts regarding behaviour.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

OK so granted it was a Hypothetical but I was interested in the way that 2 places I do work for handled the accusations. The first is a Legal Firm with high end Barristers, QC's and the like. A woman makes a complaint that 2 of the staff where making jokes that she found offensive. HR who the complaint was made to immediately asked for corroborating evidence [i]like who else heard the conversation[/i] to prove that what was being complained about actually happened. End of Complaint. Thought the complainant was warned about listening into private conversations as the place was filled with Sensitive Data and she should avoid listening into things she was not involved in. Place 2 is a major hospital that is part of the Government Health Department. One female staff member makes a complaint that she overheard a conversation between 2 males employees that she found offensive. HR immediately calls the 2 males into the office reprimands them for their comments, enters the complaint on their Official Employment Record and sends them off for [i]Education[/i] to teach them the error of their ways. In both cases the staff members where talking about a possible security breach and had said nothing wrong but the outcome was completely different. Or a long time ago at a hardware store that I asked the girl behind the counter where the files where and she demanded to know what I wanted. I replied a Flat Bastard File so she went off to complain to the management that I had sworn at her. She was given the job due to Anti-discrimination Legislation and didn't know what she was dealing with but was otherwise an acceptable employee. :^0 Col

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

The media report says Richard reported the situation to the organisers and then felt their response wasn't good enough for her, thus this current issue.

dave
dave

Please send me your picture and I will post it on Twitter and blog about you in a derogatory way stating something like you're a man hater or something. See how you like it. PyCon stated that parties were addressed, apologies given and they felt that was the end of it. It's interesting how many women think Richards was wrong to go public. Are these women going to be targeted as traitors by you?

dave
dave

Toni has gone incredibly silent. Since she doesn't have the gonads (oh, oh do you want me to email you a picture of me so you can post a tirade against me on Twitter too) to post a link to the developer involved then here is one that I found. There may be other links out there. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5398681 Also from PyCon. http://pycon.blogspot.ca/2013/03/pycon-response-to-inappropriate.html So if this was handled the way they stated then how did it get to where it is now? As many people (possibly feminists) keep reiterating "why is this about the choice Adria made"? Why does have to be about her choosing better? Past history made her doubt the organizers would do anything..... If PyCon's statement that the parties were addressed, apologies made, gifts exchanged so to speak, then the statements made that "she couldn't trust organizers to do more that lip service, just pat the girl on the head and say" there, there", have no merit. When was the guy and Adria fired? Was it directly after PyCon handled it? Was it just after Adria's post? Was it after the fertilizer hit the rotary spreader? Why did Adria post it? Was it because she felt that PyCon didn't do enough to the guys? That their being let back in meant that they weren't punished enough to her satisfaction? So let's stop for a moment. Put all emotions aside (for or against, he or she) and be honest with this question. We're at a conference. I (as in a guy) hear 2 women talking about the size of a dongle or whatever. This is between the two of you as you are not speaking loudly but just load enough that I can overhear it. I take your picture(s) and post exactly what Adria did but included your pictures instead for all to see. Would you feel VIOLATED? Would you feel ASHAMED? Would you feel ANGRY? Would you feel that I had NO RIGHT to do this to you? If you, as in "Adria had the right to do this" supporters answered even one YES then that means its ok for women to do this to guys (or other women) but its not ok for a guy to do the same thing. DOUBLE STANDARD and HIPOCRITICAL of you. If you but, but, but and say its not the same thing then DOUBLE STANDARD and HIPOCRITICAL of you. Now sit down, take a deep breath, and give it some thought. Does saying its ok for one group or anyone to do this foster bonding, equality, trust and teamwork? Remember that if you wouldn't like my posting your picture(s) along with a very unflattering comment why should it be ok in another circumstance? Did the 2 of them get fired after PyCon handled it? No indications as such. If they got fired after Adria posted and the ensuing s%^& storm then it's directly due to her post and she is totally responsible. My post is not about the companies reactions. Its about responsible, ethical and moral reporting and consequences of your choices. "With great power comes great responsibility". Since she posted it this way she could be on the hook for liable and defamation in court. You CAN"T post peoples pictures and publically try, judge and convict them. No matter what you think your cause is. Had Adria posted it without pictures as a couple of guys (or girls) were making lewd jokes (and all indications were that they weren't sexist) at PyCon it wouldn't have blown up the way it did. Individual's names and company names would have remained anonymous and probably all parties would have had a hand slap and everyone would have been a little smarter or aware.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

If the facts are different from those presented in the blog post, post a link to those facts. Otherwise, any disagreement you may have with Toni's opinion here is reduced to insignificance by the [i]ad hominem[/i] attack.

dave
dave

It was only Richards.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

if you had asked for a half-round bastard...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

a big rough barstard instead!! I used to often use one when working wood a lot.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

When did Ms. Johnson send her tweet and post the picture? Before or after she spoke with the PyCon organizers? If before, she was wrong to take action without speaking with the developers who had the conversation she found offensive. If after, she was wrong because, according to the link to the PyCon blog, she had already given the organizers the impression she was satisfied with the resolution and the way they handled it.