|This is the most amazing incident, in that|
nobody behaved well, not the companies, not
the individuals, not the Internet. No one.
The only one I like is mrhanks who at least
showed some maturity in handling a bad situation.
I hope someone hires him very quickly. He has
three kids, and that matters a lot in this
economy. They shouldn't suffer over a joke,
even one in bad taste, a joke that was
meant to be private, not one told on stage,
and his company overreacted. Probably because
everyone in the ridiculous
I think they should hire him back immediately
and say they realize mistakes
are what humans do, and they see he's sorry
and surely won't repeat, and that they now
learned that it was just a private conversation,
one that was in part at least a misunderstanding.
I'd admire them if they did that.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if
zillions of emails went to his company, asking
them nicely and politely to reconsider? It's
not like there is a rule that everyone on
the Internet can only act in a group for evil.
And while Richards was really mean to out them
the way she did, it's also true that something
sent her over the edge, probably years and years
of little things that guys don't think add up
to a hill of beans. But to women, they can,
depending on sensitivity levels. And when that
happens, it means too much has happened, without
folks realizing they are hurting someone, that
the big blowup isn't about the immediate event
alone. Women don't
think about sex every minute of every day, and
when they get reminded all the time that men
kinda do, it's exhausting, particularly if you
are the only woman or one of very few in a
sea of men. Considering her job, no doubt she
felt alone with such thoughts a lot of the time.
There isn't really a fix for that problem,
unfortunately, because men and women are
different, and to me that's a good thing.
But if guys could cool it when women are
around, everyone could pretend that the
whole world is just like them, and we'd
all get along better. Same with women
asking men to be like women. Won't happen,
and if it did, would you really like it?
I think she was fired appropriately, because her
job is getting along with guys, basically,and
attracting them to the company, so they want
to work in or for what they perceive is a good
environment for developers, and that just went
poof. Had she handled the matter privately,
it would have worked.
She had kinder options,
and given how mrhanks responded, I'm sure she
now feels bad that he was fired. She didn't
think about consequences, other than just
wanting them to stop, and she may have
felt that feeling you get on computers that
you are talking only to your buddies. But
there are consequences to our actions, and
while I feel bad for her career, which is
in trouble now, I do understand why she was
As for the guys, the conference had let everyone
know in advance that gender issues mattered to them
and to avoid certain kinds of behavior so women
there would feel at home, and that
was ignored. The pivot for Richards was little girls
there, future developers, and she knew -- and she is
right -- that jokes like that would repel them and
make them want to get out of there. The joke repels
me, frankly, if I were forced to participate in
But the key piece, to me, was that
it was a private conversation. They were not giving
a talk and using dongles in their slides or
anything like that. They were two guys, evidently
known to one another, and they were just goofing
around privately. There should not be a law
about that. It's not acceptable, to me anyway,
that you can lose a job for a private conversation
with another willing participant. Richards could
have turned around and said, "Guys, I can hear you.
Please talk more quietly." Or even tell them she
felt offended, if she wanted to be saying that.
That at a minimum gives them a chance to realize
what was happening, that she could hear them, and
others probably could too. I'll bet that was news
to them. If they thereafter persisted, there was
plenty of time to complain privately to the conference.
Everyone had kinder options, and no one was
kind. It's never too late to decide to be
kind, though, and I hope that happens, particularly
I hope mrhanks finds work or is rehired.
Anyway, that is my take on it, based only on what
I have read. I don't want to see the Internet
run out of kindness.
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