I was reading Adria Richards’ blog post about her experience at PyCon, and while fascinating, its the inevitable comments that follow that leave me disappointed. As a geek I understand the cliquish nature we have in groups and our use of language, in this case sexist jokes, as a way to strengthen those ties but on the flip side that only serves to set boundaries that exclude. Maybe, and only for the sake of argument, maybe this would be acceptable in a more private setting, but this was a public event. A developer convention where professionals come to join in their community and learn and network and otherwise be friendly. I also stress the professional aspect as its been detailed that these individuals were wearing their company logo which should immediately put one into the state of mind that you are representing that company.
Also to those who some how blame Adria for an individual being let go from their company is absurd. That is a decision entirely left up to the company’s management in response to their employee’s behavior. If this incident had happened within the setting of the workplace and had the same outcome, and somehow became public, would such an argument hold up? I don’t think so.
As for the public outing of these individuals, I’m still on the fence. It should be expected now in today’s social media world that any photo taken will end up online. Should Adria have send a private message to the PyCon crew? I dont know. But should she just have sat there and taken it? No, not at all and by making the picture public, these individuals are then left to be disciplined by their community. Any action by their employers is between them and should be left there.
So be mindful of your surroundings and be more inclusive, you’ll make more friends that way and that is always more fun then some joke.