Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Boys and Girls on the Internet, be nice?

After a week long of intense coding study and 3 hr commute everyday, I arrived home and fell asleep right away at 10PM. Woke up this morning to many emails, including one from our youngest classmate: an incident from the PyCon, Adria Richards and another developer being fired... The keywords were Twitter, screenshots of the tweet, photos of men, sexist remarks or jokes... threats from the internet... female developer evangelist being silenced...

The ones I read are the following :

My reaction? So mixed... I am confused very confused. I am usually offended by sexist remarks and jokes. But I am also saddened by the reaction of the different agencies, and that both are fired, Adria is even receiving threats. That is just totally messed up. Twitter, we can all make mistakes in Twitter, Public, we can all say stupid things in public. May be we can all get together to just bash out the peace inside of us. A tweet can be as rash as a joke and like wise. Hence while I am not taking sides, I am frustrated at the outcome of this entire deal.

Should we ignore the sexist or generally offensive remarks? No. It is extremely frustrating for women or any decent human being to hear those. It is not funny or okay. Recently, I have to spend time with a person who constantly makes offensive remarks towards me, about Asian girls, and about girls in general. It is very rude, affects my productivity, and just haunting. Why has he not been stopped? While his behavior is extremely unacceptable, people around him are still nice and do not want to be confrontation, including myself. The result: this behavior continues...  if Adria didn't speak up, she will just have to be drenched in rude comments throughout the entire event. It's hard not to get frustrated. It's hard not even get frustrated with yourself for failing to defend yourself against nasty remarks. BUT

The biggest but here... for every a**h*le there is at least an awesomely nice person that makes your day. And sometimes people switch from being nice to be a pain in the butt. 

Having graduated from Stanford with a lot of engineer friends in the valley, I had countless frustration moments when my male friends will say something insensitive. So I am not saying it is a female friendly developer world out there, and it is very easy to take offenses, but on the other hand, it almost does not matter which profession we are discussing. Any homogenous groups will have trouble integrating so-called outsiders. For my computer science guy friends, as they work with more female engineers or women in general, they will realized that there are sharp corners to be rounded, and etiquette is important where ever you go.

When is the last time I remember internet or the tech world was nice to women? Actually all the time. Tons girl developer meetup groups have the sponsorship for male-dominated startups. Etsy VP of Engineer's talk about getting more female developers. The wonderful ladies at Google Dev Fest, who introduced us to Google+ Login and organized the conference, also those that guest spoke taught us how to use advanced HTML5 CSS and Javascript. 

When I took the stage at Crunchies 2012, I was so nervous making a speech as a complete beginner to programming. And I was at the pantheon of the startup tech world talking on behalf of Codecademy (itself is a symbol of belief that everyone can learn coding). Many developers have stopped me after the speech and during the after parties and express their support. They high-fived me, told me that it was awesome to start learning coding, and congratulated me. They were beaming and happy that someone has joined the pursuit of their trade.

Marissa Mayer was there too, surrounded by all these eyes that she managed to bring to the newborn Yahoo. She liked my speech and we took a photo together surrounded by eager women and men who would like to meet her. I would like to end this blog post on this positive note. 

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