back to article Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp

Life can imitate a Charlie Brooker drama, after all. A programmer who made a "dongle" joke at a Python developers' conference has been fired, unleashing a Twitter lynch mob. His feminist accuser has also been fired after her employer suffered a DDoS attack. "Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth …


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  1. Trigun
    Thumb Down


    I cannot believe this got as far as it did. Two people fired over inappropriate jokes?

    Those guys should have kept their mouths shut due to where they were, Adria Richards should have had a quiet word with staff and not twittered, and (if it got that far) the "jokers" should have received a stern talking to or (at max) a written warning by their employer.

    1. jptech

      Re: Idiocy

      Honestly, who here hasn't made a dongle joke?

      And yes, oversharing is apparently a problem for the under 30 crowd.

      1. MrT

        Don't ever send her to...

        ...a security metrics conference then. If she can't stand dongle references then she'll blow a fuse when the discussion turns to reminiscences of fingering network users, ip, taking a tcpdump and packet sniffing... etc.

      2. Dire Criti¢
        Thumb Down

        Re: Idiocy

        There are far too many people in this world with fuck-all sense of humour.

        To quote Ricky Gervais "Just because you're offended doesn't mean you are right!"

        1. Marshalltown

          Humour shortage

          I occasionally find myself inclined to ask some humourless individual whether the absence is a genetic defect, of if they had it surgically removed.

      3. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Idiocy

        We've created a political climate and generation that is so self-righteous that the idea of tolerating what we do not agree with is unheard of. All wrongs must be righted, it must never happen again, whatever the cost, etc.

        As I say to my kids, you often have to say its your own fault when it isn't and be nice to people who are mean to you, because its very rare indeed to win friends by pointing out someone's mistakes.

        Many times you can be right, and even have the might - and still lose.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Idiocy

        "Honestly, who here hasn't made a dongle joke?"


        Do you really find "dongle" funny? Really?

        Dropping such a unworthy pun demonstrates a lack of maturity which I would expect from those over 30.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Idiocy

      Why should they have kept their mouth shut? People need to stop getting so easily offended over trivial things is more like it.

      I've noticed a trend over the last decade where more and more people seem to be getting offended over everything and anything and it's just getting ridiculous now. Is this the future, where the whingers end up getting their way and we all end up becoming human robots?

      1. Urh

        Re: Idiocy

        And even if what you hear is so incredible offensive to your ears, is it really so difficult to just talk directly to whoever is offending you? Over at her blog, Amanda Blum has recounted her personal experiences of dealing with Adria Richards. This dongle incident is by no means an isolated incident. If anything, it's part of an established pattern of behaviour. Richards gets offended by something and instead of expressing her concerns directly to the people involved, she deliberately engages in histrionics and tries to create an internet shitstorm. The only difference is that this time her antics have spiraled out of control, and now herself and a father of three have both lost their jobs (in an American state with one of the highest levels of unemployment). The mainstream media have made things worse by largely failing to investigate the incident in detail. And let's be honest, the fact that a joke about dongles (in essence, a dick joke) is being reported in the press is just ridiculous, especially when you consider that Richards has made dick jokes on twitter in the past.

        This whole incident has become a farce, and essentially nobody has acted correctly. Should the developer have made the joke? I don't know, seeing as nobody has bothered to actually repeat the wording of it. Was Richards' response to the joke appropriate? Holy shit no. She could have at least tried to talk to them directly, and instead she chose to escalate things way out of proportion. Should PlayHaven have sacked the joker? Fuck no, it was an overreaction to an overreaction. Should Richards have been sacked by SendGrid? Once again, no - it was an overreaction to an overreaction to an overreaction. What's especially tragic is that Richards will likely see all the unwarranted hatred that's being directed against her as vindication of her actions. I very much doubt asking herself "could I have handled this differently?" Hell, she's already said that her actions have made her "feel like Joan of Arc."

        I know it sounds ridiculous, but the internet has actually allowed people to engage in what I describe as passive-aggressive bullying. Don't like something somebody has said or done? Why deal with the problem yourself when you can summon an angry mob with a twitter post or an outraged podcast!

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Idiocy & Joan of Arc

          Very similar to Joan of Arc I would say: Unstable, disliked, misanthropic and know to cause trouble wherever she goes.

          1. Bear

            Re: Idiocy & Joan of Arc

            Before mouthing off at a woman who is an historical figure, perhaps you would consider actually finding some evidence before traducing her.

            If one reads the transcript of the trial, one would not find her to be unstable, disliked, misanthropic... For example, La Hire, who fought with her, held her in the highest regard. He himself was a professional soldier with a distinguished career. Many of the other commanders also held her in high regard - which is evidenced by the re-trial that happened some years later, away from the malign influence of the University of Paris and the English crown.

        2. keithpeter

          Re: Idiocy

          "[some person] gets offended by something and instead of expressing her concerns directly to the people involved, she deliberately engages in histrionics and tries to create an internet shitstorm."

          Upvoted post, but following reference may be of interest

          The attached downloadable podcast explores some of the issues of what Mark Pilgrim used to refer to as the 'firehose'. Around the 28 minute mark, Rushkoff suggests that schools should run 'presentist' classes; i.e. how to work face to face, how to read body language, how to challenge effectively (not usually by direct confrontation).

          Perhaps the two recently sacked programmers should have been made to attend a 'presentism' class instead. Cheaper than recruiting new staff!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Idiocy

            Given that they were having a private conversation with each other, which she overheard, and then took to twitter, I'm not sure how this is particularly relevant.

        3. MnM

          Re: Idiocy

          'Should Richards have been sacked by SendGrid? Once again, no - it was an overreaction to an overreaction to an overreaction.'

          A complete guess, but they probably saw a golden opportunity to lose her and grabbed it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Idiocy

        "I've noticed a trend over the last decade where more and more people seem to be getting offended over everything and anything and it's just getting ridiculous now. Is this the future, where the whingers end up getting their way and we all end up becoming human robots?"

        The lack of professionalism is apparent when you make piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. You need to flip you argument.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Idiocy

          They didn't make "piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. " They were talking crap between themselves and a mad bitch listened in and decided to "make a point"

          I they'd stood up on their chairs and shouted out "OOO MY DO I HAVE A BIG DONGLE" then yes, they'd have been guilty of being a bit dickish, as it is, they didn't, as such no sane person would be offended as no sane person listens into someones private conversations and assumes they understand the entire context of their discussion. Unless crazy person had been following them around all day cataloging their discussions, mannerisms and, in jokes.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            Re: AC Re: Idiocy

            "They didn't make "piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. " They were talking crap between themselves and a mad bitch listened in and decided to "make a point"....." Basically, what you're saying is, IYHO, it wasn't really offensive and it was only meant between the two beardie-wierdies it was a crime for anyone to be offended, right? This fails the very obvious test of substituting sexist comments for something that you probably do rate as unacceptable, say racist comments - would you be so blasé about it if they had been overheard making in-jokes about blacks? How about homophobic comments, would you just shrug at those? The convention had a declared policy on sexism, the two twits broke it. Adria may leapt at the chance to over-react, but that doesn't obscure the fact the comments were pretty stupid to be making even sotto voce in public. And the Playhaven one of the twits was especially stupid to be caught doing so in company-branded apparel.

            1. magrathea

              Re: AC Idiocy

              How exactly is a dongle joke, sexist? Is any mention, however indirect, of a penis, sexist? Is it sexist if a woman makes a dongle joke or makes an equivalent joke about female genitalia? Is this policy, and your opinion about what constitutes sexism, solely directed at men? I would hazard it is

              They broke policy by making a lewd joke, Sexism is just a word thrown into the mix by this lunatic woman in order to justify behaving like a spoilt toddler

    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Congratulations Adria. When confronted with a situation where two guys were making inappropriate comments (there is a line between a bad joke and something that just isn't appropriate) you managed to do pretty much the only thing you could that would make yourself as bad as them.

      Rather than deal with it like an adult (reminding them that facial hair suggests their dongles haven't seen many female adapters) face to face you just HAD to use it as a way to draw attention to yourself. That does rather seem to be a theme with you. Did your parents not pay you enough attention? Or too much? Were they helicopter parents? Are your preschool paintings still on the fridge? I bet you still know how many gold stars you got in 2nd grade.

      Women deserve parity and respect, pathetic self serving attention seeking does nothing but feed the trolls. If you are going to deal with people being juvenile a good first step is not to lower yourself to their level.

      1. Stratman

        I agree with your post, but would pick up on "Women deserve parity and respect,".

        Parity is a given but respect needs to be earned by everyone. It doesn't come with one's reproductive organs.

        1. mevets
          Paris Hilton

          Earning respect..

          Some people’s reproductive organs do garner respect...

        2. Rampant Spaniel

          Perhaps, I wouldn't be disrespectful to someone the first time I meet them at work. I didn't mean worshiping them, just being polite but I understand I probably got the wrong word! :)

    4. Grikath

      Re: Idiocy

      Besides that Polly Princess got her panties in a bunch over an overheard conversation not even aimed at her, and chose to throw a tantrum over twitter, and seems to like to play the Race Card, and is by all available evidence (gotta love the intarwebs for that..) your typical hypocritical militant bitch..

      What on earth makes her think she even remotely classes as a "Nerd" , and why hasn't anyone made it clear to Her Highness she doesn't even come close to classing as one, given her obvious ( lack of ) social traits, let alone intelligence?

    5. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Trigun: Idiocy

      "...... the "jokers" should have received a stern talking to or (at max) a written warning by their employer." Makes you wonder if the coder in question had previous or was otherwise already in his employer's bad books.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's just no way to avoid the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda/atmosphere of whatever that is must be adapted to suit the 'thoughts/feelings/sensitivities' of now present females.

    Focus shift from whatever 'the thing' is to 'inclusivity/equality/sensitivity' just because there are woman involved.

    If they're my equal why can't they handle being treated as I am treated?

    Why should their feelings, thoughts ,opinioins, and sensitivities become as important as the primary focus of 'the thing' they've become involved in?

    I can't say I've ever had to put the thoughts, feelings, opinions, and/or sensitivities of men first. Yet today we are expected to accept this as the norm for anything we are involved in, because there are women involved.

    Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?

    And yes I know all you 'inclusive people and feminists' are going to fame me for this, but it's still true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?

      If the "specific group" you're thinking of is "entrenched business interests", then I agree wholeheartedly.

    2. WorkingFromHome

      To be fair most people (men or women) don't need any special treatment. It's just a small, but very vocal few, who then poison everything.

      Were the jokes these made a little crude - yes. Should they have refrained from saying them in a public room - maybe. Was anyone made a "victim" - no, not at all.

      I used to work in an office full of women and the conversations and jokes they made would make anything these guys said sound like a children's story. Every other comment was about sex.

      Where I work now there are several women who can (and regularly do) out-crude anything the men say.

      Nobody complains. Nobody gets in trouble. Nobody is offended.

      It's just really worrying that there is a small group of people who make a purpose of being offended whenever possible. And instead of telling them to get over it and grow up, and maybe reminding other people to show a little respect, we validate their stance and stick it all over the media.

      Such a shame people of the type don't come with attached warning labels so the rest of us can just ignore them...

      1. I'm Brian and so's my wife


        > Where I work now there are several women who can (and regularly do) out-crude anything the men say.

        Given your handle, does that mean you're referring to women in your own family?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The number of up votes for this post reveals a great about the readership of El Reg. In my experience, most women who take offence, at least in technical/engineering circles, will tell you to fuck off, and that will be the end of it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It seems to be saying that I'm not the only one who gets pissed off by the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda has to adapt to suit their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and sensitivities.

        I'm willing to bet nearly (if not all of those people) are pretty much like me, in that if this had been a case of some arsehole targeting her personally, by saying something to her, or about her within her earshot, we'd all happily call them knobs, and tell them they should be apologising most prefusely.

        It wasn't though was it, it was some creepy woman listening in to a private conversation between two other people. Creepy because she wasn't overhearing it like we all would and maybe taking anything one of them said as something of personal note, you know the "Note to self - Hmmm he's obviously a knob" type opinion. No she was doing it because she is a woman, and believes she is thus 'entitled' eavesdrop and do whatever she wanted with whatever she overheard.

        Which bit of "When two people are having a private conversation, it's rude to eavesdrop" is it you think she has trouble understanding?

        Why do women do that eavesdropping thing anyway? I mean we all know they do it all the time, thankfully most of them are sensible enough to use any knobbish comments they overhear for no more than forming a personal opinion of the involved parties.

        1. Throatwobbler Mangrove

          "Which bit of "When two people are having a private conversation, it's rude to eavesdrop" is it you think she has trouble understanding?"

          Which bit of "when you're listening to a presentation at a conference, it's rude to tell your *hilarious* smutty jokes so loud that people around you hear them" is it that you think those guys had trouble understanding?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Seems to me that the passing of immature smutty jokes should be a perfectly acceptable thing for anyone to do.

            I know women who partake in such activity, irrelevant of where they are, or who might overhear them.

            However they know they can safely do so, because no man would ever bother publicly humiliating them, or risk their job for an impersonal smutty joke they pass with a friend.

            Seems we men can't say the same.

    4. Greg J Preece

      Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?'re honestly going to blame feminism for an asserted rapid development pace in other countries? Are you kidding me?

      Look, feminism (in a broad sense) has a point. There are still sexist dicks in our society, and I do still run into them. I generally refer to them as "pricks". And on the other hand, you have people like this woman who go OTT about any perceived slight, even if it wasn't directed at them, etc. I refer to those people as "pricks" also. Their gender or social alignments have little to do with it.

      1 "feminist" is a prick != all feminists are therefore pricks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Greg J Preece

        "1 "feminist" is a prick != all feminists are therefore pricks."

        I did point out in my second post that most women wouldn't have reacted as she did.

        That however has little to do with my point about how the moment women get involved in anything, that entire thing has to change to be "inclusive" and considerate of the womens thoughts, feelings, opions and sensitivities.

        If they're the equals of the men who were involved in whatever that thing is, that shouldn't be necessary. should it? Yet it is.

        This is why we get to have crap like this spouted at us:

        "Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry,"

        Men of course can expect no such treatment in 'the industry' despite apparently us all being equal.

        Liek I said, there's no way to avoid the fact.

    5. sabroni Silver badge

      >>There's just no way to avoid the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda/atmosphere of whatever that is must be adapted to suit the 'thoughts/feelings/sensitivities' of now present females.<<

      What sexist nonsense. It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with women Dave but you've obviously not met many if that's how you think you need to behave around them. Try just treating them the same as everyone else, you'll find that there's a massive range of them, all with different personalities. Why, they're almost like real people....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ sabroni

        Thank you the concern you've shown towards my social life, however I am fortunate enough to not need any advice in that area, so you'll have to forgive me for not taking aforementioned advice.

      2. magrathea

        "It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with women Dave but you've obviously not met many if that's how you think you need to behave around them"

        Shaming tactics?

        He must be getting near the truth

  3. Domino

    Mark Lutz wrote:

    > The only objective thing worth interjecting is that Python is

    > named after a BBC comedy series; humor is a fundamental part of

    > its culture (and, I think, life in general, but I'm not in a

    > deep enough mood to go there today ;-).

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Pyhton humour

      Python is named after a BBC comedy series

      And a comedy series which was more than happy to use naked women for comedic effect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pyhton humour

        Naked men too.

        I had to laugh recent when the inclusion and diversity dept at work ran a quiz about famous women. The email announcing it actually said "to get an entry form, go to the nearest kitchen"

        Nobody quite dared to comment on it though...

      2. Nogbad1958

        Re: Pyhton humour

        Not to mention naked men at an upright.. But move right along, no massive organ jokes here

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid girl...

    Unfortunately too many people naively think that their rants and posts on Blogs/Facebook/Twitter (delete as appropriate) have immunity from real life, they don't consider the consequence for the other parties or themselves.

    I have seen this of "naming and shaming" destroys life's and causes untold pain - Perhaps she'll think twice next time.

  5. Vimes

    "Yesterday the future of programming [again, our emphasis] was on the line and I made myself heard,"

    I think the term that probably applies to her reaction is 'verbal diarrhea'.

    The consequences would have been different if she had taken the time to extract her head from her own backside for more than a few seconds and actually thought about what she was doing.

    She would have seen that there was a better way of dealing with this, a couple of people would end up feeling like idiots and she would still have a job. Her own sense of self-importance and arrogance seems to have got the better of her.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From the sounds of it she'd have ended up looking more the idiot, on the big dongle gag among mates assuming there wasn't a mental curtain twitched listening, the guys would have probably gone

      "errr what?" As there's nothing sexist about talking about large penises. Maybe non-inclusive as girls don't have cocks.

      On the forking they'd simply have gone "errr what are you talking about, we were referring to forking his code not fucking his arse."

      However she'd have gone mental anyway (re her mad bag bat rant about lynching), the woman is mental.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    LOL fired

    "The stuff about the dongles wasn't even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive..."

    So like vibrators?

    Next up: Web 2.0 in feminal colours, no jestosterokes allowed and everyone gets a handout about how lewd allusions related to sexual activites and proclivities of and with people of the uterine persuasion are worse than talking bad about people living in certain parts of the old Roman Province of Judea (but only in regard to those whose ancestors allegedly and very likely apocryphally were treated to a forced visit of the Egyptian industrial mainlands). "After this message..."

    1. user000

      Re: LOL fired

      [quote]"The stuff about the dongles wasn't even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive..."[/quote]

      Had to double read that to make sure she wasn't trolling her self

      1. Old Handle

        Re: LOL fired

        Actually I agree with that part. Double entendres are funny, single entendres aren't. If you can simultaneously make a sex joke and a valid comment about the topic at hand, that not only shows a little wit, it also gives anyone who might be uncomfortable an easy out, just pretend they took your comment at face value.

  7. Tony Green

    I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

    ...but this sounds more like some stupid bastard (Merkin?) who's decided she's going to interpret anything she possibly can as discriminatory.

    It reminds me of a situation a few years ago on a company Usenet group when a woman who'd obviously done all the "anti-discrimination" courses (but not the "having a brain" course) slapped down a friend of mine for his "homophobic" comments. And then became strangely quiet after my response, "Hey Darren, do you reckon there's something about you she doesn't know?"

    (For the benefit of Merkins, Darren's gay).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

      To be fair, it's possible to be both homophobic and gay. A certain Scottish ex-cardinal may or may not fall into that category.

      Anon, because nobody expects the... etc...

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

      Telling smutty jokes to others who you know won't take offence isn't "discrimination". Hell, telling smutty jokes isn't "discriminatory" at all. "Discrimination" is something everybody does every day of their lives, and that there it is a value-neutral term. Only where the discrimination can be perceived as unfair, i.e. to the detriment of the person being discriminated on grounds that are not legally acceptable, is there an issue. To put it another way, the fact that you have your current job means that someone else discriminated between you and the other applicants.

      This woman is part of a very unhealthy attitude towards humour, and an increasingly unhealthy attitude against men, much worse than that the feminists rail against, because it is deliberate, and calculated to demean men. The only downside is that this daft woman will probably take her case to court and get damages for being sacked (though that is quite correct - what she did was not a sacking offence).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

        > (though that is quite correct - what she did was not a sacking offence).

        That really depends on the terms of her employment.

        Bringing your employer's good name into public disrepute where you have the words "advocate" or "ambassador" in your job title probably qualifies.

  8. tkioz

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Her actions did more to harm women in tech than any number of 'dongle' jokes could ever do.

  9. Gnucklehead

    Richard's has form manufacturing drama...

    She has previously whipped up similar stink, targeting female tech community members -

    These dramas are growing and replicating. The gamer community is being attacked by Sarkeesian, as is the atheist/skeptic world - being held under siege for 2 years now by a certain Rebecca Watson. All of this is in itself a replay of '70's campus identity politic nonsense. And for what? This idiocy drives women away - it does nothing else other than provide a gravy train for the fear-n-loathing blogging community. These folks are the Louis Farrakhan's of the gender feminist's crazier fringes. The destroy - they do nothing to create.

    1. durandal

      Re: Richard's has form manufacturing drama...

      'under siege'? Or do you mean 'someone's got worked and is writing stuff that nobody's paying attention to unless they're interested in that kind of thing'?

      I'm firmly of the opinion that if people simply didn't engage with trolls, they'll get bored and find something else to do. Honestly, internet drama only works if it's reciprocated.

      1. Gnucklehead

        Re: Richard's has form manufacturing drama...

        "I'm firmly of the opinion that if people simply didn't engage with trolls, they'll get bored and find something else to do."

        Yes, imagine if people followed your wisdom with Joe McCarthy.

  10. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    What a rant!

    Did you read her blog page? Obsessive, much?

    They were stupid childish idiots, she didn't need write a thesis about it. She's done 'womens rights' more harm than good.

    p.s. What was William Riker from Star Trek: TNG doing at a python conference anyway?

  11. Naughtyhorse

    Evening primrose oil is supposed to be good for that luv!

    You can hear the huge sigh of relief at Sendgrid from here.

    Thank fuck! at last we can get on with some work around here.

  12. Mike 29

    PCMCIA dongles?

    Did no one else think she was regurgitating jargon she doesn't understand when she said that?

    What's her next rant about, CGA printers?

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: PCMCIA dongles?

      Well, she is only a women! See the following PSA :)

    2. Keep Refrigerated

      Re: PCMCIA dongles?

      I'm surprised she was even aware of how to use these hugely technical terms given she posted a 7-minute long technical instructional video on YouTube teaching how to... wait for it... plug in a HDMI cable to your laptop and display a 2nd screen on your monitor.

      Go ahead, try to make it through the whole video.

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: PCMCIA dongles?

        "Go ahead, try to make it through the whole video."

        Christ she waffles on doesnt she?, get to the freekin point woman.

        This ones better :-)

  13. bag o' spanners

    The tech universe is in danger! The end is nigh!

    Validation junkies require the widest possible audience for their hurt feelings. She's now an internationally renowned dork, so job's a good'un. Did the tweet begin with "so, x thinks that it's ok to..."?

    Any time I see that princess victim mentality in action on socmedia platforms, I'm sorely tempted to bait it to the point of implosion. Messy but fun.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: The tech universe is in danger! The end is nigh!

      Exactly, she has managed to do so much harm to women just to feed her need for validation. Seriously, nobody cares (at least virtually noone) what sex, religion, race you are. Bad jokes are made about everything. We do care you are an attention whore who will be massively disruptive to any work environment with your constant need for validation. If she was any good at her job she wouldn't need to feel so ridiculously offended over a bit of juvenile hunour.

  14. jake Silver badge

    It's called "hospital humor".

    There is a reason we watched "M*A*S*H" and "Blackadder" ... pointing out the idiocy of reality helps everybody sane get through life without going quite insane.

    Has anyone suggested that the woman in question might qualify as a twatdangler?

  15. Malcolm Weir Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Part of my frustration with this ridiculous drama is that it seems at least possible that there was only _one_ off-color remark, the one about dongles. Richards goes to great lengths to try to establish a "hostile environment" in which that "joke" was the final straw, but there's at least a possibility that the "fork his repo" comment was completely devoid of innuendo, and was simply a statement of opinion as to the value of the individual's work. (Think about it: how can "forking HIS repo" be hostile to WOMEN? Forking _hers_, sure, but if there's innuendo at work here, it's innuendo from a man about sex with a man).

    The ensuing efforts by many to suggest that she didn't over-react because there really is hostility to women at many tech events miss the point: the appropriate response to hostility among intelligent people isn't MORE hostility, it's calm confrontation.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overly sensitive

    Amanda seems to be a sensitive soul with a persecution complex. Here is a twitter conversation she had over the matter:

    Steve Marx ‏19 Mar

    This is truly getting out of hand. … (I mean the lynching, not the jokes.) /cc @adriarichards

    Adria Richards 19 Mar

    @smarx are you upset because I shared the facts or because it happened? Strange you would use the word "lynching"

    Steve Marx 19 Mar

    @adriarichards I'm upset by your actions. I think "lynching" is a pretty accurate characterization of how I see the incident.

    Adria Richards 19 Mar

    @smarx and I'm upset I had to listen to the stuff behind me yesterday. I'm Black. Has anyone in your family been ever encountered lynching?

    Steve Marx 19 Mar

    @adriarichards Sorry if the word "lynching" brought up racial overtones; that was not my intention. I meant punishment without due process.

    Adria Richards 19 Mar

    .@smarx Clearly if we look at Wikipedia, the word "lynching" shows a clear and explicit connection to race

    Steve Marx 19 Mar

    @adriarichards The first sentence of the Wikipedia article describes what I meant.

    Adria Richards 19 Mar

    @smarx a "mob" isn't one person. Sounds like you feel personally offended and are have trouble processing White male privledge

    Adria Richards 19 Mar

    @smarx Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by @scalzi …

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Overly sensitive

      And there is the root of the problem. This is exactly why I would not hire somebody with that personality. Nothing to do with their gender or skin colour, absolutely everything to do with a huge ego and a persecution complex. People hire people to do work, not to spend their day trying to find something they can twist into an insult so they can get their daily dose of validation whilst achieving absolutely feck all else. Other people get their validation by achieving something and\or just being a decent person. Those are the people that get hired. It sounds like somebody has some deep rooted insecurities and prejudices of their own she needs to look at before shouting about others on twatter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overly sensitive

      Clearly fucking mental.

    3. Keep Refrigerated

      Re: Overly sensitive

      Well if Militant Black Guy ever retires from Balls of Steel - I think we have his replacement Militant Black Woman right here.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overly sensitive

      What has irked me more than anything is the racism angle she seems to have brought into the agenda.

      THAT word causes more trouble than almost any other and the fact she now cries it is a more worrying thing than getting offended by nob jokes.

      @smarx and I'm upset I had to listen to the stuff behind me yesterday. I'm Black. Has anyone in your family been ever encountered lynching?

      WTF??? Seems she is looking for excuses/publicity to cite her "crusade"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overly sensitive

        I'm normally upset when I have to listen to most people talk about anything, as they're all so fucking vapid. But then I realise I'm a bit of a dick and then I get on with life.

        The other thing is, when you listen in on peoples conversations (we all do it from time to time and often by accident) you miss all of the context. For example I remember wondering around forbiden planet and I heard floating through the air "it was too big for my head!" What was too big for her head I ponder... late I heared someone say on a phone "I'll smack him in the face" as they walked by me in the street, did she mean me, some other person in the future, was it to be a kind loving tap, a punch, was she talking about a line from a film, or what?

        It's just rude to intentionally listen in and then find fault with other peoples conversations and she should learn some basic manners.

  17. lightknight


    The problem here is that they're at a tech conference, which, despite its name, is a chance for people to socialize, tell stories, and learn. She found herself eavesdropping on someone else's conversation, which given the venue, is likely to be somewhat casual, then proceeds to take the nuclear approach. "You're telling off-color jokes? Be gone with your kind!" -> complete with posting a candid image of them to a Twitter feed? God forbid you should be able to joke with your friends, and not be hanged for it.

    It's like going to a Power Metal concert, and complaining that the music is too loud. She totally misrepresents the culture, which seems to mean she never understood it to begin with. It's not that the tech sector is a bastion of male domination, it's that it's a more open and tolerant culture than other sectors, and so does not need to go full DEFCON every time someone says or acts slightly out of the perceived cultural ideal. She preached intolerance, went out on a limb to use public opinion to shame them into the mold she believed they should fit, and in doing so proved that she lacks the qualifications to unite anyone in this sector; and that, along with the horrible PR, is why her employer had to fire her ("These are the kinds of people you employ? What if we hire your firm for something, and one of your employees doesn't like a remark the CEO makes to someone...are we going to hear about it on the Press?").

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sacked blokes response

    This is the response from the target of Ms Richards ire:

    I really did not mean to offend anyone and I really do regret the comment and how it made Adria feel. She had every right to report me to staff, and I defend her position. However, there is another side to this story. While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone’s repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said “I would fork that guys repo” The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.

    My second comment is this, Adria has an audience and is a successful person of the media. Just check out her web page linked in her twitter account, her hard work and social activism speaks for itself. With that great power and reach comes responsibility. As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.

    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.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Sacked blokes response

      We should start a twitter campaign to get him a new job! If theres any justice he gets one before her. One joke in bad taste vs a vindictive, spiteful act, I know which of the two of them came out of it looking worst. At least he has the courage to admit he was wrong, reading her blog comments she thinks she should be canonised.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Ms Richards :


    The end.

    1. hplasm Silver badge


      Keep your nose out of other peoples private conversations you nosey git!

  20. 404 Silver badge

    That guy ->

    Center-right from her tweet. Looks like Riker from 'Star Trek Next Generation'...

    Just saying.


  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have every right to be offended and I have every right not to give a shit. The reverse is equally true.

    Also she shows limited understanding of the term dongle as a great many people use them to refer to their USB storage keys which have indeed been getting larger, I have a particularly large dongle myself, while my penis remains at best, modest sized. Also in regards to forking the story post event seems to be they were referring as to how in geek parlance to fork someones code was the highest form of compliment.

    At the end of the day she heard what she wanted to hear.

  22. jason 7 Silver badge


    ...that escalated quickly!

  23. david 63

    Serial Offendee

    Hopefully she will never breed because the thought of it will offend mightily.

    Disks hek?

    I have a 3" floppy and and a 5" hard one.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What did she expect

    I'd have thought a "a social media consultant advisor and coach" would have more sense than that. If she was offended by some idiots adolescent jokes, which aren't funny anyway, she should have just walked away. Now if they were talking about a dongle with a big D connector and a nine inch multi-position antenna then that might have actually been funny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What did she expect

      That is where you are wrong. "a social media consultant advisor and coach" in the Web 2.0 world is someone who is too clueless to get a real job. Same as the generation of "motivational" coaches before them.

      So the fact that she misunderstood the humor and that she acted exactly as she did is expected. Welcome to the world of Web 2.0.

  25. banjomike

    Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive...

    Modern ones, maybe. I remember using some years ago that plugged into the the 25 pin serial port and were heavy enough to risk causing damage to the socket especially if it became necessary to plug in a serial cable as well.

    If the wally wants to tout herself as a nerd she needs to brush-up on her extra-large dongle history. And if she hasn't come across dodgy jokes at a nerd get-together then she has been wearing earplugs all her life.

  26. JaitcH

    Sendgrid, a name to remember ...

    to avoid. You support the genuinely aggrieved, not fire them.

    Says an awful lot about Sendgrid corporate morals.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Sendgrid, a name to remember ...

      "Says an awful lot about Sendgrid corporate morals."

      Yeah, says they were probably delighted to have an excuse to get rid of someone who's chip-on-shoulder persecution complex likely made her the biggest PITA in the team

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sendgrid, a name to remember ...

      > You support the genuinely aggrieved, not fire them.

      No you don't. You support those who have a genuine grievance. Ms Richards, although genuinely aggrieved, did not have a genuine grievance.

  27. Flakey

    Dear Adria

    after reading about your poor sensitive feelings being sadistically attacked by "dongle" and "forking" jokes I thought it would be a nice idea to offer you a small respite and invite you over to England for a short holiday. While you are here, maybe a trip to an English football (soccer) match would be enlightening. Im sure a few thousand football supporters chanting "get ya tits out for the lads" at every attractive female and of course the famous "get into em,fuck em up" would be a therapeutic experience and put recent events into perspective. Maybe you could take pictures of the perpetrators and see how long you survive Or maybe a trip out on a saturday night into the city centre to view the local neanderthals under the influence of copious amounts of Stella would, Im sure, be an eye opening revelation and would certainly make what you have recently encountered pale into insignificance. People say and do things that offend others every single day of the year, this is life and this is how its lived, accept it or become a hermit, the choice is yours. Just dont make a big song and dance about it because when you do, it makes you look an idiot

  28. John H Woods

    My boss ...

    ... would just have rolled her eyes and, if she could have been bothered, cut the guys to shreds with a couple of well chosen words.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My boss ...

      Your boss probably wouldn't have noticed, I've had several female bosses and they'd not have cared, my best boss was very fond of embarrassing her young male colleagues by talking about warm moist things (always with a completely legitimate sounding punchline), and a variety of other things, I suppose nowdays she'd be guilty of sexual harassment, not that she'd care.

      My mother also likely wouldn't have noticed, she comes from a mental health nursing background and endured employment before the nineties, she can tell jokes so off colour they'd put builders to shame.

      At the end of the day people listening into other peoples conversations have only themselves to blame if they're offended by what they hear, it's like the average daily mail reader turning on a show with Frankie Boyle in it on the BBC, they've done it for one reason alone, to be offended.

  29. Ross K Silver badge

    So much butthurt, so little brainpower.

    Once again Dilbert shows that life imitates art:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So much butthurt, so little brainpower.

      That is far more accurate than you realise (or perhaps you do). This comment from above shows how Ms Richards all but accused one person of racism for mentioning lynching.

      1. Ross K Silver badge

        Re: So much butthurt, so little brainpower.

        She's a piece of work, as my Gran would say.

        Me? I'd just call her an sad little attention seeker with a persecution complex.

        She's exactly the type of person that makes a workplace miserable. Her work colleagues must have rejoiced on hearing she got her P45.

  30. jason 7 Silver badge

    Thing is... this day and age you can build a career out of purely being 'offended and outraged'.

    So many people now have very little to do so they look for things that instead of just tweaking their interest, actually enrages and offends them. Then they can collectively group hug-rage together to make themselves feel better.

    Herd-Rage, a great way to find like-minded idiots.

  31. g e

    It seems at least some Women In Technology also need

    A better-evolved sense of fucking humour coupled with less self-importance. Oh well. She's socialled her way out of a job now, so at least she understands at least one technology term.

    Streisand Effect.

    Which I suspect now means she knows two terms, the other being 'Fired'

  32. Christoph Silver badge

    "Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry,"

    Is she saying women don't need to actually *be* competent? From the moment they are born they must be told they are welcome and competent and valued?

    Odd. Us blokes have to spend a couple of decades after birth learning how to be competent. And if we want to be valued we have to actually do some valuable work.

    And if just occasionally some time between birth and retirement someone happens to make a casual remark to us that isn't totally welcoming then we have to suck it up and get on with our lives.

    I've know several extremely competent women (including one who was almost frighteningly competent!). Not one of them assumed that they were competent by right of birth and could sit back, do nothing,and demand to be made welcome.

    1. James 139

      And thats why positive discrimination is far far worse than negative, it gives a hugely disproportional falseness to people, that ends up being reinforced and ingrained.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Clearly she has form as being one of the shouty brigade offended by anything, its pretty clear from the twitter exchange in this thread that the race card sits close to the gender card in her handy pack of cards to wave in some surreal parody of its a knock out.

    The irony that on her own twitter feed she makes jokes about male genitalia is not lost either, of course, thats ok as she is a woman!

    FFS now every employer in tech will look at women and wonder if she will throw the company under the bus at the first hint of a bad joke.

    The one positive thing to come out of this is that it has highlighted that Sendgrid has no resilience in its offering if an adhoc script kiddy LOIC fest can bring it to its knees.

  34. Jim 59


    She should have just politely asked them to shut up, which they probably would have.

    The blog article carries some extreme views. Very extreme. Frighteningly extreme. All couched in a cool, monotonic new-speak in which old-fashioned ideas like friendliness, humility, reasonableness, cannot be expressed and therefore (for Richards) don't exist.

    Reading it, I was dimly reminded of stories in which citizens of some totalitarian state are denounced to the authorities for tiny digressions which supposedly betray the perps as "traitors". She overheard a whispered conversation and just couldn't wait to denounce these chumps to the PyCon authorities, who took them away in a dark van to the salt mines. Meanwhile she posted their images all over the place, as an example to other citizens who may be thinking of making a joke or perhaps watching Benny Hill on YouTube. We have been warned.

  35. IT Hack

    Dev Evangelist

    So...a media whore being whore.

    Next at 11...Sex Sells!

  36. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Simple solution

    I am offended and feel threatened by people being easily offended and acting as the thought police

    Therefore these people have to cease & desist!

    Job done :)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aunt Irma was visiting Adria last week.

    When the old lady left, Adria was out of a job.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sacked. ..

    I still can't get over the fact that the person who made the comments that kicked this all off has been sacked. That surely is a totally OTT reaction

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sacked. ..

      Sadly, it's not. y'see he was RACIST because he used the word lynch....That word is exclusively used to meaning hanging black people.. In Ms Richards eyes....

      God help anyone who says that white laptops look better than black ones in her presence.....

      The world is a better place without her shite talk being made public.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Sacked. ..

        Whist is true according to the Chelsea Tractor Sets Laws of Social Injustice.

        Only white people can be racist

        Only men can be sexist

        Only the young can be ageist

        etc etc.

        In western society sexism and racism are rare, I have seen photography go from a male dominated industry to a female dominated industry in under 10 years. My local market is in the region of 75% female (I wonder if Adria would be as upset about the jokes that lot come out with at a meetup) at least amongst the middle and top tier shooters. There are still plenty of sexist jokes fly about, not because any of us are but because we are comfortable enough with each other to belittle sexism and a lot of it is genuinely funny.

        There probably are a few pockets of sexism left in some industries and some people will always harbour illogical prejudices but the widespread, cultural sexism and racism is thankfully on the way out and we are all the better for it. The only problem is it leaves people like Adria without a cause and no talent to fall back on.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was delivering training to a group of women who supported battered and vulnerable women for a living. I made every effort to be PC but they had already decided they were going to try and make me blush and when I was talking about mobile internet I accidentally told them that I have a 'little dongle'. You can imagine what followed, I got lampooned but it was all done in fun and good humour.

    The word 'dongle' is funny. It's a fact of life and this woman who wrote that article is a self righteous bigot who hates men.

  40. nigel 15

    the word dongle is funny.

    it just is.

    every accountant has made a 'double entry' joke.

    every restaurant worker has heard a joke about breast or thigh.

    don't get me started on door knockers


  41. Ross K Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Just To Prove Crazy Wimmin Are Like Buses...'s a Canadian who was 0MG OFFENDED and EXTREMELY DISTURBED!!! at her local museum's exhibition of 19th century scrimshaw (or "whale bone porn" as she's calling it).

    To date, Ms. Pimentel is the only person to complain. She has mounted a minor jihad, writing missives on various tourist-oriented websites and approaching local media outlets. “I am disturbed and troubled after a morning at the Vancouver Maritime Museum,” she wrote on

    Ms. Pimentel told the Vancouver Sun that her two small children — aged two and three — were needlessly exposed to the disturbing “whale bone porn.” No advance warnings were made to sensitive patrons outside the display room, she complained.

    But the nine pieces with sexual content are displayed in a case raised high off the floor, well beyond scope of a toddler’s inquisitive eyes, and lighting is prudishly dim. Next to the display is a sign: “Hide Your Eyes! These pieces of scrimshaw are not intended for children.”

    You couldn't make this stuff up. It really does seem to be that time of month (no pun intended).

    1. Rukario

      Re: Just To Prove Crazy Wimmin Are Like Buses...

      I'll have to look for it...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jimmy Carr said it best IMHO..

    You don't give offense, offense is taken.

    In other words, it is up to the listener to be offended.

    I don't buy that line completely (people can make very targeted remarks), but there is indeed a debate about not so much declining tolerance as a massive increase in the desire to ACT offended and make a big production out of nothing.

    IMHO, she could have just confronted the people behind here there and then, or ask organisers if she didn't feel comfortable doing so herself. That would no doubt have led to apologies and that would have been that. By doing what she did she didn't exactly help her "cause"..

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      But then Jimmy Carr is a bit of a berk

      No offense you understand.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. xperroni
    Paris Hilton

    "Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry"

    Well that's funny, because I sure as Hell haven't been "messaged" about how welcome, competent or valued I am in any level approaching "consistancy" – and lo and behold, I'm still around.

    But then again, I'm a man. As is the current wisdom on the subject, I am a kind of creature completely unlike women, and therefore have no business expecting to be treated in anything resembling the same standards, or vice-versa.

    Or perhaps this whole "women in technology" crusade has come a bit too far in demonising men, and we should instead concentrate a little more in ensuring fair treatment to people in general, regardless the shape of their reproductive organs?

    Just sayin'.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You should be a photographer sometime

    Being a keen amateur photographer entails a certain level of distrust. Especially from those with children. Want to take photos of kids having fun at an amusement park? Tough. I have had several instances of parents being overprotective ('Hey you taking photos of me and my kids in a bumper car!'). Security 'jobsworths' accosting me and police officers just 'doing their job'.

    Unfortunately through media shitstorming over the years the sheeple have been trained that all men with 'proper' cameras (I.E. any camera that is not a phone camera) are perverts or terrorists.

    Something similar seems to have happened with political correctness. We are constantly being pushed towards a society where you are no longer allowed to express a sense of humour about race, sex or religion less you offend somebody and there are plenty of people to offend these days so it would seem and it has become all too easy for them to let everyone know they are offended via social media.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: You should be a photographer sometime

      Being a pro is no better :) You get that and a horde of people asking why you aren't using X camera and Y lens and if your rx67 pro is a video camera or why you aren't using a fong dong or why you are using a flash in daylight or how their dentist camera is clearly better as it does 1 fps more etc etc. And then you have to fight for position because every SMWAC who knows the bride and asked if she minded if she got a shot is now the official photographer in their minds and is trying to pad their 'portfolio'.

      As for the popo and rent a popo, generally I've found being polite to work really well. Just a hello, show credentials (we need basic credentials for shooting in public parks \ beaches so I just carry it all the time) and show them what I'm shooting and all is good. I understand why people get upset at being asked as they essentially aren't doing anything wrong, but being standoffish tends to create an atmosphere of suspicion and tension where the popo will do everything in their power to find something wrong, and they usually can invent something. Easier to play it nice.

      Outright racism is rare and tends to come from foreign clients where 'isms' are possibly more deep rooted in their society. I've only had a couple of clients, one groom in particular spent his entire day berating me as his sony camera had more megapixels than mine (didn't have the heart to tell him I was shooting film at his brides request) and generally making every anti white joke I've ever heard. Some of them were quite funny tbh. You just get on with your job and refuse any further work from that client. Although by Adria's rules he couldn't have been racist as he wasn't white.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: You should be a photographer sometime

        damnit, never try and type too fast when tired lol. should be rz67 :)

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite a pickle

    If this goes to litigation - and it probably will - it will be interesting for the world to get a glimpse of the pattern of behavior of the perpetually offended one. I think a pattern of hypocrisy, maliciousness, and antisocial bordering on psychotic behavior will emerge.

    There is also the issue of her smiling when taking the photograph. How many seriously offended people smile at the offenders? No, what she did was pre-meditated as derived from her explanation of the month long road trip she had been on. She was fed up and in her mind she could have made the decision that if the opportunity presented itself, she would capitalize on it. That is premeditation. It wasn't a spontaneous thing, it was planned and that is why she was smiling. It was the " I finally got you bastards ain't this fun" kind of smile. She snapped the picture, turned around and knew exactly what to do with it. Malicious, deliberate, premeditated.

    I will be interesting to see what kind of freak she gets on from her deposed ex-boyfriends/girlfriends and all the other dirt they will find and bring to light to demonstrate her true nature. I'll bet they will have lots to work with and willing volunteers. She will turn out to be a hypocrite of the first order. The public doesn't really like people that scream " I'm a prude and demand special treatment ", only to find out they are really just hypocrites. Socks in pants to pretend you have a big penis for TSA is only the beginning. Don't you need a dirty mind to even think of that? So, she's already obviously not a prude and that was sent to the twitterverse, not whispered between friends. What else is there? Nobody is squeaky clean and some people she has wronged have already spoken their mind on the net. Let's just say there are a lot of people that don't care for her much. Even some of her supporters are telling her she was just plain wrong to do what she did. My, my what has she gotten herself into - over a dongle joke. Some of the oldest and most benign humor in computing.

    Yessiree, she's in really, really deep. Her best bet to have this blow over is to apologize and say she is going to rehab for personal issues - to be revealed later of course. If she continues her current grandiose, narcissistic, self-righteous victim playing the race and vagina possession cards trajectory, things will get downright ugly. I'm right, they're wrong postures generally end poorly when you are actually wrong and most people see that and you don't. The future of programming is not at stake here. The quality of her future, however, quite certainly is.

    1. Ross K Silver badge

      Re: Quite a pickle

      If this goes to litigation - and it probably will - it will be interesting for the world to get a glimpse of the pattern of behavior of the perpetually offended one. I think a pattern of hypocrisy, maliciousness, and antisocial bordering on psychotic behavior will emerge.

      it probably will go to litigation. No doubt lawyers are queuing down the street from her house to represent her, but I can't see her having a successful outcome in court.

      In a marketing job like hers, I'd be very surprised if her employers hadn't included a clause in her contract that enabled dismissal if she brought the company into disrepute.

      She might want to use her free time to do a couple of City & Guilds courses in dog grooming or interior design. I don't think she's going to be working in an 'evangelical' role again unless it involves converting people to Christianity in some dark corner of the world.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Quite a pickle

        You said DARK!!! thats like racism that is!! I bet you're all ageist as well and everything! I'm going to tell twitter about you.

        You nailed it though (am I allowed to say nailed? without offended Adria? it could be considered a cryptosexist remark to assert my maleness or some other such twaddle), she got her attention alright and it's ended her career. Such a shame she didn't have any real talents to fall back on.

        1. Ross K Silver badge

          Re: Quite a pickle

          Just calling a spade a spade...

  47. Greg J Preece

    I don't get it. What exactly was the joke? Was it aimed at her, or at anyone in particular, or was it just someone making reference to their dick? Why would someone talking about their dick offend you? confused. El Reg, you're normally so good with the tittilating details.

  48. HelenaHandcart

    For those who say she was 'eavesdropping' on a private conversation... As I understand it, the men were sitting directly behind her. It may have been a private conversation that she was not intended to hear BUT it is not unknown for men sitting within hearing distance of a woman to make inappropriate comments or jokes with the intention that she overhear. For a woman this is an intensely uncomfortable and intimidating situation. It could certainly discourage the woman concerned from attending that or similar events in the future. Therefore, Adria Richard's concern and anger were probably justified. That said, the appropriate response (if she did not feel comfortable tackling the perpetrators herself) would have been to talk to a conference official. If the conference had declined to take action then THAT would be the time to go public. She was wrong to go to Twitter and, in doing so, brought her own company into disrepute.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      ok Rather than whack downvote I'll respond because I think that is fairer to you. I respect where you are coming from and you are right going to an official is preferable to tweeting to the world however, I have found the absolute best way to deal with something like that is to belittle it. I know there is sexism and racism out there, that for some demented reason some people actually do think your genitals or skin colour make you better than someone else.

      If you take the 'go to teacher' route then you embitter them and validate their prejudice. If you simple dismiss it then you'll notice it stops. One particularly loud female manager spend an post meeting drinking sesh into a pretty obnoxious anti men fest, which was fine, jokes we can handle with good grace. I missed one particular comment but she followed it up by removing her top and another colleague leaned over and said "jeez, that must have really hurt your knees" and from that point on things were a lot more civilized. She wanted attention and was acting up to get it, when she realised it wasn't forthcoming she toned it down.

      When people actually express pretty screwed up sentiments (and I don't include pretty tame jokes in that) they are doing it for validation from those around them, just deprive them of that validation and it goes away. I know it's unpopular to allow any kind of risqué joke these days but some people do need a thicker skin as well.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        oh and for the sake of sexual equality :) If a guy had done that at the table I am sure someone would have remarked at the need to turn up the heating.

      2. HelenaHandcart

        I agree with you but not everyone has confidence to talk back in that way, especially if she is the only woman in a large group of men. However, I think it is very unlikely that Adria Richards lacks confidence in that way. My main points were a) a woman who hears offensive remarks made by men behind her is not necessarily eavesdropping on a private conversation and b) tweeting was pretty much the absolute worst way to deal with it.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Fair call :-) Thank you for the explanation.

        2. Ross K Silver badge


          Therefore, Adria Richard's concern and anger were probably justified.

          Rubbish. She doesn't appear to be a shrinking violet, and she wasn't above making puerile cock jokes on Twitter herself. Given that her job involved getting a predominantly male customer base to use her product, I'm guessing she possessed the social skills to engage a man in conversation.

          So can the feminist half of the planet drop the pretense that she was some delicate little flower who didn't know what a penis was before those nasty men assaulted her ears with their crude dongle talk? Nothing offensive was said...

          This fake offense bullshit is a bit old now. It's about time someone fought back.

    2. magrathea

      "For a woman this is an intensely uncomfortable and intimidating situation"

      No it isn't. Not unless you factor in some weird, eccentric theory about the 'special' and 'vital' sensitivity of all women. For men it is a perfectly everyday and unremarkable occurence and for normal women ditto.

  49. Local G

    APRIL FOOL'S DAY...(on the Julian Calendar)

    This story is totally made up.

    Or maybe it's the 'lost' episode of 'IT Crowd'. Where Roy and Moss and Jen dongle around in Santa Clara.

    Seriously, when I'm in an audience and the men and women around me reek, I change my seat. I don't photograph the stinkers and twitter them with a description of their stench.

  50. elderlybloke

    Re: Overly sensitive

    Bugger me arn't the current generation super sensitive lot of farts.

    When I was a young lad all this bullshit about correctness was not in fashion.

    For instance, a girl in the mob I was in was called Hideous, a bloke who had been left with a withered leg by Polio was Kickidy, and a Maori bloke who had a very dark skin was Blondie.

    No one got into a big hissyfit over it. Probably had things of more consequence to concern us , like WW2.

    Any important stuff happening at this moment in time?

  51. C 18
    Paris Hilton

    Spot the troll anyone?!

    I've followed some of the links from here and the only conclusion that makes sense is that the 'offended' / 'injured' party is a troll of the Darwin Awards persuasion.

    I'm reluctant to have posted this as it is indirectly feeding said troll. As Oscar Wilde pontificated, 'there's only one thing worse than being talked about and that's not being talked about.'

    Paris Hilton because she'd take a forking repo from a big dongle joke and swallow her pride with gusto.

    Feminists, the correct button to push is the downvote one.

    People with a fully functioning sense of humour... walk on by, nothing to see here.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive

    She's obviously very young and hasn't had the pleasure of handling a real dongle.

  53. JimTopbloke

    The world has gone mad

    What's wrong with a stern look, women are great at this and will turn most adult males into 5 year olds instantly..

    or just wiggle a little finger in the direction of the offending chap..

    To be fair I have a female mate who works in the tech world and she is always fighting for her rights to be treated equally, to the point where she is now really defensive / aggressive about almost any sexist comment

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Total fucking lunatic

  55. jason 7 Silver badge

    What I learnt this week!

    That it appears as a straight white male I am regarded as the greatest force for evil, fear and oppression in the known universe!

    Thanks, I really needed that lift!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What I learnt this week!

      Don't worry, I've been reading for months how I'm only moments away from raping every woman I see, and when I'm not raping I'm oppressing everyone and thing while destroying the world. While I'm not raping, oppressing or, destroying, I'm ruining the nation because I'm unhealthy.

      I have to say, I've been a very busy boy.

  56. Forkin' 'ell

    Ding Dong

    Awww, come on, Adria, don't be such a dongle about it!

  57. Kubla Cant Silver badge


    I've never used Python, but I'm starting to wonder if there's something in the language that stirs up wild emotion. A couple of weeks ago there was a news item about Python users deploying death threats and DDOS in response to a perceived misuse of the name. Now we have spitting dummies and sackings caused by ambiguously-named peripherals.

    I bet you'd never see this sort of behaviour from COBOL users.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Python

      ".....I bet you'd never see this sort of behaviour from COBOL users." That's only cos the COBOL coders would miss the joke whilst they were turning up their deaf aids up. They also can't turn round too fast nowadays, not unless they have wheels on their Zimmerframes.

      And are we sure Adria even took that pic at Pycon? With that many beards it looks more like a garden gnome convention!

  58. This post has been deleted by its author

  59. Mark Leaver

    Some developer evangelist

    if she doesnt know what forking a repo is all about. If she thinks that it is something sexual then I am wondering how she has managed to retain a tech job for so long and to progress to the level of developer evangelist.

    And what would have happened if the guy had pulled out a 64Gb USB drive, which someone else mentioned these days is referred to as a dongle, and presented it to the organisers stating that here was his big dongle.

    And while I am at it, I have to say that she appears to have some of the worst spelling/grammar problems that I have ever seen. And her writing style is so jumbled it appears she is more interested in putting people to sleep rather than putting her issues out there in a sane legible fashion.

    At the end of the day... the guy making the joke about the big dongle is guilty of one thing... having bad taste in crappy jokes that are well past their use-by date.

    What she is guilty of is another whole world of hurt. In her own words, she said that she took the photo and posted it to twitter first. Then appealed for assistance from her twitter followers and then approached the organisers after already vilifying the two gentlemen on twitter.

    She has left herself open to a number of law suits the least of which would be the loss of earnings one if the guy can prove that he made the comment as part of a private conversation in a public place. If she tries to sue her ex-employer for wrongful dismissal, she then opens the can of worms that as their representative at Pycon, her actions in taking it to twitter and putting up a pic of 7 men without identifying the two gentlemen behind the comments has opened up the possibility of lawsuits from all 7 men for slanderous remarks made by their employee who was at the conference as their rep.

    I read something that some ambulance chaser over in the states posted up saying that it would be hard for her ex-employers to defend against a wrongful dismissal case. I reckon that it would be relatively easy. Her actions polarised a large segment of the community that she is supposed to be evangelising to against them and has led to attacks against their corporate infrastructure damaging their reputation in the industry. Those are two massively powerful defences really.

    Lets see... do we keep the woman who has potentially opened us up to a number of lawsuits, potentially alienated our future clients and workers and has cost us a large amount in dealing with DDoS attacks caused by her actions... or do we give her a DCM (Don't Come Monday) slip and have security escort her off the premises.

    I think that they went with the right option for the betterment of the company...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some developer evangelist

      Right. Her personal agenda of perpetual offense put the entire company in jeopardy. She was not conducting company business, she was saving the future of programming for little girls by publicly shaming her prospective customers and pissing off the entire Python community. Well done ! And she made it look effortless

      She was a disaster just waiting to happen. It was only a matter of time. Oh, and every dev evangelist I know, actually writes code very well and wouldn't be seen on camera demonstrating how to plug in an HDMI cable unless it was a comedy. I wonder how many takes she did before she got it right. " And then you take this end and plug it in here, DAMN !" "And then you take this end and plug it in here, DAMN!" And then you take this end.....

  60. Anonymous Coward

    I can't help but feel any lack of acceptance is down to the fact that she hasn't demonstrated any competence as a developer, and that is far more important than your gender.

    I actually found that her using the term nerd insulting, it rubs me the wrong way in the severest of ways, as it undermines my ability as a developer to imply that are marketing and media professional see's herself as having the same technical skills as a software engineer or physicist, it reminds me of the Facebook I f*cking love science group, and the BBC article framing her contribution for female scientists, when it has f*ck all to do with science, and there are thousands of women and men who deserve a BBC article far more than that.

    The worst aspect of this is that it undermines the real battle in cultures that genuinely do have serious issues, not just in IT, but in any profession.

  61. Cipher

    Drama. Richards could have turned around and told them to shut up. Her reason for the public outing of these two numbnuts doesn't hold water: No little girl was ever gonna be denied a chance to be a programmer because of an off-color joke. Never. I suspect that her motivation lies elsewhere: Fame and Fortune.

    Richards herself has made jokes of a sexual nature online before, and in the words of an editor at one of the tech rags : "Regardless of her previous behavior online (which quite frankly, seems to be a little racist at times)..." Her hands are not clean. Women are ill served by double standard advocates such as her...

  62. darkmage0707077

    A Hypothesis

    I wonder if our seemingly decreasing tolerance for real life inappropriateness is at all related to our increasing exposure to such inappropriateness online, via comments, IM, etc?

    Though we can block someone online or even get them banned from websites, in the back of our minds, we know that trolls will never really go away, that they'll just make a new username or use a different machine and be back at it within a week. To our POV, there are no real consequences for the trolls, asshats and hateful people for posting what they do online except they get shut down from that one site for a while, and that's even if they care.

    They basically get a slap on the wrist, if that, and sometimes they get a bunch of supporters crawling out of the woodwork to make an unassailable wall of ass that modders/admins can do nothing about short of shutting the site down and killing their own web traffic, which would probably be financial suicide for them and could result in the website going down permanently.

    I've experienced that aggravation before, seeing a full page of nothing but racial slurs, trolling and hate speech, and hit the "report user" buttons, only to see them still commenting and posting similar crap months later. It makes me cry out in despair sometimes. So from my own experiences, the frustration can be real, and it carried with me through at least part of my day, so it affected me outside of just the website.

    So when that sort of thing happens around us in real life - where consequences are much more serious and long lasting, and would therefor be far more satisfying to witness - would it not become harder to keep from lashing out and overreacting as part of a desire to try and make up for the numerous injustices we constantly witness online? Is it possible we go overboard because we know that although we can't stick it to all the trolls online, we can at least stick it to this one sitting right next to us?

    ...I don't know, I'm asking because it just occurred to me to ask. I know Correlation does not equal Causation, but if studies have been done before that could show this kind of link - using samples large enough to matter (i.e. over 1K-10K) and peer-reviewed - it'd be interesting to know.

  63. Local G

    "Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?"

    His dubious legal mind already at work, Clarence Thomas put his sexist remark to Anita Hill in the form of a question. As if, deus ex machina, Clarence had just discovered a divine short hair where his lips would soon be enjoying nectar. No one, not even a super reactionary like Matt Bryant, would accuse him of planning to dip his wick into the lamp of AH.

    The lesson for the victims of Santa Clara is that if you are accused to ribaldry, it is helpful to be a medicore African American conservative jurist.

    "According to Hill, during her two years of employment as Thomas's assistant, Thomas had asked her out socially many times, and after she refused, he used work situations to discuss sexual subjects. "He spoke about...such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes" she said, adding that on several occasions Thomas graphically described "his own sexual prowess" and the details of his anatomy. Hill also recounted an instance in which Thomas examined a can of Coke on his desk and asked, "Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?" (interesting account @ Wikipedia

    "He polished at his knob so carefully,

    His scanty career rose ballistically..."

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