The internet can be relied upon for two things:
- Pictures of cats
Over the last couple days there's been a huge firestorm over Adria Richard's blog post about being offended by sexual jokes at tech conferences. The gist of the post is that Adria was offended by two guys making sexual jokes and she reported them to the staff as well as posted the whole story to her blog.
The resulting firestorm consumed not only one of the two guys' job but Adria's job as well.
Here's the problem with this: the whole thing is pure insanity!
Where's the Communication?
If there had been any communication between the people involved and less grandstanding then none of this would have happened. No one should have been fired. Everyone, even the most sensitive speaker, says dumb things at the wrong time – I know I do on a regular basis.
This lack of communication affects not only how we interact at conferences but every aspect of our job. How do we resolve problems in projects when we can't stand to talk to each other? How do we have an honest conversation with our client if we can't say what's on our mind? Communication is at the core of every problem we have and it's embarrassing that most of the problems in the IT industry are the result of a lack of soft (communication) skills instead of the hard (technical) skills.
How Do We Fix This?
I genuinely care about supporting equality for everybody and when I do say something inappropriate I try to fix those mistakes. I imagine there's a large percentage of people that do the same. So why can't we just sit down and talk about it? If we can sit down then all of us can leave the table a little more educated, happy, and with our jobs secure. Win win.