Why I won’t be speaking at conferences with Douglas Crockford anymore.

9/6/2016: You can read an update concerning the Nodevember conference here: https://medium.com/@nodebotanist/on-nodevember-f28a42c4b62e?source=linkShare-73f258845594-1473177085

Update: I’ve switched comments to ‘not visible.’ I won’t be reading them. I don’t feel the need to justify this, either. Thanks ❤.

So I don’t like naming and shaming. I’ve stated before that, while I’m not perfect, I try to reserve this for “repeated, unrepentant bad actors.”

Which is why it’s come to this.

TL;DR: If you are running a conference, and have invited Douglas Crockford, please save yourself the trouble and do not invite me, as I will no longer speak at events with him.

I’ve dealt with Crockford’s untenable behavior now at quite a few events. The latest was ForwardJS: besides his keynote in which he slut-shames the audience, we had a small exchange backstage regarding a conference near and dear to my heart. Please note that this exchange was not 5 minutes before I was supposed to give my own keynote on robotics and community.

“the talks as the day went on just got stupider and stupider.” He said.

“mmm.” I replied. I found myself angry, my teeth clenched. Why on earth would he feel the need to say that, and now?

I’ve never dealt with Crockford in a way that I felt pleasant afterward. He is rude, unrepentant, and completely (one could argue willingly) oblivious to the meaning of his statements. I’ve never seen a person use the word ‘stupid’ so liberally in replacement of constructive criticism.

And it is because of this that I regretfully have to say that I will not be speaking at or attending events with Crockford. The only exception to this will be any events that are considered part of my employment — I’m a developer evangelist and I need to do my job. But if I am speaking about robotics, or community, or on my own time, I will refuse.

“What does the community care if you don’t go over Crockford?” you might ask. My answer to that is maybe they don’t care. But I genuinely hope that we care about creating a good environment for both speakers and attendees at these events.

I’ve had enough with the passive agreement that this is a problem. Enough “well you know he’s Crockford and he’s just going to be Crockford.” I disagree, as we keep enabling his behavior by giving him an audience.

So perhaps you too, after reading this, will consider calling out bad actors and making it clear to organizers that we do not wish to have this behavior be a part of events we choose to participate in.

In my keynote at ForwardJS, I said “we do not need to choose between good people and good code; if we foster a good community, good code will follow.” I stand behind that now, also from the perspective of events — we do not need bad actors. We will get along fine, and have wonderful experiences, without them.

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