Empathy, diversity, and open source
Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire
203

This is a nice retrospective of the controversy. I vented at them too, although more so before I had all the details. It was understandable: the sponsor included swag, and they put the swag in the bags. They had reasons that made sense to them at the time. When confronted about it, they listened and made changes — and within a fairly reasonable timeframe, given that they were also prepping the conference.

I think that Twitter is a bad medium for controversies because no one can see the full picture at a glance. For example, people are still commenting on things as if no statement has been issued. I understand, sure, and people can do what they want, but I think in general we could have reserved judgment a little longer, and I think the organizers would have listened anyway. I don't think penyaskito pulling his talk was the sole catalyst that opened their ears, but I don't know more than what I saw on Twitter, so maybe it was.

I think that because Twitter is bad for dealing with stuff like this, one has to dial up the kindness a bit and measure their responses, even if they see similar crap all the time and are just sick and tired of it. Because the people they're talking to might not have the same viewpoint or literally not see the problem, and coming at them like they should have known can make otherwise constructive criticism destructive.

I also think that many can overreact when people get defensive and automatically assume they aren't listening. This is not always the case; it's perfectly possible to be listening to criticism and still have one's own opinions or questions. If we act as if certain things are not up for discussion, then people will stop discussing them, and they will not understand our point of view. Sure, some views cannot be reasoned with, but that wasn't the case here.

I'm (hopefully) not delusional, though. People are going to keep overreacting and needlessly insulting, the people making the mistake(s) are going to get defensive, and people who stay civil will have their convictions questioned by the outraged. Human communication is messy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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