A Developer with a Pencil

Being an Asshole Does Not Make You Awesome

Don’t be an asshole. period.

Being an asshole comes in all different shapes and sizes, in the tech community is it usually comes in the forms of being a bully to newcomers or being abusive towards women.

The latter one seems to be bothering the Rails and Ruby community a lot less than the first one, I have seen in several occasions people coming to the help of a new comer when someone thought it was cool to bring him down and make fun of him online (#rubyonrails on irc.freenode.net) while the phenomenon of degrading women is hardly addressed as a community.

A few years ago - Matt Almonetti decided that it is a good idea to name his CouchDb and Rails presentation as “CouchDB and Ruby - Perform like a porn star” - an act that led to the initial foundation of the Railsbridge group and eventually the RailsGirls movement (which is awesome btw). This specific event was the only time someone reacted to the fact that women are generally treated differently in the Rails / Ruby world and the first time a Community wide action took place.

The no-asshole policy started to kick in, or so I thought.

Yesterday there has been a vivid discussion in Twitter regarding a case of sexual harrasement that happened during one of the Ruby conferences last year in January (I will not link names or tweets until I know what is going on for real) that lead me to think about this whole issue - what are we REALLY doing to make women feel welcome in our community.

The answer is, not much. RailsGirls are doing an awesome job in bringing women into this overall wonderful community, but it is not enough - we need to pay attention to the stuff that makes us such a great community overall to new comers and men, and make it appealing for women too.

What is missing you ask? I think that there is no consideration in women when it comes to gem naming convention, here are a few gems that i found in a 5 mintues search on Rubygems.org to demonstrate why women and other groups probably feel uncomfortable when trying to get into the Rails community:

While some of you may think this is a righteous callout - I think that as a community we need to strive to be as appealing as possible, there is nothing cool about naming your gem “fuck” or “retarded” and we as a community - need to stop this from happening as much as we can.

In my opinion there is no immediate solution, only ones that are community driven and are accepted as standard. Some of the gems i specified above have more than 20,000 downloads, that’s 20,000 people that didn’t care. it should be different.

A proper suggestion but may be a non-realistic one is that Rubygems.org will refuse to accept gem pushes that uses offensive naming conventions - while this is a harsh move - It will show that a major, if not the most important one in the Rails and Ruby world is showing that it cares making the rest of us follow by example.

An Update

Obviously, i took the liberty of linking to this post in Facebook and Twitter. Almost all of the responses I got were great from people that agree with the idea and pain behind this post…

but this guy is something else.

I posted on the Ruby group on facebook.

This guy Aaron, is the admin. Take a look at the lowest level of people you can find in this industry.