Think before you speak or post

In today’s Comm 506 class, Natasha’s presentation and the discussion began with an article that appeared in Wired magazine.  The article was penned by Alice Marwick and opens with:

It was the tweet that launched a thousand trolls. When Adria Richards tweeted out a picture of two men she overheard making sexual jokes behind her during open-source conference PyCon, the internet erupted. (You can find the full article online here

This story serves as a reminder that we need to be mindful of what we say – in private, in public, online, offline.  I am not in any way suggesting that Adria Richards did the wrong thing.  I may have done it in a different way, but I do get why she did what she did.  It is important to speak up or things won’t change.  (I have to admit here that I am guilty of having made inappropriate comments).

When I read about stories like this, I am loudly reminded to think before I post, think before I speak. If you do something inappropriate, then own it and make amends.  Don’t forget to put yourself in the others shoes.  Learn from it.  I learned a lot from reading Marwick’s article.  Thanks, Natasha (and Kate) for bringing forth such a great discussion.


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4 Responses to Think before you speak or post

  1. rorossier says:

    I agree, Ava. This is such a sad story, with all sides losing. Hopefully all this loss, and public attention focus, will help galvanize people into creating both some basic enforcement of respect in public spaces (conference floor/classroom); and some new social norms to deal with the transition from semi-private to social media broadcast. That transition happens with mutual respect and I think (maybe blindly-optimistically-naively) we might be crawling toward changing values. Safety is a foundation of trust. Women have feel safe in all forums so that they can engage with tech/sci/eng and contribute! At the same time, we are a society moving onto new platforms and we need to learn how to distinguish between the new private/public boundaries that we’re navigating.

  2. Thanks Ava – Marwick’s article does a great job bring to light the bullying and shaming that women often face when calling out sexist behavior in our society. Everyone makes innappropriate comments from time to time, but in this case it was all about the context. Women shouldn’t have to face and accept sexism in the workplace or at professional conferences (…or anywhere for that matter). Adrai Richards had every right to point out offensive behavior and she had every right to expect to feel safe while attending the conference.

  3. Ava – I couldn’t bring myself to write about Natasha’s presentation. The topic of her excellent presentaiton was too depressing and surreal. Our brave new world needs a serious kick in the jewels.

  4. Ava K says:

    Natasha, I agree that women shouldn’t have to face bullying when calling out sexist behaviour and that we shouldn’t have to face sexism in the work place or at a conference – I just don’t feel that posting the picture of the offenders with the tweet was the best way to go. Public humiliation doesn’t solve the problem, it only creates more problems. I think public humiliation is also a form of bullying.

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