I’d read complaints before about the meanness of commenters on the irc backchannel at conferences, but this is the first time I’ve really experienced it for myself. Right now the mob is tearing into Cyndi Mitchell’s keynote on Enterprise Ruby. They’re making cracks about her being the Rachel Ray of code. I’m wondering, if they think it sucks so much, why is everyone still in there? Yesterday it certainly sounded like there was at least one mass exodus from a presentation that was putting the crowd to sleep.
I think O’Reilly should really look at options for moderating the backchannel. Aren’t they supposed to be interested in healthy communities?
Last night, Desi coordinated a Thoughtworks-sponsored party at Rock Bottom Brewery. She’s been a huge help in going around and introducing the female attendees to each other. I had a great time wandering around and talking to people. Tonight the same thing will be happening again, this time sponsored by Pivotal Labs. There’s also a Hackety Hack & User Groups BoF tonight that will be open to the public, and RejectConf at FreeGeek (though now that I’m reading about the “Gong Show” format, I’m actually not that interested in seeing this).
I have a lot of concerns about elitism and cliquishness in the Ruby and Rails communities. But talking to people last night, I felt reassured that there are a lot of people who really only care about what they’re able to do with this technology, and aren’t part of some kind of social game. That was good.
On the other hand, #railsconf makes me think the worst again:
[09:23am] lectrick: if we wanted women we would have become nurses [actual name: Peter Marreck]
[09:23am] deadprogrammer: mars need women [Ron Evans]
[09:23am] NetNeutrality: lack of women is not rails specific, all software eng is like that [unknown]
Someone set up a RubyChicks site. I’m not really sure what to make of this. But hey, photographic evidence that we exist. I’m in picture #16 [edit: the site owner seems to be taking pictures down as they’re added. Not sure why that and not disabling uploads as well].