Reactgate Recap

Aryan J on August 25, 2019

Series of Events A take on Vue developers vs. React developers is tweeted. @heydon@mastodon.social ... [Read Full]
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This has been a frustrating situation in a few ways with many people shouting past one another. I hope we can come together as a community.

There were valid concerns at play here, as well as some unhealthy tribalism. Our industry needs to get better at making minoritized groups feel safe and heard, while also improving constructive communication as a whole.

 

This has been a frustrating situation in a few ways with many people shouting past one another. I hope we can come together as a community.

This is not only how I feel about tech Twitter, but also elections, climate change discussions and pretty much any other topic on social media.

 

Typical Twitter. Not regretting the decision to leave the service a month ago. Relying on Mastodon, DEV, and RSS feeds for keeping myself in the tech loop has done amazing things on my mental health and cut my staring at phone to less than half.

Can only recommend the same for Dan and the rest of the community.

 

I think it's pretty clear that Twitter is terrible for the mental health of its users, and the collective mental health of the software community.

It's addictive and enables limited-context arguments, like this one.

 

I'd say that stands for all social media. At the same time, they're also not going away anytime soon because they feed people's ego so damn much. And people love those little bursts of "feel good" hormones.

 

I am so incredibly grateful to have really truly quit Twitter a year ago. Things like "Reactgate" or whatever happen and I am blissfully unaware of it (lol until now).

Just. Quit. Social. Media.

It is designed to hijack your emotions, turn you into an addict, and have you spending your days endlessly debating pointless made up scandals-of-the-day

"React Developers" are a made up group. "Vue Developers" also made up. We're just people making things on our computers. That is all

 

Man I really wish I could escape this twitter drama, didn't want to see it on dev.to

 
 

When I say drama I’m specifically referring to the ken/heydon/dan situation that this post is addressing, not the wider situation as a whole.

I am however very for the conversations that this situation has spawned about white supremacy/toxicity/etc in tech, as I’ve dealt with a lot of it firsthand.

It is in fact drama. You don't have to be scared of saying the truth.

This whole thing is bigger than some silly drama. People have been hurt and are continuing to be hurt.

I am not denying the fact that drama is capable of hurting people's feelings. It however is still drama. Or probably I don't understand what "This whole thing" means but this particular Twitter ish is plain drama.

 

Could not agree more.

It's a problem of spending too much time online and not in real life - you tend to see things where they aren't. You become hyper aware of niche concerns that may not even exist.

Leaving a community (or at least declaring they will) is how immature people deal with issues - especially a community as large and actually very accepting as the tech community. Immature people tend to have more than one issue going on.

I read the "factual account" it's just a cherry-picked list of references to bolster a made up accusation.

Sure there are issues in any community but honestly rage quitting says more about you than anything else.

 

Again, you don't get to police how oppressed people feel. Or how they react to dangerous people. No one has to stay anywhere that they aren't made to feel welcome in. The tech community needs to do better for women of color. Tatiana did anything but "rage quit". She's received so much abuse and hate online after all she's done for the community.

Be a productive member of the tech community and actually listen to people when they tell you there's a problem. Especially listen to women of color when they tell you there's a problem in tech. This comment (and your others) are not productive at all. Just stop.

Sorry, who was dangerous here?

I listened but unless some other evidence comes forward I made the decision I feel that there is nothing to do here. Listening to someone does not mean you have to do what they want. This is just basic logic. You're linking listening to blindly believing and then I guess enacting whatever changes they want - why do you think that's appropriate?

I think a few (not just Tatiana) people involved in this are basically throwing tantrums and shouting past each other, I just thought it was very strange to take the side of the person that threw the biggest one. My comment was about how you tend to see this with people that spend too much time online or in homogenous communities. You tend to see things where they aren't because you're conditioned to do so. Someone uses the wrong language or a gesture and that's an issue - they may be well intentioned and have no idea. I know because I work in leftist groups with ages 18-85 so you see a lot of well intentioned people doing good work who have no idea about whatever niche belief there is this month or year.

Just to look at the situation from the equally valid other side (I'm assuming all involved have feelings, failings, beliefs, etc) If I were a person that had no idea about various made-up white power gestures and these accusations were leveled at me - I might feel a bit down. There is collateral damage to these types of tantrums as well.

Nobody really gets to police how anybody feels (oppressed or not), how somebody feels is entirely up to them. I'm unclear how you could even read it that way. I will say that your comment (phrasing, terminology, etc) is a template, I've seen or heard something like this with similar phrases and group-think ideas in it.

What is different about your own comment? Are you policing my opinions? What gives you that right? For some reason you can tell me what to think but not vice versa. LOL, it's ridiculous. Of course you aren't policing my opinions. It is up to me whether I listen to you or not, take any of what you say seriously or not and so on. A person with some emotional intelligence does not let emotions rule their life. Ideally a person can reflect and deal with emotions in a productive way.

How do you feel entitled to declare who is oppressed and who is not? I'm not entirely sure how you did that?

I'm just commenting on strategies that have proven very successful for me when moving in communities that I am not made to feel welcome in but have had to or wanted to navigate anyway. I guess I never thought it was someone else's job to make me feel welcomed but instead I could earn trust and respect and become a member of these communities. If people in a group were acting in bad faith you don't deal with them, that being said you should ideally give people a charitable reading of what they say or what they intend. Most people are, of course, decent people attempting to do the right thing.

What I've seen is that a lot of people cut their nose off to spite their face over perceived injustices just like Tatiana has done in this case. If we react to every perceived injustice rather than actual injustice it would be a nightmare.

I'll keep commenting, unless you want to police me out of doing so? OMG LOL.

Sorry, who was dangerous here?

I didn't say anyone here was specifically dangerous. I'm referring to, but it's not limited to, the people that have been sending hate to Tatiana.

I listened but unless some other evidence comes forward I made the decision I feel that there is nothing to do here. Listening to someone does not mean you have to do what they want. This is just basic logic. You're linking listening to blindly believing and then I guess enacting whatever changes they want - why do you think that's appropriate?

Women of color are telling us about real problems they're experiencing in tech. It's not very hard to find proof of the gatekeeping and hate they receive. Use Google. Do the work yourself. The burden of proof is on you, not women of color.

I think a few (not just Tatiana) people involved in this are basically throwing tantrums and shouting past each other, I just thought it was very strange to take the side of the person that threw the biggest one. My comment was about how you tend to see this with people that spend too much time online or in homogenous communities. You tend to see things where they aren't because you're conditioned to do so. Someone uses the wrong language or a gesture and that's an issue - they may be well intentioned and have no idea. I know because I work in leftist groups with ages 18-85 so you see a lot of well intentioned people doing good work who have no idea about whatever niche belief there is this month or year.

This situation can't be minimized to a tantrum. Reacting to harassment is not a tantrum. Exiting a space that isn't safe for you isn't throwing a tantrum. Also, it sounds like you haven't seen the slide set that clearly tells us, "Intent does not erase impact." When you learn about how your words/actions have actually impacted people vs. how you intended them to, something that's really important is how you move forward. Apologize, acknowledge what you need to change, and then make the change.

Just to look at the situation from the equally valid other side (I'm assuming all involved have feelings, failings, beliefs, etc) If I were a person that had no idea about various made-up white power gestures and these accusations were leveled at me - I might feel a bit down. There is collateral damage to these types of tantrums as well.

It doesn't feel good getting called out. I refer you back to the previous explanation of intent vs. impact.

Nobody really gets to police how anybody feels (oppressed or not), how somebody feels is entirely up to them. I'm unclear how you could even read it that way. I will say that your comment (phrasing, terminology, etc) is a template, I've seen or heard something like this with similar phrases and group-think ideas in it.

Let me rephrase: you don't get to tell oppressed people whether or not their feelings are valid. Let me also assure you that my words are my own. I'm not sure why you keep trying to insult me.

What is different about your own comment? Are you policing my opinions? What gives you that right? For some reason you can tell me what to think but not vice versa. LOL, it's ridiculous. Of course you aren't policing my opinions. It is up to me whether I listen to you or not, take any of what you say seriously or not and so on. A person with some emotional intelligence does not let emotions rule their life. Ideally a person can reflect and deal with emotions in a productive way.

You can have whatever opinions you want, sure. But I can also tell you when they are damaging to other people. Do with that what you will. I obviously hope you will move forward in a progressive way and try to have less damaging opinions. But this isn't just about emotions. White supremacy is a real, phsyical threat to people of color every single day. Failing to acknowledge that isn't fair to the people who have to face that danger.

How do you feel entitled to declare who is oppressed and who is not? I'm not entirely sure how you did that?

I don't even know what to say here. Read a book (by someone who isn't white).

I'm just commenting on strategies that have proven very successful for me when moving in communities that I am not made to feel welcome in but have had to or wanted to navigate anyway. I guess I never thought it was someone else's job to make me feel welcomed but instead I could earn trust and respect and become a member of these communities. If people in a group were acting in bad faith you don't deal with them, that being said you should ideally give people a charitable reading of what they say or what they intend. Most people are, of course, decent people attempting to do the right thing.

It's clear to me you don't fully understand how racist and sexist systems work. I encourage you to do some research on those. It sounds like you have some sort of privilege that allows you to escape abuse and then easily find another place to go. Not everyone has that ability because the abuse is ingrained in society against them.

What I've seen is that a lot of people cut their nose off to spite their face over perceived injustices just like Tatiana has done in this case. If we react to every perceived injustice rather than actual injustice it would be a nightmare.

The abuse and harassment isn't perceived. All you have to do is look at Tatiana's Twitter mentions. It's not hard to find the proof on your own. And one more time: read a book.

This might be relevant: I don't use twitter for much of the reasons I outlined wrt to online communities, mental health, etc so I only read through the 'factual account' that was linked. Did you notice that the 'proof' everybody knows OK is a white power gesture are Google searches and tweets?! I use something like that gesture all the time, estimating 0 points, how is dinner going, I am okay, etc.

I couldn't see much hate. There were some made-up ideas about gestures and some insinuations and and an outright claim of people being white supremacists (couldn't find proof on this), some things about not using colloquialisms like "crazy" and then an idea that you need to police the entire community if you are to win the approval of some people.

To me it read like drama. Something you might see from high schoolers to be honest - but as I said I just have the document.

On intent vs impact sometimes you might want to change due to your not being received with the intent you had but it is only possible if people tell you. There can't really be a concrete rule here as individuals can take offense at pretty much anything they want, I think there can certainly be norms though.

I've read a bunch of black authors, feminist authors and so on and there doesn't appear to be a universal approach to remedying things or even a shared reason or experience. If there were, there would be one go-to book. If you think that by reading a book you would just have the same views on this topic as you do I think that's unfortunate. I'm not sure how if a community has different ideas that we should have one, unified one. You can believe someone's experience, empathise with them and then still disagree with their reading of a situation or their reaction. Therapists essentially do this.

As I originally said it seems this escalated due to attacks going both ways. She accused someone of being a white supremacist (amongst other things) with absolutely no reason to do so. I'm not sure what was expected after that. I'm sure she has received a heavy dose of negativity and that is gross, but my original point was really that the whole thing just reads like manufactured drama which is separate from the real issues she might face every other day. If she turned off twitter I feel her life might be a lot better.

 

Update: You can read Tatiana's factual account of what went down and draw your own conclusions.

I think number 0. was a hand sign at a conference that is sometimes meant to mean "white power." The Southern Poverty Law Center has a pretty in-depth explanation of the symbol:

... what it’s about most of the time is a deliberate attempt to “trigger liberals” into overreacting to a gesture so widely used that virtually anyone has plausible deniability built into their use of it in the first place.

The problem, of course, is that there are white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klansmen who have increasingly begun using the use of the symbol both to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it. To them, the configuration means WP, for “white power.”

This use of the signal preceded the 4chan hoax that made it go viral. A number of alt-right figures, notably white-nationalist guru Richard Spencer, published photographs of themselves using the symbol as early as 2016. Milo Yiannopoulos adopted the symbol on social media as early as 2015.

Using white power symbols or other forms of hate speech should have no place in the tech community. Unfortunately many people are comfortable with these hate symbols because they don't understand the destructive impact they can have on people. Even if the intent of this symbol was just a joke about the "circle game" like Ken said in his talk, it is still a symbol of hate and it is psychologically damaging to people regardless of what his intent was.

One impact in this case is an incredibly talented designer and speaker (Tatiana) leaving the tech community. I encourage you to read Radhika's perspective on the saga. I think she summed it up perfectly: "This isn't about Ken. This is about supposed allies, folks taking the neutral route, the infinite amount of gaslighting."

Another gem from Radhika's thread:

You can't claim that we brought politics into your pure world of React.

My life is political.

My tech career almost ended because my life is political.

Your life & tech career are political, too. You just don't see it.

This. Is. Technical.

 

Thank you for adding this, I am not sure if this article is the full story and can be misleading. This is a pretty narrow scope of the full issue that was going on. aryanjnyc, please think about updating this post with further information.

 

I'm listening. Which further information?

Edit: Added Tatiana's account to timeline.

I think the title might need a tweek too, unless that was all you wanted to focus on. Maybe something a bit more neutral? The event seemed to be the React twitter community as a whole losing a lot of dignity and alienating people. Which caused several account deactivations and then reactivations, as well as causing a lot of irl financial and emotional damage to Tatiana. Thank you for adding the additional information and link to Tatiana Mac's summary of events.

 

It should also be pointed out the Tatiana Mac is quitting the industry because of this mess: twitter.com/TatianaTMac/status/116...

 

The reactionary response on both sides was cringe. We do need to address the elitism and gatekeeping that comes with tech bro dude culture and how that excludes marginalized people. In this political climate, you need to be a little more considerate and hold your self accountable if you enable it.

 

Thank you for the summary. I saw some of the fall out but it was hard to piece together exactly what happened.

 

Remind me again, why do we use Twitter? If it hosts emetic comments that ruin your day when you read them, then it's time to take a break from this nonsense.

 
 
 

Code Hipsters always end up devouring their own.

-signed
A Humble COBOL programmer

 
 

You americans really need to calm down. Take a step back and stop reacting emotionally to everything. The whole white power ok hand sign was a prank that was played on you by 4chan, and you just took it hook line and sinker because you've lost the ability to view anything in the political realm under any objective (or even sane) light. You just keep feeding this tribalism over inane things, just calm down.

 
 

I was genuinely sad for Dan. He's such a sweetheart in the community.

I am afraid his insights are going to be far in between from now on on social media.

 

I've updated the list. Just for reference, #7 in OP refers to "Dan Abramov explains that he's fine on Reddit."

 

I hate the thought that just because a hate group does one thing, that thing immediately becomes a symbol of hate. That and the fact that the "Okay hand gesture" has the "white power" symbol is a troll by 4Chan, and most idiots fell for it (including the supremacists, who are so stupid they don't know their own shit).

White Supremacist: *Breathes*
BREATHING IS NOW A HATE SYMBOL!

 

There are so many ways to communicate things. It's not going to hurt us to stop using the OK hand gesture. Stopping the usage will prevent harm, however, and that should be worth it.

 

What's stopping them (the trolls) from continuing to add new symbols to the list though? If it's effective, then they're just going to keep doing it.

I guess we’ll just have to see. In the meantime, it costs $0 to help people feel safe by not using a symbol.

I really disagree with this approach. I don't think you help people feel safe by giving power to those who are trying to oppose them. Just because they want something to be a symbol of hate, doesn't mean society has to follow suit. The best thing we can do is to continue using it in everyday life as a giant middle finger towards their hateful ideology.

The best thing we can do is listen to the people who are hurting. They're telling us exactly what they need.

I agree that we should listen to people and empathize with their situation. But just as it's not their fault bad people exist, it's not my fault either. I don't have to give up my freedom to use everyday language just because someone bad is trying to take it over.

I get the point you're making, that's it seems like there's zero harm in changing how we speak, but I disagree with that conclusion. There is harm to it, in that it gives power to their (the WN people) voices. It makes their actions effective. We're not talking about banning a widely known and long-time used negative symbol or word. We're talking about an everyday symbol that just very recently been tried to be taken over (as a trolling attempt nonetheless).

So yes, we listen to those hurt, but we also don't give up our everyday language the second these people try to co-opt it. That's losing the battle before it's even begun.

It’s just an OK symbol. Your life won’t suffer for ending usage of it. Others lives will be better though. But I can’t teach you to be compassionate for other people so this is my last comment to you.

But now my life will suffer if I use 👌at conference or in a tweet.

But really, this is what worries me: You assume I'm not being compassionate towards others simply because I disagree with the approach. And from that, it is logical to end the conversation. It's one thing to agree to disagree, but to accuse someone of lacking compassion is entirely different. Now I'm a bad person who you probably shouldn't associate with anymore. And if I'm a bad person, I probably shouldn't be allowed in the industry, or at least to give talks at conferences. It's not that far of a stretch. All because I believe that it's not in the best interest of anyone to give up our language to white supremacists.

Urrrgh there are plenty of times in life where what someone is asking for can provide temporary relief but long term suffering.

Please just think things through a little more.

Of course becoming less fragile is the best way to be, if you need temporary protection that should be offered, but to be protected for life hurts the individual and the communities they touch.

You don’t get to police how oppressed people feel.

I think we miss the point if we limit discussion to the co-opting of the OK sign by white nationalists; though I can believe that there are many (especially outside the US) who genuinely don't know the significance it has gained. It's a tough call whether to resist this or just avoid its use.

Kevin you said:

I believe that it's not in the best interest of anyone to give up our language

On this I don't agree. Our language has been formed by - and perpetuates - historical biases. It is absolutely in our interest to remove those biases wherever possible. It's perhaps not realistic to simply erase all problematic language; but when someone tells you that the language you use is harmful to them, that's not something that should simply be dismissed.

However I do think that focusing on the OK symbol trivialises the issue here. The point is that someone who tried to draw attention to the effects of a long history of bias in our culture was the victim of exactly what she described.

Aaron - it's simplistic to accuse Tatiana Mac of having a tantrum for leaving the industry if you haven't been subjected to that level of abuse and haven't suffered the effects of Western society's inherent racism your entire life. Maybe you have? I haven't; but I still think it's far more appropriate to condemn the people who trolled her.

 

I can't be the only one thinking this whole situation got out of hand REAL quick. People need to chill tf down.

 

What is the situation? Even following the "breakdown", I have no idea what happened or who these people are.

 

It was just a very successful trolling campaign from some possibly jealous assholes that was picked up by everyone because they pretended to touch the issue of diversity

 

...ending up damaging the cause because they pushed off the community those who wanted to listen to their complaints, but they mostly wanted heads rolling at that point. So much for "compassion" and "empathy".

Never got more ashamed of being in a real echochamber where people who do mistakes when comunicating (in good faith) become irredemable murderers, and those who refuse to put them on the chair their accomplices. I'm out of Twitter now.

I'm all for diversity and inclusion, but this is basically giving in to those who actually do evil and want neither of those. Once you start telling people that they will never be "good", they don't really want to fit in anymore.

 
 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

Drama queens

 
 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

This is no drama. This is shit

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