I have long thought that email was the worst form of communication; primarily because it involves no real conversation, only the author giving his views to the recipient. But Adria Richards, who in her own words is a “Joan of Arc” like figure has proved me wrong.
The feminist Ms Richards was offended by the private conversation of the men behind her at a Python developers’ conference and tweeted their picture to the entire world. This resulted in both the man concerned and Ms Richards being fired. Get the full story from The Register.
This case raises many issues. There is something wrong when you can get fired as result as a result of electronic surveillance of a private conversation in a public space; in an earlier post I highlighted the issue of a man hounded out of his job for private comments made on Facebook. However this is not the topic of this post.
If something offends you at work, whether it is the insanity of using camelCase or the sense of humour of your colleagues, sending an email or tweet is not going to make the problem better.
Problems are solved by people talking to each other face-to-face. If the issue is a technical one then arrange a workshop and talk the issue through. If it is social one and you don’t feel brave enough raise it with the person concerned then raise it with your line manager. That is what they are there for.
In one way at least, Ms Richards has struck a blow for female equality. She showed that woman in IT can be as socially incompetent as men.