P014: Angry Man Sends Rambling Email

I am angry.

I am angry that former GitHub employee Julie Ann Horvath was harassed by the company’s cofounder Tom Preston-Werner, which resulted in her leaving GitHub last month. I am angry that GitHub’s sham investigation yielded quote no legal wrongdoing unquote and that Preston-Werner was cheered on by VC Marc Andreessen following his resignation.

GitHub is literally at the center of my professional world. We had followed its rise and learned about its processes and believed that they were serious about being good citizens in the community and even working to address past problems.

Now? Now it’s all this. Now your choice of version control providers is a political statement. Now everyone’s motives are second-guessed.

This is the world we have built for ourselves on the internet and surprise, surprise it’s just like the real world we left behind.

And don’t even step to me with that whole we-don’t-know-all-the-facts-it’s-a-he-said-she-said garbage. The GitHub Tragedy (don’t call it a “scandal”) is more than just the consequence-free actions of a brogrammer, it’s the inescapable result of the systems that we have built from the ground up. Our society is the way it is because that’s how it was designed.

What now?

If you want to look at this whole debacle as a teaching moment or a potential turning point because that helps you sleep at night then go ahead. Me, I can’t rationalize away a person’s pain by pretending that things are going to change because we’ve finally seen the error of our ways. The industry that I choose to participate in is a never-ending nightmare of sexism (and let’s be real: all the other -isms, too) and it makes me sad and angry.

Periodically yours,

Bob Sherron