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Cher
Cher

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Sexism, Racism, Toxic Positivity, and TailwindCSS

You might think that these things don't belong in the same article, but here we are, this week in front-end development, having the same conversation that seems to be never-ending.

There's a complexity here that I find is being painfully pushed aside to focus on one thing: TailwindCSS versus... not TailwindCSS.

In defense of TailwindCSS

I want to start by saying that I am using TailwindCSS professionally on a project. It is doing exactly what we want - it's making our development and maintenance of the project faster. To say it "does nothing" is factually incorrect. We are using Ember to build this particular application and the way in which we modularize this application works very well with TailwindCSS.

I want to specifically point out that the "it's WET not DRY" argument is flimsy and wrong. It definitely encourages "AHA" programming, and I find that we are creating components in a smarter way, recognizing when UI blocks have more in common than they don't and splitting them off into their own component.

I also want to point out that while the idea of "separating content from presentation" was once very pragmatic, and may still be for some cases, it's no longer a blanket rule. We're not slicing our front-end development cake the same way we used to, and it's perfectly acceptable that this varies from team to team and project to project.

I do think it's important that we frame our critique and support for technology in a way that makes it clear we understand that while it did or did not work for us, or our team, or our project; we know it's for our case and our reasons are reflective of that specificity.

TailwindCSS is working for this project on my team. That's not to say it will work for you, or your project. And that's perfectly okay.

Sometimes it's simply about what your team's best majority agreed-upon course of action is, as a team, and none of us is necessarily right or wrong. (Even though, I, definitely am, for sure, always right.)
For more on this: Lumpers and splitters

In defense of criticism of TailwindCSS

When I saw Adam Wathan's tweet at Sara Soueidan's tweet of "TailwindCSS: Adds complexity, does nothing" I (wrongly) assumed that this article must be incredibly toxic to warrant such a response.

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Link to tweet

The commentary going around about being considerate of the people behind software development (something I absolutely champion frequently) was mainly people standing up for Adam and TailwindCSS with supreme vigor. I thought back to A fucking rant about fucking const vs fucking let and even though I knew it wasn't meant to be taken that seriously, I'm critical of toxic satire, and so I came to const's defense, and I thought that this must be an incredibly toxic article because of the response to Sara's tweet of the article.

Then I read it. While the framing was lacking the nuance I expressed above, and the title is mildly negative in a click-baity way, it wasn't toxic. Not even remotely toxic. The article is a perfectly fine piece of critical thought. It's a great resource (despite lacking nuance) for folks who want to know if TailwindCSS might be the right tool for their project.

The criticisms aren't incorrect or invalid, and they need to be stated. If TailwindCSS wouldn't be good for a person, team, or project, we should care enough about those folks' time and effort to elevate those criticisms so they move quickly to the best tool for the job for THEM.

Isn't that the entire point of creating these tools at all? The name is tailwind... it's not a tailwind if it's going in the opposite direction the plane is traveling. Do we want our tools to create friction and slow people down? No? Good.

Toxic Positivity

As the day went on, I saw Sara's tweet of the article disappear. When I investigated why, what I saw was a Lebanese woman being bullied for sharing an opinion with a white dude in tech and simply linking to it.

Social media has created a culture where we track and measure positive engagement. Actually, positive isn't even the right word. Adoration, favorable opinion, and endorsement are much better words for the kind of engagement we've come to not only expect, but anything outside of that is unacceptable and flat out rejected. I personally feel the need to "like" every single reply to me because I am so worried about giving folks who interact with me the idea that I hated what they said.

It's become so polarized: either you emphatically adore and approve of the things people make, or you toxically hate it. Not because that's what's actually happening, but because anything neutral or critical is now going to ruin someone's day.

While this was the majority of the bullying that Sara received, the response to the article, of course, is far more tame and respectful. So tame, in fact, that the author used it to share that he is working on his OWN tool (because, well, of course he is).

Adam himself stated that he was unbothered by the article itself, but rather held Sara accountable for daring to not only agree with the criticism, but to share that with her audience.

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Link to tweet

So while yes, this is toxic positivity, it's not about the critique of TailwindCSS. This is entirely about Sara sharing that critique at all.

Sexism and Racism

While Adam may not be consciously aware of what he's done, his response to Sara is absolutely rooted in his own biases to give the benefit of the doubt only to folks like himself. The criticism is easy for him to internalize and move on from because it comes from someone that he views is like he is. Sara has had to earn his respect and admiration, as a non-American woman of color, instead of getting it from default in-group bias, and anything other than the admiration he gives her is felt as betrayal.

People in majority groups in communities (and, frankly, in societies in general) act incredibly entitled to reciprocity of affections from those who are marginalized in those groups.

Adam's response is a prime case study in this. He expressed how it literally ruined his day that she did not return the same admiration and respect he felt he gave her. And what's worse is that he passive aggressively thanked her for using her platform to accomplish just that.

But here's the thing: while there may be admiration, there's certainly not respect.

A man incited bullying onto a Lebanese woman for sharing a critique of a framework he wrote not for the critique itself, but because she didn't give him the admiration he felt he deserved. That's not respect. That's systemic entitlement.

Edit:

This isn't a commentary on Adam's intentions. This isn't a commentary on Adam's personal beliefs. This is a commentary on the systems we live in which empower a white man in our industry to publicly shame and guilt a Middle-Eastern woman and to expect certain behavior of that woman that white man does not expect of himself, nor of other white men.

Discussion (228)

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sanspanic profile image
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Sandra Spanik

Huh. I disagree that Adam's reaction was either sexist or racist. I think his response was a human one. If someone with a huge platform said a tool I created "added nothing", I'd be upset too, and I'd feel entitled to sharing my sentiment with the world.

In my opinion, nobody involved did anything wrong here. A content creator created content, and a human being reacted in a human way to being harshly criticised. Both are okay things to do in my books. Not convinced this would have played out any differently had Sara not been a Lebanese woman.

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waynejwerner profile image
Wayne Werner

As a white cis male, I don't have to try to be racist, sexist, or bigoted. I don't have to intend to hurt someone.

I can have the best intentions in the world.

But we live on this timeline - literally the default is that anything I do or say carries with it some type of oppressive baggage. Even this, responding to someone with a name that appears female, is.

I don't get to make that choice. Adam, being a white male in tech, has the same privilege.

Adam's tweet, intentionally or not, was a dog whistle that called intentionally bigoted, sexist, racists to pile on a (presumably) healthy critique of his project. Also his tweet framed it as a personal attack.

It's not OK at all. He did not just what he accused (what's the worst that could happen? A few people make an informed decision about using TailwindCSS? A few people make an erroneous decision? Lol okay), but that tweet launched a volley of actual abuse, I'm guessing more than one rape/death threat. Pretty sure someone's day was really ruined.

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sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik • Edited on

I am not denying the existence of the power dynamics described in the article, or by you - and if you had read my other comments you would know that. I just still fail to see how the tweet in question is conclusively an example thereof. Living in a society that is shaped by various sexist and racist power dynamics is not mutually exclusive with this Tweet not being a great example of these dynamics in action. Where you saw callousness and potentially even malice enabled by power dynamics, I saw frustration.

My default assumption when seeing the tweet was not "damn, look at how society's power dynamics have enabled this white cis het male to tweet this way", it was "wow, I bet it must be a bit upsetting to see someone with 100k+ followers tweet an article that literally likens your creation to a fart. I wonder how I'd deal with that".

I agree that the tweet was not the most graceful way to handle things, and ideally as a public creator you'd have thick enough skin to accept feedback and move on without any backlash. But I also know that emotional regulation is HARD. I used to work in mental health, and I know these things are more difficult for some than others.

Bottom line, the tweet is something I can see myself tweeting too in his shoes, on a bad day, badly hurt. But I think what you're saying here is that coming from me, a woman, these words wouldn't incite harassment, because the power dynamics are different? Makes me feel like I'm the one with the privilege of being able to freely express my feelings on Twitter, then... I'm really trying to understand here, because the last few days of conflict, even harassment, due to my opinion being the minority one, have been hard.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Hey @waynejwerner, I just wanted to give you a heads-up that I'm being cornered into hiding this thread because the original poster has opted to retain a portion of her commentary that is accusatory, false, and destructive.

I've learned since hiding other comments, that this will result in your comment being hidden as well, and I welcome you to repost it, or post a link to it at the top level so others can engage with it.

You may also receive notification from the DEV system about this, and I apologize in advance.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

Thank you for your opinion. I obviously don't agree. If someone with a cult-following of hundreds of thousands of people publicly shames someone, it automatically invites a dog-pile of toxic harassment. What he wrote was manipulative and inappropriate.

You are misquoting Sara here. Sara didn't say that, in fact, she disclaimed that she only agreed with some points and not the tone of the article, so his reaction at her instead of him (the author) is certainly not being defended in your statement here. In fact, I'm not sure if you read that Adam was actually fine with the criticisms themselves.

I've already described my framing of how systemic racism and sexism influence our behavior, so I won't restate what I've already said.

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sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

The article was written by someone with a small SM following (320 followers), whereas she has 100k followers. I'd say the size of her platform is what prompted Adam to engage with her, rather than her gender or race.

I do agree that it's important to check our biases and think critically about how and why we engage with others, and I obviously see racism and sexism as big issues to tackle in tech as well as elsewhere. I also agree with your well-reasoned statements about social mediaI.

It's just that I, hopefully respectfully, disagree with your conclusion that sexism and racism are at play in this particular exchange, and think you're reading too much into what is a perfectly normal response to a critical article being shared by a tech influencer with a huge audience. I'd be a bit upset too, if I was him.

I'm honestly glad you wrote this article because it is an engaging read and resulted in an equally engaging discussion. I'm always open to having my mind changed when presented with rational arguments, and will keep following this discussion. I'm aware my opinion is the minority one, which is why I felt the need to voice it.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

I think the main disconnect here between the way you and I view interactions is that my understanding of society is that all biases and systemic oppression is always at play in any interaction. This is why intention and self-reflection is something I value highly over reactivity (which being that I am bipolar disorder type 1 and have ADHD is something I have to work extra hard at).

I strongly disagree that it was a normal response - "thank you for choosing to use your platform to ruin my day 🥰" is absolutely manipulative, passive-aggressive, and extremely entitled. The entitlement starts from the implication her purpose was to ruin his day and straight to the expectation that she should know it would ruin his day and respect him enough not to post it (despite her disclaimer that she didn't agree with all of the points nor the tone). They aren't friends, so there's no reason for her to be that familiar with him to consider him in that way. I only see this happening to women, and most often to women of color.

That's not to say it doesn't happen outside of these power dynamics, but I'm sure we could discern in every situation some sort of pathway that allows the aggressor have the sense that it is not only okay to speak to the other person this way, despite the lack of relationship, but have the expectation that they wouldn't share any challenging feedback at all.

Had he simply said what others are saying he "really meant" behind his comment, that he found the feedback itself to be misinformed and one-sided, and that he was hurt that she shared it given she has such a large platform, I wouldn't have written this post. What he wrote is precisely the problem here, not that he was hurt.

Thank you for this constructive dialogue either way. I do appreciate talking about these things, despite that my opinions are typically very strong.

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explorador profile image
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Cristian Guerra

I’d say, let’s forget about race, gender and just focus on what really matters. I’m Latino btw, always thought people would ignore me, hard to learn when people are telling you that there is a system against you, once I ignored that, I noticed people do listen and respect me, I became more confident and realized it was all in my head. makes me sad when things get labeled incorrectly cause it influences in mental health, people start thinking that because everything is against you, you are doomed. I’m my worst enemy… We shouldn’t asume people’s intentions. I personally agree with Sarah, I don’t think tailwind has a unique benefit (my opinion) but I also don’t think he was being racist or sexist. Debates like this are great, helps people make better decisions. I’d challenge his opinion, not him as a person or the system. People will always react in different ways and we don’t have control over it.

sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me, I now feel like I understand where you're coming from more than I did before.

I think the main disconnect here between the way you and I view interactions is that my understanding of society is that all biases and systemic oppression is always at play in any interaction.

Nope, I'm behind you on this one. I agree that by default we bring our whole selves, including our biases and cultural backgrounds, to each interaction. And I actually think that perhaps it's those same biases that lead to our disconnect too, which I now interpret to stem from the following paragraph.

I strongly disagree that it was a normal response - "thank you for using your platform to ruin my day 🥰" is absolutely manipulative, passive-aggressive, and extremely entitled. The entitlement starts from the implication her purpose was to ruin his day and straight to the expectation that she should know it would ruin his day and respect him enough not to post it (despite her disclaimer that she didn't agree with all of the points nor the tone). They aren't friends, so there's no reason for her to be that familiar with him to consider him in that way. I only see this happening to women, and most often to women of color.

This must be the root of my scepticism towards your analysis - I disagree with a lot of assumptions you make in this paragraph. I can see how these assumptions lead you to the conclusions you drew, but our priors are just not the same, so we end up in different places. It could be that this is because my own lived experience and cultural background lead me to see the same words as you, yet interpret them very differently. The sentence you label as "manipulative" and "entitled" only strikes me as passive-aggressive, sarcastic and intended to convey frustration. My background leads me to think that it's okay to occasionally be passive-aggressive, sarcastic and frustrated - regardless of whether this frustration is directed at someone from within your in-group, or someone entirely different to you. Being openly, publicly frustrated with someone who is not a member of your in-group doesn't by default signal "sexism" or "racism" to me. I'm all for humanising social media, and part of that is revealing when we're hurt, which is all this sentence, in my interpretation, does. I'd like to think I'd have bitten my tongue before posting a reaction like his, but I can't rule out having reacted the same way, especially on a bad day. Would that make me racist and sexist?

And I do believe there's evidence that women are more likely to get unfairly criticised - I'm just still unable to see how this is an example of that.

Be it as it may, I think both parties involved might likely be slightly bemused if they were to know the extent to which their words are being analysed here, so I'll call it a day now. Let's agree to disagree. I am grateful for this discussion and love that you've created a space where it's okay to voice one's opinion, even if it opposes yours. I look forward to reading more from you.

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maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

I agree with both of you... on some parts. And disagree with both of you on other parts.

I do think Adam's response was quite ill-mannered (I think we all dislike passive-agressiveness) and uncalled for. I also think the article went clearly over the line when describing other people's work, but on the other hand Adam tried to make a tweetstorm out of it rather than reasoning with Sara about what was wrong with it.

But in the end, I don't think it's Adam's or Sara's gender and/or ethnicity that drove his reaction. But, I admit, I'm a white male and in these cases I always ask around if my perspective is biased. This time I'm actually surprised that sexism and racism were considered.
Also because Adam has stated that he has great consideration for Sara (as most of us do), so I'm willing to take it for granted until I'll have a reason to think otherwise.

Maybe it's because Adam is white and male that he felt more entitled to share a passive-aggressive tweet like that. That would sound plausible, but personally I wouldn't draw any conclusion, and still Sara's identity is not at play here.
Also because I don't only see that happening towards women, but rather I think it's quite common from people that gained some popularity.

I mean, the latest drama about Sebastian McKenzie, Rome, Babel and Henry Zhu just happened... And Henry is a man.
In short: from what I see, success often creates bullies. Being white male (i.e., in a group that less likely suffered from other people's entitlement) probably helps.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

But in the end, I don't think it's Adam's or Sara's gender and/or ethnicity that drove his reaction.

To be clear, I'm not saying it drove his reaction itself. It drives the space and safety of author for that reaction to be acted on.

Maybe it's because Adam is white and male that he felt more entitled to share a passive-aggressive tweet like that.

This is what I'm saying here, but more broadly that he isn't even aware that he feels entitled to do it, he simply just acted. He has never had to be concerned about the consequences of behaving that way. Because white men in tech fail upwards.

Also because I don't only see that happening towards women, but rather I think it's quite common from people that gained some popularity. I mean, the latest drama about Sebastian McKenzie, Rome, Babel and Henry Zhu just happened... And Henry is a man.

It's fair to say that this also happens to non-white men, which is why I also wanted to call out the system of systemic racism (and toxic nationalism) that exists here. (It's easier for me to see this happening to women, because I'm a woman, and it's happened to me a lot, and some of my language may reflect that. I'm working on it!!).

That being said... Henry is not white.

Also, here is a great chat on this topic on Front-End Happy Hour featuring Henry and I: Balancing your drinks & belonging

In short: from what I see, success often creates bullies. Being white male (i.e., in a group that less likely suffered from other people's entitlement) probably helps.

And this is more or less what I'm trying to highlight here. Thanks for the dialogue!

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sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik • Edited on

Hey Massimo, I agree with you. My comment from 2 days ago disappeared and I had to repost it all the way down because I wasn't able to reply to this thread. I now am, and since you replied to my comment, let me reiterate what I said before:

I feel like my comment from yesterday disappeared? Reposting in the hope it will serve as a reminder that people can and do have discussions in a civil and respectful way (just maybe not on Twitter).

I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me, I now feel like I understand where you're coming from more than I did before.

I think the main disconnect here between the way you and I view interactions is that my understanding of society is that all biases and systemic oppression is always at play in any interaction.

Nope, I'm behind you on this one. I agree that by default we bring our whole selves, including our biases and cultural backgrounds, to each interaction. And I actually think that perhaps it's those same biases that lead to our disconnect too, which I now interpret to stem from the following paragraph.

I strongly disagree that it was a normal response - "thank you for using your platform to ruin my day 🥰" is absolutely manipulative, passive-aggressive, and extremely entitled. The entitlement starts from the implication her purpose was to ruin his day and straight to the expectation that she should know it would ruin his day and respect him enough not to post it (despite her disclaimer that she didn't agree with all of the points nor the tone). They aren't friends, so there's no reason for her to be that familiar with him to consider him in that way. I only see this happening to women, and most often to women of color.

This must be the root of my scepticism towards your analysis - I disagree with a lot of assumptions you make in this paragraph. I can see how these assumptions lead you to the conclusions you drew, but our priors are just not the same, so we end up in different places. It could be that this is because my own lived experience and cultural background lead me to see the same words as you, yet interpret them very differently. The sentence you label as "manipulative" and "entitled" only strikes me as passive-aggressive, sarcastic and intended to convey frustration. My background leads me to think that it's okay to occasionally be passive-aggressive, sarcastic and frustrated - regardless of whether this frustration is directed at someone from within your in-group, or someone entirely different to you. Being openly, publicly frustrated with someone who is not a member of your in-group doesn't by default signal "sexism" or "racism" to me. I'm all for humanising social media, and part of that is revealing when we're hurt, which is all this sentence, in my interpretation, does. I'd like to think I'd have bitten my tongue before posting a reaction like his, but I can't rule out having reacted the same way, especially on a bad day. Would that make me racist and sexist?

And I do believe there's evidence that women are more likely to get unfairly criticised - I'm just still unable to see how this is an example of that.

Be it as it may, I think both parties involved might likely be slightly bemused if they were to know the extent to which their words are being analysed here, so I'll call it a day now. Let's agree to disagree. I am grateful for this discussion and love that you've created a space where it's okay to voice one's opinion, even if it opposes yours. I look forward to reading more from you.

<< obviously the last paragraph was written before knowing you'd take to Twitter to incite harassment when I spoke about an unrelated topic in an unrelated thread. Obviously no longer grateful for this discussion. But people keep replying and disagreeing, so I want to make sure my opinion is represented fairly here

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

you'd take to Twitter to incite harassment

This is false.

when I spoke about an unrelated topic

Where I became a topic of conversation in the comments.

people keep replying and disagreeing

Which I have expected and allowed because in spite of the unfortunate error of your comment being hidden because of someone else’s behavior, I still felt this dialogue was healthy and enlightening.

I want to make sure my opinion is represented fairly here

I want to make sure of that, too, and that I am fairly represented in kind.

Given we both want that, I suggest you remove your last paragraph above, as it’s untrue and now getting to the point where I feel the need to remove our discussion from my post altogether.

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sanspanic profile image
Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
Sandra Spanik • Edited on

I got harassment in my DMs because of you. So yes, you did incite harassment, which is ironic given the subject matter. If you think my characterisation of what happened is unfair, feel free to remove the comment or the discussion altogether. I will not, because I know I am speaking the truth and won't be intimidated by you.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

I'm going to be frank here: I don't believe you. I didn't link to you, or your twitter, and the link to this thread has literally the least amount of engagement of all of my posts in the last 3 months. With 3 likes, 1 click-through, 0 retweets, 0 quote tweets, 0 references, and 22 impressions. My posts typically have hundreds of thousands of impressions, and often more.

I will not, because I know I am speaking the truth and won't be intimidated by you.

"In fact men will fight for a [lie] quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a [lie] is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable."

I'm not trying to intimidate you. I'm trying to reason with you. Which is clearly impossible. I don't want to hide your comment thread, but it has now become destructive commentary, and I cannot trust that it won't escalate.

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sanspanic profile image
Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
Sandra Spanik

Imagine if you were a man. You posted something on Twitter and a woman got harassed because of it. You then point blank deny their reality and label it a lie. I bet if that happened, you’d write an article about it.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Hey Massimo, I just wanted to give you a heads-up that I'm being cornered into hiding this thread because the original poster has opted to retain a portion of her commentary that is accusatory, false, and destructive.

I've learned since hiding other comments, that this will result in your comment being hidden as well, and I welcome you to repost it, or post a link to it at the top level so others can engage with it.

You may also receive notification from the DEV system about this, and I apologize in advance.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

@sanspanic

As I said, there is absolutely zero harassment of you on my behalf anywhere available, I've been on Twitter and I know precisely where dog-piling starts, and how it escalates. Given that I didn't @ you, and I wasn't talking about you, and I wasn't even linked to your post by whisper networks, but rather someone else's who I had blocked who was harassing people and calling me this, that, and the other, there is no reasonable path for you to connect any private harassment you've received in a DM to my tweet.

You are making inflammatory accusations about me that are just untrue at this point. It's convenient for you to claim that I created a pile-on on you and that people are harassing you in your DMs because of me, when the only evidence of that is something only you have access to. I'm shutting this down because this isn't constructive for you, me, or anyone reading it.

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syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

I don't think it's fair to say that if you have a lot of followers, you suddenly can't critique or dislike or talk about the cons of something.

She didn't insult Adam. She shared critique, parts of which she agreed with.

The click-baity title is unfortunate here though.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Wasn't intended to be click-baity.

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syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

I meant the original critique of Tailwind, not your article Cher. :)

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cher profile image
Cher Author

I meant the original critique of Tailwind, not your article Cher. :)

Oh, whoops! Thank you for clarifying

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hasnaindev profile image
Muhammad Hasnain

Sara says, "It’s not fair that: 1) criticizing a tool is becoming equal to criticizing people who use it (because that's not true), and 2) being policed for tweeting articles that I would have not been "attacked" for tweeting if I had 100 instead of 100k followers."

I agree with the writer when she said that people started to harass Sara just because she shared her opinion. IDK why Adam had to take the criticism personally, given that he is earning from it and a lot of people love what he created.

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Alex Layne

Labeling everything as sexist or racist is how you get people to stop taking those labels seriously. Labeling Adam’s reaction that way is ridiculous and makes it easier for bad-faith actors to criticize “woke culture” and ignore actual sexism and racism.

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Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hello everyone,

A reminder that our Code of Conduct strictly mandates a harassment-free, civil environment here on DEV. 

We require our community members to behave in a way that contributes to creating a positive experience. Positive behavior on DEV includes using inclusive language and being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences. 

Examples of unacceptable behavior include:

  • Making insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
  • Dismissing or attacking inclusion-oriented requests

Additionally, ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’ will not be tolerated. 

Violations of our Code of Conduct will result in comment/article moderation, a warning, temporary suspension, comment suspension, or permanent banning, at the discretion of our moderators. We take our Code of Conduct very seriously and examine all observed and reported violations individually. 

Please review our Code of Conduct and keep your discourse helpful, respectful, and inclusive.

Thank you,
Gracie Gregory
Content Manager & moderator @ DEV

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited on

@graciegregory Ok having read the rules I completely agree that my comment was far too sarcastic and not constructive, thank you for stepping in to cool everything down!

The big question though is does this article itself not contravene the code of conduct?

  • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks.

Is this not a personal attack on Adam Wathan and if not insulting to him as it makes accusations about his character?

I do mean that genuinely, I enjoy writing here and interacting with the people on the site but the wording is not clear and as I am someone with a big mouth and strong opinions I want to know where the line is so I do not cross it!

Thanks in advance for any clarity you can give!

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graciegregory profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi @inhuofficial ! Thanks so much for asking for some clarification. More than happy to help. Really glad you're enjoying this community 🙂

I think the edit that's now at the end of the post sums it up pretty well. Essentially, our moderators interpret this post not as a personal attack on Adam Wathan but as a critique on a system at play in the dynamic described. The intention here doesn't seem to be to insult Adam but instead, the general framework of privilege white men benefit from inherently — and the patterns that result from this.

I hope this clarifies things a bit further. If you have any other questions about our Code of Conduct, feel free to direct them to our team email: yo@dev.to

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

@graciegregory thank you for taking the time to respond.

It doesn't unfortunately, it is probably an America vs UK culture thing (or just me needing an attitude adjustment!) that means I can't quite grasp where the line is, but thank you for pointing me to the email address to have a less public discussion about it.

I hope you get to enjoy the rest of your weekend and have no more "fires to put out"! and once again thank you for taking the time to respond.

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rolfstreefkerk profile image
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Rolf Streefkerk • Edited on

Identity politics is a very toxic viewpoint and I'd hope people start realizing that we're individuals and we're not bound by group identities and as such being evaluated as one group.

This "code of conduct" is a perpetuation of discrimination against groups/people and is therefore appalling, it should be revised.

You talk about inclusion, but really what this is all about is "getting even" with "white people". It's a backwards philosophy that has created a lot of conflict in the past but now it's deemed appropriate because it's targeted at "westerners".

more censorship, that's how to deal with opinions other than your own. Don't discuss them, hide them.

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moustachedsign profile image
Moustache Design

I think the main thing to understand is that this is just an example of many other similar cases of entitlement that happen daily in tech (and outside of) which prompted this article to be written, taking the case study of Tailwind and Adam as a starting point.

The main point here is that he, personally, is at fault. He should do better than angrily tweeting these things, and the fact he doesn't realize he has done something wrong is stated here, not to blame him, but to raise awareness.

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Jordan Brennan

Gracie’s hollow justification for the author’s obvious violation of the Code of Conduct is a perfect example of the double-standard that goes unchecked on social platforms. The “It’s okay to break our rules as long as it’s in support of our worldview” is the only thing toxic around here.

And btw, anyone who spends time “investigating” where people’s deleted Tweets went need to get off the damn internet and go do something real.

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Dan Harrin • Edited on

Hey Gracie! Thanks for checking up on this thread.

Since you're here, could you please review some of the posts that have been marked as "low quality/non-constructive"? It seems like some of them simply disagree with the author's statements, and do not break any rules themselves.

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Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi Dan. Thanks for your message.

Our team is reviewing and monitoring the comments thoroughly and we will make any adjustments as appropriate.

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kputra profile image
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K Putra

Can the dev.to admins just delete this article? Dev.to should limit discussions in technical context, not some political discussion from SJW like this...

I mean, if someone want to raise political awareness, put it elsewhere outside dev.to.

SJW is suck. They push their political propagandas to every platform available.

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Daniel Ziltener

‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’

...don't exist, because racism and sexism are always racism and sexism, no matter who they target. Saying otherwise is deeply racist in and of itself.

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Ghaleb • Edited on

Where exactly did you spot sexism and racism in those tweets? I can easily see the same tweets targeted at a white male with a decent number of followers.

His reaction is poor because, as Sara herself pointed out, it's not fair to tolerate opinionated articles when they rave about a tool and police them when they don't. Also it's poor because it's low quality in general. That was not the best way to go about defending a product or complaining about unfair criticism.

However, the poorness of his response has nothing to do with sexism or racism or bullying. Even Sara's complaints in that feed didn't touch on those topics!

In the tweets you shared, Sara was not targeted on any personal level. They did not mention her nationality, gender, or faith; and she was not insulted or belittled. In fact, he actually said he admired her and you took the man's admiration and turned it around to be a sense of entitlement!!!

This is no different than what minority groups have to deal with sometimes. All of a sudden now, a white male has to worry that saying he admires someone means that he expects them to return his kindness. What?!

A man incited bullying onto a Lebanese woman for sharing a critique of a framework he wrote not for the critique itself, but because she didn't give him the admiration he felt he deserved. That's not respect. That's systemic entitlement.

Him being a "man" and her being a "Lebanese woman" have absolutely nothing to do with the whole incident. His misstep was not properly taking criticism for his product.

Also, you have no evidence that he was bothered because she didn't give him the admiration he felt he deserved. He never said anything remotely close. He basically said it hurts him that people he admired are spreading negativity about the work of his life. That's NORMAL!!!! ANYONE would be hurt if people they admired spread negativity about the work of their life!!

The problem here is that he labeled criticism (fair or not) as negativity. Criticism is not negativity and sharing criticism on a popular platform should not ruin someone's day. But you missed this point entirely and went straight into making accusations.

Someone who understands the severity of sexism and racism should also understand the severity of accusing people of them!

PS: I am a Lebanese Muslim and a huge fan of Sara Soueidan. So I want to feel offended for her, but I'd rather be fair.

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syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

He didn't like her criticism (or rather, agreeing with criticism) because she had a large following... but he did the exact same thing by directing (unintentionally) his following at her.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

Racism and sexism are systemic and woven into our interactions.

One aspect of this is that he was hurt by Sara sharing the criticism, and that she is someone he admires. I'd get into how people in general need to learn how to take criticism, but that's not really what we are talking about here.

The other aspect is his public manipulative reply to her, and why he felt it was acceptable and was confident to do so, despite that the criticism was not hers to begin with, and that they are not friends.

You cannot separate the power dynamics involved in giving him the perception that he could and should post what he did at her, and the lack of consideration of the cult-like dog-pile on her that would follow. Women are uniquely faced with this kind of toxic response when challenging men. Is it intentionally sexist? Not usually.

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Reinier Kaper

If you turn it around, you could also question why Sara felt the need to share the article, since it was incredibly poorly written also incorrect in some occasions and she's also not Adam's friend.

In my opinion, his reply was primarily emotional, hurt by someone he seems to admire (I won't get into if that's a good or bad thing), not well thought out and knee-jerk-ish.

However, I'd like to point out that his view of Sara is probably what skewed the effect it had on him. If some random person was to share that article it wouldn't have had an impact on him (probably).

Without disagreeing with your post, I think it would be interesting to figure out why we tend to put people on pedestals in the first place (it seems unhealthy) and why the dev community seems to suffer from this in particular.

To anecdotally illustrate my point: my first ever interaction in the front-end world was with someone who can be regarded as one of the leaders back in the day (still is). They encouraged people to reach out and ask questions about anything FE, so I did (as a new developer) and got insta-blocked by them (I don't know why, btw).

Long story short: our community seems, for whatever reason, quite hostile at times. That, combined with the whole "admire this select group of people" culture seems to just not work out.

Sorry, my response was a little off-topic in the end, but I think we're touching on a much, much deeper problem in our community.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

If you turn it around, you could also question why Sara felt the need to share the article, since it was incredibly poorly written also incorrect in some occasions and she's also not Adam's friend.

Sara actually disclaimed that she simply agreed with some of the points in the post, not the tone or all of it. She shared it because she felt those points were an important consideration in whether or not to use TailwindCSS. She is a CSS and accessibility expert and front-end developer, so it is related to her expertise and something you would expect her to speak on.

In my opinion, his reply was primarily emotional, hurt by someone he seems to admire (I won't get into if that's a good or bad thing), not well thought out and knee-jerk-ish.

I'm not disagreeing with that. The point I'm making is that he felt it was acceptable to post it, and has been unapologetic to the damage it caused, let alone that it was inappropriate in the first place. The framing here is the system that gives him the space to do so.

I think it would be interesting to figure out why we tend to put people on pedestals in the first place (it seems unhealthy) and why the dev community seems to suffer from this in particular.

I agree that hero worship culture is toxic, and social media seems to have created an especially gross variation of it, including here in tech. I have had the same types of interactions that you describe here. I am blocked by some folks I would consider like-minded peers, and still have no idea why.

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syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

I agree that it seems like it was a hurt-feelings reaction.

However the point is, as a woman in Tech, I'd triple check myself for having that kind of public, hurt feelings reaction. And good odds it would backfire on me. I have to be very logical & calm in my professional life. This goes even more for Black women.

There is a discussion to be had about who has the space to critique or react or be emotional or controversial in our industry.

That Adam is safe to do so... is an interesting discussion to have.

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doctorderek profile image
Dr. Derek Austin 🥳

I'd suggest Adam isn't the least bit safe to do so, given that this Dev.to article has more likes than literally every Dev.to article I've ever read for work in the last 2 years combined...

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nicolus profile image
Nicolas Bailly

This isn't a commentary on Adam's intentions. This isn't a commentary on Adam's personal beliefs.

Then you might want to edit this sentence which really sounds like a commentary on what you assume are his personal beliefs :

his response to Sara is absolutely rooted in his own biases to give the benefit of the doubt only to folks like himself.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Unconscious bias is not personal belief.

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Anirudh Sylendranath • Edited on

I... don't understand? How does unconscious bias NOT be a personal belief? Our biases are a product of our individual experiences. Adam's experiences are not the same as yours or mine. Unconscious bias is not a universal construct and is a product of culture, nurture and environment. As a non-American, I don't have the same biases as an American or a Canadian, conscious or unconscious

I'm not really talking about Adam Wathan. I'm talking about this specific comment. I feel Nicolas' criticism is right

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Personal beliefs are not unconscious.

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aniforprez profile image
Anirudh Sylendranath • Edited on

This has only confused me more. This only seems like you're giving yourself a way out to be able to criticize Adam by using semantics. I don't want to be crass cause I assume you're coming from a place of constructive criticism but you seem to have assumed Adam's biases AND beliefs to make a fairly vicious comment. I also only say it's vicious because:

his response to Sara is absolutely rooted in his own biases to give the benefit of the doubt only to folks like himself

You use the word "absolutely" as if you know him and his biases. Maybe you do? If so you can correct me.

I'll correct my comment about "How does unconscious bias NOT be a personal belief". Unconscious bias may not be a belief but is is absolutely personal. I don't feel it is right that we assume someone's biases and then assume they're acting in bad faith. From what I have seen, Adam would react the same way regardless of who posted the article (and indeed has in the past which probably means he should stay off Twitter as whole cause it is a toxic cesspool)

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nicolus profile image
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Nicolas Bailly

Yeah I think OP is trolling ;-)

cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

This only seems like you're giving yourself a way out to be able to criticize Adam by using semantics.

Why would I spend any time at all having civil, constructive discourse on what I wrote if that were the case? That's an unfair implication to make about what I'm doing here that dismisses everything else I've written and further clarified.

You use the word "absolutely" as if you know him and his biases.

I don't know him. I understand biases to be inherited biologically (prefer and feel safest with what is most like ourselves) and environmental (not limited to learned bigotry and prejudice, but rather, experiencing subtle societal expectations and behaviors influences expectations and behaviors, ie, expecting a mechanic to be a man simply because most mechanics are men). I am not, and would not, make assumptions about bigotry and prejudice, which is why I'm talking about a patriarchal white supremacist system, and specifically within the bounds of a very xenophobic country (the United States).

I don't feel it is right that we assume someone's biases and then assume they're acting in bad faith. From what I have seen, Adam would react the same way regardless of who posted the article

This is confusing to me. You don't want to assume someone is acting in bad faith, but what he wrote is "Thank you for choosing to use your platform to ruin my day 🥰" and I don't know how you can possibly believe that this is in good faith. If you assume he actually wanted to thank her for "choosing" to use her platform to "ruin his day", we still end up in the same conversation, though perhaps to a commentary about how narcissistic of a statement that would be, it still could not be said that it was made "in good faith".

And again, you're trying to drill down to Adam's character. I'm not, other than to say that he didn't "consider the optics" before he posted a public, toxic emotional response because we live in a system that doesn't force him to do so. You're calling his response an issue with who he is as a person, while I'm only calling on how we hold certain people accountable for their behavior and expect certain things of certain people in the society we live in. And there are three vectors of that here that led to this behavior (and the lack of apology for it) and that is a patriarchal society built on white supremacy and the toxic dogmatism that exists in the development community.

Yes, I've seen Adam respond emotionally to others who posted critical feedback of Tailwind. I haven't seen him do so in a passive-aggressive, entitled, manipulative way. And keep in mind that, again, it's deeper here than just him and his comment, it's also the people who defend his reaction and demonize Sara. The vast majority of that defense have the exact same power dynamics as Adam himself.

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adrianrivers profile image
VanillaGorilla

Don't you think it's somewhat strange that you, a person who does not know Adam at all personally, is asserting that his true intentions are racist and sexist.

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Dan Harrin • Edited on

Though I do think to claim that he's incited racist bullying is a little sensational. I'd also say that the reason he was upset was that something he's worked hard on was being criticised on a big platform, which is very different to suggesting that he thinks he deserves admiration and that anything but open veneration is unacceptable in his eyes.

I completely agree, to say that Adam "incited bullying" towards Sara is not justified - especially since the author decided to bring Sara's race and gender into this comment, implying that Adam is reacting in this way directly because she is a Lebanese woman. This is an incredibly damaging claim to make towards anyone, especially as this intention is not clear at all.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Racism and sexism are complex social issues that bleed into all of our behaviors inherently.

He did incite bullying, though I disclaimed that with the fact that I don't believe he did this intentionally. It is simply a commentary on the impact of what he's done, and what systems are in place that embolden him, and other white men, to do it in the first place.

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mexica18114009 profile image
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Mexica

🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼😂🤣

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

I contrasted two of the points that the author made in the article, not all of them. Many of his points have been brought up by others, and they are valid, we simply disagree with them. As I said in my post, the title was mildly negative hyperbole, obviously click-bait. "It literally provides no value, and tons of problems" can be true in certain contexts, which is why I also criticized that nuance and proper framing of the author's particular needs and preferences were missing.

He was upset that Sara shared the criticism (as I stated) and his feeling empowered to write a public, manipulative tweet to her is something that women uniquely face, and women of color also face from white women.

You do not see white men doing this to each other.

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augustin82 profile image
Augustin

You do not see white men doing this to each other.

I agree with your analysis in the broader sense, but this claim is simple false, and brings nothing to the argument.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

I obviously disagree, but I'm open to seeing some examples.

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augustin82 profile image
Augustin

Isn't 80% of Hacker News exactly those "white men" disagreeing violently on what is this week's best language/framework/practice?

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Are they using heart emojis and telling each other "thank you for posting on HN about this framework only to ruin my day"? Poor comparison.

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stancl profile image
Samuel Štancl

Taylor (creator of Laravel) wrote a good explanation of why it bothered Adam.

It's not that it was critique, it's not that it was coming from a minority or whatever, it's that it was sharing an article full of dumb misinformation.

It took Adam years to make people understand the value of Tailwind. There's a lot of very repetitive critiques that are easily disprovable, but really get to you when you have to fight the same points over and over again after pouring years of your life into a project.

That's what the critique was about. Not that it criticized Tailwind, but that it broadcasted a very harmful (as far as Adam's work of improving Tailwind adoption goes) article to thousands of people.

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Geoff Selby

Why is this comment marked as “low quality/non-constructive”? Samuel simply provided an explanation for Adam’s reaction from one of Adam’s closest friends.

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vince_bighire_tools profile image
Vince Fulco (It / It's)

Go Adam go...regardless of what others try to label you with...

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devimposter

That's funny because Taylor is the king of getting emotional and confrontational about opinions of his work. Just look this up over the years...

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Adam's reaction and expectations are intrinsically intertwined with the systems we are living in.

Some of what you've said here certainly has merit, though calling it a "dumb article" is no more valuable than the article expressing that TailwindCSS "does nothing" or Adam claiming that Best CSS practices are useless.

Had Adam expressed that he felt the article was harmful and full of misinformation and her sharing it was unduly harmful to his brand, and allowed her the autonomy to decide if she stood by what she wrote (which was more than just a link, but rather disclaiming she agreed with some of its points), we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

I personally don't find value in what Taylor wrote because it glosses past Adam's action, and speaks instead to his intention, completely ignoring the impact. This is gaslighting and frankly dismissive of the damage he did to Sara in writing the comment he did.

If you are telling me that you believe he has the right to publicly shame Sara, instead of being pragmatic about his public response with his own enormous platform, then you have got a lot of internalizing to do on racism and sexism, because that is exactly what this is.

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leob profile image
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leob

Let's all promise and agree to behave with empathy and respect towards others, and stop with politics in domains (such as tech or other professions) where it has no place. Accusing people of bad intentions without backing it up with evidence isn't going anywhere.

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Samuel Štancl

Implying that it was racist just because of the groups Adam belongs to is beyond delusional, evil, and genuinely racist.

I hope this is a clout stunt on OP's side and that they aren't actually that resentful of people in our world.

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iskin profile image
Andrey Sitnik • Edited on

The important part of understanding the context of this discussion is that the CSS community was very unwelcome to any new CSS tools. As a creator of PostCSS, I understand Adam’s reaction.

For me, it is not only about “constructive criticism” vs. “author’s feelings” but also about the hostile environment created by the CSS community for CSS tools authors, which blocks a good discussion and tools evolution.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Given that Sara didn't write the criticism, and Adam said that the criticism didn't bother him - your reply here is odd.

No one should be understanding of passive-aggression and manipulative guilting in front of a large, cult-like audience. It's toxic.

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iskin profile image
Andrey Sitnik

Yeap, the CSS community unwelcoming was not in that specific conversation of Adam and Sara. Sara (in contrast to many CSS guru) talk about CSS toolings in public.

As usual, it is a case, when we have many US white developers creating unwelcome environment, which then leads to these conflicts.

One toxic behaviour creates another.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

It seems you are calling Sara's behavior here toxic. She wrote a lengthy tweet that disclaimed the article made some good points, but that she didn't agree with all of it, nor the tone.

Are you suggesting that you believe her sharing the article, along with her framing, is somehow a justifiable catalyst for Adam's passive-aggressive, manipulative public shaming of her?

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iskin profile image
Andrey Sitnik

I didn’t. I am calling CSS community in general toxic to CSS authors. Many popular people in CSS community are hostile to CSS tooling and use their public channels to prevent CSS toolings from having discussion platforms. It leads to more conflicts and lack of good discussion about CSS tooling limits.

I mantioned that Sara is better than rest of community.

Sorry, English is not my native language. I am guest on your territory.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Apologies, I just wanted to clarify. There's no need to apologize for the language barrier. I'm happy to take the extra time to ensure we are understanding each other.

I agree that many people in the development community, not just CSS, are toxic to each other, not just the authors of tools. It's also to folks like Sara who simply make educational content. And in many cases, the authors and communities around those tools are also aggressively toxic to outsiders.

Even Adam's own marketing is quite flagrant to the CSS community who create and educate "best practice" paradigms like BEM.

It is a terrible framing to begin with to critique and work to make better tools, I absolutely agree.

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iskin profile image
Andrey Sitnik

I see a big difference in community and tools communications in CSS and rest of the fields.

  • JS’s TC39 invited Babel author to speak abut polyfills lmits on their meeting, but CSSWG is trying to avoid CSS polyfil community.
  • I know a few cases, when popular people (no Sara) keeps their article outdated to hide new CSS tooling features from the community. Which is insane for JS community.
  • I can’t remember whem podcasts invisted CSS tooling authors.
  • Big important releases and initiatives were motly ignored by CSS opinion leaders (for instance, when Autoprefixer/Browserslist started to fight for brower diversity against US’s trends to ignore Chinese browers on gobal websites).

I beleave that it is a part of conflict between JS and CS community. But CSS tooling is not part of JS world to be treated with this hostile. We try to give a more power to CSS community to help them in this conflict.

And of course, it doesn’t excuse toxic behaviour. But this conflict is a good reason to highlight this unique conflict beween the community and CSS tooling.

grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

I am afraid so it seems, just stick to writing and commenting on code.

I was hoping sleeping on it would change my mind so I could write to the dev.to team, but actually it has had the opposite effect and I will instead just pick and choose what to write about here after seeing some balanced comments removed (mine was justified, sarcasm does not play well with heated topics).

A very sobering experience that has made me question whether to post about accessibility and disabled rights as if you think racism and sexism are contentious issues try working in this industry! Then trying being someone advocating for disabled rights and not having a disability.....trust me I would be banned within the week.

Stick to the code, I will stick to the meme posts and hopefully we both get to stick around for a while. That is if my itchy trigger finger doesn't release the rebuttal piece I have written, in which case, nice meeting you 🤣

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cher profile image
Cher Author

Sarcasm, like most things, does not have the same effect on every conversation, nor on every medium. Sarcasm tends to work very well in communication between people who have a rapport with each other, or on platforms, only in the audience they were intended for.

Since we don't know each other, and the audience here is mixed, and it's in text, it's easy to misinterpret sarcasm for contempt and aggression.

The best advice I can give you: know your audience. There are times that sarcasm isn't going to be read that way, and it's up to you to learn when it's not communicating what you intended.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited on

As I said, justified that my comment was removed and that sarcasm does not work on a heated discussion. You put it eloquently.

But some of the comments that were removed were innocuous and seemed to disappear simply because they did not agree. That is a zero sum game and does nothing to further discussion on important topics.

The language you used to describe his actions, despite the disclaimer, are so evident of your own bias and prejudice. It just astounds me that we think that is acceptable behaviour just because you are (I assume) a woman and that is where the outrage came from.

Personally I believe that you should be able to express those opinions, but once we start deleting comments that don’t agree then we have to do the same with articles.

Classifying and judging someone based on race and gender seems to be the very thing you rally against and I can applaud that, but if you want to stop racism and sexism you have to see that you have to stop racial Prejudice and Prejudice based on gender of any kind if you want to succeed in stamping out injustice.

You write eloquently, I feel like our goals are more aligned than misaligned but maybe look at more fruitful ways of exposing unconscious bias and inequality than making assumptions about someone you do not know. Lift others up without tearing people down. Without knowing Adam and Sara personally we cannot comment on the motivations of either of them.

I am a man, I am white, I am cis gendered and I am straight. That does not and should not tell you anything about my character, views on the world or my conduct. To imply that it does is prejudiced in and of itself.

Educate people on unconscious bias, I will stand right beside you. Fight for equality, I will lead the charge or follow you to the front lines. Project a generalisation onto any group of people and I will be stood right in front of you, between you and them.

Inclusion starts with understanding and discussion, it starts with treating people as individuals and based on their actions, we will never achieve that if you truly believe that every action performed by white men is linked to privilege...some people are just weak, some people are just a$$holes (maybe you think I am one, but that should be down to my conduct alone that you decide that.)

Privilege exists but it is such a small part of the equation and parading it out as the motivation behind every action only proves to do one thing, it encourages people to not talk to people who are not in their “groups”, it instead makes me want to avoid talking to you, for fear of reprisal. At that point you have lost any chance of persuading me of a different way of thinking.

Finally I want to make the point of why identity politics is doomed to fail...what if Adam was a trans man and had chosen not to share that with the world? Also if he was black but cis-male would you accuse him of “inciting bullying” or would it be acceptable now because you believe he is disadvantaged?

I was raised by my mother as a single parent, all of the data shows that I am disadvantaged by that far more than if I were black or female but raised by two parents. Does that mean I get some privilege points removed?

I hope my point is made without crossing any lines. Who knows maybe we will have a meaningful discussion on this between us one day but right now I am scared to say anything further for fear of reprisal and fear I may already have said too much.

Anyway I took the bait and responded when I shouldn’t, I said I would steer away from this but I just cannot help it, and that should be allowed and OK as otherwise neither of us will come to understand each other.

End rant! 😜

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

Unfortunately you simply misunderstand what I'm communicating here, and I'm sure that is likely due both to different experiences and levels of education and introspection on systemic bias.

The answer to the question of whether or not he was Black would have made me call out that his actions incited a large-scale harassment campaign against Sara from a cult-like following? Yes. I just wouldn't have mentioned systemic racism. It's easy to go into hypotheticals of that nature, but the bottom line is that I have never, if ever, seen this type of brazen, unapologetic behavior from prominent Black men in tech towards lighter-skinned women, regardless of their nationality.

I have, however, seen this type of behavior from white men enough times to be fed up enough to write this post.

You have mis-framed this as some sort of analysis of Adam's character. It's not. I have personal opinions about the character he's shown beyond a systemic framing as I've done here, but I don't think it's appropriate to write a public post about it at all, especially given that I frankly don't know him outside of his public persona in tech.

You're saying that you will absolutely sit down and be educated about unconscious bias, but this is the type of toxic behavior that these biases give a pathway to.

My previous response was not bait, and this is not bait. I am responding to you in good faith, and with good faith. I sincerely want this to stop happening to Sara, myself, and other marginalized folks in this space. If you want to see something quite telling - look at the folks who are framing this as character assassination and think it's unfair, and who is grateful I said this.

I've been in tech professionally for 16 years, and as a hobbyist for 21 years. I'm a competitive gamer, and have been since I was in high school. I'm an electrician. I'm a wood worker. I used to be somewhat of a hobby mechanic (1979 Datsun, specifically). I've worked in Biotechnology and mechatronics. I cannot express to you enough the commonness of Adam's behavior here specifically toward women in every single one of these male-dominated industries and communities.

I want you to consider that my framing here is entirely about the unwelcomeness that unconscious bias creates for marginalized folks in those majority-homogenous spaces, and using Adam's behavior as a prime example of both the expectations that are placed on the marginalized, and how manipulative and coercive the majority group can be, even when that isn't their conscious intention.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited on

I really had to have a think on how to respond here as I do want to try and look past the article and just look at our interactions. This is the best I could do though as the language used in your responses doesn't read in a positive way, but I am only human so there is a chance I am still misreading it:

Firstly, I am really trying to believe that you don't have massive biases yourself.

But yet again, some of the sentences here are very presumptuous, I am not sure why you cannot see it.

"Unfortunately you simply misunderstand what I'm communicating here, and I'm sure that is likely due both to different experiences and levels of education and introspection on systemic bias."

Let's start with you believing I misunderstand you, not because of the language you use, but because of differing (by which I can only infer you mean "my lack of" due to your phrasing) education and how much time I spend on introspection?

A little bit of a background on me:

I work in accessibility and inclusion and have for over 5 years now, I advocate for accessibility, I spend my days working on educating people on bias, society and perception.

I have spent 18 months (and still have at least 6 months before launch) building a product all to do with inclusion, my company is called "Inclusivity Hub".

I spend several hours a day examining and being surprised by my biases and correcting them, assuming people can't do X because of a disability and then learning that I am an idiot, yes even now, after years in the industry.

The space I work in overlaps an awful lot with gender issues and race issues, as well as sexuality issues and gender identity issues, mainly because people with disabilities are more likely to be homosexual, they are more likely to be transgender, they are far more likely to face discrimination and bias than someone who is black or female but not disabled ever will (and obviously if you are black, female and disabled...you have an uphill struggle to say the least!).

Oh, and before the pandemic I was on a steering group examining how to get more women into tech.

So I am pretty confident I have a rounded education on the subject and spend a decent amount of time on introspection.

The only thing you have an advantage on is personal experience, and personal experience, whilst valuable, is just that.

Personal experience is where biases come from.

So at this point, I have to ask what your education on the subject is and whether you believe that we are similarly educated on the subject and whether I have spent enough time on introspection to justify us being able to have a conversation as equals and without the condescending tone?

Leading on from that - the personal experience of others is invaluable for me. That way I can understand where the problem is.

But just because I do not have the experience you share doesn't mean I can't listen to that experience, and that of hundreds of others and empathise and act on it. I mean that is the key point, I may not experience it, so I listen to many people's experience to see patterns. Yet again, who is more likely to have bias, one person's view or someone who has listened to many views?

So given all of that, I think the only misunderstanding we have here is in the language you choose and the way we approach inclusion.

I believe in "personal responsibility and identity", you believe in "group identity" (that is my understanding based on our brief conversation so far). You use words like "incite" and then say it is not a personal attack, I still cannot reconcile that due to the meaning of the word. "incite" is a deliberate act. Perhaps some of this is down to semantics, but I would argue that is as much your fault for your choice of words as mine for taking the word at its meaning.

I mean, yet again, look at your choice of words here:

"You're saying that you will absolutely sit down and be educated about unconscious bias, but this is the type of toxic behavior that these biases give a pathway to."

"sit down and be educated" - who says that? I mean seriously, who has the audacity to say that, and how am I meant to take that without believing there is an undertone of "shut up and listen"?

As for biases and looking at our own biases - I will admit that given your article and our interaction I have a bias towards you that I am having to try and be mindful of, I believe you have a disdain for white men and "we are all the same".

I am trying very hard to work against that bias but so far you have given me no evidence to the contrary. I am hoping I am wrong.

You want to educate me (I really am trying to put that down to arrogance not bias, but it does smell of bias I must say), judge me because I am white, judge me because I am male, you believe in group identity....all the things I cannot reconcile with as they are abhorrent behaviours and detrimental to achieving understanding and better relations.

As for the toxic behaviour part - what toxic behaviour have I exhibited. My sarcasm was indeed unprofessional, perhaps even a little bit of an attack, but I am sure you will agree not toxic? I have already said I believed it was not the right way to approach this so I am not sure what other behaviour I could have exhibited that made you use the word "toxic". In fact I have no idea what "this type of behaviour" means in this context? perhaps you could elaborate for me?

My question is would you be happy to sit down and be educated on the dangers of group identity? (if that is how we are now talking to each other)

If so then I am more than happy to sit down and have a discussion so we can educate each other on our differing points of view.

"If you want to see something quite telling - look at the folks who are framing this as character assassination and think it's unfair, and who is grateful I said this."

Some of that will indeed be down to prejudice and bias. Yet again a point we could have a discussion on, but that isn't the entirety of it, there is a lot more to the story. Look deeper.

Why are white people and men outraged by this? Because you are projecting your own narrative onto an entire group. You are attacking them.

Who agrees with you? People in your group?

You are also writing on a site dedicated to an industry that is dominated by a narrative of "white man bad".

All stemming from a narrative pushed by education and Universities and the main stream media, it is an industry filled with highly educated individuals who are exposed to this narrative far more often. We are in an echo chamber of group identity politics, a narrative nobody is willing to challenge for fear of being ousted or attacked.

I am pretty sure if you wrote this same post in a more balanced industry there would be a much different reaction.

A final point with regards to trying to work out where the support or criticism comes from...with no downvote button we only have the comments, and as most of them were deleted how can we possibly see who said what and what race and gender they are? Or indeed what ratio of people disagreed with you?

As for male dominated industries and minorities enduring the jabs, remarks and other behaviour that is not welcoming - oh I really think we could be on the same ground on a lot of points here, but we are still too far apart on the fundamentals at the moment to make that work productively.

Mainly because I want to dig into more than just the surface crap you hear on social and main stream media, I want to look at genetics, culture etc. I want to look at how minor differences in temperament between men and women (across a standard distribution looking at the mean and the extremes as the extremes are where lessons can be learned) can add up to big problems and inequality. I want to look at how much of women's choice to abandon STEM subjects is driven by society, how much by genetic predisposition (women who are good at maths, on average are better than men who are equally good at maths, at other subject such as English, giving them more options), media influence, parent's opinions or the existing status quo in an industry.

I want to understand "how much of inequality is driven by X, how much by Y....right well X is where we should focus our efforts as we can't change Y easily". I want to ask the hard questions, without a narrative getting forced over it.

This is very dangerous ground to cover for friends, impossibly dangerous ground when we start from a position of opposition rather than understanding.

I will consider your framing, yet again I think that we could have common ground here, but I still cannot see how you believe that this Twitter conversation was the hill to stand your ground on, or that you cannot see how the language you used is not conducive to an inclusive and productive discussion.

Are you at least willing to concede that the fault, perhaps, is not all mine and start talking to me assuming that I may actually be able to hold my own in a conversation on these matters (or if this is just a phrasing issue, consider your phrasing in a way that I cannot misconstrue?)?

I will, in exchange, respond in good faith also and stop assuming you are trying to incite outrage (see what I did there 😋🤣🤣).

Hell, on paper we should be friends, we work in a similar space, we want inclusion and equality....surely we should be able to get to a point where we can tackle some of these issues together?

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

Firstly, I am really trying to believe that you don't have massive biases yourself.

We all have them. You shouldn't try to believe that. I try to consider those biases before I make decisions, as should everyone.

Let's start with you believing I misunderstand you, not because of the language you use, but because of differing (by which I can only infer you mean "my lack of" due to your phrasing) education and how much time I spend on introspection?

I said different to mean different. It doesn't mean you have done so less. I'm not assuming what you have done, but clearly, we have done so differently, and in different framings, because we are different.

before the pandemic I was on a steering group examining how to get more women into tech.

This is an example of that! Examining getting women into tech versus examining why women are leaving tech. And, as a woman, I have a perspective and framing of understanding why I have felt oppressed and unwelcome in tech (far before becoming vocal on any issue, which started with accessibility), and that's a framing you will never have. That doesn't mean I think I'm better than you, simply that our introspections will always be different, even on things we have in common, like both being white.

As far as misunderstanding me, I'm pointing to this:

we cannot comment on the motivations

You misunderstand that I am speaking to his motivation, while I'm simply saying that the comment was manipulative and passive aggressive. His motivation to do that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the framework of society, and even specifically the development community, that gives him the space to be manipulative and passive aggressive publicly and unapologetically.

I'm sorry if that wasn't clear in my last response, but I am honestly weary from the volume of harassment I've received because of this post. (not this discourse, but just in general).

You use words like "incite" and then say it is not a personal attack, I still cannot reconcile that due to the meaning of the word. "incite" is a deliberate act.

I chose the word incite because it does not speak to motivations. To incite is to spur to action, incite does not speak to initiation nor intention. It only means that Adam caused the harassment pile-on, not that it was his intention was to do so.

"sit down and be educated" - who says that? I mean seriously, who has the audacity to say that, and how am I meant to take that without believing there is an undertone of "shut up and listen"?

There is no undertone there. I misremembered your words (upon looking back you wrote stand, not sit), and that is because I am someone who "sits down and listens" because I believe that accepting I have something to learn from someone else in a situation where someone else is choosing to be vulnerable where I have privilege takes humility. I am also a very visual, relational person, so sometimes my wording comes directly to what I'm seeing. I grew up sitting down and listening to a teacher who is standing, so my writing about learning from one another is reflective of that. A doubled-edged sword, as I believe it's one of the things that makes me perceived as "a great writer", but also, to be misunderstood.

And again, I wasn't suggesting you "sit down and listen", I was trying to express that I was talking about the behavior that makes marginalized folks feel unwelcome and leave spaces where they are marginalized, not making broad generalizations, as you contrasted when you "listen and stand beside".

As for the toxic behaviour part

I was talking about Adam's tweet, not your discourse with me.

Why are white people and men outraged by this?

It's not "white people and men". It's white men. A single white woman said she disagreed, and upon reflection that the behavior from Adam was unwarranted, she agreed in part. She disagreed that Adam's comments were racist and sexist, and I agree, they weren't, as that's not what I'm saying.

Who agrees with you? People in your group?

Lots of white men were not outraged and thanked me for shedding some light into the ways they've seen themselves behave or allow other white men to behave... which is really the goal.

Because you are projecting your own narrative onto an entire group. You are attacking them.

I am not attacking white men. White men feel attacked because of what I've written. There's a difference, and I believe you know that!

You are also writing on a site dedicated to an industry that is dominated by a narrative of "white man bad".

I would argue that "white man bad" narrative is a vocal minority, and the perception that it is the dominate narrative is warped by the natural human inclination to focus on and then notice the worst feedback.

A final point with regards to trying to work out where the support or criticism comes from...with no downvote button we only have the comments, and as most of them were deleted how can we possibly see who said what and what race and gender they are? Or indeed what ratio of people disagreed with you?

Obviously we certainly can't speak to the ratio of who agrees and who disagrees, I should have said who feels safe to comment in disagreement, and more specifically who feels safe to write toxic, hateful, personal insults at me. I can tell you that I am an honest person, and every single one of the comments that was deleted for being the former, and every single person I had to hide reply and block on Twitter was a man, and only two of them weren't white.

And let's accept for a moment that maybe the ratio is off because those are the only folks who feel emboldened enough to reply with a personal attacks on me or disagree in a way that can be viewed by our peers as toxic, doesn't that speak directly to what I'm talking about in my post?

I am pretty sure if you wrote this same post in a more balanced industry there would be a much different reaction.

I'd actually go so far as to say if we were in a more balanced industry, no one would feel they could safely write a toxic, manipulative comment that hundreds of thousands of people would see and react to, so I wouldn't have written this post at all.

I still cannot see how you believe that this Twitter conversation was the hill to stand your ground on, or that you cannot see how the language you used is not conducive to an inclusive and productive discussion.

I have witnessed this and experienced it myself. I, as a woman, have been accused of being aggressive for trying to push a product change forward, and when a man who had the same vigor and passion repeated it later he was applauded for his care and persistence for the customer. And I could continue to recount, sincerely, dozens of these instances... and that's ONLY in the workplace. If I expand to my experience on Twitter in a similar position as Sara... we're talking hundreds.

Mentioning the words racism and sexism, calling that Adam caused something... it's reality, though I understand how some folks, like yourself, believe that language is not going to create a productive discussion. But I didn't say anything about Adam's beliefs, or all of white men's beliefs, I'm talking about a pattern of behavior and using Adam's comment as an example.

Sara deleted her post because of the harassment that Adam's comment brought to her. Has Adam deleted his comment? No. Has he apologized? No. Do I expect him to do either of those things? No. My hope is that there is large-scale change, and that everyone else held to the same standards, in spite of how the system gives some folks space to be toxic and others to be intentional and constructive.

Are you at least willing to concede that the fault, perhaps, is not all mine and start talking to me assuming that I may actually be able to hold my own in a conversation on these matters

I hope that you can be willing to concede that not only do I assume you can hold a conversation on these matters, that I'm willing to have one with you because I am doing so! As you can see above, I admit fault where it is mine.

I will, in exchange, respond in good faith also and stop assuming you are trying to incite outrage

I assume you know this isn't constructive, but I want to point out that you had to put in the action word of trying because incite is to cause and to try is to make intentional effort to accomplish. In actuality, I have incited outrage, despite that not being my intention to do so.

Hell, on paper we should be friends, we work in a similar space, we want inclusion and equality

I want more than just equality. I want equity. I don't view you poorly, though. You mention wanting to talk about the science behind some of these inequities, and something you can skim (or read, but it's long so I've no expectation of that 😂 ) that covers my thoughts on James Damore's Manifesto, I'd be happy to take this conversation offline and expand it. I feel like at this point I should also disclaim that like Damore, I am autistic.

surely we should be able to get to a point where we can tackle some of these issues together?

Is that not what we are doing here? I disengage when it feels like a discussion is about winning, and so my still participating is absolutely about learning.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited on

Now this was both beautifully written and articulate and perhaps this is all stemming from both a "powder keg" article and just a few poorly chosen phrases.

And, given this response, I can put the latter down mainly to having many responses to respond to and lack of time.

Obviously there are points where we are still talking at cross purposes, but I doubt we would ever iron those out over a written comments system, what is important is I believe I have a understanding of your character enough now (and hopefully you of mine).

The only thing I have to add that is important is (once again) my sarcasm was not appropriate while we were still "at odds" with each other:

I will, in exchange, respond in good faith also and stop assuming you are trying to incite outrage

You missed the laughing emojis and tongue out part in your response to this.

But I cannot accuse you of poor choice of words without acknowledging my own poor choice of words. It was meant as a joke (as a lot of the conversation was about the use of the word incite) and I apologise as it still isn't appropriate (yet), I hope at some point my sarcastic sense of humour becomes something you enjoy, rather than adding another hurdle in a good conversation!

I would love to take the conversation offline, particularly on the point you made:

before the pandemic I was on a steering group examining how to get more women into tech.

This is an example of that! Examining getting women into tech versus examining why women are leaving tech.

I agree that this would be a massively productive conversation. Sadly there is no funding for keeping women in tech around where I am, I put that down to how funding works, it is easier to promote an uptick in interest "we increased applications from women by 25%) vs people leaving ("numbers have stayed the same").

Plus where I am we have much much lower proportion of women in tech so getting them in in the first place is the battle being fought around here.

Obviously we still have some big differences in opinion, especially with "equality vs equity" - that in of itself would be a fascinating conversation as I am firmly on "equality, not equity" side of that fence and so would love to see your viewpoints there.

All I will say is, thank you for taking the time to respond to some rather long comments and I do truly mean it when I say I would like to have a further discussion with you.

Choose whatever means of communication you feel comfortable with and let's set a date to "solve all the problems in the world"...I am sure we can do that in about an hour? (sorry...sarcastic humour there once again, I am beginning to think I have a problem!)

Oh and as for

my thoughts on James Damore's Manifesto, I'd be happy to take this conversation offline and expand it.

I will just end this comment by saying, I will read and digest as much as I am able, there will be no skim reading on my part! I hope that will further let me understand you and find some other points we agree (and disagree on) to discuss!

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northst05257155 profile image
NorthStar

This exchange in and of itself was far more enlightening than the article that spawned it. Although there are good points and eloquent writing from both participants, this discussion made it very clear to me who should have been the one to write an objective article on these topics. Without reiterating points/ details already mentioned. The two comments I have are:
1) I perceived too many assumptions being pulled from the context of the story, which in turn eroded the validity of the points being made by the author.
2)The author in one of the exchanges makes the comment that equity is the prize not equality. This concept sounds great in theory, but is not optimal in the real world. Equality is what we all should be striving for overall, not equity. Equity in simple math terms means 2+2 can add up to whatever it wants to whenever it wants to. Which extended to the basis of this article wouldn't give folks much basis to lodge any criticisms of Tailwind in the first place. (Since we'd want all frameworks and their creators to not only be assumed to be just as good as the other, but indulged as such.) We know this just doesn't happen and it shouldn't. Some frameworks and developers are just preferred flat out over others. (and for good reason) Give the frameworks and developers equality by giving them equal opportunity to prove themselves, but do not hoist equity of these things upon projects or the people that build/use or work with them.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

Im glad you enjoyed the discussion between myself and Cher, I did also!

Who knows, maybe at some point the discussion on equity vs equality can be had, but I doubt either Cher or myself would dare broach that subject on here for a while! Hehe.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

this discussion made it very clear to me who should have been the one to write an objective article on these topics

I think you're being a bit uncharitable here. No one can be objective. We're all human and fall prey to the same human error, some of the things we're discussing here, and a much more complex neurological basis that we needn't get into here.

I wrote what I did to an audience of folks that choose to read my content on a daily basis. We are responsible for what we are communicating, but whether or not that communication will be understood can only be given so much consideration. I added the edit at the end because it was being misunderstood by a very small percentage of readers after it extended outside the circle of people whom I relate with most.

I indulge in these conversations to help others who misunderstood what I was saying because I have the responsibility to do my best to ensure what I'm writing is being understood by everyone, not only the folks who speak my language.

So while you think I should have done a better job of speaking to the folks who misunderstood me in my article, I respectfully disagree, and further insist that is not humanly possible. I don't know what I don't know, and without being challenged here by folks who misunderstood me or disagreed in general, I'd never have gotten to a point where I was on the same page as those folks.

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northst05257155 profile image
NorthStar

You certainly have done a great job of engaging and clarifying your position and that has made me appreciative that this wasn't a hit and run piece. While it may not be humanly (or robotically even! 😊) possible to be completely objective, I do think that with enough work, it is possible to see and hear enough of most situations to obtain a decent level objectivity. It takes work and a good amount of wisdom. Perhaps developing guidelines for ourselves to check for those things could serve as a guide before we speak, act or jump to conclusions? Your reply to my comment uses the word "understand" and it's derivatives a good number of times. I wonder if you considered that word with the same weight while dissecting Adam's tweet?
As I thought more on the topics of equity, equality, and working together to understand each other, it occurred to me that perhaps a follow up article, jointly written by you and InHuOfficial might be of great benefit to this community of ours.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

our reply to my comment uses the word "understand" and it's derivatives a good number of times. I wonder if you considered that word with the same weight while dissecting Adam's tweet?

I wasn't dissecting Adam's tweet. It was one sentence. What are you suggesting I understand when it comes to that sentence?

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sroehrl profile image
neoan

The problem I see is that the assumptions you make aren't based on any insight. There is simply no reason to believe that his reaction has anything to do with her or his identity. I find this article more toxic for an inclusive environment than the reciprocity that Adam expected. As such, I don't only disagree with your assessment, but would like to suggest to apply some caution when making accusations like that.

I think it is very human to defend one's projects and being hurt if people important to you are criticizing them. We might find that entitled, if you want so. But by no means does that point to any biases by itself. I urge all of us to stick together to survive this cancel culture behavior. Our industry has one of the best prerequisites to look into a future of equality and inclusion. Assuming one's intend is dangerous and counterproductive to this goal and should be put on the same level of scrutiny as racism and sexism itself.

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cher profile image
Cher Author • Edited on

I have made no accusations, nor spoken to anyone's intent (other than to say that I believe that it was NOT his intent).

Adam didn't defend the project, he wrote a manipulative, passive-aggressive comment that hundreds of thousands of his supporters could see. If you can't argue from a factual starting point, we've nothing to discuss.

I'm also not canceling Adam or TailwindCSS. I use it, and continue to use it. This is about a system that gives folks like you the confidence to literally dismiss reality to defend something someone did wrong by minimizing it in a historical rewrite.

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sroehrl profile image
neoan • Edited on

Thank you for replying. Again, I'll give you that his reaction can be considered as hurt and childish. Everything else you write in your reply seems to be exactly what you -given, in my opinion - accuse Adam of. What are you assuming about me when you say

folks like you

? And what historical rewrite are you referring to? Can't you see that you are reacting in the same petty way to criticism?
But just to be clear: I don't defend the way Adam reacted, I just don't see the connection to identity, nor to "the system".

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cher profile image
Cher Author

what historical rewrite are you referring to?

I think it is very human to defend one's projects

He did not defend the project. It's misleading to frame your discussion with me off of a point that is unrelated to what occurred.

What are you assuming about me when you say

folks like you

Folks like you... white American men? You realize I don't need to assume that? You stream on Twitch and readily share that information about yourself. Do you think it's a coincidence that I could have assumed that and have been correct, based on your statement?

Can't you see that you are reacting in the same petty way to criticism?

I'm not, so no, I wouldn't be able to see that. I've had discourse with several people on this matter who are hyper-critical of what I'm saying.

I don't defend the way Adam reacted

Then what is the purpose of discussing that it is natural to defend your projects when criticized, in relation to what I've written?

I just don't see the connection to identity, nor to "the system".

I understand that. I hope you can understand that I do, and that's why I've written what I have.

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sroehrl profile image
neoan

It seems to me that we have different interpretations of what "it is human" means.
What I meant by that is that being defensive (and likely to go overboard with it) is a human trait. This does not mean that it is justifiable or ethically sound, it just means it's natural in the sense that we know this psychological phenomenon well. And yes, that makes it "natural" in the actual sense of the word. This is true for various forms of aggression and is not automatically linked to a societal structure but rather to our "monkey brains" not having adapted yet to a modern, complex and dense society. However, of course it can be depending on conscious or subconscious intent. My problem was that you didn't point to any argument supporting this connection. Instead, you declare it as inherently connected due to a patriachical society.

I am not denying that structural issues exist in society. As a matter of fact I want to address those just like you do. However, your article seems to be picking up on something that I cannot identify as being the cause of such issues. To be frank, it reminds me of the saying "When all you have is a hammer, all problems need to be nails".

Folks like you... white American men? You realize I don't need to assume that? You stream on Twitch and readily share that information about yourself. Do you think it's a coincidence that I could have assumed that and have been correct, based on your statement?

About this paragraph: I am not sure whether I should be honored that you looked me up, or disappointed that you didn't bother to start a video for at least one minute (which probably would have given away that I am not American). However, that isn't the point.
Way more important is: No, I do not see how my opinion could only have been voiced by a white male like myself. What you are implying here is sexist and condescending and the fact that you are the one who is entitled to say things like

This is about a system that gives folks like you the confidence to literally dismiss reality to defend something someone did wrong by minimizing it in a historical rewrite.

is the clearest indication there can be that you aren't a convincing force against toxicity.

I just don't see the connection to identity, nor to "the system".

I understand that. I hope you can understand that I do, and that's why I've written what I have.

Yes, of course I realize that you wrote that as that is the way you see it. I didn't assume you wrote this as a hit piece. In the same way, me having a different assessment is the reason why I engaged in the first place.

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cher profile image
Cher Author

What I meant by that is that being defensive (and likely to go overboard with it) is a human trait.

I agree with that, and there can be dozens of reasons why someone may be more reactive than someone else (I'm bipolar, autistic, and I have ADHD, so I'm familiar with being this way). I'm not saying he is being defensive because he's racist or sexist, in fact I'm not calling him those things at all.

...depending on conscious or subconscious intent. My problem was that you didn't point to any argument supporting this connection. Instead, you declare it as inherently connected due to a patriachical society.

I didn't point to any connection to intent (or support therein) because I don't care about his intent. I care about the impact and the structures that exist that enable this behavior to begin with.

When all you have is a hammer, all problems need to be nails

While I understand how this is being gathered, it's more like, "Everyone needs to learn when to use a hammer, and when to use a nail gun, but not everyone is held accountable in the same way when they use the wrong tool and create damage as a result of not using the correct tool." And I say this hesitantly, as I feel like it's a bit dehumanizing to compare what happens to people in society to carpentry.

I am not sure whether I should be honored that you looked me up, or disappointed that you didn't bother to start a video for at least one minute (which probably would have given away that I am not American)

Neither. I have watched you Twitch in the past, and I looked you up because I didn't want to assume anything about you given your branding here. I assumed you were American because you and your company are based in New York. I wouldn't assume you weren't a citizen based on your accent.

No, I do not see how my opinion could only have been voiced by a white male like myself.

I didn't say that. If I thought that, I wouldn't have looked you up. I'm pointing to a pattern here of this type of response, not saying that it is an impossibility that anyone else could or would break that pattern.

What you are implying here is sexist and condescending and the fact that you are the one who is entitled to say things like

There is no such thing as reverse sexism. While I may feel entitled in some aspects, this certainly isn't one of them.

is the clearest indication there can be that you aren't a convincing force against toxicity.

Ok.

In the same way, me having a different assessment is the reason why I engaged in the first place.

And I recognized that (which is why I responded), but I felt the basis of the way you engaged to be, as I said, dismissive and apologist on behalf of Adam because of how you've worded it. I'm willing to concede that this wasn't your intention, and thus, makes what I sound kind of asshole-ish.

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sroehrl profile image
neoan

I assumed you were American because you and your company are based in New York. I wouldn't assume you weren't a citizen based on your accent.

I think that is fair, but let's me wonder why the label "American white male" was necessary.

I didn't point to any connection to intent (or support therein) because I don't care about his intent.

I know. The reason why I keep reiterating this is due to the believe that without this connection your claims have no grounds. As you notice online, the subject is heavily discussed. You seem to be under the impression that there either isn't enough vocal criticism or that there would be more if he would fall under a different gender/race markup. And I think that making such claims require evidence.

If you didn't imply that my opinion must necessarily originate from a "white male American", what did you mean by

Do you think it's a coincidence that I could have assumed that and have been correct, based on your statement?

There must be something that makes "my type of response" fall under a certain pattern, as you phrase it. Assuming you are too intelligent to base that on disagreeing with you, what did you want to point to?

There is no such thing as reverse sexism.

Maybe not (at least that term makes no sense how it is usually used), but there is sexism. And implying that an opinion has less worth based on what gender it originates from, is pretty much a textbook definition. And I personally cannot remember when I had to point to someone's genetic markup or heritage to make a legitimate point. As a matter of fact, this is the reasoning behind me getting heated here in the first place: rather than condemning Adam's behavior by itself, you tried to fit it into a box based on your own sensitivities. And again, that does not mean that I can be sure that this connection doesn't exist and certainly not that it rarely or never exists. I would have just expected arguments based on this view rather than relying on the - in my opinion damaging - approach of "it is always connected just due to the 'perpetrator' being a white man and all of us living in 'the system'"

[...] but I felt the basis of the way you engaged to be, as I said, dismissive and apologist on behalf of Adam because of how you've worded it

Fair enough, given that I didn't waste any time to declare Adam's behavior itself as questionable in favor of getting to my criticism right away. And I might not have phrased it as unambiguous as intended. But I guess we somehow managed to get our viewpoints across through it all ;-)

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Cher Author • Edited on

I think that is fair, but let's me wonder why the label "American white male" was necessary.

As I've said before, I'm a very visual, relational thinker. I imagine a person when reading, and I don't like to be incorrectly applying some mental model of who someone is. I like to challenge my own biases.

There must be something that makes "my type of response" fall under a certain pattern, as you phrase it. Assuming you are too intelligent to base that on disagreeing with you, what did you want to point to?

The problem I see is that the assumptions you make aren't based on any insight.

You wrongly proclaim that I have no insight here. The conclusion this leads me to is that you and I do not have the same framing, so you must not have experienced what Sara has experienced. That led me to believe that you are a man. Men of color, in my experience, also tend to have some overlap in framing, while your contention is a very clear line. Men with language barriers from having native languages other than English or coming from different cultures also tend to have experience with American men asserting dominance using public forum, passive aggression, and manipulative shaming.

You are right, it's not based on simply disagreeing with me. It's based on how you do so. However, I'd never simply assume any part of someone else's identity. I have no control over the picture that pops into my head, other than to 1) go get the proper picture of that person, and 2) continue to challenge my biases by doing in doing the former.

And I personally cannot remember when I had to point to someone's genetic markup or heritage to make a legitimate point.

And why do you think that is? Could it be correlated with the other statement, that