The Biggest Problem In Technology

PyCon is the largest annual conference dedicated to the open-source Python programming language; it counts among its sponsors Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Normally, it is exactly as boring and unremarkable as a gathering of 20-five hundred programming-language enthusiasts sounds. But this year, on March 17th, two employees of PlayHaven, a company that develops tools for video-game marketing, made a couple of jokes while sitting in the tenth row of a “lightning talk.”

One of the jokes was about “big dongles.” It was a dick joke. (Amy Poehler has made a similar joke on national television, at Best Buy’s behest.) The other joke, according to a commenter on Hacker News, who claimed to be one of the two employees, was a remark that “I would fork that guys [sic] repo.” It was, “mr-hank” claimed, a reference to the fact that taking a developer’s code repository and “forking” the code, creating a new development based on the original, is a new form of flattery—in other words, not sexual in nature. Adria Richards, a developer evangelist for SendGrid, was sitting in front of the pair, and overheard their conversation. She could, as she later wrote on her blog, “feel [her] face getting flustered.” Then she took the above picture of the men and tweeted it to thousands of followers, with the hashtag #PyCon. She captioned it, “Not cool. Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and ‘big’ dongles.” PyCon organisers swooped in, talked to the PlayHaven employees, and declared the situation “dealt with” on Twitter.

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