By Deane Barker on April 29, 2009
Remember that situation where the FatWire exec used Playboy’s Cyber Girls in a presentation at Gilbane? Well, the Ruby guys have got him beat…
At GoGaRuCo (short for “Golden Gate Ruby Conference”), Matt Aimonetti gave a talk entitled “CouchDB + Ruby: Perform Like a Pr0n Star.” And the presentation slides had pictures. Here are the slides — I paged through a few of them, and didn’t see any actual nudity, but it’s close, and there’s a running joke about longevity implied throughout.
This blogger sums it up:
What might have been a short, juvenile, eye-rolling bit of humor continued throughout the talk to become increasingly disturbing. Amidst this normally warm, welcoming community, I spent an uncomfortable half hour wondering if I had somehow found myself in 1975.
The talk started out with a few gags: “size matters” (memory usage, amount of servers, infrastructure), reliability equated to viagra (no downtime, ready for traffic peaks, ready for more data), multiple partners (public interfaces, no discrimination), etc.
It got worse when David Heinemeier Hansson (Mr. Rails himself) tweeted this:
“Do you think porn is an appropriate metaphor to be used in business presentations?” — Absolutely. Especially in jest.
This page has a roll-up of comments from women who were in attendance or saw it after the fact:
Watching the RoR / DHH / pr0n / GoGaRuCo fiasco, shaking my head that some just can’t see why there would be problem.
[…] In any case, this is a good example of how insular the software development environment is. It is a boy’s club, where locker-room behavior is overlooked, and indeed, not even acknowledged.
[…] As a young women in tech, I can tell you I would be extremely uncomfortable in a classroom of thirty young men and me if an instructor used sex as a metaphor for teaching.
The episode has some people interpreting it as a metaphor for the entire Ruby/Rails community:
Ruby (and Rails in particular) loves the rock star image. You see it in job posts, how people talk about their work, and the way Rubyists rant on their blogs. It’s macho, it can be offputting to both genders, and it makes it easy in this kind of situation to say, “what’s your problem? I’m just busy being awesome”. It’s also a significant barrier to adoption for people who aren’t already a part of this culture, and don’t find it appealing.
I made the choice to use Python while browsing blogs about Ruby. In the end it wasn’t about which was the superior language; it was the simple fact that I could not stand the ridiculous posturing and arrogant attitude that seemed prevalent in the Ruby community. So you write code in TextMate on your MacBook Pro in a Starbucks; you aren’t a f*cking rock star.
I felt the same way when we first starting looking at Rails. Everyone was just so smug and looked down on anyone else who had the apparent misfortune of using any other language in the past. Because of this, it took an extra year before I even considered Rails as a platform.
My mantra used to be (and perhaps still is), “I don’t hate Rails, I just hate the people who code in it.”