As expected, I have received both praise and criticism for my recent article on the exclusion of minorities from programming culture and computer science education. The article was shared by me and others on social media to bring awareness and provoke meaningful discussions.
I am not writing this post to defend my work or clarify any misunderstandings, as I have done so exhaustively on social media for the past few days which has left me emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. What affected me the most were the comments (publicly and privately) that attacked my personal experiences, credibility, and mental state. This is fucking bullying. Period. Stop it.
This has happened every time I have published my work and frankly, I struggle with ignoring it.
I was recommended to read Charles’ Rules of Argument, which has been well-summarized by the lovely Leigh Honeywell. In theory, these rules are quite reasonable, but in practice, they are difficult to apply.
The most fundamental rule in my opinion is: If someone disagrees with something you’ve said, you’re already in an argument. Right off the bat, you have to carefully pick and choose what to say. The following points are taken from the sources referenced above.
Never seek out things to disagree with. There are too many of them out there, and correcting the ills of the world just isn’t your job.
This is difficult to do when people call you out with specific questions. Despite answering these questions, they are often repeated to pressure and intimidate you. Choose the questions you answer wisely and don’t feel obliged to answer everything. The goal is to answer the commonly asked questions or concerns. Don’t feed the trolls and give them an excuse to invoke “Team Edward vs. Team Jacob” level nonsense.
If you come across something you disagree with while randomly browsing, let it pass without comment (see rule 1). If it’s truly frustrating, write a reply, then delete it without sharing it with anyone else.
This time around there were more faces behind the criticizing words. Instead of sharing every thought I had about a certain comment, I wrote my responses in a word processor and tried to only share comments that addressed their ideas and not their negative behaviour. Refrain from aggressive and hateful language.
“No fucks were given, no fucks were said” is the best policy.
Even in the limited scope remaining, it is not your job to correct everything you find that you disagree with. Try to limit yourself to things where the subject is at least something that makes some practical difference to your life.
Preach! That’s all I have to say here.
Do not argue about politics, religion, or matters of personal taste or comparative morality.
This is a tricky one since feminism and social privilege were being argued. Although these topics are sensitive, I think open discussions are valuable in exposing fallacies and finding strategies to improve understanding. As the writer of the article, I felt like certain people expected me to argue with ALL of their morals. Like the previous rule stated, it’s not my job.
RTFM (read the fucking manual) was an acronym thrown around a lot. I’m pretty neutral about the term, but I prefer to simply ask the person to educate themselves before jumping to conclusions. Repeating either is very exhausting. If the person doesn’t get the message, don’t waste your time reiterating it. They can use the Internet and other resources, the end.
Spend time doing something fun instead [Self care! It’s a thing! You should do! Eat some ice cream, watch trashy TV, hug a friend.]
WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Turn off notifications. Block the necessary people. Deactivate yourself from social media if required. Cry it out if you have to – I know I certainly did. Get help – go to a hospital or clinic if you feel vulnerable. Reach out to friends and family for hugs! Remember to eat and sleep. Take care of yourself, because these haters certainly won’t.
Well, I am officially done with talking about this drama (if I do, tell me to STFU haha). Thank you everyone who has supported me and helped to combat the noise. I am forever grateful! Thank you haters for bringing traffic to Model View Culture, an incredibly valuable publication in our industry.