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Adria Richards
Lived in New York City, NY


Adria Richards

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Why does Open Source Amplify Toxic Personalities?
Much of the Open Source community tries to advertise the community as one happy place to the outside. Where contributions are valued only by their technical quality, and everybody meets at conferences for beers.

Well, it is not like that. It's quite a sick place to be in.

I don't usually talk about this too much, and hence I figure that people are really not aware of this, but yes, the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple "petitions" on petition web sites, asking me to stop working (google for it). Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a "song" on youtube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks. On IRC, people /msg me sometimes, with nasty messages, and references to artwork in 4chan style. And there's more. A lot more.

I am used to rough discussions on mailing lists, and yes, when I was younger I did not always stay technical in flamewars, but nowadays I am pretty good at that, I am sometimes articulate, but never personal. I have a thick skin (and so do most of the others involved in systemd, apparently), and I figure that plays a major role why we managed to bring systemd to success, despite all the pressure in the opposite direction. But from time to time, I just have to stand back and say "Wow, what an awful community Linux has!".

The Internet is full of deranged people, no doubt, so one might just discount all of this on the grounds that the Open Source community isn't any different than any other community on the Internet or even offline. But I don't think so. I am pretty sure there are certain things that foster bad behaviour. On one hand there are certain communities where it appears to be a lot more accepted to vent hate, communities that attract a certain kind of people (Hey, Gentoo!) more than others do. (Yes, the folks who post the stuff they do usually pretty clearly state from wich community they come).

But more importantly, I'd actually put some blame on a certain circle of folks that play a major role in kernel development, and first and foremost Linus Torvalds himself. By many he is a considered a role model, but he is quite a bad one. If he posts words like "[specific folks] ...should be retroactively aborted. Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?" (google for it), than that's certainly bad. But what I find particularly appalling is the fact that he regularly defends this, and advertises this as an efficient way to run a community. (But it is not just Linus, it's a certain group of people around him who use the exact same style, some of which semi-publically even phantasize about the best ways to, ... well, kill me).

But no, it's not an efficient way to run a community. If Linux had success, then that certainly happened despite, not because of this behaviour. I am pretty sure the damage being done by this is quite obvious, it not only sours the tone in the Linux community, it is also teaches new contributors to adopt the same style, but that only if it doesn't scare them away in the first place.

In other words: A fish rots from the head down.

I don't mind using strong language, I don't mind the use of words such as "fuck", I use the word all the time too, it's really not about that. I must simply say that I wished it would stay at that, because what actually is happening is so much worse, and and so much more hateful.

If you are a newcomer to Linux, either grow a really thick skin. Or run away, it's not a friendly place to be in. It is sad that it is that way, but it certainly is.

The Linux community is dominated by western, white, straight, males in their 30s and 40s these days. I perfectly fit in that pattern, and the rubbish they pour over me is awful. I can only imagine that it is much worse for members of minorities, or people from different cultural backgrounds, in particular ones where losing face is a major issue.

You know, I can deal with all this shit, and I guess in a way with the energy we are pushing the changes we propose with we are calling for opposition, so this post is really not intended to be a call for sympathy. The main point I want to make with this is to correct a few things about our communities, and how their are percieved. Open Source isn't a kindergarten. Open Source is awful in many ways, and people should be aware of this.

Not everybody in the Linux community is like this, the vast majority isn't. Not even all our different communities really have a problem with this at all. But many do, and the most prominent one, the Linux community as a whole certainly has.

I am not the one to fix any of this, I cannot tell you how one could do it. And quite frankly, I really don't want to be involved in fixing this. I am a technical guy, I want to do technical things.

My personal conclusion out of all this is mostly just that I don't want to have much to do with the worst offenders, and the communities they run. My involvement with the kernel community ended pretty much before it even started, I never post on LKML, and haven't done in years.  Also, in our own project we are policying posts. We regularly put a few folks on moderation on the mailing list, and we will continue to do so. Currently, the systemd community is fantastic, and I really hope we can keep it that way.

And that's all about this topic from me. I have no intentions to ever talk about this again on a public forum.

Adria Richards

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Adria Richards hung out with 8 people.jenni sunny, L Martin Johnson Pratt, Jonathan Geremia, James Crenshaw, kamil atlı, boni kol, marrsilo killoz, and rosa zeen
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hmm I was too loud apparently lol
gimme a sec

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Adria Richards hung out with 2 people.pedro Rodrigez and ahmed eli
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Just put up this video last night as a submission to speak at Eric Ries' Lean Startup Conference.  

Startups are experiencing success when they support the professional development of their employees. These days when you're trying to keep a company small yet effective, it's more important than ever to hire the right people. Often times they are the ones with multiple skill sets and experience that can be adapted for the position.

Benefits of your employees learning to code include:
- Improved communication between departments
- Ability to spot design, usability and programming issues earlier
- Larger number of contributions for product bug fixes and feature requests
- Increased coverage during vacation, sick time and work travel
- Higher competency and confidence throughout the organization
- Potential to adopt tools like Pivotal Tracker throughout the entire company

There are many ways for employees to start learning to code. There are books, websites, online learning tools, live instruction via webinars or on-site and local events held through user groups, meetups and workshops where people come to master CSS & HTML, Javascript & jQuery, Ruby on Rails, Python, Objective-C for iOS apps, Java for Android apps and more. 

Links to resources and people mentioned
Lean Startup Conference
SendGrid (where I work!)
Sarah Mei
SF Developer Advocates Meetup
Women Who Code Meetup
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Lori, thanks for sharing your experience and Richard, thanks for the link!

Adria Richards

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Hey everyone! I'm in town this week for a social consulting project with Samsung and would love to say hello to Twitter friends who live in North Carolina! My first time visiting NC. There will be appetizers for folks to snack on.

Let's connect in real life. Stop by and say hello!

I created a Facebook event with details and location
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I love Raleigh! I got an old army play sis that lives there. :) nice little town... clubs go hard too... #occupyRaleigh  

Adria Richards

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Today is my birthday.  I return to Google+ after almost a year.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  It felt great to attend the Startup Grind conference today in Mountain View.  Glad to be back!
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Happy birthday Adria! Kick ass, take names, etc

Adria Richards

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Adria Richards hung out with 6 people.beboo gito, Ive Stiendig, rosa zeen, kamil atlı, Nassir work, and Kamel Camel
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I just took a minute to google this situation that everyone is sending Adria hateful remarks about, the bullies who are here saying those things are the ones who should be ashamed, Adria is definitely not feminist, not racist and certainly not a bigot, I'm happy she tweeted what she did, she ABSOLUTELY did the right thing.

Adria Richards

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We all see things through a different lens.  What will Google Glass show you?  Inspired by Cyrus Kabiru, a sculpter and painter who took the stage at TED 2013, I filtered these photos I took of one of his art and his talk using snapseed #ifihadglass
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Good Glass always makes me think of gargoyles in Snow crash.

Adria Richards changed her profile photo.

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Schnazzy new profile photo.  Oh yes!
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Adria Richards

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Please check out our panel today at SXSW on increasing diversity at tech conferences - 5pm, Monday, Room 9ABC in Austin Convention Center

Myself, +Anjuan Simmons , +Corvida Raven , +Scott Hanselman and +Latoya Peterson will explore how event organizers, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, attendees and journalists can make a difference and why diversity is important in the success of companies and conferences.

Race: Know When to Hold It and When to Fold It

Spread the word!
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looking great (

Adria Richards

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Picked up an iPhone 4 on Craigslist so I can be a part of all the new apps being launched at #sxsw
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Anticipating purchasing iPhone soon. Rockin HTC wildfire for now. On the best Networks T_MOBILE.
Embrace your inner nerd

Adria Richards is a developer who lives in San Francisco with a focus on digital equality.

As a consultant for many years, Adria has helped many companies maximize their productivity and revenue by showing them how to use the right tools.

An industry veteran, Adria’s passion for cutting-edge technologies has led her to partner with some of the largest companies in the business. Since launching her consulting firm in 2006, Adria has been recognized as a trusted voice in her field and has been called on by several media outlets such as The Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, Computerworld, The Associate Press,, Black Enterprise and The Pioneer Press.

Adria’s mission — to make technology accessible —has kept her in demand as a speaker at blogging and technology conferences across the country. She has spoken at SXSW, O'Reilly Web 2.0, Blogworld, BlogHer, Blogging While Brown and Wordcamp and many private functions.

Adria helps others embrace their inner nerd, and has helped thousands through her popular YouTube channel.

Bragging rights
Appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show. Interviewed by NPR, Computerworld,, The Associated Press, Black Enterprise, Pioneer Press. Moved to San Francisco in 4 months from Minneapolis in 2010.
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New York City, NY - Minneapolis, MN - San Francisco, CA
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