I’m sorry. Rails is not a ghetto. Ruby is not a ghetto. The ghetto is your mind.
This weekend after reading a couple posts and a lot of tweets I started getting really frustrated about the situation surrounding Matt’s talk at GoGaRuCo. My frustration and anger did not stem from being offended by Matt’s talk, nor did it stem from thinking that everyone who was offended was wrong. It came from a gut reaction to all this horrible negativity thats spreading like wildfire.
I was at GoGaRuCo. In fact I was also speaking. I watched every talk, attended the after-parties and had one of the best conference experiences I’ve had. I learned a ton, met a ton of interesting people, and heard about things from a ton of different perspectives. I’m not going to say more then that. It was awesome.
The ‘controversy’ around Matt’s talk started as a couple smart individuals being angry and frustrated at another smart individual for making a mistake. It’s become a blame game and a reason for people to blame a single talk for the ails of an entire community that had the same issues before. I want to stay positive, so here are three simple rules of ANY community:
- You can not fault an entire community for the actions of a single individual.
- In any community there will be opposing opinions on definitions of moral correctness for n issues.
- If you actually want to change the community, you have a better chance of influencing the future community through education then the current community through preaching.
Going from the last one, lets define a problem set and move forward.
The Problem Set
Lets rip open this silver lining. If anything good comes out of this let it be that it brought a bunch of long standing issues back in to the limelight. The big complaint out of this all has been that there are not enough women in the Ruby community. It’s pretty obvious that this is an issue. I mean, out of conference of 200+ there were less then 10 women. In fact, this conference probably had more women then any other Ruby conference I’ve been to.
I’m not going to try to deduce the myriad of reasons why this is true, instead just mention something that might lead to this situation.
Ruby is not taught in Schools. If we really want to make Ruby a language and community for everyone, the only way to ensure that people actually get exposure is to get it into schools. It would be awesome if I learned Ruby in college, but beyond that – it would have been AMAZING if I had HacketyHack when I was a kid. I whole-heartedly believe that Ruby is a great first language and the veritable cornucopia of implementations and uses could convince anyone with a slight inclination to do great things with it.
Let’s actually make this happen. How can we get more women in software development? How can we bring more women into the Ruby community? I don’t have the answer and honestly, I’m not a fantastic teacher or community organizer. However, I’m a pretty decent developer and as a freelancer I’m making some decent money so that I can give some of that money to people who are much better teachers and community organizers. With that said, I’ve started a pledgie and put $500 dollars in it. After 1 month, I’m going to donate any money I’ve collected there to a charity to support either teaching Ruby/development in schools, or supporting women in development. Depending on how much we raise, I might donate to multiple organizations. If you have suggestions about specific organizations please tweet @aq or email me at aaron at this domain.
Please donate! Even if its only $2. I’ll be posting updates to twitter and here to.
Let’s try to ensure that GoGaRuCo 2025 is an awesome gathering 😉