Over the past year I've been invited to speak at two events1 that really resonated with me. In these spaces we could move beyond diversity 101 topics and start to dig into the root of the issues marginalized people face in tech. We could critically analyze the culture around us in a space made for us. We could stand shoulder to shoulder with people who understood us, empathized with us, and valued us for who we are.
I left these events feeling hopeful and supported, something that is sadly rare in my line of work. I wanted to attend more events like this, to recreate that feeling of solidarity solidified.
It's taken nearly a year, but I'm happy to announce the AlterConf Sessions. These are hyper-local events happening in cities all over the US (to start), bringing together speakers and organizations from the immediate area to talk about diversity in tech & gaming.
Our first two events, happening this fall in Boston and NYC, are still accepting speaker applications (no experience needed and we pay speakers!), volunteers, and sponsors. Tickets are on sale for both and we look forward to seeing you.
 - An Evening of Talks with Double Union and Ashe Dryden and Model View Culture Launch Party. Thanks for the inspiration <3
It’s important to understand the temptations that the cheaters felt — the circumstances that made their unethical behaviors seem expedient, or rational, or necessary. Casting cheaters as monsters is glossing over our own human vulnerability to these bad choices, which will surely make the temptations harder to handle when we encounter them. Moreover, understanding the cheaters as humans (just like the scientists who haven’t cheated) rather than “other” in some fundamental way lets us examine those temptations and then collectively create working environments with fewer of them. Though it’s part of a different discussion, Ashe Dryden describes the dangers of “othering” here quite well:
There is no critical discussion about what leads to these incidents — what parts of our culture allow these things to go unchecked for so long, how pervasive they are, and how so much of this is rewarded directly or indirectly. …
It’s important to notice what is happening here: by declaring that the people doing these things are others, it removes the need to examine our own actions. The logic assumed is that only bad people do these things and we aren’t bad people, so we couldn’t do something like this. Othering effectively absolves ourselves of any blame.