OK – I had a great time at C4, and I would like to write an extensive blog post about all the great, and some of the slightly awkward things that happened at the conference. I would like to, but I’m incredibly busy. Almost too busy to write anything at all. Except I want to help stand up against a growing tide of inaccurate commentary about the deeds of DrunkenBatman at the conference.
Here’s what happened:
DrunkenBatman used his role as moderator of a group panel to explore some theories that did not meet with universal agreement from the audience. The topics were explored longer than they should have been, and some of the ideas were presented in a provocative fashion. The audience and panel were both generally pretty dissatisfied with the resulting lack of meaningful discussion that transpired.
One of the ideas DrunkenBatman tried to convey was that the Mac market might not be as diverse as other platforms, particularly Linux. His theory was that by improving the diversity of the platform, it would lead to a greater atmosphere for future product development, and be a particular boon to the open source movement on the Mac.
In the course of presenting these ideas he filled the screen with one particularly provocative slide, which read “Black People Don’t Use Macs.” He then employed some statistically inappropriate anecdotes, and took an informal poll in our room of 150 Mac developers, where only person raised his hand, self-identifying as black. While he didn’t particularly convince the audience or panel that his theory was accurate, at least we understood where he was coming from in his speculation.
DrunkenBatman did not do a great job making his points on Saturday evening, or of managing the panel he was supposed to be moderating, but that does not make him a racist. Conference attendee Ian Baird snapped a photo of the aforementioned slide, and posted it to his Flickr account, where it received a fair amount of misguided and inappropriate venom. I trust that Ian was not trying to encourage accusations of racism – he was just posting an interesting snapshot from the conference.
But today some idiot on Digg (is that redundant?) took it upon himself to post a link to the Flickr photo, with the extremely inappropriate caption “DrunkenBatman goes on racist tirade at C4 Mac dev conference.” This gets my blood boiling, because although there were aspects of DrunkenBatman’s overall presentation that bordered on tirade status, his comments regarding diversity among Mac users were by no means racist. It’s offensive and slanderous of Digg user AmazingSyco to imply that they were, let alone that it was “a racist tirade.”
If you were at C4, or even if you weren’t but trust my description of how things went down, I would urge you to help bury the story on Digg. The way this works is you log in as a registered Digg user and “Bury” the story with a rationale. If enough people do it, the story disappears from searches and from the popular stories pages.
It won’t undo the damage of the slanderous statement, but at least it will help prevent it spreading wider or faster than it should. I rarely believe that stories should be buried, but in this case the caption and associated commentary are so hurtful and inaccurate, I believe it’s the right thing to do.
Thanks for listening, and I hope to have a less adrenaline-inspired post about C4 at some point in the near future.