Geek Feminism Wiki

The CouchDB talk was a talk given at the Golden Gate Ruby Conference in April 2009 by Matt Aimonetti. It featured innuendo about porn and soft porn pictures, an example of a sexualized environment and just one in an ongoing list of Sexualized presentations.

One slide of the talk featured (CW: sexually explicit image) this image of the buttocks of a woman wearing only a thong.




The following responses are critical of the presentation, or of the Ruby community's culture:

"suffice it to say that a significant number of Rails core contributors – with leadership (if that’s the right word) from DHH – apparently feel that being unwelcoming and “edgy” is not just acceptable, but laudable. The difference between their opinions and mine is so severe that I cannot in good conscience remain a public spokesman for Rails."
"The trick is, how does a hindu feel when I enter a temple in footwear (even if that is perfectly acceptable in my country, culture, family, friends) - it’s perfectly irrelevant how do I feel in the given situation."
"When you offend people but didn’t mean to, you should just fucking well apologize. And do it in an unreserved way, unless you think that offending them is a good thing and will produce a result that you’re in favor of."
  • Not the post Josh Susser, conference chair of GoGaRuCo, apologises.
" I haven't yet figured out the best way to prevent this from happening again, but I'm determined to find a way to do better next time. ... And to be clear, I don't think Matt's talk was appropriate for a professional conference."
"Apparently, the difference between 80s truck salesmen and Matt’s audience is that at least 80s salesmen had the grace to look embarrassed."
"Unfortunately Matt you haven't apologized yet. Please just say you're sorry already. You've acknowledged you made a mistake. You say you didn't mean to offend. You also admit you failed. But you still haven't said you're sorry for it."



Bingo card - have this ready when reading these posts

The following responses either support the presentation, or don't see why people should be upset by it:

"The topic of my talk was obvious, and I would have hoped that people who were likely to be offended would have simply chosen not to attend my talk or read my slides on the internet. It’s like complaining that television has too much material unsuitable for children, yet not taking steps to limit their viewing of it. You can’t have it both ways." -- translation: women should stay away from technical conferences -- or, hell, the whole industry! -- if they don't like being bombarded with porn.
"I think that the world of programming could be much more interesting if more women were part of it. I wish I knew how to make that happen. If I find out, I'll be the first to champion it." -- uh, how about not supporting porn in presentations at ruby conferences?
"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."

Mixed messages/indeterminate[]

"I don’t think the Ruby community needs to submit to supporting PC rhetoric." ... "It’s not a matter of offensiveness or professionalism, it comes down to not being a douche bag."