I received a disturbing warning today from a source I trust.
The short version is: if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a “women in tech” advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.
IRC conversation, portions redacted to protect my informant, follows.
15:17:58 XXXXXXXXXXXX | I'm super careful about honey traps. For a | while, that's how the Ada Initiative was | trying to pre-generate outrage and collect | scalps. 15:18:12 esr | REALLY? 15:18:22 esr | That's perverse. 15:18:42 XXXXXXXXXXXX | Yeah, because the upshot is, I no longer | can afford to mentor women who are already | in tech. 15:18:54 esr | Right. 15:19:01 XXXXXXXXXXXX | I can and do mentor ones who are not in | it, but are interested and able 15:19:21 XXXXXXXXXXXX | but once one is already in... nope 15:20:08 XXXXXXXXXXXX | The MO was to get alone with the target, | and then immediately after cry "attempted | sexual assault". 15:23:27 esr | When the backlash comes it's going to be | vicious. And women who were not part of | this bullshit will suffer for it. 15:23:41 XXXXXXXXXXXX | I can only hope. 15:25:21 esr | Ah. On the "Pour encourager les autres" | principle? I hadn't thought of that. | Still damned unfortunate, though. 15:26:40 XXXXXXXXXXXX | Linus is never alone at any conference. | This is not because he lets fame go to his | head and likes having a posse around. 15:26:54 XXXXXXXXXXXX | They have made multiple runs at him. 15:27:29 esr | Implied warning noted. 15:27:34 * | XXXXXXXXXXXX nods
An A&D regular who is not myself was present for this conversation, but I’ll let him choose whether to confirm his presence and the content.
“They have made multiple runs at him.” Just let the implications of that sink in for a bit. If my source is to be believed (and I have found him both well-informed and completely trustworthy in the past) this was not a series of misunderstandings, it was a deliberately planned and persistent campaign to frame Linus and feed him to an outrage mob.
I have to see it as an an attempt to smear and de-legitimize the Linux community (and, by extension, the entire open-source community) in order to render it politically pliable.
Linus hasn’t spoken out about this; I can think of several plausible and good reasons for that. And the Ada Initiative shut down earlier this year. Nevertheless, this report is consistent with reports of SJW dezinformatsiya tactics from elsewhere and I think it would be safest to assume that they are being replicated by other women-in-tech groups.
(Don’t like that, ladies? Tough. You were just fine with collective guilt when the shoe was on the other foot. Enjoy your turn!)
I’m going to take my source’s implied advice. And view “sexual assault” claims fitting this MO with extreme skepticism in the future.