I have no previous knowledge of who either of these people are, nor do I know what Rubinius is. This post illustrates a frequent pattern of deceptive complaint about how people use Twitter, which I’d like to comment on because it’s often important lately.
The person being accused here, @headius, responded to a tweet which was directly @-ed at them, and in fact at nobody else. With Twitter’s default settings, the only people who would see this tweet were the two participants, and anyone looking at @headius’s tweets specifically (as opposed to their own view - it would be hidden from the timeline of anyone who followed only one of the participants).
This post does allege that the first tweet was part of an ongoing thread elsewhere (“a public twitter conversation among some people”). It does not allege that @postmodern_mod3 was an accomplice slipping the @-handle into another person’s conversation. It is clear that neither was the case, since there are no other handles in the thread. @headius is being accused of inserting themself into an ongoing conversation - but it was a two-person conversation, and they were one of the two, and had been invited.
The allegedly harassing tweet was not @-ed at the author, nor otherwise put in a position intended to cause the author to see it. Apparently the author finds it clear that they are “[crazy person in question]”, but that’s plausible and there’s no need to question it right now. The author’s only involvement in this alleged harassment is that elliptical mention.
The only way that this could have come to the author’s attention is if they or someone acting on their behalf is specifically reading everything @headius tweets for the purpose of complaining about it. They’d have to be someone with enough context to know who the elliptical phrase referred to. This is hardly a case where the author’s good name is being besmirched to bystanders, and in fact it goes out of its way to express criticism of a policy without identifying any party who has advocated for it.
The reason this particular form of complaint is very common right now is that it usually sounds vaguely plausible, at least well enough to scare away anyone who isn’t directly involved. It sounds plausible because most people don’t use Twitter, at least not enough to understand how mentions work.
Without more context, I have no idea whether other things @headius has done might constitute harassment, but it is immediately clear on its own merits that this blog post is an attempt to intimidate in the other direction. Nothing it enumerates warrants the responses it describes, which include a threat of legal action and an escalation to conference organizers.
The author seems to be under the impression that any discussion of this software project, anywhere, however abstract, is harassment of them personally. This is not what the law says and it is not what common decency says.
In fairness, the article does actually address your point:
One of the conversation participants had mentioned the Rubinius Twitter account in a tweet that was not obviously related to any Rubinius tweet. Clicking into the tweet to view the conversation, I discovered Mr Nutter’s tweet above.
I mean, who was that participant? There are three common scenarios:
Without knowing the history of that person and how well they know the situation and each side of it, there is absolutely no way to reach a conclusion.
All of these do happen in practice. The only way to avoid an accusation with the “somebody showed me what you said” pretext would be to never say anything, anywhere. Which is precisely the desired outcome.
People who deal with a lot of this stuff tend to say things like “if you know who I mean, please don’t go complain to them about it - that’s not your job, and I’d rather this just be over” at regular intervals. Because it is certainly true that having a large audience is inherently a position of power.
(Edit to add: I took a moment to look up their respective Twitter follower-counts, just in case that allowed an easy conclusion about the aggressor. It doesn’t; one has 13k while the other has 3k, and those are both in the stratosphere of far more people than mere mortals will ever have. Also far more people than I’d care to have angry at me.)
Clicking into the tweet to view the conversation, I discovered Mr Nutter’s tweet above.
If the person was unaware of it without some exploring first, is that still harassment?
Like, if the person isn’t even aware of the thing until they find it, how can it constitute harassment? This boggles the mind.
EDIT: fixed dumb statement, wording was not good, left original struck through for context, formatting failed, removed it.
EDIT2: This appears to be the Github issue/discussion that spawned this ( https://github.com/rbenv/ruby-build/pull/860 ).
He “inserted himself into a public conversation”? It looks like he replied to a tweet addressed directly to him.
Because I can’t not follow up on such things, the long ago and far away origin seems to be a github issue in which it was suggested that multiple releases with the same version number is confusing, which was countered by the suggestion that releases are like domain names and can point to anything.
Not bumping a version number on even a packaging problem seems so unwise that it’s perhaps novel to me. What other well-known projects publish artifacts and subsequently change a released artifact without changing the the version number? That just seems like a recipe for disaster and a violation of the contract that versioning, semantic or not, establishes.
The argument in that thread seems to point to “check your HTTP headers and hash your downloads”, which is far more complicated than “download this file and optionally hash it if you’re security paranoid (and you should be)”.
My first thought as well. Even if it wasn’t addressed directly at him, it’s a discussion on Twitter, anyone can Tweet in whenever they want.
It is more nuanced than that. Twitter is public, but addressing a tweet directly at someone who’s asked you not to contact them is certainly rude, at best. But that’s not alleged.
So that’s what codes of conduct are really for - bullying people you don’t like.
Well, that’s not entirely fair. CoC can be used to help guarantee certain levels of discourse, and to spell out what is considered appropriate and what isn’t. That said, sometimes they can be used in ways that seem unfair.
More troubling is the later stuff:
Evan Phoenix and Sarah Mei are directors of Ruby Central, the organization that runs the two most important Ruby-related conferences in the world: RubyConf and RailsConf. They take responsibility for establishing the codes of conduct at those conferences. Mr. Nutter is a frequent speaker at Ruby conferences, and I think they need to be aware of situations like this.
^ This however, appears to be attempted blackballing.
There are actions to which that would be a legitimate response, it’s just that nothing of that sort is described here.
And of course, it’s really on the conference directors what they do with it, if anything; no conference in 2016 has an excuse for not knowing how to examine what’s going on in these cases and find their own conclusions.