some guy on the Internet

the network engineer fears the backhoe, and the systems engineer fears the network engineer

GitHub Behaves Better

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I am pleased to report that after a lot of people yelled at them over the course of this past week, GitHub tried again to present the findings of their internal investigation (context), and did a much better job of it.

I particularly appreciate their willingness to look at themselves with a critical, rather than a defensive, eye. I am not unfamiliar with how it feels to have the massively distributed ire of the Internet focused on you and your organization, and I salute GitHub’s leadership for resisting the urge to tack on a parting “and that’s why you were wrong to be so mean to us” or some such.

This doesn’t mean that everything’s OK. I’m still sad about this sequence of events, both about the original incident and then the first blog post (to say nothing of Preston-Werner’s personal blog post, yikes), and I suspect it will take more time and more scrutiny before I feel comfortable being the GitHub fanboy I used to be, if ever again.

I saw a tweet today that really resonated with me. I understand the gunshy feeling of not wanting to get excited about people (events, organizations, communities, ideas), but on the other hand, I think that in my natural state I’m constitutionally incapable of not getting fired up about someone who’s making some AWESOME THING, or who had some GREAT IDEA.

I remember what it was like to not be excited about anything, to find no joy in the world around me or the people I met; that was in 1998, and it turned out that that was a clinical symptom called anhedonia, associated with the depression that afflicted me at that time. That was one of the most terrifying periods of my life. I suppose that’s one reason why this business with GitHub rattled me so much: if my heroes are fallible, then they might break my heart, but the alternative is to not have heroes, and that feels enough like that experience of depression that I want no part of it.

So thank you, defunkt and whoever else worked on the update. I appreciate your efforts.