Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Strip Mining Shanley Kane's Model View Culture For Comedy Gold

Discussing my last post with a friend on Facebook, it occurred to me that any group blog that would run such an obviously self-indulgent and lachrymose whinefest would clearly have other ore to strip mine. And I was not disappointed! Forthwith, a few of the lower-hanging fruit:
  • They apparently are new to the idea that renting is not the same thing as buying, and so people can be kicked out of their apartments in favor of new tenants when rents go up. (The editors subscribe to the naive belief that "responsible" renters will check to see whether a prior tenant has been evicted to make room for them. Good luck with that!)
  • Stop Swinging Your Dicks, C Programmers! It may come as a surprise to Jean Yang that men engage in mostly pointless trash talking about programming languages, but the reason this must stop now is predictably hilarious:
  • There is also a gendered perception of language hierarchy with the most “manly” at the top. One Slashdot commenter writes, “Bah, Python is for girls anyways. Everybody knows that PERL is the language of true men.” Someone else responds, “Actually, C is the language of true men…” Such views suggest that women might disproportionately use certain languages, but Ari and Leo found in their programmer surveys that knowledge of programming languages is largely equivalent between genders. Women are slightly more likely to know Excel and men are slightly more likely to know C, C#, and Ruby, but not enough to establish any gendered hierarchy.

    A major reason to eradicate these false stereotypes is that they perpetuate biases against women.
    It's always all about the women. We esteem Linux kernel contributors over PHP slingers because of the rigor needed for each discipline. If you want to write kernel code, do that, but be prepared for the wrath of Linus along the way. And sorry, ladies, it's not about you. Like, at all. Sisyphus, please pick up the white courtesy phone...
  • Interviews Are Too Stressful, So We Shouldn't Have Them, And No Men Because They Skeer Me. No, seriously, this was a thing Anonymous wrote (emboldening mine):
    Before each interview, I was overwhelmed by one thought: They’re going to figure out that I’m a fraud. I was afraid that, if I couldn’t understand the problem or arrive at a solution, the interviewer would realize that I don’t have what it takes to be a software engineer.
    Logically, that doesn’t add up. I have a degree in computer science. Internship experience.  A good GPA. I know about data structures and algorithms. I did tech-related extracurriculars. I work on coding projects in my free time. I’m not a fraud.

    Yet in interview situations, my anxiety would get the better of me and I’d start to believe that I was wasting the interviewer’s time by simply being there, regardless of how well I performed.  Being a woman writing out code in front of a male interviewer (because let’s face it, it’s almost always a man), or worse, a panel of male interviewers, creates an intimidating power imbalance that shouldn’t exist in a real work environment, much less the hiring process for it.
    Um, hello, I thought you actually wanted a job programming? No? And what happens when you have to explain your ideas to male peers, and male bosses, and ... oh, never mind. What planet do these special snowflakes think they're going to get a job on? (Incidentally, I actually agree with the author that technical interviews are a poor means of grading potential hires, but it beats what came before it, i.e. the silly résumé dance that does nothing to assure the employer that the candidate has even a slight clue.)
  • MOAR WIMMENZ IN HARDWARE! At least this rant makes the point that hardware defines the software environment, which is true if trivial; but then, MOAR WIMMENZ, which benefit to the corporation and its customers is left, as ever, unexplored. Something, something, diversity, something, something.
  • Look, If You're Gonna Diss The 10X Superstar Programmer Idea, Maybe You Should Provide Better Data? Betsy Haibel's post purporting to debunk the high productivity of superstar coders rightly questions Sackman, Erikson, and Grant's methodology, which used the notoriously flawed "lines of code" metric, long-ago abandoned by anyone seriously studying the subject. But then having claimed to slay the dragon, she suspiciously eschews any actual better data of her own, declaring such creatures an unequivocal "myth". (A fine rebuttal that, indeed, the 10X programmer is alive and well may be had here.) She later whips out what seems to be a running trend in these pieces, that of the horrible "imposter syndrome" monster. Is this a uniquely female problem? I would argue that it's certainly a very common one, for reasons elucidated by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their May, 2014 Atlantic article, "The Confidence Gap". But your lack of confidence does not a crisis for a potential employer make. If anything, it makes you sound like a problem employee waiting to happen.
Shanley Kane, the progenitor of Model View Culture, seems to be something of a fragile flower, having only recently restored her Twitter account to public visibility. Model has her precious stamp all over it. The risible fear of men and of conflict, the refusal to act like a grownup, the asinine insistence on special treatment because, somehow, diversity is better. When do they ever think of the value they're supposed to deliver to an employer?

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