Marcus Pope

Husband, Father, Inventor, Programmer Austin, TX - °


Jan 13th, 2016: Satire & Irony On The Web

The other day I read a hilarious and accurate satirical depiction of web development in 2016. The author, Drew (@wob) pulled the article entirely, probably through an endless amount of ridicule and angst from social justice trolls. But the article has since been reposted with several redacted parts.

Given my 18 years of JavaScript experience and that Node has been my primary development environment for half a decade, you'd think I'd be the prime target to take offense from the article. Well maybe next to Sebastion who was directly called out for his project BabelJS. But I didn't, for a number of reasons, the first and foremost of which is that Drew's right! The state of web development in 2016 is atrocious, and the projects/buzzwords he examples are indeed terrible piles of shit.

Una Kravets, another medium blogger, also felt the need to publicly shame Drew, even though she had promoted the article as an insightful piece just a few days before. It's possible she was subjected to the same SJW bullying that made Drew redact his article, then publicly apologize, and then ultimately remove the article from existence. Regardless of whether she overlooked the personal insult or not, one thing is for sure, her entire response exhibits a great example of modern irony.

Just to cover our bases:

Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or **ridicule** 
        to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices,
        particularly in the context of contemporary politics 
        and other topical issues.

Irony (modern): the expression of one's meaning by using 
        language that normally signifies the opposite, 
        typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

In Una's case, she wrote a blog post with the following outline:

Title: The Sad State of Entitled Web Developers

    Gist: It's **never** ok to criticize a web developer.

Section 1: Ok, Let's be Real

    Gist: All the points Drew made were right.

Section 2: Open Source Entitlement

    Gist: Tangential criticism towards impolite bug submitters.

Section 3: Criticizing Software is a Good Thing

    Gist: People write shitty software all the time and
          criticism of software is good.

I'm not even sure where to start. Una, basically wrote a lengthy post personally criticizing Drew, because Una thinks it's wrong to personally criticize someone, and she justifies her points because she believes (incorrectly) that Drew personally criticized Sebastian. Then, in every supporting point of this "injustice" she either breaks this new cardinal rule, or defends Drew's actions from the context of everyone should criticize software... except Drew.

(Now's a good time to point out that I don't think it's inherently wrong to criticize people's opinions, actions or creations (in this case software.) I'll draw the line about criticizing people for Title VII stuff, but their opinions are fair game as a cultural system of checks and balances to radicalism... or just inanity. Sticks and stones right?)

Even if the community didn't have overwhelming self-awareness of how shitty everyone's code truly is, Una reiterates that mantra repeatedly in the post as if to point out we shouldn't get butt-hurt when someone expresses their opinion about a product because products are not people and there are factors beyond a person's control that influence the product.

Although Drew's section about Sebastian was redacted it was basically this sentence:

Besides the insult about Phabricator, Drew also shat on BabelJS's complete lack of real value or utility because all it does is convert a syntax that will be here in the future into code that the current JS VM's can compile. It was a perfect example of the producing-nothing-of-real-value trend that was created in the present, because waiting any longer for the community to release the future version (that can literally be coded using today's syntax) was too much to handle. It outlines the entropy of both Babel 6 and ES6/7/20XX.

Drew even said Sebastian seemed like a nice guy, but his software sucks - a criticism Una is "all for" and are "important conversations to have", except from Drew, I guess.

The real consequence of Drew's words were virtually nothing. Drew's article will not change the community, Sebastion will not forego any association with BabelJS (or use a different issue tracking tool for that matter.) And in all likelihood Sebastion took no offense from the article (veterans in the community have heard it all.) But there are very real consequences for Drew, who has been wrongfully hounded by social justice warriors.

Well Drew, I don't think you were wrong, and I'm glad to have been one of the 360k people who truly enjoyed the unfortunately accurate satire. Oh, and start eating well.. seriously.

Perhaps I'm just tough skinned (I'm not, ask anyone who knows me.) I mean I am the sole developer of a JS framework that exists purely because people shit on Object.prototype extensions. And I have certainly received my fair share of criticism for even typing the words Object.prototype in OSS bug tickets.

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