When politics kill innovation
How misunderstood diversity killed the PHP Central Europe Conference for good.
"The conference has been canceled and won't be continued" (site)
Is what the interested visitor finds when visiting the page of this years phpce confernce which was planed to take place in October in Dresden, Germany. What happened?
Well, it started with a tweet critizising the organisation with not having any women as speakers in their lineup. The response from phpce was clear and transparent: There was only one submission from a woman who would have repeated a presentation she already held.
Can this be true in 2019? Of course! All the gender-study courses, the "women in STEM" effords and nth-wave feminism movements did not change the fact that the industry is still mainly male.
This doesn't not mean that there aren't any women in the field. Especially in the CMS and IoT realm more and more women surface within the community. But I am not here to discuss my position on "equal opportunity" vs. "equal outcome"; I am writing these lines to remind the community of who we are.
Many of today's personalities in the community have been the "nerds" in their school-years, the keyboard-warriors against inhumane capitalism, the revolutionary justice-hackers or the social media activists. And yet, there is nothing as neutral as code. Whether you are a transgender block-chain guru, a female Laravel artisan, or a black gay encryption enthusiast - the community always judged you (so usually ripped you apart *g*) based on your code and competency. In other words,
despite the fact that men are over-represented, the community has always been inclusive.
But back to the story: The critics claim that phpce should have actively searched for female speakers, dispite the fact that speaking at an event is intentionally organized by submitting a request to speak. And let's not forget what that means:
An ever-changing community that does not create its small, encapsuled elite must depend on the fair possibility to enter the lineup by participation. As soon as this principle is in danger we create the opposite of what the critics want (assuming they have good intentions).