Female-free speaker list causes PHP show to collapse when diversity-oriented devs jump ship

Under the heading "Diversity matters!" The website of the PHP Central Europe Developer Conference (PHP.CE) says: "The PHP Central Europe Conference is committed to creating a conference that is as inclusive as possible."

During the weekend, the conference organizers, who had been scheduled for October 4 and 6 in Dresden, Germany, ended the event more and more after two scheduled speakers issued public statements that they would not attend this year, citing concerns about the lack of diversity.

PHP.CE on Saturday posted a note on its website, stating "The conference has been canceled and will not continue *. Sorry for the inconvenience."

The asterisk points to three online publications as the reason for the decision. The first, a July 17 Tweet by Karl Hughes, CTO of the educational consultant The Graide Network, punishes the conference for a list of speakers composed exclusively of white men.

Larry Garfield, director of developer experience at Platform.sh and someone who has personal experience with controversies over the code of conduct, raised the issue in a July 19 blog post. He said he had decided to skip PHP.CE this year because the list of speakers did not include a single woman.

Garfield expressed his sympathy for the conference organizers, saying that he knows it can be a challenge to organize a diverse and inclusive training in technological events. He said he had sent an email to two other speakers at the conference who, like him, had multiple speaking spaces to measure the interest of giving their second spaces to the presenters.

His plan was to work with conference organizers to subsidize travel costs, knowing that the cost of international travel could be deterring women and other underrepresented groups from presenting proposals for presentation.

"Unfortunately, the organizers indicated that they were not open to such an arrangement," Garfield wrote. "According to them, only one single woman submitted a session proposal this year despite having women present in previous years, and theirs was a repeat of a local conference last year. They were also firm that the Call to Documents was it was over again and again and they are not willing to reach new people now. "

Dariusz Grzesista, event manager in Conferia and one of the conference organizers, disputed the characterization of Garfield events on Twitter, insisting that those involved in the conference wanted to discuss the proposal, but then Garfield made his complaint public.

Grzesista argued that diversity and inclusion are worthy goals, but should not be at the expense of the quality of the presentation.

On July 24, software developer Mark Baker said he had also decided to withdraw from speaking at the conference, citing reasons similar to Garfield.

"It was not an easy decision to make, because I enjoy sharing my coding passion; but having defended diversity in PHP developer conferences over the past few years, I have to follow my beliefs that diversity should be a stone angle of the PHP developer community, "Baker said in his blog." Diversity matters more to me than talking. "


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The news of the cancellation of the conference caused predictable round-trip social media, with some people grateful for the speakers who retired and others, possibly including atrocious bots, they criticized them for being "snowflakes" and for supporting "warriors of social justice."

Political clashes have become commonplace in code communities; Having eaten the world, software has imported politics as a dependency. Node.js, Python, Django and Redis, CouchDB and LLVM have dealt with issues related to diversity, inclusion, offensive language or offensive behavior or. So have Google (James Damore), Mozilla (Brendan Eich) and YouTube, so don't say anything about the numerous complaints against harassment and sexual discrimination in the technology industry in recent years.

The Register asked one of those involved if some social media posts had actually derailed the conference. The person, who asked not to be named presumably because these problems generate more heat than light, suggested that the cancellation may reflect poor ticket sales more than anything else. . As the PHP Central Europe Twitter account said "After Crell's action [blog post] our sales stopped completely …"

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