Wednesday, September 09, 2015

What's that drama?

The infosec community is known for its drama on places like Twitter. People missing the pieces can't figure out what happened. So I thought I'd write up the latest drama.

It starts with "Wesley McGrew" (@McGrewSecurity), an assistant professor at Mississippi state. He's been a frequent source of infosec drama for years now. Since I, myself, don't shy away from drama, I can't say that he's necessarily at fault, I'm just pointing out that he's been involved in several Big Infosec Drama Blowups.

Then there is "Adrian Crenshaw" (@irongeeek_adc) (aka. "Irongeek") who maintains a website http://irongeek.com, which hosts a lot of infosec videos. He'll work with conferences to make sure talks get recorded and uploaded to his site. A lot of smaller cons host their video there. If you frequently watch infosec videos, then you know the site.


I think this specific drama started back in April, when Irongeek made this April Fool's joke:
https://twitter.com/McGrewSecurity/status/583250910387789824

Many, most especially McGew, criticized Irongeek for this, claiming it was an "unfunny slap to women in security".

I don't know when it happened, but Irongeek punished McGrew by blocking students from McGrew's university, Mississippi State. This was noticed last week.

https://twitter.com/McGrewSecurity/status/639160910490259460

Irongeek responded to criticisms by changing the "block" to a simple "warning", and removed the word "mangina".

https://twitter.com/McGrewSecurity/status/639435344908288001
After further drama, Irongeek backed down and removed the thing altogether, so now Mississippi state students see the same site as before.

Today, BSidesLV, the most important of the "small conferences" that work with Irongeek, severed their relationship with the site:


A lot of people are now upset with BSidesLV because of this. On the other hand, had they kept their relationship with Irongeek, a lot of different people would be upset. There's pretty much nothing they could have done to avoid getting sucked into the drama.

I think this is a complete summary of recent drama.

Update: Not so complete, apparently sponsors and board members left BSidesLV in protest. I don't know which way they protested. Since a lot of these people have personal relationships, there's obviously a lot going on behind the scenes that we are unaware of.





Op-ed

I apologize, but I can't resist commenting.

BSidesLV can't have a relationship with Irongeek if they pull these sorts of stunts. They aren't responding to the content, but that otherwise innocent MSU students had to suffer. They make no mention of the content. In other words, unlike the BSidesSF/VioletBlue drama of a couple years ago, they aren't censoring somebody's speech because of content.

On the other hand, I'm rabidly opposed to anything that even looks like censorship. I'd've hoped for a different resolution, such as a commitment from Irongeek that such things wouldn't happen in the future. It's going to hurt all of us at the next con when talks aren't recorded.

Irongeek's April Fools joke is funny. We are all feminists, but still many of us oppose the "radical feminists". Nothing should be above mockery, most especially the "radical" of anything. Maybe Irongeek's joke was inappropriate -- but before I accept that, you have to show me jokes about radical feminists that meet your criteria of appropriateness.

McGrew is a typical radical feminist who attacks "old white males" with hate speech. He rejects the idea that this is even hate speech. But here's the thing: groups like GamerGate are filled with otherwise feminists who are tired of all the hate directed their way, frustrated by the fact that as white males, it's been declared that they cannot defend themselves in any legitimate way. So they lash out with immature anger, as gamers are apt to do. My point is that we are all feminists, but we are still going to disagree on the particulars. I vehemently disagree with McGrew's approach.



Troll

Looking back through McGrew's timeline to get the details for this post, I found this tweet, so I retweeted without comment to troll people. I really am a bad person.




16 comments:

Paint said...

That pretty much sums up my feelings too.

I DID make a DM note to Adrian that the April Fools joke was a little over the line as far as trolling the rad-femes since he had a history .. although honestly I found it funny.. sidesLV was in a no win situation because rad-Fems and SJW are ALL bullies.

g5er5y5eryhryt said...

IMO McGrew is completely irrelevant, no matter how nice or mean he is.

The website existed in an official capacity for BSidesLV. It was representing the brand. Lots of people go to that website as it's the "face" of BSidesLV. It's as if I was running a corporate blog, then started posting details of the latest drama I was having with some troll. I would get fired ASAP no matter how much of a jerk that troll was. It's unprofessional middle school idiocy.

Nobody is stopping or censoring Adrian. He can keep writing whatever he wants on all his properties.

The content of his political beliefs are irrelevant. We go to that website for technical videos to learn. Not participate in some idiot's idea of what feminism is(both sides are so fucking cringeworthy so don't believe I'm taking a side here).

ReverseSolipsist said...

We are *not* all feminists. Most people in gamergate are actually specifically not feminists. Many are anti-feminists. As someone who did women's studies in undergrad and helped conduct feminist theory research, and was a feminist for a decade, I'm absolutely, unquestionably an anti-feminist, and I'm also in gamergate.

I believe in gender and race equality.
I strongly believe in equality of opportunity, not necessarily equality of outcome.
I believe a truly equal society, where people are not judged by their gender or race, is roughly a meritocracy.
I believe in the right to abort, that promiscuity in both genders is A-OK, that porn and pornographic content in other media is not harmful, that men who are primary caregivers should be respected just as much as career women (and vice versa), and that women should be able to be in combat roles in the military *as long as* standards aren't reduced.

I am an anti-feminist.

ReverseSolipsist said...

We are *not* all feminists. Most people in gamergate are actually specifically not feminists. Many are anti-feminists. As someone who did women's studies in undergrad and helped conduct feminist theory research, and was a feminist for a decade, I'm absolutely, unquestionably an anti-feminist, and I'm also in gamergate.

I believe in gender and race equality.
I strongly believe in equality of opportunity, not necessarily equality of outcome.
I believe a truly equal society, where people are not judged by their gender or race, is roughly a meritocracy.
I believe in the right to abort, that promiscuity in both genders is A-OK, that porn and pornographic content in other media is not harmful, that men who are primary caregivers should be respected just as much as career women (and vice versa), and that women should be able to be in combat roles in the military *as long as* standards aren't reduced.

I am an anti-feminist.

John Woods said...

The April Fools joke was funny. Had it been done by someone with no reputation of being an misogynist in the first place, I don't think it would have caused the drama it did. Unfortunately irongeek did and does have that reputation for many offensive things he has said to and about women in many formats over many years. The April fools joke was kind of poking fun of that, that is where is crossed the line and people, and from what I remember (I could be wrong memory is funny that way) mostly women, got pissed. That context is missing in your post and I think it is important. The pop up that caused it this time around also included horrible misogynist language, for no good reason even. If he gave a screw you and your college message I don't like this one teacher it would have been different I think. People would have still gave him crap for blocking students who don't even know about this drama but that would have been about it. The unfortunate fact is the guys attitude and language about and to women has been and continues to be inappropriate. He doesn't see that and doesn't change because his good works have gotten him a ton of friends who defend him as a good guy and never call him out instead hide behind it is his site and censorship and we don't always have to be PC all the time arguments.Therefore this was going to blow up again and again and again. Dealing with it three blow ups from how would have been worse for B-Sides LSV than doing it now and what they did makes sense to me. The only think I wish they would have done is wait until after DerbyCon. I predict DerbyCon is going to be a Bro's anti-PC which is code for being jerks conference now which is unfortunate, but we will see, maybe they will take a deep breath and move on instead.

Slimjim100 said...

Why couldn't BsideLV move the videos to YouTube if they felt hurt by the actions of Irongeek on his own website? Here is the real issue.... Everyone loves to be offended about everything. How about if it offends you don't visit the site. No one is forcing anyone to visit Irongeek and anyone that know him understands he likes to Toll. Folks need to grow a little thicker skin.

Unknown said...

I have to correct John on a few things. Actually if comments are viewed on the April 1st thread, of the active participants most of the ones attacking me were male, and most bothering to defend were female. Please give me a citation for "reputation for many offensive things he has said to and about women", as in examples, not repeating someone who rants on twitter without proof that "he was super mega sexist to me".

I've said some stuff that would offend some forms of feminist, because I don't instantly believe a victim native. I also poke fun at things like Shirtgate, Yogagate, & Donglegate because they are asinine and the supposed privileged person is actually the victim in them. Because they are ridiculous, and just because someone hides behind the word "feminist" does not make what they say instantly valid or free from all criticism (to say it is would be actual sexism).

I'm for equality, not grievance/identity politics and people constantly blaming others for "oppressing" them when it's their own choices. Disliking the "tumblr" variety of feminist does not mean you hate all women anymore than having a dislike for used cars salesmen mean you hate all men. Promoting cultures were things like Shirtgate, Yogagate, & Donglegate happen at conferences is far worse than so called "Bro's anti-PC" culture. People should stop hiding behind cries of "sexism" when and argument breaks out, and also should give it a lot less credence just because someone shouts it.

Three thing I'd like to add to the article. One, the videos were not censored, they were still available on Youtube & Archive.org the whole time. Two, the popup was site wide, not singling out a con. Three, Rob thinks it was about the blocking, but later tweets from various parties indicate to me it did have something to do with me having an opinion on identity politics that was not popular with a few, but I can see different interpretations.

Justin Elze said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Elze said...

I decided not to get involved in this never end comment war lol

carry on :-)

Tarek said...

I disagree with the BSideLV approach, Irongeek is Adrian's personal site. All the videos on the site are uploaded to YouTube! In other words if someone is to blame it's the admins of BSideLV for being too lazy to use the video's uploaded to YouTube which is PUBLICLY Available to everyone!
If anything the BSideLV team should be grateful for having someone as dedicated to the security community as Adrian spending his personal time to Video the conference then uploading it to YouTube to be seen by the whole world!!!

James S. Noble said...

Really John? I've known Adrian for over 15 years, and he's not a misogynist, and you making claims that he is, is part of the problem.

You, (and the majority on the fring) are going by what you have read on social media. I suggest that before you throw stones, your glass house is up to the task of receiving them hurled at you.

It.
Was.
A.
Joke.

And it triggered a known troll who loves to stir drama.

I don't approve of all of Adrian reactions, however, as he OWNS the site, he is entitled, nay, responsible and accountable for his own actions as it pertains to his website.

I have seen first hand how these situations get blown out of proportion, and when someone screams "misogynist", it's usually someone in academia with no real experience in the real world.

The only way to respond is to ignore the trolls.

James S. Noble said...

Started with a joke, and now has become a joke. Trolls be trollin'.

James S. Noble said...

Started with a joke, and now has become a joke. Trolls be trollin'.

Janne Koschinski said...

@ReverseSolipsist:

> I believe in gender and race equality.
> I strongly believe in equality of opportunity, not necessarily equality of outcome.
> I believe a truly equal society, where people are not judged by their gender or race, is roughly a meritocracy.
> I believe in the right to abort, that promiscuity in both genders is A-OK, that porn and pornographic content in other media is not harmful, that men who are primary caregivers should be respected just as much as career women (and vice versa), and that women should be able to be in combat roles in the military *as long as* standards aren't reduced.

This is exactly what feminism is. Feminism is fighting for the equality of the women.

We can't let the radical "feminists" take the word Feminism from us. Feminism has nothing to do with the retaliation they want.

Kate Brew said...

This whole thing is pretty confusing. Are the actual facts anywhere to be found?

Kate Brew said...

On true misogynists, I could write a book. But, facts should overrule emotion. On the facts, Adrian has video'd lots of women in infosec at cons, at no charge, and likely helped their careers.

I am missing the facts that back up the uproar. April Fools is for weird fun posts. Radical *anything* is generally ill-advised. Is there something I'm missing?