Random Hacker gave me a wonderful jolt of excitement and recognition.
I’d never met anyone like that, but knowing that there were others out there like me gave me hope.
I’m not claiming to know the answers, but you don’t have to be a social justice warrior to notice something is going very wrong somewhere.
Even the Jargon File acknowledged, to paraphrase, that hackers routinely behave like assholes.
It’s a core skill for dealing with computers, our gut feelings often don’t work in such an alien realm, so skepticism becomes a habit.
What has surprised me is how we leave that habit behind when confronted with evidence about ourselves.
Gamer Gate made me ashamed to be a gamer, but the scary thing is that the underlying behavior of attacking critics felt like something I’d seen in our culture, and tolerated.
It only shocked me when it was scaled up so massively into rape and death threats, and I saw mainstream corporations like Intel folding in the face of the pressure we can bring to bear.
I read a paper version of the Jargon File at 15 and it became my bible.
Just reading its descriptions of the internet I knew it was world-changing, even before the web, and as soon as I could I snuck into the local university computer labs with a borrowed account to experience the wonder of Usenet, FTP, and Gopher.
That’s why Marc Andreessen’s comment that Silicon Valley is nerd culture, and nerds are bro’s natural enemies felt so wrong.
Sure, we used to be picked on or ignored by the bro’s, but that was when we had no money or power.
Now we have status, bro’s are happy to treat us as buddies instead of victims, to the point that we’re unlikely to think of them as bro’s.