Recently, someone in the security community opined that she’s not a fan of hugs at security conferences. The pro-huggers didn’t like her comment and used social media to say so.
Also recently, the folks running RSA Conference decided to ban so-called “booth babes.” That led to a very long debate about sexism vs. freedom of expression.
In both cases, someone in the crowd yelled a word that’s been used so much that it’s true meaning has been all but forgotten:
Personally, I don’t see any of this as drama. I see it as mostly intelligent people discussing very real cultural matters. They’re not specific to infosec, but since that’s our industry, it’s where the discussion is focused. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. A lot of good dialogue came out of the so-called “hug-gate.”
The word drama is almost always used these days to describe something people don’t want to discuss. It’s a one-word arsenal meant to shoot down anyone you disagree with. I get shot at a lot. And I’m perfectly fine with it.
What is real drama? Let’s consult the dictionary, in this case the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s Collegiate: “a piece of writing that tells a story and is performed on a stage”; “a play, movie, television show, or radio show that is about a serious subject and is not meant to make the audience laugh”; or “the art or activity of performing a role in a play, show, etc.”
The stuff being discussed of late is real life. We’re not on a stage, acting in a play. It doesn’t start that way, at least. Often in these discussion threads, the trolls make comments meant to get a reaction out of people. That’s when we go from discussion to drama. And those who start it are usually the very people who decry something as drama in the first place. The Facebook thread on booth babes is a perfect example.
I love you people. I’m proud to be in the same industry with you. But if you don’t like a topic, maybe you should just ignore it instead of sticking around to make trouble. You’re free to do what you want, of course. But don’t think for a second that these issues will go away because you said something snarky.
In fact, your snark simply ensures that the discussion will continue and that it will become drama where none previously existed.