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#823: Another Day, Another Creepy Dude Who Doesn’t Deserve Friends

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Behind a cut for sexual coercion and general ickiness.

Ahoy there Cap’n,

I require some assistance please.

I have a male friend who I’ve known for about three years, after we met on a mutual friend’s birthday trip. We kept in contact after the holiday and in the last year since he moved back to our home country, we became much closer.

He’s been pretty awesome- he’s funny, generous and we usually have a great time when we see each other. We have always been strictly platonic and have never done anything to overstep boundaries. Once, about 9 months ago, while we were having a text conversation about our online dating disasters, he asked why we had never dated. I made it expressly clear that I cared for him as a friend but don’t see him in that way. He said that was cool, he respected that and changed the subject. I thought that was that.

He bought a new place in the last year, and I kept meaning to go see him/it. He invited me to his house and I was to stay the night just me and him (he lives out in the sticks and about drive 2 hours from my home town). Apart from our holiday, this was the first time an overnight stay was to occur. I have healthy platonic relationships with a lot of males and have stayed overnight in their homes alone and never thought twice about it. I didn’t this time either.

The night began well enough, good conversation and pleasantries. We then went to a few bars and he kept buying me drinks, even though I said I was way too wrecked already. Stupidly, I kept drinking them. In the taxi home, he put his arm around me and groped my boob. I told him, quite loudly, to stop and that it was inappropriate. He listened and moved away.

Got to his place and I decided to go to bed. He followed me upstairs to the spare room, which was meant to be my room for the night. He lay down on the bed next to me and when I got up, kept trying to pull me into bed. After repeatedly telling him to get out, he wouldn’t so I left the room. At one point I was trying to figure out if I could drive to a safe place (couldn’t, had drunk way too much). He got the hint eventually and pissed off to his own room after about 20 minutes. His behaviour had seriously creeped me out and, when he wouldn’t leave the room, I did panic a bit as I’m quite small and he’s not.

The next day was awkward as fuck. He wouldn’t talk to me properly and wasn’t making much eye contact. I was speaking to him normally, I think because I suspected talking about his behaviour the night before would turn into an argument and I didn’t really want to deal with it while I was a guest in his house. I was hanging like hell and he kept making out like I was in the way. His dog is quite big and gets excited with new people but only obeys his commands and when I asked him repeatedly to call the dog away, he wouldn’t. I stayed the shortest time possible and left to go home as soon as I was able. I didn’t mention anything about the night before.

I genuinely don’t know how to feel- the whole situation just makes me feel icky and upset. I’ve never before felt like someone was taking advantage of me. I thought he was a good friend of mine and someone I trusted. I wouldn’t treat someone like that. EVER. Others might think it was a such a small thing that happened (as opposed to rape or sexual assault, which I’m not negating in any way, please don’t think that), but it was a huge thing for me. I don’t allow people to touch me or lay in my fucking bed easily. I have to care and trust someone explicitly for that to happen and on my terms. My trust feels betrayed, and after talking to a few people, feel naive for going in the first place. I still feel slightly weepy and anxious as fuck thinking about it.

Some friends are like, he’s a guy, he was drunk, he tried it, failed, shit happens, like he stopped, didn’t he? He felt bad, that’s why he was ignoring me the next day.

Other friends say I was stupid to go and stay alone in the first place, and what did I expect? He’s male and obviously men can’t use their head once alcohol has hit their system (the one on their shoulders, not the one in their pants. That works, clearly). He asked me out once before so obviously wanted something more, and that my behaviour (staying overnight, drinking, trusting a male human being) was terribly naive on my part. Of course it’s my fault.

My problem is three-fold. One, we have very close mutual friends so will defo see each other again. Secondly, I hate not sticking up for myself, I keep thinking of things I should have said. Thirdly, I’m not sure if I’m overreacting. Is it worth losing his friendship over?

What scripts of wisdom can you give me to say to him? I have a feeling that he will get angry at me and say I’m making it bigger than it was and ask why I continued speaking to him the next day. He will probably stop speaking to me. I think I still need him to know that his behaviour wasn’t cool with me.

Please put me out of my misery- was I stupid to go see him alone, like the feeble, cock-teasing female that I am?

Or is having a drunk girl in your house just too good of an opportunity to miss?

Yours sincerely,

Anxy as Fuck

Dear Anxy,

Let’s talk about the thing with the dog and your friend’s behavior the next morning.

In the clear sober light of day, instead of apologizing for his behavior the night before, he gave you the silent treatment and let his big dog jump all over you. He let the dog at you even though he knew you were uncomfortable and scared and even when you specifically asked him to call it away. In other words, he punished you for not having sex with him the night before and made a point of showing you that he was willing to ignore your comfort and physical boundaries. Someone who thinks and acts that way is showing you that they are capable of anything. Of course you feel anxious as fuck – that kind of power play behavior is terrifying!

I’m so sorry this happened to you.

I am so sorry that your friendship is done, not because you did anything wrong or because there is any way you could react “incorrectly” in the aftermath, but because this dude decided to tear up the card marked “friendship” and then set it on fire. I’m sorry that this might ripple out through your social group and cause problems for you, even though you didn’t do a single thing wrong.

And I am so sorry that you are being blamed and wondering if you are to blame. Someone who gropes their friend and is told bluntly to stop, then gets into bed with that friend and won’t get out and pulls them into bed when they get out, and then sulks and lets his dog jump all over you should be the one worrying, “Will I lose all my friends because of this?He should be falling all over himself to apologize to you and to make it right. But he didn’t and he isn’t, because our fucked up culture tells him that he made an “understandable”, “boys will be boys” “mistake” and tells you “what did you think would happen?”

There is actual a very simple way to find out if someone wants to have sex with you if you are unsure. It’s called “using words.” Your friend is well-aware of this, because he asked you, with words, how you felt about him, and you told him, “I don’t feel that way.”

Then months go by, and he doesn’t try using words, he tries giving you a ton of alcohol and then groping you in the cab. And you told him, “No.”

Then he stopped even trying to use words, which is how so many of these stories go. “But how was I supposed to know that she wasn’t into it? Poor confused me!” says every dude who tries it on with an unwilling or unresponsive acquaintance or friend or date. Sometimes I think dudes freak out about calls for explicit consent, verbal consent, enthusiastic consent, “yes means yes,” style consent because to be honest, they can think back to drunken escapades where they can’t be 100% sure that the other person wanted it because they never fucking bothered to ask (or, worse), and it makes them feel guilty as hell. “If that’s not okay, then that means I may have assaulted someone. That can’t be right!” Since no one likes feeling bad about themselves, they push back on the entire idea instead of, I dunno, listening to women? Or resolving to ask in the future or any measure that would help there be more good, non-coercive sex in the world. “Don’t be silly! I can’t possibly be expected to ask the person who is right in front of me with whom I am planning to do an extremely intimate and vulnerable thing! That would ruin the mood! I’m sure it would ruin something (like my sense of entitlement to sex when I want it)!”

Your friend stopped using words on purpose because he knew what the answer would be. He didn’t ask, “Hey, could the trip out to my house be a date-sort-of-thing?” because he knew that then you wouldn’t come. He didn’t ask before touching you in the cab. He wouldn’t get out of the bed and kept pulling you back even when you got out of it. He stopped short of raping you, thank heaven, but he used every single tactic that rapists use – isolating their victim, alcohol, not taking no for an answer, using size and strength and manipulation and bullying to get their way. What a fucking repulsive human being.

And of course you feel on edge. This person that you’d previously known to be lovely and trustworthy has done a complete about-face! You not only have to deal with the ick of the events themselves, you’ve been betrayed by someone you care about and have to grieve that friendship! What fans never seem to get about the victims of charismatic, charming, popular sexual predators is that their victims were giant fans, too. Nobody could possibly be sadder about it! Nobody!

Please, forgive yourself. To be clear, you haven’t done anything wrong and you have nothing to be forgiven for. Forgive yourself anyway. Forgive yourself for all the people who would put the blame on you, and for the little voice in your head that made you ask if you are overreacting. YOU ARE NOT OVERREACTING.

You had no way of knowing how he would behave. Forgive yourself for not being a mind-reader or a fortune-teller. Forgive yourself for wanting a fun night with a good friend. Forgive yourself for not knowing the perfect thing to say when a trusted person did a complete and sudden 180 into Full Dangerous Asshole Mode. Kick the “management consultant” who looks for ways it could have gone differently out of your head.

You have done nothing wrong or “stupid.” You have in fact done a great job of taking care of yourself by retreating into survival mode and getting out of his house with as little friction as possible the next day. But here you are, wondering how to “fix” everything, wondering how not to make him angry at you, wondering if this was your fault, wondering if a situation where you were groped and assaulted is somehow trivializing “real” assault (you’re not – being groped and grabbed and pulled into a bed is pretty effing real), wondering if you’re going to lose all your friends, and accepting their shame and blame for what he did as somehow yours to carry. So, write it down, say it, carve it on a picnic table at the local park, as long as you express it somewhere and somehow:

I am not to blame. He is.”

If he contacts you, I hope that you will tell him that the way he treated you was unbelievably scary and wrong. Like, in those words: “What you did was incredibly scary and wrong. Leave me alone.

Your friends who want to keep both of you in the social group will pressure you not to “make drama,” and he will use them as Storm Troopers to make & enforce “peace” between you. Your friends are wrong; you can and should expect that male friends will not grope and try to coerce you into sex especially when the question of “should we date?” was settled months ago when he asked you and you used your words to tell him explicitly that no, you should not.

Sadly, I have a prediction:

He, and/or some jerk in your friend group, will seize upon the fact that you stayed the night and try to hammer it. “Well, if you were so scared, why didn’t you call the police? Why did you stay? Why did you have tea with me the next morning?” Like, nobody can possibly be too drunk and tired to drive, stranded in an unfamiliar area, or have conflicting/hopeful feelings like “My friend will surely stop this pretty soon, right? Surely this isn’t really happening.Everybody who calls the police is believed and treated well, screaming and fighting always work to deter a drunk person who is bigger than you, escalating a potentially violent situation always resolves it in the victim’s favor, and nobody ever gets through a traumatic situation any way they can only to have their real feelings of terror surface afterward, amirite? [/sarcasm]

Remind yourself (and them, if applicable): “I got through it the best way I could. I had a hard time believing it was happening. Now that I’m on safer ground, I realize how very scared I was.

And keep track of who in your “friend” group says these blame-y kinds of things, and who suddenly turns into an armchair legal expert insisting on “reasonable doubt,” as if the legal standard for a criminal conviction is the only standard you can use in deciding whether to keep having happy hour with the entitled fuckface who assaulted your friend. Once again, I’m sorry, that you’ll now be mentally dividing people you know into “safe people who believe me and understand that what he did was wrong” and “unsafe people who think it’s okay to grope and assault their friends.” I’m sorry that you will be under social pressure to be “fair” to him and to forgive and forget, when really the right thing for your friend group to do is to say, “Sorry, buddy, you attacked our friend. Bye forever!

Letter Writer, it’s ultimately your choice how you handle all of this, but please trust the recent experiences that tell you that this dude is not safe. It is okay if you expect and want your friends to support you in having nothing to do with him, and definitely okay to say “Hey, could you stop blaming me for ___’s creepy behavior and acting like I could have seen it coming? Thanks!

Frankly, I would not be surprised if others have a story about him much like yours, but they’ve been too afraid to say something because they don’t want to mess up the whole social scene or they worry that nobody will believe them. Watch for those tight little silences among other women when his name comes up, and think of those women who have drifted away from the friend group after hanging out with him a lot. Those people are your sisters in a sad and powerful sisterhood that I wish with all my heart you didn’t have to be a part of.

Applicable Links & Resources: “The People You Meet When You Talk About Rape,” (The Pervocracy),”I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault” (Tumblr), “How To See The Charm That Everyone Else Sees In Their Harasser” (Reductress), and “She Didn’t Fight Back Because You Told Her Not To” (Harriet J, linked and excerpted at Shapely Prose), My Friends Won’t Stop Inviting Me & My Abusive Ex To The Same Parties (here), Don’t Be Friends With Rapists (Feministing), My Friend Group Has A Case of the Creepy Dude, How Do We Clear That Up? (here, 500 questions ago and yet these creepy dudes are still operating), Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture And What We Can Do About It (Kate Harding), Cockblocking Rapists Is a Moral Obligation, or, How To Stop Rape Right Now (Yes Means Yes Blog).

Reminder: This is a moderated comment-space. Victim blaming is prohibited, and think very carefully about the word “should” before you use it.



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3 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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Anil Dash on "never read the comments"

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persuasive argument that the common in-joke normalizes online harassment  
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12 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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Django Girls Annual Report 2015

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Financial fundraising for Django Girls began in February 2015, when we started our Patreon campaign and budget tracking. In June 2015 we incorporated the non-profit Django Girls Foundation in England. While we're still working on the best way to present our finances, here is a first step: aggregated data about our expenses and income in 2015.

Expenses 💸

In total, we spent $6,095.80 USD in 2015. The Awesomeness Ambassador position encompassed the majority (70%) of all of our costs. The Awesomeness Ambassador is responsible for running the daily operations of the organization: responding to organizer's requests, handling our mail, doing administrative tasks, updating the blog and newsletter, and maintaining the website and resources.

Another significant cost was sending some Django Girls team members to EuroPython, but that cost was entirely offset by a generous grant from Divio. Their sponsorship completely covered the cost of sending 3 of Django Girls team members to EuroPython in Spain.

Expense Amount % of expenses
AWS$ 10.270.17%
Typeform$ 62.201.02%
Meldium$ 180.002.95%
Shopify$ 87.001.43%
Creative Market credits$ 81.371.33%
Awesomness Ambassador$ 4,270.0070.05%
Lawyer$ 81.191.33%
Patreon Thank-yous$ 84.771.39%
Paypal fees$ 51.730.85%
Birthday Party$ 430.007.05%
EuroPython Grants sponsored by Divio$ 757.2712.42%

Income 🌟👀

We raised $37,157.5 USD in 2015. The most significant part of our incomes comes from one company: Elastic. Their generosity accounts for 60% of our overall budget for 2015: they donated $17,000 USD from the tickets sales for Elastic{ON} Tour event series, and sponsored our Awesomeness Ambassador position with an additional $5,645.19 USD.

We also raised almost 19% of our total income through Patreon. We're currently receiving $899 USD a month from 48 people or organizations.

Income Amount % of income
Income from t-shirts (Sales atPyCon booth + Cotton Bureau)$3,322.708.94%
Elastic sponsorship of Awesomeness Ambassador$5,645.1915.19%
Elastic{ON} Tour donation$17,000.0045.75%
Django Girls workshops donations$1,903.815.12%
EuroPython Grant from Divio$787.372.12%
PGOpen Donation$500.001.35%
DjangoCon US Honza Král Tutorial donation$1,087.502.93%

Our total balance for end-of-year 2015 is $31,061.70 USD. We're incredibly thankful to all the generous people and organizations that donated this year and helped us secure a budget for even more activities in 2016.

Budget for 2016 💵💡

In 2016, we're planning to focus on the following initiatives:

  • Make the Django Girls Foundation sustainable by growing our monthly recurring income to cover recurring costs. Currently, we need at least $1,500 a month to cover the costs of accounting, the Ambassador's salary, and the cost of other services we're using to maintain the website. We want to grow this revenue by focusing more effort on our Patreon campaign, reaching out to more organizations with a fundraising deck, and establishing a permanent online merchandise store. (T-shirts all the time! 👕)
  • We would like to start the Django Girls Box: we would allow all organizers to order a free box of Django Girls stickers, room decorations, cheat sheets, balloons, pins and other small goodies that are almost always ordered for workshops 🎈🍬. We can significantly decrease the cost of that merchandise for all workshops by pre-purchasing them in bulk.
  • We're expecting that the cost of hiring the Awesomeness Ambassador will increase next year for a variety of reasons, so we're preparing for that.
  • We're planning to organize our first Django Girls Summit: a two days unconference where organizers could meet and share their experiences about Django Girls workshops. 👭👫
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18 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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Patterns Of Crochet and Code

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A few months ago (fall of 2015), my 6 year old daughter saw a crochet kit at a bookstore. It was the kind of kit that comes with a crochet hook, yarn and a book of patterns. There’s enough yarn to create two small projects and hopefully get you started with a new hobby.

Crochet kit

My daughter immediately hatched an idea in her head – she would have us buy the kit, then she could learn how to crochet and create some adorable little animals to play with.

It was a perfect plan in a 6 year old’s mind… until we said no.

Teaching By Learning

We didn’t completely say no to the idea of her learning how to crochet, though. Really, I thought it was a good idea for her to learn, but I didn’t want to buy that $15 kit when I knew we could buy yarn and a hook at a craft store for $3 total. So, that’s what we did – we went to the craft store and bought few things of yarn and a couple of crochet hooks.

My grandma taught me to crochet when I was about 10 years old, so I knew what I was getting into. I told my daughter I would teach myself how to crochet again, and I would teach her at the same time. 

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Fast forward to Christmas vacation in December of 2015 and I have a storage container full of yarn, crochet hooks, needles, scissors and other accessories. I’ve made a dozen toys and my daughter has learned the basic crochet chain pattern.

Now my mom wants me to make her a snowman.

Only, I’ve never made a snowman.

Sure, I’ve made other round things – an octopus, a few heads for other little dolls, etc – but a snowman? How do I do that? Is it just two round balls and a scarf?

How do I do a hat? Or a nose that sticks out?

As I was figuring out the body sections, I made a guess as to how I could do a hat. The nose was based on turtle legs, and the scarf – well, I found a pattern for a stuffed toy scarf. In the end, the basic patterns I used, modified and repurposed, produced a result that was better than I had expected!

Crochet snowman 1

I am quite proud of what I made, and ended up creating a second snowman for my grandma. This one was a little shorter, a little cuter, and had a lot of other improvements in how I made it.

Crochet snowman 2

Both my mom and grandma were very pleased with their snowmen, and it was a good Christmas break, over-all.

Manipulating Patterns To Create Something New

During the creation of the second snowman, though, something about the reality of crocheting started to sink in.

I realized I don’t need to know how to make a snowman, to make one. All I need are a few basic patterns to manipulate, and I can probably produce the desired result.

So I take this new-found idea and I run with it. I start making things I’ve never seen before, or only have ideas about, including the BB8 droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which I have seen 3 times, in theatre :P)

Crochet bb8

And somewhere in these moments of manipulating yarn in a single, continuous line, I recognized the parallels between patterns in crochet and software development.

I Don’t Know How… Not Yet

Like the snowman or the BB8 that I crochet’d, I don’t know exactly how to build most of the software projects, prior to building them. Rather, I have many small patterns in my mind, with each of these patterns being made of smaller patterns, still.

I know how to use MongoDB, SQL Server, Oracle and other database systems. I know how to handle HTTP requests with Express.js, and serve HTML in response. I can organize files into separate folders based on features and functionality… and so much more. 

Each of these things I know how to do represents a pattern – a basic method of solving a particular problem. But it’s not the one small thing that makes the software useful or complete. Neither does one round ball make a complete snowman or a BB8. Rather, it’s the combination of the individual pieces that produce the desired end result. 

Software Patterns

It’s not that I have a cookie-cutter, copy & paste chunk of code for each part that I need. Instead, I have worked through the basic crochet stitch patterns, the basic expand and reduce patterns, the basic shape of a ball or a hat, and I have begun to understand the purpose for the pattern.

In the same way, I have collected a series of software patterns through repetition, practice and use. I worked through the basics of database connections, HTTP request handling, middleware, messaging systems, and more. These represent patterns of implementation that I can use, modify and implement as needed.

And from there – from the place where I know the technology and the patterns – I can spend my time on the more important aspects of any given project: learning what the business needs, and understanding the problems they are trying to solve.

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18 days ago
Crochet BB8
Melbourne, Australia
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Being a deaf developer


I’ve been deaf since infancy. It is not profound; my hearing loss is described as moderate to severe and is mostly problematic at higher frequency ranges, the range at which most human speech happens. I rely on lip-reading and identifying vowel patterns to understand spoken language. Particular struggles are:

  • recognising consonants, especially sibilants and unvoiced consonants (all consonants are high frequency sounds, and the unvoiced and sibilant consonants don’t activate the vocal chords)
  • the beginning of sentences
  • the end of sentences

Some deaf people successfully become programmers. It’s mostly thought-based, often solitary work, where all your output is written down. Specifications and bugs come to you (in an ideal world, at least) on paper and in ticketing systems instead of through other people’s noiseholes. Some areas aren’t quite so fabulous (I’m looking at you, interminable conference call meetings involving 15 people sitting in a circle around a gigantic table), but adjustments are always possible.

The stereotype of a programmer as a solitary eccentric who’s allergic to human company is unfair and inaccurate. As a group, we’re a very social bunch. We write blogs, we speak at conferences, we produce tutorials, we mentor. This isn’t new, either - it’s an atmosphere that dates from before the earliest days of the internet at Bell Labs, or MIT, and scores of other R&D orgs. I love this social world of code, as being able to surround yourself with competent, enthusiastic individuals is a big part of becoming a better developer yourself. But one thing that I’ve always felt shut out of is pair programming.

Pair programming, in principle, is great - it’s like Rubber Duck debugging on steroids. You work together with another person who knows more than you and can guide you, or who perhaps knows less and will appreciate your guidance, or who perhaps knows precisely the same amount as you and can work with you to hash out a solution. Plus, y’know, it’s fun. You get to know your colleagues. You get to remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. You have somebody to catch you before you deploy that bit of code you are definitely not supposed to be deploying.

But when you’re deaf, that dynamic changes and the fun gets sucked out of it. For me, pairing sessions are worse than useless. As a driver, trying to think about the code, type, simultaneously look at the screen in front and lipread the pairing partner beside me, and understand their (often contextless), higher-frequency, spoken English and technical jargon with ~30% success rate is a recipe for misery. Eventually I start staring glumly at an increasingly frustrated navigator before eventually relinquishing control and letting them drive instead, as it’s the only way we’ll be able to progress. Navigating is even worse - drivers look at their screen pretty much constantly because it’s hard to think about how2code and your pairing partner’s communication needs at the same time. I know! I know. So I become a passive navigator, and the driver does all the work, and it’s just no good for anyone and eurgh. Eurgh!

So it was great to get the opportunity to pair with Rowan Manning on the Pa11y project, the automated accessibility testing tool built for Nature. Using Screenhero to set up a remote pairing session meant that we could both look at the screen and use text to communicate, losing no information and generating no confusion. This was the first time I’ve done a pairing session that worked as it should. It’s difficult to express what a difference this makes as I think most hearing people find it hard to appreciate how much information loss occurs in general conversation with a deaf person. Imagine that in your city that all the books you’ve ever read have had ~60% of the words in them randomly blanked out with a Sharpie. Then imagine going on holiday to a neighbouring city where (mercifully) nobody does that and you can suddenly read an entire book without needing to guess at anything. It’s a bit like that.

There’s a larger story here. At Nature, we have a set of developers who truly do care about accessibility. Providing equal access to Nature’s 400-odd websites underpins everything that we do - when Tim Berners-Lee says that, “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”, we agree. That grokking of accessibility runs deep, and at the time I’ve spent at Nature I’ve enjoyed unparalleled support from my colleagues in the form of notes, live-feeds of meetings, using the ball method to help me keep track of who’s talking in group discussions, and pushing me to get support from Access to Work. I’ve had more practical support for my disability in the 3 years I’ve been with Nature than in my 34 years of being alive!

The opportunity to work alongside these accessibility grokkers at Nature has been great. They make no assumptions about ability and provide full access by default. So they get accessibility experts in to look at our sites and make recommendations, they strongly apply WCAG standards and build tools to help meet those standards. When they’re confronted with a real live disabled person on their honest-to-goodness actual team, they do everything that they can to help that person be a productive member of the group.

Accessibility is considered a niche discipline. It shouldn’t be. Disabled people are considered by developers to be a tiny minority. We aren’t. Equal access is a right.

If you provide it, you make the web, and the world, better for everyone.

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10 days ago
21 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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Types of Motivation

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21 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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