Devternity Scandal

I can no longer recommend the Devternity Conference. Any conference that invents fake speakers no longer has my interest.

Devternity Scandal

Last year I attended an online conference called Devternity. It took place in the middle of the night for me (because of time zones) and it was expensive, but I was willing to put up with all of that because I had seen some of the previous conference recordings on YouTube before and they were quite good and they had a lineup of great well-known speakers and very interesting topics and workshops. I attended several of the talks and a workshop and quite enjoyed it. I even recommended it to others.

I'm not sure I can continue to recommend it. It has nothing to do with any of the speakers (at least the ones that weren't fake), but it has everything to do with the organizer. For anyone thinking of attending, it is worth reading the following Twitter thread:

Basically, the tldr of the scandal is that the guy running the conference created a few fake female personalities and posted them as speakers. These fake speakers were there to make the conference look more diverse and to attract more well-known talent since many high-profile speakers have decided not to speak at conferences that are all men. In order to attract them, the organizer created a bunch of fake social media profiles and created several fake female personalities to help lure them in. Then these fake female personalities would cancel at the last minute and no one would seem to notice. Apparently, he's been doing it for a while. The same guy runs several conferences and they've all apparently engaged in this behavior, so I would beware of them all.

It might seem like laziness, but it is a weird laziness because it seems like it would be easier to go out and find some women to speak rather than to go through all the trouble of creating fake social media profiles. If he had asked any of the men who refused to speak at a conference that was all men, I'm sure most of them would have been happy to supply a list of interesting women speakers.

I already bought a ticket for this year. If I hadn't I would not now. I'm going to see if I can get my money back. It's a shame really because I was looking forward to the workshop I signed up for.

It is a breaking story, so I'm sure since I've written this, more details have been exposed. Since I first wrote this, many, but not all of the speakers have abandoned the conference. All of them except one. Software Engineering's least favorite uncle is out there defending the conference and crying about cancel culture. It is unfortunately too predictable.

UPDATE: It appears as of Wed 11/29, the conference has officially been cancelled.