PHP Central Europe would have gathered hundreds of users of PHP, a popular programing language, together in Dresden in October, if not for one seemingly innocuous tweet that sowed the seed of destruction in positive verbiage.
“This year’s PHP CE conference seems to have gone with the ‘White Males Only’ conference lineup. Shame. It’s 2019, we can do better,” wrote Karl L Hughes, an obscure tech industry figure and “concerned citizen”, who had no plans to travel to Germany himself.
The tweet went viral.
The main organizer thought that fairness was not discriminating against any group, and judging everyone on merit.
“Diversity and Inclusion is okay as long as it means the equalization of chances. If you place Diversity and Inclusion in a stronger position than substantive content of the agenda, you destroy the event,” Dariusz Grzesista wrote on Twitter, as he faced his accusers from the US in lengthy exchanges.
But to PHP CE’s critics, this showed that he simply still did not get it.
Grzesista said that after the brouhaha, “ticket sales stopped.” This week, organizers published a notice saying that the event in Dresden was canceled, citing the tweets and articles as the reason. They say that there will be no PHP CE conference next year or ever again.