The other Dark Web

Vaste Lezer: voor deze keer is het een blogpost in het Engels. Excuus!

Today i want to talk about the Dark Web. No, not the part of Internet that is accessible over the Tor Network and with the Tor Browser. But about the toxic webdesign community.
You see, as a webdev with skills primarily in accessibility and usability, I also followed a lot of other webdevs on Twitter. Especially the ones that are wildly known in the field and always asked for writing and speaking.

But since about 2014 the sphere was getting toxic, and totally spiralling downwards since 2016. People with only HTML and CSS-skills getting ridiculed, to the point that blogposts started to pop up about not forgetting the basics of the web (ie. HTML and CSS) and which jobtitle people should have when only focussing on HTML and CSS. And let´s not going down the path when you don´t use SCSS, Yekill, Hyde or other fancy New Stuff.

But the straw was the activism for me. Accusations of racism, privilige, ableism and what else flying around just to have the last word, “win” the discussion or even just to hurt the other party on the recieving end. The angry women vs. #notallmen.

It´s sad. Those accusations or in some cases just plain prejudices are so easy to throw around when you don´t REALLY know the other party. When it is just a stranger on the Interwebz.

It is also depressing. You don´t want to read that negativity. And I my case it makes me sometimes doubt/secondguess myself more than is healthy, to be frank. Combine that with the feeling of not being respected for only knowing HTML and CSS and it makes webdesign a……not inclusive place.

It also makes me mad. Because I want to learn from other people´s work. Being always confronted with rants, angry tweets or subtweets doesn´t motivate me to connect to that person, to learn from them. Or perhaps recommend them or make them a job offer in the future.

Just be inclusive. Wether it is a newbie or a seasoned pro. Male or female. Asian, African or European. Wether hipster, dork, conservative or liberal. Having disabilities or not. It shouldn´t matter.
We are not perfect. We make mistakes. Live in different cultures. Tone in text doesn´t translate very well often. Perhaps that is the reason things turned sour in the webcommunity? I hope so, but the cynic in me doubts that.

And maybe I have it easy as a European white woman, indeed being priviliged. But I also feel I have the right to chime in, because of my Turner Syndrome, hearing aids and having had my fair share of discrimination and fat shaming. I am inclusive and empathic and want to get into accessibility and usability because of that and my own backstory.

Still, I hope the Internet can become a better place. Because it is for us, humans. Because we are humans. And that should be the main objective.

It certainly is for me and it will be also one of the pillars of my (one day, hopefully) company.

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