It’s Time to Start Ignoring Loudmouthed Assholes on Social Media

Harvard postdoc Katie Bouman at the moment when the first image of a black hole was processed.MIT CSAIL

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Brian Resnick writes about what happened after a picture of black-hole imager Katie Bouman went viral:

But then all the attention became a catalyst for an incredibly sexist backlash on social media and YouTube. It set off “what can only be described as a sexist scavenger hunt,” as The Verge described it, in which an apparently small group of vociferous men were questioning Bouman’s role in the project. “People began going over her work to see how much she’d really contributed to the project that skyrocketed her to unasked-for fame.”

There are two lessons here. First, the world is full of assholes. Second, we would all be better off if we ignored “small groups of vociferous men” on social media. If they can manage to get some attention in real life, then fine. Maybe they should get some media coverage. But there’s no need to help them along the way.

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