News

Santa Hat Icon in VS Code Creates 'SantaGate,' Locks Down Repository

It's called "SantaGate."

The Visual Studio Code development team placed a Santa hat on the settings gear icon in the IDE as has been done in the past for the holiday season, but this year someone objected.

That resulted in the team apologizing for hurt feelings and taking the hat off the icon and replacing the icon with a less-sensitive snowflake.

That resulted in yet more complaints from developers and a growing brouhaha.

"Much to our surprise, many people were fond of the holiday treatment, so when we changed it, they were a little disappointed with us," said the team's Chris Dias in a GitHub issue that was updated today (Dec. 20). "Someone filed an issue, and we closed it pointing to the original issue that was raised. Someone else filed a new issue. And then another. And another."

Things apparently got nasty, with personal insults being thrown around. The Microsoft Code of Conduct was violated, issues were removed and things went so haywire the vscode repository had to be locked down to certain contributors so the team could clean up.

"To adhere to our values and the Code of Conduct, we had to delete a handful of comments, which is unfortunate but not uncommon," Dias said. "Our responses triggered more responses. Bots were being employed to create issues and comments. Temporary accounts were being created to spam the system. Offensive issues were being created. The repository was filling up with issues which, frankly, were uncalled for, and we needed to do something, fast."

After the lockdown and cleanup, the team ended up providing a mechanism for developers to choose their own icon in Insiders builds.

A couple of the icon choices are shown below:

The Tree Icon
The Tree Icon (source: Microsoft).
The Sun Icon
The Sun Icon (source: Microsoft).

The original issue objecting to the Santa hat read:

The Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me, additionally xmas has cost millions of Jews their lives over the centuries, yet even if that was not the case, pushing religious symbols as part of a product update is completely unacceptable. Please remove it immediately and make it your top priority. To me this is almost equally offensive as a swastika.

In the end, Dias summarized, the team did the following:

  • Created a new label called *off-topic and tagged issues with it, which caused our triage bots to close the issue, making it easier for us to go through the backlog more quickly.
  • If the issue was already closed by a team member, we added the *off-topic label and added the reason for closure manually.
  • To allow people to see what we closed, we left the issues unlocked, and decided we would only lock it if necessitated by later Code of Conduct violations.
  • We deleted a handful of comments which we deemed too offensive to leave as-is (foul language, racist remarks, etc.). We also deleted a few issues that were overwhelmingly offensive. Unfortunately, that resulted in some non-offensive comments within those issues being deleted as well.
XXX
[Click on image for larger view.] You can still trigger an animated snowy scene with the "Happy Holidays!" command. (source: Microsoft).

The VS Code team may be playing with fire, though, as Dias said, "You will still find the 'Happy Holidays!' command which will bring up the overlay, snow, and message." Stay tuned to see how that flies.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

comments powered by Disqus

Featured

  • How to Do Machine Learning Evolutionary Optimization Using C#

    Resident data scientist Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research turns his attention to evolutionary optimization, using a full code download, screenshots and graphics to explain this machine learning technique used to train many types of models by modeling the biological processes of natural selection, evolution, and mutation.

  • Old Stone Wall Graphic

    Visual Studio Code Boosts Java Dependency Viewer

    Easier management of project code dependencies and improvements to extensions for popular Java frameworks and runtimes highlight the February update to Java in Visual Studio Code functionality.

  • Blule Squares

    Visual Studio 2019 for Mac 8.5 Preview Adds ASP.NET Core Authentication

    Microsoft, after shipping Visual Studio 2019 for Mac v8.4 with support for ASP.NET Core Blazor Server applications last month, is now previewing the v8.5 series, adding new authentication templates for ASP.NET Core along with other improvements.

  • Q&A with Brice Wilson: What's New in Angular 9

    We caught up with expert web developer/trainer Brice Wilson to get his take on Angular, which always appears at or near the top of periodic rankings of the most popular JavaScript-based web development frameworks.

  • Entity Framework Core Migrations

    Eric Vogel uses code samples and screenshots to demonstrate how to use Entity Framework Core migrations in a .NET Core application through the command line and in code.

.NET Insight

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Upcoming Events