Blog Post

Where Has _why Gone?

180px-Why's_self_portraitAn influential Ruby programmer, writer and cartoonist working under the pseudonym “_why” has disappeared from the Internet. He — or someone with access to his accounts — has deleted his Twitter account, blog, and all of his programming work. Some folks think the disappearance, which has been extensively analyzed and examined by commenters at Hacker News, was related to an anonymous blog that attempted to uncover _why’s true identity. But the person whom they decided was him, Jonathan Gillette, told me this afternoon that he is not _why and that he’d never even heard of him before yesterday.

So while the mystery goes unsolved, a number of “eulogies” and tweets directed at his Twitter stream have been posted in the aftermath of his disappearance, but no real answers. Perhaps his very name, _why, sums it up best: Why did he share his code to begin with, and why did he leave without a trace? The truth may come out eventually, or we may never know. Perhaps ours is not to reason why, but to simply enjoy what is.

9 Responses to “Where Has _why Gone?”

  1. _why was(hopefully, is?) a truly influential figure for a lot of people, in a multitude of ways. As many have stated, I too would define him more as an artist and teacher than simply as a developer or hacker. This guy did it all: music, illustration, code, the written word, speeches…and all anonymously, with no aspirations for personal or financial gain. Whenever I come across a friend who’s curious of programming, or simply has a sense of humor, I point them over to _why’s poignant guide to ruby, as if I’m pointing them to an excellent TV show or other form of entertainment. The point being, that _why was a masterful teacher, who could make a daunting subject like programming seem like an adventurous journey rather than the mundane head-scratcher that most normally associate the topic with.

  2. maybe he has given up on the internet cant others just respect the guys choice to disappear and remove traces of his online presence
    social media == new age voyeurism
    ;)