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RIP Ilya Zhitomirskiy
November 17, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of Diaspora* died at 22 on Saturday.

It's thought to be a suicide. Over the past few months Diaspora* hasn't been doing well.
posted by facehugger (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't understand. Paypal froze their funds, but then they released them. It's weird, but I'm not sure how this constitutes that Diaspora hasn't been doing well over the past few months.
posted by nushustu at 7:25 AM on November 17, 2011


An obit thread seems like a bad place to theorize about why Diaspora might not be doing well, even if that does turn out to be the cause of what does turn out to be a suicide.
posted by DU at 7:30 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poor kid. I think it's a little hasty and/or irresponsible to tie in his suicide with Diaspora, though.
posted by griphus at 7:31 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


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Everything else aside, 22 is far, far too young. Suicide provides only an ending, never a solution.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:34 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't mean to disrespect his death. I'm sorry that he was in pain, but I think it's a little too tidy to try to say that his suffering was due to the struggles of his workplace.

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posted by nushustu at 7:35 AM on November 17, 2011


At 22 anything could be a "reason." I honestly doubt there was a single reason for a suicide. People are complex and I am sure a whole slew of factors goes into the decision to take one's life. I would bet that undiagnosed depression had as much to do with this death as how well Diaspora is doing, but that is purely speculation as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:35 AM on November 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


On the contrary, I would say Diaspora* has been doing very well. They have a functioning site, and active community working on improving it and aesthetically it's very pleasing.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:36 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by ruelle at 7:41 AM on November 17, 2011


The idea that Dispora* has been doing well is one not universally shared by any means.

Forbes speculates about the issue.


And that's all it can be at this point, speculaton. Dispora* could have been modestly successful and if someone was driven to be Zuckerberg successful, then any level of success below that might prove to be super stressful. Not that this was the case, but if indeed it was suicide, it could be a trigger. Or something else. It's not like depression mind is rational anywhere outside of that brain and its own fucked-up logic.
posted by inturnaround at 7:45 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Diaspora is still in alpha, for christ's sakes. I just got my invitation this week and it is working out kinks and smoothing things over. It's not even eligible for the "success-or-failure" sweepstakes. Give it a minute, people.
posted by grubi at 7:48 AM on November 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


I funded diaspora as one of the first things I funded on kickstarter. I was a bit disappointed that they chose to go with Rails. I wanted to set up my own hosted install of the software and play around with it that way and my host doesn't do Rails. I didn't think it worth it to change hosts just so I could play.

I still have the t-shirt.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:50 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by BrotherCaine at 8:01 AM on November 17, 2011


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posted by humanfont at 8:04 AM on November 17, 2011


As someone who has suffered and enjoyed the highs and lows of software development in the internet age, I feel that it's inappropriate to discuss the relative merits of a particular project when this young man's family and friends are more than likely experiencing an extremely trying time in their lives.

My deepest sympathies go out to them.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:04 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


1. It's so dangerous to place too much of your self worth into a project. People who attempt great things sometimes fail -- that's part of the process. Great people who succeed typically have plenty of failures under their belt before they get there.

2. RIP. Such a tragedy for him, for his family and friends.
posted by artlung at 8:22 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is sadly reminiscent of the 2002 death of Gene Kan, a talented young developer who took his own life.
posted by thelonius at 8:27 AM on November 17, 2011


Don't really want to speculate either but I gotta say it.. fucking programming.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:30 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by pts at 8:39 AM on November 17, 2011


Poor guy. He was a rare mind with strong principles.

* (now read-only)
posted by en forme de poire at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2011


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posted by plep at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2011


Such a sad loss, my sympathies to his family and coworkers.. I was also reminded of Gene Kan; first thing I thought of, actually. The stress and emotional drama of being young, smart, and in a high profile project is very real. I think all creative people feel periods of crippling despair that their work is just not good enough. Internet snark fests contribute to the problem.

What's gotten me through is a sense of balance and perspective. It's OK to take a day off and go for a walk. It's good to spend time with friends. Simply getting older dulls some of the pain (if also some of the brilliance). And if you're really feeling down, talk to a counselor or a doctor or a minister. There's help.
posted by Nelson at 10:28 AM on November 17, 2011


There are always moments of doubt, and even despair, in programming. You are creating a workable product out of thin air, just figuring out how to make the computer do it. Even worse when you are on a deadline and overworked. There are moments where it feels like you will fail utterly, everything is totally bleak, you just were not good enough. Most of the time you pull through, there is a flash and you finally get it and everything just fucking works.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Death sucks in general. A 22 year old suicide is a particularly sucky instance of suckitude. His family and friends must be in agony. I heard about this yesterday before the suicide was confirmed and was hoping that wasn't going to be the case.

Rest in peace dude.
posted by bukvich at 10:38 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rest in peace. In peace, a life in pieces.

It's enough to shake your eyes, blur your grip.

F-orbes, cNN, may you rest in peace too. Even the suckling parasites must be nursed in their oblivion. I mean, how could there be a day when the sun doesn't come up?
posted by kuatto at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2011


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2011


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posted by Minus215Cee at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2011


It's awful to see young lives wasted in this way... whether they're 'promising' in conventional ways or not. Many people have made it through The Abyss to go on to great things - which can include things that are completely unimportant to society at large.
posted by Twang at 4:55 PM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by mysh at 5:52 PM on November 17, 2011


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posted by kiripin at 10:44 PM on November 17, 2011


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posted by Coaticass at 12:16 AM on November 18, 2011


I'm so sorry for his friends and family. What a shame.
posted by dejah420 at 4:46 AM on November 18, 2011


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