Following a string of critical reports about its software development practices in the United States, Zotero Director Sean Takats recently visited the project’s North American facilities. He traveled to several key sites of Zotero production last week.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Senior Developer Simon Kornblith led Takats on a tour of his laboratory, home of Zotero’s standalone client development. “Although my scientific research dabbles in the creation of unspeakable monstrosities, my work on Zotero is purely humanitarian,” Kornblith asserted with a maniacal laugh. In Brooklyn, New York, Takats verified that Lead Developer Dan Stillman never labors for more than 168 hours per week. “I’m required to answer 3,000 forum posts per shift,” Stillman explained, admitting that the repetitive process can be physically and mentally draining. “Sometimes I think about resting.” The facilities tour concluded in Fairfax, Virginia, where Faolan Cheslack-Postava leads Zotero’s web application development. Referring to notes scribbled on the back of his hand, Cheslack-Postava stated, “It’s a common misconception that every formatted citation or API request involves thousands of tiny fingers operating behind the scenes.” After nervously glancing at Takats, he continued, “No one can substantiate beyond a reasonable doubt that Zotero has employed a single minor since 2006.” In promotional materials the Zotero project claims that citations are generated by gigantic but friendly Japanese robots.
At each site, Takats donned an adorable yellow plastic cap and raincoat to pose for photographers.
Last month Trevor Owens retracted “The Anguish and the Elation of Dan Cohen,” a soapbox rant about poor Zotero working conditions that he had periodically shouted at passersby in the bowels of Washington D.C.’s Union Station. It was nothing but a pack of damn lies, say sources. Former Zotero Director Cohen, who abandoned the project in 2010 vowing to “focus on the synergy between cash and fun,” had no comment.