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    This blog post incorrectly states that I deleted tweets (they’re not deleted, the author is just blocked) and furthermore, takes a thing I said on Twitter and uses it to say something I don’t mean.

    My twitter reply re: violence is based on the tweet it’s replying to: general activity by groups who call themselves ‘antifa’. I thought my parent was making a false equivalence, but rather than arguing with them about this false equivalence, I decided to just say ‘cool’ and bow out, hence my response. I believe “antifa are just as violent as the fascists” is wrong on multiple levels, but I don’t really care to get into it here, to be honest.

    1. 15

      Flagged as off-topic.

      Folks, there are now two (2!) stories at the very top of lobste.rs about the same sort of behavior.

      Behavior which is only effective and damaging if it gets lots of air time.

      We’re not going to fix anything, we’re not going to change anyone’s opinions.

      Leave the fucking drama over at HN or other places, please.

      As I said elsewhere: do you want ants? Because this is how we get ants.

      1. 5

        If it’s off topic for some people but not for others, then there are some people who want to read it on lobste.rs. The mechanism to allow people to get different views on lobste.rs is the tagging. If these two articles are not what you want to read, but you are reading ‘culture’, do you need a tag that’s more specific, that you can chose to hide? E.g. ‘community’?

        I understand re. getting ants, but you can get ants on all kinds of subjects, no?

        1. 4

          This would–and I mean this in complete serious–merit a “social justice” tag.

          I don’t want to ignore culture articles–say, about developer pay or labor organizing or whatever–when I’m just trying to ignore giant slapfights on github.


          For what it’s worth, I’m generally interested in seeing more articles about kink, and I’m sure other folks here may be too, but I’d hardly want to dilute the general quality of news here even with tags to allow others to filter out my postings.

          The problem with the ants is when we start getting submissions that:

          • Don’t have an objectively correct position (i.e., Ruby on a 386 is never the answer)
          • Don’t have an easy way of generating useful discussion (i.e., “I fucked up this server, what should’ve I done instead?”)
          • Do encourage mudslinging and shitposting (i.e., “Well, yes, but you’re not paying enough attention because you’re arguing from a position of…”)

          It’s an unhappy side effect of the times and the rhetoric style of many folks pushing for social justice that (3) especially is violated. I’d love to have a constructive talk about such things, but the odds of that happening here, again without risking far too much flamebait, bullshit, and opening the door for other submissions sliding in that direction are too great.

        2. 3

          This “drama” framing upsets me a lot - it comes up a great deal in online communities, not only tech-oriented ones. At some level it resonates with people because, yes, things are intense. It also, at first glance, sounds neutral - a call for both sides to moderate their tone.

          But when there is NOT sufficient awareness of an issue, when there has NOT been progress on it, when one side is being hurt in an ongoing and continuing way - then stopping the discussion is to side with the incumbents.

          Also, it’s not even an achievable goal; each attempt to back down leads to a moving goalpost. In practice, to not be accused of drama, people must not say things, however calmly, that they know the other side is going to respond to with anger - even if those things are the entire point. Nor, when the actual issues subject to controversy are being avoided, is that sufficient either. As we’re seeing here, even when the discussion is entirely polite and respectful - as it has been on Lobsters, to an incredible extent - one side can invoke the name of neutrality, complain about the quantity of discussion, and argue that the only correct course of action is to stop all discussion immediately.

          When I see an appeal to “less drama”, I understand that it is an attempt to silence. Always, though sometimes with less awareness of that as the necessary result. But at any rate, neutrality is the wrong goal here. It’s okay for people to pick a side. Just keep it respectful.

          I have strong feelings in disagreement with the “advocacy for the status quo - such as racism and sexism - is only effective if it gets air time” thing, as well. But this post is long enough, and I don’t feel that that framing is nearly as difficult to understand and refute as the “drama” thing, so I’ll address it another time. I’ve addressed it before, too. :)

          Now, unfortunately, I feel the time has come to say something about a specific user.

          Angersock has posted nearly this word-for-word “flagged as off-topic” thing to about five posts in the past two weeks, and if you click through, you’ll see that about 80% of the comments they actually make start with the word “flagged”. It is their privilege to flag things as off-topic; it is their privilege to explain why. I tend to feel that sincere attempts at neutrality don’t compare oppressed people to ants, but the choice of rhetorical device is up to them, as well. But they almost entirely indulge in negativity. Angersock’s posts are the most incendiary, anger-provoking ones on every single culture thread I participate in. I see a frequent theme from them of “I would prefer to ignore this conversation”, yet they are the ones driving it.

          Just pointing that out for anyone who still feels tempted to engage in discussion with them. I do still reply - silence implies consent - but I try to speak for an audience who does not hold such extreme views. I don’t advocate any action against any individual user, and would speak out against personal attacks against angersock or anyone else.

          It would be a mistake to engage as if expecting a sincere response; that would only be setting myself up to be too emotionally invested and display exactly the kind of anger that stops people from listening. That doesn’t mean that it matters at all whether angersock’s views are sincere, and I have no intention of responding to any defense of how sincere they may or may not be. The point is that assuming they are heightens the frustration of dealing with them.

          1. 0

            Thank you for your post!

            The ants thing is just a saying some friends and I have when dealing with minor problems that, through inattention, tend to snowball into large distractions. No offense or belittlement is meant about the exact of the subject matter at hand–it’s more of a general frustration at how a lot of these things tend to evolve.

            As my posts elsewhere will attest, I only post in sincerity–I have a distinct posting style (typically all lowercase, no punctuation) for when I’m being insincere or facetious.

            I’m not advocating for neutrality. History will be on the side of the LGBT folks, regardless of how poorly a lot of them are going to take their victory. I think that it is correct, I think that their cause is Right, I agree with it, and without going into various bits of personal identity I am invested in their success.

            In order to cut right to the point:

            I don’t believe in neutrality on these issues–I do, however, believe in silence. I make no pretense otherwise. I don’t even care which side you pick; it’s just that discussions on certain topics (such as this one) are not going to get anywhere, and will just consume cycles. The battle is being fought elsewhere, and we should leave it elsewhere.

            The cause of the LGBT folks is traditionally a marginalized one. There is a great deal of progress (today, for example, the Supreme Court upheld equal marriage rights!) going on in the past decade, and the cause now is more visible–especially in middle and higher economic brackets–than, I would suggest, that of racial minorities or the poor.

            The problem is that this traditionally defensive posture has leaked into online discussions and especially into online discussions about tech. That would be fine, but where once we’d laugh it off or acknowledge “so-and-so has this relative kink, whatever, they’re code works”, instead we now see these witch hunts on social media and messaging boards against the folks that previously were oppressors. This being done without a hint of hypocrisy by otherwise well-meaning folks.

            These discussions, when they come up, never come to a conclusion. A reader never comes away going “By golly, I sure do respect the viewpoint of that cis-white man” or “Gee, that trans-woman certainly has given me something to think about”. No, instead, you end up with a bunch of people arguing past each other and taking up space.

            The entire idea of a “culture” tag, incidentally, fails to address this. I was not kidding when I suggested a “social justice” tag, because I think it’d be a useful classification to have. “Culture” can encompass everything from how we organize ourselves as Labor, to how we pick our tools, to what type of things we look for in a mate (if any), to best music for development, to whatever. It is precisely because of that breadth that I dislike it as a tag.

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              I fail to believe that a social justice tag wouldn’t attract the same behavior that the culture tag does now.

              It’s good of you to reply, though.

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                If it doesn’t attract the same behavior (and I don’t think it will), we’re all better off.

                If it does attract the same behavior, it will attract it somewhere else, and increase the utility of the culture tag.

                While I appreciate the underdog strategy of forcing arguments out into the open and throwing them into places previously unaffected so as to encourage visibility, it’s a really good way of reducing the utility of forums like this. Frankly, it’s the reason a lot of SJ folks have a reputation for drama. It’s important, yes, but it gets in the way of everything else–and for the reasons above (e.g., this being a pretty much decided fight at large), I’d prefer not to see it here.

                Also, I had to respond after you said those nice things about my account, my posts, and my presumed sincerity.

          2. 2

            I disagree that the harm is in the reporting, but after thinking about it a bit, I do think there is enough reporting elsewhere that it doesn’t need to be on lobste.rs as it is mostly just drama-churn.

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              Fair enough–I think you and I are certainly in agreement about having sufficient reporting elsewhere.

            2. 1

              Stop flagging stuff that isn’t spam and let the voting take its course.

            3. 5

              While I can see the angle, I think this post is very poor. Instead of actually arguing the case, it resorts to “but the others are bad as well”. It doesn’t make a good case for having Curtis speak at Strange Loop despite his views other than a hand-wavy “culture of free speech” reference.

              “I find your views distasteful, but I would fight to death to defend them”[1] is a common quote and I would certainly sign it. BUT: saying that I would support them, providing a stage, space, effort, audience or similar to persons holding these views is not included in that package.

              Playing the victim-card where possible is a common game for intellectual extremists and in defending their rights for free-speech (despite the person not asking for it and those rights not even being touched, as the post clarifies), people are playing a powerful support role. They are defending these people and provide them with the privilege to enter every space. While Curtis might not utter his views on stage, he will probably at the party, at the speakers dinner (a very privileged seat as well) and in the cafe around the corner during the lunch break.

              It comes down to two approaches dealing with the right:

              1) Say that they are all nuts and should be allowed to run around everywhere, basically hoping that they put off more people then convince. This is a dangerous game with intellectuals, convincing is their game. 2) Make sure that your efforts don’t give any power and legitimacy to theirs.

              This is a power play. I’m sure Curtis knows that. Strange Loop decided to take a stance in that power play and chose option 2. Their whole power comes from who they allow on stage and who they don’t. They should be respected for it. There is no scandal, just standard business. The second part of that business is the outrage, which only gives power to Curtis. It legitimizes his person as a whole. People are fighting for him to not experience any opposition for his views.

              You will notice one thing when you actually talk to people from the right when you are on the left: they understand that game very well and play it the other way as well. They even respect you in a weird way for playing that game.

              The pawns in the game are the people in “the middle”, feeling ultra-liberal, while they are actually just missing a stance.

              In my humble opinion, this post damages the culture of free speech by asking people not to oppose and take part in that play in any fashion they see fit. The right to reply in any fashion is also part of that culture.

              [1] I’m sitting on a train, can’t get the quote exactly right.

              1. 9

                I think it’s just fine for a private tech conference with a long history of actively including minorities and promoting diversity to choose to not pay an openly and unambiguously racist speaker to talk, even if he didn’t say in his proposal that he’d be discussing slavery on or off stage.

                1. 2

                  Of course as a private conference Strange Loop is allowed to exclude someone, but that does not make it fine. A private conference is allowed to exclude gays and lesbians from giving a talk for the reason of their sexual orientation, but many will not consider that fine. Similarly, I don’t think this exclusion is fine.

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                    “Openly and unambiguously racist” sounds objective and terrible until you start to unpack it. Do you mean that Yarvin advocates treating people differently based on their race (which to my mind is the traditional definition of racism)? Or that he e.g. claims that some traits are correlated with race (which is clearly true for some traits, and should be open for (polite) speculation for other traits for which it’s presently unclear)? Or something in between?

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                      Not all humans are born the same, of course, and the innate character and intelligence of some is more suited to mastery than slavery. For others, it is more suited to slavery. And others still are badly suited to either. These characteristics can be expected to group differently in human populations of different origins. Thus, Spaniards and Englishmen in the Americas in the 17th and earlier centuries, whose sense of political correctness was negligible, found that Africans tended to make good slaves and Indians did not. This broad pattern of observation is most parsimoniously explained by genetic differences.


                      1. -5

                        Obedience to authority is a personality trait, so it seems to me that some people are more suited to slavery is a trivially true statement. This is quite different from the value judgement whether slavery is good or evil.

                        For example, see Personality Predicts Obedience in a Milgram Paradigm (2015), Journal of Personality.

                      2. 4

                        The concept of race is a myth without scientific basis. Racism is about as logical as Humorism and just stopping the conversation is the only sensible way to deal with it. Otherwise you can debate what race is and what race isn’t, but the fact is there’s nothing there except for racism and its associated hate, oppression, privilege, etc.

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                          The funny thing is that the concept of “race” is so deeply ingrained in the US culture that even people opposing racism will keep on talking about races in the human species like it’s a fact. And if you think that it’s simply another name for ethnicity, think again. This author makes a clear distinction: “‘Latino’ is an ethnic, as opposed to a racial, category”: https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/city-by-city/los-angeles-plays-itself/

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                            Races are empirical clusters. There’s nonzero correlation between e.g. skin colour and lactose tolerance. That’s enough to make it a real thing.

                            1. 4

                              empirical clusters

                              What does this even mean?

                              nonzero correlation

                              Have you heard about confounding factors?

                              That’s enough to make it a real thing.

                              Maybe if you know nothing about genetic distance and the lack of clear boundaries in genotype groups like we see in species that actually have races: dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.

                              1. 1

                                What does this even mean?

                                An exact definition can’t tell you anything useful - if you say that something with attributes x, y and z is a flibble, and you know that some particular object has attributes x, y and z, then you know that object is a flibble - but all that tells you is that it has attributes x, y and z, which you already knew. Plato famously defined a human as a featherless biped - but a human with one leg is still a human, and a plucked chicken isn’t a human.

                                There are a large number of axes that separate humans from non-humans, but none of them are absolute. Most humans can talk - but some of them can’t. The more sensible notion of a word or category is as a label for a cluster in the, well, vector space of all things. Every thing is a point, but we observe that things fall into clusters because particular attributes are correlated. And at that point these notions become something genuinely useful: we observe someone standing on two legs, without feathers, and we then infer that they are probably a human, and therefore they can probably talk - something we didn’t know before! The concept of a human makes sense because the cluster exists; it’s a natural boundary, even though there will always be edge cases where we’re not quite sure if they belong in the cluster or not (is an unborn fetus a human? They have a lot in common with typical humans, but also some important differences). If you make a word, or a category, for a random bundle of attributes, it’s reasonable to say that that category doesn’t exist. But if there is a real correlation, a clustering in the vector space, then the category is describing something real.

                                Have you heard about confounding factors?

                                Why should I care?

                                Maybe if you know nothing about genetic distance and the lack of clear boundaries in genotype groups like we see in species that actually have races: dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.

                                I never said anything about genetics. If you’re trying to say that these categories are a different kind of thing from the kinds of categories that we usually call races in other species, then fair enough - though the onus is very much on you to explain what the distinction is and why it’s important. But the grandparent “race is a myth without scientific basis” is simply false. People do fall into clusters; there are correlations between them, such that knowing some things about a person allows you to predict other things about them. (And the set of groups we call “races” is empirically distinct from other sets of groups; the things members of the same race tend to have in common, and the way they tend to treat each other, is distinct in a natural way from groups like, I don’t know, “emos” or “yuppies”).

                      3. 6

                        The biggest surprise of the article for me was seeing Steve Klabnik continue to spread such hate on Twitter. For those that missed the last time, which apparently wasn’t learned from:


                        Is this the type of person that the Rust community welcomes and approves of?

                        Should an issue be opened on GitHub?

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                          Steve Klabnik continue to spread such hate on Twitter.

                          According to the follow-up post, it appears he apologised.

                          Yes, someone who says, “oops, I’m sorry” is definitely someone I could learn from.

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                            Yes, I did apologize, because it was clearly a mistake, and something that I regret deeply to this day.

                          2. 7

                            While I find some of Steve Klabnik’s activity distasteful, so far as I know he didn’t act that way in the Rust community. Trying to exclude him for his outside activity would be a mistake, just as recent incidents related to Opal and Strange Loop are mistakes.

                            When the Rust community adopted the code of conduct, it was specifically clarified that outside activity (which would include, for example, political donation by Brendan Eich) does not affect whether to exclude someone.

                            1. -1

                              When the Rust community adopted the code of conduct, it was specifically clarified that outside activity (which would include, for example, political donation by Brendan Eich) does not affect whether to exclude someone.

                              This is because Mozilla has money/is monetized. If Mozilla didn’t have money and were actively looking for patrons they would change their tune quick. In the corporate world the rule of thumb is you can do whatever the hell you want and say whatever the hell you want until it looks bad on the company at which point they can and will reevaluate your relationship. All it will take is a huge shitstorm to fall onto Mozilla like a contributor going crazy and killing a bunch of people that he hated to make them start acting like any other company and saying fuck the code of conduct you’re fucking with our bread and butter, fuck you.

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                                Mozilla does not control the Rust community. Specifically, there is no Mozilla employee in Rust reddit’s moderation team, and this is intentional so it will stay that way.

                                1. 2

                                  I don’t really care about reddit. I’m talking about contributions to the core project. When push comes to shove they’re going to react whether you like it/agree with it or not, because they have to protect themselves.

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                                    As far as I know codes written by Hans Reiser is still included in the latest Linux kernel release from kernel.org.

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                                      Sure but that doesn’t mean that Linux hasn’t distanced itself from Reiser as a result of his actions. I’m not saying excise code, I’m saying excise the person.

                                      Code is king implies that the person who codes the most has the most power to throw around. Having such a person with views that prevents investment into your project whether monitary or textual. At one point you have to balance whether you’re going to bar futher contribution by that person based on the fact that they are stifling other contributors.

                            2. 0

                              I stopped following Steve Klabnik on Twitter some time ago precisely because of comments like that. I find it inappropriate to use the same platform to espouse both moral-political and professional-technological views. That said, he is (was?) a frequent poster here, and I’d be curious to hear his side of things.

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                                It’s his personal account and his personal opinions on both of these. Where is the problem?

                                1. 3

                                  He is also a major de facto mouthpiece of Rust (and at one time, Ruby on Rails), projects without a stated political agenda. Steve is by no means the only mixing work and politics like this, but maybe it’s time that high-profile developers have a “professional” twitter and a “personal” twitter. I followed Steve because I wanted to hear about progress in Rails, not his opinions on capitalism.

                                  1. 2

                                    The de-facto-mouthpiece of Rust is @rustlang and the blog, which are run by the corresponding teams, which Steve is a part of and runs. If you are searching for official, professional news, that’s your way to go.

                                    Rails has official news outlets as well. Steve was never the mouthpiece of Rails, that’s clearly @dhh.

                                2. 2

                                  I go through spurts of posting here. There’s little discussion, but what there is is generally good, but when there’s a dry spell, I’ll forget to load it up for a few days.

                                  Which ‘things’ you’re talking about is ambiguous here, so I’m not sure which situation you’re asking for my side of.

                                3. 1

                                  Is this the type of person that the Rust community welcomes and approves of?

                                  It doesn’t matter. The “antifa” movement in Italy is just as violent as the fascists they claim they are fighting, and the only way to tell who’s who is by what “team” they cheer for, not their actions. I find this despicable and violence an unacceptable political tool, but we need to put that aside when working together. Let’s keep serious actions like boycott for serious offenses. This one does not qualify.

                                4. 2

                                  Nope. Nope nope nope.