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    I disagree with making “diversity” a goal. If the developers in a specific free software project do not include demographic D, I don’t think that the lack of them as a problem that requires action; there is no need to scramble desperately to recruit some Ds. Rather, the problem is that if we make demographic D feel unwelcome, we lose out on possible contributors. And very likely also others that are not in demographic D.

    I don’t think people argue for diversity because they fetishize even ratios. The evener ratios are not the terminal goal, but a means to eliminate the institutional inertia and potential sources of discrimination. Can’t count the times that extreme sexism was considered acceptable in professional or educational situations because there were no women near. Or the kinds of signals an all-white faculty sends.

    Positive discrimination is not for the n-th generation, but n+k-th. The n-th generation could even experience negative utility, the argument would still stand because it’s not meant for them.

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      Or the kinds of signals an all-white faculty sends.

      Namely?

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        That the makeup of the faculty flies in the face of the demographic makeup of the students in whatever field of study you’re talking about, let alone the makeup of the general population.

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          Which sends what signal?

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          That the leadership team lacks first hand experience with the cultural background of large segments of the population, and therefore has blind spots that make it hard to accurately judge the best approach on any decision where culture is a factor (ex: wording messages, ui design, methods of grievance mediation).

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            That people can only represent and be represented by other members of their own ‘group’ is a fallacy. You don’t need a ‘visually obvious’ member of every group that anybody intersects with to represent them. If you have a population that has women and men and white people and black people and asian people, that’s a very naive way of looking at those people. You’re judging people based on what they look like. You could also classify them as poor people and rich people, or as urban people and rural people, as left wing people vs right wing people, or any other distinction.

            Yet ‘diversity’ is always about what is visual. It’s about whether there are enough people with long hair that wear womens’ clothes in the photos of the board, and whether there are enough people with dark skin. It’s never about whether there is adequate representation of the poor. It’s never about whether there’s adequate representation of different political viewpoints.

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              people can only represent and be represented by other members of their own ‘group’ is a fallacy

              You’re putting words in my mouth.

              Yet ‘diversity’ is always about what is visual.

              Prejudice comes from the visual stuff, not from the deeper details of an individual (that’s practically the definition).

              There exist large market segments who experience stereotyping based on their visual traits; if you want your organization to understand how to service those customer segments, you need people with a deep (that is, first-hand) understanding on the team (especially when it comes to avoiding a PR fiasco; eg apple health launching without a period tracker).

              It’s never about whether there’s adequate representation of different political viewpoints.

              I don’t give a shit about their political views unless A) they insist on bringing them up at work, or B) they can’t comprehend why someone would hold a different position.

              Organizational leadership needs to understand its customer base, and unlike political views, cultural backgrounds are far too deep and complex to pick up at school.

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                You’re putting words in my mouth.

                You literally said that people that aren’t part of a culture (lack first hand experience with the cultural background of …) can’t represent have culture effectively (ha[ve] blind spots that make it hard to accurately judge the best approach on any decision where …).

                That’s not putting words in your mouth, it’s reading and understanding the content of your message.

                Prejudice comes from the visual stuff, not from the deeper details of an individual (that’s practically the definition).

                No it doesn’t. The vast majority of prejudice in society, both structurally and individually, is against the poor, not against any other particular group. People literally justify bias against other groups all the time based on some bullshit ‘but if you take into account socioeconomic factors it all evens out’ argument, which essentially boils down to ‘but they’re poor so they deserve it’. The one group you’re allowed to be biased against is poor people.

                There exist large market segments who experience stereotyping based on their visual traits; if you want your organization to understand how to service those customer segments, you need people with a deep (that is, first-hand) understanding on the team (especially when it comes to avoiding a PR fiasco; eg apple health launching without a period tracker).

                A few people on Twitter getting their knickers in a twist is not a PR fiasco. Apple Health didn’t have a feature you wanted. Ask for it. Suggest it. Show there’s a desire for it. Or use proper software where you can add the features in yourself. Or use one of the many other apps out there that did this already. Whining on twitter and acting like it’s not there because of bias against your gender is just pathetic.

                I don’t give a shit about their political views unless A) they insist on bringing them up at work, or B) they can’t comprehend why someone would hold a different position.

                I don’t give a shit about peoples’ race or gender. I absolutely don’t give a shit about their culture. In my country? You can adopt our culture or you can go home, as far as I’m concerned.

                Diversity of opinion, diversity of thought, diversity of ideas. Those are much more important than stock photo diversity.

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                  That’s not putting words in your mouth

                  “Represent” is the word you put in my mouth. I’m talking about the management teams ability to do their jobs effectively, not about representation.

                  A few people on Twitter getting their knickers in a twist

                  Global coverage on TV, radio, and newspapers is a little more than a twitter storm. That and the working conditions at foxconn are pretty much the only negative mainstream press apple has had.

                  No it doesn’t. The vast majority of prejudice in society, both structurally and individually, is against the poor, not against any other particular group

                  I’d agree that every other group suffers less (much less) than ‘poor’.

                  However -

                  1. “The poor” is possibly the hardest market segment to go after, as a corporation - in part because of their limited ability to pay for products and in part because it’s very hard to find qualified CEOs who understand the customers. It’s typically much easier to turn a profit by marketing to customers with money (unless you are highly capitalized enough to compete on volume, but not many corps are).

                  2. The ‘shared identity’ of the poor is not one a corporation can market to. Attempts to do so are ignored (at best) or ridiculed. If you do make fun of them for a marketing stunt, there’s zero blowback (other than from people who can’t afford your products). In comparison, a gender or racial identity is something you can offend in a way that will harm sales.

                  These are not the moral reasons diversity matters - but they are forces which shape the culture war and allow identity politics (over race/gender/sexuality) to take on substantial political sway.

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          I don’t think people argue for diversity because they fetishize even ratios.

          I know for a fact that some people absolutely do, because I’ve talked to them. All they talk about is diversity, and any question of why they’re pushing for diversity is either met with false surprise (‘how could you even ask that? do you hate women and minorities?’) or circular nonsense (‘diversity is really important!’).

          Can’t count the times that extreme sexism was considered acceptable in professional or educational situations because there were no women near.

          I’ve been in lots of situations where what some people would call ‘extreme racism’ or ‘extreme sexism’ or some other ‘extreme ism’ was considered acceptable in what some people would call a ‘professional or educational situation’. But those present would say that edgy/‘inappropriate’/whatever jokes in an after-work-drinks or casual chat in your office are not actually extreme bigotry, nor as they a professional or educational situation.

          I’m glad I live somewhere where I don’t have to worry that I could be subject to some American HR graduate wanting to make their quota of people fired for saying things in a private personal setting away from their workplace and professional responsibilities.

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            I know for a fact that some people absolutely do, because I’ve talked to them. All they talk about is diversity, and any question of why they’re pushing for diversity is either met with false surprise (‘how could you even ask that? do you hate women and minorities?’) or circular nonsense (‘diversity is really important!’).

            Yeah, that might be true. You can really find representatives of any strange view you want, I’m aware of that, which is why asserting categorically that no one holds that view was not the central part of my argument. People could also be bad at arguing: in a serious debate, it’s your job to do the best you can to actually understand your opponent. But since you’ve literally ignored an actual argument for the position you disagree with, contained in my very post, I’m not buying that you’ve attempted to engage those discussions in good faith.

            But those present would say that edgy/‘inappropriate’/whatever jokes in an after-work-drinks or casual chat in your office are not actually extreme bigotry, nor as they a professional or educational situation.

            Which is exactly the point lol. They are part of the problem. (Please for the love of god do not pull the “but there were women/minorities present and they were totally okay with it!” card)

            I’m glad I live somewhere where I don’t have to worry that I could be subject to some American HR graduate wanting to make their quota of people fired for saying things in a private personal setting away from their workplace and professional responsibilities.

            Ah yes the famous right-wing persecution complex. Miss me with that shit.

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              since you’ve literally ignored an actual argument for the position you disagree with, contained in my very post, I’m not buying that you’ve attempted to engage those discussions in good faith.

              To respond to the other point you made: the nth generation for women was decades ago. This is the nth+k generation. Women are far more privileged than men in every area and aspect of society. The education system, the justice system, the prison system, the police, doctors, recruitment agencies, family courts, HR people… just about everything in western society is highly biased towards women.

              Which is exactly the point lol. They are part of the problem. (Please for the love of god do not pull the “but there were women/minorities present and they were totally okay with it!” card)

              Of what problem? This is exactly the issue. ‘Why is diversity good?’ and the answer is ‘because diversity’ or it ends up coming down to ‘because diversity’ or ‘because’.

              Why, exactly, is it a problem for a group of people, in their own time, away from their workplace, in a group where nobody is offended and everyone understand what constitutes a joke and where the line of appropriate behaviour is, to make jokes that you find offensive? You’re not part of the group. It has nothing to do with you. Mind your own damn business.

              No, there weren’t women there! That’s the point! If they had been, those things wouldn’t have been said. Acting like that’s a reason why women should have been there is to suggest that you should be the final arbiter of what everyone else is allowed to do in their personal lives.

              Ah yes the famous right-wing persecution complex. Miss me with that shit.

              Yikes. Might be the first time in my life I’ve ever been called right wing.

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          I don’t totally agree with Stallman on a lot of things but I’m extremely impressed with how much common sense is being applied here. This approach is a lot better than the various codes of conduct bolted on to so many open source projects. Many CoCs are somewhat authoritarian in their tone in that they simply tell you what you can and cannot do without offering any advice about effective communication. (Worse, some projects require you to agree to the CoC, which makes it a binding and enforceable contract whether you realize it or not.)

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            It is my understanding that CoCs are meant to communicate in clear language what a community will and will not accept, and the consequences of unacceptable behavior. And perhaps all communities converge to something like a CoC even if it isn’t explicit, e.g. “Do what you like, we don’t moderate here.” Perhaps community organizers can have CoCs and communication guidelines side-by-side and cross-referenced, so that the guidelines come first and the CoC is there for when boundaries are crossed?

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              The original motivation by the author of Contributor Covenant was forcing far left politics on folks everywhere. When such people get one passed, they use its broad language to do that. They just talk about obviously bad stuff that few would argue with in lead up to it. Hence, the strong opposition.

              There’s also folks who saw the trend, didnt know/share the political goals, liked emforcing civility, and added one to their project for that reason. That happens, too. Most of the enforcement interpretation comes down to moderators and/or vocal members, though.

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                forcing far left politics on folks everywhere

                That’s not what far-left politics is, it’s pretty milquetoast liberalism.

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                  milquetoast

                  I’m not familiar with this word. The dictionary definition doesn’t help me much; what does it mean in the context of politics?

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                    It means ineffective or inoffensive.

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                    It depends on who you ask. Maybe geographical area, too. I honestly don’t follow all the terms closely since they themselves become part of political battle and sophism. I try to simplify. Most of what leftists call right-leaning people all oppose that kind of politics. So, it’s best to call it leftist politics of some sort. Most liberals I meet aren’t for systematically controlling peoples’ speech or banning them in every forum or place for their casual remarks in one. Obviously, there’s exceptions where people flip out over something like an N-bomb exposing what person might really think on inside. Most of the time, though, the liberals out here and in lots of places don’t go that far with enforcement. They’re also willing to make practical tradeoffs for greater good even if it sacrifices a bit of ideological purity in decision-making.

                    So, these people that put ideology above everything and want universal, constant, severe enforcement are a rare breed compared to majority. At least, from what I can tell. I’d love carefully-worded surveys to get more objective data. If they’re rare, leftist, and stronger on ideology than most, then calling them far leftist is a fair description even if not precise. I think radical leftists or leftist extremists is even better showing the fact that many leftists would argue with their position or actions even supporting their goals. Some might even distance themselves from them in business or politics.

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                      This conversation isn’t going anywhere because your understanding of the left is so wildly different than mine. For me, far-left means socialist or communist, not people who shout things on Twitter. I suggest you read Exiting the vampire’s castle by the late Mark Fisher if you want to learn more about this distinction.

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                        Thanks for the reference. Maybe the term has multiple meanings in practice with people using it relative to their own political stances. I might stick with radicals or extremists to avoid confusion.

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                        The use of coercion to make people adhere to their own worldviews is not exclusive to either side of the traditional political spectrum but an orthogonal dimension entirely. There’s a long but ultimately good explanation at https://nintil.com/2017/10/14/yet-another-half-baked-theory-of-the-political-spectrum

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                          Most political theorising and philosophical discourse happens in the anglosphere. And the anglosphere is mostly, by numbers, the United States.

                          There are texts that haven’t even been translated into English that are valuable pieces political theory. Especially from the left. Don’t even get me started on philosophy.

                          Also, Scott Alexander is garbage and if you want any kind of actual political insight you should not be reading him or reactions to him. His personal politics boil down to GamerGate for nerds. Of all the armchair social “theory”, only Moloch is a somewhat good text, but it’s also just a distillation of small bits of Nick Land’s philosophy. If you’re looking for actual insight, read the things that he hates.

                          All this talk of “axes” and “spectrums” are totally useless and trivial, appealing only to people who view politics as some kind of an internet ideological picnic. They get infatuated with ideas themselves, without wider philosophical, historical, and material context, they view them as identity badges, and that leads to confusions and perversions like the political compasses.

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                            re “why do people who want laissez-faire free trade empirically also prefer a strong military”

                            I’ve countered them with exactly that! I told them I don’t support the troops. “What? What?” I told them military wastes money constantly on stuff that’s useless in general or against today’s threats. Most bases and deployments are unnecessary even to a lot of military people. The companies wasting money are protected year after year. None of this is like free market where you have to get useful to people or perish. Then, I suggest maybe they can pay out of their taxes for all the extra bullshit and waste they want while people like me force competition among lean defense contractors that deliver only useful, necessary stuff. We’ll pay less, too. They’re always so shocked and pissed at the concept despite some agreement.

                            re “The common thing between leftists is utilitarianism.”

                            I have said the right is about individualism: follow personal opportunity and responsibility even if failure can kill you. If left is opposite, then them being utilitarian would seem to follow. Liberals out here being willing to loose something every year to improve society’s baseline is something that differentiates us from conservatives. That said, it falls apart with the charitable aspects of conservatives where they’re fine helping people so long as it’s their own private donations given to their choice of recipients. The churches are also usually centers of charity and support in smaller towns, too. They also believe pushing people hard to do their best improves the baseline much like we liberals do with socialist-type activities.

                            So, even this fails to really categorize them.

                            re article in general

                            Emotional, herd behavior as described in the article seem to fit best. Yeah, I might drop left and right for general discussions since their meaning is too diluted. Thanks for this article that does an excellent job illustrating that, too. I’ll keep it.

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                              Liberals out here being willing to loose something every year to improve society’s baseline is something that differentiates us from conservatives.

                              Please stop using these terms like an American, even if you are one. It’s incredibly annoying to see people that say things like ‘liberals hate the free market’.

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                        Most of the strong opposition I’ve seen has been an amorphous blob without much substance to them but vitriol.

                        Yes, I think Coraline handled this poorly, but after the backlash and personal attacks against her I think that’s kind of understandable. I also think the flashpoint of this backlash (Linus) is kind of indicative as well. Linus was a dick. He often provided an entertaining display of brutal honestly which people unconnected to the issue at hand would latch onto. They wouldn’t care about the issue being argued, only Linus’s display of maleficent brutality. I’m cool if you call my idea stupid. I’m less cool when you start calling me ugly.

                        Sooo @nickpsecurity is there anything specific argument you have against these CoC’s?

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                          The CoC’s are specifically designed to enforce one type of politics from a leftist minority in every space on Earth they can. This includes the usual language policing where a tiny portion of America, who may not even be contributors or minority members, attempt to police everyone else’s speech based on their interpretation of what discriminatory or offensive speech is. Even if there’s no overall consensus on that or disagreement by majority and/or dissent by many minority members on specific claims. Despite being “pro” minorities, the minority members who disagree will themselves be chastised or ejected for supporting discrimination. And finally, the author pushes for projects taking up the CoC to enforce it everywhere: good, inclusive behavior in a project doesn’t count if you said something their type of politics doesn’t like on another forum. The best example, where she and her pals showed true colors, was OpalGate with highlight being them trying to set maintainer up to look like they supported child molesters. As usual, they wanted their rules enforced and major contributor removed for ideological reasons with nothing in return for project.

                          A group of them also put me on trial here wanting me banned with one going after user tree. I stopped doing invites to avoid others being targeted and harassed via association with me. I knew political suppression would follow adoption of a CoC that’s designed for political suppression. Like in other situations, those pushing the CoC only talked about over abuses nobody would argue with. Since it’s activism or war to them, they’re always dishonest when getting them adopted (end justifies means). They rarely straight-up say: this is a tool to enforce a specific set of political beliefs about speech, actions, and affiliations on everyone in the project in every space they inhabit with non-conformance leading to admonishment and/or ejection from all with our rules. That’s how they try to use them, though, once adopted. So, I oppose them so such sneaky manipulators have less leverage over their targets.

                          Stallman’s looks really good overall since it just encourages kind and wise behavior. That’s the kind of merit-based, but with kindness and respect, CoC that I was promoting in the past. You don’t need leftist extremist setup to block many bad behaviors in project guidelines. He just illustrated that nicely.

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                            Again: is there specific arguement you have against the CoC?

                            Most of your complaints listed thus far seem to be focused on the personal actions of individuals, not the conduct of the organizations. Paradoxically, this is what you are arguing these people are trying to police.

                            The CoC is scoped to interactions of the organization (both internally and while representing the organization).

                            This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community. Examples of representing a project or community include using an official project e-mail address, posting via an official social media account, or acting as an appointed representative at an online or offline event…

                            You are free to be racist, sexist, or transphobic. It just says don’t do it when you are working in an official capacity.

                            The best example, where she and her pals showed true colors, was OpalGate with highlight being them trying to set maintainer up to look like they supported child molesters.

                            This was a personal action by Coraline to petition the project to remove an very anti-trans contributor. Also they did not try to frame the maintainer to supporter of child molester. When meh declined, they asked what level of behavior would merit ejection. e.g. being a neo-nazi, a rapist, or a child molester.

                            The entire thing very quickly turned into a shit show when people from unrelated to the project flooded arguing there support or in disagreement of the original verdict by meh.

                            Coraline emailed the owner of the project apologizing for the mess, as well as to Elia (the person she petitioned to be removed).

                            A group of them also put me on trial here wanting me banned with one going after user tree. I stopped doing invites to avoid others being targeted and harassed via association with me.

                            Yeah and some people are just dicks. I don’t know what the background on this is, but if they are harassing you, then report then. That is why things like CoCs - exist to codify the conduct between individuals.

                            There is no far left cabal trying to undemocratically control the behavior of people, or at least this isn’t it.

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                          When such people get one passed, they use its broad language to do that.

                          I understand that this is a popular theory among people who oppose the Contributor Covenant. Is there any evidence for it?

                          Most of the enforcement interpretation comes down to moderators and/or vocal members, though.

                          This seems like the “bottom line” for all projects. Accepting a CoC written by someone else isn’t giving up the existing project/community and their standards, it’s just encoding them in a more formal way than most projects have (up until now).

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                            Answered that here.

                            “Accepting a CoC written by someone else isn’t giving up the existing project/community and their standards, it’s just encoding them in a more formal way than most projects have (up until now).”

                            It really doesn’t since most don’t want political domination and control according to specific views by specific groups of people who might not be contributors. That’s what the CoC was designed for, though, as I say in my other comment. The next move they try is getting people that think like them in enforcement positions. Whatever original reason for adoption, the CoC becomes a tool for them to achieve their political goals. Even if those aren’t there yet, they can always get in later to use CoC for its intended purpose.

                            That’s what Ehmke did at Github with quite a backlash. I bet Github’s management weren’t told of Ehmke’s actual goals either: probably just the regular BS of “we’re only trying to stop trolls and haters doing things like N-bombs or saying women can’t code.” Who would argue with a need for better moderation or stopping such people? Hardly anyone with sense given all the toxic behavior. Then, she recruits a crew like her… that would enforce their views on the masses and ignore the outgroups’ complaints. Outgroup mostly being straight, white males that she vilifies that are a huge chunk of tech projects. Politically antagonizing them might mean reducing market share, impact, or image of any tech-focused service she’s working for as they switch sites or services. I bet she didn’t tell executives she intended to cause that and was OK with such results given their ideology trumps everything. In her later write-up, she said all the hate that came in was just because she was trans person basically trying to make people nicer and more inclusive. Nothing more.

                            Den of jackals they are. I consider any rules they create to be tainted and subversive by default. Double so if I see them used for political subversion. Let each community make their own rules codified from their existing practices like you said. They can draw on language from any source. Just be honest about goals, discuss it, vote on it, and so on. Then, what sticks they commit to. Lobsters already has a non-political-domination CoC that I follow: unwritten but illustrated by admin/mod responses to comments in various threads. It maintains civility and reduces visibility of problematic comments without outright suppression of dissent. Bans are only when necessary about behavior on this site, not others with other rules. Much better. As usual, I’ll add that the fact that this site runs so well is an argument in favor of such non-political CoC’s being able to do the job. Add Stallman’s to the list or as a start on another one.

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                              I can see that you feel very strongly about this, and I don’t want to inflame this argument at all, but I do want to point a couple of things out.

                              The replies above mention a number of examples of things Coraline Ada-Ehmke or “her people” have done. For the most part, they don’t involve adoption of CoCs or the Contributor Covenant.

                              In the “OpalGate” thread I agree a lot of unpleasant and angry things got said. I suggest a substantial part of that was people arguing from the basis of what they personally felt the project’s standards should be, and “arguing past each other” as a result. In the end the maintainers adopted a code of conduct for the project which clarified “the standard this project will be run against”. The person who was the subject of the original post is still a core maintainer today. This seems to me like a pretty mild outcome - the project’s standards are no longer in dispute, and noone got banned…?

                              (I’m not arguing that the ends necessarily justified the means here, but I am genuinely trying to understand what the catastrophic consequences of adopting CoCs are, as I don’t see them.)

                              Regarding the actual Contributor Covenant, I’ve read it carefully a number of times now and I don’t see how “thin end of the wedge” or “far-left politics” arguments follow from the text of the actual document. It has a Scope section which clearly excludes people’s activities outside the project. Under “Our Responsibilities” it makes it clear that banning is only one possible outcome and is entirely at the discretion of project maintainers. These are the same fundamental power relationships that a project without a CoC has, only now it’s made clear rather than implicit/vague.

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                          Nobody ever had a problem with projects that had rules. Everything had rules. Forums had rules, mailing lists had rules, IRC channels had rules. People had issues with specific rules, but if I’ve ever seen a complaint about the very idea of having rules I don’t remember it.

                          The backlash against contributor covenants is not as simply as people not wanting rules. Having rules against being racist or sexist or whatever isn’t new or unusual or what people have a problem with. What people usually have a problem with is when they’re busy minding their own business writing code and someone turns up and demands they accept a list of rules that they’ve written, usually based on some grievance they have with someone in the project for something they’ve done outside the project.

                          Frankly, people don’t like being told what they should be doing and why what they’re doing is wrong by people that aren’t part of their community. And that’s the very essence of contributor convenants: you should do things in this way because we say so, and because if you don’t you’re an evil sexist white male chauvinist pig that likes pushing women away from projects and it’s your fault that women earn less.

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                        Even though I am heavily opposed to the idea of CoCs, I must underline that I very much admire and honor the respectful and considerate tone this document has.

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                          I find it funny how this is celebrated by people who don’t like CoCs like the contributor covenant.

                          Ruling out recommending a non-free software as part of such a guideline, is as “political” as it can get.

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                            The problem with CoC is not that they’re political but that they’re imposed by outsiders for political reasons.

                            The FSF having its own “political” rules that it adopts and is not the same thing.

                            Also free software has nothing to do with politics, it’s a moral and ethical issue.

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                              So are you saying that if I add a CoC like the contributor covenant to one of my github repos, it would be imposed by outsiders for political reasons?

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                                I’m obviously not saying that.

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                            Is RMS, not known to be a very empathic or polite person, the right one to identify the conversations that push away women and write the policies to make sure they are included?

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                              You don’t need to beg the question or argue from ignorance: RMS has put his work in front of you and asked for comments and suggestions. If you can spot something you think works against the stated goal or know a way to improve these guidelines that seems to be one of the explicit aims in publishing them. Regardless of whether feedback (yours or others) is received and incorporated, time will tell whether this document does what it purports to do.

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                                Yes, actually. I think he is. I think that because I read the linked content, rather than making pointless comments besmirching his capabilities.