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    It’s worth noting that the reason this person’s code was removed from github was because of a code of conduct violation - he apparently called someone a prick, jokingly, and that person reported the comment to github, who responded by taking down the account.

    If you rely on a service that has any kind of abuse reporting mechanism for your own computing - in Github’s case, storage of your own code - you should expect that someone who doesn’t like what you have to say for any reason might use that reporting mechanism, and the service that neither you nor the reporter directly control might (or might not!) decide to bar you from access. This is a good lesson in the importance of controlling your own computing and not being reliant on remaining in the good graces of an external organization to keep your content hosted.

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      It’s also a good reminder - regardless of venue - not to provoke people who are obviously prone to causing trouble.

      There is nothing to be gained, and plenty to be lost.

      If you tend to spend your time being productive, you will never be able to really outmanoeuvre a serious troll. If github hadn’t acted on the complaint, the guy he provoked could have found another avenue to generate trouble until something stuck.

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        Yes. Don’t fight for your right to speak your mind on the global platform. Just keep your head down and be a good ‘productive’ guy. /s

        The solution to this problem is self-ownership, not self-censorship.

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          ^ Listen to Daniel. Daniel is wise. There are plenty of good people out there who will support you and help you. You will run into a lot of them in your long career. You will also run into tiny trolls. Ignore the tiny trolls and they will disappear. Be provoked by them and they will get bigger. It is strange magic, but we did not make the rules.

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            I speak as someone who instinctively engages with anyone who has transgressed, in even the slightest way, against community norms.

            • Phone out in the cinema? You’re getting hassled.
            • Cut in line? I’ll call you out in front of everyone.
            • Tailgating me? I’ll diligently block you from passing while going 10km under the limit.

            Following these instincts has afforded me ample opportunity to learn just how bad a way this is to live.

            95% of the time, you get to feel smug over something fundamentally inconsequential (while your friends/family feel awkward and stressed).

            The other 5% of the time, you’ve attracted the attention of someone who will either start a fight with you or find another way to make your life harder.

            That last group might only succeed once every year or two - but it will cost you time, work, and heartache.

            Find ways to disengage with trolls if you can - but failing that, definitely don’t go out of your way to find them.

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              This matches my experience exactly. I’ve had people try to run me over with their car because I put the coke bottle they threw on the street in the trash can for them. Some people are just fucking mental, and nothing you do or say will change that. I just treat people like that as if they have a mental disorder, which IMHO they kind of have; I call it cunteritus.

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                Next time, break the bottle and put it in front of their tires? :-)

                Assholes get quite tame if you immediately show that you are perfectly fine with skipping a few levels of escalation. ;-)

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                  Until one of them turns out to also be willing, and then you are either dead or in hospital.

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                    In fact, by targeting people who seem A-OK with violating social norms, you’re probably selecting from a population high in sociopaths. Who, among other charming characteristics, are often able to go from flat affect - especially under stress - to enthusiastic application of ultraviolence, then back again.

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                      I think it’s a losing proposition to lead a life focused on optimizing one’s life expectancy.

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                        It’s cost-benefit in each case. I ride motorcycles, despite fully understanding the mortal risks involved.

                        I think what Daniel is saying is just, “pick your battles” :)

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                          I do; thanks! :-)

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                    This is an excellent way to live life if you like getting punched in the face.

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                      Some may prefer that life to kneeling before assholes. I think that’s a choice everyone has to make on his/her own.

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                  Isn’t that just capitulating to narcissists and sociopaths?

                  Some may say that they rule the world, but with that approach I’m sure there is nothing that could stop them.

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                    You sound just like me 10 years ago (I’m pretty sure I have spoken those exact words).

                    Narcissists, by definition, want attention. You’re capitulating to them by recognizing their behavior.

                    Sociopaths, by definition, don’t care if you get involved or not. Your censure does not bother them.

                    There are times to take up the fight against wrongdoing - I can’t deny that.

                    However, if you find yourself taking up every fight that presents itself? You aren’t doing it because you like doing good, you’re doing it because you like fighting.

                    I’ve spent a long and twisty decade learning to redirect that energy towards helping the people around me feel good.

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                      Everything is relative – sometimes the most efficient way to improve peoples’ lives is to make some assholes’ life worse.

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                        That can be true (WW2 comes to mind), but these situations are truly rare.

                        Far more common are the situations where making some assholes life worse makes you feel like you’ve done some good - as long as you never check in with the people you’re “helping”.

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                          Agreed. Self-reflection, listening to feedback and quality control are a must.

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              you should expect that someone who doesn’t like what you have to say for any reason might use that reporting mechanism

              I think it’s worth making sure that people read the author’s actual admitted account of it. Quoting:

              There used to be a really convenient utility for making Windows switch keyboard layout on Caps Lock (unachievable via standard OS features) called “capslang”. The utility somehow disappeared from my OS, so I set off to re-download it only to find this message from the author (translated from Russian):

              Attention! Due to a complaint submitted by this person: [I, not the author, am redacting the name of the target] on urlhaus.abuse.ch in 2019, the hosting provider has forced me to delete the binaries for the utility I wrote more than 10 years ago and that hasn’t bothered anyone for all these years. You can tell this character everything you think of him to his Twitter account.”

              Ain’t no problem, bruh!”, — I thought. You know, we developers should stand for each other. Only that I’m more used to GitHub so I’ve posted a (now deleted) issue rather than a tweet. The issue was titled “You’re a [funny-word]” where [funny-word] was a set of latin characters reminding a transliterated Russian half-offensive word for “gay”, while not being equal to that specific word.

              So this was not some sort of attempt to vengefully take the author off GitHub by blowing an innocent comment out of proportion, nor a slip of the tongue in a heated technical discussion – the author literally saw a call for targeted abuse of a person and responded to that call by engaging in deliberate abuse of that person.

              I would think that taking action against that kind of behavior is part of any well-run platform.

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                There are (unsubstantiated) accusations on the HN thread of this submission that the Github user in question (catamphetamine) has engaged in this kind of behavior in the past. On the /r/programming thread, someone speculates that Github will take action if a certain number of complaints are reached.

                On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible that the target of the issue engaged their own form of targeted “counter-harassment” and used a network of bots and/or users to amplify the complaint.

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                  Wait, so just to be clear, was the funny-word “prick”?

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                    The issue was titled “You’re a [funny-word]” where [funny-word] was a set of latin characters reminding a transliterated Russian half-offensive word for “gay”, while not being equal to that specific word.

                    Edit I found out what the word was, and it turns out a popular Twitch streamer was banned for a week for using it to refer to a teammate. That makes it a bit more than a “funny-word”.

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                      Twich has exactly the same problem as Github for exactly the same reason. In fact I would say that it’s less problematic that Github bans people arbitrarily than that Twitch does, if only because its easier to set up an alternative git-hosting website than it is to set up an alternative mass-audience live video streaming website.

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                        Again, what was the actual word.

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                          Google “streamer s1mple banned” for discussion.

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                            ok, the word is пидор

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                    This is the important lesson, and the one the fewest people will take to heart.

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                      Indeed. I am deeply suspicious of centralisation for exactly this reason. Now I pay for non-github hosting and am very satisfied.

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                    I’m genuinely curious why some people thought this post was off-topic. I believe a large percentage of the crustaceans here rely on GitHub one way or another and probably via automation that could be very inconvenient if it broke suddenly and this post clearly describes how irresponsibly GitHub treats this bond with its users.

                    I thought the uproar was a little too idealistic when Microsoft bought GitHub and I never considered moving away for that reason, but this incident made me stop and think.

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                      I’d be curious to know how many “code of conduct”-adjacent things tend to be reflexively marked as off-topic by some. That and the heavy business angle to this case combine to leave me unsurprised that it has drawn a few off-topic flags.

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                      Posts homophobic abuse, gets blocked. Shows no contrition. Somehow thinks gitlab will treat him differently next time.

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                        haha, good point re: gitlab. He’s just trading one centralised hosting provider for another.

                        That reminds me, I should probably update my post about self-hosting cgit to include this sort of thing.

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                          Attention! Due to a complaint submitted by this person: [censored], the hosting provider has forced me to delete the binaries for the utility I wrote more than 10 years ago and that hasn’t bothered anyone for all these years. You can tell this character everything you think of him to his Twitter account.

                          He posted homophobic abuse as part of a larger harassment campaign.

                          It’s unfortunate that GitHub hid all of his existing code (n.b. you should mirror all of your dependencies, because this is probably what GitHub does by default when a site admin clicks “Yes, this violates the rules”), but a temp ban seems perfectly reasonable in response to this.

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                          I think it’s important to note that if people get fixated on the “PC” aspect of issues like these, they kind of make excuses for centralisation. It creates the fantasy that it wouldn’t be an issue, if it weren’t for those damm meddling kids and that the issue one should invest energy in is getting rid of CoCs.

                          To that I say that the main issue of a CoC is that it corporatizes hobbyist communities, but that with sites like GitHub their institution isn’t a transformation but an admission of this fact. It’s all PR, and I really believe that all the processes would still work, even if nobody actually believed in instituting “political correctness” (sites do it to avoid bad press, the press does it to attract readers over a controversy, some guy on twitter starts it to gain more followers, etc.).

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                            Codes of Conduct aren’t a corporatization at all; corporations are completely fine with arbitrary rules and letting sexism, racism, and other forms of intolerance flourish. A set of rules that tell people to not post racist stuff is almost always from the community saying “if you don’t do something about the racists we’re leaving” and the host (whether corporate or another member of the community) respecting the power of the masses.

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                              Codes of Conduct aren’t a corporatization at all; corporations are completely fine with arbitrary rules and letting sexism, racism, and other forms of intolerance flourish.

                              Who said that codes of conduct have to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, etc.? You could just as well have a white-supremacist CoC (in fact I have seen people trying to create such things), the only issues are that it looks bad (it stands in conflict with their official “free speech” line) and it would actually exclude too many people to work.

                              It’s corporatisation, as in “making it corporate friendly”, because they aren’t interested in having bad press, but also in the sense that it professionalizes hobbyist and hacker communities. People who come together to collaborate in their free time doing stuff they like have to engage with one another on the terms of a virtual HR. Some people don’t mind, as they are so accustomed to sterile human relations, but if nobody else then I would like to not communicate and work this way, just because some company doesn’t want to be shamed on twitter, not for out-sourcing their labour to open source developers, but because of what has been said in their “community”.

                              A set of rules that tell people to not post racist stuff is almost always from the community saying “if you don’t do something about the racists we’re leaving” and the host (whether corporate or another member of the community) respecting the power of the masses.

                              It might be that I have a wrong perspective, but in my experience a project might have a code of conduct for two reasons:

                              1. It’s core developers decided by their own volition to add one
                              2. A vocal but small group rallied to add one, and with the help of media pressure (often via twitter) it gets instituted. A vocal but small group protests this act.

                              In both cases most people don’t care (rightfully), which means that there is no “mass” that leaves in either case.

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                                Completely agree on this.

                                Some people here forget that not everyone is from the US – other cultures prefer solving issues in a less hysterical way.

                                Authors of CoCs usually replicate their “US-style” upbringing and cultural assumptions into it:

                                • Eschewing responsibility in favor of policy. (Zero tolerance schools.)
                                • Eschewing personal responsibility in favor of ticking the boxes in a rulebook. (Invasive employment manuals.)
                                • CYA-legalese, instead of expecting a minimal level of reflection and thought from participants. (“Don’t put your cat in the microwave.”)
                                • “People don’t change.” (Puritan roots.)
                                • “War-on-…” style thinking. War-on-people-being-assholes-on-the-internet is just another one of those failed wars like the wars-on-drugs, the wars-on-terror, where measures are adopted that look good on paper, but make the problem worse.

                                CoC’s normalize unacceptable behavior, and instead of bringing the best out of people and having them serve as good examples, they end up pushing everyone to be just barely above the line demarcated in the CoC.

                                Granted, there are people that may feel unwelcome without a CoC, but there are also people that are attracted by a CoC which I don’t want to have in my projects.

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                                  other cultures prefer solving issues in a less hysterical way

                                  Many other countries are more homogeneous than the US, and have fewer clashes between very different social norms. Often the norms are enforced in stricter ways than a CoC — Nazi symbolism/ideology is illegal in Germany, and in quite a few countries you’re in deep shit if outed as gay, trans, or even of the wrong religion. Which is also to say that in many countries they aren’t “solving the issues” but just letting people get away with abuse.

                                  I find some CoC’s kind of annoyingly heavy handed, but I see them as an unfortunate necessity caused by the unbelievable shittiness of a small minority of people.

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                                    Many other countries are more homogeneous than the US …

                                    Can we avoid arguments based on thinly veiled racism?

                                    I find some CoC’s kind of annoyingly heavy handed, but I see them as an unfortunate necessity caused by the unbelievable shittiness of a small minority of people.

                                    I’m not seeing how this is an issue that can’t be solved by the project lead banning those people.

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                            Looks like the noise generated by his post resulted in his repos and account page being restored. Even if he did violate their code of conduct, other people rely on his libraries, and it’s not cool to just disappear them like that.

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                              It’s the appropriate action for GH to take in this day and age. There’s no real downside to them in banning people quickly, if there’s enough noise they can just undo it. But if the outrage machine decides “GitHub is hosting nazis” or whatever, then expensive (for the company) outcomes like conferences being abandoned can occur. Expect this to continue from platforms that host user content as special interests get better at leveraging the mob to get what they want.

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                                I wonder what happens when someone disappears a library GitHub pulls from itself during deployment.

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                                  Perhaps they don’t have such a fragile dependency on pulling third party libraries live at deployment time? I’m still amazed that so many production services do.

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                              One interesting take on this is that it may be as a result of visiting Ukraine.

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                                The fact that personal accounts may be the keys to important repositories that are part of a shared infrastructure creates a “too big to fail” problem.

                                Regardless of what this person did, there needs to be a way to manage community and have tools to deal with people violating the terms. But OTOH taking action against someone’s personal behavior shouldn’t disrupt other people’s projects. So the real problem here may be finding a way to avoid bus factor == 1. Now that GitHub also owns npm, they can look into figuring out how to responsibly separate (banned) person from the repos they maintain.

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                                  They could have made his account read-only. No comment ability.

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                                    Now that GitHub also owns npm, they can look into figuring out how to responsibly separate (banned) person from the repos they maintain.

                                    Why not simply sell repositories to the highest bidder, regardless of ban or not? (I think NPM made some inroads there already.)