I have a few problems with this.
First, ruining his life because he hurt your feelings probably isn’t the best way to show him he’s wrong.
And I also suspect there’s a lot of topics where hurting people’s feelings would be perfectly fine. Let’s imagine he had posted to twitter that Christians were denying reality by believing in God. How many people would be in favor of removing him from the project for that? I’m guessing the issue would have never been opened in the first place.
If he’s not threatening anybody or speaking for the project when he does it, I don’t see the big deal, and I don’t think most people even care. Linus Torvalds has told Linux contributors, on the kernel mailing list, that they should be “retroactively aborted,” and Linux usage is growing as fast as ever. IMO Linus' comment is far more damaging than an ignorant tweet.
My point is, people have stupid ideas and post them to twitter. It’s not illegal and it doesn’t mean they need to be punished.
There are times when I feel like the sort of views espoused by @CoralineAda are in danger of being snuffed out and should be shouted as loud as possible. This time, though, it feels like the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. This sort of thing - the public shaming of a person over a twitter @ message - makes me terrified to contribute to OSS. He didn’t use any racial/gender epithets or slurs… compared to what I read on the internet most of the time, that was a pretty tame remark (in the context of a discussion of surgery for children, which is at minimum up-for-debate and hardly “hate speech” IYAM).
But once someone gets called out like that, the hate train leaves the station, and this person’s reputation is basically ruined. I don’t sympathize with his @elia’s views whatsoever, but this seems like an excessive use of moral force to me.
I think Linus' is kind of untouchable since he’s the leader.
What those people did there was “oh, this guy is a contributor on this project, but he isn’t the boss, let’s complain and have him removed!”, you can’t really do that with Linus or Theo de Raadt or antirez or whatever.
I still think meh sholuld have been a little less mean to them, the aggressive tone is ok but the “protip: you can’t and you won’t” is just rude, not matter what context.
“Hurting people’s feelings” is a stupid way to put it. Saying you’re an incompetent programmer is hurting people’s feelings, saying and entire class of people are suffering from mental illness is based on your dislike of their lifestyle is hate speech.
One is a personal attack the other is a prejudiced view that discredits people because they are different. There’s several leagues of diffence between “you’re an asshole” and “[trans people] not accepting reality is the problem here”.
I don’t think Elia’s life would be ruined if his contributions to Opal were rejected.
This is not just “hurting people’s feelings”. He’s expressing some pretty unwelcome opinions about people’s sexual identity, piling on to the abuse that they generally already feel everywhere else. He’s being a bully, not a “free-thinker”. This is not comparable to saying that believing in God is a delusion. It is possible to change one’s beliefs. Changing one’s sexual identity is almost impossible.
Linus’s actions are not commendable nor tolerable either. He should not be held up as an example of how being an asshole is alright and how nobody cares if he is. Lots of people care that he’s an asshole and don’t like it.
If people have stupid ideas, they should be called out for them. This is not punishment, and being asked to step down from a role in which they are no longer welcome is not an extreme punishment.
You have to consider the people asking for Elia to step down aren’t other contributors to the project (in fact, the contributors are defending him). Many people even went “I didn’t know about this project but I’m not touching it if this is the direction you’re taking”. This is borderline on bullying!
I don’t buy that these people use only products only if they agree with the views and attitudes of every single one of their contributors (how would you even go about that with closed products like Twitter or Github itself anyway?)
I totally agree that being transphobic is horrible and everything, but I yet have to see how this influenced the project or changed it in a way that alienates or even offends people. I rather work with a transphobic person that with someone who uses Ad Hominem in order to discredit the counterargument.
I see no reason to condone this behavior while condemning Elia’s, bullying is bad no matter who’s the victim.
“It is possible to change one’s beliefs”
I’d like to ask you to really consider what makes you think that. I’m not religious; many people I know are.
Their beliefs are core to their sense of self in much the same way that their sexual identity is.
It’s still not comparable - because one group is subject to pervasive, constant harassment, and the other is not.
Well, there are plenty of ex-religious people. Most of them didn’t have to go through some sort of training camp to change their religious beliefs. I don’t think I need to come up with statistics and citations to demonstrate this, do I?
When I was a young teen I had some pretensions of trying to take religion seriously. I grew out of that, but sexual identity is not really something people usually say they just “grow out of”.
I have also changed my beliefs. I used to think that prostitution should be completely legal and unregulated and that pornography was a great thing: the more we had of both, the better. Although I exaggerate, this overall is a pretty common belief amongst our internet-dwelling nerd tribe. When I attempted to substantiate this belief with effects, statistics, and facts my opinion changed. This was relatively recently, as a full-formed adult. So it’s not just young people with incomplete neural connexions who can change their mind.
To be fair, yes, changing your mind is one of the hardest things a person can do. That is why our flamethreads go on forever. That is why someone saying, “oops, you’re right, I’m wrong” is such a unicorn. For me, changing my mind about prostitution took months of research, discussion, and listening. It was extremely difficult. But it’s not near impossible as changing one’s sexual identity is.
There are also plenty of ‘ex-straight’ people but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to change your sexual preference. A more appropriate comparison would be if you attempted to believe in a religion now; that would be very hard.
There are also plenty of ‘ex-straight’ people but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to change your sexual preference.
Okay, I was afraid someone would say that. So let’s try to find some actual stats on the matter, if they exist.
…. okay, they do not exist. But there is a vast, vast, vast amount of consensus that attempting to change a person’s seuxal identity is harmful and near impossible.
In contrast, despite the difficulty in collecting statistics on the matter, there is a very large growing body of unreligious people. Since people did not proclaim this much unreligiousness in the past (be it by conviction or by fear), we can probably say that there is a lot of changing of minds, although it could just be cross-generational instead of across individuals.
The point I was trying to make is that there is a distinction between changing your beliefs because you want to and being forced to change your beliefs.
It’s natural that as you grow as a person, you reevaluate your beliefs and may change them, I don’t dispute that it’s possible, common in fact, to change your beliefs. However, an apples-to-apples comparison would be having to change your beliefs in order to confirm.
For example, imagine a new law mandates you must believe in a particular religion. While it would be easy to go through the motions, how easy would you find it to truly change your beliefs and not feel like you’re just pretending because you have to?
It is possible to change one’s beliefs.
Isn’t that what Elia was saying? That transpeople should change their beliefs? Oh, but that’s different! Because some beliefs can be changed, but others, like identity, are immutable.
So where does the classification of what beliefs can be changed fall? Is it possible to change your mind about the set of things you can change your mind about?
Christians in English-speaking parts of the world are not a vulnerable minority. The hypothetical “denying reality” remark is not hate speech. I’m sure the issue would never have been opened, and that does make me sad. I do feel that portions of the atheist community behave in ways that are serious harassment, and insufficiently recognized as such.
People can say the right things for the wrong reasons, and that does make saying them wrong. If it’s not perceived as such, that’s a bug.
What a monster!!!
I believe I understand the desire to joke about the issue in a trivializing way. These discussions get very angry, very fast. When none of the anger is directed at you, it must seem like the problem is how seriously everyone is taking it.
I’m not downvoting this joke, and encourage others not to, because I don’t really feel that it’s off-topic or intending to hurt. Every major disagreement, somebody has the point of view “why are we even talking about this”, and that’s a valid point of view. Of course, I do think it’s almost always actually worth talking about. :) The alternative is to give up on coexisting with each other.
We live in a cosmopolitan society, and our world is becoming smaller as it becomes easier to connect and communicate. We will always encounter people with opinions different than ours in varying degrees. How we get along, work with, and co-exist with, these people is important. We can’t rid the world of everyone who disagrees with us. There is a line that is too far once crossed. I don’t know what this line is, but it is the point when we should all rise our arms and fists and say “no more”. But I didn’t see it in the twitter thread that initiated the github thread. I saw someone expressing their opinion about trans-people. Then I saw other people focus on a small phrase, and spew anger they felt from what they understood that to mean.
At some point we will have to work with people we disagree with. How we go about this will be the measure of our humanity. Sadly this seems like an unwarranted attack. And I say sadly because I feel for both sides. I don’t see the benefit of removing and ostracizing a community developer. But also those calling for expulsion must be in a great deal of anguish and pain.
I don’t see the benefit of removing and ostracizing a community developer.
Except this is entirely poison to the development and potential commercialization of a project. Brendan Eich should be the perfect example for that, if you’re going to seek wider acceptance you shouldn’t have political land mines of your contributors acting like this on the internet. This kind of thing kills the ability of companies to sit on your foundation board or give you monetary patronage later on, because those companies don’t want the heat of having to deal with your community’s mouths.
Politics exist in OSS. There’s simple no bullshit ways to get around this so that people don’t have to become entirely political, one of those ways is to make sure that your contributors know that they will be entirely disavowed for hate speech.
Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequences, nobody has to give you a platform for saying whatever the hell you want. Nobody has to respect you for your opinions, and nobody has to even give you a fair shake after you’ve aired them out. Freedom of speech is about saying what you want to say and nothing more, it’s not about treating people with hateful views the same as people without them.
if you’re going to seek wider acceptance you shouldn’t have political land mines
Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequences, nobody has to give you a platform for saying whatever the hell you want
if you’re going to seek wider acceptance you shouldn’t have political land mines
Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequences, nobody has to give you a platform for saying whatever the hell you want
I find this bullshit, frankly. This isn’t a neo-nazi, or a member of the WBC we’re talking about. Read the twitter thread - that was one remark taken out of context of a discussion about children’s surgery. The only one inappropriately seeking a platform for spouting a political agenda was the person who created that github issue.
He spouted off conspiracy theories that sex education is about the government making 4 year olds touch each other in the classroom and that somehow by learning about LGBTQ attempting to make them gay/trans without their parents permission. followed it up with a comment about how transfolk are basically crazy and deny reality. Then backpedaled when he was getting impaled by the internet and blaming it on Twitter’s 140 char limit. Likewise he was talking to two other opal contributors. Even in his own backpedal on the reality topic he says that it’s because the government is going to convince children through sex ed that includes LGBTQ curricula to bother their parents for gender reassignment surgery.
His defender on the Opal project page (meh) has several owned repositories one of which is called “fag”: “Forums Are Gay”. Just because these people don’t have an affiliation with a known movement of prejudiced douchebags that they’re card carrying members of doesn’t mean that what they’re saying isn’t hate speech.
These are not people you want to be defending.
I entirely disagree with his views, but I find it wildly inappropriate to somehow conflate his views with his work. In no other professional discipline would this line be as blurry as it is in tech. Can you imagine an aerospace engineer refusing to use an engine designed by someone with different moral/religious/political beliefs?
The point is not to debate his particular views - the point is that such a debate belongs in politics and not anywhere near a software project which translates one language into another.
For example, an engine like the Saturn V designed by Wernher von Braun?
Don't say that he's hypocritical,
Say rather that he's apolitical.
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun.
- Tom Lehrer "Wernher von Braun"
I assume you raised that example because the Lehrer song is criticizing the hypocrisy of the US, for being willing to work with an engineer who will happily build tools of mass murder for the highest bidder. It is certainly relevant in that light. The US did not refuse to use the results of his aerospace engineering, and by everyone’s testimony benefited enormously from them - and was justly criticized for it.
I guess, even though it’s tangential to the thread, I should mention that the song is somewhat unfair to von Braun. The easily-knowable parts are detailed on his Wikipedia page. What I get from it is that he genuinely had a change of sympathies during the war, but that fundamentally he viewed the military conflict as less important than goals of futurism. This is most evident in his efforts after the war - certainly the appropriate time for them - to advocate for a permanent human presence in space.
Fritz Haber (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haber) is perhaps an even better example here.
Perhaps. From what I understand of his life as described there, he never offered his work to the allies. Certainly a story of personal change, but I don’t see the relevance to the topic of how a person’s work and their other actions affect each other.
That’s a fascinating thing for him to have received a Nobel prize for, considering the reason the prize was established, by the way!
Regrettably, a lot of times the reasonable, good, kind-hearted people aren’t the ones who need defending.
If only we could choose our battles…
Flagged as off-topic.
This isn’t about tech–at its most charitable reading, this is a raging argument about whether or not it’s reasonable to throw people out of codebases because of opinions and speaking topics elsewhere.
There is literally nobody here who looks good:
There is nothing good here. People will either agree or disagree, arguing in circles either way.
This whole damned thing is unprofessional.
If you are a maintainer nowadays, you need to be measured in your responses. A simple “Thank you for your concern, but as <whoever> is a long-contributing and respected member of this project, we won’t be taking action unless there’s discrimination against other contributors here in connection to this work. At that time, we’ll of course come down like a ton of bricks.” Or something even more level-headed. meh fucked that up royally, and I have no idea why they thought it was a good idea.
Other side note:
Hans Reiser was convicted of killing his wife, and honestly the only reason a lot of people don’t use ReiserFS anymore is that he’s unlikely to be able to provide updates for it.
If you are doing work for a customer, and they say “I need to convert Ruby to JS, as quickly and reliably as possible”, and you decide not to use $library (meeting those requirements) because one of the maintainers said some nasty things on twitter…guess what? You’re screwing your client because of a personal bias. Unless they specifically asked for organic, free-trade, privilege-free code, they are having their product compromised by your politics.
Another side note:
Between this, the Brendan Eich debacle, and the dude that was uninvited from a conference because of some racist screed on twitter or something, after their talk was already accepted, I’m getting a bit perplexed.
How many folks have been censured or uninvited from conferences because of skin color? Sex? Gender? What is the track record, exactly?
In the other corner, however, how many decent technologists have been affected because of these witch hunts?
For so many proponents of free speech and identity and whatnot, the intolerance seems to be pretty much flowing one way.
People here (here!) are saying they’ll base their technological decisions on things orthogonal to the technology.
I base plenty of decisions on issues orthogonal to their immediate concern. Everyone does. I probably wouldn’t eat at a restaurant if I knew it hosted twice-monthly KKK meetings. I probably wouldn’t hang a painting on the wall if I knew it were created by John Wayne Gacy or Adolf Hitler. Why should technology be any different?
Congratulations: you’re behaving sub-optimally.
Also, consider things from the other angle–Hitler and Gacy did a lot of terrible things…is it not better, in the grand scheme of things, to try and recoup some of that evil by helping make people happy if they enjoy the paintings?
Is there some kind of moral imperative that we throw out all the good a person or group can do just because we disagree with their policies elsewhere? I doubt it.
We should be practical and forgiving, and salvage what we can.
Not a hypothetical. I have occasionally been asked to eat at Chick-Fil-A, by people who didn’t know the company’s history and were completely uninterested in learning. Suffice to say I decided neither the food nor the people were worth it.
The fries and shakes are pretty good though, for fast food. Plus, they at least give their employees Sundays off.
I respect your position, but there’s something that bothers me about judging these vendors on merits other than their product. Least of all, because it means that if any of us build something cool and helpful but go against the zeitgeist of the times, we’ve helped establish a culture where that’s acceptable.
The only saving grace of staunch capitalists is that, when money is on the table, they do the profitable thing–even if that means hiring people whose skin they despise, paying people whose religion they deplore, or otherwise compromising their “beliefs” so that they can realize an advantage.
I’d be sad if that went away.
They actively donate their revenue to politicians in support of legislation that would make it illegal for me to live. That is all I have to say.
I’d love to chat about this a bit more, if you’d feel comfortable doing so. Email is in my profile.
Think about this. Support for gay rights splits along age lines. Wind back the clock, and support for the civil rights movement was split along similar lines. History suggests that in 20-30 years you’ll be the one with an incorrect belief, and have to choose between having a career or speaking your mind.
When the consensus of society shifts in a direction I disagree with, I stop and consider whether I might be wrong.
It upsets me that historically, I can’t express this willingness to accept change without it being somehow viewed as incendiary.
EDIT: (and reversal) 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.
The reason I flagged this as off-topic is that, honestly, I don’t expect there to be much useful stuff to say about this.
People either believe that code matters, or people believe that collaboration and openness and tolerance matter–some claim that both matter, but then cases like these come along. Anyways, there won’t be any productive discussion here in either case, and instead we’ll just end up with long threads and subthreads of people shouting past each other.
Even as I write this, the strongloop debacle is up at the top. Look at that–now we’ve got two slots being devoted to !tech.
Do you want ants? This is how we get ants.
This “new reality” is only coming about because people keep deciding “oh, wow, we must give these things air time”, despite the forgone conclusion that it a) won’t fix anything and b) will only continue to strengthen the meme that the way you get what you want is not by writing code but instead by griping on the internet and social media.
By allowing these threads, we’re part of the problem.
I’m not sure there’s anything like a consensus on either A or B.
Are you talking about reproductively viable worker ants? I don’t want them.
These things are toxic and the barrier to what counts as a useful discussion topic about them should be increased to at least where this doesn’t get posted. So I agree with you. (Lobste.rs is way better than the average still)
However your point might have been stronger had you not actually taken a position on the topic in the same comment.
I’m very interested in ‘community’, online and offline and I think there are two critical issues:
Rather than get dragged down in the specific issues in this situation that was poorly opened and addressed, I’d love to hear lobste.rs opinions on these questions.
These questions frame it strangely. Before I go into why, my answers:
I’ve heard strong cases for both, and I don’t think any one answer is right for all groups. The most important thing I’d consider is to what extent the community exists already vs. is something that needs to attract people before it can be anything.
Another big thing is to think about whether there are core things you expect most participants to have in common, and, if so, whether those things are going to attract outside attention from people looking to behave abusively.
I hesitate to raise this example because it’s a widely-hated forum, but /r/raisedbynarcissists has an extremely strict policy that you can’t even express support for abusers. By its nature, it frequently gets visits from people who have snooped on their victims' computers and discovered that it’s where they go to escape, so it doesn’t matter how “hypothetical” or “balanced” they are, they need to be kept far, far away.
Now, to why I find these the wrong questions - first off, a software project is a bit more than a community. I don’t see Opal as analogous to lobste.rs or even to Hacker News, because it’s publishing a collaborative work, first, and everything else second. Yes, the regular contributors form a community, and community issues pertain to it, but they aren’t the only ones.
The other big thing here is that “the right to decide how it’s run” is great, but nobody’s claiming they have authority to force anyone to change this stuff. This is outside criticism. I am sympathetic to the point that, by piling on such a long thread on the project’s own issue tracker, the criticism borders on harassment in this case. I haven’t come to a conclusion there. I’ll note that project administrators on GitHub can close threads to further comment, these days, and that that came about as a result of anger on a highly-visible pull request last year where the sides were reversed.
If the thread is closed and the topic is pursued by opening another issue, then I’d call that clear-cut over the line, and I hope nobody involved in this does that. But criticism on Twitter happens to everyone, and as long as it doesn’t @-mention the parties involved, that’s working as intended. And yes, sometimes that criticism is of other people’s contradictory criticism. That’s how it works. When one side starts to complain loudly about being silenced, that’s when you know public opinion has reached a decision. :)
The questions that actually pertain here are:
I’m certain many believe the answer is “no”, or this wouldn’t be a topic of conversation. I don’t understand that position. It’s always tempting, when I hear things that sound like it, to conclude that there’s another motivation not being mentioned because it’s uglier.
I’d never accuse any individual of that; I can’t actually know it, and if it were true it would still be a completely unproductive way to take the conversation. (What are they going to say - “Yes, I’m a bigot, I guess I was wrong?” The far more likely response is “Yes, I’m a bigot, and you sound a lot like the group I’m bigoted against. Maybe I should advocate hate crimes against you, too.”)
A few places on this thread I’ve seen the opinion that it’s not effective. This was coupled with “… and therefore stop doing it, because it’s causing harm”. I tend to think that the “harm” is the intended effect.
There’s also a tangential issue, touching on identity, reputation and trust systems, which in my opinion are critical to the unfolding of these types of situations:
I think the ability to positively discriminate in this way is important - the weight and the communal trust embodied in a wise elder, a domain expert, a respected peer, etc. means that their input surely must carry more weight in these kinds of heated, high volume, many voiced, situations.
Wow. +23, -22 off-topic, as of this writing.
I can’t help but feel that a topic that’s had 55 votes in all is certainly something people here care about, even though the net score is 1.
I almost wonder if off-topic votes shouldn’t count if the people making them then make more than one post on the topic they just asserted they don’t want to talk about. :) One post, because as a courtesy some of us do choose to explain why we downvoted.
That would make the vote meaningless, though, and so would the other obvious remedies I can think of. So I don’t advocate any change to how it works now. But, wow.
I have a few thoughts on this.
Firstly, it is awful to be trans in America, and worse in may other places. Secondly, this awfulness is perpetuated by views like the ones expressed on the twitter post that provoked that thread. Having one’s legitimacy as a person questioned constantly is not healthy. To go back to the example expressed in numerous other places, remarkably few Christians commit suicide as a result of being told they are “denying reality” over and over again. Remarkably many trans people do.
I do think it is reasonable to have qualms with using a product controlled by people with very different moral views than one’s one, especially when those views seem particularly bad. I would not want to use, and possibly induce a dependency on, the software of someone who thought I was delusional, and likely treated me correspondingly. I would not want to give my time to this project, tell my friends to use it, or generally endorse it. I would likely also do the same thing if my friend was treated in such a way by a maintainer.
I cannot force Elia to change his beliefs, I cannot force the owner to remove him, or even add a code of conduct, as was suggested, and (rather rudely) dismissed. But at the same time, the core team is an integral part of an open source project, and while Elia remains on Opal’s, I will never use it, and I hope others will do likewise.
I would not want to use, and possibly induce a dependency on, the software of someone who thought I was delusional.
I thought about this long and hard, and I concluded that I cannot afford this. I am an atheist, and many great softwares are written by born-again Christians, Mozilla Firefox for example. Even if I restrict myself to boycott softwares written by extremely religious people, I would miss too much software.
If you can avoid softwares written by people with views very different from you, great! Good for you! On the other hand, that soulds like a luxury and a very privileged position to find oneself in.
It seems like you are a non-user who will remain a non-user, is this correct?
My concern is when people who have contributed NOTHING come in and want to control the people who have actually contributed. Open Source projects live or die by contributions, this is a simple fact. Contributors are the most rare asset on any open source projects, there seems to be a new wave of people who contribute nothing but want to enact control of projects from the outside, which I find very distasteful, regardless of they are transgender, religious fanatics or flat-Earth believers.
Just thinking but… let us assume that the Opal’s project leader, after reading the original report, decides to remove the developer from Github’s authorised contributors. It would be a totally valid choice to close the issue.
But then, what would happen to any further pull-requests from this person? Would they be discarded regardless of their value?
That thread was completely horrible to read. Not just because of the stereotypical gender views exhibited there but also in the sheer lack of respect for other people. The OSS world will be a better place when we can all agree to play like grownups rather than acting with such disrespect.
I bet I’m not the only person to mentally note to stay away from Opal as a result of this thread.
I bet if we looked hard enough, we’d find objectionable views and claims by contributors to all major software projects. If one decided to not use projects where some contributors made sexist, racist, homophobic comments, we wouldn’t use very much software. Also, I’m quite sure if instead of making disgusting claims about transgender people, the contributor made the same sort of remarks against Catholics or against pedophiles, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
People spent actual time participating in this thread………
Here is what I think would probably have been a reasonable response by meh, the project leader:
Thank you for the notice. I find Elia’s stance on this topic objectionable and do not in any form endorse it. Should I ever find Elia’s attitude to manifest in his contributions to the project, or to affect his interactions with people related to this project, then he will be removed at once.
Maybe. I don’t know. I have been giving this much thought for a long time (far before the current incident) and not found answers yet.
Because I am deeply uncomfortable with this newly prominent phenomenon of reactionary liberal culture. Now there’s two epithets I didn’t think could describe a single person; but oh, they can. And what pain and despair this realisation has been.
But akin to how the answer to the objectification of women in media cannot be to step up the objectification of men, so do I disbelieve that the fact that those in a position of privilege can wield oppressive power over those without (or lesser) privilege is to be answered by giving oppressive power to the less privileged also: equal-time bullying for all! (And the crowd roars as one. For all! For all! For all!)
It is, of course, not felt as bullying, in the same tone-deaf manner which makes Elia willing to say in public that transgender people are denying reality.
Everyone quotes Voltaire (or so they think anyway); no one lives him.
There’s clear opposing ideologies of “code is made by people and thus issues relating to people and the way they interact are issues” and “code is the only thing that matters.”
Another point: can we argue with some civility, like adults? The “culture” camp started as somewhat aggressive, offended and confrontational, but were the more reasonable group as I went on, as they generally listened to the others and made points, while the “code” camp started to troll and start to call names, while seemingly ignoring the other side’s points. (This was magnified by the Code of Conduct issue thread running parallel.)
Even if one thinks that only code matters, they have to care about people, because only people write code. From a code-only perspective, allowing transphobic or other bigoted viewpoints that discourage or cut out sections of your potential contributor base is akin to only accepting commits from people for whom the MD5 of their given name ends in an even digit, except that nobody would ever try to defend the latter. (Of course, from a human perspective, the two are not remotely comparable, not least of which because odd-MD5-ers aren’t actually discriminated against in any way shape or form in society at large.)
“Code is the only thing that matters” is an unsurprising position for young cishet white male programmers to take. I used to believe it as well - it’s a natural conclusion from the belief that you are operating in a true meritocracy.
The best disinfectant for this type of brain rot is listening to non-young cishet white male programmers and watching how much harder they have to work in order to be seen as valuable.
Code in open-source is the highest valued commodity. Why? Because it has the highest demand and the lowest supply. Simple economics. A project without code isn’t a project, a project without good code isn’t used, a project without contributors (who write code) is dead.
I don’t understand your point about why code generated by “non-young cishet white male programmers” would be looked at any differently. A lot of times when working with people online, I know neither their race, age, political leanings, sexual orientation or really much of anything outside of a chat room and the code they give the project.
The reason you don’t know those things about people is that until recently, most people who didn’t “fit in” were hiding. There was never a true culture of not caring about individual differences; there was a culture of sweeping it under the rug. Yes, some people sincerely believed it, and still believe it. I used to, but that lasted about as long as it took to acquire some obvious differences myself. :)
Code in open-source is the highest valued commodity.
Until pull requests materialize fully formed from the aether, contributors to an open-source project are the most important thing for the formation and survival of a project. How many open source projects that meet your metrics of “used” and “alive” are truly a one-person operation? Beyond maybe a few wonderful Fabrice Bellard creations, open source projects become vibrant and important because a community of people are motivated to donate their time and effort to improve them.
This seems a pedantic point, but I contend it’s important: code can’t exist without people. Projects that become hostile to potential contributors do themselves a disservice.
A lot of times when working with people online, I know neither their race, age, political leanings, sexual orientation or really much of anything outside of a chat room and the code they give the project.
I find this surprising. Most contributors I’ve worked with on open-source projects don’t code under a pseudonym. I don’t. You don’t.
Ignoring that, again, the best thing to do is to learn from people who live this. There are plenty of examples of how OSS isn’t exactly friendly to folks that don’t look like us.
Did you look at the contributions to Opal? How many outside people do you think it would take to replace the person in question? https://github.com/opal/opal/graphs/contributors
I think this is a case of bird in the hand versus two in the bush. The claim is – if they police all twitter posts and outside ideas by contributors, it will yield more work than the EXISTING PROVEN CODE of a person who has been working on Opal for sometime. I find this claim dubious to the point of it being intellectually dishonest.
You can say – “I want him out cause I don’t like his personal beliefs as expounded on Twitter” – fair point, I disagree but at least it is honest. But saying “I want him out for the good of the project” I find dishonest in the worst type of way – for political reasons, a lie that is well understood to be a lie, but helps “sell” a narrative.
I think there’s some confusion here. I’m addressing calvin’s point on the difference between code the only thing/people are more important.
Frankly I am torn on the “kick him out!” question. I haven’t decided where I stand on that. But I’m not addressing it.
The comment section here is ludicrous and as a trans member of the community I’m honestly frightened.
The problem in question isn’t whether the person’s work should be avoided if they’re terrible, but if they should be avoided if they’re terrible. This isn’t an argument about whether or not opal should be used because a maintainer is transphobic and the other defending him likes casually using homophobic slurs; it’s about, here is this workspace, this repository, and it is a volatile workspace that isn’t safe for many people, while it doesn’t have to be.
Not wanting to be around people like this isn’t just some difference of politics (although the staggering number of people that are willing to pretend in this thread that software and OSS can be/is apolitical is laughable); it’s firstly survival for me (for MANY reasons), and secondly instinct. Spending time around people with unnecessarily inflammatory personalities puts a drain on anybody, mentally and emotionally. Stop bikeshedding topics like this and start actually showing violent community members that their behavior isn’t ok.
What some people, including myself, don’t undetstand is how the opal “workspace” was unsafe. Most of the people demanding expulsion did not have any connection to the project.
It sounds like you want open source projects to serve as a sort of extralegal justice system. What about a developer arrested for a DUI? Should they be expelled to teach them that drunk driving is unacceptable?
No. The open source community as a whole should act to moderate what behavior is acceptable in OSS culture and what isn’t (I’m obviously not talking about actions that happen outside of the community, but behavior that in my experience always spills over into the interactions of the social realm of OSS). The simplest way to do this is to take a firm stance on contributions (although there are other ways, I wouldn’t argue this is the best, let alone the only way to work towards this) since too many community members don’t see anything wrong with comments such as trans people are “not accepting reality” or are too complacent/uninterested to speak up. Expulsion in my opinion isn’t the best thing to do since I believe that personal growth is much more important than simply pretending that someone isn’t there, but that takes a lot of energy, and if the community doesn’t acknowledge that the behavior is unacceptable in the first place, it will continue to happen.
Also, I’d like to address that no, I’m not part of the Opal project (God forbid I be forced to start using ruby lol), but I don’t believe that the moderation of any one project is going to be isolated from the whole of OSS culture, not to mention that Ruby is popular to teach to beginners, so despite me not being directly affiliated with Ruby, that doesn’t stop behavior the Ruby community, or the subcommunities within repositories, doesn’t moderate from directly affecting me or OSS as a whole.
I’m obviously not talking about actions that happen outside of the community, but behavior that in my experience always spills over into the interactions of the social realm of OSS
This it appears is the crux of the matter. Whether or not a tweet can exist outside the community of which the author is a participant.
Could you reference the violence? I didn’t see violence mentioned in the two GitHub issues (941/942) or linked Twitter conversations, but I know I’m not good at searching Twitter and this story has cross-pollinated to other sites.
This is a pedantic difference, so my apologies for not being clear with my wording (also apologies for being so, eh, heated, and using that wording because of it), but I was referring to the tweet in question as violence, as well as the homophobic slurs used by meh. That’s totally up to what you consider “violence” to mean, so it kind of made it unclear.
wow this got crazy quick!
I see comparisons to Brenden Eich, but as far as I know he was actively trying to reduce peoples rights. I’m willing to call trans people by their preferred gender, want them to be able to marry whoever they want, etc, but I don’t see what’s clearly wrong with claiming they’re denying reality.