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    Previously Lobsters has had some of its most fractious threads about codes of conduct and mailing list posts. Please take extra care in this thread to be charitable to your fellow crustaceans. Remember that if you clearly state your views with links to more resources and leave it to readers to judge who’s right, you’ll be a lot more convincing than if you get deep into an escalating back and forth.

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      Thanks a lot for letting this stand. This lack of censorship, more than anything, reminded me why Lobsters is valuable compared to Hacker News.

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      I don’t understand the author’s objection to Outreachy. As far as I can tell, they want to fund some interns from marginalized groups so that they can work on open-source. They are not preventing the author from working on open-source. They are not preventing the author from funding interns he approves of from working on open-source. What is the problem?

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        Outreachy funds members of specific minority groups and would not fund a cisgender white guy’s internship. He decries this as discrimination.

        On this topic, the term discrimination has differing interpretations and it’s very easy for folks to talk past each other when it comes up. It sounds he’s using it in a way that means disfavoring people based on the sex or race they belong to. Another popular definition is that it only applies to actions taken against groups that have been historically discriminated against. This use gets really strong pushback from people who disagree with the aims or means of projects like Outreachy as begging the question, making an assumption that precludes meaningful discussion of related issues.

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          It’s not only that Outreachy would not fund a cisgender white guy’s internship. Outreachy also would not fund Asian minority’s internship. Asian minority is a group that has been historically discriminated against. Outreachy is discriminating against specific minority. In summary, Outreachy is simply discriminating, it is not using alternative definition of discrimination.

          (Might be relevant: I am Asian.)

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            I asked Karen Sandler. This is the reason for the selection of groups:

            <karenesq> JordiGH: I saw the lobsters thread. the expansion within the US to the non-gender related criteria was based on the publication by multiple tech companies of their own diversity statistics. We just expanded our criteria to the groups who were by far the least represented.

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              Thanks a lot for clarifying this with Karen Sandler!

              I think this proves beyond any shade of doubt that Outreachy is concerned with not historical injustice, but present disparity.

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              He had a pretty fair description of where the disputes were coming from. Far as what you’re saying on Outreachy, the Asian part still fits into it as even cultural diversity classes I’ve seen say the stereotypes around Asians are positive for stuff like being smart or educated. Overly positive to the point that suicide due to pressure to achieve was a bit higher according to those sources. There’s lots of Asians brought into tech sector due to a mix of stereotypes and H1-B. The commonness of white males and Asians in software development might be why they were excluded with the white males. That makes sense to me if I look at it through the view they likely have of who is privileged in tech.

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                Yes, it makes sense that way, but it does not make sense in “historical discrimination” sense pushcx argued. I believe this is an evidence that these organizations are concerned with the present disparity, not with the history. Therefore, I believe they should cease to (dishonestly, I think) argue history argument.

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                Well, if you were a woman or identified as one they would accept you, regardless if you were Asian or not. I do wonder why they picked to outreach to the particular groups they picked.

                And you have to pick some groups. If you pick none/all, then you’re not doing anything different than GSoC, and there already is a GSoC, so there would be no point for Outreachy.

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                  You can pick groups that have been historically discriminated against, as pushcx suggested. Outreachy chose otherwise.

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                    To nitpick, I was talking about the term “discrimination” because I’ve seen it as a source of people talking past each other, not advocating for an action or even a particular definition of the term. Advocating my politics would’ve compromised my ability to effectively moderate, though incorrect assumptions were still made about the politics of the post I removed and that I did so out of disagreement, so… shrug

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              For those who are used to privilege, equality feels like discrimination.

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                I think the author’s point is that offering an internship for only specific groups is discrimination. From a certain point of view, I understand how people see it that way. I also understand how it’s seen as fair. Whether that’s really discrimination or not is up for debate.

                What’s not up for debate is that companies or people should be able to give their money however they feel like it. It’s their money. If a company wants to only give their money to Black Africans from Phuthaditjhaba, that’s their choice! Fine by me!

                Edit: trying to make it clear I don’t want to debate, but make the money point.

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                  It is discrimination, that’s what discrimination means. But that doesn’t automatically make it unfair or net wrong.

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                    The alternative is inclusive supply plus random selection. You identify the various groups that exist. Go out of your way to bring in potential candidates of a certain number in each one. The selection process is blind. Whoever is selected gets the help. Maybe auditable process on top of that. This is a fair process that boosts minorities on average to whatever ratio you’re doing the invite. It helps whites and males, too.

                    That’s the kind of thing I push. Plus, different ways to improve the blindness of the evaluation processes. That is worth a lot of research given how much politics factors into performance evaluations in workplaces. It affects everyone but minority members even more per the data. Those methods, an equal pull among various categories, and blind select are about as fair as it gets. Although I don’t know exact methods, I did see GapJumpers describing something that sounds closer to this with positive results. So, the less-discriminating way of correcting imbalances still achieves that goal. The others aren’t strictly necessary.

                    The next scenario is specific categories getting pulled in more than everyone with organizations helping people in the other ones exclusively to boost them. That’s what’s going on here. Given the circumstances, I’m not going to knock them even if not as fair as other method. They’re still helping. It looks less discriminatory if one views it at a high level where each group addresses those they’re biased for. I did want to show the alternative since it rarely gets mentioned, though.

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                      I really agree with this. I was with a company who did a teenage code academy. I have a masters, and did a lot of work tutoring undergrads and really want to get back into teaching/academia.

                      I wanted to teach, but was actually pushed down the list because they wanted to give teaching positions to female staff first. I was told I could take a support role. The company also did a lot of promotion specifically to all girls schools and to try to pull women in. They had males in the classes too, but the promotion was pretty bias.

                      Also I want to point out that I had a stronger teaching background/qualifications than some of the other people put in those positions.

                      I’m for fairness and giving people opportunity, but I feel as if efforts to stop discrimination just lead to more discrimination. The thing is, we’re scientists and engineers. We know the maths. We can come up with better ways to pull in good random distributions of minorities/non-minorities and don’t have to resort to workshops that promote just another equal but opposite mono-culture. If anything you do potential developers a disservice by having workshops that are only women instead of half-and-half. You get a really one sided narrative.

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                        I appreciate you sharing that example. It mirrors some that have happened to me. Your case is a good example of sexism against a man that might be more qualified than a women being hired based on gender. I’ll also note that so-called “token hires” are often treated poorly once they get in. I’ve seen small organizations where that’s not true since the leadership just really believed in being good to people and bringing in different folks. They’re rare. Most seem to be environments people won’t want to be in since conflict or resentment increases.

                        In your case and most of those, random + blind selection might have solved the problem over time without further discrimination or resentment. If process is auditable, everyone knows the race or gender part gave everyone a fair shot. From there, it was performance. That’s a meaningful improvement to me in reducing the negative effects that can kick in when correcting imbalances. What I will say, though, is I don’t think we can always do this since performance in some jobs is highly face-to-face, based on how groups perceive the performer, etc. I’m still uncertain if something other than quotas can help with those.

                        Most jobs I see people apply for can be measured, though. If it can be measured, it can sometimes already be blinded or may be measured blindly if we develop techniques for that.

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                          I agree with these comments, plus, thanks for sharing a real life example. We are definitely fighting discrimination with more discrimination doing things the current way. For a bit I’ve thought that a blind evaluation process would be best. It may not be perfect, but it seems like a step in a better direction. It’s encouraging to see other people talking about it.

                          One other thought- I think we as society are handling race, gender, age, etc problems wrong. Often, it’s how a certain group ‘A’ has persecuted another group ‘B’. However, this isn’t really fair for the people in group ‘A’ that having nothing to do with what the other people are doing. Because they share the same gender/race/whatever, they are lumped in. Part of this seems to be human nature, and it’s not always wrong. But maybe fighting these battles in more specific cases would help.

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                          I think the problem here is that whites and males don’t need extra help. They already get enough help from their position in society. Sure, equal distribution sounds great, but adding an equal amount to everyone doesn’t make them equal; it doesn’t nullify the discrepancy that was there before. Is it good to do so? Yes, of course, but it would be better served and better for society to focus on helping those without built-in privilege to counteract the advantage that white males have.

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                            There are lots of people in bad situations who are white and male. Saying someones race and gender determines how much help someone has had in life seems both racist and sexist.

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                              I’m not saying that it applies in all circumstances. But I am saying that they have a much larger support structure available to them, even if they didn’t get started on the same footing as other examples.

                              It’s not directly because of their race and sex, it’s because of their privilege. That’s the fundamental difference.

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                                I don’t even know how much it matters if it was true. Especially in rural or poor areas of white people. Their support structure is usually some close friends, family, people they live with, and so on. Often food stamps, too. Their transportation or Internet might be unreliable. Few jobs close to them. They have to pack up and leave putting themselves or their family into the unknown with about no money to save for both the move and higher cost of living many areas with more jobs will entail. Lots of drug abuse and suicide among these groups relative to whites in general. Most just hope they get a decent job where management isn’t too abusive and the lowish wages cover the bills. Then, you talk about how they have “a much larger support structure available to them” “because of their privilege.” They’d just stare at you blinking wondering what you’re talking about.

                                Put Your Solutions Where Your Ideology Is

                                Since you talk about advantages of privilege and support structures, I’m curious what you’d recommend to a few laypeople in my white family who will work, have basic to good people skills, and are non-technical. They each have a job in area where there aren’t lots of good jobs. They make enough money to make rent. I often have trouble contacting them because they “have no minutes” on their phones. The areas they’re in have no wired Internet directly to renters (i.e. pay extra for crap), satellite, spotty connections, or they can’t afford it. Some have transportation, others lost theirs as it died with four digit repairs eclipsing 1-2 digits of surplus money. All their bosses exploit them to whatever extent possible. All the bosses underschedule them where the work couldn’t get done then try to work them to death to do it. The schedules they demand are horrible with at least two of us having schedules that shift anywhere from morning to evening to graveyard shift in mid-week. It kills people slowly over time. Meanwhile, mentally drains them in a way that prevents them learning deep stuff that could get them in good jobs. Most of them and their friends feel like zombies due to scheduling with them just watching TV, chilling with friends/family, or something otherwise comfortable on off days. This is more prevalent as companies like Khronos push their optimizations into big businesses with smaller ones following suit. Although not among current family now, many of them in the past worked 2-3 jobs with about no time to sleep or have fun just to survive. Gets worse when they have an infant or kids.

                                This is the kind of stuff common among poor and working classes throughout America, including white people. Is this the average situation of you, your friends, and/or most white males or females you know of? These people “don’t need help?” I’m stretching my brain to try to figure out how what you’re saying fits their situation. In my view, they don’t have help so much as an endless supply of obstacles ranging from not affording bills to their evil bosses whose references they may depend on to police or government punishing them with utility bill-sized tickets for being poor. What is your specific recommendation for white people without any surplus of money, spotty Internet, unreliable transportation, and heavily-disrupted sleep?

                                Think quickly, too, because white people in these situations aren’t allowed much time to think between their stressful jobs (often multiple) and families to attend to. Gotta come up with solutions about on instinct. Just take the few minutes of clarity a poor, white person might have to solve a problem while in the bathroom or waiting in line at a store. It’s gotta work with almost no thought, energy, savings, or credit score. What you got? I’ll pass it on to see if they think it’s hopeful or contributes to the entertainment for the day. Hope and entertainment is about the most I can give to the person I’m visiting Saturday since their “privilege” hasn’t brought them much of anything else.

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                                  I’m not saying that it’s applicable in every situation; I am specifically talking about the tech industry. I don’t think it’s about prejudice in this case. I think it’s about fixing the tech culture, which white males have an advantage in, regardless of their economic background. White males don’t always have privilege, that would be a preposterous claim. But it’s pretty lopsided in their favor.

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                                    I am specifically talking about the tech industry.

                                    It’s probably true if narrowed to tech industry. It seems to favor white and Asian males at least in bottom roles. Gets whiter as it goes up. Unfortunately, they also discriminate more heavily on age, background, etc. They want us in there for the lower-paying stuff but block us from there in a lot of areas. It’s why I recommend young people considering tech avoid it if they’re worried about age discrimination or try to move into management at some point. Seems to reduce the risk a bit.

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                                    Your comment is a great illustration of the danger of generalizing things on the basis of racis or gender, mistakenly classifying a lot of people as “privileged”. Ideally, the goal of a charity should be to help unprivileged people in general, for whatever reason they are unprivileged, not because of their race or gender.

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                                    “It’s not directly because of their race and sex, it’s because of their privilege. That’s the fundamental difference.”

                                    But that’s not a difference to other racist/sexist/discriminatory thinking at all. Racists generally don’t dislike black people because they’re black. They think they’re on average less intelligent, undisciplined, whatever, and that this justifies discriminating against the entirety of black people, treating individuals primarily as a product of their group membership.

                                    You’re doing the exact same thing, only you think “white people are privileged, they don’t need extra help” instead of “black people are dumb, they shouldn’t get good jobs”. In both cases the vast individual differences are ignored in favor of the superficial criteria of group membership. That is exactly what discrimination is.

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                                      You’re right in that I did assume most white males are well off, and it is a good point that they need help too. However, I still think that the ideas of diversifying the tech industry are a worthy goal, and I think that having a dedicated organization that focuses on only the underrepresented groups is valuable. I just don’t think that white males have the same kind of cultural bias against them in participating in this industry that the demographics that Outreachy have, and counteracting that is Outreachy’s goal. Yes, they are excluding groups, but trying to help a demographic or collection of demographics necessarily excludes the other demographic. How could it work otherwise?

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                                  Why exclude Asians then? Do Asians also already get enough help from their position in society?

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                                    Asians are heavily overrepresented in tech. To be fair, the reason we are overrepresented in tech (as in medicine) is likely because software development (like medicine) is an endeavour that requires expertise in challenging technical knowledge to be successful, which means that (unlike Hollywood) you can’t just stick with white people because there simply aren’t enough of them available to do all the work. So Asians who were shut out of other industries (like theatre) flocked to Tech. Black men are similarly overrepresented in the NBA but unfortunately the market for pro basketball players is a bit smaller than the market for software developers.

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                                      Do they exclude Asians? I must have missed that one. I don’t think excluding that demographic is justified.

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                                        Do they exclude Asians?

                                        Yes they do. Quoting Outreachy Eligibility Rules:

                                        You live in the United States or you are a U.S. national or permanent resident living aboard, AND you are a person of any gender who is Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

                                        In my opinion, this is carefully worded to exclude Asians without mentioning Asians, even going so far as mentioning Pacific Islander.

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                                  It’s a simple calculus of opprotunity. Allowing those who already have ample opprotunity (i.e. white, cis, males) into Outreachy’s funding defeats the point of specifically targeting those who don’t have as much opprotunity. It wouldn’t do anything to help balance the amount of opprotunity in the world, which is Outreachy’s end goal here.

                                  It’s the author’s idea that they deserve opprotunity which is the problem. It’s very entitled, and it betrays that the author can’t understand that they are in a priviledged position that prevents them from receiving aid. It’s the same reason the wealthy don’t need tax cuts.

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                                    Outreachy’s end goal seems to be balancing the amount of opportunity in the world for all, except for Asian minority.

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                                      Each of us gets to choose between doing good and doing best. The x is the enemy of the y. If Outreachy settles for acting against the worst imbalance (in its view) and leaving the rest that’s just their choosing good over best.

                                      You’re also confusing their present action with their end goals. Those who choose “best” work directly towards their end goal, but Outreachy is in the “good” camp. By picking a worst part of the problem and working on that part, they implicitly say that their current work might be done and there’ll still be work to do before reaching the end goal.

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                                    What’s not up for debate is that companies or people should be able to give their money however they feel like it.

                                    That is debatable. But, I too think Outreachy is well within their rights.

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                                    I’m not going to complain about discrimination in that organization since they’re a focused group helping people. It’s debatable whether it should be done differently. I’m glad they’re helping people. I will note that what you just said applies to minority members, too. Quick example.

                                    While doing mass-market, customer service (First World slavery), I ran an experiment treating everyone in a slightly-positive way with no differences in speech or action based on common events instead of treating them way better than they deserved like we normally did. I operated off a script rotating lines so it wasn’t obvious what I was doing. I did this with different customers in new environment for months. Rather than appreciation, I got more claims of racism, sexism, and ageism then than I ever did at that company. It was clear they didn’t know what equal treatment or meritocracy felt like. So many individuals or companies must have spoiled them that experiencing equality once made them “know” people they interacted with were racist, sexist, etc. There were irritated people among white males but they just demanded better service based on brand. This happened with coworkers in some environments, too, when I came in not being overly selfless. The whites and males just considered me slightly selfish trading favors where a number of non-whites or women suspected it was because they were (insert category here). They stopped thinking that after I started treating them better than other people did and doing more of the work myself. So, it was only “equal” when the white male was doing more of the work, giving more service in one-way relationships, etc.

                                    I’d love to see a larger study done on that kind of thing to remove any personal or local biases that might have been going on. My current guess is that their beliefs about what racism or sexism are shifted their perceptions to mis-label the events. Unlike me, they clearly don’t go out of their way to look for more possibilities for such things. I can tell you they often did in the general case for other topics. They were smart or open-minded people. Enter politics or religion, the mind becomes more narrow showing people what they want to see. I spent most of my life in that same mental trap. It’s a constant fight to re-examine those beliefs looking at life experiences in different ways.

                                    So, I’m skeptical when minority members tell me something was about their status because I’ve personally witnessed them miscategorizing so many situations. They did it by default actually any time they encountered provable equality or meritocracy. Truth told, though, most things do mix forms of politics and merit leaning toward politics. I saw them react to a lot of that, too. I’m still skeptical since those situations usually have more political biases going on than just race or gender. I can’t tell without being there or seeing some data eliminating variables what caused whatever they tell me.

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                                      So, in your anecdotal experience, other people’s anecdotal experience is unreliable? 😘

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                                        You got jokes lol. :) More like I’m collecting this data on many views from each group to test my hypotheses whereas many of my opponents are suppressing alternative views in data collection, in interpretation, and in enforcement. Actually, it seems to be default on all sides to do something like that. Any moderate listening closely to those that disagree looking for evidence of their points is an outlier. Something wrong with that at a fundamental level.

                                        So, I then brought in my anecdotes to illustrate it given I never see them in opponents’ data or models. They might be wrong with their anecdotes right. I just think their model should include the dissent in their arguments along with reasons it does or doesn’t matter. The existence of dissent by non-haters in minority categories should be a real thing that’s considered.

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                                        I think that the information asymmetry that you had with your anecdotes affected some of the reactions you got. For one, if someone considers your actions negative in some way, they are conditioned by society to assume that you were being prejudiced. If your workplace was one that had more of a negative connotation (perhaps a debt collection service or what have you) that goes double. That’s a reason for the percieved negativity that your white male colleagues didn’t even have to consider, and they concluded that you were just being moderately nice. Notice that you didn’t have to be specifically discriminatory, nor was it necessarily fair. It’s just one more negative thing that happens because prejudice does exist. I would imagine that you would not have so many negative reactions if you explained exactly what you were doing vis-a-vis the randomization of greetings and such. I think I would discount percieved discrimination if someone did that to me.

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                                      Yes, it’s a ludicrous hissy fit. Especially considering that LLVM began at UIUC which, like many (most? all?) universities, has scholarships which are only awarded to members of underrepresented groups–so he’d have never joined the project in the first place if this were truly a principled stand and not just an excuse to whine about “the social injustice movement.” (I bet this guy thinks it’s really clever to spell Microsoft with a $, too.)

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                                        That jab “Microsoft with a $” was really uncalled for. You have no evidnece of this. Please stop.

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                                          The point is a bit bluntly made, but it’s for a reason. There’s a certain kind of internet posting style which uses techniques like changing “social justice movement” to “social injustice movement” to frame the author’s point of view. Once upon a time “Micro$oft” was common in this posting style.

                                          For extreme cases of this, see RMS’ writing (Kindle=Swindle, etc).

                                          (The problem with these techniques, IMO, is that they’re never as clever and convincing as the person writing them thinks that they are. Maybe they appeal to some people who already agree with that point of view, but they can turn off anyone else…)

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                                            I think there is a difference here. “Microsoft” is not framing any point of view. “social justice movement”, on the other hand, is already framing certain point of view. I think “social injustice movement” is an acceptable alternative to “so-called social justice movement”, because prefixing “so-called” every time is inconvenient.

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                                        Without more info it seems persecution complex.

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                                        What a rollercoaster. First, I was concerned. Then interested. Then, I was struggling to figure out the problem. Then laughter. Then sadness.

                                        Am I wrong here:

                                        1. Outreachy would potentially fund people to work on llvm / internships
                                        2. It doesn’t cost LLVM any money or resources to be a part of Outreachy
                                        3. No one is even participating in llvm outreachy https://www.outreachy.org/communities/cfp/llvm/

                                        Seems rather overblown and dramatic. Maybe the drama was the point? I’m seeing a lot of ‘one-size-pie’ people. We can grow the pie! There is an infinite pie here!

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                                          It doesn’t cost LLVM any money or resources to be a part of Outreachy

                                          Besides the mentor’s time. Other than that I think you’ve accurately summarized this teapot tempest.

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                                            In summary, LLVM got nothing, but also lost a contributor who contributed a lot to LLVM for more than 10 years. What a disaster.

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                                              Perhaps LLVM gained in the sense that they lost someone who promoted toxic working culture. My only data is this letter though - I wonder if there are any other primary sources.

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                                                Chris Lattner himself posted a primary source, which is now merged to this thread. I recommend reading it.

                                                You have no evidence of Rafael promoting toxic working culture. This is bordering on libel. I have been on llvm-dev since 2007 and my experience indicates otherwise.

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                                            I’m sad after reading these comments.

                                            I understand and respect his decision, and these comments themselves are the very evidence why he is right. How about having OpenSource simply about openness and source? Why do politics and ideologies have to always appear?

                                            Maybe a new manifesto is needed, much like the Agile manifesto:

                                            • Individuals and interactions over group identities and categories of people
                                            • Working software over ideologies and codes of conduct
                                            • Respecting each other regardless anything
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                                              Why do politics and ideologies have to always appear?

                                              Ideologies are always there. You only notice them when they’re different from your own.

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                                                Perhaps the point is that some people would like a safe space for focusing on technical matters rather than every single open source and free software community getting politically co-opted into a culture war.

                                                Wanting a community focused on technical work and otherwise treating people equitably isn’t “apolitical”, you’re right, but that doesn’t make it invalid.

                                                I choose to focus on helping people who came from a similarly disadvantaged background as myself but that’s something I do on my own time and money. I don’t impose it on the software communities I participate in.

                                                I think we need the diversity of participants in free software represented in the communities and organizations. Were that the case, I think I would see more diversity in organizational structures, conduct standards, explicit goals, etc. What I perceive is a corporate-funded monoculture that is getting a bit creepy in the demands placed on others that don’t want to participate.

                                                I’m also starting to notice a social intelligence / neurotypical punching-down in these threads where someone who is less adept at adopting the politically convenient argot of the day gets excoriated for trying to express their discomfort in their own words. It makes me deeply uncomfortable how the members of this community conduct themselves in these threads.

                                                Some of my favorite communities are very engaged with the issues of access in ways that are in keeping with the zeitgeist (e.g. Rust) and do great work in part because of that. Some of my other favorite communities have a different emphasis or approach. I’d like them to co-exist peaceably and for people to do what they are most passionate about, whatever form that takes.

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                                                  You may be right. But what I wanted to express is: I have my ideologies, just like anybody else does, but I believe that open source should only have one ideology, which is about software, collaboration, and not people, or other ideologies. For my taste even the GNU project is too political in many aspects, but on the other hand they have some great pieces of software and those are often governed and built in a great atmosphere. (I can recall a single notable “scandal” that reached me, but the community was generally welcoming, as it is for most software projects.)

                                                  Edit: Or to rephrase it even more: ideology is a system of thought covering most aspects of (human) life. I beleive everyone has a personal world view, that is closer to some pre-canned ideology than to others. Yet software projects should have ideologies of software lifecycle, not of human lifecycle, and those can be very well separated, as my personal life and life at my work can also be separated.

                                                  The etiquette of the global human civilization should be enough to cover the human-human interaction part of the collaboration, as it is for professional interaction in my experience with colleagues from all over the world. We share our vision about software, quality, and work together, while we may disagree on plenty of things, which have no place in the discussion about a software project.

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                                                    Ideologies are always there. You only notice them when they’re different from your own.

                                                    This is a really interesting claim that I’m seeing more and more! I’d love to find some sources that explain the justification for it.

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                                                    I’m genuinely sorry about that. :(

                                                    Unfortunately, some topics always bring out discussion that highlights the leaky abstraction of other lobsters as purely technical beings.

                                                    It’s the strongest argument against certain forms of content here.

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                                                      One of the goals of open source movements is bringing in new people. I don’t think that’s a particularly contentious goal.

                                                      Outreachy is one organization that embodies particular ideas about how best to do that. It’s true those ideas are politically charged, but they’re in service of a goal that is agreed upon. So you can’t effectively pursue the goal of getting new people into open source without taking some kind of stance on the political questions.

                                                      Some political questions (what is the optimal US tax policy) are more or less irrelevant to open source. But others are so pervasive that they can’t be ignored, except by creating a tacit consensus. Even the idea that we should respect each other creates conflicts where people have sufficiently different ideas about what respect means.

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                                                        These goals promote the production of “high quality programs” as well as “working cooperatively with other similarly minded people” to improve open-source technology.

                                                        source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software_movement

                                                        Bringing a specific political agenda to an open source project violates the similarly minded people, or can have the effect of pushing away differently minded people. This is not what respect means in my opinion. I have worked a lot wit differently minded people, and we got along, as we were focusing on the goals. The goals were creating software, not changing society or a community. This moving goalposts is what is bad for OpenSource in my opinion.

                                                        1. 10

                                                          “Apolitical” open source has turned out to be overwhelmingly white and male - significantly more than even the broader software industry. Reference.

                                                          I don’t think there’s any evidence that this demographic skew is deliberate. However once a group is dominated by a certain demographic then it’s easy for people to get the message that this is “not for them”, even if noone says this (and especially if some “bad apples” do).

                                                          I believe that there’s nothing about being white and male that makes the best possible open source software developers, so this demographic skew is a bug not a feature. I believe that the best possible open source community is the one with the biggest group of committed (to creating open source) people involved.

                                                          With this in mind, what can be done to encourage more diversity and bring more people in? There’s no evidence that the status quo (“focus on tech”, etc) will change by itself.

                                                          pushing away differently minded people

                                                          The only people the LLVM CoC will push out is people who repeatedly violate it (and by doing so that person is pushing out other people). Outreachy is bringing people in, it doesn’t push anyone out.

                                                          Someone decided to leave because aspects of the project no longer meshed with their political world view. You see this as “pushed out”, but I don’t really see who is pushing them here (unless there are some CoC violations we don’t know about or something, but AFAIK there aren’t).

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Open source is an explicitly political idea to start.

                                                      2. 27

                                                        I’m glad to see this trend of standing up against poltiical exclusion in Open Source. I assume that the Code of Conduct for llvm was written in good faith, but the continued demonization of political groups (and to some extent, white men) is troubling. Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

                                                        1. 43

                                                          Who is being excluded? How is Outreachy preventing someone from contributing to llvm?

                                                          I remember those days too. “No one” cared because “everyone” assumed you were white, male, and college educated. “There are no women on the Internet” dates back, at least, to the early ’90s.

                                                          As a black male dropout, that was fine for me— I could get involved. No one questioned my capabilities. And as long as I kept up a good impression of being fluent in upper-middle to upper-class white culture, I could build my skills and social capital.

                                                          I also got beat up on the street in front of my grandmother for “showing off” how I could “talk white” at school.

                                                          I also remember, when Pentiums were out, using a pawn shop purchased Apple IIc with a gifted modem. I also remember hacking into dial-up pools to get telnet— haha, as if my machine could talk SLIP or PPP. I remember begging friends from MOOs and IRC for a shell account. I remember having no concept of the disparity between myself and the people with whom I played games, chatted, wrote code, and made friends. They simply had things, and I didn’t.

                                                          I don’t see a problem with choosing to give their time and their money to mentor people who otherwise might not be able to participate. There certainly hasn’t been a problem with people choosing to give their time and their money to people who look like them, sound like them, grew up with them, attend the same church as them, went to the same school as them, are friends with them, enjoy the same movies as them, play the same sports as them, and just happen to be a well-off straight white male. Just. Like. Them.

                                                          1. 5

                                                            I also remember hacking into dial-up pools to get telnet

                                                            Holy crap, you and I are kindred spirits. The terminal-concentrator at the local university dropped you into a command line…you were supposed to then immediately telnet to the VAX on campus, but they didn’t enforce that. I was 13 years old and certainly not a student at said university but boy did I get around using that little trick.

                                                            (This would’ve been like 1993. I’m old.)

                                                            1. 4

                                                              🙏🏾 s/the local university/Sprint/ and that was me too!

                                                              1. 4

                                                                It was an eight year old Amiga 1000 that my dad got at an estate sale for like $20 because it would only boot up about half the time and shut down and random intervals, hooked up to a black and white TV, with an old external 1200 baud modem and a terminal program I got off a disk on the cover of a magazine. I felt like the lord of all creation.

                                                                Man I’m nostalgic now.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Who ever thought we’d make it this far?

                                                            2. 3

                                                              I remember when internet arrived at my hometown. It was 1996. I am not sure such delay was related to skin color.

                                                            3. 46

                                                              There is no whitemend.

                                                              Outreachy isn’t out to make a monster out of you. It’s trying to correct for GSoC. You don’t like Outreachy’s policies, a much smaller, less well-funded org than Google, then go through GSoC and Google. You have lots of other options other than Outreachy.

                                                              The code of conduct doesn’t say anything about how white men are bad. Reading the CoC, if you object that strongly to it that you must leave, then please do! That’s the CoC working as intended. You are deciding to exclude yourself by deciding that what the CoC forbids (i.e. being an asshole) is something that you must be and defend.

                                                              Also, one more thing.

                                                              I wish I could explain to people who are privileged one way or another, that it doesn’t mean your entire life is handed to you in a silver platter. Being a white male doesn’t mean you can’t be poor or can’t be gay (thus discriminated) or that you can’t have a slew of other problems.

                                                              It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                Reading the CoC, if you object that strongly to it that you must leave, then please do! That’s the CoC working as intended. You are deciding to exclude yourself by deciding that what the CoC forbids (i.e. being an asshole) is something that you must be and defend.

                                                                I would disagree with that notion. I think it’s certainly possible to disagree with the CoC or parts of it without being an “asshole as the CoC forbids”. Personally and for example, I would say the “Be welcoming” clause is too exhaustive and could be shortened to “Be welcoming to everyone regardless of who they are and choose to be” which would IMO cover the same topics as it does now. The fifth clause is also way too broad and vague. A simple note that discussion not furthering the the project or it’s software, being NSFW or otherwise non-productive would have achieved the same goal and would give moderators more leeway to deal with troublemakers.

                                                                I specifically wonder why number 6 was necessary. It’s a community of coders, if they can’t understand disagreement I seriously question what is going on behind the scenes that warrants such a rule. Does discussion derail so often into low level sand-flinging?

                                                                Not too long ago I was member of a forum focused around LEGO robots. There were no rules of any kind but plenty of electricians and programmers around, men, women, kids and teens, etc. Everyone was happy to participate and be happy to exchange ideas and code. When there was drama the moderators enacted unspoken rules of the clearly obvious kind. If you insulted someone for no reason you got banned. Same for insulting someone based on their gender. We didn’t need rules for that. It was obvious as day that such behaviour was not something you’d do to have a productive conversation with someone about the intricacies of rubber bands vs gearing.

                                                                1. 8

                                                                  I specifically wonder why number 6 was necessary. It’s a community of coders, if they can’t understand disagreement I seriously question what is going on behind the scenes that warrants such a rule. Does discussion derail so often into low level sand-flinging?

                                                                  Speaking as someone who has over the course of many years, moderated things on the internet. Things like this exist because otherwise someone will come along and say “but you didn’t say”. It’s an unwinabble battle, there will always be a “but you didn’t say” response to something. You try to cover the big things in a broad way so that people have a general idea.

                                                                  I’ve answered many emails as a member of the Pony core team where well meaning people write in to ask “if I do X, would that be against the CoC”. I can’t say that is how every CoC operates, but its how I like them to operate:

                                                                  Here are some ground rules. If you aren’t sure if what you are going to do violates those ground rules, maybe don’t it or ask whoever enforces the CoC.

                                                                  CoC’s are far from perfect. A large amount of that lack of perfection is that they are administered by people. Establishing some ground rules for a community is better than having none. Most communities have a CoC whether they call it that and whether its explicit. Take HackerNews, its called “Guidelines” there. It’s still a statement of some behavior that isn’t acceptable.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I think if someone goes down the route of “but you didn’t say” that would be grounds for getting a mute from the poor moderator they annoyed. At least back in the forum that was how it was handled. Nitpickers aren’t people who tend to keep around once the people in charge hammer them on the fingers.

                                                                    I don’t think Hackernews’ Guidelines are comparable to a Code of Conduct. HN’s book of laws is much more vague and subjective, the word “guideline” already implies a certain amount of softness. Moderators won’t stick to that word-by-word and rather apply common sense on top of the rules. A “Code of X” for me implies a certain rigidness and thoroughness that isn’t present in most of them.

                                                                2. 14

                                                                  The code of conduct doesn’t say anything about how white men are bad.

                                                                  And yet that is how it has been applied. The organisation is funding a scholarship which is very explicitly open to people of some race/gender combinations and not others. I don’t think finding that unconscionable makes someone an “asshole”; quite the opposite.

                                                                  I wish I could explain to people who are privileged one way or another, that it doesn’t mean your entire life is handed to you in a silver platter. Being a white male doesn’t mean you can’t be poor or can’t be gay (thus discriminated) or that you can’t have a slew of other problems.

                                                                  It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

                                                                  Put it this way: I would lay money that, in practice, the average Outreachy scholarship ends up going to someone who has had an easier life than the average open-application scholarship (GSoC or similar). The rhetoric of inclusion is all about underprivileged groups, but somehow the beneficiaries always end up being middle-class college-educated liberals.

                                                                  1. 15

                                                                    The organisation is funding a scholarship which is very explicitly open to people of some race/gender combinations and not others. I don’t think finding that unconscionable makes someone an “asshole”; quite the opposite.

                                                                    Races and genders which are significantly unrepresented in the field they are trying to get them into.

                                                                    There are campaigns and organisations here to try and get more male primary school teachers, because males are significantly unrepresented in primary education. Are the people running those organisations and campaigns “assholes” for discriminating against women, who represent over 84% of primary school teachers?

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      He said although he made hiring decisions based on who was the best teacher, irrespective of gender, it would be great to see more men giving teaching a go.

                                                                      That’s what the non-asshole version of this kind of thing looks like. Marketing the career to a particular demographic is fine. Giving that demographic an unfair advantage is not fine.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        It’s an unfair advantage that’s not even managing to negate the pre-existing unfair disadvantages that certain groups face.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          It’s Simpson’s paradox in reverse: picking an advantaged member of a disadvantage group over a disadvantaged member of an advantaged group is a negative step for equality that sounds like a pro-equality move.

                                                                    2. 6

                                                                      The outreachies I’ve seen have gone to Indian and Eastern bloc girls. You don’t see a lot of those in GSoC.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        Sure. That doesn’t contradict what I said: that the beneficiaries of these efforts end up being disproportionately people from the international college-educated liberal middle class (a group that’s far more homogenous in the ways that matter than most races or genders, though that’s a separate discussion), people who have had an easier life with fewer problems than the people they are displacing, even when those people are white and male.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          Let’s assume you’re right.

                                                                          How does Outreachy working with international college-educated liberal middle class Indian and Eastern bloc girls displace anyone?

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            If LLVM is choosing to fund a scholarship with Outreachy in place of funding one with GSoC, the recipient of that scholarship is displacing the person who would’ve received the GSoC one.

                                                                            1. 9

                                                                              Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it:

                                                                              • LLVM participates in both Outreachy and GSoC.
                                                                              • LLVM doesn’t fund either programme.
                                                                                • Outreachy and GSoC both provide funds for their own programmes.

                                                                              So, neither LLVM nor Outreachy are “displacing” anyone from GSoC.

                                                                              Moreover, no one even signed up for LLVM’s Outreachy! So this is hypothetical “displacement.”

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                                                                                Outreachy doesn’t fund internships, you need to bring your own funding to them. I’m not sure how LLVM is funding their outreachy internships.

                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                  [citation needed]

                                                                                  Because, from their front page:

                                                                                  Outreachy provides three-month internships for people from groups traditionally underrepresented in tech. Interns are paid a stipend of $5,500 and have a $500 travel stipend available to them.

                                                                                  And their sponsor page:

                                                                                  Outreachy internship stipends, travel fund, and program costs are supported by our generous donors.

                                                                                  Same page, “Commonly Asked Questions”:

                                                                                  Q: Who pays the interns? A: The Outreachy parent organization, the Software Freedom Conservancy, handles payments to interns.

                                                                                  Not to make too fine a point:

                                                                                  Q: We have a company internship program. How does that work with Outreachy internships? A: Outreachy internships are completely separate from any other internship program. Outreachy organizers find FOSS communities that are willing to provide mentorship and use corporate sponsorship to fund the internships.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    I guess I don’t see how you’re disagreeing with what I wrote. You need to have funding arranged before you can set up an outreachy internship.

                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                      FOSS community provides mentorship. Corporate sponsor provides funding. Internship = mentorship + funding. Outreachy provides internships.

                                                                                      The money from corporate sponsors goes into a pool that is used for all internships. Outreachy is a funds aggregator.

                                                                                      When you say “you need to bring your own funding to them,” who is the “you?” It’s not the FOSS community. It’s not the internship applicant. Who is it?

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Perhaps the policy changed. When I looked this up in November it was the responsibility of whoever wanted to start an outreachy program for a project to identify a source of funding.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          According to the Internet Archive, in September of 2017, their policy was exactly the same. It’s the same at least back through the last GNOME Outreachy, over a year ago.

                                                                                          Update: I deleted my follow-on questions. This is the kind of back and forth @pushcx warned about.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            Did you see my other comment? Each org needs to find a coordinator who needs to find funding for their org (see under coordinator, here: https://www.outreachy.org/mentor/). That might be in terms of corporate sponsorhip, but outreachy won’t do that for you.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              No I didn’t, I missed your self-reply. Sorry about that!

                                                                                              And, yeah:

                                                                                              Coordinator Duties Before Application Period Opens

                                                                                              • Finding funding for at least 1 intern ($6,500)

                                                                                              That’s clear and conflicts with their other pages. “Perhaps the policy changed” indeed. I put more weight on that page, though, than their more advertise-y ones.

                                                                                              mea culpa!

                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                  I understood LLVM was funding the scholarship but could easily have misunderstood. In any case it’s beside the point: my point goes through exactly the same if we’re talking about the person a hypothetical open-application scholarship would have selected or a person who was displaced as such.

                                                                                  Moreover, no one even signed up for LLVM’s Outreachy! So this is hypothetical “displacement.”

                                                                                  Isn’t it just the opposite? If choosing to offer an Outreachy scholarship rather than some other scholarship meant that instead of getting a likely-less-privileged individual they got, not a more-privileged individual but no-one, that’s an even bigger loss.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    If choosing to offer an Outreachy scholarship rather than some other scholarship […]

                                                                                    They also offer a GSoC scholarship, and there’s nothing to imply Outreachy replaced an alternative rather than being an addition.

                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                      Scholarships don’t grow on trees; surely the fairest comparison to make is offering a scholarship versus offering a slightly different scholarship. (Would you apply the same reasoning if someone wanted to offer a scholarship that was only for white people, say?)

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        I can play this game too, where “displaced” is entirely hypothetical:

                                                                                        • LLVM has displaced compiler developers from gcc!
                                                                                        • My drinking tea tonight displaced a purchase of beer from the bar down the road!
                                                                                        • My mother and father each displaced every other person on the planet born before 1980!

                                                                                        THE INJUSTICE

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Um, yes, it’s 100% fair to compare gcc to llvm, tea to beer, or your mother and father to other people?

                                                                      2. 8

                                                                        It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

                                                                        That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority. Human nature dictates that all groups favor those like them and penalize those unlike them. Examining the politics of non-white nations in World History or current affairs confirm those groups are just as racist in the social systems they create. Examining the actions of black administrators or elected officials show they mostly bring in people like them regardless of what the mix is in their area. The kind of political beliefs behind these Codes of Conduct and privilege assume this doesn’t happen on a large scale by non-whites to whites. The wealth of evidence disagrees with that so strongly that believing in it anyway and suppressing alternative views is comparable to a religious faith. One that damages specific groups while propping up others.

                                                                        Another point folks in favor of those beliefs and CoC’s never bring up is how many minority members disagree with them. The surveys they usually take are almost never worded to assess how many people believe it’s something all groups do to each other. That’s because they’re biased enough to try to just reinforce their own beliefs. In my surveys, I always present both sides asking which they think it is. I rarely meet black or Latino people, majority of minority members in my area, that think structural oppression is only a white thing. It’s so rare out here. Most think all groups do it but that whites are doing it the most. That’s reasonable. Yet, under CoC’s and associated beliefs, their views would be censored as well since they’d be construed as racist (in their definition) or contributing to reinforcement of it. Likewise, any “language” or “terms” that are racist, sexist… scratch that, which their political beliefs without supporting evidence label as inherently racist, sexist, etc. That too.

                                                                        So, I object to these CoC’s that act like a good chunk of minority members’ opinions don’t matter, that ignore the fact that minorities do structural racism/sexism all the time (by default like people in general?), ignore the fact that whites/men they’re addressing might have been the oppressed minority in previous environment (or current), and then build social structures and enforcement mechanisms on top of those damaging, faith-based beliefs. I also say this as a white guy who spent years in black-run schools living a long time in many areas of black-run city working in black-run departments and companies. If I write about my experiences or tell it like a 3rd party, the black people always think the person in the story is black saying the feelings and obstacles are what they endure. When I say they’re white, then type of people I’m countering say, poof!, none of it counts as evidence of racism. That shows it’s politically-motivated maneuvering, not consistent logic.

                                                                        These should be fought in favor of CoC’s that don’t require everyone in America or the World to believe and speak as if one, smaller, vocal group is unconditionally right in all political claims about these matters.

                                                                        1. 14

                                                                          That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority. Human nature dictates that all groups favor those like them and penalize those unlike them. Examining the politics of non-white nations in World History or current affairs confirm those groups are just as racist in the social systems they create.

                                                                          I’m sorry, what are you talking about? I’m from Peru where ‘whites’ are a minority. They are most certainly not discriminated against, quite the contrary. Whiteness is equated to privilege to the extent we have a saying here: ‘El dinero blanquea’, which roughly translates to ‘Money bleaches’.

                                                                          The discrimination comes from factual power, not a head count. Power which was built upon centuries of enslavement and exploitation. Exploitation most members of the white elite minimize and/or are oblivious to.

                                                                          It is the same in other places of South America. Certainly in Brazil, where the author is from.

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                                                                            I’m from Peru where ‘whites’ are a minority. They are most certainly not discriminated against, quite the contrary. Whiteness is equated to privilege to the extent we have a saying here: ‘El dinero blanquea’, which roughly translates to ‘Money bleaches’.

                                                                            I appreciate you sharing your example where one of the minorities has power. That supports my view that it’s highly conditional. Power is one thing that ties into discrimination. Group identity is another. You don’t need centuries of enslavement or exploitation to get one group working for themselves more or against another. It can be a factor, though. Often is. I also noticed you’re mentioning countries where white armies invaded them and their upper classes, not whites in general, did coercive negotiations for trade that benefits them. In this case, it’s real but tied to who did what. You can bet a group invaded by non-whites will also develop some reaction to that group.

                                                                            Whereas around Memphis TN, being white in specific areas won’t get them respect or power due to the slavery that happened in the South. They’ll just get a warning to leave, beat down, robbed, and/or killed. No power. Like with those that invaded Latin America, the power was with a subset of them in high places or any that could get them to act on their behalf. As a civil rights proponent in America, I assure those powerful, white people would try to squash or minimize white people like me when our interests conflict. They hate outsiders even more but I would be treated more like them than your scenario would lead you to expect. I’m still in the outgroup. Just not as far out as Latin America. Same with local blacks or latinos that control specific areas, organizations, businesses, and so on. Being white conveys me large benefits in some contexts, about none in others, kind of negative in others, and violence/death in others.

                                                                            It varies by context is my overall point. It’s not “If white, always this. If non-white, always that.” It’s really complicated. I’m sure I have plenty more to learn about the dynamics of the many groups. Thing is, countering it my way is much simpler than trying to trace it all: being civil, going out of your way to bring in others, accepting each other despite differences, and randomizing/blinding where possible selections/promotions. Increased fairness without further discrimination or hate. It’s simple, but not easy.

                                                                            Edit to all: Other replies will be delayed since I have to work a late shift tonight. Heading out now. Hope yall have a good day and appreciate all the civil replies so far. :)

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              Thank you for the thoughtful response. I get a better sense of what you were getting at. I don’t think I’m qualified to say much more on the matter, I don’t think I have a proper grasp of the dynamics of structural exploitation. But I’d like to add a couple of not fully developed ideas.

                                                                              – Whiteness is sometimes used as a proxy for privilege.

                                                                              – Whiteness is context dependent. My cousin from the US grew up on Pensilvania. Here he is a ‘gringo’, where he grew up he was considered far from white, being called racial slurs when growing up.

                                                                              – It may be a better idea to talk more in other terms w/o proxies. Class politics are more relevant today than race IMHO.

                                                                              – Even in Perú there are some contexts where you can be subject to specific instances of discrimination, but they pale in comparison to the structural discrimination that happens in the day to day basis. Which is why (in the context of Latin America at least) I view focusing on ‘reverse racism’ as a mechanism to distract from the larger and more important problem of structural discrimination.

                                                                              also noticed you’re mentioning countries where white armies invaded them and their upper classes, not whites in general, did coercive negotiations for trade that benefits them.

                                                                              I understand and empathize and partially agree with what you are getting at. Certainly you can’t be held personally accountable for everything action your government does. But at the same time they have to some extent the support of the general public. At best, you are turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering that supports your economy. But then again, it is our (Latin American) governments which are complicit and also responsible for said exploitation.

                                                                              I’m the words of a mining worker, when talking to a college student:

                                                                              – You speak of the gringos you’ve seen in Morococha and Cerro (Mines in Perú). But they are millions. Don’t generalize…

                                                                              – So why do they send those how look down on us, cholos, not like people but like dogs.

                                                                              Another thing, the exploitation of Latin America is not limited to ‘economic deals’ and is not something of the past (But there is more than a fair share to blame on our obsequent governments). In the 90’s US Companies hired henchmen to kill union leaders. The US Goverment (through US-‘AID’) provided logistic support for the mass forced sterilization of millions of women in Perú. Or even this decade, the US government, through the DEA, determines the policy and funds the forceful eradication of coca leaves further contributing to the impoverishment of Peruvian farmers. The Coca plant is legal here and is consumed by many in their day to day.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                I thank you for your detailed response. That was a mix of interesting and pretty sad. I’m going to back up a bit first on one issue since I was using a simplification that you and @stephenr are showing I probably shouldn’t use maybe here or in general. I’ll have to think on it. The actual belief I have about the ingroup vs outgroup dynamic is that they’re just treated differently in a way where it’s often positive to first and negative to second. It doesn’t have to be. I was just going with common pattern since it fits both my experiences and minorities in the U.S. which is mostly the topic around this thread. You’ve both given examples where a white outgroup can be benefit from their status in other countries. Likewise, there’s examples where the ingroup is a rough position with expectations for man or women coming to my mind easiest. One of the worst examples I’ve seen is the tribe that covers people in bullet ants to prove they’re men. I’d rather be the outgroup they look down on forever. ;)

                                                                                On to your comments on exploitation. Far as unions, sterilization, and so on, that’s a side effect of the elites controlling America. They use the media to keep folks under control fighting enemies that aren’t the main enemy. You won’t see the stuff you described on American media much. Instead, it’s stuff that shocks or lets people point fingers temporarily for quick reactions. Next wave of shock happens making them forget what came before that. Americans can’t keep track of history. They can only focus collectively a moment at a time with what’s carefully put in front of them. The parts of the government doing things like you describe are mostly autonomous working for rich and powerful. Those that get voted in do a mix of things they said they’d do and things that appear to benefit their voters with lots of publicity for both. The choices are few with the non-participation and apathy so high that government doesn’t worry about rebellion. It’s kind of a constant rehash of the same games and corruption with businesses getting laws passed benefiting them more and more every year mostly under Americans’ noses since media barely reports on it.

                                                                                So, that’s how that works if you were wondering. When I was young, I never thought handfuls of companies and some government organizations could really control most of several hundred million people with the presence of the Internet, activists getting word out, and so on. Yet, they actually can. They’re also intelligent, focused, well-staffed, and relentless in their pursuits vs masses that are hit and miss on these things with more scattered beliefs, goals, and participation. Just like in this, those fighting over the CoC’s and such aren’t investing effort in joining together against the elites like folks did in MLK days which truly scared them enough to plot murders. If they beat the corruption, they could work law by law, reg by reg, case by case to get a lot done starting with something as simple as due process for workers (I’m union). It takes unity and focus on where the foundational problems are, though, to achieve something like that. Not to knock efforts to improve things elsewhere but we really should be almost all in on dealing with people paying bribes for damaging laws to be passed that give corrupt jurisdictions and companies impunity in their evils. It seems like so much starts right there.

                                                                                Anyway, there’s a lot of people pulling for the folks you describe. They just feel powerless to do anything about it. Also, those that care are so few that giving up products that come from there will change nothing. So, everyone from the consumers to the traders ignore their fleeting thoughts since they need some cheap copper.

                                                                          2. 13

                                                                            I’m not sure how anything you’ve written is relevant to LLVM’s code of conduct. It says; be welcoming of everyone, be considerate, be respectful, don’t make violent threats. All very basic, common sense stuff that the vast majority of people don’t need to a checklist to accomplish. I’m not sure how you went from what is actually written there, to this:

                                                                            The kind of political beliefs behind these Codes of Conduct and privilege assume this doesn’t happen on a large scale by non-whites to whites.

                                                                            Which part of LLVM’s CoC do you think is saying this? Do you think the part about being welcoming of everyone regardless of race is non-white people discriminating against white people?

                                                                            1. 8

                                                                              “Violent threats or language directed against another person. Discriminatory jokes and language. especially those using racist or sexist terms Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.” (my emphasis added)

                                                                              It’s those words that are used to block people based on political beliefs. The kinds of people that push CoC’s often have specific views about what is considered racist, sexist, etc that there’s not a wide consensus on. Any words or behavior will be interpreted in the light of their views. This is double true when they get into the moderation positions, which they often aim for. I don’t have to speculate as I’ve been banned from forums for quoting under my own name minority member’s opinions on minority issues. They were racist, sexist, etc. by their definitions. These policies interpreted however they want are the leverage they use to reinforce their own groups or eject other groups. Advocating for is the last term where anyone even debating whether something was racist or sexist might be construed as supporting the racist or sexist person. That’s happened plenty, too.

                                                                              So, it’s the intent behind the terms along with whose enforcing them, what their beliefs are, and if they’re willing to exclude people with different beliefs on contentious topics. They usually are. So, I oppose those in favor of CoC’s without enforcement of political ideology that focus on people just staying civil, friendly, etc. Those parts of the CoC’s I have no problem with.

                                                                              EDIT to add what I’m fine with since I’d rather not be overly critical of something that’s mostly good:

                                                                              “be friendly and patient, be welcoming, be considerate, be respectful, be careful in the words that you choose and be kind to others, and when we disagree, try to understand why.”

                                                                              Most of the weaseling is built into that “be careful in the words you chose” part. Minus the weaseling, even quite a few points in that section are good. Also note that we don’t have to speculate given Lobsters already has enforcement that’s similar to what I’m advocating for. Our moderators may agree or disagree with people’s political views but haven’t ejected anyone for stating their views with data in a civil way. Our community is still a thriving, functioning community despite any political scuffles.

                                                                            2. 11

                                                                              That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority.

                                                                              I guess you’ve never been to Thailand. Whites are a ridiculous minority, but they’re held in such high regard by a large percentage of the population.

                                                                              Edit: and to clarify, this isn’t the same situation as @PuercoPop’s:

                                                                              Thailand was never colonised, has never been under ‘white’ or ‘western’ rule and was not a ‘source’ for slavery by whites, Heck, whites (without getting Thai citizenship, which, holy shit is that a long process) can’t own land, can’t own more than 49% of a company, etc.

                                                                              Try to find some Thai soap operas on YouTube - notice how all the actors are very pale skinned: they’re all half-Thai, half-white. If they want to show a ‘poor brown girl’ (believe me, their stereotype, not mine) they literally take a Thai/White actress, and use makeup/body paint/whatever to show their version of what anyone else would think of as a ‘natural’ brown skin.

                                                                              I’ve been stopped at police licence checkpoints, and the cop has been so excited just to say hello to a white guy he doesn’t even care if I have a licence.

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                Of course structural oppression isn’t a white only thing. Anyone can discriminate against anyone. And sure, in localized areas some groups can oppress others in different ways than the average. That doesn’t mean CoCs shouldn’t try to prevent racist / sexist conduct.

                                                                                What things do you see in CoCs that minority members disagree with, that unfairly construes their beliefs as racist? Or disregards their opinions? Or ignores that whites/men may have been the oppressed minority in their environment?

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  That doesn’t mean CoCs shouldn’t try to prevent racist / sexist conduct.

                                                                                  I didn’t say that. I said it’s usually interpreted in a way where racist and sexist conduct has definitions that usually mean whites/males can’t experience the negatives, are often responsible for them (supported point in general case), and inherently have the positives. Evidence strongly counters two of those showing it has to be judged case by case, place by place, etc. For instance, the forums dominated by the types of people with that ideology make them the majority with the structural power to include, exclude, oppress, and so on. By their own definitions this is true. Yet, any person in a different group dissenting in such a place will be told they’re the “majority” with “privilege” who wouldn’t understand the… blah blah blah. Actually, at least in that context, they’re a minority getting treated worse than its majority at risk of damaging affects of discriminatory treatment. This plays out in other contexts like school, work, etc. where non-whites or non-males in the majority positions reinforce themselves at others expense. A general pattern.

                                                                                  Far as minority members disagree with, who are the minority members? That’s exactly what I mean. It depends on who you’re talking about in what context. Someone who is a minority member in one environment might be part of the privileged majority in another. The very definitions of who constitutes a minority (absolute vs conditional), what defines racism, who has privilege… these are in dispute across the nation. Many non-white and non-males dispute some of same points, too. So, starting from a specific set of views on it being true with enforcement working from there is already discriminating against all who disagree. They’ve not proven these views with evidence either.

                                                                                  Note: You can try to cheat with legal terms that one side or a group of them got in but treating the law as truth or moral is dangerous. Slavery and women not having rights were legal. So, my definitions are about reasonable categories people are in with their numbers or influence compared to groups of other categories.

                                                                                  The evidence collected on a global scale indicates that all groups in power reward their own and oppress others. So, if by evidence, this stuff will be conditional with every group monitoring themselves for bias boosting their outgroups when they don’t get a fair shake: not just whites or males being monitored with everyone boosting non-whites or non-males in all scenarios. In this country or in tech scene, the results would mostly be boosting non-whites or non-males to correct existing imbalances just on the numbers alone. No argument there. Yet, other things wouldn’t be taboo or inconsistent with the rules: a mostly black or women organization in mixed area with people in other categories having skills would be said to give more privilege to blacks/women, possibly structurally racist/sexist in hiring if ratios of workers vs supply were really skewed, encouraged to diversify, and activist action taken if they didn’t. Just like such people would do with white or male majority structurally reinforcing their own groups.

                                                                                  We don’t see this. Most of the types that push and want to enforce CoC’s frame it as one thing by definition with whites or males on high-privileged/victim-creating side in all situations. That’s dishonest. I’ll take “this happens more often than that” but not “this never happens or we should act like it doesn’t exist.” With that, they can’t eject people for disagreeing with them on what counts as discriminatory language or behavior if it’s something there’s no consensus on by people who otherwise are against a lot of clearly-discriminating behavior. Further, they might be more likely to go with diverse inclusion plus blind evaluation/selection to correct imbalances instead of ignore whites/males much as possible to only focus on everyone else. One is inherently more fair achieving a similar goal.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    But don’t you think that being the privileged majority in the society you live in will have more to do with shaping your experience and fortune in the world than being the privileged majority in an online message board or OSS project?

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      In the spaces I live with, my lack of privilege as a white minority in many contexts has cost me likely mental health, plenty humiliation, confusion, physical beatings, missed dates, missed jobs, missed promotions, and so on. Coworkers locally were just telling me recently about black-run classes singling them out for opposing beliefs. Things they say get an entire room screaming at them to intimidate them into silence on top of whatever penalties teacher might give. More extreme versions of this ideology are going campus to campus all over the place taking on life of their own where students are doing things like holding up signs protesting inferred problems in words or ideas of instructors that are there to help them during class.

                                                                                      Again, I”m white male who doesn’t or can’t have such problems in a structural way according to specific groups in the United States despite the evidence of such things happening with non-white or non-male majorities. The forum example was just easier for people to see where you can tell the white male is not in control, is subject to the whims of others, and can be damaged for that. People causing outgroups problems is totally predictable in my model. That’s not the interesting thing. The interesting thing about the forum example is that the people in control who are the majority continue to describe their limited, powerless target in the same terms like powerful and majority. It doesn’t usually change as the circumstances change. It’s usually politics or religion when people’s beliefs or dictated rules don’t change when data flips by 100%.

                                                                                      So, it’s not what they say it is or consistent. That’s enough reason to resist it. That following it would damage more innocent whites or males making them suffer as so many of us did is even more reason. You could say what motivates me to write these posts isn’t much different as what motivates those on the other side with personal experiences in racism or sexism to write their posts. It’s not “reverse (ism)” so much as all the same evil to me. Once we see and experience the evils, we have to stop them from continuing in any form they’ll take. Another thing I noticed is we seem to do it for others’ sake more than ourselves as we can’t undo what we experienced. We’ll always be a bit fucked up by it. We can maybe stop someone else from having to experience that, though. I want someone else to be everyone instead of “everyone but whites and males.”

                                                                                      As usual, that’s on top of all the non-whites and non-males I care about and try to help. They just get a lot more attention and support than this other cause. Hence it being a focus area you’ll see me on. Plus, having been affected so strongly, that’s a motivational bias of mine on top of it.

                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                        @nickpsecurity, that sucks. You’ve been a victim of structural discrimination. Worse, because it’s not a politically sexy or easily visible form, people continually reject your experience. That. Sucks.

                                                                                        In the past, if I’d heard your narrative, I’d have dismissed you by thinking something like “this white dude forgets he always has the option to leave, unlike …” But that’s unfair.

                                                                                        You’ve been a member of these communities, for years. You’ve been a decent person. You have family, friends, colleagues, social capital, and memories in these communities. To tell you “get up, leave, move on” is to ignore the simple reality that we’re social animals and structural discrimination harms everyone.

                                                                                        Thank you for your repeated posts on this point. At the very least, you got through my thick head. Hopefully, in the future, I can be a better person for it.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          Damn. That means a lot to me you saying that. I sent a private message not long ago about your comments being interesting as usual on these discussions. More than usual with one comment about you getting beat up for talking white to presumably get ahead whereas I was learning early to talk or act black to attempt inclusion in my environment. It’s because some of what you wrote seems like you might have started in similar circumstances as me going in an opposite direction to find yourself with opposite views. Maybe a stretch to say two sides of same coin but that metaphor popped into my head at least. Then, we end up here in this moment on this forum. A trip, eh?

                                                                                          It’s why I fight for flexibility on these topics in these discussions in wherever places I can. It’s painful and costly but the moments I learn from or reach people are worth it to me. I think those moments are critical. Probably gotta get to sleep now as I intended to. I just had to respond to that comment. :)

                                                                                          Edit: Oh yeah, sleepy enough I forgot to say Good Night.

                                                                            3. 16

                                                                              demonization of political groups (and to some extent, white men)

                                                                              I’m a white man in tech and I can count the number of times I’ve been demonized on zero fingers.

                                                                              demonization of political groups

                                                                              The dominant political party in this country has in black and white in its party platform a desire to make same-sex marriage illegal (while simultaneously claiming “government overreach” is a bad thing). If hearing that we shouldn’t punish gay people just for being gay makes you uncomfortable, well…it’s supposed to.

                                                                              (That same party has in its platform a denial of anthropogenic climate change, an existential threat to our civilization; the denial of which has zero scientific backing….but no, we can’t tell them that they’re wrong.)

                                                                              More importantly, the stuff I’m talking about above is also banned. You can’t go to a conference and talk about how “Republicans are stupid”. You’d be asked to leave or at least tone it down.

                                                                              The problem is that a lot of people hear “don’t be an asshole” and they think “man when I tell transgender folks they’re stupid and make jokes about gay people I get called an asshole (totally unjustifiably!) and I might get in trouble. Ugh, SJW’s!”

                                                                              Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

                                                                              I’ve been on the Internet since around 1992. That’s only three years after the very first consumer ISP served its first customer.

                                                                              Was there a large contingent of people who really did believe that? Absolutely, I mean, I was one of them. Were there plenty of racists, sexists, homophobes, and bigots of all stripes? Absolutely. Go look at old Usenet archives from the 80’s and 90’s. Racism, sexism, homophobia abound. There was a long diatribe against same-sex marriage on a Perl newsgroup for some damn reason around 1996; there were plenty of people who chimed in and agreed. Various big names in the early hacker community were famously bigoted (often hiding behind “libertarianism” while simultaneously claiming women and black folks are just inherently inferior and it’s “just science”).

                                                                              The “good old days” are very often viewed through rose-colored glasses. People were people back then too, for all the good and the bad.

                                                                              1. 16

                                                                                Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

                                                                                This was never true. People on the internet have always cared about who you are in ways that factor these things in. The fact that the (largely white) nerd culture contingent who had a lot of influence on the early internet has decided to tell this utopian story does not make it any more true than stories your grandpa tells about respectful children and walking both ways uphill in the snow.

                                                                                1. 23

                                                                                  It’s less that “No one cared what you looked like” and more “Everyone assumed you were a white dude with roughly conformal beliefs, behaviors, and similar.”

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    There’s no contradiction. Both those things were true.

                                                                                2. 12

                                                                                  Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved?

                                                                                  And look where it got us. Toxic subcultures, huge gender inequality in the workplace, software products that simply don’t work for many groups people… The field was biased towards white male hackers from the very beginning, and “not caring” only increased this bias. No, I don’t want to go back to that, I want to fix it.

                                                                                  Updated:

                                                                                  Also, “no one one the Internet cared what you looked like” simply because they technically couldn’t: nicknames and plain text don’t divulge much. As soon as we got real names and YouTube it became obvious that the majority of people care very much about how you look like. So a young girl making a guitar cover or an Ubuntu installation walk-through mostly gets “you’re hot” and “nice boobs” comments.

                                                                                  1. 16

                                                                                    People with privilege have been getting more and more outraged that the world is discriminating against them. They see it as unfair. Yes, it’s discrimination and that sucks. But it’s infuriating when they paint it as unfair, because that implies they’re somehow being disproportionately discriminated against, that the discrimination is unfairly balanced against them. And of course that’s nonsense. These privileged people, intentionally or not, feel they’re entitled to live free from any and all discrimination at the expense of those less privileged.

                                                                                    Remove yourself from the politics and think about a simple model instead of race, sex, gender, or orientation. Just group A and group B.

                                                                                    • members of group A receive 120 points a day
                                                                                    • members of group B receive 80 points a day

                                                                                    Members of group A develop a belief system that they are entitled to their 120 points. When some members of group B try to increase their points to 85, and that lowers the group A points to 119, the members of group A become angry. They say the members of group B are being unfair.

                                                                                    Group A believes that group B should not take any action that decreases their daily points. Group A compares their loss of 1 point to group B’s initial 40 point deficit, drawing a false equivalency. Some subset of A, group A’ deliberately take points from group B members around them to restore their original 120 points. Group A’ claims this is fair.

                                                                                    Group A’ bands together to institutionalize the 40 point difference. Some extreme members of group A’ even try to widen the 40 point difference. Group A’ comes to believe at an institutional level that the 40 point deficit either doesn’t exist, or is somehow natural and fair. Group A’ believes they hold the moral superiority by defending their 120 points.

                                                                                    Members of group B continue to try to elevate themselves, but A’ demands that all work done by group B must benefit group A’ equally. A’ considers this fair. Groups A and B focus on elevating group B rather than bickering with group A’ about whether 1 equals 40. Some members of both groups A and B institutionalize polite exclusion of group A’ just to simplify the whole thing, because they’re tired of bickering.

                                                                                    A vocal minority demonizes group A’ for their actions. Some members of group A find this demonization troubling. A larger and less vocal group of A and B think group A’ is a bunch of fucking douchebags, and start to actively exclude A’ rather than deal with their asinine bullshit. A surprising amount of group A wonders if this exclusion is fair or reasonable. Group B, and an increasing amount of group A, respond “are you fucking joking my ass what the actual fuck?”


                                                                                    If you’re a member of group A, please try to empathize with group B. Next time you feel discriminated against for your group A membership, take a step back and reflect on how you’re feeling in that moment. Try to imagine what it’s like to feel that way every single day of your life, at work, on the street, or in your own home through the media.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      But it’s infuriating when they paint it as unfair, because that implies they’re somehow being disproportionately discriminated against

                                                                                      I think there is more to this implication than you’re letting on, because it makes assumptions about what “fairness” actually means from the person wielding the term. You’ve assumed one definition, but perhaps someone else has another in mind. As a nominal example, consider this implication in different ethical frameworks (say deontological or Kantian ethics versus utilitarian). Is it true in all of them? Alternatively, do you dismiss ethical frameworks in which it isn’t true as nonsense or intractable? Either way, those are important assumptions to state, because your entire comment appears to rest on them.

                                                                                      (I do wholeheartedly agree with your final paragraph, but try my best to perhaps apply it as much as possible, with a healthy dose of perspective taking on all sides. I don’t always succeed!)

                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                      I’m glad to see this trend of standing up against poltiical [sic] exclusion in Open Source.

                                                                                      Me too, I just wish more people would up and leave, instead of stick around and yell about “reverse discrimination” and such. I’m definitely coming at it from a selfish angle (and concern for my friends,) I’m just really tired of people who “disagree” with us existing, at best, and actively harass us at worst. The only way I can participate in open source is anonymously, which means it’s mostly uncredited work. It’s just not worth the toll it takes on my mental health. Of course, whenever possible, I contribute to projects/communities who show that they are aware of these issues, and are actively doing something about it.

                                                                                      Looking forward to the Incorrect, Off-topic, and Troll downvotes.

                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                        I think it’s a loss when someone who can write code leaves a OSS project. I also think that discrimination, which you refer to as “reverse discrimination” in certain contexts, is bad, end of story. I don’t want anyone to be discriminated against. “Contribute good code” is all I ask off people looking to work with me. Politics are boringly unproductive towards that goal.

                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                          I think it’s a loss when someone who can write code leaves a OSS project.

                                                                                          I don’t, if they keep other people away who can also write code. I honestly can’t understand what’s wrong with participating in this, unless you believe (actual) discrimination isn’t real.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            I do believe actual discrimination is real but I think discriminatory internships aren’t the solution as they only lead to problems down the road. It’s great that outreachy is doing it and I believe they honestly think it’s the correct solution but I simply can’t agree on that.

                                                                                    3. 8

                                                                                      Sometimes I wonder why we can’t just sit down and code in peace. Why must we introduce a CoC when it’s sufficient to just ban everyone holding up the coding? Why must we have flame wars on mailing lists because someone did something someone else did not like? Getting philosophical but maybe it’s just human to love everyone but the outgroup.

                                                                                      Open Source is not politics free but it’s a hacker’s ethic, “bring your code and make software better”. All this bureaucratic nonsense doesn’t lead to better code, it only leads to include and excluding developers for reasons other than the quality of their code. Maybe we get an utopia one day where software just gets written and nobody cares why.

                                                                                      CoC blowups always make me so melancholic.

                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                        I sort of wondered about the llvm CoC since it seemed to be one of his core objections…

                                                                                        So I actually went to the trouble of looking it up…

                                                                                        https://llvm.org/docs/CodeOfConduct.html

                                                                                        It’s so innocuous I read it literally three times looking for the problem.

                                                                                        There isn’t one.

                                                                                        I really can’t see anything that could possibly stop you from “bring your code and make software better”, or why there would be any need to violate that CoC whilst doing so.

                                                                                        I can easily/trivially see that people being hurt by violations of that CoC would cease to “bring your code and make software better”.

                                                                                        It certainly would be nice if there were never sufficient violations of that pretty common sense document, or that none of them were severe enough to require any response.

                                                                                        And for the vast majority of devs this is the case.

                                                                                        Alas, it seems in any project big enough, enough people step across that line (or, sort-of like Sheldon from The Big Bang, simply don’t seem to know where the line is), that such a document is required.

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          There isn’t one.

                                                                                          My personal issue is the clause “In addition, violations of this code outside these spaces may, in rare cases, affect a person’s ability to participate within them, when the conduct amounts to an egregious violation of this code”. As written, I am okay with it. But in practice, this “outside clause” has been responsible for more CoC drama than almost any other clauses, so I always advocate to strike this out. I voiced such opinion when Rust CoC and Golang CoC were established. They lack outside clause.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            I’ve detailed some objections in another posts here but I think the fair summary is that the CoC as it’s written is in parts way to specific and in parts too vague.

                                                                                            IMO there is two ways to do a CoC. Either you implement the bare minimum which allows moderators and administrators to apply common sense when enforcing the rules. Or alternatively you implement it as rigid and thorough as you’d implement a lawbook with no room for wiggling or loopholes. Sadly the LLVM CoC seems to be neither, I would prefer the later approach if I was to write a CoC.

                                                                                            But either way, I think it distracts too much from the “bring your code and make software better” mentality, yes. If that simple rule was implemented as the first suggestion earlier, there shouldn’t be any need for more complicated rules.

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              I dare say if the moderator is behaving badly, almost any CoC is not going to be nice… But then the problem is the moderator not the CoC.

                                                                                              In my experience though, the problem is by far the very rare person acting in bad faith mixed in with a larger collection of Sheldonesque borderline Aspie’s who honestly don’t have a clue where the line is.

                                                                                              The Sheldon’s genuinely aren’t trying to hurt people, the just don’t have the social awareness to know when they are.

                                                                                              The Bad Eggs seem to get a perverted buzz from hurting people and then pretending to be Sheldon’s.

                                                                                              The CoC is really there as a tool to sift the Sheldon’s from the Bad Eggs.

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                Just a note though….

                                                                                                I actually don’t like Big Bang Theory.

                                                                                                It’s like laughing at a cripple with a rubber crutch.

                                                                                                A truly socially inept person like Sheldon is hurting himself and those around him all the time, is way more likely to withdraw into social isolation than have a tight circle of friends.

                                                                                                A good CoC and moderator should be less a legal document and cop, and more an aid to help the Sheldon’s function better in their chosen societies.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Sorry for the late reply.

                                                                                                  I don’t disagree fundamentally, I think it might be worthwhile to figure out if someone is a Bad Egg or a Sheldon (although I never watched Big Bang Theory).

                                                                                                  I personally don’t think a CoC is the most effective solution and in the cases where it might be, a lot of organizations choose to pick a badly engineered CoC over a thorough CoC to further a political cause. I don’t think that’s good for orgs that pick good and thorough CoCs, as rarely as that even happens.

                                                                                                  A properly worded legal document and cop should be able to sift out sheldon’s without letting through Bad Eggs, it’s just a lot of effort to get there, effort I also don’t see these orgs willing to put up for a CoC.

                                                                                          2. 6

                                                                                            Some people have a hard time understanding that some programs have a focus, that they want to cause impact in some specific area that they seem important. The important part of having focus is to be able to frame exactly what you want to achieve and with whom you want to achieve it with.

                                                                                            Outreachy is a program that is focused on unlocking agency and empowering under represented groups. Part of being able to do this, is to focus on the group you want to help. Looking at “focus” and perceiving “discrimination” is lacking basic understanding.

                                                                                            You go to a party and gets interested in a specific person and focus your charming efforts at them, you’re not being discriminatory, you have a focus, and objective.

                                                                                            You decide to improve the lives of a fishermans village near where you grow up, but you’re not focused in improving some other village, you’re focused on the fisherman place.

                                                                                            There are many different internship opportunities out there, GSoC, RSoC, etc, just because you’re not a part of their target, doesn’t mean it is discrimination or wrong. I was excluded from 2017 GSoC because I participated more than once already. I don’t think this is discrimination, I understand that they want to focus on “getting new people onboard instead of the same people everytime”. A conference I wanted to go had diversity scolarships which were very generous but I as a white cis middle-class male don’t qualify for them, and guess what, they are right! There are a ton of people who need it more than I do even though I’d love to go there for free.

                                                                                            I am kinda disappointed in the lack of understanding and empathy I see online these days.

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              I think outreachy is fine to donate to whoever they want, a nice thought experiment: how would a white male only scholarship would be received? Or perhaps economically disadvantaged Europeans? Where is the line and why does one exist? If you are fine with one, and not with the other, are you a hypocrite? if not, why not?

                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                Massive kudos to this guy for not putting up with this SJW madness. I wish him all the best!

                                                                                                We at suckless are heavily opposed to code of conducts and discriminatory organizations of any shape or form.

                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                  Suckless takes a similarly principled stand against runtime config files.

                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                    How does suckless oppose discrimination?

                                                                                                    1. 13

                                                                                                      It’s very simple. Any non-technological matters during software development move the software away from its ideal form. Thus, to make your software suck less, you only take the best developers no matter what race, gender, heritage, etc. these persons have.

                                                                                                      We do not believe in equal status (i.e. e.g. forcibly obtaining a 50/50 gender ratio), as this immediately leads to discrimination. We do however strongly believe in equal rights, naturally. You also naturally cannot have both.

                                                                                                      1. 94

                                                                                                        Any non-technological matters during software development move the software away from its ideal form.

                                                                                                        Suckless makes a window manager: a part of a computer that human beings, with all their rich and varying abilities and perspectives, interact with constantly. Your choices of defaults and customization options have direct impact on those humans.

                                                                                                        For example, color schemes determine whether color-blind people are able to quickly scan active vs inactive options and understand information hierarchy. Font sizes and contrast ratios can make the interface readable, difficult, or completely unusable for visually impaired people. The sizes of click targets, double-click timeouts, and drag thresholds impact usability for those with motor difficulties. Default choices of interface, configuration, and documentation language embed the project in a particular English-speaking context, and the extent to which your team supports internationalization can limit, or expand, your user base.

                                                                                                        With limited time and resources, you will have to make tradeoffs in your code, documentation, and community about which people your software is supportive and hostile towards. These are inherently political decisions which cannot be avoided. This is not to say that your particular choices are wrong. It’s just you are already engaged in “non-technical”, political work, because you, like everyone else here, are making a tool for human beings. The choice to minimize the thought you put into those decisions does not erase the decisions themselves.

                                                                                                        At the community development level, your intentional and forced choices around language, schedule, pronouns, and even technical terminology can make contributors from varying backgrounds feel welcome or unwelcome, or render the community inaccessible entirely. These too are political choices. Your post above is one of them.

                                                                                                        There is, unfortunately, no such thing as a truly neutral stance on inclusion. Consider: you wish to take only the best developers, and yet your post has already discouraged good engineers from working on your project. Doubtless it has encouraged other engineers (who may be quite skilled!) with a similar political view to your own; those who believe, for instance, that current minority representation in tech is justified, representing the best engineers available, and that efforts to change those ratios are inherently discriminatory and unjust.

                                                                                                        Policies have impact. Consider yours.

                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                          I don’t know if that was your goal, but this is one of the best arguments for positive discrimination I’ve read. Thanks for posting it, and also thanks for noting that all decisions have some inherent politics whether we like it or not.

                                                                                                          Unfortunately there is simply no solution: positive discrimination is opposed to meritocracy. Forced ratios are definitely an unethical tool, as they are a form of discrimination. However, this unethical tool brings us to a greater good, which is a final product that incorporates diversity on its design and accommodates more users, which is a desirable goal on itself, for the reasons you explained.

                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                            color schemes determine whether color-blind people are able to quickly scan active vs inactive options and understand information hierarchy. Font sizes and contrast ratios can make the interface readable, difficult, or completely unusable for visually impaired people. The sizes of click targets, double-click timeouts, and drag thresholds

                                                                                                            Let me see if I understand what you’re saying. Are you claiming that when color schemes, font sizes and drag thresholds are chosen that that is a political decision? I think that many people would find that quite a remarkable claim.

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                                                                                                              It’s impossible to not be political. You can be “the status quo is great and I don’t want to discuss it”, but that’s political. The open source “movement” started off political - with a strong point of view on how software economics should be changed. In particular, if you say a CoC that bans people from being abusive is unacceptable, you are making a political statement and a moral statement.

                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                It’s impossible to not be political

                                                                                                                Could I ask you to clarify in what sense you are using the word “political”?

                                                                                                                Merriam-Webster (for example) suggests several different meanings that capture ranges of activity of quite different sizes. For example, I’m sure it’s possible to act in a way which does not impinge upon “the art or science of government” but perhaps every (public) action impinges upon “the total complex of relations between people living in society”.

                                                                                                                In what sense did you use that term?

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                                                                                                                  Let’s start off with a note about honesty. FRIGN begins by telling us “We do not believe in equal status (i.e. e.g. forcibly obtaining a 50/50 gender ratio)” as if someone was proposing the use of force to produce a 50/50 gender ratio - and we all know that wasn’t proposed by anyone. There’s no way to discuss this properly if people are going to raise false issues like that. What comment’s like FRIGN’s indicate is an unwillingness to have an open and honest conversation. The same bogus rhetoric is at the heart of Damore’s memo: he claims to be in favor of equal rights and just against mythical demand for 50/50 gender equality so that he can oppose obviously ineffective affirmative action programs at Google where 80% of technical staff are male (Damore’s misappropriation of science is similarly based on an objection to a position that nobody ever argued.).

                                                                                                                  The next point is that some people are objecting that a CoC and a minority outreach program are “political”. That’s true, but it involves the use of the more general meaning of “political” which the Collins dictionary provides as “the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power”. If we are using that definition, of course a CoC and a minority outreach program are political, but opposition to a CoC and a minority outreach program fits the definition as well. If you have an opinion one way or another, your opinion is political. You can’t sensibly use this wide definition of political to label the effort to adopt a CoC and to recruit more minorities and then turn around and claim your opposition to those is somehow not political. So that’s what I mean by “it is impossible to not be political”. The question is a political question and those who try to claim the high ground of being objective, disinterested, non-political for their side of the question are not being straightforward (perhaps it’s just that they are not being straightforward with themselves).

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    I agree that a CoC, a minority outreach program, and opposition to a CoC all impinge upon “the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power”.

                                                                                                                    Would you also agree that there is a popular ideological political movement in favour of CoCs (some combination of the feminist, civil rights and social justice movements)? Perhaps there is also a popular ideological movement against CoCs (some combination of MRAs and the alt right). Are you also claiming that if one claims a “neutral” stance on CoCs one is de facto supporting one of these ideologies?

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                                                                                                                      I’m not sure it is possible to have a neutral stance. In fact, I doubt it.

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        Interesting! Do you also doubt it is possible to take any action that is neutral with regard to a political ideology?

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                                                                                                                          You are introducing something different. I don’t think you have to line up with one “side” or another, but you can’t avoid being a participant.

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                                                                                                                            You said “It’s impossible to not be political” so I’m trying to understand what you mean by that. So far I’m not clear whether you think every action is political. I’d appreciate it if you’d clarify your position.

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                                                                                                                              I’m making a very concrete assertion, which I sense does not fit into your schema. My assertion is that there is no neutrality on workplace equality and inclusion for anyone involved in the workplace. Anyone who, for example, participates in an open source development effort has a position on whether efforts should be made to make it more inclusive even if that position is “this is not important enough for me to express an opinion.”

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                                                                                                                                Thank you for clarifying. When you originally said “It’s impossible to not be political” I got the wrong impression.

                                                                                                                                Do you also hold the same point of view when it comes to roughly comparable statements in other spheres? For example ‘Anyone who eats has a position on vegetarianism even if that position is “this is not important enough for me to express an opinion.”’?

                                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                                              You’ve been quoted by LWN: https://lwn.net/Articles/753709/

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                                                                                                              AKA shut up and hack? :)

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                The suckless development process has no non-technical discussions?

                                                                                                                How are the best developers identified?

                                                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                                                  just curious, why would you need to identify the best developers? Wouldn’t the quality of their code speak for that?

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                                                                                                                    I also fail to see what the reasoning is. Just send your code, get the non technical discussions out.

                                                                                                                    1. -1

                                                                                                                      Apparently, quoting @FRIGN from above, “to make your software suck less.”

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                                                                                                                      How are the best developers identified?

                                                                                                                      I think this is a totally reasonable question, and one I’d like to see the answer too–if for no other reason than it might help those of us on other projects find more objective metrics to help track progress with.

                                                                                                                      Do you all at suckless use something like:

                                                                                                                      • defect rate
                                                                                                                      • lines of code/feature shipped
                                                                                                                      • execution time
                                                                                                                      • space in memory, space in storage

                                                                                                                      Like, what metrics do you use?

                                                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                                                        You know, suckless is not a big company and the metrics that can be applied are more of a heuristic. A good developer is somebody who e.g. supplies a patch with a bug report, provides feedback to commits, makes contributions to the projects, thinks his commits through and doesn’t break stuff too often and does not personally identify with their code (i.e. is not butthurt when it’s not merged).

                                                                                                                        What needs to be stressed here is that the metric “lines of code” is completely off. There are horrible programmers who spit out lots of code and excellent ones who over time drop more lines than they add. Especially the latter group is very present among us and thus the LOC-metric will only give false results. Same with execution time, you find that when not enough time is spent on a problem you end up solving it wrong, in the worst case having to start all over.

                                                                                                                  2. 5

                                                                                                                    By being very diverse and doing fackelmärsche of course. https://suckless.org/conferences/2017/

                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                      @FRIGN What’s the purpose of this “torchlight hike” in the context of producing code that sucks less? Don’t you see that the activities you choose to have during your conferences are a cultural stance, and because of that, can be perceived as exclusive by programmers that don’t recognize themselves in these activities?

                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                        I get your point, but must honestly say that your argument sadly aligns with the ever-excluding and self-segregating destructful nature of cultural marxism. By eating food together at the conferences, do we exclude anorexics that might otherwise be willing to attend such a conference? I don’t drink any alcohol and never have. Still, it was not a problem when we went to a local Braukeller and some people drank alcohol and others like myself didn’t.

                                                                                                                        The fundamental point I think is that one can never fully and analytically claim that a certain process is completely unaffected by something else. If we dive down into these details we would then move on and say that the different choice of clothings, hairstyle, means of travel and means of accomodation all affect the coding process at suckless. This can be taken further and further with no limit, as we all know about the butterfly effect. At some point it is just not measurable any more.

                                                                                                                        If you ask me, this is a gross overstretching of what I said. There are quite a lot of people who do not attend the conferences but still work together with us on projects during that time. What really matters is that we e.g. do not ignore patches from these people or give them less relevance than those of others. To pick the example up: The torchlight hike did not affect any coding decision in a direct way, but it really bonded the team further together and was a very nice memory of this conference that I and the others are very fond of from what I’ve heard. On top of that, during the hike we were able to philosophize about some new projects of which some have become a reality. The net-gain of this event thus was positive.

                                                                                                                        In classical philosophy, there are two main trains of thought when it comes to evaluating actions: Deontology and Teleology. Deontology measures the action itself and its ethical value, completely ignoring the higher goal in the process. Teleology is the opposite, evaluating actions only by their means to reach a goal, completely ignoring the value of the action itself. The best approach obviously should be inbetween. However, there is a much more important lesson that can be taken from here: When evaluating a decision, one needs to realize what they are measuring and what is unimportant for a decision. What I meant is that to reach the goal of software perfection, the gender and other factors of the submitters do not matter. So even though we here at suckless have a goal, we are not teleologists, as we just ignore the factors that do not matter for coding.

                                                                                                                        It is an ethical question which norms you apply to a decision.

                                                                                                                        If we look at organizations like Outreachy, one might be mistaken to think that they are deontologists, striving to improve processes. However, after closer inspection it becomes clear that this is not the case and they are actually working towards a certain goal, increasing the number of trans and minority people in such communities. No matter how you think about this goal, it makes one thing clear: When you are working towards such a goal and also do not ignore irrelevant factors in your norms (and they in fact do by not ignoring e.g. race and gender), you quickly end up discriminating against people.

                                                                                                                        I hope this clears this up a bit, but as a short sentence, what can be taken from here is: When discussing ethical matters, it’s always important to make clear which norms are applied.

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                                                                                                                          fackelmärsche

                                                                                                                          I’m not going to wade into anything else on this, but I’d like to just take a second and let you know that, while you may not mean it in this way the phrase “cultural marxism” is very, very often used as a stand in for “jews”. Some links for the record:

                                                                                                                          https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2003/cultural-marxism-catching

                                                                                                                          https://newrepublic.com/article/144317/trumps-racism-myth-cultural-marxism https://www.smh.com.au/world/cultural-marxism--the-ultimate-postfactual-dog-whistle-20171102-gzd7lq.html

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            It’s not my fault that some idiots don’t understand this term or it’s critical analysis. Cultural marxism, as the term implies, is the classical theory of marxism applied to culture. It has nothing to do with jews directly, it’s just an idea. If you know any better term to describe it, please let me know.

                                                                                                                            Anyway, in the philosophical realms it’s known as ‘Critical Theory’, which originated in the Frankfurt School. However, nobody knows this term.

                                                                                                                            Unless a better term is found, I disregard your argument and won’t accept your attempt to limit language of perfectly acceptable words to describe an idea. At the end of the day, terminology must be found that adequately describes what a certain idea is, and I see no reason why this should be wrong.

                                                                                                                            Regarding the torch hike: Yes, marching with torches was abused by the NSDAP as a means of political rallying. However, at least in Germany, it is a much older and deeper-reaching tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

                                                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                                                              You have amply demonstrated that you don’t know anything about the topic. You could start with the decent Wikipedia article. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School

                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                              wow, uh, kind of a weird red flag that pointing this out is getting seriously downvoted. I picked these links pretty quickly, and anybody who comes behind and reads this and wonders how serious this is, do yourself a favor and image search and see how many memes have the star of david, greedy merchant, world strangling octopus or any of a number of openly anti-semitic imagery. Its not hidden, its not coy. If you’re tossing “cultural marxism” around you’re either willfully ignoring this or blatantly playing along. Its not a thing in the world. There are no leftists (at all) who call themselves “cultural marxists”, and in fact there is a sizeable faction of marxists who are openly disdainful of any marxism that eschews political struggle. The new republic article linked above goes into this, Perry Andersons “Considerations on Western Marxism”, a well known, well regarded text across a number of marxist subsects, is explicitly based on this. Anyway, enjoy contributing to a climate of increasing hostility toward jews. good stuff.

                                                                                                                              edit: have some fun with this https://www.google.com/search?q=cultural+marxism&client=firefox-b&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjz2tWrhvnaAhUJ7YMKHVgcCccQ_AUIDCgD&biw=1247&bih=510#imgrc=_

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                The term ‘Cultural Marxism’ describes very well what it is, and not all leftists are cultural marxists. The classical theory of marxism, roughly spoken, is to think of society as being split in two camps, the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie, eternally involved in a struggle, where the former is discriminated against and oppresed by the latter.

                                                                                                                                Cultural Marxism applies these ideas to society. In the Frankfurt School it was called ‘Critical Theory’, calling people out to question everything that was deemed a cultural norm. What is essentially lead to was to find oppressors and oppressed, and we reached the point where e.g. the patriarchy oppressed against women, white people against minorities, christians against muslims and other religions and so forth. You get the idea. Before you go again rallying about how I target jews or something please take a note that up to this point in this comment, I have just described what cultural marxism is and have not evaluated or criticized it in any way, because this here is the wrong platform for that.

                                                                                                                                What you should keep in mind is that the nature of cultural marxism is to never be in a stable position. There will always be the hunt for the next oppressor and oppressed, which in the long run will destroy this entire movement from the inside. It was a friendly advice from my side to you not to endulge in this separatory logic, but of course I understand your reasoning to the fullest.

                                                                                                                                Just as a side note: I did not see you getting ‘seriously’ downvoted. What do you mean?

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  It’s uncommon to find such a well-put explanation; thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                  There will always be the hunt for the next oppressor and oppressed, which in the long run will destroy this entire movement from the inside.

                                                                                                                                  If the movement runs out of good targets (and falls apart because they can’t agree on new ones), wouldn’t that imply that it will self-destruct only after it succeeds in its goals? That doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    I’m glad you liked my explanation. :)

                                                                                                                                    That is a very interesting idea, thanks for bringing this thought up! It’s a matter dependent on many different factors, I suppose. It might fall apart due to not being able to agree on new targets or when everybody has become a target, but it is a very theoretical question which one of these outcomes applies here.

                                                                                                                                  2. 1

                                                                                                                                    Did you actually read any of the links I posted? Specifically the New Republic and SPLC links? I don’t know how else to say this and you pretty much side stepped what I said the first time so I’ll try to reiterate it: There is no such thing as “Cultural Marxism”. At all. Its not a descriptive category that any marxist actually self applies or applies to other marxists. I’m fully aware of the Frankfurt School, Adorno, Horkheimer, etc. I’ve read some of them and many, many of their contemporaries from Germany, people like Karl Mannheim. I read marxist publications everyday, from here in the states and from Europe. I’m a member of an explicitly marxist political party here in the states. I can’t emphasize this enough, “cultural marxism” isn’t real and is roughly on par with “FEMA camps”, “HARRP rays” and shape shifting lizard jews, meaning; its a far far right wing paranoid fantasy used to wall off people from other people and an actual understanding of the material conditions of their world. I also didn’t say, specifically in fact pointing out that I wasn’t saying this, that you were “targeting jews”. That being said, if you use a phrase that has its origins in anti-semitic polemics, is used explicitly and over-whelmingly by anti-semites, than that is on you. (Did you take a look at the linked image search? Does that sort of thing not give you pause?) To say that you “just described what cultural marxism is” is also inaccurate, you absolutely used it in a descriptive way

                                                                                                                                    I get your point, but must honestly say that your argument sadly aligns with the ever-excluding and self->segregating destructful nature of cultural marxism.

                                                                                                                                    White supremacist organizing is experiencing an enormous upsurge, not only here in the states but in Europe as well. From Le Pen to AfD to SVO in Austria and on and on. These people are not interested in polite conversation and they’re not using “cultural marxism” as a category to illuminate political opponents, its meant to denigrate and isolate, ironically given thats exactly what Neo Nazis and white supremacists here in the states accuse left wingers and “SJWs” of doing.

                                                                                                                                    I appreciate that you’re discussing this peacefully but I’m going to bow out of this thread unless you’re interested enough to take some time and read the links

                                                                                                                                    FWIW these also dismantle the trope and point out pretty much exactly what I’m saying around anti-semitism: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/78mnny/unwrapping-the-conspiracy-theory-that-drives-the-alt-right https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/22/chris-uhlmann-should-mind-his-language-on-cultural-marxism

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      I took some more time to read it up and from what I could see, I found that indeed cultural marxism has become more of a political slogan rather than a normal theoretical term in the USA.

                                                                                                                                      Here in Germany the term “Kulturmarxismus” is much less politically charged from what I can see and thus I was surprised to get this response after I just had “translated” this term into English. It might be a lesson to first get some background on how this might be perceived internationally, however, it is a gigantic task for every term that might come around to you.

                                                                                                                                      So to reiterate my question, what term could be better used instead? :)

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        interesting that it has a different grounding/connotation in Germany, but then again I’m not surprised since thats where its supposed to have originated from. I’ll reread your other posts and come up with a response thats fair. Thanks for taking the time to read those links.

                                                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                                                      Generally people who use “cultural marxism” as a pejorative are sloganeering. The idea of an “eternal struggle” is completely foreign to any kind of marxism which is based on a theory that classes come out of the historical process and disappear due the historical process. Marxism claims that the proletariat and bourgeosie are temporary divisions that arise from a certain type of economic organization. Whatever one thinks of that idea, your characterization of Marxism is like describing baseball as a game involving pucks and ice. Your summary of “cultural marxism” is even worse. Maybe take a class or read a decent book.

                                                                                                                        2. 17

                                                                                                                          I’m not going to remove this because you’re making a public statement for suckless, but please don’t characterize positions you disagree with as madness. That kind of hyperbole generally just leads to unproductive fights.

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                                                                                                                            Please don’t remove anything unless it’s particularly vulgar…

                                                                                                                            1. [Comment removed by author]

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                                                                                                                                hey that’s my account you’re talking about!

                                                                                                                            2. -1

                                                                                                                              Removing differing viewpoints? It is precisely this kind of behavior that maddens people who complain about SJW, who (the SJW) seem unable to take any discussion beyond calling their opponent’s position “evil”, “alt-right”, “neo-nazi”, or, if they are exceptionally well-spoken, “mad”.

                                                                                                                              1. 14

                                                                                                                                No, removing abuse and hyperbole that acts as flamebait regardless of the political opinions expressed. So far I’ve removed one post and hope not to remove more.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  It’s hard for me to see a reason to remove things when we have the voting system in place, neither are perfect but one is at your sole discretion whereas the other is the aggregate opinion of the users.

                                                                                                                                  1. 21

                                                                                                                                    Voting isn’t a replacement of moderation. It helps highlight and reward good comments and it can punish bad comments, but it’s not sufficient for running a community. I’m trying to head off places where people give up on argument and just try to hurt or tar the people they disagree with because it doesn’t lead to a good community. Lobsters is a very good place for discussing computing and I haven’t seen that in communities this size with hands-off moderation (but I’d love counter-examples to learn from!) From a quick query, we’ve had comments from 727 unique users in the last 30 days and there’s around 15k unique IPs in the logs per weekday, so people are constantly interacting with the others who don’t know their background, don’t share history, can’t recognize in-jokes, simply don’t have reason to trust when messages are ambiguous, let alone provocative. Friendly teasing like “ah yeah, you would think that” or “lol php sucks” that’s rewarding bonding in a small, familiar group hurts in a big one because even if the recipient gets the joke and laughs along or brushes it off as harmless, it’s read by thousands of people who don’t or can’t.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      Lobsters is a very good place for discussing computing and I haven’t seen that in communities this size with hands-off moderation

                                                                                                                                      I support your position on sub-topic but even my Trial you linked to shows a bit otherwise on just this point. This site has more flexible, hands-off moderation than many I’ve seen with this much political dispute. Even in that link, we saw an amount of honest, civility, and compromise I don’t usually see. There’s been quite a bit better results in this thread than usual elsewhere. There seems to be enough community closeness despite our size that people are recognizing each others positions a bit. Instead of comments, you can actually see it by what’s not said more since it’s prior ground we’ve covered. The others are learning as discussion furthers. Then, there’s the stuff we don’t want which seems to be basically what those individuals are intending in a way that has nothing to do with site’s size.

                                                                                                                                      So, I support you getting rid of just pure abuse, trolling, sockpuppeting, etc. I don’t think we’ve hit the full weaknesses and limited vision of large sites yet despite our increase in comments and views. We’re still doing a lot better than average. We’re still doing it with minimal intervention on things like politics relative to what I’ve seen elsewhere. I think we can keep at current moderation strategy for now because of that. For now.

                                                                                                                                      Just wanted to say that in the middle of all this.

                                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                                        Voting isn’t a replacement of moderation. It helps highlight and reward good comments and it can punish bad comments, but it’s not sufficient for running a community.

                                                                                                                                        I’m not sure if I see why it’s not a good replacement. To me, I see voting as distributed moderation and the “real” moderation is automatically hiding (not removing) comments when they fall below a threshold.

                                                                                                                                        I’m trying to head off places where people give up on argument and just try to hurt or tar the people they disagree with because it doesn’t lead to a good community.

                                                                                                                                        I think this method relies on an accurate crystal ball where you can foresee people’s actions and to an extent, the reactions of the people reading the comments.

                                                                                                                                        I’d have to question what you mean by “a good community”, it seems like it’s just a place where everyone agrees with what you agree with and those that disagree aren’t heard because it risks offending those that do agree.

                                                                                                                                        I think the best discussions on here are because we have many people with wide and varied opinions and backgrounds. The good comes from understanding what someone else is saying, not excluding them from the discussion. The only places I see that warranted is where someone has said something purposely and undeniably vile.

                                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                                          The automatic hiding of low-scoring comments is also a “sole discretion” thing; jcs added it and I tweaked it a few months ago. The codebase enforces a lot of one moderator’s ideas of what’s good for a community in a hands-off way and the desire to do that motivated its creation.

                                                                                                                                          I strongly agree that a community where everyone agrees with the moderator would be bad one, even if I am that moderator. It’s tremendously rewarding to understand why other people see things differently, if for no other reason than the selfish reason that one can’t correct learn or correct mistakes if one never sees things one doesn’t already agree with.

                                                                                                                                          I think the crystal ball for foreseeing problems is experience, from many years of reading and participating in communities as they thrive or fail. I think it’s possible to recognize and intervene earlier than the really vile stuff because I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen its absence fail. I keep asking for examples of excellent large communities without active moderators because I haven’t seen those, and after a couple decades and a few hundred communities I see the anthropic principle at work: they don’t exist because they self-destruct, sink into constant vileness, or add moderation. At best they have maintain with signal-to-noise ratios far below that of Lobsters where the thoughtful commentary is crowded out by trolling, running jokes, ignorance, and plan low-quality comments because it doesn’t seem worth anyone’s while to care when posting.

                                                                                                                                          But moderation is not a panacea in and of itself. Without good experience, judgment, and temper a bad moderator swiftly destroys a community, and this is a very common way communities fail. If it helps any, the author of the comment I removed agrees that it wasn’t done to suppress their opinion.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            The benefit I see from moderation being part of the codebase is that it’s public, predictable and repeatable (it terms of reliability). When you take moderation decisions into your own discretion many of these virtues are lost.

                                                                                                                                            As for experience, I think that’s tricky because it can easily lead you to making the same mistake twice. It’s also made of your personal experiences and you’re using that to curate the discussion of other people, I would caution that it’s another method of controlling dialog (perhaps subconsciously) to what you find acceptable, not necessarily what’s best for everyone.

                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                              The benefit I see from moderation being part of the codebase is that it’s public, predictable and repeatable (it terms of reliability). When you take moderation decisions into your own discretion many of these virtues are lost.

                                                                                                                                              Most of them go into the Moderation Log. I’ve been watching it since the jcs days since it’s what folks are supposed to do in a transparent, accountable system. Gotta put effort in. I haven’t seen much of anything that bothered me. The bans and deletes I’ve been able to follow @pushcx doing were trolling, alleged sockpuppeting, and vicious flamewaring. Some I couldn’t see where I’d rather the resource go off the front page rather getting deleted so someone looking at logs could see it for whatever it was. Nonetheless, his actions in the thread about me, the general admining, and what I’ve seen in moderation have been mostly good. A few really good like highlighting the best examples of good character on the site. I think he’s the only one I’ve seen do that on a forum in a while.

                                                                                                                                              You have little to worry about with him in my opinion at the moment. Do keep an eye on the comments and log if you’re concerned. Scrape them into version storage if concerned about deletions. What goes on here is pretty public. Relax or worry as much as you want. I’m more relaxed than worried. :)

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I agree on the pitfalls of experience. As SeanTAllen noted in a separate branch of this thread a minute ago, there’s “but you didn’t say” and other wiggle room; I think that’s where automatic moderation falls down and human judgment is required. Voting has its own downsides like fads, groupthink, using them to disagree (which is all over this thread), in-jokes, a drifting definition of topicality, all the parallels to the behaviors of political rhetoric, etc. Lobsters has never been voting only and I don’t see a compelling reason to change that. jcs’s involvement in the site was steadily declining so I’m certainly more actively moderating, but I don’t see that as a change in character. I guess what it comes down to is that I agree with you about what successful communities do and don’t look like, but I haven’t seen one that works on the model you’ve outlined and I don’t see that kind of fundamental change as a risk worth taking.

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                                                                                                                                      So FRIGN writes to oppose “SWJ madness”, and you chime in to complain that “SWJ” calls opponents “mad”. Are you calling FRIGN “SWJ” or what? It’s kind of hard to discern your point in that cloud of grievance.

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                                                                                                                                        “SJW” for “social justice warrior.”

                                                                                                                                        @COCK is sarcastically non-replying because you typo’ed.

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                                                                                                                                          Not exactly, I was sarcastically non-replying because I assumed he was intentionally misunderstanding me. I assumed this because I didn’t see any ambiguity in my answer. On later inspection I noticed the ambiguity so I gave an actual reply:

                                                                                                                                          https://lobste.rs/s/nf3xgg/i_am_leaving_llvm#c_yzwuux

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                                                                                                                                            The interesting thing is how people agreeing with Mr. cock pile on the insults against the people who they complain are insulting them by forcing them to sign on to codes of conduct which prohibit insults. It’s almost as if there was a good reason for those codes.

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                                                                                                                                              I doubt the irony is lost on anyone supporting a CoC.

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                                                                                                                                            Yes, I’m calling FRIGN a “SWJ”.

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                                                                                                                                              Yes, well, one sympathizes with your plight.

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                                                                                                                                                Ah now I see the ambiguity: “people who complain about SJW, who…” the “who” referred to the “SJW”, not the “people”

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                                                                                                                                            The only comment that was removed was against FRIGN point of view. Nobody is removing differing point of view, just enforcing civil discussion.

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                                                                                                                                            “We at suckless are heavily opposed to code of conducts and discriminatory organizations of any shape or form.”

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                                                                                                                                            It’s responses like yours that really make the case for codes of conduct.

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                                                                                                                                              Are you speaking for the group or is that your own opinion? Knowing that the group aligns itself with that position would certainly make me not interested in working with it or contributing.

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                                                                                                                                                To be fair, suckless is not well-organised enough to be a group that can have a single opinion to be spoken for.

                                                                                                                                                That said, FRIGN is a prominent contributor and I from what I’ve seen most contributors are heavily on the side of “the code will speak for itself”.

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                                                                                                                                                In closing, this situation strikes very close to home and is frustrating to me in multiple ways. Many people on the internet want to chime in on a complex situation without knowing any of the backstory, and without understanding what is going on. Instead, they look for confirmation of their own beliefs and to demonize people who disagree with them. This is a sad reflection of the state of social discourse in the world.

                                                                                                                                                I can’t agree more.

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                                                                                                                                                  On the one hand, I find his reasons for leaving difficult to understand. A quick peruse of the llvm code of conduct and it comes across as nothing overtly political with things like “be welcoming” and “be considerate.” So when he says, they welcome everyone “except those whose political belief mean that they don’t agree with the code of conduct,” it comes across as bizarre and contradictory logic.

                                                                                                                                                  And to @asfgda’s point, Outreachy isn’t discriminatory. Not to get too fixated on a definition, but discrimination is defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people.” The keywords here are “unjust” and “prejudicial.” The assistance Outreachy offers is neither an injustice to him or people like him nor is it harmful to him or anyone else in any other way.

                                                                                                                                                  All that being said, I think he chose the appropriate action, which is to leave and to voice his reasons for doing so - even if those reasons don’t stand up to scrutiny.

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                                                                                                                                                    empathy

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                                                                                                                                                        The only thing you’ve done in this thread is fanned the flames. You might consider re-reading @pushcx’s comment above: https://lobste.rs/s/nf3xgg/i_am_leaving_llvm#c_pwiove

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                                                                                                                                                          Yep. The point of codes of conduct is to legitimize and give power to particular kinds of discriminatory thoughts and behaviors, and it’s working wonders, in this case by pushing away one core contributor.

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                                                                                                                                                            I’m trying to understand. What is the specific wording of llvm’s CoC that legitimizes particular kinds of discrimatory thoughts and behaviors?

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                                                                                                                                                                If you read the follow up messages it seems like a great deal was lost for the LLVM project.