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    I’m kind of speechless. This looks truly genuine, and it makes me hopeful for the Linux kernel community (and all the other open-source communities it influences!) in a way I hadn’t predicted would ever happen.

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      I feel quite the opposite. I think it’s very sad that the reddit/twitter bandwagon of people that never actually contribute anything to open source but love to rip those that do to shreds have finally go to him.

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        This argument is a classic to be found in all of those discussions, but doesn’t hold any water.

        • Coraline Ada, the woman who’s work the now adopted Code of Conduct is based on, is the primary author of 25 Ruby gems, regular contributor, very welcome as a speaker in the Ruby world.
        • Sage Sharp, known for their angry good-bye from the Linux kernel and outspoken critic of Linus, has been author and maintainer of the USB-3.0 implementation in the kernel. Sage also lead intern groups working on the Kernel through Outreachy.
        • Matthew Garret, also a very outspoken critic, has been maintaining kernel power management modules and is constantly working on Linux related issues ever since.

        The no-contribution Twitter crowd, right?

        The list could go on and on. Find another angle, this one insults the intelligence of everyone at the discussion table. It only works if you don’t name names, if you do, you suddenly find that these people do contribute.

        Finally, as someone managing a huge FOSS project with > 100 maintainers, I think this gatekeeping isn’t part of open standards. If your project is open and contribution is free to everyone, the barrier for criticising your projects methods and practices should be as low as the barrier for contributing anything else: as close to zero as possible. This is also important for practices to travel between projects.

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          And very recently, Alexander Popov, no lightweight by any measure. https://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/764325/09702eb949176f55/.

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            I’m sympathetic to Torvalds critique, if not his wording. It seems bizarre to just live with kernel code that uses uninitialized data structures and doesn’t cross check pointers and hope that some complex mechanism will ameliorate the problem.

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              Sure, his technical arguments were probably sound, as usual, but his abuse of Popov left the latter “emotionally dead for weeks”. Popov might’ve gotten the fixes made and thus the patch committed much sooner had Linus not abused him so the project also loses.

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                I am not convinced the patch ever became worthwhile - but I agree that Linus’s argument style was counterproductive and abusive.

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          I think you’ve got a selection bias in which criticism you’re seeing. From my perspective, the people who I hear take the most issue with Linus’s conduct are largely people who’ve quit kernel development as a result of it, or people with many years of OSS experience (such as myself).

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            I’m not an advocate of the absurdly excessive personal attacks for which Linus is known but at the same time I think quitting kernel development because of those personal attacks shows a lack of awareness of how OSS and specifically Linux operates. The reality is that Linux is Linus’s project and he’s incentivized to take your patches to make his project better, not to build a cooperative community. The community, if one could call it that, is incidental to Linus’s incentives.

            If a person quits because of Linus’s behavior, it signals to me that their motivation had something to do with the approval of others and unfortunately those motivations are incompatible with Linux’s development process. Linus’s insults are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the other problems that will arise due to the mismatched expectations. A famous example was when Ingo Molnar rewrote Con Konlivas’s CFS, or the multiple times grsecurity’s patches were rewritten by others.

            Linus basically doesn’t owe anyone anything, and it’s not because he’s a jerk (though maybe he is), it’s because of the emergent social phenomena around OSS. Similarly, no one owes Linus anything. Many actors out there are using Linux to facilitate their billions of revenue and not paying Linus anything. If you write code and put it out there, there is no obligation that what you want to happen with it will happen, and it’s not unlikely that what happens with it will hurt your ego. If someone quits kernel development because of Linus’s behavior, they really should reexamine why they want to write OSS code in the first place and whether or not OSS development is the best way to reach their goals.

            All that said I don’t necessarily disagree with Linus’s recent decision. It shows a conscious effort on his part to change the strategy used to sustain the project. I’m only criticizing those who may have mismatched expectations of the potential outcomes in OSS work.

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              The reality is that Linux is Linus’s project and he’s incentivized to take your patches to make his project better, not to build a cooperative community.

              Linus is an employee of the Linux Foundations, a nonprofit corporation with stakeholders like Red Hat, Google, and Intel, and he owes his employers their money’s worth as much as anybody else who works for hire.

              I would agree with you if this was still the Linux that wasn’t going to become a big thing like Hurd. But Linus chose to remain the project lead even as the job became less technical and more political, and when they decided to pay him to work on it full-time, he accepted. There’s money, there’s a trademark, and there’s inertia undermining any claim that the situation is totally voluntary and that nobody owes anybody anything.

              And that’s before we even consider the fact that there is a huge and informal web of soft obligations because human beings don’t work the way you say they do.

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                Linus owns the trademark and even if he didn’t work for the Linux Foundation he would still be the maintainer of Linux. The entire development structure is centered on him. No company could successfully and sustainably fork Linux if Linus decided to operate against their goals.

                I made no claim as to how human beings work. My claim is simply that OSS is essentially a free-for-all and those that aren’t acutely aware of that and incorrectly treat OSS like a traditional organization that has inbuilt obligations to their well-being will be inevitably burned. Linux is not a cathedral, it’s a bazaar. http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/

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            Are you talking about the crowd that is currently lambasting him for “yielding to the SJWs”?

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              No I’m talking about the much larger crowd of people applauding him for ‘moderating himself’ and other such nonsense. I’m talking about the huge crowd of people that act like every message he sends is a scathing personal attack on someone for indenting something incorrectly.

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                Well, perhaps it’s just that our perception of the (ultimately utterly pointless) social media reactions is colored by our preconceptions. I’ve mostly seen people praise and defend him.

                I’m not sure what the resistance is about. It seems to me that all these CoCs are just a way of codifying “don’t be an asshole”, and it’s perplexing that people get so angry about it. But it cannot be that, right? Surely you and others are not against “don’t be an asshole” as a work ethic?

                If not that, then what? I’ve listened to Sam Harris quite a lot recently, so I have some feeling about the problem of identity politics et al, especially in the US. I’m just still not exactly convinced, because I don’t see it happening. Perhaps it’s not that big a problem in Europe?

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                  I’m not sure what the resistance is about. It seems to me that all these CoCs are just a way of codifying “don’t be an asshole”, and it’s perplexing that people get so angry about it. But it cannot be that, right? Surely you and others are not against “don’t be an asshole” as a work ethic?

                  I think a lot of this is related to the “hacker identity” which is strongly tied up with counterculture, stepping outside/dismissing/rebelling against social conventions. For example, in the genre of cyberpunk (which I’d consider a hacker’s dream world, even if it’s a dystopia) there is almost no law and order or even anarchy, everyone does their own thing and your skill is the only thing that counts.

                  So I think a lot of the reaction is “who are you to come in and police the way we’ve always been doing things?”. I suppose a lot of these people claiming are seen as outside intruders enforcing their “outside” morals on the hacker “community” at alrge (if there is even such a thing). For this reason I think it’s important that people like Linus, who are truly regarded as being “from” the community, are signaling that change needs to come. We’re all human, not machines.

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                    I think there are two big issues. One is that “hacker culture” has historically attracted people with social issues. I know that it appealed to me as an unpopular, nerdy, shy kid: I didn’t have a lot of outlets, so computers and the Internet helped me form my personality. That’s great; I don’t know where I’d be without it. That leads into the second issue, though, which is that it’s utterly dismissive of all the traditions we call the “humanities.” I am lucky, I think, in that I’ve always been “into” literature, philosophy, theology, and so on, and could balance my computer-nerddom with those fields. (In fact, my only college degree is a BA in English.) Without that tempering influence, it’s very easy to get caught up in an aspiration-to-Spock sort of behavioral cycle.

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                    Surely you and others are not against “don’t be an asshole” as a work ethic?

                    Who defines what an ‘asshole’ is?

                    My problem is that Codes of Conduct explicitly and implicitly privelege some groups but not others for protection, and that even when de jure they protect some groups, de facto they do not.

                    Moreover, I find the idea that we should generally value social etiquette more than technical excellence to be troublesome. Are there people who are so socially rude that they should be shunned? Sure. But should shunning be our go-to? I don’t think so.

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                      I find the idea that we should generally value social etiquette more than technical excellence to be troublesome.

                      Is that what’s actually happening? I thought this was about valuing both.

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                      It seems to me that all these CoCs are just a way of codifying “don’t be an asshole”, and it’s perplexing that people get so angry about it.

                      I can’t speak for all opponents, but for me at least I disagree with it being “codified”, or rather formalized what essentially isn’t formal. People contributing to software won’t just suddenly become good people because there is a CoC. It’s like wanting to prevent a husband from abusing his wife by requiring him to hold up his hands whenever they are in the same room.

                      What I usually fear from these kinds of things is that they one the one hand subvert genuine communities, customs and practices, while possibly encouraging the harmful parts of these communities to discreetly and dishonestly live on, much harder to fight or criticize. Essentially it’s taking a passive stance towards real issues people should actively and collectively oppose – say harassment or insulting people.

                      Turning issues of civility and decency into rules, especially if these are too vague, always bears the danger of being on the one hand abused by those trying to evade then (“oh, that’s not what I meant”) and on the other hand by those enforcing them (“rules are rules”)…

                      But then again, I’m not a Linux contributer (although I would be honored to managed to get there one day), and I can just hope it turns out well for them, and the issue doesn’t get instrumentalised.

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                        People contributing to software won’t just suddenly become good people because there is a CoC. It’s like wanting to prevent a husband from abusing his wife by requiring him to hold up his hands whenever they are in the same room.

                        I find that analogy deeply flawed (and somewhat bizarre). The CoC doesn’t require anyone to do anything as ridiculous as hold their hands in the air while in the same room as their wife.

                        Essentially it’s taking a passive stance towards real issues people should actively and collectively oppose – say harassment or insulting people.

                        So you’re saying that rather than having a CoC it would be better if, every time Linus or some other kernel developer was offensive, other developers stepped in and told them off? How do you make that happen? Do you not think the CoC is a step towards making that happen?

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                          The CoC doesn’t require anyone to do anything as ridiculous as hold their hands in the air while in the same room as their wife

                          Of course not literally, but for many people they have to adjust their own behavior in unusual (and often enough unknown) ways. I’ve experienced communities on the Internet which banned their users for using any phrase that has to do with eyesight disabilities (e.g “I can’t see what’s wrong”), and most people simply just didn’t know about this.

                          And the point of my analogy still remains, the issue with the husband beating his wife isn’t that he can but that he wants to, consciously or unconsciously. Just saying “Don’t” won’t help solve the problems in the long term, just suppresses them.

                          So you’re saying that rather than having a CoC it would be better if, every time Linus or some other kernel developer was offensive, other developers stepped in and told them off?

                          The way I see it, this would obviously be better. This means that the community has a strong sense of internal solidarity and openness that they manage to enforce by their own means. Essentially this means that the goals of the CoC come naturally and authentically to the members.

                          How do you make that happen? Do you not think the CoC is a step towards making that happen?

                          I really can’t say, nor do I know. Nothing I’m saying is authoritative or really substantial, I’m just trying to give a more reasonable criticism of codes of conducts than certain other people in this thread.

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                            Just saying “Don’t” won’t help solve the problems in the long term, just suppresses them.

                            Suppressing the problem does help, though. I don’t want to continue the husband/wife analogy as I find it distasteful, but once you establish norms of good (or at least better) behaviour, people do adjust. And by having the CoC, even though it doesn’t cover every case, it sets up some basic guidelines about what will and won’t be accepted - so you remove the excuse of “no this is fine, everyone talks this way, deal with it” from the outset. This alone can make people who otherwise feel vulnerable, and/or belong to marginalised groups etc, to feel more comfortable.

                            I’d prefer we didn’t need CoCs, but clearly we need something to make development groups less unpleasant to participate in. And even if you don’t think they’re effective, I can’t see how they hurt.

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                              I guess we just have different views on the question if issues are to be addressed or suppressed (in my eyes willfully ignored). But that’s fine. There’s more I could say, but I won’t for the sake of brevity, except that a CoC should (imo) be always the last resort when everything else has failed. A kind of martial law. Since they aren’t just guidelines or tips, but can justify very drastic behavior.

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                                I guess we just have different views on the question if issues are to be addressed or suppressed

                                I think that’s a mis-characterization. We both seem to think that offensive behaviour should be addressed by other people stepping in as appropriate, but I see the CoC as prompting this to happen, whereas you are saying that you don’t know how to make it happen and that the existence of a CoC will make people suppress their bad behaviour and that this is bad (for some reason which I’m not clear on).

                                I would say that the existence of a CoC may make people suppress an urge to spout off an offensive rant against another developer, and that’s a good thing. I also think that it lends a stronger position to anyone who does step in when offensive behaviour does occur (despite the existence of the CoC). I think it’s more likely that, rather than completely suppressing offensive behaviour, the CoC causes more people to respond and challenge such behaviour, which is the outcome that we both seem to think is ideal (and which leads to less of the behaviour occurring in future). Now if you disagree that the CoC will lead to that happening, that’s fine, but:

                                A kind of martial law. Since they aren’t just guidelines or tips, but can justify very drastic behavior.

                                That’s just ridiculous. A CoC is nothing like martial law. The only behaviour it justifies is that of stepping in to control other, offensive, behaviour:

                                … to ban temporarily or permanently any contributor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.

                                Maintainers who do not follow or enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by other members of the project’s leadership.

                                These are the only behaviours that are actually “justified”, to use your word, rather than expressly prohibited, by the CoC. I think saying these are “drastic” and comparing to martial law is clearly an immense level of exaggeration.

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                                  but I see the CoC as prompting this to happen, whereas you are saying that you don’t know how to make it happen and that the existence of a CoC will make people suppress their bad behaviour and that this is bad (for some reason which I’m not clear on).

                                  I don’t want this to go on for too long, so I’ll just quickly clarify my two main points:

                                  • banning obvious misbehavior won’t change people, it will at best make them be quiet, at worst invite them to a passive aggressive game of trying to evade the rules while still trying to be mean or hurtful.
                                  • a CoC is a principally passive stance, where active action is necessary trying to address and resolve issues. Suppressing discussion where necessary may (again) lead to a overall harmful atmosphere, especially towards those not used to these, usually American, norms (because of different backgrounds, cultures, standards).

                                  So it’s not that it’s irrelevant, but that it may go wrong, specifically when applied to quickly or without introduction. But again, maybe not.

                                  A CoC is nothing like martial law.

                                  You’re right, I should have put “martial law” in quotes. My point is that it shouldn’t be a permanent solution, but as you said try to push a community in a better direction, “stabilize” a situation so to speak. Even here between us we see how different background, invoke different images and connotations with examples as simple as metaphors.

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                                    You’re right, I should have put “martial law” in quotes. My point is that it shouldn’t be a permanent solution

                                    Ok, I understand now what you meant.

                                    banning obvious misbehavior won’t change people

                                    I am not sure that I agree with this. For one thing, “obvious misbehaviour” may be generally understood but is not obvious to everyone. You will see many people arguing that Linus’ rants are perfectly acceptable, for various reasons. By making a clear statement that “behaviour X is wrong” you are removing the doubt.

                                    at worst invite them to a passive aggressive game of trying to evade the rules while still trying to be mean or hurtful

                                    I believe that the Contributors’ Covenant deliberately avoids trying to produce an exhaustive list of disallowed behaviour, precisely so that the rules can’t be avoided in this way. Yes, there will always be some problematic individuals who push the limits regardless. But is it better that they are at least constrained in this way, rather than being able to be openly offensive? I think so. And I think this anyway is somewhat irrelevant to the issue of a CoC; even if you generally enforce good behaviour without a CoC, there can always be trouble-makers who test the limits.

                                    a CoC is a principally passive stance, where active action is necessary trying to address and resolve issues. Suppressing discussion where necessary may (again) lead to a overall harmful atmosphere

                                    A CoC is just a document, so it is passive in that sense, yes. But it doesn’t prevent any affirmative action - it encourages it.

                                    What this seems to boil down to, if I’m reading you correctly, is that you’re saying that it’s better to allow offensive behaviour to occur - and then to have the perpetrator reprimanded - than it is to document what is considered offensive behaviour so that it will be deliberately avoided. I cannot see how that is better. If someone’s response to a rule is to try to find underhanded ways to work around that rule, what difference does it make whether the rule is written down or enforced only by-the-way?

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                                      For one thing, “obvious misbehaviour” may be generally understood but is not obvious to everyone. You will see many people arguing that Linus’ rants are perfectly acceptable, for various reasons.

                                      Ok, but these people would say these rants are good because they are brutal or some kind of “not nice”. Nobody, or at least nobody I’ve seen, claims that Linus is always “kind” and “civil” and people are just misunderstanding him.

                                      Yes, there will always be some problematic individuals who push the limits regardless. But is it better that they are at least constrained in this way, rather than being able to be openly offensive? I think so. And I think this anyway is somewhat irrelevant to the issue of a CoC; even if you generally enforce good behaviour without a CoC, there can always be trouble-makers who test the limits.

                                      I get your point. I still belive there to be a difference between the two cases – maybe not immediately visible, but on a more symbolic level. In the first case the trouble-maker stands in conflict with the (official, formal) document and will try to defend his or her behavior on semantic issues and misreadings, while in the second case the conflict is more direct with the “community”. This is not to say that no rules should be made or no behavior should be sanctioned – just that in the long term this should be a internal and organic (eg. self-made (maybe even unofficial) “community guidelines”, that serve to introduce new members) process not ordained from above.

                                      you’re saying that it’s better to allow offensive behaviour to occur - and then to have the perpetrator reprimanded - than it is to document what is considered offensive behaviour so that it will be deliberately avoided

                                      I wouln’t phrase it that way, since to me many of these terms are too vague. Anyways, in my eyes this seems to be unrelated to CoC: from my experience most people encounter a CoC not by reading it before they do anything, but by people using it as “legislation” – they make a mistake and are then banned and excluded – often enough permanently because it’s just the easiest thing for moderators to do. Either way, the “offensive act” has taken place – with a quick and formal process leading to confusion on the one side and a honest attempt to point out what a person has done (on a case-to-case basis) in the other.

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                                        For one thing, “obvious misbehaviour” may be generally understood but is not obvious to everyone. You will see many people arguing that Linus’ rants are perfectly acceptable, for various reasons.

                                        Ok, but these people would say these rants are good because they are brutal or some kind of “not nice”. Nobody, or at least nobody I’ve seen, claims that Linus is always “kind” and “civil” and people are just misunderstanding him.

                                        That’s my point. The CoC makes it clear that we are expected to be civil. Therefore if anyone goes on an uncivil rant, you can’t claim that it’s ok because [whatever reason], as it’s been explicitly stated that it’s not acceptable. You’re making the community rules about what certain unacceptable behaviour explicit, and removing the inevitable and fruitless debates over whether it’s ok to swear at someone for submitting a bad patch etc.

                                        Whereas now, people don’t understand that it’s not ok to be uncivil.

                                        Either way, the “offensive act” has taken place – with a quick and formal process leading to confusion on the one side and a honest attempt to point out what a person has done (on a case-to-case basis) in the other.

                                        Other than anecdotal examples where it may have been the case with some unknown number of other projects (links to relevant mailing list posts would be interesting to see), I don’t see any evidence that a CoC will necessarily lead to confusion nor to people being wantonly banned from participating for one-off infractions; I certainly don’t think it’s designed or intended for that.

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                              I’ve experienced communities on the Internet which banned their users for using any phrase that has to do with eyesight disabilities (e.g “I can’t see what’s wrong”), and most people simply just didn’t know about this.

                              As a visually impaired person with several friends who are totally blind, this strikes me as ridiculous. I have no problem with such everyday use of “see” and related words. I think my blind friends would agree.

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                        What’s so bad about people in positions of power to stop being abusive? Isn’t it something to applaud?

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                      It’s possible the CoC, the heart-warming public statement and Linus taking a time-out is a double-blind.

                      Well he could actually be a little burnt out as well, which is also totally fine.

                      I totally support him which ever way the pendulum falls.

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                    I use and love linux, and have read many things about Linus being abusive and what not. I am on the spectrum and wasn’t diagnosed til my 40s. Looking back on my earlier adult years, I was described as abrasive, obnoxious, and many others.

                    I tend not to suffer fools lightly, but somehow, on my own have learned better self-editing skills. Hopefully Linus will figure this out, because it truly will benefit everyone in the community.

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                      on my own have learned better self editing skills.

                      Any tips? I’m probably in a similar position but am trying to be less of an asshole.

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                        Wow. I wish I had a great answer for this. Feeling things, ANYTHING, has always been hard for me, but one thing that has always made me feel things is art. Music and cinema are usually where I go. When something in either of those arenas makes me feel something, I reflect on it and think. I think about that feeling and how it might apply to me and others, and I dunno, maybe it’s re-written my brain wiring a little bit.

                        I guess one basic thing I also do is just not respond sometimes. I give it time, and think about it. When I’m on the internet now, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a reply, and then just bailed on it, and never sent it. Or I’ve started a reply, and copied it into my clipboard so I could spend a little time thinking if I really wanted to send it. It’s in the clipboard if I need it.

                        Whereas 30+ years ago, if I was on my BBS or another, I would just furiously write a reply or a message and just hit save, without thinking. So maybe some of this has come with age, also. Supposedly we get wiser as we get older.

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                          I am (was?) also in a similar situation. I never insulted people, like Linus, but I would give very blunt feedback, because that’s how I like to receive feedback. It took me a while (I’m in my thirties now) but I eventually recognised that different people respond differently to different styles of feedback. So I would observe other people’s communication styles, and then mimic a person’s style when giving them feedback. It felt dishonest and almost manipulative at first, but I noticed how much smoother my interactions would be, and after a while I could do it without much effort. It made me more effective in teams, and I think my coworkers feel more positive about working with me these days.

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                            Don’t reply on impulse. Play devil’s advocate when reading your replies. When in doubt, clarify that you are criticizing an idea or a behavior and not attacking the person behind it. If necessary, acknowledge and repeat back what the other person wrote to ensure you are understanding each other before responding.

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                            I am on the spectrum and wasn’t diagnosed til my 40s.

                            This is what surprises me about this post - and your comment. I’m not being judgemental - I’m just ignorant about the condition(s) other than exposure in the media - which must be the worst way to learn about anything.

                            Linus is married and I expect he has a social circle apart from his professional and technical contacts.

                            I’m surprised he hasn’t come to realise until now. Still good for him to publicly admit and address it - that alone takes a lot of bravery - including your comment.

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                              It was actually someone in my social circle who suggested I read Jon Elder Robison’s book, Look Me in the Eye, which began my journey. She said I reminded her a lot of him. When I was in grade school, Aspergers wasn’t really a thing to the point of mass awareness. When it became a thing, I was already in high school. I surely would have benefited from some special education in my more formative years of grade school, but instead I had to learn it the hard way through social failure. This method wasn’t always successful, either.

                              Relationships of all sorts still baffle me, and I often question peoples’ choices when they make a beeline for the worse possible decision, when the best choice is obvious to me, but hey.

                              Human behaviour is so broad that I suspect people on the Aspergers side of the spectrum were just dismissed with people saying, “Oh, that’s just John being John.” In my family, the behaviour was probably more accepted because after my diagnosis, and learning what to look for, it’s clear that my dad is on the spectrum, also. So my behaviour was just probably explained by “the apple not falling far from the tree.”

                              Despite that, my mom definitely didn’t have the patience for a kid on the spectrum. It was bad.

                              But becoming self aware later in life, from where I sit, is a common thing. With age comes wisdom, hopefully.

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                                Thanks for taking the time to reply,

                                I was sent on a management course once which turned out to be a cleverly disguised self-improvement course but I think the thing that stayed with me more than anything was the instructor saying that “people are messy” - his exact phrase, repeated several times. I think part of what he meant was that there is no logic and no rules that govern everybody and every single relationship is unique and challenging in its own way.

                                That freed me from a lot of prejudice and stress I think. Although it may sound scary that you can’t rely on a set of instructions or a template for dealing with people, it’s also quite liberating and helped me avoid stereotyping people and treat them more individually rather than thinking there is some cultural, racial, religious (or any other) “norm” for anyone.

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                                  One thing I learned from working for this particular boss was, “What’s true for me isn’t necessarily true for you (or others). What struck me was a particular example he gave at a staff meeting, one day. This company had an inside sales force. It was phone stuff. They never left the office unless we went to trade shows, but he made them all wear ties because, “Wearing a tie makes you feel better, doesn’t it?” Well speaking for myself, it didn’t. Anything on or near my adam’s apple makes me gag, and wearing a tie all day was torture. The lesson learned was that HE didn’t see that what was true for him, wasn’t always true for everyone else. I applied that lesson to myself from that day forward. I think in management there are some universal truths about respect and behaviour that must apply to everyone, and then there’s all that individual relationship stuff you talked about.

                                  I also know that being on the spectrum, and being awesome like we are, doesn’t always allow us to see these things so clearly in the moment. After all it’s literally a brain wiring thing.

                                  For example. I see a person in this thread replying to everyone about how Linus doing what he is doing is BAD and this and that. I’m beginning to wonder if this person might not be on the spectrum, also, and might be unaware of what they’re putting out into the universe.

                                  Thanks to everyone who’s having a reasonable and rational discussion about this.

                                  BTW, I occasionally host panels at Sci Fi cons about Aspergers and Neuro-diversity with the title, “Sheldon, Asperger, and You,” and they have all been wildly successful. My hope is always to give someone else the gift of self awareness I got when my friend suggested Jon Elder Robison’s book to me.

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                            My respect for Linus just shot up. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

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                                WHY?

                            2. 39

                              I think this is a really important personal step for Linus. I believe this is a genuine self-realization for him; I hope he figures out how to deal with being more empathetic.

                              I also think it’s a good thing for open source software. He’s been at the helm of the biggest open source project in the world, as the original creator of it for over 25 years. Linus is one of the most important figures in the history of OSS. His success guarantees him the status of a role model for a new and current generation of hackers, whether he likes it or not. I would argue that his toxic behavior genuinely has encouraged the very same toxic behavior you can see in some OSS projects. His blow-ups and personal attacks are such an easy way for maintainers and devs to rationalize their own bad behavior. I really hope that he follows through with his personal behavioral goals, not just for himself or the people he interacts with - but for the attitude and personality of OSS overall in the long run.

                              1. 6

                                I would argue that his toxic behavior genuinely has encouraged the very same toxic behavior you can see in some OSS projects. His blow-ups and personal attacks are such an easy way for maintainers and devs to rationalize their own bad behavior.

                                His ‘blow ups and personal attacks’ are waaaay overblown. He’s said a few rude things on the internet in the tens of thousands of emails he’s sent over the years. Nobody ever quotes the 99.99% of emails he sends that are perfectly nice. They cherry-pick the absolutely worst things he’s ever said then act like they’re the typical Linus Torvalds email.

                                1. 14

                                  Nobody ever quotes the 99.99% of emails he sends that are perfectly nice

                                  I disagree with this statement.

                                  I believe that part of the reason that both Linus and Linux are as successful as they are today is that Linus provides strong technical direction and is an encouraging, helpful person who has built a community around Linux. Part of the reason we’re able to talk about this is that people do want to work with Linus, despite his occasional rants - otherwise Linux would have been forked years ago to kick him off the project. We’ve seen it happen elsewhere.

                                  I also believe that Linus in sweary rude mode has hurt feelings and put people off kernel development. And not just Linus’ words personally, but those of other people who see him doing it and believe that this is an acceptable way to express disagreement.

                                  These two things aren’t incompatible! We don’t have to paint Linus as some terrible fire-breathing gatekeeper to admit that perhaps his manner has upset people.

                                  The fact is - it’s very easy to write without realising how your words affect people (perhaps especially so online). And the fact that people have told Linus that his manner is not helpful and he is now listening, is encouraging.

                                  1. 2

                                    I don’t understand what you’re disagreeing with. Obviously people literally have quoted his polite emails in the past, but not in the context of these discussions. These discussions always come down to cherry-picked examples of rudeness. It’s like the point people make that you never see a newspaper headline saying ‘no planes crashed today’, not because it’s untrue but because it’s not newsworthy or interesting. ‘Muslim family completely normal, not terrorists’ isn’t news, and seemingly whenever Muslims families are in the news it’s about terrorism, so people start to assume every Muslim is a terrorist, which is absurd. There are people out there that think every email Linux sends is rude.

                                    If Linus Torvalds has scared a few people off of Linux kernel development it’s not because he swore in an email, it’s because a big circlejerk convinced them that he only ever swears in emails. It’s not because he’s occasionally rude, it’s because they’ve been led to believe that he’s always rude.

                                    1. 13

                                      These discussions always come down to cherry-picked examples of rudeness.

                                      This is the statement that I’m disagreeing with - I don’t think they do. I think we spend more time discussing examples of rudeness because they’re more newsworthy in this context, sure. But nobody that I’m aware of has ever claimed that Linus is always rude. In a similar vein, I’ve read newspaper articles about plane crashes which referenced statistics on the likelihood of a plane crashing, but even if they don’t, any sensible reader has enough context to know that planes not crashing is the baseline.

                                      If Linus Torvalds has scared a few people off of Linux kernel development

                                      Consider that it’s not just about Linus personally, but about the example he sets. He is the BDFL, and people will follow his model, consciously or otherwise. There is an amplification effect.

                                      1. 0

                                        His ‘model’ is being perfectly normal! What is it about that people don’t understand? He speaks exactly the same as anyone else. He just does so in very high volume over a medium that is viewable by people all over the world and archived for eternity.

                                        1. 2

                                          I do agree that it’s on the broad spectrum of ‘normal’. A person in his position (role model) will be held to a higher standard though, and I think that’s perfectly normal too. I hope you’re equally happy for people to express their disapproval of his comments as you’re happy for him to express himself in whatever way he pleases (and to accept the consequences of doing so). Or perhaps you think they should keep it to themselves? Double standards? I just really can’t see the connection between being personally abusive and the ability to say no (and if it’s such a rare occurrence, then it shouldn’t make a significant difference in that respect anyway). I’m also not a fan of the implication that he speaks ‘the same as everyone else’ (that just comes off as an excuse). I mean I understand what you’re saying; that everyone will lose their cool sometimes, and those are the times we tend to remember (although there are plenty of famous people who aren’t known for this kind of behaviour, so I don’t think his reputation is entirely undeserved). However, I can’t see how you can stretch it to disappointment that he has ‘given in’ to the masses. I get the impression that he has come to this conclusion more from personal interactions (which matter far more) rather than based on what Reddit thinks, or whatever. If that was the case, do you not think that would be perfectly reasonable? Why are you so intent on seeing this as a weakness? Is losing your cool and becoming personally abusive not also a weakness, and is it not valid to see potential for improvement in the way you communicate? Would you be so upset about this if no one had ever been critical of his comments?

                                  2. 14

                                    Nobody ever talks about the 99.99% of people I didn’t murder.

                                    1. 1

                                      Well, except you. :-)

                                2. 37

                                  if you are at all in a vulnerable place, skip reading the comments about this on places like reddit or phoronix. the amount of hate being conveyed is disappointing if unsurprising.

                                  1. 10

                                    I’m appalled but not surprised to see this much hate in reddit, Slashdot, Hacker News and such. They were never inclusive communities to begin with, but somehow the quality of discussion exponentially went down in the last few years. I’m trying to think of a catalyst, but I’m not sure. Perhaps 4chan’s /g/ is to blame, as 4chan itself decayed into toxic sludge. Gamergate came out of /v/ after all.

                                    1. 7

                                      I was interested in that and wrote a small script to see where the 120 (-1 for deleted comments) reddit users comment besides the r/linux thread about the new CoC.

                                      I only looked at the 100 latest comments of each user.

                                      https://gist.github.com/Duncaen/3c80b044ca6fcd94c60265d171ad227d

                                      The list contains the number of unique users who commented in the subreddit.

                                      I expected a bit more users frequent the same subreddits, but there are also many new accounts.

                                      1. 4

                                        It more or less confirms my suspicions. If I weren’t familiar with /r/linux as a community, I would’ve suspected brigading. It’s not a good look either way.

                                    2. 15

                                      Ignorant people see apologies as an attack vector.

                                      1. 8

                                        Yes, it seems apologizing is a sign of weakness to some people.

                                    3. 26

                                      That was unexpected to me. Good to see, though.

                                      1. 12

                                        I agree with Jono’s Bacon take [1] on it and this sums it up for me:

                                        His post today is a clear example of him putting Linux as a project ahead of his own personal ego.

                                        Also the full code of conduct [2].

                                        [1] https://www.jonobacon.com/2018/09/16/linus-his-apology-and-why-we-should-support-him/

                                        [2] https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux.git/tree/Documentation/process/code-of-conduct.rst?id=8a104f8b5867c682d994ffa7a74093c54469c11f

                                        1. 11

                                          On one hand, I don’t particularly find the Linux code particularly pleasant to work on, so I probably wouldn’t be contributing in my spare time regardless.

                                          On the other hand, I think that this reduces the chance that I’ll send any patches in the future; I find these “welcoming” cultures make me feel less at ease, for whatever reason, which is a second strike against my involvement.

                                          For me, the code reviews I got from Theo were a highlight of sending in patches to OpenBSD.

                                          In the end, it doesn’t matter much – not everything needs to be for everybody, and the Linux community isn’t run for for me. This will bring some people in, push others out, and the world will go on.

                                          1. 8

                                            True. I’m also concerned that code quality (and therefore users) will suffer.

                                            1. 24

                                              I am honestly at a loss to see who abiding to a bland CoC could lead to code quality suffering.

                                              Nothing in the CoC that I have read is in any way unremarkable. It’s simply normal professional behavior codified, with some additions to address the peculiarities of mostly online communications.

                                              1. 5

                                                It’s simply normal professional behavior codified.

                                                That ship has sailed, but I am not convinced Open Source should be held to the standards of “professional behavior”. For instance, should we stop accepting underage contributors? What about anonymous or pseudonymous contributions?

                                                Moreover what constitutes “professional behavior” differs wildly between countries and even companies within countries. For instance, “don’t ask don’t tell”-style policies are still the norm at some workplaces; do we want that in our communities? Or should we just accept that the average (non-Trump voter) U.S. sentiment should be the norm in Open Source?

                                                Regarding Linus, he does (did?) have a very strong way of reacting when people disregarded things that he considered important principles of the kernel such as “do not break userspace”. He isn’t shy to use strong language to criticize companies either :)

                                                Whether this has a positive or a negative effect is hard to say. It certainly antagonizes some people, and especially some potential new contributors, but at the scale of Linux should that still be the main concern of the project?

                                                In any case Linus knows he reacts too strongly too fast already. This is not the first time he says something like that. We should wait and judge the long-term effects in a few months or years.

                                                1. 14

                                                  Treating people professionally does not imply employment. A proprietor of a store treats a customer professionally by not insulting them, or refusing service. A teacher treats a student professionally by not verbally denigrating them, for example. A maintainer of an open source project treats bug reports professionally by attempting to reproduce them and applying a fix, even though the submitter of the issue may as well be anonymous.

                                                  It’s basically the 21st century formulation of the Categorical Imperative, as far as I am concerned.

                                              2. 23

                                                Why? Do you truly believe that it is impossible to reject bad patches without telling someone that they should be “retroactively aborted”?

                                                1. -3

                                                  Language as harsh as that is used daily in normal speech between developers. I’ve seen much worse slack channels in terms of use of language, and you wouldn’t believe the language I’ve seen used on IRC to describe bad code.

                                                  I do indeed think that if you start censoring peoples’ language they’re going to change the way they contribute for the worse. If all you did was ban the absolute worst things like that, nobody would complain. But the reality is that’s not what will happen. Anything ‘offensive’ will be banned. Offensiveness is completely subjective.

                                                  1. 20

                                                    Language as harsh as that is used daily in normal speech between developers

                                                    That’s a rash generalisation. At none of the places I’ve worked as a developer would that sort of language be acceptable.

                                                    Offensiveness is completely subjective

                                                    That’s also untrue. While there will be grey areas, there are some things that are objectively offensive if interpreted literally - and if they’re not meant literally, why not use another expression?

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I’m going to guess you’re an American, correct me if I’m wrong. EDIT: stand corrected

                                                      The American cultural norm of ‘compliment sandwiches’ and being obsequiously polite is cancer to the ears of most people that aren’t Americans. I find it quite funny that Americans have this idea of Japanese as being very polite culturally, while Americans are insanely polite culturally compared to most other English-speaking countries.

                                                      The typical British, Australian or Kiwi software developer swears like a trooper. It’s not uncommon, it’s not offensive. You wouldn’t do it in an email, but this is the key point: my emails are not Linus’s emails. The context is different. All his communication is by email, so naturally email carries a much lower average level of formality.

                                                      That’s also untrue. While there will be grey areas, there are some things that are objectively offensive if interpreted literally - and if they’re not meant literally, why not use another expression?

                                                      I don’t even know how to respond to this. Why would one only ever say things you mean literally? Speaking entirely literally is something I would expect of someone with extreme levels of Asperger’s syndrome, I believe it’s a common symptom.

                                                      1. 11

                                                        I’m going to guess you’re an American, correct me if I’m wrong

                                                        The typical British, Australian or Kiwi software developer swears like a trooper

                                                        You are wrong; I’m Australian, currently working in England, and I disagree. Regardless, swearing by itself is not something that I find offensive.

                                                        Why would one only ever say things you mean literally?

                                                        That’s not what I suggested. If you have a choice between a highly offensive figurative or metaphorical expression and some other expression - whether literal or also figurative - which is not highly offensive, why go for the former?

                                                        1. 2

                                                          You are wrong; I’m Australian, currently working in England, and I disagree. Regardless, swearing by itself is not something that I find offensive.

                                                          I see

                                                          That’s not what I suggested.

                                                          I must have misinterpreted you. Sorry.

                                                          If you have a choice between a highly offensive figurative or metaphorical expression and some other expression - whether literal or also figurative - which is not highly offensive, why go for the former?

                                                          People say things that others find offensive, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. Offensiveness is subjective. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever been offended. Why go for one expression over another knowing that someone will get their knickers in a twist over it? Because you don’t care if someone finds it offensive? Because you enjoy it?

                                                          I have to admit that I actually quite enjoy knowing that someone got self-righteously offended over something I’ve said. It hasn’t happened too often, but when it does it’s just great.

                                                          EDIT: to be clear, there is ‘offensiveness’ that I don’t like. If someone is racist, I’m not offended, I just think that being racist is wrong and stupid and that they are wrong and stupid. I guess you could call this ‘offense’ but it’s really not the same thing.

                                                          1. 5

                                                            Why go for one expression over another knowing that someone will get their knickers in a twist over it? Because you don’t care if someone finds it offensive? Because you enjoy it?

                                                            I was not intending for you to provide an answer for the “why” - it was a rhetorical question. The point was that I do not think you should say something that may well offend someone, when there is a way to communicate without doing so.

                                                            Offensiveness is subjective. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever been offended

                                                            I suspect this is why you’re having difficulty seeing the problem, and while I envy you never having experienced the feeling of being offended I can see that this could lead to lack of empathy for those who were.

                                                            Maybe you wouldn’t get offended by something, but that doesn’t mean it’s “not offensive” per se. I don’t agree that offensiveness is entirely subjective. Implying (or stating directly) that someone is stupid in communication to them, for example, is generally considered offensive. Statements can be intended to cause offense. There may be disagreement on specific cases, but I think in general that there would be good agreement in a survey of a random portion of the population that certain statements were offensive.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              I think the reality is that I would be closest to feeling hurt or offended by someone calling me stupid if I really had done something stupid. I’ve been called stupid when I haven’t been stupid many times, doesn’t bother me. I’ve been called stupid when I really have been stupid, and it does indeed make you feel bad.

                                                              I’ll acknowledge that the best way to deal with some bad code getting into the Linux kernel isn’t to make the person that wrote it feel bad.

                                                        2. 5

                                                          The typical British, Australian or Kiwi software developer swears like a trooper.

                                                          As a kiwi, I have not had this experience at all, quite the opposite. Everyone I work with is polite and respectful. This is just my experience, but I’m very surprised by your comment.

                                                          it’s not offensive

                                                          Sure, if it’s just swearing in general (though I’d still prefer to keep it to a minimum). The problem is when it becomes personal. Your argument is that people use ‘language just as harsh is used daily’, but there’s a line between bad language and abusive language. I don’t think the latter should be acceptable in a professional environment (at least one I’d want to work in). You can’t use one to justify the other.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            The typical British, Australian or Kiwi software developer swears like a trooper. It’s not uncommon, it’s not offensive.

                                                            I work in software development in the UK and many of Linus’ comments would be seen as completely unprofessional in either emails or conversation - certainly far past the bar where HR would get involved. There’s a massive gap between swearing and direct personal insults.

                                                    2. 15

                                                      No one said you have to be an asshole when being firm about rejecting patches.

                                                      1. -1

                                                        A lot of people will interpret anything firm as being an arsehole. If you don’t put smiley faces at the end of every sentence, some people will interpret it as you being an arsehole. If you don’t couch every negative thing you say between two positive things, people will react very aggressively.

                                                        1. 17

                                                          But saying someone should be “retroactively aborted” for some bad code?

                                                          1. 11

                                                            If you don’t put smiley faces at the end of every sentence, some people will interpret it as you being an arsehole. If you don’t couch every negative thing you say between two positive things, people will react very aggressively.

                                                            This sounds like a very broad generalization to me.

                                                        2. 22

                                                          I think there’s no causal link between “being nicer when responding to patches” and code quality going down. If anything I’d suspect the opposite; you get people who learn and improve rather than giving up after feeling insulted, and then continue to submit quality improvements.

                                                          1. 3

                                                            Linus Torvalds is nearly always nice when responding to patches. In 0.001% of emails he’s rude. Unfortunately he sends a lot of emails, and people cherry-pick the worst of the worst.

                                                            1. 21

                                                              His own apology and admission of a problem would indicate that the issue is significant. That “0.001%” is a made-up number, isn’t it? While I’m sure that only a small number of his emails are insulting, that small number still has - and has had - a detrimental effect on the mind-state of other developers. This is what’s come out of a discussion between Linus and a number of developers.

                                                              Don’t get me wrong, I like Linus generally (not that I know him personally) and I think he does a great job in general, but it’s clear that this personality problem has been a growing problem. A number of people - even quite prominent developers - have left the kernel development arena because of this kind of behaviour from Linus and others and/or issues around it.

                                                              I think this is a great step on Linus’ behalf, it must have been hard to make the admissions that he has and it’s a sign that things really could be better going forward.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                His own apology and admission of a problem would indicate that the issue is significant.

                                                                I disagree. I think the issue is massively overblown and that he’s been worn down by the endless bullshit about something that really isn’t an issue.

                                                                That “0.001%” is a made-up number, isn’t it?

                                                                If you’d like to go do sentiment analysis on every LKML email he’s sent, be my guest. I’d love to see the real numbers. But I chose the number to make a point: it’s a vanishingly small number of emails. It’s about half a dozen well known rude emails over two decades or more. They’re really not that bad taken in the context of the number of emails he sends and the context in which he sends them. He doesn’t say ‘this code is shit’ out loud to his coworker and then send a nice polite email. The LKML is the entire communication layer for all of Linux kernel development (plus the other lists of course). The context of those emails includes a lot more than what you’d normally include in emails in a normal development environment.

                                                                While I’m sure that only a small number of his emails are insulting, that small number still has - and has had - a detrimental effect on the mind-state of other developers. This is what’s come out of a discussion between Linus and a number of developers.

                                                                I mean frankly I think that if someone is going to be detrimentally affected by a few emails they are no great loss. I’ve seen a few people that say things like ‘I’d never contribute to Linux even if that were in my skill set, because they’re always rude to new people’ and then cite Linus’s emails as evidence of this. I’ve seen that sort of comment a lot. Dozens of times on /r/linux, dozens of times on /r/programming, many times on HN. It’s rubbish! The LKML isn’t obsequious: the email culture there is the traditional techy one of saying what you need to say straightforwardly rather than the traditional corporate one of layering everything in sugar to avoid sounding rude to people that expect every criticism to be wrapped in three layers of compliments.

                                                                The LKML is especially not rude to newcomers. Linus has been rude, in the past, sure, but only to people that are expected to know better. Long term, hardcore maintainers that have been around for years. Is it okay? No, but it’s not anything to get worked up about. It’s a really really minor issue.

                                                                There are way bigger issues in Linux kernel development, like the really scary amount of control and input some companies have in its development.

                                                                Don’t get me wrong, I like Linus generally (not that I know him personally) and I think he does a great job in general, but it’s clear that this personality problem has been a growing problem. A number of people - even quite prominent developers - have left the kernel development arena because of this kind of behaviour from Linus and others and/or issues around it.

                                                                They probably would have left anyway. People don’t change careers because someone said ‘retroactively aborted’ in an email once.

                                                        3. 10

                                                          funny, I almost avoided a potential security report to OpenBSD because I saw the contact is theo. I didn’t want to get flamed.

                                                        4. 2

                                                          I don’t know, I actually liked the letter labeled as HR compliant. The author says the downside is that the person might come back and try to explain their idea. This is a good thing. This is how a person like Linus could have a chance to understand new use cases and new techniques.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Because Linus has enough time to do that with everybody. We still live in real life where one of the biggest constraints we all have, if not the biggest is time. Let’s not swear but also let’s not encourage people to needlessly waste others’ times.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            I agree with your general point that not swearing doesn’t mean not being direct. The polite direct version you supply doesn’t clearly say no, and so I won’t use it as an example. -10 secs

                                                            Here’s an example for, what in my opinion is a direct but polite no.

                                                            Hey. The suggestion would lead to many confusions and hard to fix bugs. We’ll have to find another way.

                                                            The example assumes that the only issue was the API and not if adding this feature makes sense in the first place.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Adopting Coraline Ada’s anti-meritocratic CoC is a disaster. Its intended as political tool for feminism, this is no secret. This will, at best, split the community.

                                                              1. 24

                                                                I contemplated not answering to this comment, because I am tired of this discussion a bit, yet I don’t want to leave it unchallenged. I think

                                                                • The Contributor Covenant is a very reasonable guideline. Not every sentence is as I would have phrased it, but if you wholeheartedly reject it, I kind of suspect you aren’t interested in a community I want to work in. There are some legal implications I think that would be worth discussing before introducing it, though, but overall I share its intent.
                                                                • Feminism is a positive movement in our societies, it has liberated women and it has benefited men as well.
                                                                • Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group, so yes, this CoC is politics, but not having a CoC is also politics, just less organized politics.
                                                                • Meritocracy is a fairy-tale political ideal that never realizes usually because “merit” cannot be defined.
                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Modern ‘3d wave’ feminism, identity politics, intersectionality and basically all those other -isms and -itys defined under ‘critical theory’ have done a large amount of damage to the cohesion of society and stand to do much more given the chance as they eventually all lead to the same thing: divide society into groups of ‘us’ and ‘them’ based on real or imaginary differences between the two where the ‘us’ is deemed to be oppressed by the ‘them’. This hierarchy of oppression is a fluid thing where the ‘oppressed’ of today can become the ‘oppressor’ of tomorrow, viz. the exclusion of ‘cis-gender white male homosexuals’ from more radical LGBTQ[a-z0-9] groups [1].

                                                                  Part of the problem can be understood by looking at that term I just used to identify the formerly oppressed, now oppressing gay men: ‘cis-gender’ ‘white’ ‘male’ ‘homosexuals’. Four identifiers which supposedly can be used to group a lot of people into a box where all those people are supposed to have certain characteristics innate to that group. Those who are into using terms like this don’t seem to realise that they’re going down the same path that groups like the KKK went down before by attributing behavioural traits to people with certain identifying characteristics, i.e. more or less the classical definition of racism.

                                                                  [1] https://www.them.us/story/white-gay-men-are-hindering-our-progress

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    The Contributor Covenant is a very reasonable guideline.

                                                                    Questioning its contents is now off-limits. Rules must stay debatable. The “not aligned to this Code of Conduct” part is unnecessary for moderation, but necessary if its intended to be abused as power instrument.

                                                                    I kind of suspect you aren’t interested in a community I want to work in

                                                                    You don’t know how i work or where i work or what i do, but you still voice that (pre-)judgement? IMHO its really rude. If you are interested, i offer you to come around and have a talk.

                                                                    Feminism is a positive movement in our societies, it has liberated women and it has benefited men as well.

                                                                    Just from the ire it created, i don’t think the 3rd wave feminism, especially identity politics, are helpful to society. People are so fed up with it, they vote for people like Trump just to spite them. Maybe some time for reflection what went wrong?

                                                                    Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group, so yes, this CoC is politics, but not having a CoC is also politics, just less organized politics

                                                                    Ill quote http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6214:

                                                                    […], it is true that Ehmke thinks of open source as a political arena. As such, one must read the Contributor Covenant as a political document, with political means and political ends. Specifically, it is a tool for Social Justice.

                                                                    Kernel-internal politics are fine, but Coraline Ada using it as arena is off-limits.

                                                                    Meritocracy is a fairy-tale political ideal that never realizes usually because “merit” cannot be defined

                                                                    Things don’t need to be defined to be valid (including personal identity).

                                                                    In Software Development, competence is a scarce resource. If someone has the ability and knowledge to do something, they’ll also end up as decision maker in this area. This isn’t fairy-tale, this is how self-organization works, and this is how many OSS-Communities work. Its Ada who now whats that things happen differently. I highly doubt that her ideal will work at all.

                                                                  2. 11

                                                                    I want to disagree with this, because I don’t believe that “a political tool for feminism” is necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps that’s my politics showing. Do you have any specific objections to the CoC? What in particular is anti-meritocratic about it?

                                                                    Edit: Link to the CoC itself, courtesy of rodolfo elsewhere on this page https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux.git/tree/Documentation/process/code-of-conduct.rst?id=8a104f8b5867c682d994ffa7a74093c54469c11f

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      The content is only one of the issues. Alone the fact that its imposed top-down will make feel many people violated in their moral autonomy. The worst thing is, people who don’t exercise their moral autonomy don’t understand what kind of loss this is.

                                                                      Maintainers who do not follow or enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by other members of the project’s leadership.

                                                                      Tell me, how is this different from authoritarian rule?

                                                                      1. 18

                                                                        Tell me, how is this different from authoritarian rule?

                                                                        It sounds like… a rule. Some places have those, like “please put your clothes back on or we’ll ask you to leave the shop”, but it’s the content that makes them reasonable or otherwise.

                                                                        My question is what specifically does this code of conduct prevent people from doing that you object to?

                                                                        Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

                                                                        • The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances
                                                                        • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
                                                                        • Public or private harassment
                                                                        • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission
                                                                        • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting
                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          I’m not the person you’re replying to, but I believe this point can raise some contention. It’s argued it’s so weakly defined that it could be abused both ways.

                                                                          Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            Yes, that’s a fair point - thanks. Personally, I believe there’s enough general consensus on what is considered appropriate in a professional setting that this isn’t immediate cause for concern, but it will come down to seeing when and how the CoC is enforced.

                                                                            Most workplaces have similar language in their contracts and it certainly can raise contention depending on how it’s applied.

                                                                            I realise you’re not liwakura, but just to bring it back around - I don’t think there’s anything in that to justify his original statement that it’s “a disaster”, or “a political tool for feminism”, however.

                                                                        2. 9

                                                                          imposed top-down

                                                                          What isn’t imposed top-down in open source projects?

                                                                          The license, the initial code, the name, the decisions on accepting patches, who gets commit access… The project owners can (and should) impose whatever they feel is necessary. What the hell is wrong with that? What makes you feel entitled to project maintainers not setting their rules?

                                                                          The only autonomy you have is to fork the project.

                                                                          1. 18

                                                                            I was once a visitor to South Africa during the apartheid government and stayed a couple of nights in a house up the hill from a police station. You could hear people screaming as they were tortured some nights. Being told that voluntarily participating in a group project requires you to be polite is really different from living under authoritarian rule.

                                                                            1. 8

                                                                              Tell me, how is this different from authoritarian rule?

                                                                              You can’t just walk away from authoritarian rule.

                                                                              No-one is being forced to contribute to Linux and follow the rules the community has.

                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                Tell me, how is this different from authoritarian rule?

                                                                                You are free to contribute to the Linux kernel as long as you abide by the code of conduct. If you do no abide by it, you may be censured. You can either change your behavior, stop contributing, or fork the code and continue on your own.

                                                                                This last is what makes it different from authoritarian rule.

                                                                          2. 1

                                                                            Linus is not ‘abusive’. He’s exactly the same as anyone else. It’s a sample size issue. When you send literally hundreds of emails every day for 2 decades, that’s a lot of emails. Of course amongst them will be some that are rude. There are also a hell of a lot that are not.

                                                                            If anyone sent the quantity of publicly viewable emails a day for decades he sends, and they were actual genuine emails from them, not automated stuff sent by tools etc. but actually emails thought through and typed out, they would send a couple of rude ones over the years. Guaranteed.

                                                                            He’s never said anything rude to anyone he hasn’t had several beers with before and met in person. It’s to long term maintainers that have done something extremely unprofessional and inappropriate like fuck up basic maintainership duties. And guess what? Every time, it’s had the right result: the problem has been fixed.

                                                                            The half a dozen times he’s said something really rude in an email, it’s been picked up by people that delight in publicly shaming anyone that doesn’t meet their ridiculous standards who then dogpile him on whatever the dominant social media site is at the time (reddit, twitter, HN, whatever). There are countless people in these threads diagnosing him with autism or tourettes or other similar nonsense. There are even some here. It’s stupid.

                                                                            Linus has completely cracked if he thinks that a couple of weeks away is going to result in him magically being able to avoid ever offending anyone over email when he sends dozens of emails a day for years.

                                                                            EDIT: got a little carried away in this thread. sorry.

                                                                            1. 26

                                                                              Linus is feeling bad about his behaviour. Who are you to second guess his own feelings about himself?

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                What kind of question is that? I’m me. Who else would I be? ‘Who are you to [say thing I disagree with]’ is pretty bad form. I’m as much anyone as anyone else here.

                                                                                His ‘feelings about himself’ are the product of being inundated with bullshit about his perfectly reasonable behaviour for years based on a couple of cherry-picked emails out of tens of thousands and outrage culture. When you say things enough times, people believe them even though they know they’re false.

                                                                                1. 15

                                                                                  His ‘feelings about himself’ are the product of being inundated with bullshit about his perfectly reasonable behaviour for years based on a couple of cherry-picked emails out of tens of thousands and outrage culture.

                                                                                  I believe we’re on the same track on outrage culture. That certainly exists and is total bullshit. I’m hoping that ignoring it will be enough, but I will fight it if necessary.

                                                                                  When you say things enough times, people believe them even though they know they’re false.

                                                                                  Sometimes fighting against popular sentiment is heroism, and sometimes it’s sociopathy. I think fighting for the right to behave like an asshole is steering dangerously close to the latter.

                                                                              2. 7

                                                                                You are making a statistical argument, but did you do a sentiment analysis of his emails? If you are going to make a statistical argument, I recommend you do some statistical analysis on his writings. If what you say is true, he should have a similar result to other public people in the field.

                                                                                However, my GUT feeling is that you are wrong, but I’m not going to put in the effort to prove you wrong, because I have other things to do. However, if you feel you are right, I encourage you to actually do the work to find out.

                                                                              3. 1

                                                                                Where is the letter which is direct without being rude?

                                                                                The “Hey” letter is still very open ended. I agree that there’s a place for double-speak, but I don’t think this is it.

                                                                                It’s possible to give a firm no or disagree about something without being abusive.