Threads for jennifer

  1. 4

    What can Medium do to prevent stuff like this? Because I bet they’re going to go after people using these things if too many people start using them.

    1. 4

      Usually sites take the legal route and go after the use of the name. Another site did that a few weeks ago and made minor tech news, but I’m at a loss as to which one at this very moment.

      1. 3

        They could start focusing on readability again, which is probably the reason why things like this happen in the first place.

        1. 2

          I meant, what nasty things can they do? Obviously they’re already on a nasty path and very keen to continue on it.

          1. 3

            They can employ the same methods other sites have been using to prevent adblocking: changing the markup frequently to escape whatever filter is popular.

        2. 2

          I don’t think they can do much to prevent it other than adding more and more changes that regularly break the extension, but this will always be a cat-and-mouse game.

        1. 4

          It’s worth noting that Docker for macOS runs Linux under the hood using a fork of xhyve. I don’t believe they promote their version for general use, though.

          1. -1

            I hadn’t heard of Spice. Shame it’s GPL, it would’ve been pretty useful, otherwise. I’ve been looking for ways to attach a display to a VM besides opening native windows. Right now my best idea is RDP, but I fear that protocol.

            1. 2

              Why not -vnc 127.0.0.1:0, or a libvirt equivalent? That option has been around for a long time, and you can connect with any VNC viewer, including the one built into macOS’s remote desktop.

              1. 2

                VNC is an option I should’ve thought of. Libvirt isn’t really from my understanding. I’m not actually wanting to connect to a fully-fledged “pretend it’s a computer” VM, but to get pixels to my screen from code written in things like go or node.

                1. 3

                  I asked an applicant to a job posting I had open to complete a short 30-minute coding exercise when they didn’t have any public code available. Really, they had no Internet presence except for a barebones LinkedIn profile.

                  They provided their code test result as a git bundle and specifically called attention to their commit history. I was thoroughly impressed. It was like they’d memorized Deliberate Git, my favorite talk about git etiquette. Their code was great and the story the commit messages told was enlightening. They got an interview.

                  1. 1

                    They got an interview.

                    Typo?

                    1. 2

                      Why? Singular they is a thing.

                      1. 1

                        When you don’t know their identity (see what I did?). “Whoever broke in cleaned their tracks”.

                        It causes confusion when used in cases like this.

                  1. 5
                    • nor will we defend our lack of knowledge of their hyped and volatile technologies

                    Well, I guess ignorance is bliss. My suggestion is to rename this the NIHS manifesto.

                    1. 4

                      I disagree. I don’t need more than a superficial understanding of Blockchain to know that I don’t need/want to build my next webapp on it.

                      1. 1

                        Sure, but I wouldn’t either.

                        This is because people have got excited that they finally understand what a block is and want to play with encryption. I would argue that blockchain isn’t anything new, it just has received a ton of popularity and a fancy buzzword now.

                        It’s not like people didn’t link things together with CFB before blockchain existed. Everyone has just jumped on it because they think it’s fancy now. 🤷‍♀️

                        Personally, what I see from you here is an extremeist response and a lack of accurately and fairly representing the points being discussed.

                      2. 2

                        I would agree that this is a weak point of the manifesto. Learning and understanding the benefits and drawbacks of a new technology should be considered a good thing and should be something to strive for, even if they’re hyped to hell and back. Every bit of software that people are using today was at some point unknown by everyone except the creator(s) themselves.

                        How else will you know when something dramatically better comes along and should rightfully obsolete whatever you’re currently using? There was some guy on the internet that said 90% of all advice is useless and that we should hear as much as we can and take what is useful. While the numbers aren’t going to be the same I think the idea fits the state of software tools fairly well. Maybe one day people will realize that SOAP apis were the best tool/access method by far. I doubt it but it doesn’t mean that give the state of things way into the future it couldn’t happen.

                        Don’t close off, just choose.

                        1. 1

                          I totally agree that understanding the trade-offs for your decisions is an essential skill, but I still feel like this article’s intention feels more like they want to persuade us all into NIHS than it even remotely represents a fair discussion about accepting poor trade-offs.

                      1. 15

                        I don’t even know how to go offline. I turned on airplane mode, but nothing happened. Do I actually need to be on an airplane?

                        1. 7

                          Apparently this uses https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/NavigatorOnLine/onLine

                          Browsers implement this property differently.

                          1. 3

                            If you bring up the JavaScript console, it will prompt you through faking it.

                            1. 24

                              Sigh. I remember when web pages were just web pages and not interactive text adventures. Something else that works great in offline mode: plain HTML. How amazing is that?

                              1. 47

                                Aren’t you the dude with the web site that requires people to register a different Certificate Authority?

                                1. 13

                                  How you get the HTML is your problem, but once you have it, it just works. Even works in lynx. Right click, save link, read it later. Have you tried doing that with this page? If I actually do decide to go offline, and transfer the file via sneakernet, how well will that work?

                                  1. 5

                                    Your perception of what is and what isn’t the user’s fault is “interesting”.

                                    1. 1

                                      I don’t see “fault” used. Are you referring to @tedu placing the burden on authenticating his blog on the user? I actually don’t understand what this tangent has to do with this offline thing anyways. Does @tedu’s certificate setup somehow mean that web pages were once not plain HTML that worked offline?

                                  2. 7

                                    I don’t suppose tedu dictates the chosen security model of your browser. I can tell my browser to stop whining and just show the friggin page.

                                    No, you do not need to trust the cert or the ca to download and decrypt the page.

                                  3. 6

                                    What strikes me most with your statement, is how this sounds a lot like “it was better before”. Obviously plain HTML works great in offline mode, but it doesn’t help in any way to make the point the author is making.

                                    1. 4

                                      this page’s entire raison d’etre is to be an interactive text adventure, so it seems a bit point-missing to complain that it’s not a web page just because it happens to run in a browser.

                                      1. 11

                                        The author wonders why we’re online all the time. Well, how else am I to complete interactive adventures telling me to go offline? It seems more people than not resorted to using the browser console to read the page (after going online to find help), so I’m not sure how much they learned about the experience of being offline either. I learned (again) that nothing works and the only way to survive to is ask for help online.

                                  4. 2

                                    return your tray table to an upright position

                                    1. 1

                                      Tests showed airplane mode works best on a B-2.

                                    1. 11

                                      It sounds like they’re on EC2, but haven’t migrated their thinking away from what you might do with physical servers. A different thing they could have done is build a new AMI, launch a new VM based on it, unmount & detach the EBS data volume, reattach the data volume on the new VM, and move the EIP. Basically the “pets vs cattle” idea.

                                      1. 4

                                        I was thinking that myself. They’re on disposable cloud systems, why are they doing anything except throwing them away?

                                        1. 1

                                          I got the impression they are on multiple cloud providers, not all of which support moving IP addresses.

                                          I agree that separating the egress address from the app server would simplify things though.

                                        1. 16

                                          Whereas most OS’ include proprietary, closed source drivers, OpenBSD does not, by default. Closed source drivers can’t be audited, thus forming an unknown attack vector. It might be bug-ridden, vulnerable, unfree licensed, etcetera. Of course, for your convenience, if you would like to go down the rabbit hole, there is fw_update.

                                          That sounds a bit confused.

                                          Many devices are just dead bricks of silicon without firmware (a small embedded OS) than runs on the device. So unless you run the firmware, you have bought a brick.

                                          fw_update(1) installs the hardware vendor’s non-free firmware (running on the device) to make the device operate so that drivers (running in the kernel, and always free in OpenBSD’s case) can use the device.

                                          1. 11

                                            And to add on to this, fw_update is only needed in cases where OpenBSD is unable to include the firmware in the base install because redistribution is prohibited. Other (including closed source) firmware can already be found in a clean install in /etc/firmware.

                                            1. 1

                                              What does redistribution mean in this case? What makes downloading it in an arbitrary tarball from ftp.openbsd.org not okay, but downloading it in an arbitrary tarball from firmware.openbsd.org okay?

                                              1. 2

                                                In some cases redistribution is ok. The line is really more about stuff on the ftp server is free (to modify, etc.) and the firmware stuff is not. There’s also only one firmware server. It’s not mirrored. So for some of the files that are in a bit of a grey area, mirrors aren’t exposed to any risk.

                                                1. 1

                                                  There are firmware mirrors (round robin dns) but indeed they’re separate from the ftp mirrors.

                                            2. 4

                                              I think the distinction is between drivers and firmware? OpenBSD does not ship driver blobs (which run on the main CPU), but does allow you to update firmwares (which run on the device).

                                              1. 2

                                                fw_update does not update drivers. The author’s comments implied they believed it does.

                                            1. 3

                                              Wow, they fabricated multiple adapters and test boards, a freaking JIG, and a board with an FPGA and DDR3 in order to mess with the PCIe bus.

                                              I have a feeling this is beyond the FBI’s capabilities.

                                              1. 1

                                                I have a feeling this is beyond the FBI’s capabilities.

                                                But not beyond their wallets - which is how they get most of their security tools/exploits, anyway.

                                              1. 22

                                                You really need to provide some examples of those comments, because it can be really hard to tell the difference between comment quality actually dropping and people just wanting to say “back in my day this was awesome and now it sucks”.

                                                Especially accusations of trolling need to be substantiated better because the word tends to be grossly overused.

                                                  1. 24

                                                    It seems just about every comment you linked was received with polite, but firm criticism/sensible answers, and didn’t end up spoiling the thread or the community’s view. Now while it’d be great to not have these comments at all, I think those examples actually show the bigger picture - the high maturity level of the people in community.

                                                    Perhaps the lobsters software should be able to track repeated troll attempts from a single user and raise an alert for moderators to step in. One thing I’ve experienced from moderation of a few communities is that it is generally better to accept more users cheaply, and have stricter rules to kick them out if/when they misbehave.

                                                    1. 9

                                                      It seems just about every comment you linked was received with polite, but firm criticism/sensible answers, and didn’t end up spoiling the thread or the community’s view. Now while it’d be great to not have these comments at all, I think those examples actually show the bigger picture - the high maturity level of the people in community.

                                                      Amen. I agree, and this is why I don’t think censorship is needed.

                                                      Hacker News is heavily modded and it’s still a cesspool.

                                                      The best way to handle the problem of bad users is not to attract them in the first place. I think that we’re doing a good job of keeping the forum in a state that doesn’t attract the YC type.

                                                      1. 5

                                                        You are such a prolific commentator here, that one of the explicit benefits of HN (compared to lobsters) is that you aren’t there.

                                                        [EDIT] I stand by what I said above, but @angersock is right, I probably could have expressed it better. Some clarification: https://lobste.rs/c/01bj1d

                                                        1. 11

                                                          This is the sort of feedback that is best left to private messages, or that really requires further elaboration and generalization of principle in order to raise the level of discourse. Please consider either of those options in the future.

                                                          1. 12

                                                            IMO, michaelochurch’s comments are a non-trivial portion of the low quality comments I’ve seen on lobsters. Virtually every single comment by him either insults entire classes of programmers with absurd generalizations or participates in revisionist history.

                                                            This is the sort of feedback that is best left to private messages

                                                            I generally agree. I’ve mostly stopped interacting with michaelochurch because all previous interactions have been remarkably negative. But if we’re going to participate in a meta discussion about the comment quality on lobsters, then it seems more than appropriate to air grievances.

                                                            1. 9

                                                              While I don’t always agree with michaelochurch’s comments, and sometimes they’re only vaguely related to the parent post (which can be disruptive), I think he’s a valuable member of the community. He holds a minority opinion on a number of issues, but argues them in a thought-provoking way. I’d hate to see lobste.rs as a community push people out because of contrarian viewpoints.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                I’d hate to see lobste.rs as a community push people out because of contrarian viewpoints.

                                                                I wonder if you’d actually walk the walk too.

                                                              2. 5

                                                                Hm, I actually liked the “two types” of programmers comment made by michaelochurch and remember thinking “this guy can really write well”. It made me check out his blog and add it to my feed.

                                                                But maybe that’s because what he wrote down agrees with my opinion?

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  Virtually every single comment by him either insults entire classes of programmers with absurd generalizations or participates in revisionist history.

                                                                  While we’re on the topic of quality content and all, it would be great if you could back up your claims by quoting something Michael said and telling us why he’s wrong (or why it’s reasonable to get “offended” or upset by it).

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I provided links and have otherwise said enough. At this point, it’s up to folks to come to their own conclusions.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I didn’t see anything wrong with what Michael said in the comments you linked to, so you definitely haven’t said enough.

                                                                  2. 3

                                                                    IMO, michaelochurch’s comments are a non-trivial portion of the low quality comments I’ve seen on lobsters.

                                                                    Generally, I think this sort of stat-waving is in poor taste, but I have a higher average karma-per-comment than you do.

                                                                    all previous interactions have been remarkably negative.

                                                                    You made the first personal attack, not me.

                                                                2. 2

                                                                  You are such a prolific commentator here, that one of the explicit benefits of HN (compared to lobsters) is that you aren’t there.

                                                                  Banning me from HN was part of a larger effort. They forced Quora (which YC bought) to ban me. On Reddit, they used to attack me heavily with sock puppets and brigades. Then I started getting the death threats, including harassment from homeless on the street (presumably paid off by YCs; it is a common tactic) when I was in the Bay Area. On one occasion, those assholes tried to get me fired.

                                                                  I suppose you’re a fan of all that, too?

                                                                  If you wonder what I did to piss them off, I wrote a blog post in 2013 where I used the term “chickenhawk” to describe VC’s attraction to inexperience founders. I never mentioned Paul Graham once in that context, and did not have him in mind, but he took the post to be about him, and the rest is history.

                                                                  I’m sure, though, that you think you dislike me because you think for yourself and not because you’ve been told what to think by Paul Graham and his menagerie of boypets. Carry on, then.

                                                                  1. 17

                                                                    If you wonder what I did to piss them off

                                                                    You’ve conveniently left out some important details that might color one’s perspective. For an example of such a detail, see: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10017538

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

                                                                      1. 10

                                                                        I’d imagine the point was that you were warned by a mod to stop doing something and then banned after you kept doing it.

                                                                        Either those posts were not in fact written by you (which would be consistent with your accusation that they are trying to get rid of you by any means necessary), or you broke the rules of their private space and got kicked out for it.

                                                                        I’m not going to tell you they aren’t out to get you - I have every reason to believe PG would act like that - but the HN ban sure looks like more like regular old moderation than some kind of conspiracy.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Either those posts were not in fact written by you (which would be consistent with your accusation that they are trying to get rid of you by any means necessary), or you broke the rules of their private space and got kicked out for it.

                                                                          The rules, to the extent that they can be argued to exist, are inconsistently enforced. People who point out that Silicon Valley has devolved into a pyramid scheme, and that Y Combinator is morally culpable to a large degree, are treated differently from people who aren’t perceived to represent a threat to Paul Graham’s economic or cultural interests.

                                                                          I’m not going to tell you they aren’t out to get you - I have every reason to believe PG would act like that - but the HN ban sure looks like more like regular old moderation than some kind of conspiracy.

                                                                          They definitely know who I am. I have a couple sources inside Y Combinator (they’re not all bad people).

                                                                          [ETA.] Oddly enough, Paul Graham isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be, and he’s been pretty much retired for close to 2 years. I wouldn’t call him a good person, but he’s not Hitler either. PG can be childish and vindictive, but the evil that YC is known for comes mostly from people under him.

                                                                    2. 7

                                                                      They forced Quora (which YC bought) to ban me. On Reddit, they used to attack me heavily with sock puppets and brigades. Then I started getting the death threats, including harassment from homeless on the street (presumably paid off by YCs; it is a common tactic) when I was in the Bay Area. On one occasion, those assholes tried to get me fired.

                                                                      What do you think would cause a diverse group of people across a number of sites to all attack you like that? They can’t handle the truth?

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        It wasn’t a diverse group of people. It was a small number of people (maybe five). Y Combinator owns Quora, which explains the ban.

                                                                        The death threats could have come from anywhere, and although the Reddit brigade detected last April consisted of 45-70 accounts, it’s overwhelmingly likely in my mind that it was fewer than five people, working together and possibly in the same physical space (YC headquarters).

                                                                        Of course, I don’t know for sure, but I know how these people fight. It’s more likely that a small number of people are doing bad things than that there is a large conspiracy.

                                                                        What motivated them? It’s not that they “can’t handle the truth”. They know the truth. What they don’t want getting out there is how much of this current “startup” bubble is outright fraudulent, not only against employees and customers, but also against the institutional investors who provide the capital.

                                                                      2. 11

                                                                        You’re omitting a few details. You were banned from Wikipedia for sockpuppeting, you were banned from Hacker News for calling Marissa Mayer the C-word, and you were banned from Quora for repeated sockpuppeting.

                                                                        1. 10

                                                                          You’re omitting a few details. [.. snip ..]

                                                                          Uh.. I totally understand why you posted that, and won’t call it out for being entirely unreasonable given the way this thread (unfortunately) went. So don’t take this personally.

                                                                          But as a plea for the future, could we all please not dig up dirt on our community members? I really think it is one of the saddest things one can do here. And if we really have to judge somebody, then it should be based on their contribution here on lobsters. Not elsewhere, and definitely not over ten years ago elsewhere.

                                                                          There are multiple reasons for this. Through such external sources, we catch a glimpse of community drama and claims without context, with no way to verify these claims, with no way to understand the background. No way to know who’s lying and who’s saying the truth. That community might be toxic, and toxicity often breeds toxicity. I admit, I can be quite toxic on the trollfest that slashdot is. And the past is past, people can change. I no longer participate on slashdot.

                                                                          Along these lines, I can ascertain that when we have a nice friendly community here, then the people here are naturally encouraged to play along and be nice regardless of how they do elsewhere. That is what matters.

                                                                          But when people come in and bring personal grudges and vendettas and dig up dirt, they bring in the toxin from these other communities. It evokes negative feelings and it hurts, and when it hurts, it is easy to forget what a nice community we have here. And so the poison spreads.

                                                                          1. 9

                                                                            But as a plea for the future, could we all please not dig up dirt on our community members?

                                                                            If you peruse this particular community member’s comments, you will note that he speaks frequently of his past interaction with various folks. It at least seems clear to me from his comments that he’s quite willing to discuss the past and his interaction with communities he’s been banned from. He may very well be telling the truth about many things (as you say, there’s no way to know), but one thing is very very clear: he omits critical details that are terribly inconvenient to his narrative. If he’s willing to talk about it, then adding additional context to what he’s saying seems absolutely fair to me.

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              one thing is very very clear: he omits critical details that are terribly inconvenient to his narrative.

                                                                              I omit details that are irrelevant, regardless of whether they are favorable or not. It’s not like I post, “I’ve received death threats from YC partners” at every opportunity, because who cares? What would I gain from that? I come here to read and talk about technology, not this sort of shit.

                                                                              I don’t talk about this stuff except when asked or provoked. The record shows that you, not me, are the one who turned this thread into a personal-attack-driven shitshow. And you owe an apology to the Lobsters community for doing it.

                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                And you owe an apology to the Lobsters community for doing it.

                                                                                As I said, I could have expressed myself better. I never intended for anything I said to be a personal attack, but I can absolutely see how I came across that way. For that, I apologize to you. My intent was to express how unfavorably I view your contributions to this web site. Intent doesn’t count for much, but there it is.

                                                                                In any case, I’ve learned from my mistake. This will be the last time I respond to you on this web site.

                                                                            2. 9

                                                                              In general I agree with you, but in this case I was responding to a comment in which Church claims he was banned from HN and Quora as part of a larger conspiracy against him (that includes YC paying the homeless to harass him). When someone makes a claim like that, I feel like I need to point out there were several clear reasons for why he was banned.

                                                                              1. -2

                                                                                “Point[ing] out” things that aren’t actually true isn’t a public service. It’s annoying and, frankly, you aren’t very convincing or talented at it.

                                                                            3. -4

                                                                              You were banned from Wikipedia for sockpuppeting,

                                                                              That user’s hate page was debunked a long time ago. Most of those accounts don’t even exist. Granted, I did some stupid shit on Wikipedia back in 2004. Just not that.

                                                                              you were banned from Hacker News for calling Marissa Mayer the C-word

                                                                              Not true. I used a different word, “queynte”, specifically because some people consider “cunt” to be a gender slur when applied to a woman. The best translation of “queynte” would be “ornament”, not “crude term for vagina”.

                                                                              you were banned from Quora for repeated sockpuppeting.

                                                                              I am aware of that being their stated reason. However, those sock puppet accounts didn’t exist.

                                                                              Back when I had an active blog, Marc Bodnick posted a comment putting the blame on Paul Buchheit who demanded it. Paul Buchheit denied it. I don’t know who’s responsible for that. What I do know is that Marc Bodnick got fired a few months later, because Adam D'Angelo specifically blamed his moderation for the collapse in user engagement and comment quality.

                                                                              Please find a way either to become more intelligent, or to become more graceful in apologizing for what you currently are.

                                                                              1. 9

                                                                                Please find a way either to become more intelligent, or to become more graceful in apologizing for what you currently are.

                                                                                What does that mean?

                                                                      3. 3

                                                                        I’d agree that the number of bad comments has gone up, but I’m not sure that the S:N has gotten worse.

                                                                        polite, but firm criticism/sensible answers, and didn’t end up spoiling the thread

                                                                        We have quite a low quantity of BS, so it’s relatively low-effort to refute (which keeps the place nice). There’s a threshold beyond which people stop being willing to invest time doing that.

                                                                        accept more users cheaply, and have stricter rules to kick them out if/when they misbehave

                                                                        My only concern with this approach (which works well in genereal) is that the failure mode is collapse (when e.g. a key moderator is absent for a few months and there isn’t suitable handover).

                                                                        If that were our approach, I think it would become important to recruit a larger pool of moderators to reduce this risk.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Disclaimer: I’m one of the word-criminals listed above.

                                                                          I pointed out what I consider to be an obvious fact - that Common Lisp itself is not very practical, but didn’t want to go through the effort of trying to convince people of it. For example because if it’s not obvious to someone, he probably wouldn’t be amenable to convincing either.

                                                                          Someone who’s never considered CL impractical but does have an open mind, might benefit from seeing the idea, in case it led to him investigating and reaching the same conclusion himself.

                                                                          It seems just about every comment you linked was received with polite, but firm criticism/sensible answers, and didn’t end up spoiling the thread or the community’s view.

                                                                          Yes, someone asked the reasonable question: “Why?”, and someone else provided a great answer.

                                                                          All in all, which would you say caused a greater disturbance to Lobste.rs’s peace & harmony: my comment, or this thread? It could be argued that whoever started this thread is sowing discord!

                                                                          The thing is, we all interpret quality content and whether an article “belongs here” in different ways. Lobste.rs itself can reasonably be found highly lacking in greatness, even if it is better than HN in some ways.

                                                                        2. 8

                                                                          So, to summarize those examples for people that don’t want to follow links:

                                                                          1. Throwaway comment saying Clojure is more practical than Common Lisp.
                                                                          2. Comment asking why news about a suicide of a non-notable person is being posted to Lobsters.
                                                                          3. Comment expressing skepticism about EU competence on regulating crypto based on linked material.
                                                                          4. Comment (mine) tersely pointing out misuse of math tag and panning article source.
                                                                          5. Comment wondering why so many Julia Evans drawings (simple diagrams) keep showing up lately.

                                                                          With the possible exception of the first comment, those all seem like reasonable comments to me and are not particularly trollish (compared with, say, this or some of yui’s stuff.

                                                                          I think something worth considering is the content of articles all of those comments were in reply to: we need to all remember that a bad submission (like somebody deciding to kill themselves, or spamming pretty drawings, or public policy news) will usually breed bad comments, either asking “why is this here on lobsters?” or failing to have useful content for discussion.

                                                                          In short, if you submit garbage, don’t be surprised if you attract flies.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            bad submission (like somebody deciding to kill themselves, or spamming pretty drawings, or public policy news)

                                                                            I wouldn’t call any of those submissions bad. News about tech industry’s culture affecting people’s mental state, public policy related to tech and other “meta” articles are relevant to lobste.rs, in my opinion. The pretty drawings in question were educational and about tech. Although I didn’t necessarily like some of those submissions, they’re still on-topic.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              those all seem like reasonable comments to me and are not particularly trollish

                                                                              IMO, not all low quality comments are trolls. I agree with the OP that comments like the ones linked are nearly content free, and I find it disappointing that they’re appearing on lobsters with increasing frequency. I don’t have any good solutions, unfortunately. Ideally, we as a group would discourage those sorts of comments from existing in the first place. Perhaps @nickpsecurity is right in that the only other choice is heavier moderation, but I don’t really like that choice either. sigh

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                Three of them aren’t content free though–they are meta comments on the submission. There is a place for such comments and unfortunately they are necessary if we want the community to self regulate properly.

                                                                                Perhaps the increase in bad comments you are seeing is due to an increase in bad submissions?

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Im pushing two: careful who you invite to point you audit prior comments or behavior (approximates friend-to-friend model); heavier moderation if discouraging specific behaviors that persist. I think the invites arent usually handled like in the first. Many were casting a wide net.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            I think the more definitive answer to this would come from a metric only jcs is privy to: At what rate are regular/daily users being driven from the site? (And secondarily, it it worth addressing that at the risk to current rate of growth?) I know a couple people personally who have left due to the elements brought up elsewhere in this discussion, but I wouldn’t feel right singling them out without their permission.

                                                                            1. 5

                                                                              Does money from buying things in the openbsd store go towards development? If so, how much is it?

                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                There are two primary ways that the OpenBSD project is funded:

                                                                                $0 from the OpenBSD Foundation goes to Theo, and CD sales have dwindled over the years [1][2]. Regardless of what one may think of his personality, consider providing support in a means that benefits Theo directly to keep him dedicated to the project.

                                                                                [1] https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=144892124017990&w=2

                                                                                [2] https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=144892810720198&w=2

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  I’ve heard of people buying the OpenBSD CDs as a form of donation, and you get a nice souvenir to boot.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    The profit from the sale of CD’s from the OpenBSD store go to Theo to fund on going development of OpenBSD - unfortunately I don’t think it provides a vast income that the OpenBSD devs deserve…

                                                                                    But that said I like getting my CD sets every six months :~)

                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                      +1 TBH, I hardly ever use my CD sets (downloading an ISO is so much easier), I just buy them as a way to support the project. Oh, and for the stickers!

                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                    This is a really eloquent and long-winded way of justifying discrimination. I’m disappointed, but no surprised.

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      Discrimination for/against whom?

                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                        The speaker in question is Mencius Moldbug, started the “Neoreactionary” political movement. Also created Urbit. He’s stated on his blog that genetics makes certain races better suited to slavery than other races, and has a talk on YouTube describing how to “reboot” the government to make it more like Silicon Valley.

                                                                                        By inviting Moldbug, and indeed by creating a policy to justify inviting him, they are indirectly supporting his racist ideals. By claiming that allowing him to speak is “inclusive” and in the name of “diversity” they are misunderstanding the point of diversity and inclusion. You can’t accept all points of view when one point of view negates another’s humanity.

                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                          Actually, the speaker is Curtis. His decision to use a pen name when writing about topics unrelated to programming was deliberate. He’s not speaking at Lambda about negating humanity.

                                                                                          1. 7

                                                                                            Yes I know it’s a pen name, and it doesn’t matter. He still publicly holds these political views and LambdaConf still classified it as a “belief system” worthy of “inclusion” and “diversity”.

                                                                                            Here’s a good thought experiment that @aphyr mentioned in a tweet recently. Pretend you are a Black person attending a programming conference and the keynote speaker has written that you are genetically best suited to being a slave. How would that make you feel? Even if the entire conference is about only programming, would you still want to attend and be around this person?

                                                                                            1. 9

                                                                                              I think it is entirely possible to enjoy, learn from, and even admire the intellectual works of somebody who we might otherwise find disgusting. If you really care to, I’d be happy to supply several examples of such pairings.

                                                                                              Additionally, I think it is somewhat gauche to ask folks to pretend to be a minority in a group they are not a member of when analyzing policy questions: if they agree with you, you will ignore the inaccuracies of their reasoning (because they can probably never completely understand the plight of that group), and if they disagree with you, you will claim that they do so because they are not fully emulating that group. The “pretend you are a member of $group” for policy questions, especially heated ones such as these, is pretty poor for actually exploring a topic–better still to simply poll the representatives of such groups.

                                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                                We should ban a speaker based not on what they might say to the audience, but what they might think about the audience? I disagree.

                                                                                                How many people at the urbit talk would even know about moldbug without the current ruckus? I certainly wouldn’t. Is the audience going to be uncomfortable because of what Curtis says or because of what people say about Curtis?

                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                  On the other hand, should we ever boycott people or organizations, and if so, in what cases is this tactic appropriate? E.g., would you tolerate a speaker who actually owns slaves, as long as you could guarantee that he wouldn’t attempt to catch new slaves from among the audience?

                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                    I think that’s a question that individuals need to make for themselves, and one I intensely dislike when others make it for me. If a speaker is unwelcome, let them present to an empty room then turn them away the next year on account of poor turnout. But the attendees should be given the opportunity to make this choice, instead of the organizers making it for them.

                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                      Does that mean a conference has no moral responsibility for unfortunate events it could reasonably have predicted, though?

                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                        Certainly the organizers should consider what will or may happen at the event. But as per other thread, I would like some clarification as to what unfortunate events people are predicting. What conduct are we seeking to prevent?

                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                        Boycott movements would disagree with you. The idea behind lobbying shops to drop produce from certain countries is that most people don’t know about what’s happening in Horriblistan or don’t look at the country of origin of every product they buy, so individual boycotting would not be as effective. As you say, “how many people […] would even know about moldbug?”.

                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                          And I would disagree with them. If you want to make a website or documentary explaining the truth about Nike, do that. But don’t apply coercive pressure to the stores I shop at. I have free will, too, remember.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            But everyone has free will. Your local shoe store is free to decide not to carry Nike or Atheist Shoes for whatever reason, activist groups are free to try to convince the owners of the store (individuals!) to drop the heathen shoes, and you’re free to order them from the company’s web site or an online retailer.

                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                              Isn’t the premise of the boycott that I’m not in fact capable of deciding? “We need to remove these shoes from the store because otherwise poor dumb Teddy might purchase them.” I can’t be trusted with this decision, so better people than me need to make it.

                                                                                                              I’m not saying nobody should be allowed to boycott; I’m explaining why I don’t like it.

                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                Likewise, I’m not saying your opinion is wrong. (Nor am I speaking for boycott groups.)

                                                                                                                The premise may also be, “poor Teddy is too busy with crypto to learn about our fringe pet issue, or doesn’t care enough to check each product he buys, and although we can’t stop those who really want to buy from Vendor X (until we convince his government to sanction it), we can lower the chance that those who don’t care either way will”.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  :)

                                                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                                                Strictly speaking, if the stores have shareholders to answer to, I believe that they would need to justify dropping an otherwise profitable product or voluntarily putting themselves at a disadvantage in the market.

                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                  “This group is hanging outside our shop every week for months now, and they seem to be quite effective: sales overall dropped by 10%, and of that product by 60%.”

                                                                                                        2. 3

                                                                                                          It’s an impossible hypothetical. You can’t guarantee such a thing. You can guarantee there’d be an immediate security response, but you can’t guarantee there wouldn’t be an attempt.

                                                                                                          In the closest real analogues to this situation, those responses are usually very lacking, and prospective attendees would be justified in not trusting assurances.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            It’s an impossible hypothetical.

                                                                                                            Possibly. But boycotting is not necessarily about immediate consequences. Say you’re in 1980s and are against South African apartheid. You’re reasonably sure that nobody will attempt to segregate races at your conference held in the USA. Would you invite a speaker from South Africa who strongly supports and directly benefits from the apartheid?

                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                              Boycotts can be useful (and I’ve participated in them!). But they’re most useful as a form of political activity, ideally one component of an ongoing political movement, not a personal expression of ideology. The South African boycotts are a good example, but to me illustrate a different point. The boycott wasn’t directed against South African speakers who personally supported apartheid, but against all South African speakers, sportspeople, etc., regardless of political views. It was a political tactic aiming to isolate the country/regime by cutting them off from international venues and institutions. Whether an individual South African was reactionary or progressive wasn’t the point; the boycott wasn’t an exercise in judging individual speakers' ethics. The BDS movement aiming to put pressure on Israel has a similar approach.

                                                                                                              But those movements are directed against powerful, institutionalized enemies. Is building movements against random fringe sects useful? Were I a conservative, I could see boycotting Cuban speakers during the cold war. But say the year is 2016, you’re still strongly anticommunist (maybe your parents were killed in some Stalinist purge), and you find out that a tech conference you’re going to has a speaker who is also, on the side, a member of a tiny communist group (the International Socialist Organization, say). Would you boycott the conference because of anticommunism? That would come off to me as weird/petty— boycotting Cuba I would disagree with but can understand as an actual political tactic, but boycotting individual ISO members starts to get into the kind of politics that isn’t really politics anymore, because it involves inside baseball among tiny ineffective political sects. Aren’t the neoreactionaries roughly a right-wing equivalent of “tiny Trotskyist sect”? Or have I misjudged their size/influence?

                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                Whether an individual South African was reactionary or progressive wasn’t the point; the boycott wasn’t an exercise in judging individual speakers' ethics. The BDS movement aiming to put pressure on Israel has a similar approach.

                                                                                                                BDS actually decided to use a different approach: they boycott entities they deem complicit, and even being a Jewish Israeli artist receiving funding from Israeli government is not enough to warrant being boycotted. I have no idea whether this tactic is more or less effective, but here you go.

                                                                                                                Aren’t the neoreactionaries roughly a right-wing equivalent of “tiny Trotskyist sect”?

                                                                                                                I don’t really know, and your point about this boycott being petty may well be valid. I personally consider endorsement of slavery to be beyond the pale, and people who advocate it to be, to borrow a concept from modern Russian language, “non-handshakeable” (someone you wouldn’t shake hands with), but I’m not sure whether I’d go as far as to boycott LambdaConf or stop at bitching about it to every attendee I’d talk to. My main point here is that safety of participants is not the only valid reason to disinvite a speaker.

                                                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                                                Personally, no. Definitely not. You raise a good point that it could be viewed as a boycott - the lens of codes of conduct isn’t the only one applicable here.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  Thanks!

                                                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                                                  Yes, if they have something useful to say and stay on-topic.

                                                                                                                  For the same reason, I would invite someone with HIV to speak or even cook at the same event. Or somebody who is homosexual or staunch communist or what have you. Or who believes in the lizard men.

                                                                                                                  You know, because I’m not going to give in to fear.

                                                                                                                  And frankly, if people are so sensitive to the unrelated ideas and personal lives of others that they wilt in the mere presence of those folks, they do not deserve to be treated as adults.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    Boycotts are not about fear or being sensitive around someone, they’re about putting pressure on someone.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      For clarification, the sensitivity remark was in regards to would-be boycotters doing so out of being overly sensitive.

                                                                                                            2. 6

                                                                                                              The question should actually be about building trust and inclusion in a community. When you include people that promote ideals that dehumanize others, is that truly “inclusion” and “diversity”? Is that promoting trust in the community?

                                                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                                                I think the important framing here is that LambdaConf is a community, which is to say it’s a group of people. If it were possible to exchange technical ideas without there being human participants in that, then safety and trust wouldn’t matter. I think there’s a widespread notion that that separation is possible, which… it probably looks like it is, for people who’ve never left a place because they weren’t safe there.

                                                                                                                And, concretely, this does send a message about what’s accepted and what isn’t, and that’s going to attract people of a similar mind to attend the conference, which changes its tone over time in a way that’s perhaps less visible than those who make the opposite decision to stop attending.

                                                                                                                I don’t believe that, realistically, LambdaConf or anybody else has the ability to hold the line of “don’t discuss politics without consent”. Politics is the number one topic in this world where discussion without consent is frequently done with full awareness of it being a power play, and that everybody will be too intimidated to try to stop it. They have made that choice of where to stand quite carefully and deliberately, and I do wish them luck with it. This would be a better world if it were possible.

                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                  No disagreement. The question I have is whether the calls to exclude this individual are based on a belief that he will seek to create an unsafe environment at this conference or is it extrajudicial punishment for actions taken elsewhere? The burden of proof for “precrime” should be pretty high. Has he attended other conferences and what trouble ensued? That seems far more relevant than some blog postings.

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Not having followed his actions, I can’t speak to that. I agree that it’s a key question.

                                                                                                                2. 7

                                                                                                                  Unless he’s promoting urbit as some sort of operating system for the master race, none of that seems relevant. Did the program committee select him as a speaker because of his ideals? No, no more than they selected the trump supporter for their beliefs.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    When you include people that promote ideals that dehumanize others, is that truly “inclusion” and “diversity”?

                                                                                                                    How would you square that complaint with, say, a conference on social games and behavior-shaping for increasing revenue?

                                                                                                                    Just because people espouse beliefs that dehumanize others doesn’t automatically mean they don’t have anything useful to say or that they aren’t good people. In some professions, in fact, it is even desirable to dehumanize folks because that makes doing a job easier or possible.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      In some professions, in fact, it is even desirable to dehumanize folks because that makes doing a job easier or possible.

                                                                                                                      What examples would you provide in which one dehumanizing others is a good person? The primary example I can think of is the military. They dehumanize the enemy, but aren’t individually bad people. Are there others that you could think of?

                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                        Sure. In engineering, especially at scale, some number of defects is to be expected. In the case of something like cars, there comes a point where additional safety is not worth the cost to the consumer, and so additional work or things like recalls are not performed. People hop up and down occasionally when this happens, but on the balance the world is better off for having more cars (at least until you look at environmental effects).

                                                                                                                        Paramedics and first-responders often develop (read any online discussions by such folks) a callousness towards the people they service. To a degree, this seems to be done to deal with the continuous exposure to stress and truly horrible shit on the job–having morbidly obese people’s diabetic feet popping off during transport, having to deal with severe injuries and not freak out that the person’s face has been shot in half, and so forth.

                                                                                                                        Merchants benefit from dehumanization: they can accept coin at the grocery store without dragging in all the baggage of “Hey, this person is spending money on food that can hurt them”, “Hey, this person is spending money on cigarettes instead of baby food”, “Hey, this person is buying their kid a story book instead of a Bible or textbook”. They can skip the whole problem of “Hey, you gave Jane a discount on her coffee, why not me?” asked by customers that aren’t aware of the shared history of Jane and the merchant.

                                                                                                                        Even the justice system (theoretically) benefits from dehumanization: the individual details of a person’s life are hard to account for on the best of days, and in determining punishment or compensation for breaking or following laws it is downright impossible to do so fairly at the macro level without some common dehumanizing abstraction of the citizenry.

                                                                                                                        In general, the cries of “dehumanization” tend to ignore all of the positive benefits that are available once we stop paying attention to all the weird convoluted stuff that makes up a person and instead focus on the relevant factors at hand.

                                                                                                                        And yeah, it can lead to bad stuff in as many cases as it leads to good stuff, but so can the alternative.

                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                          The engineers lament in the New Yorker was a good take on automotive recalls and fault tolerances.

                                                                                                                          http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/04/the-engineers-lament

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            Interesting article, thanks!

                                                                                                            3. 1

                                                                                                              Okay, but that doesn’t make the LambdaConf organizers’ decision justify discrimination.

                                                                                                        1. 0

                                                                                                          GitHub is the IBM of DVCS.

                                                                                                          1. 22

                                                                                                            I’d be interested in working on a fork of Linux where developers treat each other like human beings.

                                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                                              Not being glib here, but you could always take a look at one of the BSD’s. It seems that for whatever reason (median age? enterprise influence? licensing ethos? smaller size?) the various communities seem a bit more civil. I say seem because it could just be my own perception here.

                                                                                                              1. 9

                                                                                                                The BSD communities are less in the limelight. They have similar problems, too. See for example here or here. Both these tweets were reactions to Sarah’s post & mjg’s fork.

                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                  A “tweet” is by nature pretty one sided. “Threatening lawyers” is generally fairly serious though! Will certainly be interesting to read more about it if it ever comes to light.

                                                                                                                  edit: Thanks for the links – I would probably have never run across them otherwise.

                                                                                                                  1. 9

                                                                                                                    Randi Lee Harper is the girl who cried wolf. She has a history of joining groups, vocally advocating for them, and when something doesn’t go her way, she makes the biggest stink that she can across the internet. I had sympathy for her the first time.

                                                                                                                    Times #2 and #3 I did not.

                                                                                                                    1. 13

                                                                                                                      There’s so much disinformation that I’m not prepared to condemn her. I mean, yes, the story of contemporary civilization, and of online arguments in particular, is “this is disputed so bitterly that it’s impossible to decide, so we might as well believe the people we like”. But understanding that pattern doesn’t defeat it, which is why it’s had so much success in every corner of politics and online life.

                                                                                                                      It sounds like you’ve been following what she says and does closely, in which case you may actually be in a position to have an opinion. I haven’t and am not; I don’t think it’s worth the spoons in this particular case.

                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                        Feel free not to read this if you think it will cost you too many spoons. It contains descriptions of online bullying.

                                                                                                                        I found out about her autoblockbot when I was added to the “sjwautoblocklist” because I followed too many “SJWs”. This is of course correct, since I am an SJW, born and raised.

                                                                                                                        My experience with her was that I very politely suggested that maybe autoblocking people based on who they listen to might have some corrosive effects on online discourse, so maybe we should explore other criteria, and that my understanding was her autoblocking software worked by blocking people based on who they listen to, although I was happy to be corrected if I had misunderstood. She responded by flaming me; the note about how I was happy to be corrected if I had misunderstood yielded an accusation of not bothering to read and understand before criticizing, but no actual corrections. As far as I know, my understanding was exactly correct at the time. Then she sicced her followers on me, and Twitter was unusable for me for several days; every day brought new accusations of all manner of uncouth behavior upon me, based, as far as I can tell, upon nothing at all.

                                                                                                                        And make no mistake: this was not “you are doing something objectionable” criticism I was receiving, right or wrong; this was “you are a repulsive person” toxic abuse.

                                                                                                                        I would not be willing to be involved in any project where the opinions of people like Randi are treated with respect, because my experience has shown me that their opinion can go from zero to witch-hunt in a matter of minutes, in retaliation for the mildest of criticism. Nobody can be safe in a place like that. It creates a Game-of-Thrones-like environment where your friends could turn on you at any moment.

                                                                                                                        Even posting this here now, I was afraid because I don’t know what kind of reaction it’s going to provoke. Am I going to get flamed for it? Will Irene, whose opinion I value, decide that I’m propagating “disinformation”? Are people going to read it and stop talking to me? Will I ever know? But I feel that it’s worth the risk.

                                                                                                                        Hopefully this episode will make me think twice in the future before harshly criticizing people based on my fallible interpretation of their behavior, which is something I’ve been guilty of myself many times in the past.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          I need spoons…for my eyes…because of the use of random bolding in your post. :)

                                                                                                                          Sorry about that other nonsense though–hope things get better!

                                                                                                                          What’s the sjwautoblocklist? I wasn’t aware of a blocklist against SJWs…the noise has typically been from the opposite direction.

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            It was a fork of Harper’s code with a different seed list. It was banned from GitHub fairly rapidly.

                                                                                                                            I didn’t mean to damage your eyes! My best wishes for a speedy recovery.

                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                          Spoons…as in the “daily supply of spoons” theory?

                                                                                                                          1. 7

                                                                                                                            Yes, as in spoons theory. It’s an accurate description of many people’s experience, especially those of us with serious mental health conditions. I find it to be an amazingly helpful vocabulary that abbreviates what would otherwise be a lengthy explanation about the real need to balance the costs of emotionally intense activities. Especially because it’s now widely enough used that people can discover what I mean if they haven’t heard it before, which wasn’t always the case. :)

                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                              The only thing I dislike about that theory is that it seems to imply that you’ll never get more spoons.

                                                                                                                              We should all try to get more spoons. :)

                                                                                                                              1. 4
                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                  As an autist, I deal with both spoons and having to reticulate splines: Splines Theory: A Spoons Metaphor for Autism. But yes, everybody’s brain works differently and it does make sense to talk about these different kinds of mental and emotional resources. :)

                                                                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                                                                  You get a new allotment of spoons after you sleep, but the problem is that you can end up with spoon debt and then sleeping does not completely recharge you.

                                                                                                                                  Living with someone with a disability, she considers spoon theory a good description of what happens to her.

                                                                                                                          2. 5

                                                                                                                            If it’s true that FreeBSD has 0.5% female participation below the 2% average for other free projects, this doesn’t sound like crying wolf to me.

                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                              Do we have any sources for those numbers?

                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                source

                                                                                                                                Have a go at counting: https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/contributors/staff-committers.html

                                                                                                                                I know some people hate it at a source, but actually, the geek feminism wiki is full of links to sources and quotes 3%: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/FLOSS

                                                                                                                                Also note that while there is a tremendous upswing, the Linux community is lagging behind.

                                                                                                                        3. 5

                                                                                                                          OpenBSD was forked from NetBSD because of a disagreement within the community. Theo De Raadt, the OpenBSD dictator for life, is famous for his controversial and sometimes aggressive and anti-social comments. His Wikipedia page has “Known for: …, his personality, …” in the sidebar.

                                                                                                                          Despite their conflicts with a handful of the hunderds of developers they interact with, they have both managed to steer an open source project towards progress and success for decades, and have built a community around those projects.

                                                                                                                          I’m not sure you’ll find a big, long-lived project that hasn’t had these kind of conflicts in its history.

                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                            Ruby is very well known for having a considerate, thoughtful and friendly leadership.

                                                                                                                            The argument that it wouldn’t be possible to steer a project of that size without that personality stands on very poor footing - it only works by picking the right examples and ignoring all others.

                                                                                                                            1. 13

                                                                                                                              And yet if you asked me “community most likely to give presentations featuring pictures of pornstars”, ruby would top the list. But I suppose at least they’re nice about?

                                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                                I think that was Rails, wasn’t it? Granted, the two are pretty closely grouped in the larger software community and Rails is famously bad, so I think it’s pretty fair for Ruby to catch some splash damage from the flak that Rails gets. Nevertheless, it’s better to keep our criticisms on point and precise where possible.

                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                  When we’re talking projects, I don’t think the splash damage is warranted. When we’re talking community, I’m on your page.

                                                                                                                                  Still: where’s the Linux projects teaching network for marginalized spanning 160 chapters and raising enough from community members to pay ~20 full time positions for a summer? Where are the Linux people trying to get new things running, like mentoring every speaker at a conference?

                                                                                                                                  Oh, right. That’s @outreachy - which is in a tough spot now, sadly.

                                                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                                                  1) we’re talking projects, this person wasn’t part of the Ruby project at any point

                                                                                                                                  2) this will stick around forever, will it? I don’t want to down-talk the incident (or any other), but currently, the Ruby community doesn’t seem better or worse then any other in that regard.

                                                                                                                                  3) the fact that Ruby is one of the rare communities where the number of 40% non-white-male attendance (not speakers) can be reached falls a bit under the table

                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                    All fair. My comment was about perception, not reality, and community, not leadership. Maybe that was too far afield? (And a bit of a cheap shot.) I guess the question (which I don’t know the answer to) is “can I become a contributing ruby developer without engaging with these people?” Or, rephrased, how much difference does it make whether it’s coming from “leadership” or others?

                                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                                      Or, rephrased, how much difference does it make whether it’s coming from “leadership” or others?

                                                                                                                                      In my experience, a lot. That’s a tough pill to swallow once you advance to those positions, but sadly (or luckily?), it changes the frame of reference people perceive you in. If you appreciate that, it can be a very powerful motivator.

                                                                                                                                      People in “higher” places can convince people or drive them away very easily, sadly.

                                                                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                                                                    You’re thinking of Rails, which is founded by the famously narcissistic David Heinemeier Hansson. That’s most of the Ruby community at this point, but not the leadership.

                                                                                                                          1. 14

                                                                                                                            A couple questions for the author:

                                                                                                                            A.) When you started this project years ago, how much time did you put into deciding on a license? More than a couple minutes? An hour?

                                                                                                                            B.) Looking back, would you make the same decision now?

                                                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                                                              Direct link to the code: https://www.freebsd.org/internal/code-of-conduct.html

                                                                                                                              ok, so I generally think having a code of conduct is bullshit (oops, sorry, language). You’ve already lost if this is something you need. Attempting to enumerate the badness leads to absurdity, and this crosses the line.

                                                                                                                              I’m on the fringe of the FreeBSD community, but it’s clear now that I can’t join. Sooner or later somebody is going to harass somebody else, and I’m going to ignore it, but then that makes me guilty of “condoning” harassment.

                                                                                                                              1. 21

                                                                                                                                Oh, one more thing I forgot:

                                                                                                                                Attempting to enumerate the badness leads to absurdity,

                                                                                                                                You have two options here: try to enumerate behaviors, or leave it up to interpretation. The first falls under the kind of criticism you’re offering here, and the second leads to an argument about how the rules aren’t written down, and therefore, can’t be applied fairly.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  an argument about how the rules aren’t written down, and therefore, can’t be applied fairly.

                                                                                                                                  For a company, yeah, this matters. Otherwise, “you’re out because we say you’re out” seems to get the job done pretty well.

                                                                                                                                  1. 11

                                                                                                                                    Oh, it’s not about the effectiveness, I’ve just seen countless concern trolls play the “but how will I know if I’ve crossed a line unless it’s explicitly spelled out because social norms are totally arbitrary and I just say it like it is” in response to a community attempting to enact a code of conduct before.

                                                                                                                                    (I personally am in favor of enumerating broad categories of behavior and leaving it at that.)

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      Open-source projects often don’t have the strong leadership that would make that happen. E.g. Tony Morris is still upsetting people on #scala (or was when I gave up on it a few weeks ago) where any decent organization or leader would long since have kicked him out, and I think the bungled, unclear code of conduct had a lot to do with that.

                                                                                                                                  2. 15

                                                                                                                                    I don’t think, for example, that Python has “lost” by having a code of conduct. Pycon has 1/3 female attendance and speakers, in large part due to its code of conduct and many other outreach programmes. What other tech conference has lineups for the women’s bathroom?

                                                                                                                                    Being more inclusive is good for everyone, both the people doing the including and the ones being included. You can’t achieve this without actively doing outreach. Just sitting there and waiting for it to happen doesn’t make it happen.

                                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                                      Was it Pycon that had a very public incident that started with one person complaining about a sexist joke (and very explicitly claiming the code-of-conduct supported their complaint) and ended with multiple people losing their jobs? It’s conceivable that in the absence of a code that incident would have been less confrontational and ended less badly.

                                                                                                                                      Inclusiveness does benefit everyone, but nothing is completely free. I think codes like this are on balance a good thing (and this is one of the better-written examples IMO: it’s relatively explicit and objective), but let’s not oversell them. Any such thing imposes overhead (especially for people who already have trouble expressing themselves, or who are anxious about participating in a community), and runs the risk of becoming a weapon for the popular or politically astute to attack the weak with.

                                                                                                                                      I do support this code. But caution is warranted.

                                                                                                                                      1. 13

                                                                                                                                        with multiple people losing their jobs?

                                                                                                                                        It ended with one of the offenders losing their job and finding a new one within a week or two, and the reporter losing their job by having their employer be DDOSed, then not being able to find a new job for over a year due to the stigma, almost putting them on the street. And getting graphic death threats almost continually, still to this day.

                                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                                          Ummm, given that Adria was the attacker, I don’t see that as being particularly unreasonable (other than the death threat part). We’re never going to grow as a society if we don’t hold men and women to the same standards.

                                                                                                                                          Additionally, it looks like Adria spent the better part of that year justifying to herself that her actions were right:

                                                                                                                                          “Somebody getting fired is pretty bad,” I said. “I know you didn’t call for him to be fired, but you must have felt pretty bad.”

                                                                                                                                          “Not too bad,” she said. She thought more and shook her head decisively. “He’s a white male. I’m a black Jewish female.

                                                                                                                                          http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/21/internet-shaming-lindsey-stone-jon-ronson

                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                            given that Adria was the attacker,

                                                                                                                                            I don’t agree with this characterization. She reported an event that happened, after that, it was up to the conference to decide what to do here. She didn’t even inaccurately report it, the actual circumstances were never in question.

                                                                                                                                            1. 8

                                                                                                                                              She reported an event that happened

                                                                                                                                              It was a while ago, so my memory may not be the clearest, but as I recall she took a picture of the guy (initially people thought some other guy in the picture was the culprit!), and tweeted it to the whole world along with commentary. The pycon conference staff actually contacted her via twitter after seeing the posting. Seemed like an odd way to report something overheard at a conference to staff.

                                                                                                                                              Making a dongle/dick joke at a conference is very inappropriate. No disagreement there. The “let’s make an example out of this guy” response seemed rather outsized.

                                                                                                                                              In addition, maybe instead of just firing him, his employer could have sent the guy to some type of sensitivity training so he actually learned something other than the likelihood that he just picked up some new prejudice like “it is not safe to have women in your team – you might get fired” or “don’t ever go to conferences”. I consider companies generally pretty heartless though, so it wasn’t surprising that he was simply fired – arguably the fastest way to distance themselves from the issue entirely.

                                                                                                                                              1. 9

                                                                                                                                                The exact text of the tweet:

                                                                                                                                                Not cool. Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles. Right behind me #pycon

                                                                                                                                                Yes, one could argue that she could have reported it in private instead of in public, but especially tagging it with #pycon, to me, is reporting. The entirety of the ‘commentary’ is “Not cool.”

                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for finding the tweet text!

                                                                                                                                              2. 8

                                                                                                                                                Seriously, “the attacker”? And earlier “a very public incident that started with one person complaining about a sexist joke”? The complaint about the issue is undoubtedly the problem. Nah, it started with the snickering innuendo. Too often this site feels like browsing HN Jr.

                                                                                                                                          2. 5

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, donglegate. Not sure I would say that this would have never happened if there wasn’t a code of conduct. In fact, it may not have happened in a vacuous way: without a code conduct, there would not have been 20% female participation which would have made it much less likely for any women to overhear. Without any women, there are no women who will voice complaints. :-)

                                                                                                                                            I really don’t think there is an overt benefit to not having a code of conduct. The only one I can see is if you want to keep your community insular and unwelcoming. Like everything else in human society, as long as there’s more than a few of us, we need rules to guide us.

                                                                                                                                        2. 16

                                                                                                                                          You’ve already lost if this is something you need.

                                                                                                                                          This is why Rust is a moribund language tended to by a community of lifeless, gray dullards devoid of insight or imagination, plodding along the same worn paths trodden by the endless parade of sightless generations before them. All this misery could have been avoided had they but known the risk their code of conduct posed to their ability to say fuckwords in public lo those many years ago.

                                                                                                                                          1. 13

                                                                                                                                            Python, too, succumbed to this same problem and lo their language was lost to the howling winds of time. We can also expect Go to burst into flames or something RSN.

                                                                                                                                            waves hands and makes ghost noises

                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                              I done been snarked!

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                I code in C. I’m expected to curse… profusely, at that.

                                                                                                                                              2. 21

                                                                                                                                                (oops, sorry, language)

                                                                                                                                                Most codes of conduct don’t include curse words, as being puritans is not the aim of a code of conduct.

                                                                                                                                                You’ve already lost if this is something you need.

                                                                                                                                                Codes of conduct are largely written plans to set expectations and make the process clear for when something doesn’t go according to plan. “you’ve already lost” is beside the point.

                                                                                                                                                Any reasonable ops team has a plan for what to do in the case of system failure. Codes of conduct are no different.

                                                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                                                  Most codes of conduct don’t include curse words, as being puritans is not the aim of a code of conduct.

                                                                                                                                                  The problem with this is that, as written, the code of conduct kinda does:

                                                                                                                                                  • Avoid foul or abusive language: remember that cultural standards differ, and that what may seem to you to be a very mild statement can be deeply shocking to another.

                                                                                                                                                  The core issue is that, I think, as developers and engineers we tend to read things rather literally, and any code of conduct read in such a way seems rather harsh and draconian.

                                                                                                                                                  And the natural response is “Well, that’s what it says, sure, but that’s just level-setting and a general zeitgeist…we’re not going to go after you for cursing/whatever”, and that basically illustrates to the person raising the concern the arbitrariness built into the enforcement of these things.

                                                                                                                                                  It’s not that they’re bad (hell, they’re arguably better than nothing)–it’s just totally unsurprising that many don’t sing their praises.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 9

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, it’s true that this one does. I was responding more generally. Rust’s actually does too, with an explicit caveat:

                                                                                                                                                    (Cursing is allowed, but never targeting another user, and never in a hateful manner.)

                                                                                                                                                    And

                                                                                                                                                    that basically illustrates to the person raising the concern the arbitrariness built into the enforcement of these things

                                                                                                                                                    Software developers do tend to see many social boundaries as ‘arbitrary’, but that doesn’t mean they actually are.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      What are some examples of non-arbitrary social boundaries?

                                                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                                                        Basically all of them. Social boundaries come out of some kind of need for a community, you can call them ‘arbitrary’ in response to some sort of platonic ideal, what-if-society-was-totally-different, but that’s more thought experiment and not something that’s actually useful when interfacing with other humans or understanding the real world.

                                                                                                                                                        That doesn’t mean they’re immutable, or are all good boundaries, but with that definition of arbitrary, basically everything is arbitrary.

                                                                                                                                                2. 11

                                                                                                                                                  I really shouldn’t fan the flames (these are always incendiary topics) but you can’t make everyone happy. All of the words used there (harassment, hate speech etc) are relative, regardless of what people believe.

                                                                                                                                                  To give an example, suppose a person comes on and during the course of a conversation expresses the view that homosexuality is an aberration and is illegal. The person is banned. The person then in turn claims harassment + discrimination because in their nation/culture/religion this is the commonly held view.

                                                                                                                                                  Now, I’ll shut up, because I came here to learn about computation.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                    In “almost all” cases, general good will, cultural norms, and good manners covers relations between people in a group.

                                                                                                                                                    Obviously, there are special cases where arbitration is needed and this is the purpose of a code of conduct - to formalize what happens when normal (polite) interactions break down.

                                                                                                                                                    Often, the formation of a code of conduct is challenging because it gives rise to unspoken and unaired differences between members of the group. For example: what if one leading member supports an aggressive, hardball management style that involves profanity, public call-outs, and insults, while another leading member supports a gentle management style that focuses on one-on-one interactions and words of encouragement? (In the first case, I’m thinking of some of the famous public arguments about the Linux kernel.) Making one or the other style “formal” in a code of conduct means that one leader “wins” the debate over group culture, while the other one “loses”.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                                                      So, most of that scans pretty decently–a little “no fun allowed” in terms of speech, sure, but if we can’t not sweat and curse and whatnot during a project, we lack creativity in expressing our displeasure.

                                                                                                                                                      The only part I disagree with:

                                                                                                                                                      • Discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, sexuality, religion, age or physical disability.
                                                                                                                                                      • Bullying or systematic harrassment.
                                                                                                                                                      • Incitement to or condoning of any of these.

                                                                                                                                                      …which is totally, reasonable on the face off it, especially the latter two. However, that links with:

                                                                                                                                                      “We will not tolerate any member of the community, either publically or privately giving aid or encouragement to any third party to behave in such a way towards any members of the FreeBSD community.”

                                                                                                                                                      If it’s truly a meritocracy, it shouldn’t matter if a contributor is a bigoted shithead on their own time. This linkage, for example, is technically what would’ve been used to censure, say, Eich.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 15

                                                                                                                                                        If it’s truly a meritocracy, it shouldn’t matter if a contributor is a bigoted shithead on their own time.

                                                                                                                                                        Only if you don’t include ‘works well with others’ as merit. I know I personally do.

                                                                                                                                                        One might say this brings up the ‘arbitrariness’ of the concept of meritocracy in the first place…

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                          “works well with others” is an interesting wagon to hitch to.

                                                                                                                                                          It opens the unfortunate can of worms of whether or not minority members who constantly fight the status quo and make noise are “working well with others”. Especially when they, say, derail Github issues with agendas orthogonal to code problems.

                                                                                                                                                          I’m not sure that bandying about fitting in is what we want to do here.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 9

                                                                                                                                                            You seem to be conflating “works well with others” for “has a boundless appetite for bullshit”. Can we add that to the list of things we don’t want to do here?

                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                              You may think of it as derailing (and it’s not an entirely false or unreasonable opinion), but for every communication channel there should be a place to discuss issues with communication, and in cases of social issues it often makes sense to use the very same channel for that (just because all the participants are already present). E.g., if some aspect of your team’s weekly meetings renders these meetings ineffetive or intolerable, by all means bring it up during one of these meetings.

                                                                                                                                                              1. -2

                                                                                                                                                                To put it explicitly (and odiously, mind you):

                                                                                                                                                                If the argument is “works well with others is something of merit”, then any minority who fails to shut up and fall in line with the others is, by definition, not worthy of merit. This means putting up with homophobic remarks, because that’s what the majority of the workplace does. This means putting up with sexism, because that’s what the majority of the workplace does. This means not commenting/arguing/fighting-back against all of the microaggressions, because doing so puts you at odds with all the others.

                                                                                                                                                                That is the full ramification of “gets along well with others”.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                  Likewise, every majority (is this the right word?) that issues racist/homophobic/misogynistic remarks is, by definition, not worthy of merit, because such remarks alienate current and potential employees and clients. Not only minorities, mind you — I feel uneasy interacting with chauvinists no matter where their hate is directed. And we haven’t mentioned wide-scale long-term effects of such attitudes being popular.

                                                                                                                                                                  I really fail to imagine what kind of merit would override the fault of being a complete asshole.

                                                                                                                                                                  This means putting up with homophobic remarks, because that’s what the majority of the workplace does. This means putting up with sexism, because that’s what the majority of the workplace does.

                                                                                                                                                                  I’m sorry you had such a bad workplace experience. I hope it’s not typical where you live; where I live it’s surely unusual.

                                                                                                                                                                  This means not commenting/arguing/fighting-back against all of the microaggressions, because doing so puts you at odds with all the others.

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I’m not saying one should complain about every little annoyance, but there’s a not-so-fine line between calling your colleague an idiot once in anger, and doing it constantly due to lack of respect towards (a subset of) others.

                                                                                                                                                                  Look… I find that people who like to use words such as “rationality” and “meritocracy” tend to ignore human feelings, which makes them less rational and meritocratic than they think they are, because feelings exist and have consequences in the real world. Working with sexists and homophobes is not nice. Even working in white-male-only environment is not as nice as in mixed one, I find. Not being able to hire minorities (and people like me, who don’t hate minorities but do hate nazis) matters, because you lose a percentage of potential employees, and perhaps clients as well. Do you really think banning sexism and racism would do more harm than alienating the aforementioned minorities?

                                                                                                                                                          2. 10

                                                                                                                                                            If it’s truly a meritocracy

                                                                                                                                                            Being a meritocracy is not in itself a good thing. I know how we nerds want to pretend that we humans are all beings of pure intellect and all that matters is your code. While well-intentioned, this attitude can end up causing harm by deliberately ignoring all of the extenuating non-intellectual factors that people have to contend with (try to read that link, despite its length).

                                                                                                                                                            Sure, we’re all beings of pure intellect, but some of us are female, which is a very rare trait in this tribe but common elsewhere, so this tribe ends up treating us differently or we perceive ourselves as being different from this tribe, despite its claims of equality.

                                                                                                                                                            The meritocracy attitude is a bit like “separate but equal” was in the southern USA of the 1950’s. While apparently well-intentioned and seeking to give everyone equal treatment, it attempts to silence a lot of other important cultural factors, which results in non-equality.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                                              Meritocracy is like a platonic ideal - it’s a point that most people want to get to; however, since people have different starting points, it’s impossible to realize in reality. The “merit” being measured is on one axis or a small number of axes, which generally need to be the ones that are most aligned with successful outcomes in projects.

                                                                                                                                                              The bigger picture of meritocracy, society-wide, is a fundamentally different question, and one that most open-source projects (and most for-profit companies, for that matter) are generally unequipped to handle. Most projects just want skilled and dedicated contributors (i.e. contributors with particular “merits”) and beggars can’t be choosers.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                By the way, did you know that the word was coined in the 1950’s in a satirical essay where a meritocratic society was a dystopia? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                  I think I heard that somewhere. Funny that it was considered something bad back then.

                                                                                                                                                                  The sense I get from the usage of the word nowadays, is that it’s broadly considered a good thing among idealistic engineers and technical people: of course we should judge people only on their merit (e.g. the performance of their code), not on political considerations, or nepotism, or who went to school with whom.

                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, since it’s people we’re talking about, things rarely get implemented as purely as the idealistic engineer believes or hopes.

                                                                                                                                                          3. 2

                                                                                                                                                            Sooner or later somebody is going to harass somebody else, and I’m going to ignore it, but then that makes me guilty of “condoning” harassment.

                                                                                                                                                            this is pure slippery-slope-fallacy. do you seriously think that someone is going to come after you for simply passively ignoring something?

                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                              I think it should be possible for me to comply with not just the spirit, but also the letter, of a well written code of conduct. I’m not comfortable with the idea that the written rule says something is prohibited, but then there’s an unwritten rule that says minor infractions will probably go unnoticed.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                why, though? given that a code of conduct is run by people, rather than by computers, do you honestly feel that being subscribed to a mailing list in which someone is being harassed, and doing nothing either way, is going to be interpreted as against the letter of the code? it’s fine to apply a common-sense approach to these things, rather than going the heavyhanded legal-jargon, dot-every-i route.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  Surely that’s the whole point of the code. If we’re just relying on people to follow sensible judgement, why have a written code at all?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                    there are two different things here:

                                                                                                                                                                    1. the specifics of the code of conduct. sure, it usually boils down to “don’t be a dick”, but what is considered dickish behaviour varies from community to community, and a good set of guidelines can help establish a culture by indicating what is and isn’t considered acceptable

                                                                                                                                                                    2. the interpretation of the written form of the code. this is where some people really want to quibble about words and phrasing and how they can be interpreted and how close you can skate to the line without crossing it. but really, it comes down to common sense; a CoC is not a game that you’re trying to play, where it’s crucially important to drag out the rulebook and argue each point and whether the exact language supports you or the other person. most of these things are pretty easy to apply a reasonable interpretation to, and the people trying to game it are usually the people you don’t want around anyway, because they don’t really care about not being dicks.

                                                                                                                                                                    to take the example tedu cited, he focused on the word “condoning”, and wondered whether simply sitting silently on a mailing list where harassment was taking place would technically be condoning said harassment, and whether he’d be expelled from the community for doing so. but a more reasonable interpretation would be that it applies to people managing spaces or events, and who would be expected to make sure their spaces are harassment free by taking note of and stopping it when it starts. if you simply assume that the CoC writers are trying to foster a good community rather than playing legal games, it’s pretty easy to follow it.

                                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                                              I think ethics are really important. Codes of Conduct are one way of expressing your ethics.

                                                                                                                                                              Attempting to enumerate the badness leads to absurdity

                                                                                                                                                              Which is currently demonstrated by the British Governments approach to Encryption - “it is allowing the baddies to communicate securely” - this badness must be banned!

                                                                                                                                                              Condoning behaviour by ignoring it is not necessarily true - ask any parent who has had to negotiate with a two year old, sometimes ignoring a behaviour is the correct approach - but not when you are an officer in a military prison and your soldiers are abusing your prisoners.

                                                                                                                                                              Ethics are never black or white, but they might be right or wrong :~)

                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                Sooner or later somebody is going to harass somebody else, and I’m going to ignore it, but then that makes me guilty of “condoning” harassment.

                                                                                                                                                                This is interestingly put. Why the quotes? Isn’t that exactly what condoning means?

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  Quoted to point out its taken directly from the code.