1. 5

    It is still useful in shell scripting though, given it can edit a file in-place.

    1. 3

      I only recently discovered the use of ed or ex in scripting and it has been a life saver. I was trying to do complex edits with sed and awk, which was hard enough even before you consider portability. The common answer seemed to be Perl, but I wasn’t really happy with that either.

    1. 11

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

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

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

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

      1. 8

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

        1. 21

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

          1. -5

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

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

            1. 18

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

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

              Offensiveness is completely subjective

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

              1. 3

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

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

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

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

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

                1. 9

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

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

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

                  Why would one only ever say things you mean literally?

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

                  1. 2

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

                    I see

                    That’s not what I suggested.

                    I must have misinterpreted you. Sorry.

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

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

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

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

                    1. 5

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

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

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

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

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

                      1. 1

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

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

                  2. 4

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

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

                    it’s not offensive

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

                    1. 2

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

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

              2. 20

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

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

                1. 5

                  It’s simply normal professional behavior codified.

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

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

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

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

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

                  1. 12

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

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

                2. 14

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

                  1. -1

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

                    1. 16

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

                      1. 10

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

                        This sounds like a very broad generalization to me.

                    2. 22

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

                      1. 3

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

                        1. 20

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

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

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

                          1. 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    3. 8

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

                    1. 38

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

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

                      1. 6

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

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

                        1. 13

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

                          I disagree with this statement.

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

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

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

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

                          1. 2

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

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

                            1. 12

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

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

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

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

                              1. 0

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

                                1. 2

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

                          2. 13

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

                            1. 1

                              Well, except you. :-)

                        1. 3

                          I see it as the final verdict. The world of 2118 will either be substantially better or catastrophically worse than the one we’re in now. Either we’ll have eliminated most forms of economic scarcity– being “poor” will mean flying to Antarctica or the Moon in the off-season– or we’ll be in some degraded, nearly apocalyptic state. There’s no middle ground.

                          We have to overcome corporate capitalism– artificial scarcity, racism and sexism, the valuation at zero of animal welfare and the environment, the massive waste of time that is “work” for most people, and political corruption– and we don’t have a lot of time in which to do it. Gradualism seemed fine (ignoring the human costs of inequality) 100 years ago, but now we have to act. We can vote out a bad president; we have much less control over the global climate. It’s actually not temperatures but wet bulb temperatures that’ll kill us: if those get to 35°C– a typical 35°C summer day has WBT of around 25°C– then we are in bad shape. And once that kind of weather becomes possible– right now it virtually never happens (Persian Gulf an exception) because of thunderstorms, but those derive from temperature differentials rather than absolutes– it will become possible in most of the inhabited world and very few locations will be safe from it.

                          1. 3

                            Yes, I think of it as humanity’s greatest test. Either we fail to come together on the issue, and fail as a species (because the fact we’re in this situation at all is easily humanity’s greatest failure), or we succeed and overcome the huge challenges in front of us and see incredible progress. It feels like it’s teetering on a knife edge now, but we can’t let ourselves become too cynical about it.

                            1. 2

                              I believe 2100 will prove the Great Filter hypothesis of the Fermi Paradox

                            1. 11

                              Global warming is important, but realistically we can’t address it until we have regained political stability (and significantly improved on the pre-Trump status quo). Goals for the next 10 years are:

                              1. keep my family safe
                              2. avoid civil war, fascism, etc.
                              3. repair the cultural rift that has people at each others’ throats

                              If I can make impacts on longer term issues during that time, great, but it’s hard to think about right now.

                              1. 5

                                So, essentially you’re saying that since Trump was elected we are collectively incapable of doing anything but running in circles shouting about imminent fascism? Any efforts to improve technology wrt. environmental impact cannot realistically be expected to succeed, because politics? Seems like a terrible, self-defeating attitude to me.

                                1. 1

                                  Global warming is not a technological problem insofar as you can’t just invent a widget to solve global warming. Even if your widget is something like “planetary scale air filter”, you will not be able to build or operate it without social/political backing. Also:

                                  If I can make impacts on longer term issues during that time, great

                                  1. 4

                                    It’s not a black and white issue, and it’s not going to be ‘solved’ by one major breakthrough. Their point is just that there’s no reason why the current political situation in the USA needs to bring everything to a halt. If you don’t have the time or headspace to deal with it right now, that’s absolutely okay (what matters is you’re aware of it)! Everyone’s circumstances are different, but collectively, we can’t afford to just put it on hold, and it doesn’t have to be at the expense of other important issues. If anything, I’d hope that it might have the power to bring people closer together (if a threat to humanity can’t do that, what can?).

                                2. -1

                                  Yes, you’re right that we can’t solve this problem with technical solutions. Other commenters notwithstanding..

                                  1. 2

                                    What makes you think that? Climate change is in many ways a technical problem, how do you think we are going to solve it if not by adapting our technology?

                                    1. 3

                                      Did mere technology or lobbying/sales decide what kinds of power plants will be all over many countries? Did technology itself create the disposable culture that adds to waste or did user demand? Is there a technological solution in sight for the methane emissions from cattle whose beef is in high demand? On other side, would we be storing endless amounts of data in these data centers appearing everywhere if technology didn’t make storage and computing so cheap? And is there a technological solution to avoiding them throwing that stuff away on a regular basis when customers want new stuff or manager want metrics to change? Is there a technological solution to getting people who neither care nor are legally required to care to stop doing damaging behaviors?

                                      Sounds more like people-oriented decisions are causing most of the problem. Even if you create a beneficial technology, those people might create new practices or legislation that reduce or counter its benefits. Actually, that’s the default thing they do which they’re doing right now on a massive scale. I think we just got lucky with low-power chips/appliances since longer-lasting batteries and cheaper, utility bills are immediate benefits for most people that just happen to benefit the environment on the side.

                                      1. 2

                                        It is obviously not merely technology that got us here. But these problems are all about technology on a fundamental level and if we want things to change, we need the tech that makes these changes viable. No point lobbying for an alternative that does not exist.

                                        Sounds more like people-oriented decisions are causing most of the problem.

                                        Always an interplay of technology- and people-oriented decisions. But changing technology is much easier compared to changing people, which has resulted in utter dystopia many times.

                                        Even if you create a beneficial technology, those people might create new practices or legislation that reduce or counter its benefits.

                                        Same with well-intentioned legislation. But companies have no intrinsic incentive not to use beneficial technology, only to inflate its impact for marketing purposes (like the faked car emissions). They do have an incentive to game legislation, otherwise there would be no point to that legislation (in general; individual cases might profit from being good examples).

                                1. 2

                                  I enjoy solving problems cleanly, simply, and elegantly. Whether I enjoy coding or not depends on the project and my mood! I can’t force myself to enjoy it every day at work. It keeps me occupied, and I appreciate it for that. I don’t like to set the threshold for what I will call enjoyment too high.

                                  1. 8

                                    Do not prematurely introduce dependencies.

                                    Worrying about performance is vastly overvalued. Good performance is a by-product of pursuing other goals, mainly simplicity.

                                    This is largely true, based on my experience. Good advice to follow.

                                    Do not use Markdown. [The essay referred to in the slides.]

                                    I think the author is a bit harsh on Markdown, especially if you read the linked essay. It was designed for writing for the web, and was meant to be converted to HTML only. The author criticizes it for lacking things it was never meant to have.

                                    But I do agree that it’s terrible for technical documentation and it’s a travesty that it’s become the norm in that respect. I recently switched to using Markdown for some internal documentation at work mostly because Bitbucket will render it and it (hopefully) encourages others on the team to write docs. When I’m writing with it, though, it’s a mess. No description lists, linking between things is ugly, and you have to manually make thing like a table of contents. I’d switch to mdoc but then I’m worried no one else will bother to writing anything. Maybe that will happen anyway with the cruddiness of Markdown, so perhaps it won’t matter.

                                    (Bonus: in the linked essay, I learned that GNU is apparently going to kill off info. No arguments here!)

                                    1. 4

                                      it’s a travesty that it’s become the norm in that respect

                                      I believe we mostly have GitHub becoming the norm to thank for that. Its native formatting for rich presentation is Markdown via the README.md. With GitHub being massively adopted and Markdown being the least path of resistance, it’s hardly surprising how this came to be. So that hampers mdoc adoption.

                                      Because everybody writes their documentation in README.md now (if at all), they also expect Markdown to man page converters. Those emit man(7) more or less by necessity. People unfamiliar with mandoc won’t care, but those that are may be annoyed by the semantic information that is lost. Not only because mandoc produces worse HTML output because of it, but also because mandoc’s semantic search won’t work for those man pages. However, the group that are unfamiliar with mandoc intersects more or less entirely with the group of people who writes Markdown exclusively. This further hampers mdoc adoption.

                                      We have a man page and documentation problem. And there doesn’t seem to be a way to help it.

                                      1. 13

                                        You’ve long been able to render AsciiDoc, org, rST, among other lightweight markup languages, to HTML with GitHub. For example:

                                        I dunno why Markdown “won”, but maybe it had something to do with:

                                        • (at one time) an informal spec, easy to implement (though, probably, with bugs) in a couple days
                                        • the use by Reddit for its comment system (compare w/ bbcode)
                                        • good marketing - gruber was already a known figure when he unleashed markdown, was able to publicize it with his widely-read personal blog
                                      2. 2

                                        (Bonus: in the linked essay, I learned that GNU is apparently going to kill off info. No arguments here!)

                                        Looks like that was from 2014 and I can’t tell if the proposed replacement is genuine or a very bad joke. Either way, it doesn’t feel like much has changed in 4 years unfortunately.

                                        1. 1

                                          you have to manually make thing like a table of contents

                                          This is a specific solution (VSCode specific), but I discovered markdown-toc recently and I like it. There are other tools that can be used to add a TOC to a markdown based on headings.

                                          I actually find Markdown convenient for Readmes and user land documentation. Because I can get by with very little markup and the markup reads fine as text it encourages me to write.

                                          I can totally see how it would be a pain for technical documentation for code bases, but I suspect you would use .rst and an assist from an automatic documentation generator for that.

                                          1. 1

                                            I am regretting the Markdown choice already and I’ll probably switch to something else that can export Markdown so it can be read directly while browsing the repo.

                                            So yeah, whether that’s .rst or not remains to be seen, but the pattern is the same.

                                        1. 2

                                          Partway through I started thinking ‘this could be really useful as a pledge/unveil command’, so was a nice surprise when they mentioned a possible pledge(1) near the end!

                                          1. 6

                                            No, no, no… Defaulting to double-quotes over apostrophes sends it to hell right away. I’m not fond of squeezing my left pinky over Shift the entire time I’m typing. Also, apostrophes are obviously more classy. Double-quotes smells too much of C and other C-inspired syntaxes.

                                            On a slightly more serious note, if a line fits into the length limit doesn’t mean it should necessarily be reformatted this way. I prefer this:

                                            return {
                                                'AND': eval_and,
                                                'OR': eval_or,
                                            }[op](some, more, args, here)
                                            

                                            to not be turned into a one-liner. But black does.

                                            1. 8

                                              But that’s the point of Black—to remove all thought about formatting so no one can bikeshed coding styles. There are no aesthetic concerns taken into account period. If it’s ugly, it’s ugly. Get over your artistic tendencies and program—that’s what you are paid for.

                                              Would I use this? No (that is, if I programmed in Python—I don’t). I’ve built up a coding style that works for me over the past 30 years, and yes, I am concerned with aesthetic concerns of code. Then again, I’ve been fortunate to work at places were I an use my personal coding style.

                                              1. 1

                                                Code style affects readability though, it’s not just about making it look pretty (I like pretty code too though). So the choices Black makes in that regard are important. Personally I don’t think automatic formatting tools should be too concerned with line length (except maybe in some very specific contexts) and they should just work with the lines they’re fed. The rules this tool uses for splitting lines seem fairly arbitrary and it’s one of the few areas where I think a human is better off making the call.

                                                I’m not a Go programmer, but I think gofmt handles this better?

                                            1. 10

                                              I am totally impressed by the article. The authors tries to silence his computers for decades, I am doing the exactly opposite. All my workstations in the past were equipped with large fans (not the small and noisy ones, the large ones that run slow) to generate a decent amount of white noise.

                                              When I am usually sitting in my room and nothing is running, I can hear the noise from the trains, cars, kids, etc outside and from my neighbours inside the house. As soon as I turn my computer on the room is filled with white noise and I can concentrate on my work. Thus, I personally would never, ever use a silent workstation :)

                                              Am I the only one using “noisy” computers?

                                              1. 1

                                                Have you tried listening to ‘pink noise’? I don’t use it all that often as I prefer silence, but it does help me concentrate sometimes.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Sounds interesting. Currently, I am only having the noise generated by my noisy computer.

                                                  How do you generate the noise? Do you use a specific hardware/tool/… ?

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I first tried listening to YouTube videos like speps mentioned and that got me interested. I had a shell alias for it named ‘pink’ that used sox, but I don’t seem to have it on the computer I’m currently using. I’m pretty sure it was just something like this:

                                                    $ play -n synth pinknoise vol 0.25
                                                    

                                                    I just start it up when I get too distracted. There’s also ‘brownnoise’ and (suprise) ‘whitenoise’. Listening to regular white noise first gives you something to compare it with. I find pink noise to sound kind of like flowing water and not at all distracting. You might be fine with the sound of your computer ;).

                                                    $ play -n synth brownnoise vol 0.25
                                                    $ play -n synth whitenoise vol 0.25
                                                    

                                                    Actually it might have been this one (sounds more like what I remember): https://askubuntu.com/a/789469

                                                    1. 1

                                                      YouTube has videos like 10 hours of whatever noise you want.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        I use the iOS app from https://mynoise.net. It generates various types of noises and lets you change levels, save presets, etc. They also have albums on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Most generators cost money but I find the free set to be good enough. Although it does “coloured noises” I prefer the “rain storm” generator.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    The offhand ‘even perl’ in there struck me as unfair. It reminds me that perl is actually pretty fast (specifically at startup, but my recollection was also that it runs quickly):

                                                    $ time for i in `seq 1 1000`; do perl < /dev/null; done
                                                    
                                                    real    0m2.786s
                                                    user    0m1.337s
                                                    sys     0m0.686s
                                                    
                                                    $ time for i in `seq 1 1000`; do python < /dev/null; done
                                                    
                                                    real    0m19.245s
                                                    user    0m9.329s
                                                    sys     0m4.860s
                                                    
                                                    $ time for i in `seq 1 1000`; do python3 < /dev/null; done
                                                    
                                                    real    0m48.840s
                                                    user    0m30.672s
                                                    sys     0m7.130s
                                                    
                                                    
                                                    1. 1

                                                      I can’t comment on how fast Perl is, but you are measuring the time taken to tear down here too.

                                                      The correct way would be to take the raw monotonic time immediately before invoking the VM, then inside the guest language immediately print it again and take the difference.

                                                      P.S. Wow Python3 is slower.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        but you are measuring the time taken to tear down here too.

                                                        I guess so? I’m not sure that’s a useful distinction.

                                                        The people wanting “faster startup” are also wanting “fast teardown”, because otherwise you’re running in some kind of daemon-mode and both times are moot.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          The people wanting “faster startup” are also wanting “fast teardown”

                                                          Yeah, I guess I agree that they should both be fast, but if we were measuring for real, I’d measure them separately.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I’m not sure that’s a useful distinction.

                                                            If latency matters then it could be. If you’re spawning a process to handle network requests for example then the startup time affects latency but the teardown time doesn’t, unless the load gets too high.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          Hah before I read the comments I did the same thing! My results on a 2015 MBP - with only startup and teardown on an empty script, and I included node and ruby also:

                                                          ~/temp:$ time python2 empty.txt 
                                                          real    0m0.028s
                                                          user    0m0.016s
                                                          sys     0m0.008s
                                                          
                                                          ~/temp:$ time python3 empty.txt 
                                                          real    0m0.042s
                                                          user    0m0.030s
                                                          sys     0m0.009s
                                                          
                                                          ~/temp:$ time node empty.txt 
                                                          real    0m0.079s
                                                          user    0m0.059s
                                                          sys     0m0.018s
                                                          
                                                          ~/temp:$ time perl empty.txt 
                                                          real    0m0.011s
                                                          user    0m0.004s
                                                          sys     0m0.002s
                                                          
                                                          ~/temp:$ time ruby empty.txt 
                                                          real    0m0.096s
                                                          user    0m0.027s
                                                          sys     0m0.044s
                                                          
                                                          1. 2

                                                            Ruby can do a bit better if you don’t need gems (and it’s Python 3 here):

                                                            $ time for i in $(seq 1 1000); do ruby </dev/null; done
                                                            
                                                            real	0m31.612s
                                                            user	0m27.910s
                                                            sys	0m3.622s
                                                            
                                                            $ time for i in $(seq 1 1000); do ruby --disable-gems </dev/null; done
                                                            
                                                            real	0m4.117s
                                                            user	0m2.848s
                                                            sys	0m1.271s
                                                            
                                                            $ time for i in $(seq 1 1000); do perl </dev/null; done
                                                            
                                                            real	0m1.225s
                                                            user	0m0.920s
                                                            sys	0m0.294s
                                                            
                                                            $ time for i in $(seq 1 1000); do python </dev/null; done
                                                            
                                                            real	0m13.216s
                                                            user	0m10.916s
                                                            sys	0m2.275s
                                                            
                                                            1. 1

                                                              So as long python3 is faster than ruby/node, we are ok…?

                                                          1. 4

                                                            Ever typed anything like this?

                                                            $ grp somestring somefile
                                                            -bash: grp: command not found
                                                            

                                                            Sigh. Hit ‘up’, ‘left’ until at the ‘p’ and type ‘e’ and return.

                                                            Yeah, but I finnd using “up” “Ctrl-a” “Ctrl-d” “grep” easier, especially as an emacs user.

                                                            Generally speaking that would say that’s the biggest “hidden” feature of bash: emacs bindings by default. And that’s not only limited to movement commands like C-a, C-e, C-p, M-b, etc. You can kill lines or words with C-k or M-d, and yank them back in when needed with C-y. There’s even an “infinite kill-king” (by far the coolest name for a editor feature), to replace the last yanked section with the next item in the kill-ring. Of course, not everything is implemented, so theres no hidden mail client or M-x butterfly, but if you already are used to the default emacs editor binding, you get used to this quickly. And afaik, all tools that require GNU readline can do this. I just tested it out with Python, and it seemed to work.

                                                            I also recall reading something about vi-bindings in the bash manpage, but I can’t testify on how useful harmful, annoying or useless they are.

                                                            1. 6

                                                              Emacs bindings by default is also one of the biggest hidden features of MacOS: the bindings work in all GUI text fields.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Wow, I learned something new today. Prompted by your comment, I found this table comparing emacs bindings, OSX’s version of emacs bindings, and the more traditional Mac-style bindings for various operations.

                                                                Looks like emacs’s M- bindings are mapped to ctrl-opt- on MacOS, which isn’t super convenient (e.g. I don’t see myself getting in the habit of using ctrl-opt-f over opt-rightarrow to move forward a word), but most of the C- bindings are convenient enough.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  I just discovered this a few days ago by accident because I have it set in GTK so I can use the bindings in my browser. I had to use a colleague’s (who is on macOS) browser and I just used them without thinking and only later realised ‘hey, wait a minute, why did that work?’.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    This is a major reason why I stay on OS X. I’m pretty sure I could reconfigure some Linux to get most of this, but probably not all of the niceness of text fields

                                                                    Would love to be proven wrong though

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      I haven’t used GNOME for a while now, but I remember there being an option somewhere to used emacs keybindigs. And as it seems, all you need nowadays is to install the GNOME tweak tools, to activate it.

                                                                      (Alternatively, just use Emacs as your OS, heard they’ve got good support for emacs keybindings)

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Just FYI: That page is outdated, being written for 2.x era Gnome. Now the Emacs Input toggle is under the Keyboard & Mouse section.

                                                                  2. 3

                                                                    Yeah, won’t disagree. Occasionally, I find myself reaching for the caret because it comes to mind first.

                                                                    I’m an avid vi user, but the vi bindings on the command line never take for me. I always go back to the emacs ones.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      I use vi vindings and love them! I also never use ^ because I prefer interactive editing.

                                                                      It’s really nice that they work in Python and R as well as bash (because Python and R both use readline).

                                                                      In fact I think a large part of the reason that my OCaml usage trailed off is that the REPL utop doesn’t support readline. It only has emacs bindings!

                                                                      For those who don’t know, here is the beginning of my .inputrc:

                                                                      $ cat ~/.inputrc 
                                                                      set editing-mode vi
                                                                      
                                                                      set bell-style visible    # no beep
                                                                      
                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Deleting words with C-w is also very helpful ime.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          I use fc for that. Opens your $EDITOR with the last command in a file, the edited command will be run

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          I love this. These kinds of attitudes have always bothered me. While in some situations ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ might be appropriate, I find more often than not it is terrible advice, and it is taken too far (like many things, e.g. the premature optimisation quote). We don’t really have ‘wheels’ in programming. A wheel (the concept at least) is very simple and difficult to improve. The same is not true of much in the world of computing.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            I don’t understand the sentence: “In two of the four cases, there’s an obvious positive correlation between perceived skill and actual skill, which is the opposite of the pop-sci conception of Dunning-Kruger.” I’m not seeing such correlation on any of the graphs, as I’m interpreting the “actual skill” to match “Actual test score” on the graph. Could someone shine some light on what author meant by this?

                                                                            1. 8

                                                                              I never understood Dunning-Kruger to mean that the competent rate themselves as less skilled than the incompetent, just that the incompetent tend to overrate their own ability due to lack of a fuller understanding of what they don’t know, while the competent tend to be more aware of their weaknesses. That’s exactly what the graphs show to me.

                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                The first and fourth graphs show the same trend. Perceptual is a compressed version of actual, but the slope is trending upward. Low achievers rate themselves lower than high achievers.

                                                                                This is in contrast to the popsci version of “experts think they’re idiots; idiots think they’re experts.” That would show a negative slope.

                                                                              1. 41

                                                                                I don’t think syntax highlighting is a sign of weakness or not understanding a language.

                                                                                1. 7

                                                                                  I wonder if someone would see it as a weakness to use proper formatting or to use obviously named variables. It’s just a preference like tabbed spacing or anything else.

                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                    On one hand, humans have color perception for a reason, so not using syntax highlighting is consciously handicapping yourselves.

                                                                                    On your other hand, the article argues that syntax highlighting distracts you from semantics, so maybe what we should really use is semantic highlighting. But even then you’d still be using colors, so either way.

                                                                                    1. 14

                                                                                      What I’ve found is that, especially in Vim, because just about everything is highlighted, it ends up just looking like a big jumble of colours and nothing stands out (it’s also very inconsistent and the syntax files are a mess). And then you’ve got issues like native types being highlighted, while custom types aren’t recognized which is just confusing. I’m a fan of minimal highlighting, and I’ve gradually dialed my personal colour scheme right back to only highlighting comments and ‘TODO:’, ‘NOTE:’ (so they really catch my attention), and a few very specific things like function/method definitions to make it easier to visually scan a file.

                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                        I think colors are best reserved for marking important things. Splashing the code with a rainbow of colors prevents anything from standing out.

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          I wrote on this topic; I agree that going without syntax highlighting is making it harder on yourself (e.g., not noticing that the code you are looking at is in a huge comment block or that you used an incorrect escape sequence), but too much highlighting and nothing particularly stands out. I made my own theme where most text is in one color, and I highlight comments, string literals, function definitions and a couple of other constructs. I particularly like the highlighting of function definitions, it helps my to quickly see where one function starts and where another begins.

                                                                                          I don’t have any particular talents in art, color theory, design, UX, and all that, and I’m sure that a competent theme designer could take only 3-4 colors and create a theme that really highlights the value of syntax highlighting.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            not using syntax highlighting is consciously handicapping yourselves

                                                                                            While understanding that syntax highlighting, like editor and programming language choice, is highly subjective, I disagree with this statement.

                                                                                            I personally find that disabling syntax highlighting, and all colors in my terminal, helps me to focus on the actual semantics. I find that I actually read the code more carefully and retain more of the substance than when using highlighting.

                                                                                            I also find that disabling highlighting is particularly useful for viewing files written in programming languages I’m less familiar with. While yellow may mean parameter in one language, it may mean class declaration in another. Disabling colors completely removes any chance of information bias based solely on a first glance.

                                                                                            I would love to see any studies you have to support the theory that not using syntax highlighting when reading code is an intentional handicap. I would also love to know in what ways you think it is handicap. Is my understanding of the code compromised? Am I slower and less productive? How do you measure how handicapped I am?

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              I personally find that disabling syntax highlighting, and all colors in my terminal, helps me to focus on the actual semantics. I find that I actually read the code more carefully and retain more of the substance than when using highlighting.

                                                                                              “On your other hand, the article argues that syntax highlighting distracts you from semantics, so maybe what we should really use is semantic highlighting.” :P

                                                                                              I would love to see any studies you have to support the theory that not using syntax highlighting when reading code is an intentional handicap.

                                                                                              Here you go!

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                “On your other hand, the article argues that syntax highlighting distracts you from semantics, so maybe what we should really use is semantic highlighting.” :P

                                                                                                Yes, that’s why my statement was prefaced with “I personally”. I interpreted your use of “on your other hand” (emphasis mine), to mean you were incredulous of that argument. I was adding my own personal experience and preferences to the discussion.

                                                                                                I can’t speak to the papers, as I’m reading them now, but I appreciate the sources. You did not, however, answer how I am handicapped. Simply trying to authoritatively state that forgoing highlighting makes me perform at a lesser degree than someone using highlighting is a broad and vague statement.

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  That’s fair. My position is more philosophical: colors are very information dense for humans, so we should leverage that for parsing code. That doesn’t mean any particular syntax highlighting scheme Is Good, or even that our current position on syntax highlighting Is Good- I think it’s helpful, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

                                                                                                  One thing I haven’t really seen, but am really into the idea of, is semantic highlighting. That would be things like “color any function that’s imported somewhere else in the codebase” or “highlight any variable I later mutate.” Those would potentially be a lot more powerful than just coloring keywords and such, but would also be trickier to write a highlighter for, which might be why nobody’s done it yet.

                                                                                                  Edit: “your other hand” was a typo :/

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    That’s also fair. I was mostly just wanted to dig into the theory that anyone not using highlighting is intentionally handicapped. I, clearly, disagree there but I definitely accept that feelings around highlighting, like most programming-related meta-things, are highly subjective.

                                                                                                    While I do not use highlighting, I’m also interested in seeing how tools can improve to help people perform their tasks to the the best of their ability. I’m not opposed to highlighting existing and would love to see improvement made to make highlighting more useful. Semantic highlighting would be very interesting and I would definitely give it a try.

                                                                                                    I just don’t don’t buy that I’m at a disadvantage by not using normal syntax highlighting.

                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                    Neither paper actually says I am at a handicap. What they do say is that syntax highlighting is useful among certain portions of the programming population for quickly identifying certain characteristics about a program. Neither explores whether the users already used syntax highlighting, or the same tools and same colors used in the study, or how the highlighting affects the understanding of a program in someone who normally does not use highlighting,.

                                                                                                    I believe you are misrepresenting the data in those papers as “not using syntax highlighting is intentionally handicapping yourself” when in fact the first paper says syntax highlighting can be beneficial for identifying certain program constructs (first paper) and the second paper clearly states that “the magnitude of the effect [syntax highlighting has] decreases as programming experience increase”, though it does say it can reduce context switching.

                                                                                                    So, my question is still, why do you think I’m at a disadvantage and how does this manifest?

                                                                                                  3. 1

                                                                                                    Very interesting links, thanks for sharing. When I was debating a similar subject, I was looking for similar documents but could never find any.

                                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                                  On one hand, humans have color perception for a reason, so not using syntax highlighting is consciously handicapping yourselves.

                                                                                                  I’ve never seen this brought up about IDE’s. That’s a great point. It’s reinforced in many other areas such as UX and marketing materials. Hell, even the milk I buy is always red since many generic, grocery items are categorized by color for instant recognition. It’s proven to be a useful psychological effect in general. So, we should leverage color for categorization in IDE’s. How to best do that is obviously still an open topic but keywords vs functions vs type vs etc have been useful so far.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    keywords vs functions vs type vs etc have been useful so far

                                                                                                    I don’t agree with this at all. I appreciate that people like it, but I bet many orders of magnitude more time have been wasted trying to tell the difference between $accountCount and $accountCⲟunt than between private and personal.

                                                                                                    Maybe even more when you consider colour fatigue tricking the programmer into thinking there’s no difference between the lines…

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Hmm. We could make the keywords all one color with the usesr-supplied identifiers on a given page being different colors. How about that?

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Maybe. It certainly sounds more useful than what vim and sublime editor do. There’s some risk though, and it’s unclear how common purposeful variable shadowing is:

                                                                                                        let accountCount=get(); 
                                                                                                        do_something(function() {
                                                                                                          let accountCount=get();
                                                                                                          ...
                                                                                                        });
                                                                                                        

                                                                                                        The two “accountCount” variables above should be different colours, and while shadowing occurs frequently in my programs, in other programs it might be a bug.

                                                                                                3. 2

                                                                                                  Obligatory quote: http://aiju.de/rant/syntax-highlighting

                                                                                                  That is what overly highlighted code looks like to me.

                                                                                                  For me, proper indentation / spacing and code layout is way enough for reading.

                                                                                                  For writing, highlighting strings reveals to be appreciated to me, but still, in languages such as shell script, you can quote every single word or let it unquoted. Syntax highlighting for strings then become totally pointless.

                                                                                                  When I use vim, I switch between :syntax off for less rainbow reading and writing and :syntax on when I have a doubt about a string quote in a shell script or such.

                                                                                                  Proper color theme is also a good compromise.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    What I am often looking for with a syntax highlighter is a good linter instead. A syntax highlighter is also a linter that display the result as colours on the text…

                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                  The two main reasons I can’t use nvi are lack of ‘expandtab’ (which in languages where the convention is to indent with a certain number of spaces is very annoying), and the lack of a way to set options based on filetype. All I really need is some command that matches on pathnames like:

                                                                                                  setfor *.rb et ts=2 sw=2
                                                                                                  

                                                                                                  Maybe I could achieve something similar with a wrapper script, I’m not sure. But even then, the lack of ‘expandtab’ is a deal breaker for me.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    In acme, I use hard tabs for everything and git filters to convert to spaces.

                                                                                                    It’s not free of quirks. Works well most of the time.

                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                    Not a tech book, but this was an amazing read I’d suggest to anyone who is interested in trees/plants The Hidden Life of Trees.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Didn’t expect to see that here! I recently bought it on impulse for my mother who is enjoying it, and am looking forward to reading it myself, so I’m glad to hear you liked it.

                                                                                                    1. 8

                                                                                                      In the middle of the night of course.

                                                                                                      Battlestation, Screenshot

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        That terminal-colors tool looks useful!

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          It’s actually just a rewrite of the little script at the end of this page because I didn’t want to use bash! Much slower though, but that doesn’t matter really.

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            What window manager is that, if I may ask?

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              It is bspwm.

                                                                                                          1. -2

                                                                                                            Inclusive is codeword for ‘not white/asian male’?

                                                                                                            Every time somebody is hired because the employer goes out of their way to be diverse, somebody else wasn’t hired for that same spot.

                                                                                                            Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities. A perverted way to get people to atone for their original sin (being born to the dominant majority subgroup). Of course when we talk about diversity in tech we rarely talk about asian males, since they don’t seem to have any problem succeeding in this domain more or less.

                                                                                                            This is a mind virus. An ideologically driven way to favor some groups over another by claiming that the favored groups are somehow ‘oppressed’ and therefore they are to be favored to balance the scale.

                                                                                                            1. 19

                                                                                                              Group diversity has been shown to correlate with better results in a variety of settings. It’s not just affirmative action; inclusive teams produce better work by anticipating needs and circumventing shitty groupthink.

                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                Sources/further details please? I am concerned about the conflation of several different definitions of “diversity”. In particular, field-relevant experiential/educational diversity is drastically different from skin color diversity and neither is a good heuristic for the other.

                                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                                  If this was true then why would there need to be any governmental enforced diversity quota/incentive?

                                                                                                                  If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it for its own productive benefits. Instead we see socially mandated diversity and after-the-facts rationalisation.

                                                                                                                  1. 17

                                                                                                                    If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it

                                                                                                                    Doesn’t this strike you as exactly an after-the-fact rationalization? You’re assuming that the best solutions always arise within a particular time interval. For example, travel back in time 10 years and try making this argument. Now try 100. 500. 1000. Which things were worse back then that are better now? Would you still refute the possibility of improvement based on the notion that since the best thing hadn’t arised naturally at that point in time that it therefore never would?

                                                                                                                    (Note that I am not criticizing your position against “mandated diversity,” but rather, your specious argumentation.)

                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                      You’re assuming that the best solutions always arise within a particular time interval.

                                                                                                                      There are 2 possibilities here:

                                                                                                                      1. Diversity is good but the free enterprise system has failed miserably in figuring out that it is good so the mighty government and social engineers need to force people to adopt the superior system of organisation.

                                                                                                                      2. Diversity doesn’t really help but the government and its master-ideologues want to impose it on the population at large via media indoctrination and legal imposition.

                                                                                                                      Given that many complex organisational system has been developed by business in order to improve productivity, and that so much effort is put into squeezing even 1% increase in some industries, the idea that they have totally missed this grand strategy of just flooding the workspace with one-of-every-animal seems unlikely to be true.

                                                                                                                      This is especially since if diversity is a benefit, one has to probably agree that it would be an incrementally increasing benefit i.e. 2-groups would be slightly better than 1-groups and so it would be pretty apparent to at least some people that (n+1)-group is better than n-group, and these people would of course write a bunch of books and we would see that companies that are homogenous get out-competed from the market.

                                                                                                                      Instead we have people calling those who disagree racist/sexist/classist/bigot and calls for minorities to be inserted into the most prestigious (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool programming jobs. Meanwhile calls for diversity in the mineral mining sector is quite silent.

                                                                                                                      Wouldn’t we get increase in productivity if we plonk down some women in a mine somewhere or as part of a sanitation team?

                                                                                                                      Of course the best solution doesn’t always arise at a particular time, this is clearly true since if it arose at time x it didn’t arise at time y. But nobody is claiming that diversity can not possibly be the best solution because it didn’t arise sooner, but because a bunch of people looking around for the best solution didn’t find it to be very promising.

                                                                                                                      1. 10

                                                                                                                        Diversity is good but the free enterprise system has failed miserably in figuring out that it is good so the mighty government and social engineers need to force people to adopt the superior system of organisation.

                                                                                                                        This has happened a few times before. See: Environmental regulations, financial regulations, health regulations.

                                                                                                                        1. 9

                                                                                                                          a few times

                                                                                                                          This happens constantly. Free enterprise is extraordinarily bad at optimizing, and outright incapable of considering second-order effects (to the extent that economists had to invent a jargon term for it—“externality”—so they could sweep it under the rug).

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            What would you cite as the primary causes of the technological growth in the last 200 years?

                                                                                                                            Do you think some externalities could be removed via a more comprehensive system of private property?

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              What would you cite as the primary causes of the technological growth in the last 200 years?

                                                                                                                              My simplified answer would be: mainly governments deciding to pour large amounts of resources into technology R&D, for various reasons that mostly have orbited around “empire” and “military”. The British Empire’s investments in railroad, mining, energy, and engine technology; the 19th century French and German governments’ big stable of scientist/inventors in their applied-science and engineering institutes (von Humboldt, Carnot, Coriolis, the Curies, etc.). In the 20th century, both the Axis and Allies’ crash R&D programs: V-2 rockets, the Manhattan Project, Bletchley Park; and later the thermonuclear program, ENIAC, the space race, ARPA, and so on.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                What role did free enterprise play in those developments?

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  Implementation assistance and tear-away sustainability plan.

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    Would said technological improvement have been feasible without free enterprise? If not, what justifies the characterization that it is “extraordinarily bad at optimizing?” If so, what took us so long to make the progress in the first place?

                                                                                                                                    i.e., Is the rise of (comparatively) free enterprise and the technological boom simultaneously just a coincidence? If you believe that, how do you convince others of that?

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                      I doubt you could convince many people they are a unrelated events.

                                                                                                                                      The most obvious argument I can see is that technology enabled free enterprise, rather than the other way around. I’d have to think a bit more before I could flesh it out further, though.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        That’s reasonable.

                                                                                                                                        For the most part, I’m trying to call into question the notion that free enterprise is terrible at optimization. There are plenty of examples where it doesn’t arrive to obviously ideal circumstances, but if you’re going to say that it’s terrible at optimization, then the natural question to ask is: compared to what? IMO, even doing that comparison is fraught with peril and probably so difficult that it’s impossible, which leads me to the conclusion that statements like “free enterprise is terrible at optimization” aren’t particularly meaningful.

                                                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                                                            It’s not clear if or to what degree any of those things had a positive effect on humanity. It’s also not really comparable, because adopting good hiring practices is very obviously in a business’s self-interest, whereas environmental regulations are (ideally) more about forcing the internalization of external costs.

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              environmental regulations

                                                                                                                              Have you been to China or India? It’s really nice being able to breathe outside.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                Yeah, I was in HK last week. Air is somewhat worse than the US, but I’m tempted to say it’s worth it given how inexpensive and efficient everything is as a result of less burdensome regulations. Their infrastructure is actually substantially better than ours, believe it or not, despite drastically lower taxes and less government involvement.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  Hilarious. 1/3 the population lives in public housing. The public transit system depending on a government owned “private” company that (a) owns tons of real estate which it uses to subsidize its transit mission and (b) has regulated fares …
                                                                                                                                  Compare that to the USA and there is, in reality, substantially more government involvement. The US system is really inefficient though because of the layers of government (federalism) and the enormous cost of pretending that the government is not involved.

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    HK is an interesting example for public housing, because it was not done all that much differently than elsewhere where it has a bad reputation, but in HK it has a reasonably good reputation. The architectural style is pretty much the style now reviled elsewhere: high-modernist concrete tower blocks densely packed together into public housing estates. But they were built on a much larger scale than what the U.S. or most European countries ever built, and overall are reasonably well regarded.

                                                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                                                It’s not clear if or to what degree any of those things had a positive effect on humanity.

                                                                                                                                “ financial regulations”

                                                                                                                                You believe it’s unclear whether people getting robbed constantly by crooks or the banks themselves was a net benefit to our society?

                                                                                                                                “health regulations”

                                                                                                                                You also believe that random people getting sick or murdered less often by lying vendors in medical field isn’t an obvious benefit to our society? If you said lazy or evil folks, I could see someone arguing for them to disappear. Cancer and snake oil salesmen don’t target only them, though. They take out beneficial people, too.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  Making fraud illegal isn’t a “financial regulation” any more than making murder illegal is a “health regulation”.

                                                                                                                                  Both of the things you described are just fraud. “Financial regulation” carries the connotation of, you know, specifically addressing the use of certain financial structures.

                                                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                                                    “Making fraud illegal isn’t a “financial regulation” “

                                                                                                                                    You’re putting words into my mouth. I said people were getting robbed. It’s conceptually fraud but wasn’t legally fraud in many circumstances. Sometimes it was just an evil thing the majority of banks practiced that benefited them at everyone’s expense. Damage would be done by whatever acts were technically legal in current system or made legal through bribes by banks to politicians. Next round of politics increases regulation to cover those things probably after an outcry from affected voters. It’s then illegal due to the regulations.

                                                                                                                                    One that they tried to pull on me was not allowing me to pay debts with low-interest until I paid off all with high interest. That let the low-interest keep piling up in event I could only pay small portion. That was made illegal by regulations added under the Obama Administration. There’s lots of sneaky shit like that in finance.

                                                                                                                            2. 13

                                                                                                                              Aside from the moral blindness, the most characteristic feature of libertarianism is complete ignorance of how businesses and markets operate.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                Aside from the moral blindness

                                                                                                                                That’s factually incorrect. There are many popular ways to argue in favor of libertarianism, and one of them is a moralistic argument: that the initiation of force or threat of force is wrong. You might disagree with that moral argument, but it’s certainly not “moral blindness.” And morals needn’t end there either, although I admit many libertarians on the Internet may give you the impression that it does. (Which is why I don’t often chum around any online libertarian hangouts.)

                                                                                                                                1. 7

                                                                                                                                  Libertarians don’t believe that. They believe that force to protect property rights is fine. And they are desperate embracers of a conveniently timed statute of limitations so that property rights deriving from theft and violence are grandfathered in somehow. In 1860 the mortgage value of human beings held in forced labor by state and private terrorism was greater than the entire industrial plant of the United States, yet somehow that and far more recent atrocities are in the moral “never mind” class for Libertarians while tax assessments to pay for school lunch are somehow immoral.

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    That’s a pretty extreme straw man. Regardless, your characterization of libertarianism as “morally blind” remains factually incorrect. Your musings on the questionable priorities of some of libertarianism’s adherents do nothing to change that.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      It’s not a straw man at all. Your claim is that Libertarianism is based on the moral principle that initiation of force is wrong. But that claim involves redefining “force” so that if I peacefully walk out of your store without paying for a loaf of bread, and then an armed agent of the state kicks my ribs in, the libertarian can claim I initiated force! And even libertarians have wrestled with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth - Murray Rothbard worked himself into pretzels trying to wiggle around it.

                                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                                        Please read my initial comment more carefully:

                                                                                                                                        You might disagree with that moral argument, but it’s certainly not “moral blindness.”

                                                                                                                                        So even if you’ve arrived to an interpretation of the NAP that you find objectionable (I also find your interpretation objectionable), then you’ve implicitly admitted that a moral principle exists. You just happen to disagree with it. Therefore, it is a blatant misrepresentation to describe libertarianism as morally blind.


                                                                                                                                        I also disagree with your interpretation. I think your example obviously violates proportionality. A proportionate response would probably be to confront the thief. This leads me to question whether you’ve considered proportionality at all in your interpretation of the NAP.

                                                                                                                                        If you did indeed neglect proportionality, then you would unfortunately be in good company. I’ve found that many so-called libertarians do the same, and generally use that as a license to say all manner of crazy things. I mean, if the NAP doesn’t have proportionality built into it, then it’s trivially useless. If you find yourself in that position with a well studied philosophy, then it’s a fair bet that you’re probably missing something.

                                                                                                                                        And even libertarians have wrestled with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth - Murray Rothbard worked himself into pretzels trying to wiggle around it.

                                                                                                                                        I’m not here to debate libertarianism with you. That would be foolish. I’m pointing out blatant mischaracterizations of libertarianism. If you don’t represent the thing you’re trying to criticize accurately, then your criticisms aren’t going to be substantive.

                                                                                                                                        1. 0

                                                                                                                                          with the insolvable problem of the bloody provenance of wealth

                                                                                                                                          The solution is geolibertarianism.

                                                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                                                  Honestly, I feel like you just kind of doubled down on your argument without substantively responding to my criticism. For example:

                                                                                                                                  But nobody is claiming that diversity can not possibly be the best solution because it didn’t arise sooner

                                                                                                                                  But this seems to be literally what you said. What other interpretation am I supposed to make of this?

                                                                                                                                  If group diversity is beneficial then we would already see organisations embrace it

                                                                                                                                  More generally, I reject your dichotomy. Personally, I think your entire argument is missing something extremely important: the idea of cultural evolution and its impact on business. Culture isn’t a fixed point in time and space. It evolves. In our current bubble, the culture is clearly evolving to be more inclusive of diverse peoples. At some point in time, hanging a sign outside your window that said “Purple people need not apply” was socially acceptable. But today, it would be terrible business sense to do such a thing. Even if you could come up with an argument that said Purple people were, on average, very bad workers, your business would probably fail because the vast majority of your potential customers would probably consider such an explicit act of racism to be vulgar enough to take their business elsewhere. But this wasn’t always true. The same type of thing seems to have been happening on a less overt scale within the less several decades, and pointing squarely at government as the only entity to blame seems a bit of a shallow critique to me.

                                                                                                                                  With that said, I think there might be interesting arguments around the amplification of progressive cultural norms through States and governments.

                                                                                                                            3. 2

                                                                                                                              Hey! I think this argument is not a very good one to lead with. The reason being: if the evidence were not there, or changes over time as more studies happen, does that mean someone should not be for diversity? I think that one should still be for supporting diversity because the world I want to live in is based on equality.

                                                                                                                              Another problem is what we see in response to your comment: people asking for the studies and wanting to argue over the study rather than diversity.

                                                                                                                            4. 10

                                                                                                                              Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities

                                                                                                                              Women are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented in IT. So is taking action to try to get more women in to IT about discrimination against the dominate subgroup?

                                                                                                                              1. -2

                                                                                                                                Women are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented in IT.

                                                                                                                                Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                                                This reasoning is a rationalisation, because we only see it used to insert women into high-prestige jobs (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool tech jobs, but never see it used to insert women into low-prestige jobs like sanitation or garbage collection.

                                                                                                                                Men and women are different. They have different interests and priorities and they make different career choices. The idea that an industry has to be a cross-section of the society as a whole doesn’t really make sense.

                                                                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                                                                  Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                                                  The definition of mother somewhat precludes that. How about we call that one a mulligan and you try again?

                                                                                                                                  This reasoning is a rationalisation, because we only see it used to insert women into high-prestige jobs (ceos, senators) and the recently-cool tech jobs, but never see it used to insert women into low-prestige jobs like sanitation or garbage collection.

                                                                                                                                  There are similar stories from male dominated jobs such a firefighter and police where women have had a difficult time getting into. And let’s not forget, in the US at least, the big fight over if women should be allowed to serve in the military. I think if you look a bit harder you can find examples in many industries of women trying to be involved.

                                                                                                                                  Men and women are different. They have different interests and priorities and they make different career choices. The idea that an industry has to be a cross-section of the society as a whole doesn’t really make sense.

                                                                                                                                  I agree, an industry need not necessarily look like a cross section of society. However we have multiple examples of women not being in IT due to the culture rather than interest, so your argument doesn’t really have much merit to it.

                                                                                                                                  Finally: you didn’t actually respond to my comment but rather changed the topic. You called it discrimination against a dominate group and I pointed out that there is at least one example of a group roughly equal in population but not in representation in an industry. How is that discrimination?

                                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                                    In another culture or in times past you could use the same reasoning to imply that women do not belong in sport, education, or should not be trusted with the vote. You can’t draw any conclusions about what women (or other groups) want, or are capable of by the current state of things. We’re all at least partially a product of the environment we grew up in, so if we grow up and see others like us doing one thing, we’re likely to follow. As humans, we’re incredibly adaptable, and I don’t think that trait has anything to do with gender or race. Sure we’re all different, but so much of that depends on culture and I personally think diversity of ideas and viewpoints is worth striving for.

                                                                                                                                    Also, the men and mothers thing was a bit silly don’t you think :)? I don’t think that’s a very fair comparison somehow.

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                      In another culture or in times past you could use the same reasoning to imply that women do not belong in sport, education, or should not be trusted with the vote.

                                                                                                                                      But he is actually arguing against positive discrimination. I don’t think there was positive discrimination for women in sport, education or voting.

                                                                                                                                      Also, the men and mothers thing was a bit silly don’t you think :)? I don’t think that’s a very fair comparison somehow.

                                                                                                                                      Not really. I see no reason, why men can’t do motherly role in family.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        Not really. I see no reason, why men can’t do motherly role in family.

                                                                                                                                        Even in that case, a male is generally called a “father” not a mother. Saying that the original comment was really just role based is a pretty weak support.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          I’m actually not sure about that. There are some assumptions with the roles a father plays in a family versus the roles a mother plays in a family. I think the argument is fundamentally a miscommunication around what the intention of the word mother is, since to some it’s a biological thing while others is a cultural thing and even that has some implicit meaning that may mean a feminine parent versus a masculine parent.

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            Take single parents as an example where a father or mother is responsible for providing both roles, we still all them a “single X” where X is the gender-specific name.

                                                                                                                                            Or take same sex couples with children, even if one partner is fulfilling what would generally be considered the opposite role of their gender, the default naming convention is the gender specific one.

                                                                                                                                            On top of that, as far as I have seen (and I’m happy to be proven wrong) people often self-identify as a father or mother based on gender. In my limited experience, people who which to transcend the traditional role of father and mother tend to just refer to themselves as a parent rather than trying to continue in gender-specific roles. But again, I can probably (and happy to) be proven wrong on that claim as well.

                                                                                                                                            This argument that “father” and “mother” is role-based rather than gender-based might be a nice ideal but it’s an weak counter-argument in the context of this discussion.

                                                                                                                                    2. 6

                                                                                                                                      Men are something like 50% of the population yet very underrepresented as mothers.

                                                                                                                                      That could be the single, most-retarded counter I’ve ever seen on Lobsters. apy points out that the white males in tech hire almost no women despite a ton of talent available. Hell, it was Margaret Hamilton to popularized the term “software engineering” after her team did better than most who were hired on their first attempt. A ton of programmers then were also women, including black women, since it was seen as clerical work. After it was recognized as creative, it was male dominated in short time with it remaining so. Your counter is that men uncapable of giving birth to a child are “underrepresented as mothers?” Huh? You appeared ideological before but that’s just nuts.

                                                                                                                                      http://www.wired.com/2015/10/margaret-hamilton-nasa-apollo/

                                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                                        That could be the single, most-retarded counter I’ve ever seen on Lobsters.

                                                                                                                                        Okay, let’s consider biological-effect on a role. So it’s a sliding scale between fully female role like a mother, where we never see a male in this role, and fully male i.e father, and right in the middle we see the role of children where male and female can equally fill that role. This scale is based entirely on the biological difference in sex.

                                                                                                                                        Why can’t programming exist on this sliding scale and be responsible for the differences in sex in programming?

                                                                                                                                        So if biology can preclude entirely men from the role of mothers, why can’t biology preclude proportionally more women from the role of programmers?

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          The challenge with your mother/father example is that these terms are, for most people, defined in terms of biology rather than an implicit result of biology. For example, take a single parent which is responsible for providing the for the needs as both mother and father, most people still refer to them in terms of their sex, i.e. “Single dad” or “single mom”. I think taking your example seriously is very hard given this. Perhaps you could find a different example that wasn’t so deeply based on biology?

                                                                                                                                          Why can’t programming exist on this sliding scale and be responsible for the differences in sex in programming?

                                                                                                                                          I brought up the 50% thing so I should clarify a bit. People, including yourself, seem to believe I was making a claim that the breakdown in IT should be 50%. That is not what I meant. Instead, I was trying to call to attention your use of “dominate subgroup” and that the term “dominate” doesn’t make sense in a situation where the group size is about equal. Maybe this means you have some implicit bias towards viewing men in a way different than women? Or maybe I misinterpreted what you mean by “dominate subgroup”? It’s possible you were specifically talking about the subgroup of IT, but then that is a but confusing too since the whole point is that men are more represented.

                                                                                                                                          But, even if the natural interest in IT between the sexes is not 50-50, that does not imply that the representation of each sex right now represents the natural interest level, which seems to be what you are implying. And, in fact, we at least have evidence that many women feel like they are not welcomed in IT despite being interested in it.

                                                                                                                                          So, we know that women are not near 50% in IT and we have evidence that women who are interested don’t feel welcomed.

                                                                                                                                          Given that, here are two questions:

                                                                                                                                          1. If what I have said is correct (just assume it is correct for the sake of this question), do you believe that still nothing should be done to make IT more welcoming towards women? If not, why?
                                                                                                                                          2. Do you dispute that what I claim is correct? I have not cited any direct evidence so it is not unreasonable to dispute it. These numbers show up in any unconscious bias talk or diversity slideshow so I haven’t really done any effort in finding stats.
                                                                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                                                                            Okay, let’s consider biological-effect on a role.

                                                                                                                                            Tons of studies have been done on people starting from children onto workers. The decisions of parents, educators and managers seem to be the greatest factor determining whether people are… going to do or be anything. They literally shape most of their lives. Also, influence whether they are likely to go into certain fields. The managers determine who will stay, leave, or move up. The interesting thing to me is you are hyper-focused on biology when it has had the least impact in empirical studies. The other things have so much impact that we’d have to design experiments to eliminate them… not sure how to even go about that… to see what biological impact remains. We can’t even see the biological impact outside of studies on children since there’s been too much psychological indoctrination and conditioning by adulthood.

                                                                                                                                            It might be something you seriously believe although it comes off like propaganda in a way. Here’s why: tons of decisions by biased individuals are shaping children into adults then conditioning them into employees. We’re saying those biases are promoting some and limiting others in specific areas. You show up saying, “Hey, but what if all that had almost no impact and they just biologically were programmed to do everything their parents and bosses were telling them to do? And parents/bosses were just coincidental with biology really explaining things?” And everyone in the room just looks at you confused wondering why you’re ignoring lifetimes worth of data to focus on a biology hypothesis with little data.

                                                                                                                                            EDIT: I’ll also add that the biology arguments showed up for blacks, too. They were just biologically designed to be dumb savages with no capacity for understanding or doing white things. That supported inhumane treatment from slavery to the Tuskagee Syphallis Experiment. Then, once laws tackled true issue (social discrimination), eventually many got educated and had a chance in business. Now they’re doing pretty much all the same things white people were doing with some billionaires, getting Noble Prizes, etc. I think we’ll see something similar if we combat social discrimination against women instead of similarly making biology arguments about how dumb, weak, incompatible for jobs, or whatever they are. Actually, we’ve already seen it at smaller scales across the U.S. when they’re allowed to prove themselves. You’re ignoring that data, too, for some reason.

                                                                                                                                        2. 4

                                                                                                                                          …Is your suggestion really that the underrepresentation in IT is similar to a biological difference?

                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                            I’m not the person you’re responding to and I’m also not making a definitive claim, but are you really convinced that human sexual dimorphism has no psychological effects that could manifest as different career tendencies? I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how much, exactly, biological differences influence career choice, but I would certainly guess it’s non-zero. This would be consistent with variances in gender distribution across many fields.

                                                                                                                                            Instead of a question, could you explictly state your position on this? It’s hard to construct a useful reply to what sounds more like a moral dismissal than a concrete argument.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              I responded to the biology angle here:

                                                                                                                                              https://lobste.rs/s/8qmra7/for_inclusive_culture_try_working_less#c_aqyakn

                                                                                                                                              Long story short: theres basically no data supporting it, there’s little data to be had outside of children, there’s tons of data saying it’s not biology, and someone’s motives should be questioned if they’re ignoring that to make biological arguments.

                                                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                                                https://phys.org/news/2017-05-gender-bias-open-source.html

                                                                                                                                                Yes, I am sure that being able to have a baby has no freaking affect and couldn’t possibly explain these results.

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  Random noise can explain those results.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    First off, that study was absolute garbage. I’m not going to re-hash what plenty of qualified people have said, but here’s a link that should help. http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/12/before-you-get-too-excited-about-that-github-study/

                                                                                                                                                    Second off, instead of saying anything substantive you’ve just responded with more snark and outrage. Being able to bear children or not is obviously not the only sexual dimorphism in humans, and you’re acting the fool by pretending otherwise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16688123/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24374381/

                                                                                                                                          2. 8

                                                                                                                                            Alternatively, diverse can also include those who cannot drink or eat meat. I’ve seen a few folks who were socially disconnected from the company because they could not attend any of the social functions being Muslim or Indian or Taiwanese where these preferences is much more common. Moreover, diversity can also include those who have timely obligations outside of the traditional Silicon Valley work schedule, like picking kids up after school or volunteering their time at other places. Our corporate environment pretty much does not hire anyone for part time work, and full time work has very flexible hours that can easily be misconstrued to staying at work late else risk giving a bad impression.

                                                                                                                                            I can kind of get what you’re saying. However, isn’t turning a blind eye to implicit discrimination a sin of its own? I agree with you that it’s hard to say someone who was born into privilege is a sinner but perhaps if they recognize that and still chose to keep that predisposition for themselves, is that not a sin?

                                                                                                                                            Also, you’re assuming that hiring is a zero sum game, where there is only one position and someone has to fill it, and the others will not get that chance. Perhaps including and engaging with a wider more diverse group of people will actually increase the overall cake size without having to force people to have smaller sizes or forgo the cake entirely? This is all purely speculation but what if doing this actually leads to more innovation and engagement by a larger overall population to be leaders and entrepreneurs such that it spurs a larger overall growth of the industry and ends up creating more overall jobs for everyone? Perhaps that is the missing key in our market right now, that we don’t have as many competing ideas and philosophies and prospectives so there really just isn’t as many people engaged in entrepreneurship.

                                                                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                                                                              However, isn’t turning a blind eye to implicit discrimination a sin of its own?

                                                                                                                                              Of course not, because you have to discriminate. You brain is evolved to collect data of its surrounding then infer patterns from that data so you can discriminate against stuff in the future. You treat a tiger differently from a kitten because they are different even though in many ways they are similar. The only way to not discriminate is to treat everything the same, a non-sensible proposition.

                                                                                                                                              Now if you refer to the modern sense of ‘discrimination’ meaning treating people differently based on their inherited properties, which is somehow an unforgivable sin in the modern age (even though everybody does it, but they will say “im not a racist” before they explain what they do), you still have to face the facts that people are not the same. Different sub groups have different abilities, and we see these abilities play out in different outcome.

                                                                                                                                              Also, you’re assuming that hiring is a zero sum game,

                                                                                                                                              That particular spot is a zero sum game.

                                                                                                                                              Perhaps including and engaging with a wider more diverse group of people will actually increase the overall cake size

                                                                                                                                              I could say the same about less diverse group. That by being entirely discriminatory, there would be so many jobs that every single minority-person is employed. So this argument by itself works both ways.

                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                              Diversity is just a social instead of governmental (but sometimes governmental) way to discriminate against the dominant subgroup for the non-dominant “oppressed” minorities.

                                                                                                                                              Depends on whose doing it. Often used that way. Doesn’t have to be, though, as one can get racial diversity by sole focus on performance and/or blind auditions. Mental diversity is more important if one wants higher-quality solutions but harder to select for. People have to be willing to bring in folks they might argue with every day. Most wont no matter what color or gender they are. In my company, it was mostly whites years ago coming in hiring pipeline when whites ran it. That was by biases of employees referring people [like them] and of hiring managers confirming people [like them]. My section is currently black-controlled (almost all women) with mostly blacks coming in the pipeline. Skill level is the same mix of bad, decent, and good as before far as I can tell. I haven’t dared ask if they have any interest in getting a balanced (by area makeup) percentage of whites in pipeline or males in their level of management. They’ll both not care plus be incredibly hostile to the idea like every other time I’ve done it anywhere else. Only exception was a bank that preempted me with quotas on gender where either type might be blocked to achieve their goals.

                                                                                                                                              “Of course when we talk about diversity in tech we rarely talk about asian males, since they don’t seem to have any problem succeeding in this domain more or less.”

                                                                                                                                              Indian or Far East. And especially under H1-B’s. Let’s not start filtering them for alternative demographics. It might not meet the managerial or compensation goals of the scheming business. ;)

                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                You sound set in your ways and not open to imagining or considering why diversity might be a good thing. I assume you’re in a ‘western’ culture, that you live in a city, work in tech, and that you are in a reasonably comfortable position where you don’t have to deal first hand with any non trivial cultural pressure?

                                                                                                                                                Diversity simply brings points of view, attitudes and needs that are impossible to imagine or simulate without first hand representation. This will in most cases significantly improve working practices and products/services. It is ideological, but it is also completely practical.

                                                                                                                                                Scale is an important question - you need to have consistency and boundaries within small social groups, but the main case where the need for diversity does not apply is a forcefully maintained large scale monoculture, which to maintain uniformity and stability must remove ‘the other’ from consideration. Is that what you’re going for?

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  You sound set in your ways and not open to imagining or considering why diversity might be a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                  I am not at all.

                                                                                                                                                  What I am against in social, governmental and ideological push to insert whichever-subgroups into places via the logic that their lack of representation there is because of “oppression and xism” when the alternative explanation that they are not there either by choice or by lack of ability is more likely to be true.

                                                                                                                                                  The word diverse is now being used primarily by people that seek to make such a push so it can be used as a warning sign. But I am not against diversity at all, I am against government and ideological mandate, including mandate for ‘diversity’ especially when it is based on spurious claim that the dominant groups are in a conspiracy to oppress and discriminate against the other subgroups.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    when the alternative explanation that they are not there either by choice or by lack of ability is more likely to be true.

                                                                                                                                                    What bases are you making that claim off of, though? There are multiple bits of evidence out there that suggest that women, I cannot speak to other groups, are interested in IT however the culture either makes want to leave the industry or they cannot get in, in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                      that the dominant groups are in a conspiracy to oppress and discriminate against the other subgroups.

                                                                                                                                                      “maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery–the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits–a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. “ (Texas statement of seccession)

                                                                                                                                                      Up to the 1960’s:

                                                                                                                                                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

                                                                                                                                                      Recently, after lots of black votes for Democrats, Republicans pass laws curbing their chances to vote:

                                                                                                                                                      http://prospect.org/article/22-states-wave-new-voting-restrictions-threatens-shift-outcomes-tight-races

                                                                                                                                                      So, this isn’t speculative. There’s definitely groups trying to restrict other groups. It’s sometimes obvious, sometimes indirect. The dominant groups have also always used government mandates to ensure dominance. We see this on the business side where they try to create legal monopolies on land or ideas. This is something that stays happening. So, the solution is to combat it with legislation countering it.

                                                                                                                                                      Note: I’m using black history in these examples just because it nicely illustrates the points. That they thought of blacks as less than human meant they were more open about their discrimination, even making it law.

                                                                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                                                                  This brings to mind Plan 9 for me. I don’t have a lot of experience with it but I’m totally on board with many of its philosophies. From some of the papers I have read though, it seems like the designers are totally convinced that the mouse is somehow superior to the keyboard, as though it’s an unquestionable fact (though my memory is a little hazy on that). Were the same studies cited there? They seem incredibly flawed and unconvincing. There are so many factors that go into something like this that it seems impossible to prove one way or the other in any general sense, so I’m not sure why any sane person would try?

                                                                                                                                                  For me personally it has never been about speed, so much as comfort. I’m more comfortable lazily flicking through webpages with a mouse, and I’m more comfortable programming without one (hate constantly moving my hands). It’s probably better to simply know your audience’s preferences when designing interfaces rather than getting hung up on what is ‘faster’ or more ‘productive’ (or just be flexible and allow both, as most do anyway). Otherwise, I’m not sure why it should matter.