1. 28

    Any of y’all want me to throw my hat in the ring?

    Another time. :)

    Okay fisch. I’ll try. If enough folks are interested I’ll shoot an app in.

    1. 41

      friendlysock is pretty much the only user who I have mentally flagged as consistently antagonistic and obnoxious, generally to the detriment of friendly and civil discussion. Other users may have particular topics which they feel sufficiently strongly about that they occasionally get a little antagonistic responding to criticism. With friendlysock, I see unnecessarily inflammatory comments often enough that I now mentally think, “ugh, I won’t bother reading this comment chain, it looks like another friendlysock spat”. If you can’t moderate your own comments, I don’t think you’d be good at moderating other peoples.

      So if you really want our opinions, no, I do not want you to throw your hat into the ring.

      1. 24

        Strong disagree. friendlysock consistently engages in civil and friendly discussion, even when finding himself on the other side of an argument with someone whose political convictions make them feel they shouldn’t even attempt to be civil and friendly. I’ve never seen him make a comment I think could fairly be called unnecessarily inflammatory (and I say this as someone who has disagreed with him in the past). I generally enjoy seeing his posts and think he’s a good contributor to the site.

        1. 31

          You’re painting a picture where angersock is the civil one who just so happens to be constantly surrounded by people mad at him.

          That’s wrong: angersock frequently accuses others or entire communities of bad faith and assumes a position of authority he doesn’t have when saying content doesn’t belong here (do I even need to link that one?).

          I’ve rarely seen anybody argue with angersock twice. That alone should be pretty damning: The only constant in arguments involving angersock is he himself.

          One can be inflammatory, incite flamewars and toxic communication while saving face by “remaining civil”. I’m not sure how much of it was intended in /u/Thra11’s post, but to me the point is that angersock remains civil, but brings incivility.

          That is not to say that he doesn’t try his best, and I don’t think he does any of this on purpose (though I am really not sure). But I really don’t think he is cut out for this job, and given the comment ratio on his top-post vs the rest of the thread, I think he would be quite a controversial mod to say the least.

          1. 14

            It’s also missing the point: One can be inflammatory, incite flamewars and toxic communication while saving face by “remaining civil”.

            That form of trolling is called Sea-lioning. http://wondermark.com/1k62/

            1. 12

              I strongly disagree that how friendlysock has been showing up here can be seen as a form of sealioning.

              1. 7

                It still blows my mind that not only do some people think the woman rather than the sea-lion was the sympathetic character in that comic, but that there are enough such people for “sea-lioning” to have become a meme.

                1. 7

                  I suspect it’s because many people use public social media for private conversations with their friends (as they would speak while walking about town). A stranger injecting themselves into the conversation to demand your time and attention (regardless of how righteous they are) is unwanted and weird.

                  1. 5

                    I was puzzled by that as well. There were enough of us that the author wrote a three paragraph clarification on the errata page. It’s possibly worth reading the explanation there. I’d summarize it as “the sea lion is a stand-in for people who behave a certain way and the woman’s objection is based on that behavior”.

                    1. 5

                      It’s pretty fitting, I think. Most people who cry “sea lioning” are just upset that someone responded to their public statements.

                    2. 6

                      I only have this comic as reference for as to what sealioning means, but the situation I see with angersock is not one where he actively seeks out people to engage in stupid arguments with. Maybe the term has evolved beyond that specific example, but then, without a new real definition, it has lost its meaning.

                      1. 3

                        The term has not lost its meaning, it has always been used to refer to people who make unwelcomed responses to publicly made statements.

                    3. 9

                      My own interactions with ‘sock have actually been pretty good, even in cases where we disagreed (as in this thread), and I don’t off-hand recall seeing and recent(ish) comments where I was “sjeez ’sock, relax mate”.

                      But I also skip most Rust stories, as I don’t have a lot of interest in Rust (not at the moment anyway), and that link is indeed very much a “sjeez ’sock, relax mate” type of conversation.

                      Point being: I guess people have a limited/biased view of ’sock (or any other members, for that matter) based on which stories they read and comment on. I certainly do, because I never would have seen that comment if you had not linked it here.

                      1. 2

                        do I even need to link that one?

                        Would be helpful for people like me who aren’t as deep in the day-to-day of lobste.rs.

                        1. 4

                          It appears lobste.rs has some sort of retention on the index of comments per user, but here’s the most recent examples (not the best ones):

                          All of those assume a place of authority and tell others how to use the site.

                      2. 4

                        In all fairness, this was not always the case (see also why I’m friendlysock instead of angersock), and even as recently as that Rust thread a few days ago I can still be more inflammatory than is helpful (less charitably: I can be a shithead). I’m no saint.

                        1. 4

                          and yet, gestures frantically below

                        2. 6

                          I would have to concur with this

                        3. 34

                          I personally would prefer not to have a moderator who thinks having Nazis participating is a fine idea (https://lobste.rs/s/nulfct/problem_with_code_conduct#c_dwa6s5). “You could exclude neither [Nazis nor the target of Nazis], and let them sort it out themselves elsewhere. Indeed, seeing each other in a context that doesn’t constantly reinforce their ideology might serve to build bridges and mellow both sides.”

                          Seeing as my grandmother was almost murdered by Nazis the “mellowing both sides” bit did not go over well with me.

                          1. 23

                            It’s taken me quite some time to form a response.

                            Here in Bloomington, IN, last year and the year prior, we had to deal with a real Nazi problem in our city. It was BAD. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/us/indiana-farmers-market-white-supremacy.html

                            We have had a city govt run farmers market near the city square. It was on the largest walking/biking/running trail the city has.. It really was an amazing market.

                            Then, the Unicorn Riot discord hack happened. Normally, this would oust Nazies and similar ideology. Except this time, it ousted a lady by the name of Sarah Dye, a farmowner and a stall vendor at the farmers market. It only outed the first name in the general vicinity and owned a farm - I was the one who found her account on Youtube by the name of Volkmom, and got her banned from the other 2 farmers market boards she was on. I forwarded the videos to their boards. They compared her voice to her damning videos.

                            However, Bloomington IN doubled down, claiming 1st amendment concerns. Peaceful protests to Dye and the city were done… And the cops arrested the peaceful protesters, up to and including the president of low barrier homeless shelters - dressed as a purple unicorn ( https://www.thedailybeast.com/unicorns-arrested-at-protest-of-white-supremacy-at-bloomington-indianas-farmers-market ).

                            And since Dye was being defended by the city, we had other undesirables show up. Other neonazies did. So did the 3 percent’ers. But when the 3%ers showed up, they were armed to the teeth, with AR15’s strapped to them, handguns (plural), zipties, and more. There was no question - they were not peaceful. They wanted to make a show of force that they were present to support their kind. Having them all show up shat on the very idea of the farmer’s market of inclusivity and coming together over shared food.

                            We (public) finally solved this by deprecating the city run market, and a new market was made by a non-profit org. All the vendors showed up here, with exception of Sarah Dye and her stall. And unlike the city market, visible weaponry wasn’t allowed. And being in Indiana, people will pack heat; but it can at least be diminished.

                            When nobody knew she was a Nazi and she didn’t do anything suspicious publicly, it was uneventful and peaceful. People just bought their groceries and all was good. The moment it was known, all the dregs, white nationalists, neonazies, kkk, and similar moved in to support “their kind”. We all literally had to abandon and regroup to get them to stop.

                            If you don’t strongly deal with white nationalist groups, they’ll eat you out of house and home, run everyone off, and leave you with a shell of a community. I’ve seen it happen locally how it progresses in real life… and damned if I’ll let it happen to communities I’m currently a moderator of.

                            1. 21

                              Forgive me for being dense, but my reading of this is that everything was quiet and peaceful until you went out of your way to dox a Nazi and get her kicked out, and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened, and a bunch of ugliness occurred, and then after all this you got the original market back less one Nazi.

                              If this is an accurate reading (and it may not be!), how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault? That being the case…how is all of the following ugliness not the result of the efforts to purge a secret Nazi?

                              My desire to follow rules of topicality and civility is very much due to a desire to avoid that sort of protest-counterprotest stuff that harms communities more than it helps.

                              1. 23

                                how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault?

                                Who escalated to violence? The white nationalists did. Arguing that the exposers of secret Nazis are at fault is the argument employed by domestic abusers. “Woman, why do you make me beat you? Why do you do this to me?”

                                I know you’re arguing in good faith. But please do not try to justify violence from this crowd. They proved that they weren’t standing on moral high ground when they showed up with firearms and zipties.

                                The violent response from white nationalists to nonviolent protests should prove just how much of a charade their pearl-clutching about “muh free speech” really is.

                                1. 13

                                  Forgive me for being dense, but my reading of this is that everything was quiet and peaceful until you went out of your way to dox a Nazi and get her kicked out, and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened, and a bunch of ugliness occurred, and then after all this you got the original market back less on Nazi.

                                  More specifically, there was already an anti-nazi campaign locally going against her with what I considered shaky proof. Many of us were very hesitant to engage in protests in person or online, without solid proof. I used my OSINT skills and was able to positively identify that it was her. Had it not been, I would have also said so. I’m not going to engage in a protest against an individual unless I’m damned sure I can prove it… And I proved it beyond a reasonable doubt.

                                  Speaking to “and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened”…

                                  The problem was that the city was supporting the nazi speech AND show of force, while arresting peaceful (non-weapon-possessing) protestors. If the city had applied equal force to both sides, there would have been less of an issue with respect to 1FA.

                                  If this is an accurate reading (and it may not be!), how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault? That being the case…how is all of the following ugliness not the result of the efforts to purge a secret Nazi?

                                  You’re extrapolating and assuming when you don’t have the information.

                                  My desire to follow rules of topicality and civility is very much due to a desire to avoid that sort of protest-counterprotest stuff that harms communities more than it helps.

                                  This sort of civility is similar to Sea-lioning ( http://wondermark.com/1k62/ ).

                                  Simply put, there is no civility when discussing people who want to murder people (and have done so) who differ only in race, skin color, or sexuality.

                                  1. 20

                                    Over and over and over again the same “both sides are at fault” message, Nazis and their victims. You simply cannot get yourself to say “let’s leave Nazis out”, huh.

                                    1. 12

                                      A few questions to make sure I understand your arguments:

                                      • Assuming Lobste.rs vows to leave the Nazi out, who is going to decide which user is a Nazi? What is the definition of a Nazi?
                                      • Since we’re bound to leave the Nazi out, how can we ensure that there won’t be a “leave the Y out”, where “Y” can be muslim from Saudi Arabia, Palantir developers (are they morally superior to Nazis?), Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky and everyone else group X doesn’t like ?

                                      ps. This discussion is not new by any means. It is a hard discussion, Karl Popper wrote extensively about this exact issue.

                                      1. 8

                                        Thank you for your observation.

                                        For me, I can’t help but notice that even if we say “Okay let’s get rid of the Nazis”, we still have the question of who is a Nazi?

                                        Form a practical standpoint: half of my country (US) voted for Trump, for whatever reason. That makes them some flavor of Republican–or worse. It is not a stretch (and is pretty common in various circles) to see any affiliation with Republicans as basically being a Nazi.

                                        If half of Lobsters is from the US, this means that like a quarter of the users–based on back-of-the-envelope calculations–are Nazis and should be banned, for being Nazis.

                                        If we just ban based on civility and topicality, we get to sidestep this issue.

                                          1. 7

                                            Any of the comments that article references are clearly outside decorum and, if posted here, would warrant administrative action.

                                            1. 8

                                              Weev is a public figure. Weev was banned from gab. Weev could participate anonymously on lobsters. If weev wants to post here as weev, is that OK?

                                              1. 8

                                                Why wouldn’t it be, if he follows the rules and isn’t an asshole and contributes to on-topic discussion?

                                                It being weev, I imagine it would be less than an hour before he gets banned for saying stupid Nazi shit, but might as well give the fellow a chance.

                                                Our purpose here isn’t to punish people for actions in other communities; our purpose is to discuss technology.

                                                1. 5

                                                  Weev is a public figure known for being a Nazi. For weev to be named as weev, it’s the same as https://lobste.rs/u/neonazi .

                                                  Weev could go by a different name to participate in lobsters.

                                                  1. 0

                                                    Pretty sure there are many internet users with that nickname - most probably are unaware of some rando from US. To be honest I never heard about that guy until today. If he would have an account here I would judge him by what he writes here without crosschecking him across other sites. Who does that?!

                                      2. 7

                                        I won’t say it because I don’t believe it.

                                        I would rather have a polite Nazi talking to me about technology than either a rude not-Nazi talking about technology or a polite not-Nazi talking about not-technology. As somebody mentioned above re: the Nazi variant of the Turing test…a sufficiently polite and topical Nazi is indistinguishable from a normal user, because they’re presumably not talking about Nazi shit and picking on Nazi victims.

                                        If they are, the rules of civility and topicality give a handy way–and a more uniform way–of dealing with them. Even better, it gives a way of dealing with them that doesn’t give them the recourse of saying “Well you’re just doing this because you hate Nazis”, or “You’re just doing this because you support SJWs”, etc. I can point at the rules and say “You were off-topic and being uncivil. I don’t need to believe anything about Nazis or your relationship with that ideology to get rid of you.”

                                        1. 22

                                          Apparently you definition of civility includes telling me and other Jews to “mellow out” about people wanting to murder us. No thanks.

                                          1. -9

                                            Do you want to murder them, given that you (by my reading here) believe they are a clear and present danger to you and yours?

                                            1. 17

                                              This is too far. There are diminishing returns now on this conversation and also both of you seem to have lost perspective that this post is about finding new moderators because pushcx might be under huge moderator load - you’re not helping. At the least, take this to a different venue or to personal chat to hash it out and bring back here any positive results.

                                              @itamarst You are talking about a subject which is understandably extremely sensitive and important to you. I think everyone can and would acknowledge the pain that you and your family must have gone through, and it is a failing of people in this conversation that that is not the first and most obvious point to be reiterated and repeated without fail. We all must acknowledge that terrible things have happened and that we want to take positive actions to prevent them happening again. That being said you are grossly not applying good faith in a situation where one person’s actions seem to have been offensive to you, and you are bringing a subject that is most definitely off topic for lobste.rs into this space. In relation to the former, you could have chosen a much more amicable way of bringing your point forward such as: Quoting friendlysock, explaining how you reacted to and felt when you read his comment and asking friendlysock to confirm if that was his intention and to clarify his meaning if it was. You definitely could have done that constructively inside the context which was friendlysock applying to be a moderator, so you could have phrased your question in a way relevant to this topic. No one would ever question your pain or your discomfort at seeing discussions of a group of people that brought great harm to your family and by extension pain to you; you do not have to not be angry, or not be in pain; but having the expectation that you can bring this up in this way in this space and the outcome be constructive is poor judgement: whether or not this was a motivation, you are not going to get personal resolution to political issues that cause you pain on lobste.rs.

                                              @friendlysock Whatever your position you are grossly failing to take a step back and acknowledge itamarst’s point where he is now, not where you think he should be or how you think his point relates to lobste.rs. If you keep doubling down on your position, itamarst has to double down on his. This does not seem like rocket science. Whether this is on topic or not, when someone has gone to the effort and made themselves vulnerable by presenting something they are angry or in pain about, particualrly if it’s such a HUGE subject as this with so much emotion attached, step 1 is acknowledge that and consider your position in relation to what they said. You have no idea how they feel and you can not begin to understand their position so if they are offering you this level of confrontation the most you can do is acknowledge and listen. You don’t have to take responsibility for having caused their pain - no one is calling you a nazi or accusing you of murdering people, but you do have to acknowledge that they felt a particular way after reading what you wrote, and if you want to, you can explore that, but with about 1000 times more sensitivity. Acknowledgement and reiteration of your fundamental positions as they relate to lobste.rs, or moderation on lobste.rs would perhaps be a way to frame your position, if you’re interested in doing that.

                                              1. 16

                                                “Good faith” only goes far when some spends so much effort explaining how important it is we include Nazis in our discussions. Especially when they want to be a mod.

                                                And really the whole point of the exercise is mod policy. As I’ve said before, in other discussions, you gotta pick a side. And the clearer friendlysock’s opinions, the clearer the choice pushcx has to make.

                                              2. 13

                                                Enough is enough. You are bullying itamarst with repeated emotional manipulation by way of a topic that has violently effected them, apparently so that you can get them to call for killings on a thread in which you nominated yourself to moderate the community in pursuit of civility. Are you done trolling yet?

                                                1. 6

                                                  Do you want to murder them

                                                  Come on, this is too much.

                                                  1. 6

                                                    No, of course not.

                                        2. 32

                                          no offence, but I find that “mellowing both sides” is a very legit goal. seeing as I’ve spent most of my life in a warzone, this goes very well with me. I’m not jewish, but I’ve had multiple run-ins with Neo-Nazis due to the way I look and where I escaped the war to. I used to hang out in this bar that was split in half, one of it was extreme leftists, and the other were staunch Nazis, some not even Neo. we were all fucked, so we just drank together in a weird peace of sorts. one of the Neo-Nazis never liked the fact that I started hanging out there, and was constantly hostile, and due to past experiences I had to often stay alert and make sure to be ready for whatever may come, but the beer was cheap mind you and the weed was good.

                                          one of the Neo-Nazis in particular was this big guy who had it so clear in his eyes that he’d like to beat the shit out of me to prove his worth or whatever. I didn’t care as this was the least of my worries (at that time). one of the old men I used to hang out with was a programmer as well, so we’d get high and discuss all sorts of computer things. one day the convo came to Blender and 3D modelling, and all of a sudden this big guy who never wanted to exchange a word with me and rather punches came and started talking about Blender with love in his eyes instead of hate, after a couple of hours of that he threw the shittiest but unfortunately the most fitting line of all:

                                          “your people aren’t too bad after all.”

                                          we actually continued conversing after that and went through a couple of his traumas and why he ended up on the path he ended up on. I by no means expect everyone suffering from oppression to engage in such antics with their oppressors, but I’d rather the ones who can’t, let the one who can, do what they gotta do.

                                          at the very least, you can try to not monopolize suffering under your own school of thought, and within only your own context.

                                          this is probably my last comment here for a while, so feel free to PM if you wanna discuss this further. I am also very sad to hear about your grandma, it sucks to be almost murdered, it sucks to see people you love get murdered, and it sucks to see people you love commit murder, but that shit happens on all sides of aisle.

                                          dehumanize one, and you dehumanize all, I find.

                                          fucking hell, I need a beer.

                                          1. 26

                                            Thank you for sharing! I think that’s slightly missing the point, though:

                                            1. The issue was with “both sides”. Why do I need to “mellow” if someone wants to murder me?
                                            2. You are describing a truce backed by violence. And that might work for some, but the more common case is people not going into the bar at all, because they don’t feel safe.

                                            I’m sure many Nazis have reasons for how they ended up where they are (though in the US a lot of them aren’t suffering at all, they’re upper middle class or rich). Maybe hanging out with Nazis will make them change their mind. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

                                            But given the choice between making a safe environment for everyone, and letting some Nazis in in the vague hope they will learn something and lots of other people choosing not to participate, I’d rather choose the latter former.

                                          2. 10

                                            You know, I can sympathise with your viewpoint here, especially as a Muslim in the current global climate, but the problem I see is that this seems to be leading to such extreme echo chambers, that it makes people say things like what one user in the thread you linked said:

                                            Feminists believe that women are as human and as entitled to agency and dignity as men are; MRAs believe that women are inferior to men and should be enslaved.

                                            This is such an absurd statement to make without backing up and so patently false; the only way someone can believe this is by being fed a constant diet of lies people who really hate MRAs instead of just speaking to MRAs directly.

                                            Suddenly, we’re not just banning Nazis who want to kill you and me and our entire family trees, we’re banning practicing religious people who aren’t willing to rewrite their holy scripture or reinterpret it to suit people’s desires, we’re banning critics of said religious folks who believe baby penises should remain intact — hey, they’re MRAs, right?; whatever, they must be islamophobes or antisemites either way — we’re banning critics of affirmative action, we’re banning all manner of people with valid and not so valid positions or arguments.

                                            We don’t discriminate on truth, we discriminate on whether it’s comfortable or not to a select group of people. People who can’t discriminate between a belief like, “men and women have roughly equal average IQ, but the distribution is wider for men, so the ratio of men to women at Google is roughly what we’d expect if Google were selecting for such and such IQ” — responding with such inanity as “do the women at Google not belong there, then?” — and a belief like, “women are inferior to men and so should be enslaved to them”.

                                            1. 20

                                              I think that if I were on a rocketry forum I’d be interested in hearing what Wernher von Braun had to say (not merely a Nazi, but an officer in the SS). If I were on a forum about filesystems, I’d be happy to talk to Hans Reiser. If I were given the opportunity, I think that Konrad Zuse (not a Nazi, but certainly a collaborator) would have interesting things to say about electromechanical computer design.

                                              I’d be more than happy to throw any of them out if they start going into politics or murder, but if they have useful expertise and follow the rules of decorum, they should have a place.

                                              1. 15

                                                Let me put it like this: if Hans Reiser would join a forum where Nina Reiser’s brother (or sister, close friend, etc.) would also participate, would you think it’s reasonable if they would object to this?

                                                It’s not hard to see how this would also extend to neo-Nazis (as in, literal neo-Nazis, who looked at the Holocaust and thought that all of that was just a spiffing good idea); would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that? Are many people not a victim of these people’s actions just as much as Nina’s Reiser’s brother is? Would you happily discus webdesign best practices with the person running StormFront or some other neo-Nazi website?

                                                I’m not so sure if “it’s limited to just technical conversation” is really all that important, never mind that this is too limited of a view of Lobsters IMHO, as it’s a community centred around technical topics.

                                                For all we know Reiser or the StormFront maintainer are already participating on Lobsters anonymously. We can’t really prevent that because the only alternative would be to actively vet members. But if you know you’re talking to the StormFront webmaster then … yeah, I’d rather not.

                                                I’m not suggesting that we implement some sort of wrongthink policy or anything of the sort; you put forth the extreme scenarios so I’m replying to those, and in more realistic scenarios things tend to be some shade of grey. If someone on Twitter said “I don’t like people of religion/ethnicity/identity X” then that would probably be okay; as in, I won’t like them more for it, but I see no reason to ban them here for just that. But I do think all of this is a bit more complicated than you put forth.

                                                1. 18

                                                  Would you happily discus webdesign best practices with the person running StormFront or some other neo-Nazi website?

                                                  Let’s apply a variant of the Turing Test to this: if people from the interactions alone cannot tell whether they are made by a regular person or a Nazi, then the poster/commenter can be regarded as worthwhile talking to as any other normal person.

                                                  1. 5

                                                    Yes. Nobodies forced to use real names on lobsters. If someone posts anonymously, respect it. Don’t dox.

                                                    It’s not the same if he/she uses their neo-Nazi name. Lobsters has no moral obligation to be known as the place where neo-Nazis hang out.

                                                    1. 10

                                                      Yeah I think there’s a bit of a straw man being thrown around in some of these discussions about being randomly chosen as the target of doxxing. It’s pretty easy to be anonymous on this website.

                                                      To even be perceived as a member of a hate group on a site like this would require affirmative signaling to one’s peers that they hold hateful views towards other members of the community for their birth-given human characteristics, which seems like a good enough reason to remove such a user in the first place.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Yes. Nobodies forced to use real names on lobsters. If someone posts anonymously, respect it. Don’t dox.

                                                        Yes, I pretty much said as much later on: “We can’t really prevent that because the only alternative would be to actively vet members” (that this isn’t feasible isn’t stated explicitly, but it’s pretty clear to everyone that it’s not).

                                                        I think both you and @ewintr have missed the point of my reply; this entire discussion is fairly hypothetical because of course no neo-Nazi is going to link to their StormFront account on their Lobsters profile (or Gab, or wherever these people hang out these days). I just wanted to point out why having known neo-Nazis on Lobsters is something that people would object to, and why some people would choose not to visit Lobsters if this were the case.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          No. You’re wrong. It won’t remain hypothetical. Look at how many people got caught from the 6th based on social media.

                                                    2. 6

                                                      would you think it’s reasonable if they would object to this

                                                      I totally would understand why they might object to this. Then again, dude was put into prison and served his time. According to the law, he has received his punishment. Anything further is just extrajudicial retribution–understandable but not lawful.

                                                      would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that?

                                                      If they were polite and solved my problem, sure. It’d be weird, but I’d rather have the help than not. The second they started going on about that other stuff, I’d report them cheerfully.

                                                      For all we know Reiser or the StormFront maintainer are already participating on Lobsters anonymously.

                                                      Exactly. For the dedicated opposition, this kneejerk intolerance serves no real obstacle–and can even be really useful as a leveraging point to disrupt a community. It’s like people have never played Among Us.

                                                      but I see no reason to ban them here for just that.

                                                      The problem is, several Lobsters I believe would be more than happy to do that, and would want it in a CoC. Further, where do you draw the line? How much Nazi is too Nazi? How little pedophilia is acceptable? I don’t want to make those calls–I’d rather focus on the (much simpler) tests of a) has this user treated other users respectfully in this space and b) has this user stayed on-topic. If followed, I believe those two rules are sufficient to guarantee a good time for everybody.

                                                      But if you know you’re talking to the StormFront webmaster then … yeah, I’d rather not.

                                                      As an aside, the world-wide experts in decentralization are about to all be, or keep company with, some really distasteful people. Ignoring their experience because they’re icky strikes me as a waste.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        The Reiser case is a bit more complicated, as I agree criminals should be given a second chance. However, it’s not unreasonable for victims of the crime to still harbour (strong) feelings of animosity; I don’t think that’s “extrajudicial retribution”. I don’t think that many people would happily chat with their sister’s murderer about filesystems after they served their time.

                                                        At any rate, I only mentioned Reiser to illustrate the perpetrator/victim relationship, as it’s so clear in this case. I was tempted to leave that out entirely as it’s quite a different case from neo-Nazis.

                                                        would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that?

                                                        If they were polite and solved my problem, sure. It’d be weird, but I’d rather have the help than not. The second they started going on about that other stuff, I’d report them cheerfully.

                                                        Alright, fair enough. But it’s not hard to see how other people would make a different choice here.

                                                        where do you draw the line? How much Nazi is too Nazi? How little pedophilia is acceptable?

                                                        I don’t have clear answers to that; but this is a kind of reasoning I don’t really like. Maybe there’s a better name for this, but I like to call the “it’s hard fallacy”, which goes like: “it is hard to draw a line, therefore, we should not draw a line at all”.

                                                        I’ve seen the same type of reasoning in conversations about civility. It can be really hard to draw a clear line about what is or isn’t acceptable, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try at all. Clearly there should a line somewhere otherwise people replying with just “you’re a cunt” would be “acceptable”, and I think we can agree that it’s not. You can also see this fallacy in some other (political) topics.

                                                        I’m not actually in favour of banning people for off-site behaviour unless it’s particularly egregious, such as active neo-Nazis, and even then I’d have to carefully look at the specific case at hand. In general I think the bar should be pretty high for this, but I do think there is a bar … somewhere.

                                                        I mean, do you really expect black people or Jewish members to happily interact with people we happen to know are neo-Nazis or KKK members? If someone in your local soccer club is a great bloke and fun to hang out with, and then you discover he’s a Grand Hobbit Ghoul in the KKK (or whatever ridiculous ranks they have) then you would continue that relationship as-if nothing happened (and before you answer “yes I would”, would you expect everyone to do so, including your black teammates?)

                                                    3. 16

                                                      The problem, of course, is that then you lose all the people who don’t want to hang out with Nazis, or with people (like Hans Reiser) who murdered their wife.

                                                      1. 25

                                                        In an online forum for talking about X, I’d much rather have a room full of people who may be assholes elsewhere talking politely about X than I would a room full of people who might be lovely elsewhere being assholes in my forum because of something completely unrelated to X.

                                                        1. 7

                                                          Thank you for this succinct explanation.

                                                        2. 12

                                                          On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.

                                                          Who’s to say what someone’s intentions are? If people start causing problems, by all means remove them. The alternative is doxxing everyone who joins lobsters or digging up dirt, is that somehow a better alternative?

                                                          I get it, no one wants to share a board with Nazis or murderers. I don’t either. But this social equivalent of a preemptive strike has the potential to be way worse.

                                                          1. 11

                                                            A good rule of thumb, in programming and elsewhere, is to always consider at least three solutions to any problem. There are in fact other solutions beyond the false dichotomy “doxxing everyone” and “accepting everyone”, one common one being a Code of Conduct. Personally I would go with “you must pass this very bar to participate”.

                                                            1. 7

                                                              Just because a comparison of two solutions are presented doesn’t mean you have to jump to “this is a false dichotomy.” Also, I thought we already had that with the lobsters rules? How does a code of conduct actually differ?

                                                              1. 15

                                                                Well, friendlysock apparently can compare Nazis as somehow equivalent to their victims (both sides apparently need to “mellow”). Most CoC would involve kicking him out for that.

                                                                1. 6

                                                                  I don’t agree with the comparison and I don’t think friendlysock would be a good mod based on the fact that he could draw it. I just want to put this out there though - if there was a felon, Nazi or other unsavory person who could provide some insight into problems I’m trying to solve then I would still have an open ear so long as they stay on topic and don’t bring up their unrelated interests. Not doing so seems short sighted.

                                                                  Most Codes of Conduct are pretty crappy btw. Ruby has a good one, nearly all of the others are too suffocating.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I think both you and @itamarst may be missing something in how I wrote that–and that’s on me for articulating incorrectly.

                                                                    My point was not to draw equivalence between those groups. My point was that everybody has some outgroup that they would prefer to see kicked out.

                                                                  2. 4

                                                                    Maybe you should resolve that with friendlysock, then. Not going to fan these flames anymore.

                                                              2. 9

                                                                How is it “pre-emptive strike” to just not want to hang out with people you don’t like?

                                                                This isn’t like…. the seat of government. This is a place to talk with people. Absolutely nobody is under any obligation to listen to people (short of mods basically “kicking people out”). There is zero moral requirement to listen to “varied viewpoints” or have an open mind.

                                                                EDIT: And pointing to a previous declaration of moderation wishes as “digging up dirt” in a conversation about mod applications is rich. Are we supposed to just treat every conversation in some weird vacuum even when it comes to something so obviously relevant? I know you’re saying this in good faith but how is that not fair game?

                                                                And like… you know what? These people that get doxxed or whatever? They are the ones that are vocal about their opinions. That’s how you even know that they are these kinds of people. If they kept their mouth shut we wouldn’t even be able to know!

                                                                I’m tired of being lectured about how I’m the bad person for not wanting to deal with people who not only are (IMO) morally bad people, but also don’t have the social IQ to keep it to themselves.

                                                                1. 10

                                                                  These people that get doxxed or whatever? They are the ones that are vocal about their opinions.

                                                                  Alright, where does the dirt digging stop, then? Everyone that’s somehow associated as commenting in this thread, supportive or otherwise? Because they may somehow have an agenda too?

                                                                  Dude, you’re not the bad person. No one’s saying you are. I’m just done with communities that engage in shit slinging, doxxing, and public shaming rather than actual discussion in good faith.

                                                                  Anyway, peace out, lobsters. N-gate was right about you.

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    I had someone PM me with personal details about myself while using a randomized username on reddit a few years back because I said that I didn’t think Ohio State was very good that year. People dox and dig up dirt for varied reasons. The nazi thing is an extreme example of that, but it happens for all sorts of other strange reasons as well.

                                                                    I no longer use Reddit because of that event, and now I try to stick to a minimal set of social sites (like this one) where it’s obvious who I am if you search my username or look at my profile.

                                                                    I don’t think you should feel obligated to listen to someone’s viewpoint if it’s non-technical (or even if it is technical really), but in this forum, the less I know about people, the better. I like hearing opinions or thoughts on tech without knowing who they are. I can’t control how they think or feel otherwise.

                                                                2. 5

                                                                  Are you asking for Lobsters (and its mods, etc.) to:

                                                                  • Explicitly condemn Nazism, white supremacy, and murder
                                                                  • Ban anyone who publicly espouses these ideas, on or off our site
                                                                  1. 23

                                                                    You write as if that would be some kind of absurd idea, when it seems quite sensible to me..?

                                                                    1. 9

                                                                      thank you for objecting to that.

                                                                      reductio ad absurdem requires absurdity, and I’m not used to seeing “explicitly condemn Nazism” held forth as obviously absurd.

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        It seems absurd to me because it’s kind of a given. Not every site needs to say “hey don’t murder people” for me to feel good about using it. It’s a general human sentiment that murder is bad. Explicitly stating it and only targeting those viewpoints makes me wonder why we aren’t explicitly denouncing every type of supremacy, nativism, genocide, rape, etc.

                                                                        But I do think banning people who espouse any of those views (spoken or unspoken) on the site is not only warranted, but should also lead to a probationary period for the person who invited them.

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          I don’t think we need to make a list of things we don’t agree with. But I do think that we should be clear that people who are known for their malicious activities (e.g. support for murder or racism) are not welcome here.

                                                                        2. -1

                                                                          Putting this bluntly, the second one is stupid and anyone who argues for it is stupid. On or off our site? What the hell. Maybe in person I could logic my way into thinking that it’s ok but online? Thousands of miles away with no immediate threat to my wellbeing?

                                                                          Online there’s always going to be that one jerk who doxes someone else for wrong-think and it’ll start with this.

                                                                          1. 12

                                                                            Thank you for proving your commitment to the cause of rational discussion by calling me stupid.

                                                                            The thing is, we want Lobsters to be a place where all people are welcome. If we allow known neo-nazis to hang out with us, then people that feel threatened by those neo-nazis won’t come here. Sure, it’s not a threat to them per se, but why would you want to spend your free time talking to people that literally want you dead?

                                                                            Being a neo-nazi is a choice. Belonging to a minority group isn’t. We should give the neo-nazis the boot and welcome the members of minority groups.

                                                                            1. 5

                                                                              why would you want to spend your free time talking to people that literally want you dead?

                                                                              Because they have information I want and are capable of staying on topic for the site I’m on. I do not care what they do anywhere else. It is incredibly vexing that people are making me defend the scum of humanity.

                                                                              I believe all people are welcome on lobste.rs if they’re not talking about tons of off-topic stuff and spewing out hate while they’re here.

                                                                              1. 13

                                                                                Do you also want information from people who, for example, would feel uncomfortable sharing a discussion forum with neo-nazis?

                                                                                This isn’t value-neutral, we have a choice to make: either we welcome the neo-nazis, or we welcome the people-who-don’t-want-to-talk-to-neo-nazis. I know who’s getting my vote.

                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                  This isn’t value-neutral

                                                                                  I reject that premise.

                                                                                  The nazi stuff should not enter the flow of conversation for nearly any thread on lobste.rs. The only reason we’re discussing it now because this is a meta thread and it was brought up by itamarst. If he hadn’t then we’d not know and not care.

                                                                                  So I think that if we actually talk about the things that we thought we were going to talk about when we were invited in the first place there won’t be any issues with your first sentence.

                                                                            2. 7

                                                                              Please don’t call other users or standpoints stupid. It’s okay to disagree, it’s even better to providing reasoning, but name-calling never helps.

                                                                        3. 6

                                                                          You only lose the people who care more about Nazi status more than technology–and they’d doubtless be happier elsewhere, in a community that puts ideology and identity above knowledge and civility. I’ve made my peace with that.

                                                                          I don’t think that you can fundamentally ensure that people always feel welcome, and there is no surer road to ruin than to cater to everybody’s exclusionary preferences. Everybody has a reason to hate Nazis, or furries, or Republicans, or women, or whatever–the only way a community grows and flourishes is by providing people the space and protocols to interact without requiring alignment on those things.

                                                                          Don’t want to take up more space here on it, but am happy to continue discussing in DMs with whoever would like to.

                                                                          1. 33

                                                                            The fact that you seem to define “civility” as - roughly speaking - some sort of shallow politeness enabling us all to chum it up with nazis so long as we’re speaking about computers, rather than as good citizenship and strong community built on respect for one’s peers suggests to me that you’d be a terrible moderator.

                                                                            1. 19

                                                                              Agreed, that kind of response seems like it comes from a place of privilege. As in, “this doesn’t concern me too much, what’s the big idea?”

                                                                              It’s been interesting to see convos here and elsewhere around accepting views that are rooted in hate but somehow we should all just suck it up because that’s “fair.” I’m often the only Black person in cis-White male dominated spaces so this is nothing new to me. Just…interesting to see this play out in the open for the first time.

                                                                              Confronted with the knowledge of one’s privilege blinding oneself to what the disenfranchised has known to be true for eons is fascinating to watch/read.

                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                I’ll politely point out that my view would extend, were the conversations civil and on-topic, to folks like Malcolm X or Newton or Seale–not just stuffy old white dudes.

                                                                                I think that, as John Perry Barlow observed, we here in cyberspace have the opportunity to transcend the strife we were all born into. Part of that means evaluating people based on their behaviour and not on what we think about their beliefs.

                                                                                Edit: fixed rather embarrassing misattribution.

                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                  (Davos is a place in Switzerland. That piece was authored by John Perry Barlow. I recommend the movie Hypernormalisation, there’s a very interesting part featuring Barlow and the other technolibertarians, discussing the connections to the counter-culture movement in the 60s)

                                                                                  I cannot help but find this sort of cyber-utopianism incredibly naïve. Things that happen on the internet can and do have effects on people in the real world. It’s been a long, long time since “just walk away from the screen, just close your eyes” was a genuine take to have.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    Thanks for catching that, still waking up.

                                                                                    It’s a naive approach, but that’s kinda the point right? Like, should we not strive to live in that more ideal, simpler, better world?

                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                good citizenship

                                                                                What do you mean by this?

                                                                                I agree btw.

                                                                              3. 18

                                                                                Everybody has a reason to hate Nazis, or furries, or Republicans, or women, or whatever

                                                                                I think you may be lumping together several dissimilar attitudes here.

                                                                                I do not think lobste.rs is suffering from including “the wrong people” or anything like that. We probably do have some people with terrible opinions, but it doesn’t leak into our usual discussions.

                                                                                However, I do think it would be bad to have a mod to express the attitude that “some people hate Nazis, some people hate women. A pox on both their houses!”

                                                                                I say “express” because I am not saying what you really think is “hating women is equivalent to hating Nazis”. But a mod has to be careful.

                                                                          2. 6

                                                                            Why stop with Nazis? If anyone shows any Nazi propaganda, they should be out. But let’s extend it to all other groups that cause harm to others. Any member of US army should be gone, heck, they didn’t try to kill my grandma, they killed my relatives, which were civilians (and they are still killing others in my country due to depleted uranium that was used in bombings). Also all the members of tech companies that help these strikes (looking at you, Microsoft et al).

                                                                            Obviously, I’m exaggerating here to show a point that if we only look at membership of a group to exclude someone, we might also start extending the groups, as various people can/are affected. Personally, I don’t care which group people belong to, as long as they are not a threat to my family and are trying to help (or are just plain neutral) — which I think plenty of people here are, and that’s the main reason I come to this site.

                                                                            1. 8

                                                                              We did exactly this when a Palantir showed up to show a neat thing. It was one of the most shameful things I’ve seen in my time here.

                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                You are not exaggerating at all.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  This reads like the opposite-day version of “First they came…” by Martin Niemöller.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    That is a great poem that I have only heard so far paraphrased. Thanks for sharing! However, it has been a rough week for me, so I don’t get the “opposite-day version” part, could you elaborate?

                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                  Circumstances under which I would be OK with an Actual Nazi participating (both conditions must hold):

                                                                                  1. User does not reveal themselves to be a Nazi on the site, either by explicit statement or in the way they act, and
                                                                                  2. User is not notoriously a Nazi externally to the site, either for having done something terrible or by making themselves a “public figure” wrt their viewpoints.

                                                                                  If someone behaves themselves on the site, and their behavior on the site does not create distress for others, I don’t see why people should be encourage in shitstirring. (If it is inevitable that someone’s presence will create distress, regardless of the behavior of anyone on the site, I would strongly suggest they use a pseudonym.)

                                                                                  “Nazi” is an unlikely and hyperbolic example, but I’ve seen people go and seek out damning information of one sort or another about a member of a community (including doxxing them), and then make it a thing. It wouldn’t have been a thing, and wouldn’t have caused stress to members of oppressed populations, if they didn’t do that! By digging, they’ve actually caused harm. So my rule would be that the notoriety has to originate externally or via direct actions on the site, or you just incentivize this ugly community antipattern.

                                                                                  (Some of my ancestors were murdered by Actual Nazis or had to emigrate to avoid them, in case you need that for my opinion to be valid.)

                                                                                  ((EDIT: I don’t want to be a mod, though.))

                                                                                3. 8

                                                                                  Maybe don’t apply if you’re seeking to do if because you think it’s what people want you to do… Someone with that personality might be inclined to lose interest before their term is up if they think popular opinion is drifting away from them…

                                                                                  1. 22

                                                                                    My reasoning–and I’ve always held this position–is that anybody seeking such a position is either a lunatic, a tyrant, or both, and not to be trusted. Myself included.

                                                                                    That said…

                                                                                    Look, if we’re down to just one moderator, that’s a rough gig. That, plus the current state of the world, makes me worry for the site focus and discussion culture of Lobsters, and if I can help I’m happy to do so–and pushcx is welcome to shitcan and ban me (and will likely do so with great relish) at will should I fail in my duties.

                                                                                    Asking for sufficient votes before appliying is me, in effect, getting a gauge of if the community would agree to abide. As we’ve seen in my country this year, the legitimacy of government ultimately stems from the consent of the governed.

                                                                                    1. 11

                                                                                      And as I’ve seen in my country (US) this year, it’s wise not to give power to folks who are in it for the attention :P

                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                        I personally (and I have a decidedly average number of internet points) like the way your postings changed when your nick changed to friendly. That change shows an appreciation of your past and new styles that I would like to see in moderators.

                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                        TBH asking to be upvoted seems like a bit of a conflict of interest with wanting to be a mod… as friendlysock said

                                                                                      3. 7

                                                                                        :(

                                                                                      1. 27

                                                                                        /US/ computer science dept rankings. The USA is not the centre of the universe. It’s not even the centre of the Computer Science universe :)

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          I guess what @pja is trying to say is something along the lines of

                                                                                          The title should have read computer science open rankings in the USA

                                                                                          It would be quite interresting to see a world ranking, indeed. Given that it isn’t explicit, it does seem a little clickbaity - I fell for it.

                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                            As an American, I’m offended by this statement!

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              It’s not even the centre of the Computer Science universe :)

                                                                                              Remind me, I forget, which country are Google, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, Tesla, the Linux Foundation, and the FSF headquartered in again?

                                                                                              1. 12

                                                                                                Applied computing != computer science

                                                                                                1. 9

                                                                                                  Where was the World Wide Web born? Where was Linux written?

                                                                                                  I don’t see the point with this exercise.

                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                Haskell programs have stellar performance

                                                                                                Proceeds to benchmark Haskell against PHP

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  My personal prior belief is that PHP is about 20 times slower than “the maximum”, an imaginary ideal for efficient code which is probably only achieved by spending far too much time far too close to the metal. The maximum comes with a “2x barrier” where interpreted languages with a managed runtime can only come within about a factor of 2 of the maximum. In the post, the author claims a 16-fold improvement from PHP to Haskell while implementing the same functionality, which would put GHC Haskell below the 2x barrier. This is fairly impressive and worth highlighting.

                                                                                                  Of course, we can’t discount other factors, such as the fact that rewrites can easily obtain performance improvements simply by being written by a team who understands the problem domain better on each iteration.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    Author of OP here. There’s a million benchmarks out there, such as the TechEmpower Framework Benchmarks, that try to make fair comparisons where the exact same problem is solved by different languages/frameworks. While they are valuable in some ways, there are plenty of people that point at them and say “benchmarks like this are meaningless since they don’t reflect real world situations”. So what I did in my post is describe a comparison based on a real world situation.

                                                                                                    My a comparison based on the switch from a production system built in PHP to a continuation of the same system being built in Haskell. I’ll add that when we did this, we did nothing special as far as performance goes—we just started implementing all of our new functionality in Haskell rather than PHP. The result was that operating the new stuff was 1/16th the cost of operating the old stuff. Feel free to waive this away as unremarkable or irrelevant, but I don’t think it is.

                                                                                                  1. 10

                                                                                                    I feel like a jerk saying this… but why do we think software should be “done”? We don’t seem to harbor the same illusion about other business practices. If something in our environment renders any other business practice ineffective or obsolete, we alter the practice and for the most part don’t whine about how onerous that is.

                                                                                                    Maybe the problem is that we’re looking at software as if it were a thing instead of a codified and automated set of processes and procedures. We should stop that, because that expectation is making it harder for us to allocate our resources and react to changes in our environment.

                                                                                                    I don’t think I”m being a jerk or a curmudgeon right now, but I would concede the point if someone told me I sound like one.

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      If something in our environment renders any other business practice ineffective or obsolete, we alter the practice and for the most part don’t whine about how onerous that is.

                                                                                                      This is incorrect–examples being SAP, the MPAA/RIAA and abuse of copyright, or the use of DUNS numbers, or any of another dozen things. Whining is in fact so common that there is an entire industry for it: lobbying.

                                                                                                      but why do we think software should be “done”?

                                                                                                      Because a program is ultimately math, and math shouldn’t change. Software is ultimately an artifact made of information, and as such should still be usable well after the artificers have passed–provided we still can decode the information.

                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                        Whining is in fact so common that there is an entire industry for it: lobbying.

                                                                                                        Good point. I feel like the kind of whining I hear about software is qualitatively different in a way that I have a hard time describing right now, but you’re exactly right here.

                                                                                                        Because a program is ultimately math, and math shouldn’t change.

                                                                                                        Eehhhhh… I’d argue vigorously that a program is ultimately applied math. While the math itself shouldn’t change, the application (and the wisdom of said application) differs greatly depending on the environment. It lets us use math to automate the application of business rules, often at much lower cost or larger scale than we could without its assistance. Automating the application of the math lets us screw up faster and bigger if an assumption underlying the correctness of that application turns out to be wrong.

                                                                                                        Maybe it’s that error amplification alongside the notion that math shouldn’t change, that makes the need to maintain software so surprising for so many.

                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                          Because a program is ultimately math, and math shouldn’t change

                                                                                                          This has to be the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time. Programs are not math, they are instructions. Maths exist to describe how reality works. Programs exist for the exact opposite purpose, which is to effect change in reality.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            I would suggest friendlysock means something like a program is f(x), and always returns the same output for some parameters x. To me, at least, software development is about deriving the correct function for some set of parameters, which is a definite point of completeness.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              This is only true for pure functional programming languages, which are themselves emulated on Von Neumann architecture with an “instruction set” that has all kinds of side effects. So in a practical sense, Computer Software and Math are not the same thing, and we have yet to build a true functional machine.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                That’s not the case. Surely you can think of how any program, for identical inputs (including environment etc) returns the same (correct) output each time

                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                  For any inter-networked system, saying something like “assume completely identical inputs, including the environment” feels quite a bit like saying “assume a frictionless and massless pulley.”

                                                                                                                  I’m not dismissing the usefulness of making either assumption as a reasoning tool, but both require assuming something you know to be untrue, and betting that the discrepancy doesn’t matter to your problem.

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    This makes sense to me if one considers these as additional program inputs:

                                                                                                                    • the current date/time
                                                                                                                    • the version of the database driver
                                                                                                                    • the number of users simultaneously using the system
                                                                                                                    • the time zone which the current user is in
                                                                                                                    • the current user’s internal ID, or name, or settings, or browser cookies, or…
                                                                                                                    • etc
                                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                                            I see what you mean, but other feats of engineering are “done” at some point, and go into a much lower-maintenance mode. Once a bridge is built, it is monitored for repairs, but the construction company doesn’t sit on the bridge and constantly “iterate” on its design.

                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                              I think part of the problem here is how different software engineering is from other engineering disciplines. The vast bulk of software products aren’t built with the same kind of rigor that goes into building a bridge. There are elements of mathematics and the like, but once business and legal requirements get involved the discipline starts to have too much in common with things like law. The target moves a lot faster than the transition from e.g. bridges for horse-drawn carts to bridges for large trucks. On top of that, it gets a lot harder to develop the kinds of techniques, tests, and so on that enable designing a bridge without having to derive everything from first principles.

                                                                                                              I’m not an engineer though, so happy to be corrected. I could just be romanticizing the world of civil engineering etc.

                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                Software engineering is really not that unique. There are some things we have that are different, like incredibly fast feedback loops and a lack of physical uncertainty, but overall we share a lot more in common with other engineering disciplines than we have that’s different.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  I’ll trust you on that, then. I think the lack of rigor is true, but maybe there’s no good, principled reason why software engineering hasn’t caught up in that regard.

                                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                                Chemical engineers are constantly tweaking their process flows. Chemical engineering is never done.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  Not only that, but when it comes time to re-paint, you don’t have to rebuild the entire bridge because the company that built the coffee pots in the engineering room went out of business.

                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                    On the other hand, when you get a new piece of equipment for the oil rig that’s too tall for the floor, you have to raise a small section of the ceiling by one foot, and then everything on the floor above has to be reconfigured around that, and then you have to live with the oil rig having a raised section of the floor forever.

                                                                                                                    Source: an oil and gas engineer I interviewed

                                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                                    but other feats of engineering are “done” at some point, and go into a much lower-maintenance mode. Once a bridge is built, it is monitored for repairs, but the construction company doesn’t sit on the bridge and constantly “iterate” on its design.

                                                                                                                    A bridge is also vastly less complex, with much simpler requirements, and operates on much simpler and better-understood engineering principles.

                                                                                                                    And bridges can run in to trouble too if requirements change; quite a few bridges were built with just cars in mind, and retrofitting them with pedestrian/bike lanes doesn’t always work all that well.

                                                                                                                    Also maintenance costs may be higher than you’d expect; the Clifton bridge in Bristol for example, completed in 1864, costs about £1 million/year in maintenance, which excludes £8 million in various structural repairs that need to be done.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      A bridge is also vastly less complex, with much simpler requirements, and operates on much simpler and better-understood engineering principles.

                                                                                                                      Bridges are much more complicated than you think.

                                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                                  And? I don’t see anyone complaining that most desktop applications use mostly the menu layouts and keyboard shortcuts. Why is uniformity and not surprising the user suddenly a bad thing when its the web?

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    most desktop applications use mostly the [same?] menu layouts and keyboard shortcuts

                                                                                                                    I’m not sure that is true anymore. I don’t at all intend to argue against your point about uniformity and not surprising the user. But the desktop applications I’ve seen lately do not have a menu bar, they do not use standard window decorations and they seemingly do not have any common keybindings apart from Ctrl-c, Ctrl-x, Ctrl-v and Alt-F4. They render as borderless windows and implement their own minimize, maximize and close buttons. If there’s a menu it’s some custom stuff behind a button that looks either like a hamburger(‽), a gear or three vertical dots. The selected desktop theme has very little effect on their looks. They might as well be web pages, and many of them probably are.

                                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                                      Exactly. I think what we are losing are the crazy homebrewed websites of the 90s/00s.

                                                                                                                      Now even the most modest and beginner website will be using one of the libraries used by everyone else.

                                                                                                                      This is both good, as it means that more people can finally access this technology (ss a developer), and bad, since we lose a bit of quirkiness.

                                                                                                                      The thing to think though is: was that crazy internet we had in the past due to creative people being creative or simply because everyone didn’t know anything and didn’t have tools to do better? I remember being 12 and struggling to make a background static, my first website wasn’t “different” out of creativity but out of lack of knowledge and patience.

                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                        I think that uniformity is a benefit, but only if the standard that has been settled on is good. For example, I think that hamburger menus, which are everywhere today, are clearly inferior to horizontal menus, which were everywhere fifteen years ago.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          Horizontal menus are great on desktop, but don’t work in mobile. That’s why we got hamburger menus.

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            The problem is that website developers force that compromise on everyone, rather than just on mobile device users.

                                                                                                                            If a hamburger menu really is the best solution for a certain website when it’s viewed from a mobile device, I really would like the website to degrade to a hamburger menu when I visit it from a phone, and display a normal, non-horrible menu on desktop. It’s not even that hard anymore, now that pointer media query is supported by everything.

                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                          The entire last section of the article is dedicated to addressing this.

                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                            No, it is not. The last section’s TLDR is: Conformity through libraries brings greater accessibility, Mozilla says its bad, and appeal to nostalgia. It does not at all address that the exact opposite attitude is generally held for most of the rest of computing.

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            Complete the pattern:

                                                                                                                            3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3

                                                                                                                            Odd Even Odd ??? Odd Even Odd

                                                                                                                            Even if you as a programmer knows that 0 is technically not even, you will still probably check if a number is even with (x % 2 == 0).

                                                                                                                            So they will miss out on seeing how a line of reasoning can be used to deduce things, they will listen to random ramblings, unconnected and emotive sentences, and be convinced by “logic” that is non-existent.

                                                                                                                            People say 0 is even because in the vast majority of real world applications for the test, it is appropriate to treat zero as even, not because they are afraid of your big brained maths.

                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                              Even if you as a programmer knows that 0 is technically not even, you will still probably check if a number is even with (x % 2 == 0).

                                                                                                                              That is the actual test to see if a number is even. To be more precise, an integer n is even if and only if it can be written as n = 2*m, where m is also an integer. So 6 is even, because we can set m to 3: 6 = 2*3. 0, then, is even, because 0 = 2*0.

                                                                                                                              The definition of odd, on the other hand, is m = (2*n) + 1, with m and n both integers.

                                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                                Even if you as a programmer knows that 0 is technically not even

                                                                                                                                0 is “technically even”. Did you read the post? This isn’t about discussing whether or not it is, it’s about why some people don’t realise it is, and how maths could be better taught/communicated to rectify this.

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  a is divisible by a nonzero b if there exists a whole number x such that a = x•b. Then we call b a divisor of a. Clearly every whole number is a divisor of 0, and since 2 is a divisor of 0, 0 is even.

                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                  I know this “N KB Club” meme is becoming trite now but someone asked for it, so this had to be done! :-)

                                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                                    10 KB club is cringe.

                                                                                                                                    – This post made by 1 KB club

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      1K?! LUXURY! When I was young 12 bytes and a piece of cheese was all we ever needed.

                                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                                        You try and tell the Electron users of today that, they won’t believe you!

                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                          I’ll just put an end to this by registering the 1 bit club and implement the only two possible websites myself.

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      For someone who’s never used buckling spring, how is the feel different from, let’s say, cherry mx browns or blues?

                                                                                                                                      Always been curious about the Model M. It seems to have a dedicated loyal following.

                                                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                                                        They’re a lot heavier.

                                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                                          Also you spouse, cat, neighbours, and your neighbour’s neighbours will know when you’re coding at night.

                                                                                                                                        2. 6

                                                                                                                                          I love the sound and feel of buckling spring switches. They have a satisfying ‘snap’ to them when pressed – I can’t think of a switch I’ve typed on that had better feedback. That said, the Model M itself is not a very ergonomic keyboard, which is why I don’t use one. I’ve become quite dependent on having 12 thumb keys, nice hand separation, concave key wells, and an ortholinear layout..

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            I’ve always wanted to try a nice ergonomic spring-buckling keyboard. Sadly, no one seems to make them (and the physical layout seems different enough that adapting an existing one would be too much effort), so I’ve stuck with my trusty kinesis.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              What keyboards do you recommend that meet your criteria for being ergonomic?

                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                Based on the description, I think spudlyo is thinking of the Kinesis Advantage.

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  Yup, as avh-on1 guessed, I’m a Kinesis Advantage user, and have been for the past 10 years or so. Nowadays there are a few other keyboards that have some of these features, like the ErgoDox EZ which are gaining in popularity. Since switching to the Kinesis, I’ve not had any issues with pain in my hands or wrists, and now that Control and Meta are on my thumbs no reoccurrence of “Emacs pinkie” either.

                                                                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                                                                Cherry MX blues feel linear but with a high-pitched bump in the middle (which makes sense because they use a metal click leaf). The Model M’s buckling springs feel heavier and “springier” (the force curve isn’t linear), and make a lower-pitched sound.

                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                  MX switches are essentially friction based, using plastic on metal to create fric…feedback. Buckling springs operate in a entirely different manner and are hard to compare. You press down on a spring, which eventually buckles and creates the sound, the tactile feedback and triggers the key press.

                                                                                                                                                  I kinda liked my Model M (which I found in an electronics dumpster at work), but decided to throw 400 USD at a new Model F keyboard when drunk for the lulz.

                                                                                                                                                  The Model F is such a nice keyboard. It’s hard to go back to anything else! But it’s also loud and ping-y so I can barely use it at home or at work (which these days is the same thing haha).

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    It’s like the difference between hitting a wiffle ball versus a baseball. Buckling springs are heavier and more gratifying.

                                                                                                                                                    Full disclosure, I prefer cherry reds. to extend the metaphor, they feel like swinging a wiffle ball bat and missing, which sounds bad, but I like the effortlessness. I have been through both unicomp and IBM model Ms and loved them but at some point I joined the light (actuation force) side. I think the reason the unicomp ones are lighter is because they have an aluminum backplate (rather than steel)

                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                      You have to press harder. Laying your hands across the keyboard will not type a key by accident. The spring has a bit of a ringing sound after the keypress. “Ka-chunggg”

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      Finally, C has been needing defer for a long time. As the paper says, this will definitely make it more usable and modern. After defer is added, we just need to add templates, namespaces, compile time expressions, references, concepts, and a larger standard library!

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                        Years and years ago, my teachers used to refer to main memory as “core” and so I picked up the habit as well. Apparently that is now considered an affectation of some sort?

                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps when referring to RAM generally. But the vernacular does still live on in some terms, like “core dump”.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            The mincore ({is}-m{emory}-in-core) system call has been around since 4.4BSD. I don’t think any of the systems that 4.4BSD ran on actually had core memory but the term has made it into the system call API for most *NIX systems. During my PhD, ‘out-of-core’ was a common adjective for remote memory systems and I think that’s still the common term (e.g. out-of-core rendering means rendering data sets that don’t fit in memory).

                                                                                                                                                            I’m probably just old and work with old people but I’d consider referring to data in memory that I can get at with load instructions and without needing to do large block read/modify/write operations for stores as ‘in core’ to be pretty common. I’d probably say DRAM these days, but I wouldn’t consider it an affectation or even particularly unusual if someone called it core.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 12

                                                                                                                                                          Am I the only one who hates Snap (and Flatpak) for the simple reason that their main objective seems to be to wrestle control over software availability from open-source maintainers/packagers to the (proprietary) producers of the software?

                                                                                                                                                          In that regard, Snap/Flatpak have zero things I want and everything I don’t want.

                                                                                                                                                          Those who want to ship software without the additional bit of scrutiny added by repository packagers can fuck right off, at least on systems under my control.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                                                            If you’re going to run proprietary software, I’d rather install it with snap than a packed shell script that does god knows what.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                                                              As a producer of open source software (published on github), I hate Snap for a different reason. It looks like Canonical wants to wrest control of software availability from the producers to themselves, breaking the link between the user and the producer of the software. The Snap store is closed source, and software can only appear on the snap store with Ubuntu’s permission, under their conditions. Flatpak looks better because it is a fully open source ecosystem and software producers can run their own flatpak stores, or serve app binaries directly out of a git repository that they control.

                                                                                                                                                              As a user, I hate snap because I have no control over sandboxing or updates. It feels just like the toxic relationship that Windows users have with Microsoft software updates. I haven’t tried Flatpak. I like appimage as a way of distributing binaries directly between users and producers, cutting out middlemen.

                                                                                                                                                              Those who want to ship software without the additional bit of scrutiny added by repository packagers can fuck right off

                                                                                                                                                              You can fuck right off yourself. There are millions of projects on github, including a lot of super niche and specialized stuff that interests me but probably will never appear in repository packages, due to a shortage of independent 3rd party repository packagers to package all the stuff I’m interested in.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                It is a problem when snap inserts itself into the install process: https://ubuntu.com/blog/chromium-in-ubuntu-deb-to-snap-transition

                                                                                                                                                                Having snaps as an option is not a problem. But using them should be a specific choice, not a shadow install from apt.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  I can agree to a certain extent. Not a fan of Snap at all.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  If your vendor is running 32-bit Linux in the year 2032 it’s time for a new vendor.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                    It is endearing that LWN sticks to proper engineering convention for kilo-/mega-/gigabyte.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                      Except it’s not proper at all. A page is not 4 kB (kilobytes), it’s 4 kiB (kibibytes)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        Indeed – what the article does do properly though that’s perhaps even rarer is appropriately distinguish between bits (b) and bytes (B).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                          No, the redefined Si kilobyte is a bastardization of the concept driven by hard drive manufacturers around the turn of centuries. They could then market their 1 billion byte drives as 1Gb.

                                                                                                                                                                          You can not design a power-of-10 electronic storage device with binary logic without lots of extra hardware. This is why sibibytes make no sense other than for marketing departments. They are a technological misnomer.

                                                                                                                                                                          Quoting the article, here’s how the proper notation is still the natural one:

                                                                                                                                                                          A board with 8GB of DDR3 memory needs eight 8Gb chips that are expensive and not widely available, or sixteen 4Gb chips in a multi-rank setup and complex board layout.

                                                                                                                                                                          So yeah we live in a world when a committee decided that a litre should be two pints to make life easier for pub owners. However a committee decision does not make it correct.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                        A: The customer reports them. It’s not a bug if the customer doesn’t report it, and it’s a feature if there’s a workaround.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                          This attitude might work fine for some software where you can easily patch bugs as you go along. What about when the software is safety critical? Or when a bug means there’s a security vulnerability? Maybe the bug results in a multi-hundred million dollar recall?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                            But… but… what about Betteridge?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                            It’s morally wrong to breath. Every breath you take billows CO2 in to the air, bringing us one step closer to runaway global warming.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                              Rust sounds like a good match (but i doubt that’s your choice because I think you tried it already). But see the recent post here about rust being as productive as kotlin.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 11

                                                                                                                                                                                My money is on F#. He gets everything he likes from OCaml as well as proper multicore support. Plus he has the entire .NET ecosystem to fall back on when it comes to libraries, documentation etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                  F#

                                                                                                                                                                                  Looks like you were right:

                                                                                                                                                                                  https://blog.darklang.com/new-backend-fsharp

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                    You nailed it!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                    It sounds like Rust would be an awful choice, because most of his complaints are true for Rust as well, especially where the ecosystem is concerned.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                      Rust has a much bigger ecosystem especially in terms of “cloud” and web stuff. You won’t have the “there’s no google cloud client library and the postgres client is incomplete” problem in Rust.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                        Rust is approaching 50,000 crates (that’s 1/5th of nuget, and more than CPAN). It’s not as big as mainstream package repositories, but it’s definitely past being a niche language.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                          It doesn’t matter how many crates exist if none of them provide what you need

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                            That’s a meaningless tautology. It’s true when applied to any language.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                        Rust doesn’t really have a good official google cloud sdk. I think the safest choice is Go if your aim is interfacing with google products.

                                                                                                                                                                                        That being said, I wish someone made the equivalent of bucklescript/reasonml that compiles to go so you can just use ocaml with go’s extensive set of libraries.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                          That’s one of the reasons I don’t like Go—its ecosystem is a walled garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                          OCaml libraries are usable from other languages, you can write a shared library in it. Whether to link everything statically is a choice. With Go you don’t have that choice, if you write a library, no one but other Go users can ever benefit from it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 27

                                                                                                                                                                                        I want to give some feedback on the survey. (background: I did co-design the first and second Rust survey)

                                                                                                                                                                                        The demographics section feels very odd. I pull out the questions so that people here don’t have to scroll:

                                                                                                                                                                                        • What is your gender?

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Male
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Female
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Non-binary
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Do you identify as transgender?

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                          • No

                                                                                                                                                                                        There’s a couple of issues with this: if you open up the floor for diverse genders, you should go all in. There’s people that are none of the three, most notably agender, but the list goes on. Everything else is clumsy. Second, the question on “how do you identify as transgender” is contested territory, many trans folk I know refuse that question because they are trans, not identify as.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Another issue is “Which country do you live in?”, it doesn’t poll for nationality. This might be fine, I’m just not sure what the goal of the question is, then.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I’d like to challenge them on a different territory though: they are the only identity questions asked beyond the usual (age, highest education, etc). This means that other things (e.g. disability) are ignored and thus (implicitly) communicated as uninteresting. Which begs the question: why is gender and trans so important that it is polled? What actions can be taken based on those numbers? This is a representation issue, for a good overview of the question “should we count or not”, I can highly recommend: https://media.ccc.de/v/camp2015-6876-data_and_discrimination_representing_marginalised_communities_in_data

                                                                                                                                                                                        For that reason, we have completely bypassed that question from our survey and replaced it by a pair of questions:

                                                                                                                                                                                        • “Do you consider yourself a member of an underrepresented demographic in technology?”
                                                                                                                                                                                          • I won’t list them all here, but it lists 14 characteristics that we are aware of, such as gender identity, race, but also language skill + a free form field
                                                                                                                                                                                        • “Do you feel your situation makes it difficult for you to participate in the Rust community?”
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                          • No
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Maybe

                                                                                                                                                                                        Those questions were reviewed from at least one person from each of the groups we list, if possible more. We’ve still run into issues in the first version, where we asked “Are you member of an underrepresented demographic?”. One of the feedback we got was black people in pre-dominantly countries being confused by the question. For that reason, we moved to the more lax question above. The second question makes the thing actionable: if someone is in a group and feels the Rust community is inaccessible because of that, we have something to follow up.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This yields a ton of better results (at the cost of some people trolling the question).

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am happy that more and more communities are doing those surveys. I’d be very interested in an experience exchange, or potentially even some standardisation, allowing us to compare results. There’s almost nothing comparative around.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I’d be super interested in how anonymization works for you. Because of the number of open question we have in our survey, we generally don’t publish the results. To our reading and research into data anonymization techniques, it’s pretty easy to still identify individuals from the data set, especially from countries that are less well populated. We do instead commit to keeping data private. Given that you do ask for things like transness, this may keep people from answering.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also just remembered that feedback on missing demographics was given in 2017 to the first survey: https://lobste.rs/s/f5vsl9/first_annual_haskell_users_survey#c_o9l1zk, even with an offer to talk about how to design those. I wonder what was missing from our side for you to take up that offer. I found the issue for the survey, was there a review step of some sort? https://github.com/haskellweekly/haskellweekly/issues/57

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 18

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for this thoughtful and thorough comment. I was clearly made in good faith and it’s helpful, yet I can’t help but feel demoralized by it. It feels impossible to get this right! There is no “survey team” – it’s just me. I don’t really consume the results of the survey, so I’m trying my best to create a set of questions that I think are broadly useful. It’s very time consuming to write the survey, collect results, react to feedback, and produce an analysis. This is on top of my day job, making the newsletter, recording the podcast, and otherwise trying to live life.

                                                                                                                                                                                          All that to say: I don’t really have the mental bandwidth to deal with this right now. I’ll reach out to you later about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 14

                                                                                                                                                                                            There is no “survey team” – it’s just me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Which, to be clear, is exactly the reason why I reach out and reached out back then: We can give you a lot of acquired knowledge, experience and practice up for grab. You don’t have to do this alone. The overload many feel in those areas is because we’re not reaching out to people that give experience, potentially from other communities - which is the reason I highlighted that I am interested to know what blocked you from reaching out, I want to fix that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            If you have the feeling that you are left alone in running this survey, I can also give some advice there.

                                                                                                                                                                                            All that to say: I don’t really have the mental bandwidth to deal with this right now. I’ll reach out to you later about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Fully understood and given that the survey is started, I would also recommend to not fix it this year. I’m available for any help.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for doing this!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                                yet I can’t help but feel demoralized by it. It feels impossible to get this right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                Don’t let any of this get you down. Step away and don’t sweat it for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Real talk, this reads like more is going on right now than this survey. Take some time and take care of yourself. Haskell and lobster.rs will be here when you’re ready.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sincere question: wouldn’t it be better to just leave out identity questions in general (other then age and level of education) and ask whether you “feel welcome” in the community (with add-on why question)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                I mean, some people find it interesting to talk about these kind of things (gender identity, socioeconomic status, race), I personally would consider these things irrelevant within the context of Haskell usage/adoption. Don’t get me wrong, they’re interesting on a personal level, imo just not relevant to “this context”

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A couple of reasons: These things are super relevant to adoption, because the way we phrase the questions is to find blockers to adoption. People do gravitate towards communities they feel safe and accepted in and are willing to bring new people with them. It’s a natural function of having to fight less fights and having more time for code.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Case in point: the JavaScript and Python communities have a very effective outreach program towards all the groups mentioned in our survey, and we know where they stand in the language world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, polling for these questions isn’t magic. There’s standard methods and on the level we operate on, any will do and especially a carbon copy from a project with more experience - I would recommend getting in touch though, to ask for the thinking behind the questions. There’s a tendency in the FOSS world to reinvent the wheel though and it’s a growing frustration point for me that while we share code, we don’t share organisational practice and learning. I am not alone in this opinion, for example the recent Roadworks Ahead PDF version study highlights the issue of uniform skill sets and devaluing of skills like surveying, managing and outreach in FOSS projects. The reason why I haven’t posted this study here is by the way: I will immediately get an “off-topic” flag (as on my feedback above).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But more to the point: “feeling welcome” is even more of a simple barometer, you can’t get a lot of actionable things out of it. FOSS communities are very uniform (that comes mainly from the fact that the access path is uniform), so it’s not uncommon that a lot of the in-group feels happy. Also, it’s hard to figure out what numbers are good and what are bad. Also, a certain base number of people will always feel not welcome - it’s a statistical process. You get in touch with a community and your first 3 interactions are bad. You check “unwelcome”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The polling methodology above is effective because it’s simple, easily understood by readers (by asking for a feeling) and gives a quick way of feedback. The cross-referencing gives us the ability to find out that “non-English-speaking Rustaceans don’t feel welcome”. This isn’t a randomly picked variable, a common form of exclusion is grading arguments of non-English speakers by the level of people who went to debate club at school. A survey is the prime location to find out issues like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, you don’t want to run this as a separate survey. While structured, targeted polling towards communities can be useful, the general yearly survey is the right moment to answer one or two questions to find things that catch your eye. This is the one everyone answers. Some people might fall in a dimension that they hadn’t considered to every raise. Others never felt empowered to represent themselves. This might go both ways: sometimes, you find groups are unexpectedly high in representation. What are we doing right and shouldn’t break? Or, other way put: if there’s a substantially worse representation of a group in a certain locale, are we looking at a missing stair that we don’t know of?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We heavily use our survey to inform future project policy and follow up with trends and information from all of the questions very closely. None are in at random.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (WoW, thanks for your in-depth and insightful comment, pdf is on reading list for tonight)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve never run a FOSS community nor do I identify as an active participant (I’ve had my first PR ever merged into IHP this week, and that was docs only), so I’m really blue on these kind of topics. Your comment makes perfect sense and - at least to me - indicate that more nuance is required in these kind of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    While you indicate that this “is not rocket science”, I do think (and agree with OP) that this is really hard to get right. So optimizing for “don’t insult too much of my target audience” SOUNDS like a good strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’ve never run a FOSS community nor do I identify as an active participant (I’ve had my first PR ever merged into IHP this week, and that was docs only), so I’m really blue on these kind of topics. Your comment makes perfect sense and - at least to me - indicate that more nuance is required in these kind of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note: Surveys are a effective tool to investigate passive participants. People who never spend more time on you then filling out the survey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      While you indicate that this “is not rocket science”, I do think (and agree with OP) that this is really hard to get right. So optimizing for “don’t insult too much of my target audience” SOUNDS like a good strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for highlighting that, that may have come out wrong. What I’m lamenting - and it’s frustrating to me - is two factors at play:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The uphill battle of connecting FOSS communities to organisational practice beyond producing the artifact. I specifically say “organisational”, as FOSS projects are not businesses and need to be managed differently. Still, many tools are the same.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • A tendency (and this is where my “rocket science” stab comes from) to work in silos and not ask or copy from other projects. Even if you are not fully happy with a standard, go and take one and then iterate. This is how accessibility documentation spread in conferences in the Ruby space. There’s multiple reasons why I think that this is, but phew, other post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really don’t want to judge people doing this in their free time, my frustration comes from the amount of pain I think we could save ourselves from. Pro-active feedback for example is always better than retroactive (or missing) feedback. The retroactive may not be fixed in the moment, the missing may just leave things broken forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The second point can be seen again and again, especially part of those communities that are often considered “secondary skills”. My example here is conference organisation: I have to date budgeted and run 15 community conferences. My first one (eurucamp 2012) famously went bankrupt. This is terrible: you have volunteer people running a conference for 200 international people, and in the end, they are liable. This one worked out by another, older conference letting us tap into their disaster pool, looking at our budget and telling us what was our mistake. It was a classic beginner budgeting mistake. I learned 3 things here: the importance of sound budgeting, that there’s a network of conferences that support each other and that there’s a lot of solidarity going around. Had we talked to them earlier, we would have had a lot less stress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since then, I’m a heavy budget optimiser, particularly around volunteer budgets (easy to create, easy to come up with, making sure you are not liable yourself) and offer my experience for free to FOSS events. Yet, even in the Rust space, people are timid at asking for that 30 minute call that might save them 4 month of panic over budget. I usually help those events shortly before the event, when they already missed all deadlines for venue cancellation. I’d rather give my experience early.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The fact that our movement let people who go into liability over 40k$ and more and they are not aware that there’s an experience - and even cash pool to tap into is mind-boggling to me. There’s a number of really simple programs implemented around that on really small budgets (e.g. the Ruby Central conference grant or the Python and Wordpress Foundations small event support). But it’s not known enough in communities that this is a place people can turn to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you have a blog post about this? I’ve done conference organizing, but never heard of this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a half-written one here on budgeting: https://github.com/rust-community/events-team/blob/budget-guide/guides/CONFERENCE_BUDGETING.md (I need to run another pass through it, there’s glaring typos in there)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There’s good general books out there, but the budgeting component is often lacking. I tried to write down a bit of it, but while budgeting techniques are general, but also super local. So I prefer 30 minute coaching sessions with people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.quirksmode.org/coh/ has a conference organisers handbook that is good. It still postulates you can’t run a sizable conference under 200 EUR, had I known that before, eurucamp and RustFest wouldn’t have ended up 3-4 days affairs that cost ~100 and pay their speakers ;). The reason why I don’t write about those stunts is because I need to execute them with a team that knows about the how very well and how to trust your fundraising process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There’s another really good PDF book by the people behind UIConf Berlin, but I can’t find it right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That eurucamp went bankrupt is not something we ever made very public, but all the ex-organisers speak openly about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I partially agree, there are factors that are probably orthogonal or at best indirect to usage (gender, nationality, country or residence), but others are probably more interesting (sex, age, languages, level of education), especially in the context of Haskell, a language with a lot of academic bagage that are intereting when asking questions on how the community is developing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Especially nationality, country and residence can be super direct: the availability of an active meetup scene, conferences and speaker exchanges can be a huge booster. National scenes may form a (formal or informal) organisation, with organisers knowing each other and providing access to their networks. The other way around, I have also seen national scenes running into problems because of bad blood between some of the members. The latter is super hard to fix, but being aware of it can be interesting. But it isn’t uncommon that once you open a conversation channel, give people mental backing and skills to deal with situations, things improve. A lot of people connect that to “kicking people out”, which it almost always isn’t - but for example making people aware that they are having fights on the backs of others often makes them draw reasonable conclusions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I agree with you in general: Surveys of global scope give you a global overview. They at best give you pointers, assessment of what’s actually around can be take up to years. But “hey, we’ve seen this odd thing, got an idea?” is a good conversation starter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      BTW, I did not pick “disability” at random above, as disability is a frequent exclusion factor in programming communities. Which is odd, given that our tools of trade are rather accessible. Interesting side fact: Online conferences have btw. lead to less accessibility for blind people, as many of the platforms used are not accessible. Side subject, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The access to a meetup scene is more related to the region you live in, as do you live in a village in the middle of Siberia or St. Petersburg. Nationality should be irrelevant too, just because someone has a German citizenship, doesn’t have to mean that they live there or even have lived there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The access to a meetup scene is more related to the region you live in, as do you live in a village in the middle of Siberia or St. Petersburg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          But this is very focused on a the datapoint itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The point I tried to work out is that it is particularly not that, aside from your extreme example. Meetups also grow and may create ways to include more people from futher away (such as running a small hackday, where people would drive to from further away). Again: organisers in a country (or adjecant ones, though it’s notable how visible borders still are!) tend to form a group, leading to a boosting effect and creating their own procedures and dynamics. The German Rust/Ruby/JavaScript organiser scene exists and is a rather mappable thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nationality should be irrelevant too, just because someone has a German citizenship, doesn’t have to mean that they live there or even have lived there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This depends heavily on the location you are in. There’s places where foreign nationals culturally have less access or more access.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still, we may follow a red herring here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A direct approach around the question of meetups is to actually ask for the info wanted:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • “Do you attend meetups?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • “If no? Why not?” (Distance/Topics/Other)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree that the last question would be a better way to solve this specific issue, but I think that demographic questions also serve to better understand issues you didn’t know to explicity state before creating the survey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And just to clarify, my “extreme example” intends to show that proximity to a city or a urban area is a better indicator to whether or not you interact with any community on a face-to-face basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The point @zge is making is that driving from Anchorage to Seattle isn’t quite the same thing as driving from Miami to New York. Driving from Tijuana to San Francisco as a Mexican national isn’t quite like either of those trips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This doesn’t invalidate your points. My point is that answers to “If not, why” need to be quite granular to be useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. -2

                                                                                                                                                                                                      There’s people that are none of the three, most notably agender

                                                                                                                                                                                                      By definition, everything that is not male or female is non-binary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      “how do you identify as transgender” is contested territory, many trans folk I know refuse that question because they are trans, not identify as.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Interesting that you call these folks trans, only to say that they do not identify as such. Why are you invalidating their identity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting that you call these folks trans, only to say that they do not identify as such. Why are you invalidating their identity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are not invalidating. Re-read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The answer to the last question is very disappointing, the TL;DR of which is “It’s OK for 0/x = 0 because it’s defined that way”. Of course, but the same argument could be said for any other result. IEEE 754 did not define it as 0 for very good reason. It’s unfortunate to see programs that are ostensibly designed for rigor taken in such a poor direction simply on account of it being easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wish the author had dived a little more into the history of this. I agree with everything you said, which leads me to believe there must have been an underlying reason for this. I feel confident in saying the people who wrote these programs all know this. Surely they weren’t just lazy or something. This very much feels like a design decision or a “we couldn’t find a better way” type thing.