1. 11

    overreaching Code of Conducts.

    The author realizes that you don’t have to follow the code of conduct to use the software? Also 80% of the items on the freebsd code of conduct are illegal. the four that stick out to me that aren’t are these.

    Comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.

    Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.

    Deliberate misgendering.

    Deliberate use of “dead” or rejected names.

    Author basically feels that if the developers can’t get intimately involved with another developer’s personal life without consent then the author does not want to use the software. Frankly it seems like you could just create a code of conduct with the line “Thinking code of conducts are bad” and you’d filter out everyone who apparently wants to get in your grill.

    The other rules are okayish but would rule out basically everything if applied strictly.

    1. 11

      Also 80% of the items on the freebsd code of conduct are illegal.

      Code’s of conduct don’t have anything to do with law, though. An organization can block your participation in it for any reason they see fit. There are restrictions for businesses and employers, but they don’t apply to open source projects.

      1. 17

        Right and if you don’t agree with those reasons you don’t have to contribute or you can create your own organization. I was saying 80% of them are illegal to do as an individual. Sexual harassment? Stalking? Threatening? A lot of the CoC is basically just “We won’t enable your criminal behavior and allow you to use the organization as a way to find targets”. The 4 here are basically, “Don’t purposely be an asshole to other members, here are four ways of being an asshole that are explicitly not allowed.”. If you think Open Source means “I get to be a dick to other people and get away with it because it’s not a job” then you’re honestly doing more harm than good and should do something else with your life.

        1. 6

          Oh sorry, I misunderstood what you mean by illegal. I thought you were saying much of the CoC was illegal.

          1. 14

            The 4 here are basically, “Don’t purposely be an asshole to other members, here are four ways of being an asshole that are explicitly not allowed.”.

            That kind of playing with definitions is one of reasons I fight broad Codes of Conduct. It’s not how they play out. Instead, those promoting or enforcing will be specific groups of people having specific, political views on everything from words to identity to societal structures, expecting the entire world to comply with those views, and punishing anyone in their immediate setting who doesn’t using whatever methods are available. Those methods range from shaming to exclusion to removing their ability to pay bills.

            To me, that sounds like being assholes that shove their politics down others’ throats telling them to get lost if they don’t like it. Even more so when I see plenty of people be civil without going that far in mischaracterizing or banning other groups’ means of expressing themselves. Then, a person supporting such politics shows up saying it’s just about not being an asshole. People reading that get a different impression than “no political disagreement or differences are allowed in this list of categories whose reach increases whenever we say.” I don’t expect more honesty from most promoters about the goals since subterfuge and “end justifies the means” is the norm in that group.

            1. 12

              What about it shoves politics? I would think all the points I mentioned are basically apolitical. There’s no rule against “political disagreement” within the CoC. You can be super hard line conservative and still follow these rules. I’m specifically talking about the FreeBSD CoC.

              1. 7

                It’s not really based on “politics”, but on basic respect. If you’re a conservative who is respectful of people’s preferred names and doesn’t shit all over people because of their lifestyles, you won’t have a problem. If you’re a liberal or Leftist who is super racist, anti-Semitic (hello, tankies) or constantly judges poor people overly harshly (of which there are many), you will have one.

                That said, if you feel that trans people asserting that we should be called by the names we choose for ourselves is somehow a political act, then yes, the purpose of the CoC is to “shove politics down your throat”.

                1. 2

                  if you feel that trans people asserting that we should be called by the names we choose for ourselves is somehow a political act

                  Isn’t it? I have no problem with calling you as you like, really.

                  And I’d like it would be the common ground of our international culture.

                  But it is Politics. I’d argue that it’s the best expression of politics at all, as it establish a kind environment where we can confront on.

                  On the other hand, “keep the discourse on topic or you will be banned” should be a pretty good CoC, everywhere.

                  Now, if we can go off-topic, and you tell on a public space (say IRC or a mailing list) you do something I consider bad, you are engadging a discourse. You can’t say “I like eating people, cannibalism improve my health” and than invoke the CoC if anyone object.

                  People should understanding that speaking in public implies a will to listen.
                  More exactly, speaking implies a will to challenge own opinions, putting them at stake in the conversation.

                  If you don’t want to listen any objection, if you don’t want to change your mind, why speak in the first place?
                  Are you doing propaganda? Marketing? If so, you are the problem, not who engage with you.

                  Also, if we can go off-topic, and you tell you like to hurt your children, I’ll comment on that, whatever the CoC. After the denounce obviously, with all the reference I can get to find you (including your email, ip, os, whatever I can get through my technical knowledge and tools).

                  So in general, the CoC is a political tool. It could be used for good or evil.

                  But it doesn’t fix the lack of a democratic culture of dialoge in a community.

                2. 1

                  Without a CoC you are at the mercy of the hidden political views of the project owners. Their decisions to ban start looking arbitrary. Either way, you deal with political views. Wouldn’t you prefer to know what they are before engaging? Worst would be spending a lot of your time on a project only to find out you get banned because you said something that was in disagreement with the owners of the project.

            2. 14

              They are too broad (e.g. large swaths of the population would violate it by with their daily interactions), which puts selective enforcement at charge. If its selective enforcement, then its just an power instrument with the rule makers at the power end, even if the contents of the CoC are all well-meaned and good in their intentions.

              Its not directly about the contents of the CoC, its about taking peoples moral autonomy.

              1. 12

                I think it’s reasonable to treat open source work within an organization with the same level of respect and dignity that you would expect from a job. You could get fired at a job for nearly every one of these. Using dead names even, if an employee asks you to stop and you don’t and they file a complaint against HR, HR might decide that you’re creating a hostile work environment for basically no reason. Most people don’t get fired for misconduct, so I’m going to actually say that you can’t possibly be right about that claim.

                Keep in mind that the responses are

                A private reprimand from the working group to the individual(s) involved.

                A public reprimand.

                An imposed vacation from FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (e.g. asking someone to “take a week off” from a mailing list or IRC).

                A permanent or temporary ban from some or all FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (events, meetings, mailing lists, IRC, etc.)

                A request for a public or private apology.

                A request to engage in mediation and/or an accountability plan.

                These aren’t that extreme. Sure you can be banned but that can happen in any OSS project where they can say “We won’t accept pull requests from dirt bags like you.”. In this case the things you can do wrong are at least actually laid out so that you know what behaviors to avoid and which ones to follow.

                1. 16

                  Still, the CoC assumes moral authority over me, which is an no-go for freedom lovers and hackers like me. That people like you don’t exercise their own moral autonomy and fail to understand that others do (with different results) is the reason why CoC create unnecessary controversy and drama.

                  And yes, the FreeBSD CoC makes me feel violated in my moral autonomy, and yes, the FreeBSD CoC embodies political views i do not share.

                  1. 9

                    A CoC has no moral authority and frankly morality isn’t even a real thing. It’s merely a set of rules that people who work together have agreed to follow while working together. You don’t have to work with them and you don’t have to use their software, but since you wanted to be on record disagreeing, I wanted to be on record agreeing with CoC and why I feel the way I do.

                    1. 4

                      Again, this is a strong pro-CoC statement. If they are successful in excluding people like you, they are working as intended.

                      1. 10

                        I was hoping to keep things civil. Perhaps there’s a more generous way you could phrase this?

                        1. 5

                          Not really, given that the author has emphatically stated their disagreement with either the values motivating the rules, or the rules themselves. Regardless, such a person is a real risk to the health of the community, and it’s nice that there’s such an effective repellent.

                          1. 18

                            I’m honest about not being a feminist. I consider the concept of gender harmful (from an philosophical standpoint), but people like you seem seem convinced that not sharing your point on that makes me an bad person.

                            But thanks for determining i’m a hazard to community, it surely helped me to recognize the superiority of your standpoint.

                            1. 7

                              By “considering the concept of gender harmful” you are willfully ignorant to the way that society works and by effect you are a part of the problem creating inequality and fostering an environment where harassment and hate crimes can thrive.

                              You don’t get to invent your own reality and pretend this one doesn’t exist.

                              1. 16

                                Yeah also you can consider gender harmful without refusing to respect how other people would like to be referred to. For example I will now out of respect for your disdain for the concept of gender refer to you strictly in non-gendered nouns. Notice how I disagreed with your viewpoint but didn’t invalidate your identity.

                              2. 1

                                I don’t care about your honesty. I don’t care to have you recognize the superiority of my viewpoint; I know nothing I can say will sway you. I care to prevent you from contaminating the spaces I care about.

                                1. 22

                                  You’ve and @liwakura have both explained well how you differ fundamentally, and I appreciate that. This comment is pulling that discussion into a dark place, please don’t continue on this theme casting someone as an unredeemable danger who must be eradicated. Lobsters is not good at being “Tinder, but for finding a nemesis”.

                                2. 2

                                  You don’t fight the concept of gender by standing on the sidelines watching those that do have the concept of gender dominate half the population. Just because you believe there isn’t gender, doesn’t mean people who consider themselves women aren’t getting the short end of the stick in our society.

                                3. 3

                                  thanks, that’s much clearer. :)

                          2. 6

                            You could get fired at a job for nearly every one of these.

                            Depends on the job. Many employers won’t punish people who have political differences. Especially in Mid-South where we’re quite a diverse bunch of liberals, conservatives, white, black, latino, etc. The rule is that we either avoid those topics entirely to keep things civil or you better be able to take the kind of discussion you were dishing out. Essentially, we recognize those claiming disagreement is “offensive” to just be silencing their opposition. They’re trying to attack and control the other person. People still try that but don’t get far.

                            So, in such a truly, inclusive environment, people will be saying things that bother others since there’s conflict on a deep level. My relatives and I have worked in many such places. They’ll have heated arguments sometimes. It almost always ends up “agree to disagree” with them making up for it being nice to each other later. Sometimes people figure out who each other are underneath, permanently dislike each other, work together just enough to get the job done, and avoid one another otherwise.

                            People almost never quit over this sort of thing. It’s also not what most gripe about. Those griping or quitting over assholes bring up people who folks in every group agree are assholes. We wouldn’t need a CoC to deal with them. Just decent managers or owners that respond to employee complaints. If managers or owners aren’t decent, then no policies or CoC’s are going to make the work environment better.

                            1. 13

                              I really don’t understand how you got this from the CoC mentioned. There is no rule in the CoC that you must conform politically. I would be very shocked to hear that the entire FreeBSD team is not conservative. The rule is merely that you treat other people with dignity. I live in the south and every single one of my workplaces would fit this CoC save for maybe the rules around transgendered folks. Frankly even when I was a deeply religious and hardline conservative I would have no trouble following these rules. I never treated anyone less than human because they had different views than me. Furthermore that “rule” you gave is a kind of CoC and CoC’s matter once the size of the organization grows. Its very easy to fall into a tyranny of structurelessness as an organization gets larger. This is because nobody can agree on what is right or wrong or what the response should be to a problem. By having a CoC you can agree as an org what actions are against the group and what a good response looks like. If you don’t have any response strategy mob mentality kicks in and things can escalate to threats and violence. After all if someone is a huge asshole and nobody is doing anything about it it would seem natural to find a way to make them stop.

                              Frankly there’s nothing in this CoC that has any bias against conservatives whatsoever. Nothing in the CoC says you have to be a liberal, and it specifically protects people from false claims. Your micro-CoC actually fails to protect individuals from false claims.

                              Publication of non-harassing private communication without consent.

                              Publication of non-harassing private communication with consent but in a way that intentionally misrepresents the communication (e.g., removes context that changes the meaning).

                              Knowingly making harmful false claims about a person.

                              1. 11

                                Depends on the job. Many employers won’t punish people who have political differences.

                                This is such a disingenuous frame shift of the issue that it invalidates everything else about your argument. Being respectful is not political. Enforcing consent in interactions is not political. Being gay or tolerant of same is not political. Asserting that any effort to shift culture away from the status quo is an out-of-bounds “political” act is a cowardly way to attempt to silence those that you disagree with. You are personally guilty, to an incredibly advanced degree, of every evil thing you claim to be against.

                                “Politics” is the process by which humans come to consensus for shared interests. Shitting on the less powerful and providing moral or intellectual cover for those that seek to do the same is not politics; it’s craven thuggery disguised as keeping things peaceful.

                                1. 1

                                  Politics is whatever action affects the polis, and by extension any group of humans.

                                  Thus being respectful is political.
                                  Enforcing consent in interactions is political.
                                  Being tolerant of anything is political.

                                  In Italy we have the same kind of differences that @nickpsecurity describes, and we are used to joke about our differences a lot. And we debate harshly about many things, but usually these debates grow our relations.

                                  As an example, I had a girlfriend that was a deeply religious Catholic when I was atheist (and rather angry at Church). And we talked a lot about religion and politics back then, without that affecting negatively the relation.

                                  One of the best engineer I worked with voted for the worst political party we had in Italy for decades. I had the opposite view. We debated a lot. We debated so much about politics that when we had to design a framework together to under a huge pressure, we keep debating with the same style. And after 10 years in production, the framework still rocks the customers are satisfied and we can’t find anything remotely on par with it around.
                                  Why? Because we were used to listen deeply and respectfully the other’s opinion.

                                  1. 2

                                    I grant that being tolerant is political, and so it follows that everything is political. Which means that my point is still relevant: it’s disingenuous to dismiss concerns about behavior as “political”, as though that made it irrelevant.

                                    In Italy, you are allowed to have those debates because the stakes are much lower: you’re less likely to die from poverty, your livelihood is less contingent upon social approval, etc.

                                    In the United States, it’s not like that. If you lose your job, you could die. If you are systematically excluded from high-paying industries, like digital technology, your quality of life massively suffers in comparison to those who are welcomed by that industry. All policies must be considered in the context of an entrenched and reactionary old guard that dominates all other effects. Any overt attempt to improve the lives of the marginalized is treated as a threat to the old order, and rightfully so. The stakes are literally life and death.

                                    Mr. P. Security doesn’t work in the the industry, and largely speaks from a position of willful ignorance about these issues.

                                    1. 1

                                      In Italy, you are allowed to have those debates because the stakes are much lower

                                      I do not know United States enough for a comparison, but sadly we have poverty here too. Our livelihood is not based on social approval, but it’s often strongly based on social relationships.

                                      We just know we are all on the same boat.

                                      So I don’t know if we are free to talk because we have lower stakes, or we have lower stakes because we are free to talk.

                                      In any case, an international project should not be ruled according to the issues of a single country.

                                      1. 1

                                        In any case, an international project should not be ruled according to the issues of a single country.

                                        I don’t understand what this is in reference to, or what it could possibly mean in terms of what kind of governance structure or details. I was pointing out that there are cultural differences that make it easier or harder for people who are forced together to have disagreements about their values, or be able to set aside those differences in order to do something together.

                                2. 10

                                  The CoC is about civility, not politics. And I can’t believe you don’t know that. So what is your purpose? Are you standing up for the right to humiliate people or be rude to them? That’s a principle for you?

                                  1. 0

                                    Just decent managers or owners that respond to employee complaints…

                                    Poor employees, at the mercy of their benevolent dictators.

                                3. 3

                                  Wait, you believe without a CoC, owners of a project have less power? An owner of a project already has views of what kind of behavior they think is good and what they think is bad. If they don’t write it down in CoC, you are still at their mercy, but now you have to guess what the hell they are thinking.

                                  I’m not sure how a CoC increases any power they already have. You still don’t have moral agency because we live in a society where there are owners and non-owners. There is still a power differential. If you want democratic rule, then you need to fight against ownership by paper.

                                  1. 2

                                    Even without a CoC the project owners selectively enforce hidden rules. I’m not sure how making the rules hidden is better than making them explicit.

                                1. -10

                                  I know you get a lot of pat-on-the-backs when you implement stuff for the disabled. But I just feel like it’s rarely worth it unless you are at a large scale where the disabled population will offset the man-hours. Not to mention that different segments of the disabled have different requirements and the same special interface will not couple with all of them.

                                  So to me, I can’t help but think that whenever some megacorps implement these solutions, it’s more likely virtue-signalling rather than altruism or legit economic advantage.

                                  The problem of course, is that if we could solve this problem economically, then we would have solved it forever, but if it is virtue-signalling, then the incentive isn’t really to provide solutions, but to provide the appearance of caring, and so the mismatch will eventually result in the problem not really being solved long-term.

                                  1. 10

                                    I don’t understand this comment at all. If it’s not profitable, why do you think companies are “virtue signaling” and not caring? ISTM you’re reading an awful lot into their behavior, under the odd belief that doing something good has to be for egotistical reasons, and not because you want to help someone out.

                                    1. 3

                                      To expand on what I believe @LibertarianLlama is saying is, it’s possible this comes out of their marketing budget as a kind of loss. The upside of this would be that the PR leads to other sells, not necessarily of this product, but others.

                                      In the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s a local choice of the company, not trying to solve a problem globally in an economically sustainable way.

                                      It should also be remembered that helping people can be egotistical, in which case it’s a win-win! I find it personally strange when people sometimes boycott beneficial things because they’re suspicious of the underlying motives, when the motives clearly aren’t arming belligerents in a foreign war, or something else clearly evil.

                                      1. -2

                                        why do you think companies are “virtue signaling”

                                        because they think creating an image will give them financial rewards.

                                        1. 3

                                          I’m truly sorry you’ve never had the opportunity to work somewhere that prioritizes results over optics.

                                      2. 9

                                        Did you read the article? The controller is heavily customizable (it’s a platform, really), precisely to accommodate as many people’s needs as possible.

                                        1. 13

                                          I think you’re right, but I SO don’t care!

                                          As a partially blind person, there is SO much of the gaming world that’s closed off to me. That’s OK. I still sleep just fine at night knowing I will never be a Call of Duty GOD :)

                                          However, when game developers and console makers bother to make adaptations available to allow me and others with disabilities to enjoy the beautiful mix of art and science that is most modern video games, I really appreciate it.

                                          So, virtue signaling or not, this is a laudable move on Microsoft’s part, and I for one think we should all recognize that.

                                          Almost makes me want to own an Xbox again. Only problem is that I haven’t had time to play a game on any platform in ~6 months :)

                                          -Chris (Aside from iPad gaming in waiting rooms sometimes)

                                          1. 6

                                            I think you’ve put your finger on a significant contradiction in libertarianism. You want to judge the worth of the enterprise by economic returns: success is denominated in dollars and the market is the only neutral or efficient judge of value.

                                            However, the other name for “to provide the appearance of caring” is marketing, and of course good marketing enormously multiplies the returns of a product, the world being annoyingly reticent to beat a path to the door of entrepreneurial mousetrap makers. Even in the very unlikely event that sales of this controller wouldn’t cover the costs to design and manufacture it (given that video gaming is measured in the tens of billions for the U.S. and this product looks overwhelmingly superior to competitors for the mostly-untapped wallets of tens or hundreds of millions of humans with motor control injuries), Microsoft could get a positive return on investment just from the increase in warm, fuzzy feelings from the majority of the market with no need for this product if they go on to buy ever-so-slightly-more copies of OneDrive or Office. The existence of marketing and cross-promotion means that the value of these products can’t be judged solely by the invisible hand of the market discovering prices for goods and driving firms out of business. You make this point in reverse; the long-term existence of marketing points it being economically valuable. There are externalities not on the books of a single product, just like how, in reverse, the market overvalues a polluter because the externality of cleaning up toxic waste or reversing climate change isn’t charged to the company and so can’t be reflected in the stock price.

                                            But whether or not the economics work, perhaps in this instance we can settle for helping make an entire art form accessible because it’s a small act of basic human decency and we’re not unthinking monsters.

                                            1. 4

                                              I’ll probably get downvoted, but here goes…

                                              I think you’ve put your finger on a significant contradiction in libertarianism. You want to judge the worth of the enterprise by economic returns: success is denominated in dollars and the market is the only neutral or efficient judge of value.

                                              However, the other name for “to provide the appearance of caring” is marketing […]

                                              Libertarianism is actually about the freedom to property and its action, where the individual is his or her own property. Economics is more a description of the market that emerges from action and property. Be it a free market or not, depending on the freedom to the underlying rights.

                                              So when you point out a contradiction, there really is no contradiction. It barely exists on the same plane of reality. Anyone in business, who wants to stay there, knows about marketing, cross-promotion and all that. It’s a business strategy.

                                              PS.

                                              Libertarianism is not a game of winners and losers where money is how we keep score.

                                              But in a hypothetical world where it were, Microsoft would likely end up winning with this device. As would the customer demographic.

                                            2. 1

                                              Even if I disagree with you, I don’t understand why you are being downvoted for this argumenter opinion of your. Anyway… thank you for expressing yourself on the topic.

                                              To me it’s mostly about having a customizable solution for gaming controls, that can be used for players with disabilities. If you look at Nintendo, they recently launched this thing with customizable objects in paper to enhance the gaming experience, this is just how the Microsoft gaming team is implementing it! Bold move from them!

                                              1. 9

                                                Even if I disagree with you, I don’t understand why you are being downvoted for this argumenter opinion of your. Anyway… thank you for expressing yourself

                                                Because it’s incorrect, and baseless bloviating in order to shit on the idea of not needlessly excluding the marginalized.

                                            1. 1

                                              By the way, the tech in those cameras continued to advance, and you don’t have to buy a Kinect in order to get one.

                                              https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/realsense-overview.html

                                              1. 19

                                                My one beef with these kinds of articles is that they phrase things so that it sounds like Google has a grand plan to destroy open standards, but it may actually be that there are many local decisions that ended up doing it. The CEO of Google probably didn’t reach down one day and say, “Let’s get rid of XMPP”. I think it’s more likely that the hangouts group decided to stop maintaining it so they could compete with other chat products that weren’t restricted by XMPP. This isn’t to say that a trend of this kind of behavior from Google isn’t something to talk about, but probably it’s either something fundamental about how to make money from open standards, or else something about Google’s incentive structure. If you asked Sundar Pichai to stop doing this, he would probably say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but we have never made “destroying open standards” part of our long-term strategy.”

                                                1. 37

                                                  Their intentions are irrelevant; only their actions and the consequences of them matter.

                                                  1. 17

                                                    If the sole intention of the article is to encourage other folks to avoid this pitfall, sure! If we want to also convince Google to stop doing it, then the practical mechanics of how these things actually happen are of vital importance. It’s probably the rank and file that want to do something innovative in order to hit quarterly goals, and are sacrificing open standards at the altar–getting those kinds of people to understand the role that they are personally playing is important in that context.

                                                    1. 6

                                                      You’re right that it’s important that the labor understand what the consequences of their efforts actually are; I think that’s what I’m saying, too.

                                                      It’s also important that other people who are impacted by these actions by powerful actors like Google or Apple or Microsoft, but who don’t work there, understand who is responsible for these social negatives.

                                                      It’s further important, for everyone to understand, that the directly responsible parties for that social cost are the corporations themselves, whose individual human members’ culpability for those costs is proportional to those members’ remuneration. Pressure should be applied as closely and directly to the top of that hierarchy as possible in order to convince them to stop it, in whatever way you can do best. The OP article is addressing the top of that hierarchy in Google’s (Alphabet’s?) particular instance, since they’re a very powerful actor in the space of the Internet and software in general.

                                                      1. 6

                                                        Additionally, though it may be helpful for third parties to critique actors like Google by having concrete suggestions or perfect empathy for the foot-soldiers caught up in the inhumane machine that Google in some ways is, it’s not the obligation of the victims to make things easy for the powerful. It’s the moral obligation of the powerful to be mindful and careful with how they act, so that they don’t inadvertently cause human suffering.

                                                        Before any ancap libertarian douchetards weigh in with “corporations aren’t moral entities”, they absolutely act within the human sphere, which makes them moral agents. Choosing to be blind to their moral obligations makes them monsters, not blameless. Defending their privilege to privatize profit and socialize cost is unethical and traitorous to the human race.

                                                    2. 7

                                                      I think it’s more likely that the hangouts group decided to stop maintaining it so they could compete with other chat products that weren’t restricted by XMPP.

                                                      That’s reasonable –by all accounts, xmpp is terrible – but the replacement could have been open sourced. This detail makes it clear that closing off the chat application was intentional. When GChat’s userbase was small, it made sense to piggy back off of the larger XMPP community. When GChat became the dominant chat client, it no longer needed the network effect that a federated protocol provided, and it moved to a proprietary protocol.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        By whose accounts?

                                                        The vast majority of “commercial” chat networks are xmpp under the hood, with federation disabled.

                                                        Being technically poor isn’t why they turned off federation, it’s because federated chat gives zero vendor lock-in.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I believe you and @orib are in agreement when s/he says:

                                                          This detail makes it clear that closing off the chat application was intentional

                                                      2. 9

                                                        On the other hand, the CEO of Google could decree that using open standards is important.

                                                        I agree that this is closer to a natural disaster than a serial killer but an apathetic company doesn’t mean the outcome is better than an actively antagonistic company.

                                                        1. 9

                                                          I thought this article was fairly agnostic about how conscious Google’s embrace, extend, extinguish pattern is. This seems like the right approach, as we don’t have any way of knowing.

                                                          We know from court proceedings that Microsoft executives used the term “embrace, extend, extinguish” (and no doubt they justified this to themselves as necessary and for the greater good). We don’t have the same window into Google executives’ communications, but it seems foolhardy to think that some of them wouldn’t recognize the similarities between Microsoft’s “embrace, extend, extinguish,” and Google’s current approach. Sunar Pichai could be lying to himself, or he could just be lying to us. Either way the particular psychology of Google executives doesn’t seem important when the effects are predictable.

                                                        1. 4

                                                          In their tests, shouldn’t the input be some kind of RAW file instead of a jpeg?

                                                          Otherwise, how do we know the compression gains don’t come from the artifacts?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            It probably does. But, regular lossless compression tools, like gzip, don’t compress compressed images, like jpegs, very well. This tool is explicitly for losslessly compressing lossily-compressed images, and doing it very quickly.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              I tried to discuss this with the developer. I’m not sure what the takeaway is.

                                                              https://github.com/catid/Zpng/issues/3

                                                          1. 4

                                                            I enjoyed this post. The before after graphs are great. It seems like a fairly good review of what newcomers can expect from using Rust in production. Particularly the Pros and Cons at the end. Although the bit on error handling felt a bit off. The failure crate they mention is the correct solution to their problem and has been promoted the official rust-lang-nursery organisation. The Rust community probably should make that information easier to discover though.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              The Rust community probably should make that information easier to discover though.

                                                              We will when it’s ready; it’s just not quite there yet.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                I recently ran into the need for the failure crate, and it felt like I was doing something wrong, because failure type is not specific and it relied on an “external” crate.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  EDIT: @nebkor pointed out that I cannot read and the author explicitly says they are talking about large tech companies. IMO, the author is fear mongering a bit in this blog post, from people I know who have worked at the few large tech companies, they try very hard and provide a lot of support to help their employees grow.

                                                                  IME, the content of this blog post is much less applicable than the author makes it sound. Notice that she only gives examples from Google and Facebook. Most companies have no idea how to promote someone, give them a raise, or evaluate them in general. The author hints at this at the end but most companies are small and clueless.

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    Even people in the tech industry treat those as unlike the rest. The common acronym is FAMGA: Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. That they’re different is one of the reason so many flock to them. That means one shouldn’t generalize anything they’re doing to other large companies tech or otherwise unless they’ve confirmed the generalization with workers at the other companies.

                                                                    For instance, I had never heard the term SRE in the Mid-South at any point before it was popular with Google. Even still, I rarely hear any tech veteran say that title even when they have same job duties. Their companies use more traditional titles and career tracks.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      Their companies use more traditional titles and career tracks

                                                                      Completely tangential comment unrelated to your larger point, which I agree with: a lot of places use terms like DevOps which is pretty new and sufficiently ambiguous that it doesn’t matter. One of my contracts used the term DevOps and they didn’t even operate any services (basically it was the term for people who knew how to write shell scripts). So what I’m, roundaboutly, saying is that I don’t think there are a lot of traditional titles in the tech world and people make stuff up as they want to but I agree that The Big Five, or FANG or FAGMA or whatever are doing their own thing.

                                                                    2. 3

                                                                      The very first sentence is, “If you’re thinking about taking a job at a large tech company for the first time, you should remember to ask them how their ‘leveling’ works,” emphasis added.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        You’re equating large, tech companies with Google and Facebook in that case given they’re what author talks about. You’d need evidence that most were like them. A nice hint is the sentence that says, “It’s probably being practiced in plenty of other places, too.” Author indicates she has no idea what’s being done in other places. Just assumes it’s all the same. Begins speculative recommendations from there which might apply to at least those two companies.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Note that this is very similar rhetoric to her other post which is a bunch of random things that may or may not affect your company and may or may not have meaning if it does. I believe these blog posts are something like: “I’ll say something that sounds meaningful but isn’t really”.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I was thinking of them more like she was just writing up her own personal experiences or feelings. When that’s tech, her articles are usually really good. When it’s business practices, the experiences are narrow with more speculation added. Result: I stay on the former, mostly ignore the latter.

                                                                        2. 1

                                                                          You are correct, thank you for pointing that out.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        Great write-up!

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          Is there a single Fuchsia user yet? When does that happen? Is this targeted at IOT? (I’ve heard that thrown around as a reason for its existence) or is this a take on what computers could be if you stripped away all the legacy?

                                                                          1. 16

                                                                            or is this a take on what computers could be if you stripped away all the legacy?

                                                                            I think that’s the technical ambition.
                                                                            A worth ambition, I would add, since I pursuit it too (if in a completely different direction).

                                                                            But the political reason is pretty obvious: to build a GPL-free system that can get rid of Linus & friends.
                                                                            Under Google’s own control.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              I’m a pretty heavy GPL advocate, but this at least is open source.

                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                Sadly this doesn’t mean much.

                                                                                Beyond my own experience with open source operating systems developed by Google employees, I’ve seen in the past that a liberal license means nothing when it comes to the power of such large companies.

                                                                                They have plenty of ways to discourage developers from using the freedoms that the license provides.

                                                                                The careful wording in the PATENTS file is probably one of these.

                                                                                Another could be unusual build infrastructure or huge build times (as in the case of Chromium).

                                                                                Indeed I do not remember any abandoned project from such companies that was later taken from a community (like in the case of open office, for example), but I’m happy to be corrected in this regard.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  I take your point regarding the reality that all such agreements rely on parties, particularly the more powerful ones, acting in good faith, and stories like the one you link about HarveyOS certainly should discourage contributing to non-GPLed (or similarly Freely licensed) projects. Or, one may engage with them that way by presuming that your contributions will be appropriated and unremarked. The ability to simply choose to fork the project initially and never give back, though, is something that somewhat mitigates that in the case of BSD, even as it goes against the FSF pro-sharing ethos.

                                                                                  I’m not going to get into the patent release; I acknowledge your point but don’t think using that vector is likely. Same, I guess, with the technical discouragements like the build time in Chromium, because that’s extremely legit as a critique of the consequential impacts of that software. I do not think there’s an abstract philosophical defense against any of the points you raise, in the context of an FSF philosophy.

                                                                                  But as long as we’re getting consequentialist here, there are reasons to believe that the interests of Google and the People are aligned on this project. I think their ambition is to have a Zircon-based OS running on devices from the scale of phones and watches on up to a datacenter-sized supercomputer, seamlessly participating in distributed computation, and the only way to achieve that is to make it as ubiquitous as possible. In order to do that, it needs to be developer-friendly, because as an operating system, it needs to appeal to people like us (technical users, developers, etc.), whereas something like Chromium doesn’t. Regarding my thesis about their ambition, from https://fuchsia.googlesource.com/docs/+/master/the-book/life_of_an_open.md (emphasis added here):

                                                                                  Once the message has been transmitted from the client’s side of the channel, it lives in the server’s side of the channel, waiting to be read. The server is identified by “whoever holds the handle to the other end of the channel” – it may live in the same (or a different) process as the client, use the same (or a different) runtime than the client, and be written in the same (or a different language) than the client. By using an agreed-upon wire-format, the interprocess dependencies are bottlenecked at the thin communication layer that occurs over channels.

                                                                                  I have seen good operating systems be BSD-licensed (for example, *BSD). I’m pretty stoked about this project.

                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                    Well, from a technical point of view, I’m pretty sure it will be a great piece of software.
                                                                                    And given how primitive are the mainstream operating systems right now, any piece of research is welcome for me.

                                                                                    But I do not think that “the interests of Google and the People are aligned on this project”.
                                                                                    I trust the Fuchsia developers’ skills, but Google is a huge corporation: its interests evolve independently from any ethical consideration, and its open source software is always a strategical marketing tool.

                                                                                    Take Chromium, for example: it’s a great software that pushed the web forward (and JavaScript abuse with it, but this is another story), but its main purpose was to defeat Microsoft.
                                                                                    I was naively fooled to think that the creation of Google Chrome Frame was a sort of philanthropic effort to helps those people who were stuck to IE. It was not.
                                                                                    Indeed IE still sucks and many people are still forced to use it, but Google abandoned GCF when they won the war they cared about.

                                                                                    While I still think that Microsoft purposely tried to slowdown the web for its own interests, Google was not better, just smarter: Google was able to dress its marketing strategies as philanthropic gifts, for years.

                                                                                    Now they are doing the same with Fuchsia.

                                                                                    If they will success, they will spread an os that is just “formerly” open source, but they will lead the development both technically and politically. And you will see a lot of effort from other companies too to make this happen. Just like such companies invest in LLVM, another great piece of software that is designed to defeat the most important piece of code controlled by the Free Software Foundation: GCC.

                                                                                    As of today, indeed, I don’t think big companies are scared by the “virality” of the GPL.

                                                                                    They are much, much more scared by the message it carries: programming is a powerful political act. Probably one of the most powerful.

                                                                                    Had this realization to mix with the consciousness of how primitive is our field, they would completely loose control of their programmers (that they already try to keep under strict control with various methods).

                                                                                    So just like Microsoft did not really understand what was happening with Chrome, now everybody looks at Fuchsia just for its technical design.

                                                                                    But don’t get fooled, the enemy now is the true hacker’s culture that people like Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds and Theo de Raadt, despite their differences (or maybe exactly for their differences), represent.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      I can’t argue with you, and even wrote similarly last year: https://blog.joeardent.net/2017/01/say-no-to-corporate-friendly-licenses/

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Nice read.

                                                                                        We live in a world where a group of eight people have control of more economic means than the poorest four billion people, and the power disparity between our corporate masters and regular humans is unimaginably vast. There’s very little that you or I can do, but we do have one ace up our sleeves: we write software, and software increases our leverage. So don’t give that leverage to the leviathans trying to commoditize you.

                                                                                        I really think that we, as hackers, should deeply reflect on the power that we have.

                                                                                        And on the responsibility that comes with it.

                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                      I’ve been interested in distributed, capability-based systems for a while, since EROS/CoyotOS in the early 2000s, and Zircon/Fuschia seem like the best shot at embodying the spirit of those systems, as in, eg, http://www.capros.org/overview.html

                                                                                    3. 1

                                                                                      How do huge build times restrict developers’ freedoms? Does Gentoo suffer the same fate?

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        Well, in 2015 I was asked by one of our customers (a large multinational bank) to evaluate the fork Google Chrome Frame when Google retired its support.
                                                                                        They used it over IE8 for their intranet (a pretty secure environment, AFAICT) and just wanted someone to call in case of functional bugs for a couple of years.
                                                                                        The budget they were ready to pay for this request was pretty high, and the technical skill of my team were (and are) pretty amazing.

                                                                                        If I remember correctly, it took 3 days to get the build complete on my desktop.

                                                                                        Managers were already pretty scared by the risks (that for the first time in their lives, they were over-estimating), so when I said this, they incredibly decided to refuse such opportunity.

                                                                                        Explaining that we just needed another server for the continuous build, was not enough.

                                                                                        This despite the Chromium license.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          It sucks that you lost a customer and I don’t want to get into the details of your build setup, but maybe the long build times are just inherent to a large C++ application? I understand your argument that a company with deep pockets can afford to work on more complex software faster, but was compiling Chromium that much slower than a comparable non-profit project like Firefox?

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Also, I was implicitly (sorry) replying to your comparison with Gentoo.

                                                                                            While maybe the Gentoo team have a continuous build setup comparable to that of Google, few people need to fork Gentoo because they have been locked in.
                                                                                            And even those who do, would not build it frequently as a whole.

                                                                                            Forking a single complex application is a completely different matter.

                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                              It sucks that you lost a customer

                                                                                              Well… it’s still one of our best customers!
                                                                                              But we lost a pretty interesting work (both economically and technically).

                                                                                              I don’t want to get into the details of your build setup

                                                                                              Frankly I do not remember much. It was the first and last time I had to build Google Chrome Frame.
                                                                                              But I remember it was not an easy task: I remember an unusual number of WTF (why the hell they did it so?)

                                                                                              I understand your argument that a company with deep pockets can afford to work on more complex software faster, but was compiling Chromium that much slower than a comparable non-profit project like Firefox?

                                                                                              Honestly, I didn’t try.
                                                                                              But as far as I can read, there is still a huge factor, between Firefox and Chrome.

                                                                                              The point however is that people should realize that Open Source from big companies is just marketing.

                                                                                              At best, they do not really care about external developers (as opposite to Free Software).

                                                                                              Sometimes they just look for minions that work for free for them.

                                                                                              At worst, they are fooling developers to give up their freedom (and power).
                                                                                              And they are pretty good at this: I’ve talked with many smart developers that were not aware of how much they were working against their own long term interests.

                                                                                              Note that the problem is not the license and while I value collaboration over competition, alternatives are always a good thing. The problem is who controls the projects for real.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                I am familiar with the high level of WTF for building Chromium (and AOSP too, right?).

                                                                                                Do you think it has anything to do with this? https://lobste.rs/s/mbufwv/some_software_cannot_be_used_at_google

                                                                                                make is GPL. So is autoconf. Etc?

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Maybe. Frankly I cannot say.

                                                                                                  I build my OS with a few disposable Go scripts. I will replace Go with a simpler general purpose language asap, but I will not use GNU Make or Autoconf (nor cmake or worse shits) because I want to see how far you can follow a minimalist approach.

                                                                                                  However building Jeanne, from source to the first drawterm connection, requires just a handful of commands documented in the README.

                                                                                                  And Jehanne is pure research.

                                                                                                  But I think that if I were going to write a Free Software browser, I would use the most battle tested and well known tools, exactly to minimize WTFs.

                                                                                                  In practice, it depends on what you want to do.

                                                                                                  If your goal is to create a distributed system that replace current computing techniques from the ground up, you probably do not care much with compatibility: your gift to the world is the brave innovation that breaks every conventions.

                                                                                                  On the other hand, if you want to create a Free Software for the current world you should focus on that and maximize for developer’s friendliness.

                                                                                                  But what if you want to spread a new browser to break a monopoly while keeping the full control of that software?

                                                                                                  Open source to the rescue!

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                                                                                    I think, like many of Google’s other “extra” projects, it’s mainly a hedge. It makes sure they can’t be boxed in in the future if something unfavorable happens with Linux, just like Android was created mainly to ensure they wouldn’t ever be at the mercy of other mobile OS makers choosing to switch away from the Google ecosystem. Like Android, if it turns out to be a pretty good OS that becomes massively popular, that’s a bonus for them. If it turns out to be a disaster, they can abandon it, it’s pocket change for them.

                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                      My guess is that Google found that both ChromeOS and Android aren’t enough for business users, and are going all in on developing an alternative to Windows and macOS. Instead of .NET/C#, or Cocoa/Obj-C, you have Flutter/dart.

                                                                                      I’d expect a series of notebooks, eventually, that are similar, hardware wise to Chromebook Pixel, running Fuschia, that can be members of the “Google Apps domain controller” but have a traditional set of applications that don’t just run in a browser.

                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                        If you look on YouTube, you’ll see people actually running the graphical/desktop Fuchsia, either in VMs or on Google hardware. A lot of stuff is broken, but it gives you an idea of what the graphical environment will eventually look like.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          The plan to strip away all the legacy from unix was apparently numbered nine, which fell off with its parent company.

                                                                                          It’s good that google is carrying it over with a bucket of bright paint. Namespace is great. FIDL is really just two letter more than fd. I really hope google will carry it through. No one want a plan b.

                                                                                          Once Fuchsia achieves acme, I will be happy to run it in qemu.

                                                                                        1. -3

                                                                                          you had a problem with the output format of du, so you rewrote the whole thing in a different language and your version is 4x slower

                                                                                          free software exists for the exact reason that people can improve upon it and change the bits they don’t like

                                                                                          don’t get me wrong, i like the final product, it looks very nice and human friendly

                                                                                          it just feels like you wrote it in rust for the sake of it, instead of trying to achieve a better design or fix some flaw deeply rooted in the fundamental design of the existing implementation

                                                                                          by doing so you threw away all the work that others made available for free, and ended up with something with sub-par efficiency

                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                            I did write it rust for the sake of it. I like working in rust I dislike working in c.

                                                                                            I also contributed several fixes to the rust port of du in coreutils. The rust port of du is also a lot slower than the original c du. I do not know why. This is something I want to look in to without starting a c vs rust speed flamewar.

                                                                                            I guess to me du and dust are different tools and adding the dust features to du wouldn’t be accepted (the point of dust is to remove the need for - h flag and to autosort for you).

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              du is part of POSIX. coreutils, which includes du, would not accept output format change.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                Not to mention that large, mature projects, like coreutils, are not super easy to augment with functionality like what dust provides, not to mention the social challenges of actually contributing a change to such a project.

                                                                                                The whole assumption of @izabera’s comment, that people need to not write whatever software they want and instead only contribute to existing projects, is incredibly stuck up its own ass.

                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                  I don’t think that’s what izabera is saying. What is argued is that it is better to contribute to du than to write dust. It is like saying helping the poor is better than enjoying the beach; that does not mean people shouldn’t enjoy the beach.

                                                                                                  When you hear such things, replying that people can do whatever they want, while true, is unproductive. My reply is more akin to pointing out why donating to certain charity will not actually end up helping the poor.

                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                    When you hear such things, replying that people can do whatever they want, while true, is unproductive.

                                                                                                    izabera’s comment in the first place is unproductive. I had some asshole say the same thing to me in the past. They can bugger off. Free software very clearly does not exist just for the sake of small iterative improvement. There are many reasons and benefits of free software, and picking a single one and lambasting folks for it is… Well… @nebkor got it right: stuck up its own ass.

                                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                                      Yeah… I disagree with lambasting, but I still think it is a fair game to discuss strategic aspect. Say, if your goal is to help users, is it better to contribute to existing popular C implementation, or to start Rust one? As bootandy already said that the goal was to write Rust, and since that goal can’t be fulfilled by contributing to C implementation, it is a moot. But if the goal was to help users, it would be relevant.

                                                                                                      As another example, the goal of Mozilla is much closer to “help users” than to “write Rust”. So the strategic aspect of what is the best way to achieve that goal, whether it is to work on existing C++ codebase or to rewrite it in Rust, is a very real question. For another, if someone’s goal is to, say, improve the security of world’s computational infrastructure, it is a very real question whether it is best to improve C++ or to work on Rust. And if and only if two people agree on the goal, it is legitimate to argue by one to the other that “you are wasting your time with Rust”. (I believe this is roughly why Daniel Micay is now working on Copperhead OS instead of Rust. I tend to agree that if one’s goal is to improve security, Rust is currently not the best bet. I work on Rust because my goal is not to improve security.)

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Like this, but it is a little bit slow:(

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                Do you only ever use du on one and only one directory? If not, does it take less time using du to look into multiple directories?

                                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                                Question:

                                                                                                What about it is more “intuitive”? Programmers tend to use that term a lot and assume that it will be clear what they mean. I use du sometimes but not often. It’s not clear to be what about Dust is more intuitive. When you have time, I’d suggest updating that first paragraph to explain more fully rather than hoping folks understand what you mean by “intuitive”.

                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                  Great point. @bootandy is the author of the tool, and was gracious enough to accept some of my PRs for it a little while back (my laptop is named “djin”, if you look closely at the readme).

                                                                                                  I’m posting this here because it’s the point of jumping off for what follows; I’ll probably add it to an issue or PR or something, but really, Andy’s the author and has the best ideas about what it’s for. But as someone who happens to use du and other tools like it frequently, I was instantly hooked on dust (ha!).

                                                                                                  1. I use du and friends when I notice, for some reason (hopefully because my eye caught a number that was not yet too small), that a partition is not as empty as I thought it should be, or something like that; maybe I’m really just curious. But the fundamental mystery to be solved is, “What is eating all my disk?”

                                                                                                  2. du has a number of ways of showing you what it finds, in terms of disk consumption, but really, there are only one or two ways you invoke it: with -h for “human readable” units, like 100G or 89k, or with -b for “bytes”. The former is used for a quick survey of a directory with a small number of things in it, and the latter for when you have a bunch and need to sort the output numerically, and you’re obligated to either further pass it into something like awk to turn bytes into the appropriate human-friendly unit like mega or gigabytes, or you just do some rough math in your head and use the ordering to sanity check. Then once you have the top offenders, you recurse down into the largest one and repeat the process until you’ve found your cruft or gems and can move on.

                                                                                                  3. dust assumes that’s what you wanted to do in the first place, and takes care of tracking the largest offenders in terms of actual size, and showing them to you with human-friendly units and in-context within the filetree. Huzzah!

                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                    For what it’s worth, sort has a mode for sorting “human” numbers with the SI-ish suffixes: -h or --human-numeric-sort. Not to say the other reasons for dust aren’t good ones!

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      I’ve been doing this kind of thing for more than twenty years, and I’m still learning things like this :)

                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                      Those are awesoe reasons for using dust. I think something like that should be front and center. It would certainly get my attention as a only occassional user of du.

                                                                                                    3. 4

                                                                                                      I think @nebkor answers it very well.

                                                                                                      Intuitive is a subjective thing. But here are the reasons I made the tool :

                                                                                                      1. I don’t want to remember that -h is for human readable output.
                                                                                                      2. I don’t want to have to sort and head things. (you need to remember to use -h with sort too)
                                                                                                      3. Once I have found a big directory I usually want to look inside it straight away to see why it is so big.

                                                                                                      I’ll add some more text to the reader.

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      This is bionic exoskeletons for programmers building software. This is awesome.

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Glad a few of you liked it. We had LISP combined with evolutionary principles in genetic algorithms to produce a tradition of near magic results. Now I see the other minimalist, powerful language combined with neural networks. Who knows what might come of experimentation with such a concept.

                                                                                                      1. 41

                                                                                                        Although I think the author does point out some very valid weaknesses in CoCs, both theoretically and in how they are currently implemented, I think the author overlooks, or chooses not to address, a few important points in favor of CoCs.

                                                                                                        The largest factor to me is that, regardless of any particular problems with CoCs, the choice to not have a CoC has, in many cases, become a sort of dogwhistle for events that are explicitly inclusive of harassers, and have no intention of running a broadly welcoming event. In essence, the choice to not have a CoC these days is tantamount to an open invitation to the worst of the people in our industry. That’s not to say that good people don’t also attend these events, or even that the organizers are knowingly trying to create that sort of environment, but ignorance of the message you’re sending doesn’t necessarily change the message itself.

                                                                                                        I also think the author is getting rather bogged down in the nitty gritty specifics of the language of the CoC. As a community organizer and moderator, I do find having specific CoC terms useful from time-to-time, but by and large the goal I think a CoC is less about rules and more about values. A CoC as a statement of community values can serve two important purposes:

                                                                                                        First, a CoC can help a community manage and be intentional about it’s growth. Small communities may not see any need for a CoC, because in small groups there is often enough social pressure to prevent toxic jerks from dominating the community, but as a community grows and the social graph becomes less fully connected, the opportunities for toxic and abusive corners of the community to appear, and without intentionally managing these, an entire community can devolve. The CoC in this case can provide a shared vision for the values of the community and help to slow the festering of some of these more toxic community elements.

                                                                                                        Second, a CoC lets members outside of the community know what the shared value of a community are, and helps people to make an informed decision about whether their values align with the community, and if the community is worth engaging with.

                                                                                                        1. 27

                                                                                                          Thanks for a thoughtful response to the submission. :)

                                                                                                          A few thoughts:

                                                                                                          In essence, the choice to not have a CoC these days is tantamount to an open invitation to the worst of the people in our industry.

                                                                                                          I would suggest that that status, and the dogwhistle effect you mentioned earlier, is perhaps due just as much to repeated memes about coded messaging and hostility as any of the actual behavior in those communities. At some point, repeated public shaming starts to create pathological behavior on its own.

                                                                                                          I also think the author is getting rather bogged down in the nitty gritty specifics of the language of the CoC.

                                                                                                          The issue is that, if you expect fair enforcement of rules, you need to use language as clearly as possible. I understand your viewpoint (of CoC as values and not as rules documents) doesn’t take that approach, but for a great many folks a Code of Conduct is taken at face value to be a “Hey, if you do , then happens, so please consider instead.”

                                                                                                          a CoC lets members outside of the community know what the shared value of a community are

                                                                                                          The problem with treating CoC as signalling documents is that it undermines their efficiency as behavior guidelines (because you have to include language and statements whose purpose is aligned more with value expression than on expressing permissible behavior). Separating the “rules” documents (“hey folks, if you harass somebody, you will be ejected”) from the “values” documents (“we believe that everybody should be secure all the time”) lets a community be more explicit in both areas.

                                                                                                          Secondarily, I’d argue that the great benefit of technology is that it works regardless of the value and belief systems of the folks using it. Both a Marxist and a libertarian can sit down at, say, a numerical methods conference on optimization and expect to find something useful for planning out resource expenditure. Neonazis and Antifa both benefit from a good lightning talk on OPSEC. Both Republican and Democrat workers benefit from sharing knowledge about how to use AWS properly.

                                                                                                          Using a CoC to try and shoo away folks who have ideological differences runs directly counter to the free exchange of ideas, and serves to limit the utility of those communities by ostracizing others. If we lived in a world where, say, you could point to somebody and say that “This person is a Nazi” with 99.999% accuracy, maybe I’d feel differently–but abuse of terms and the public square by overzealous if well-meaning people (some of whom are even users on this site!) has caused me to severely doubt the reliability of our mechanisms.

                                                                                                          1. 18

                                                                                                            Thanks for your thoughts as well. A few follow-on thoughts to your notes:

                                                                                                            I would suggest that that status, and the dogwhistle effect you mentioned earlier, is perhaps due just as much to repeated memes about coded messaging and hostility as any of the actual behavior in those communities. At some point, repeated public shaming starts to create pathological behavior on its own.

                                                                                                            I think there’s probably some truth to this, especially the problems with public shaming. There is an unfortunate tendency to shame people in a way that I think makes them double-down on problematic behaviors. That aside, I don’t think we can ignore the effects of something, dog whistling in this case, regardless of it’s original cause.

                                                                                                            The issue is that, if you expect fair enforcement of rules, you need to use language as clearly as possible. I understand your viewpoint (of CoC as values and not as rules documents) doesn’t take that approach, but for a great many folks a Code of Conduct is taken at face value to be a “Hey, if you do , then happens, so please consider instead.”

                                                                                                            Writing clear rules intended to be taken literally that cover all forms of potentially allowed and disallowed behavior is essentially a fools errand. Ultimately there must be some human arbiters of behavior that will have to interpret the intention of the rules, look at the behavior, and decide if a violation occurred. You’re basically talking about a miniature domains-specific legal problem here, and if you look at the complexity of most modern legal systems it’s clear that you can’t really have a clearly written exact set of rules that will apply without human interpretation.

                                                                                                            I do agree with your suggestion that having a separate rules and values document can help. In the communities that I help moderate we do exactly that- we have a set of rules that are more specific, and have specific consequences, along with a broader values document that outlines the types of behavior we want to see, and how people should behave. The rules document still requires some level of human judgement.

                                                                                                            Secondarily, I’d argue that the great benefit of technology is that it works regardless of the value and belief systems of the folks using it. Both a Marxist and a libertarian can sit down at, say, a numerical methods conference on optimization and expect to find something useful for planning out resource expenditure. Neonazis and Antifa both benefit from a good lightning talk on OPSEC. Both Republican and Democrat workers benefit from sharing knowledge about how to use AWS properly. Using a CoC to try and shoo away folks who have ideological differences runs directly counter to the free exchange of ideas, and serves to limit the utility of those communities by ostracizing others. If we lived in a world where, say, you could point to somebody and say that “This person is a Nazi” with 99.999% accuracy, maybe I’d feel differently–but abuse of terms and the public square by overzealous if well-meaning people (some of whom are even users on this site!) has caused me to severely doubt the reliability of our mechanisms.

                                                                                                            This is one set of values, but I think it’s not the only one. There’s a place for venues that are focused on allowing all people regardless of ideology or background, but it’s perfectly reasonable to want to run or participate in other types of communities.

                                                                                                            In communities that I moderate, I am unapologetically uninterested in excluding some ideologies. Ultimately, there are some ideologies that simply cannot coexist, and focusing on equalizing them just favors the more aggressive of the ideologies. I’m okay with excluding Nazis, because the alternative is to exclude people who are targeted by Nazis. This is one of the ways a CoC can help signal values- by being explicit about the values of the community it is quite quickly clear on which side of this particular chasm an organizations values fall.

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                                                                                                              In communities that I moderate, I am unapologetically uninterested in excluding some ideologies. Ultimately, there are some ideologies that simply cannot coexist, and focusing on equalizing them just favors the more aggressive of the ideologies. I’m okay with excluding Nazis, because the alternative is to exclude people who are targeted by Nazis. This is one of the ways a CoC can help signal values- by being explicit about the values of the community it is quite quickly clear on which side of this particular chasm an organizations values fall.

                                                                                                              Exactly. There’s always the “why can’t you be tolerant of my (intolerant) views???” mock innocence, or the “don’t be so easily offended, it was just a joke” mock confusion.

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                                                                                                                There’s a place for venues that are focused on allowing all people regardless of ideology or background, but it’s perfectly reasonable to want to run or participate in other types of communities.

                                                                                                                Yet, regrettably, the attempt to run those venues gets a great of slander and libel about dogwhistling–as you yourself point out earlier. So, clearly, there isn’t a place for them, if they don’t wish to be tarred by folks who feel they aren’t sufficiently repressing some outgroup.

                                                                                                                I’m okay with excluding Nazis, because the alternative is to exclude people who are targeted by Nazis.

                                                                                                                You could exclude neither, 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–and while your example is a bit stacked, one could apply the same argument to fundamentalists and secular folks, to Israelis and Palestinians, to feminists and men’s rights activists, and so forth.

                                                                                                                Assuming that people from different backgrounds will never get along is a very pessimistic view of humanity.

                                                                                                                EDIT: Anyways, I’m happy to continue this via PM or email if you’d like to go back and forth more…I don’t mean to clutter up the main thread too much. :)

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                                                                                                                  You could exclude neither, and let them sort it out themselves elsewhere.

                                                                                                                  One important lesson of the (waving my hands here) social media information age is that this strategy is not viable, because it always results in a “win” for the trolls. Communities are both empowered and obliged to stamp out this form of sociopathy with prejudice, because failing to do so means ceding the public square to the extremists.

                                                                                                                  Free speech and free expression are wonderful goals in the absence of context, but they aren’t trump cards that outweigh all other factors, they’re variables in a complex equation that, when solved, should (among other things) minimize human suffering.

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                                                                                                                    Exactly. If our Code of Conduct bans violence, but doesn’t exclude, say, explicit white supremacist clothing, the end result is that black people aren’t going to feel comfortable showing up to the con if there’s a bunch of skinheads with swastikas all over the place.

                                                                                                                    “But if the skinheads do something to the black patrons, they’ll get kicked out!”

                                                                                                                    Sure, but there’s a concept of making people feel comfortable at an event open to the public. The white supremacists are welcome (in theory) to come to the con, but they need to keep it to themselves.

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                                                                                                                      The CoC is almost a courtesy to the skinheads in that example. The owner of the venue (or the lessee) is almost always allowed to make people leave. At least in New York, if you’re told to leave and then don’t, it becomes criminal trespass. Codes of Conduct don’t matter in any practical sense when you get to that point.

                                                                                                                      I think instead what they’re useful for is what you say elsewhere in this thread, which is setting a tone: is your con t-shirt and jeans, or jacket and tie? Is it for some political goal or for advancing professional development?

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                                                                                                                      That complex equation comes down to value judgments. You’re not likely to know the ultimate effects of your actions. For instance: affirmative action is not colorblind, but it might lead to genuinely colorblind outcomes some generations from now.

                                                                                                                      If you’re using deontic ethics instead and your sense of duty requires you to defend freedom of speech, that doesn’t necessarily yield a result worse in terms of human suffering. Utilitarianism’s core problem is that although you can look at the immediate outcome, you don’t know the ultimate yield.

                                                                                                                      I think these ideas are somewhat compatible. At some point, the question becomes “freedom for whom” – if you can’t get people to show up to your con because of extremism, how much speech did you facilitate? I think there’s something more to championing freedom of speech than not prohibiting things.

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                                                                                                                      You could exclude neither, 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–and while your example is a bit stacked, one could apply the same argument to fundamentalists and secular folks, to Israelis and Palestinians, to feminists and men’s rights activists, and so forth.

                                                                                                                      I know this is a little late to the conversation, but your examples are full of grossly false equivalences. I’m pointing this out not to attack you, because I think you just haven’t really thought it through or are unaware of the context for the statements you’re making, but because spreading them is bad for society.

                                                                                                                      Start with “fundamentalists and secular folks”. Fundamentalists are radical theocrats, and in the United States, are identified by believing things like homosexuality is sinful, women must submit to their husbands, etc., and in general being radically intolerant of other peoples’ private business. “Secular folks” are “everyone else”, in terms of values.

                                                                                                                      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.

                                                                                                                      There is no meeting halfway with them. Their values are bad, and any social currency they might gain by publicly participating in high-prestige, “neutral” contexts, like tech conferences, will be used to further their heinous agendas. Ignoring this is how Nazis take over; it creates safe spaces for them, and once they’re in, the space is unsafe for everyone else.

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                                                                                                                        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.

                                                                                                                        There are some folks that identify with MRAs that believe that, and they’re scum. There are also some feminists that cannot share a room or conversation with a man because they view men as needing to be eliminated (for example, Solanas). Ignoring the shades of belief and judging groups by the most offensive members is in fact what puts all discourse in peril.

                                                                                                                        This is all quite off-topic for Lobsters. If you want to argue, hit me up on DM. :)

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                                                                                                                          It’s slightly off-topic for lobste.rs, but not for this thread, and I don’t want to minimize the point that you cannot meet Nazis halfway.

                                                                                                                          So, again, your equivalence between MRAs, any MRAs at all, even the most milquetoast “I think society needs to nicer to men” whiner, and even the most extreme misandrist feminist activist is false, because there is no large-scale issue with cultural and institutional misandry, but there is cultural and institutional misogyny. One viewpoint is laughably absurd and harmless (“men should be eliminated”; it’s not a credible threat to men), the other is simply, “Keep things as they are or make them even shittier to women,” which is extremely credible as a threat to the well-being of women. See also below, re: the President brags about sexually assaulting women.

                                                                                                                          Going back to, and again I need to emphasize that we’re talking about literal Nazis, given that the most powerful single official of the most powerful nation on the planet is an unapologetic white supremacist and rapist, it’s insane to say, “Let’s just set politics aside and welcome anyone.” The presence of Nazis is a threat to public safety and well-being, whether or not they’re in uniform or are being “polite”. Failure to deal with them as the manifest threat they are, given the friendly political environment for them, is spineless abdication of moral duty. There is no “both sides” argument to be made.

                                                                                                                          I’m telling you this not to accuse you of cowardice, but to help you understand what you’re actually arguing and who would benefit from it, so that you may stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution.

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                                                                                                                            One viewpoint is laughably absurd and harmless (“men should be eliminated”; it’s not a credible threat to men)

                                                                                                                            Well, except for the fact that the author shot two men and attempted to shoot a third, and was on record for being “dead serious” about her manifesto.

                                                                                                                            the other is simply, “Keep things as they are or make them even shittier to women,” which is extremely credible as a threat to the well-being of women.

                                                                                                                            There are certainly some folks claiming membership that push for misogyny, but the actual stuff asked about is things like genital mutilation, how domestic abuse of men is handled (when it is recognized at all) and what support networks they have, how divorce and custody is handled, and so forth. You grossly misstate reality here. That’s forgivable, because people tend to be fuzzy with terms these days, but still.

                                                                                                                            we’re talking about literal Nazis

                                                                                                                            Somebody hide the Sudetenland! Quick, warn Poland! Buy stock in Volkswagen (and IBM )! That’s what a literal Nazi is about. If you want to talk about neo-Nazis, white supremacists, or even the (poorly-grouped) alt-right, I’m happy to criticize positions they have (most of which range from garbage to odious). Using incorrect terminology makes it hard to talk about a thing productively.

                                                                                                                            Why does this matter? We can’t defend or even relate to literal Nazis following orders liquidating a ghetto. Some poor white trash who had his job outsourced to Shenzhen though? Somebody who has strong opinions about how blacks are attacking police (despite growing up in a rural town with no African-Americans at all, and a police force which consists of like a county sheriff and a couple of deputies)? Those folks we can reach and educate, if we stop lumping them in with perpetrators of one of history’s biggest genocides.

                                                                                                                            given that the most powerful single official of the most powerful nation on the planet is an unapologetic white supremacist and rapist

                                                                                                                            That power is why he’s able to maintain such a solid Department of State, why Congress is doing whatever he wants, why he has met such acclaim and success in his dealings, and why he has been able to dismiss all of the court cases and suits brought against him. Alternately, he’s a boogeyman inflated into vast proportions by people looking to be scared about something.

                                                                                                                            There is no “both sides” argument to be made.

                                                                                                                            There is, I’ve made it, you don’t buy it because you’re invested in demonizing and dehumanizing the side you don’t like, life goes on, history will be on the side of tolerance and the dialing back of polarization–or we’ll be shooting at each other and fighting over cans of food in a generation.

                                                                                                                            This line of discussion is not on-topic for lobsters, and is quite divorced from even the original question of codes-of-conduct.

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                                                                                                                              Welp, you have clearly stated your desire to do nothing in the face of evil and refuse to even name it, so, you’re correct, we will never meet on this.

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                                                                                                                              When you say, “All are welcome,” what you are really saying, and what is heard loud and clear by both aggressors and victims, is, “This is a safe space for Nazis.” Or rapists. Or slavers. Or killers. You get the picture. So do they.

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                                                                                                                        Writing clear rules intended to be taken literally that cover all forms of potentially allowed and disallowed behavior is essentially a fools errand. Ultimately there must be some human arbiters of behavior that will have to interpret the intention of the rules, look at the behavior, and decide if a violation occurred. You’re basically talking about a miniature domains-specific legal problem here, and if you look at the complexity of most modern legal systems it’s clear that you can’t really have a clearly written exact set of rules that will apply without human interpretation.

                                                                                                                        I completely agree, and this is my biggest problem with the whole “code of conduct” paradigm: it creates a promise of clear, formal rules that can’t possibly be delivered on. Talking in terms of values and moderation policies is a more useful framing that puts the human subjectivity front-and-centre and guides us towards thinking about questions (Who’s going to moderate? What process will they follow? Who are they accountable to?) that are really quite central to dealing with conduct issues in communities, but are swept under the carpet by thinking in terms of a “code” that a project can simply adopt.

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                                                                                                                        Im ok with a higher false positive rate for ‘Is this person a Nazi’ test if it means fewer false negatives. The beauty of technology is not that it’s value less, but that it’s an expression of human value. Technology is anything people make and which things people make is a huge signal of what they value. While some technology are useful tools regardless of value (i can use the butt of a gun to hammer a nail) we can make a pretty good statement about what that society values based on their technology.

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                                                                                                                        While I don’t inherently disagree, I find that a lot of CoC’s that get pushed out are rather restricting. I find it’s better to interpret them as guidelines, not rules, rules lead to toxic individuals getting wiggle room through loopholes.

                                                                                                                        I’ve also been to events in Germany that don’t have any CoC at all and I don’t hear many complaints from other events around here either. If you’re being a jerk you get thrown out, end of story.

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                                                                                                                          The CoC provisions on offensive speech are usually interpreted broadly benefiting certain groups over others. In other words, it works the opposite of the general rule where these give enforcers lots of leverage over large groups of people. The wiggle room is theirs.

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                                                                                                                            Personally I think any ruleset is only good if it’s applied equally to everyone, same for guidelines.

                                                                                                                            If a CoC is provisioned and enforced it must be done with the same rigour and accuracy as one would apply law in a proper court.

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                                                                                                                              Personally I think any ruleset is only good if it’s applied equally to everyone, same for guidelines.

                                                                                                                              That runs into the whole “why can’t you tolerate my intolerance?” problem though. If they say that “hate speech is not allowed” and you interpret a gay married couple discussing their honeymoon is hateful towards Christians (note that not everyone feels this way, just using an example), then who wins? The decision is up to the organizers of the con, but in general most these days are going to side with the married couple (as they should, IMNSHO).

                                                                                                                              If a CoC is provisioned and enforced it must be done with the same rigour and accuracy as one would apply law in a proper court.

                                                                                                                              Absolutely not. They’re not laws. They’re rules that a private entity made up for participation in a private function. The correct interpretation of the CoC is exactly whatever the organizers of the con want it to be and nothing else. Generally, they’re going to interpret it in whatever way furthers the goal of the con (e.g. more attendees, higher quality talks) or the values of the organizers (more diversity in gender or ethnicity or whatever).

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                                                                                                                                I would interpret “no hate speech” as strict as Section 1 §130 StGB of german law;

                                                                                                                                “1. […] against any national, race, religious or ethnic group, against parts of the population or a single person based on predetermined groups or incite parts of the population to violence or despotism or 2. the dignity of another human being, based on a predetermined group, parts of the population or membership in a predetermined group or a specific part of the population insults, maliciously attacks or frames […]” (excuse my crude translation)

                                                                                                                                Section 2 covers any transmission of anything mentioned in Section 1.

                                                                                                                                I think that about covers it in terms of “hate speech”. In the specified case, the couple wins since they’re part of a predetermined group of the population.

                                                                                                                                They’re not laws. They’re rules that a private entity made up for participation in a private function

                                                                                                                                I think they should be handled like laws. Rigour, precision, efficiency and accuracy are important. The organizers of a con should therefore word their rules such that any violation will be absolutely clear in either word or spirit of the rules without a doubt. If anyone breaks these rules and spreads hate speech then there will be no doubt by anyone involved they crossed the line. There will be no need to extensively discuss it or any wasting of time on people who want to wiggle around the rules.

                                                                                                                                I would love if some organizer did precisely this.

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                                                                                                                                  I cannot see how anybody could interpret that as hate speech. In an attempt to overcome by own biases, can you flip that example on its head somehow so I can relate to it?

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                                                                                                                                    Trust me, people can and do. The whole “I’m fine with gay people but do they have to throw it in my face??” because they have a picture of their significant other on their desk or something, whereas the person in question wouldn’t bat an eye at a heterosexual person having a picture of their spouse on their desk.

                                                                                                                                    I’m having trouble coming up with an opposite example, which is my fault.

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                                                                                                                                      Oh, I know that there are people who would find that offensive. But the bar for hate speech is higher than merely being offensive.

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                                                                                                                                        Opposite? How about being annoyed that something says husband and wife. Or taking offense at something like a father and daughter event because nobody in your family is technically a father.

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                                                                                                                                          Fair enough. I was trying to come up with an example from a right-wing perspective (“opposite” in that regard), but the thought process is alien to me so it’s hard.

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                                                                                                                                        (This is just for the sake of the argument, we’re already off the track so I’ll roll with it) One might interpret Christian couples taking PR actions against abortion as hateful against its supporters.

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                                                                                                                                          Nope, I can’t see that being considered hate speech either.

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                                                                                                                                            http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/summer-jobs-abortion-images-ccbr-1.4523255

                                                                                                                                            [Justin Trudeau] called flyers depicting bloodied, aborted fetuses used by the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR) “hateful.”

                                                                                                                                            Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, said she believes those images … should be outlawed as hate propaganda.

                                                                                                                                            [emphasis mine]

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                                                                                                                                              wow. I stand corrected.

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                                                                                                                                        They’re not laws. They’re rules that a private entity made up for participation in a private function. The correct interpretation of the CoC is exactly whatever the organizers of the con want it to be and nothing else. Generally, they’re going to interpret it in whatever way furthers the goal of the con (e.g. more attendees, higher quality talks) or the values of the organizers (more diversity in gender or ethnicity or whatever).

                                                                                                                                        A CoC is legalistic by its very nature. I’m fine with an organisation adopting formal rules that are interpreted as rigorously as actual law; I’m fine with an organisation using the subjective judgement of its human moderators. But adopting an ambiguously-worded “code” that is in practice subject to interpretation is the worst of both worlds: it reduces moderators’ flexibility, but doesn’t offer participants enough clarity to be useful.

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                                                                                                                                        Agreed.

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                                                                                                                                    In essence, the choice to not have a CoC these days is tantamount to an open invitation to the worst of the people in our industry. That’s not to say that good people don’t also attend these events, or even that the organizers are knowingly trying to create that sort of environment, but ignorance of the message you’re sending doesn’t necessarily change the message itself.

                                                                                                                                    Equally, the message I get from the choice to have a CoC, as someone generally perceived as white and male, is that I’ll be held to a double standard and if the wrong person takes a dislike to me then I’ll be thrown out, regardless of my actions. That’s probably not a fair reflection of the organisers’ intentions, but it is the message.

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                                                                                                                                      Apart from that concern, which I totally agree with, I also try to stay clear of projects that boast a CoC because it shows me that their priorities lie in politics, rather than in technical matters. It’s a waste of my time to spend any effort on endeavors like that.

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                                                                                                                                        It frequently doesn’t though.

                                                                                                                                        Almost any large project with a code of conduct has it precisely because they want to focus on the technology more than the politics, and without a code of conduct, or with too loose a code of conduct, they end up being controlled by the loudest jerk.

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                                                                                                                                          See the replies to my comment up thread for people who are advocating for CoCs for nakedly political reasons that have nothing to do with technology.

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                                                                                                                                        It’s my experience that the only people who whine about this are better left excluded, because somehow, white dudes are still abundantly present and everyone has a nice time.

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                                                                                                                                          White dudes? Yes. Working-class people, or even just any kind of conservatives? Often not. People have a nice time yes, but people tend to have a nice time in homogeneous spaces - everyone having a nice time is, if anything, even more common at events attended solely by white dudes. So equally I could say the only people who whine (your term) about diversity/inclusivity/… are better left excluded.

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                                                                                                                                        Some thoughts, from someone running a con that has chosen each year to not have a CoC, but is in the process of developing an alternative model:

                                                                                                                                        The largest factor to me is that, regardless of any particular problems with CoCs, the choice to not have a CoC has, in many cases, become a sort of dogwhistle for events that are explicitly inclusive of harassers, and have no intention of running a broadly welcoming event.

                                                                                                                                        It’s not a dogwhistle for events that are explicitly inclusive of harassers. A lack of something is not the same as explicitly including the opposite. The author explicitly covers the lack of effectiveness in many conference CoCs under gray zones and enforcements.

                                                                                                                                        As someone who organises a conference, attends lots of events around the world and spends a bit of time sharing stories with organisers, I have yet to see a conference with the resources to properly ensure that all participants know and understand the CoC, how to use and enforce it. Such an event may exist, I haven’t seen it. I’ve experienced harassment and stalking at events myself, and watched it fumble wherever I’ve reported it.

                                                                                                                                        That’s not to say that CoCs are useless, some events may find them useful, but for the majority of events I’ve attended they have caused more problems than they solve in themselves.

                                                                                                                                        Second, a CoC lets members outside of the community know what the shared value of a community are, and helps people to make an informed decision about whether their values align with the community, and if the community is worth engaging with.

                                                                                                                                        Nearly every CoC I encounter is a variant of or asserts to be inspired by the same geek feminism-based CoC. I have argued against it repeatedly on the grounds that anyone using it has not properly considered the purpose, scope and enforcement of such a document, nor the complications it presents. I have had event organisers flat out admit that they’re using it because people who don’t come to their event will choose not to come to their event if they don’t.

                                                                                                                                        Frankly, if someone feels that the presence of a CoC is the determining factor in whether they attend an event. Maybe an event without a CoC isn’t the event for them. A copy-paste geek feminism sample CoC is a dog whistle to say, “We’re virtue signalling our CoC but don’t really care enough to do it properly”.

                                                                                                                                        Organisers should focus on their existing community and welcoming new arrivals at the event rather than people who won’t turn up if there isn’t a universally ignored and unenforced document put up everywhere to make existing people feel that little bit shittier.

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                                                                                                                                          Nearly every CoC I encounter is a variant of or asserts to be inspired by the same geek feminism-based CoC

                                                                                                                                          If you are a geek and not a feminist, what are you? I’m a male, geek, and a feminist.

                                                                                                                                          I’m surprised anyone working in high technology would choose to not be a feminist and prefer to live in the last century. Fortunately I don’t meet many of those people. They seem to only exist on the internet.

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                                                                                                                                            I reject the label feminist for many of the reasons outlined here: https://necpluribusimpar.net/the-trouble-with-feminism/ (and frankly I wouldn’t call myself a geek either, especially not if people are going to use it as an excuse to say that I am obliged to hold one or another political opinion. It’s never been a label I particularly cared for in any case).

                                                                                                                                            I don’t have a problem with reasonable Codes of Conduct in principle, but in practice, as stevelord states, they are specifically feminist advocacy, and I think that many vocal strains of modern feminism are hostile to values I think are important and want to see reflected in the culture around technological work. A succinct way of putting it is, I would be fine with any Code of Conduct that mentioned James Damore by name as someone whose speech would be unambiguously permissable in a project or convention - and if a Code of Conduct was designed by people who want James Damore’s words to be grounds for expulsion (as they were for him in the technological community of Google engineering employees), I don’t want that Code of Conduct in force in any space I care about.

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                                                                                                                                              I would argue that this is an example of doing exactly what CoCs are intended to do. If you think a project should have people like Damore driving away people who don’t want to be made out to be novelties or second-class class contributors, then frankly I don’t want you in my community.

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                                                                                                                                                You’re free to give your “diverse utopia” a shot on your own turf, but the moment you try to co-opt or subvert an existing community or project imagined, initiated, and implemented by (as your side frequently points out) utterly un-“diverse” (i.e. white male) contributors you are throwing the first punch.

                                                                                                                                                This kind of subversion has already occurred - repeatedly - so the bed has been made and all you can do now is lie in it. I, and I’d bet most people in tech, did not expect our field of work to be made into a political battlefield, but hey, solving problems is what we do. We’ll solve this one too.

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                                                                                                                                                  It’s interesting that you yourself point out how many existing projects and communities have adopted more inclusive policies. The fact is that culture is shifting toward inclusion, and even non-idealistic communities are realizing that broad and inclusive policies attract more and better contributions, and the benefits more than outweigh the technical contributions that would have been made by hateful and toxic community members. It’s not like those of us who value and appreciate CoCs and otherwise inclusive policies have any particular power to dictate the rules and structure of existing projects. Communities are broadly recognizing the value of CoCs and adopting them because the people there want to make their communities better.

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                                                                                                                                                    If I can just point you at an example of CoCs causing significant damage to communities, I’d point you at FreeBSD’s huggate scandal.

                                                                                                                                                    That’s what everyone needs to avoid. CoCs mustn’t be entered into lightly. They have to be properly considered, debated and set up to enhance rather than detract from a community.

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                                                                                                                                                  Love it! EttiCosmocrepe really did prove your point.

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                                                                                                                                                  You really believe James Damore’s anti-intellectualism is a benefit to technological work? His contributions had nothing to do with technological work and seemed to create a huge distraction away from technological work. I would love to see an argument from you detailing how James Damore’s speech was constructive to technological work.

                                                                                                                                                  If you are confused about why I called James Damore’s speech anti-intellectual, I would hint here that empiricism is no substitute for thinking.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for your comment. Just one thing. I didn’t state they’re specifically feminist advocacy, it’s the blanket adoption of the geek feminism wiki CoC template I was rallying against.

                                                                                                                                                    To be clear:

                                                                                                                                                    • Yes the template is problematic on many levels for various events
                                                                                                                                                    • The template is a form of feminist advocacy, but that’s not an issue and may be an advantage for some events
                                                                                                                                                    • IME An event that posts it verbatim is usually more interested in telling you they have a CoC than enforcing the content

                                                                                                                                                    Part of running a decent conference is accepting that there will be people there with different views to you. Your job as an organizer is to create a fun and friendly event, not arbitrarily provoke people (I do enough of that in my spare time :)).

                                                                                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, perhaps I wasn’t clear. By geek feminism-based CoC I specifically mean this template and it’s wholesale adoption verbatim or almost verbatim.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                      That one has exactly the kind of politically-motivated and dominating stuff I aim to block in CoC proposals:

                                                                                                                                                      “‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’ (because these things don’t exist)”

                                                                                                                                                      My emphasis added. The start is denial victims exist in white, male, or straight groups operating in environments where minority members dominate the power structure. This is dictated by proponemts’ political beliefs that are controversial even among minority members they claim to he about protecting. The next move the ideology brings is not allowing them a say in things or allowing statements/actions toward them that would be offensive/banned if done to other groups. The next is ridicule or ejection as a response to dissent.

                                                                                                                                                      All starts with accepting the sophist definitions and rules of a tiny few intended to dominate their opponents in larger groups that they enshrine into a CoC they’ll tell groups is just about civility and stopping bad behavior. No it isn’t: it’s ideological subversion of groups’ norms to enforce the pushers’ beliefs. They’ll put down minorities resisting those beliefs as quickly as anyone else, too.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                        Every single statement you’ve made is baseless and false.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                          Your counter has no evidence. So nobody should believe it. That simple.

                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, I still have to go into a workplace where many groups are dominated by politics benefiting one type of minority (blacks) at everyone else’ expense. That’s in social groups, work assigned, and promotions. Sounds like the definition of structural racism to me. If ever applied to non-whites, the two sentences above would be all the proof they needed that they’re victims of structural racism. You’d agree with them. Logically, there the same function or algorithm for determining structural bias that just have different inputs or outputs. As the sophistry goes, those on the linked article and now you if backing them redefine their own term for just these conversations so it can’t apply to a white person.

                                                                                                                                                          With the magic of political bias and agendas, the same definition can be two, contradicting things so that one group is villainized whether delivering or receiving damage interacting with other groups. Such sophistry is not just illogical: it’s inhumane given the damage it supports to decent people in the target group. So, I’d fight a CoC or agenda that starts with a declaration that non-whites in positions of power would never abuse their power against whites. Likewise, women never abusing men. Both are insane statements in light of both recorded history and minority members’ own incessant claims about how other minorities mistreat them at work, school, etc.

                                                                                                                                                          The logical response is banning and addressing every instance of group X uses their power to discriminate against group Y with who X and Y are varying case by case, place by place, issue by issue. That protects the most people with the most fairness. It also takes hardly any additional effort in event white or male discrimination is as rare (“nonexistent”) as my opponents believe. Most work would probably still benefit their preferred groups as well given that’s where most of the discrimination is right now.

                                                                                                                                                          Note: I should also point out to anyone reading along that even a sub-Reddit on feminism had a list showing they recognized male-specific biases and discrimination. It’s done from their viewpoint but has points that corroborate my claims. Clearly, it’s only some feminists I’m battling with these claims rather than all feminists.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, I still have to go into a workplace where many groups are dominated by politics benefiting one type of minority (blacks) at everyone else’ expense. That’s in social groups, work assigned, and promotions. Sounds like the definition of structural racism to me. If ever applied to non-whites, the two sentences above would be all the proof they needed that they’re victims of structural racism. You’d agree with them. Logically, there the same function or algorithm for determining structural bias that just have different inputs or outputs. As the sophistry goes, those on the linked article and now you if backing them redefine their own term for just these conversations so it can’t apply to a white person.

                                                                                                                                                            Sorry for the late reply.

                                                                                                                                                            So, we don’t really know each other. I have some ideas about you: male, 20s, information security professional. Probably not in California. From what you’ve previously posted, it sounds like you had it not so easy growing up.

                                                                                                                                                            Here’s where I go out on a limb a little bit: you believe that the most important thing about doing your job is professional competence, like ability to debug an issue or design a feature to be safe and easy to use. You also hate that there are exploitable systems in place in society; exploitable systems are bad.

                                                                                                                                                            Now, it sounds to me like your boss thought other things were important, like smelling nice or getting along with other teams, were also important, and when some of your friends, who you thought were very good at their jobs, were fired or laid off, they were replaced by people your boss, who is not white, knew or approved of.

                                                                                                                                                            Am I way off base?

                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, I’m saying all this to demonstrate that I have some idea of how things are, based on my decades of professional interaction with infosec teams, and working in IT, and being online.

                                                                                                                                                            So, you say above, “My black boss favors other black people over white people, sounds like the definition of structural racism to me.” But your error is so fundamental that explaining how wrong you are is such a huge task. It requires you to understand:

                                                                                                                                                            1. there is no separation of concerns or contexts for human beings in society; there is no such thing as “professional identity” and “personal identity”, for example, because actions in one context have effect in all the other ones;

                                                                                                                                                            To this point, consider how you feel about the decision to exclude the fascist Urbit dude (Moldbug) from a conference, where presumably, he was going to talk about his idea for a feudal internet and recruit people to support him and its development. You’re mad because you think the details of his software, developed as a reification of his values, is not a political issue, merely a technical one, and you don’t think any status given to him for speaking at that conference will carry over to his Moldbug persona, and no one who he thinks should be subjugated will stay away as a result of his presence. I leave the absurdity of that belief to stand on its face.

                                                                                                                                                            1. there is a difference between small, local, private social spaces, like an office or a conference, and THE ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD, where those larger contexts’ effects dominate.

                                                                                                                                                            To the second point, for example, and to bring up something you said previously in a different thread, there is no study of the unfair discrimination done by female bosses against men because there are so few female bosses.

                                                                                                                                                            And so, that brings us to the final thing you need to understand before you could understand why I said your statements were baseless and false:

                                                                                                                                                            1. the presence of an exploitable social system is not the same as its mass exploitation by one identifiable group.

                                                                                                                                                            You have a black boss who favors people who are like her, and this offends you. To say, “this is structural racism in action,” though, is to ignore the fact that 90% of the bosses are white men who also favor people like them, and that the current real cultural and political landscape favors people like them in terms of access to education, and jobs, and wealth opportunities, and protection by police, and ability to relocate to some other place where the people there will probably be friendly to them. And most of them are hostile to the idea of changing that to make it more equitable.

                                                                                                                                                            And I don’t think you’ll ever understand that, or at least, not here and now. So when you say something unfounded and ignorant like, “reverse racism is just as bad as real racism”, which is false and baseless because it ignores nearly every relevant factor in favor of “any exploitation of an exploitable system is offensive and bad”, the most legitimate response is a one-liner like the one I gave.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                                              “So, we don’t really know each other. I have some ideas about you: male, 20s, information security professional. Probably not in California. From what you’ve previously posted, it sounds like you had it not so easy growing up. Here’s where I go out on a limb a little bit: you believe that the most important thing about doing your job is professional competence”

                                                                                                                                                              I appreciate you attempting to understand where I’m coming from. Unfortunately, it gave a great example of the kind of projection I’m talking about that certain types of politics depend on to prop up myths or suppress alternative views. The profile doesn’t even match some of my comments on Lobsters about my job, how people get promotions, or what to expect in businesses. It is common among people that push a specific type of politics or CoC’s. Almost every one of them that profiles me says same thing you did. So, let’s get a better picture.

                                                                                                                                                              I grew up in areas where dominant groups were very different from me: black school with pervasive racism against whites; rural areas with rednecks that look down on “nerds” and tech; mixed, suburban school that was great in comparison, all groups anti-nerd in nicer way, and a nerd/outcast crowd that was cool (yay!); businesses and other organizations with different makeups. I’m in 30-40 range. I’m not currently in tech or information security as main job: I went into operational side of a company that does mix of high-volume sales and service activities. My job mixes both: sometimes moving product, othertimes handing customers. Our customer base is as diverse as they get with me interacting with, serving, taking abuse from, or being praised by at least 22,000 people face-to-face on record with high, satisfaction rate from those surveyed. With many, especially in groups, I’m required to listen to or make conversation with them to make a pleasant experience. I also observe and listen to what they say to each other just being curious of how they act and what they think. On Facebook, I also created a diverse crowd to see all the things people could teach me about popular topics that I’d otherwise miss due to a filter bubble.

                                                                                                                                                              My long time effectively being a white person in both minority-dominated environments and effective slave to mix of people showed me they act effectively the same over sample size of twenty to thirty thousand people in many circumstances with tens to hundreds of thousands of interactions with them among my coworkers and I. Most exploit our company’s level of service to get what they can out of us. Most sound polite, some neutral, and a few ugly with almost all apathetic to burdens or damage they cause. Last subset will use their power in ways that seriously disrupt the company or cause employees harm. Some have used race/gender cards against white males but root cause of exploiting power with misinformation or threats is something all groups do to us. The cards are rarely necessary given our vulnerability. The bosses, which come and go a lot, are mostly either folks wanting a safe bet at blue-chip company with upward mobility or opportunists wanting a ticket punching opportunity move laterally into better pay at another company. At upper levels, it’s almost always politics over performance with team supervisor level being a mix of performance and politics leaning toward performance if it’s about at least keeping the job.

                                                                                                                                                              As part of my work, I constantly ask my customers of all groups questions about their jobs, lives, and even politics with no judgment or argument: I just tell them I’m curious, I like hearing others opinions, and thank them for whatever they tell me. Depending on how I assess them, I’ll either politely decline further engagement or carefully ask questions making sure I don’t step past their boundaries. Down-to-earth, non-judgmental or just fun-loving customers I’m more open with or do my comedic approach I do with coworkers for their enjoyment. Those few being non-threatening to my career means I can self-censor less and be myself more. Work style is goofball/satirist/wiseguy who has everyone’s back or gives headaches to those team decides needs it.

                                                                                                                                                              That leads me to the next thing. I’d be willing to bet that neither you nor most people advocating some of these views, CoC’s, etc have been under the power of large numbers of minorities or interviewed hundreds to thousands in diverse area for their views without leading questions that reinforce your own beliefs. The comments you see me make on here are often compatible with many of them I’ve talked to. That’s despite some’s attempts to censor them saying that’s about “protecting” minorities or blocking what offends “them.” There’s a huge gap between what piles of black people tell me and what some liberals (including whites) tell me that pretty much all black people think. For instance, most black people I interview in the Mid-South think racism is something every group can do, that it can happen at many levels, and black people can be racist, too. There are plenty that think the other way but they aren’t majority I’ve encountered. When the latter are in control, the views that disagreeing blacks espouse about definition or nature of racism being a general thing are not allowed despite coming from minority members. The standards/rule promoting groups claim to advance or protect minorities while systematically excluding all of them with dissenting views from participation. And then they have a problem with whites making similar claims, too.

                                                                                                                                                              Your longer comment might make more sense if you were responding to what a white male with minimal social interaction would believe after a few brushes with run-of-the-mill discrimination. Thing is, my posts are a summary of position of whites, blacks, men, and women who believe these things based on their lifetimes of interaction with their groups and others with many of us under power of other groups in organizations they control. So, we’ve gotten to see it both ways. We’re a very diverse crowd. We shouldn’t be pigeonholed into these projections that pretend it’s one or two subsets of demographics, we have limited experience with other groups in control, we must be social idiots who don’t know The Game at work that gets promotions, and so on. We’re a mix of minority members and white males who understand people, have tons of experience with them, and disagree with your position based on those experiences. Seeing how minority members disagreed among themselves on topics of race, gender and so on reinforced my fight against any group dictating one set of beliefs/practices being acceptable or not. My own group saying it could just be bias but many of them concluding similar things from different backgrounds hinted it might be greater truth.

                                                                                                                                                              “there is a difference between small, local, private social spaces,”

                                                                                                                                                              It turns out this is true but circumstantially rather than fundamental. The experience I’ve had with thousands of people (esp minorities), observing many more groups controlled by them, listening to minority members in structures controlled by majority or minority types, and so on indicates minority members act just like whites or males. They reward those like them, discriminate against those substantially different, and mostly don’t care about other groups in day-to-day speech or actions. This trend is supported by data from most groups going back most of human history. Any country that has a certain majority with power will have its members come to dominance mostly rewarding their group or a privileged few penalizing others. There’s usually common enemies, too, to unify them. African countries under black control had same traits. Over here, it was mostly white males in power reinforcing their preferences which perpetuated that cycle. So, that’s the majority of the problem at the national level. Switch to cities, organizations, etc that blacks control, you see a reversal of the effect where they boost their own group more and battle/minimize politics of others.

                                                                                                                                                              From there, how do we react? Well, if it’s a universal phenomenon, then we need to define it as a universal phenomenon rather than definitions or practices that only villify specific groups for others’ gain. The honest definition costs us nothing: we just note bias, expect each group to combat theirs, and assess it in al group activities by default. Minority members that agreed with me and I are all already doing it to varying degrees. So, it’s not hypothethical. From there, we’d expend most of our effort on whatever is most prevalant in our locale and the national level. I’d expect most of that to be combating white racism or male sexism at national level. At local one, it will usually depend on the group with white dominated areas having mostly white racism we gotta fight, non-white dominated areas having non-white racism we have to fight, and occasional weird ones you’d not expect if just using checklist-like approach to who is oppressors or victims. It will vary as the demographics and beliefs vary among the various power and social structures.

                                                                                                                                                              For instance, our [huge] company has different types of -ism’s in different groups depending on their makeup. The executive and senior levels are definitely biased for whites and mostly males with promotions all politics. Middle started from there to get much more mixed with mosty same politics plus some new. On lower levels of management, there’s been a shift in my area toward blacks benefiting only certain types of blacks in two to three groups, white women in three, white men in two others (one biased for women), and one was mixed before ejecting a scapegoated, white dude recenty to get a black guy. Last one in flux. The black-controlled groups even wanted to poach me to boost their numbers but my bosses and I prevented it. I’m still forced to help them once a day or so but that’s driven by cost-cutting and politics, not racial issues.

                                                                                                                                                              Blocking transfer was good since turnover is at record high now in their groups, even among black men and women, since leadership’s favoratism discriminates across three attributes (race/gender/age) instead of one or two we’re used to dealing with in the South. High-performing workers with great, social skills who were mostly white, Asian, and one Pacific Islander were given unpopular grunt work with older, black women given better work or promoted. They talk to them differently, too. The advantaged blacks ranged from low performers that transferred to that group (the older women) to a few high performers so good I’d personally invest time in if they asked. Two, a younger male and woman, were exceptions to get advantaged with older women. Women to male ratio in general for advantaged positions is around 8-10 to 1 with ratio among high-performers 1 to 1 to around 3 to 1 depending on what skills you want and whose coming/going. Their personnel decisions don’t make sense unless structural discrimination and/or politics is at play.

                                                                                                                                                              Which is what I expect by default and combat for all types. And we end with:

                                                                                                                                                              “And I don’t think you’ll ever understand that, or at least, not here. So when you say something unfounded and ignorant like, “reverse racism is just as bad as real racism”

                                                                                                                                                              You’re really saying you think all the minority members I’ve listened to or worked with who agree with my position couldn’t possibly understand because of (white male stuff here). It makes no sense because they’re not white males but share my position. Majority are women, too, with many sharing positions on women topics some labeled sexist or something on various forums. You’re right that I can’t understand why only one set of views about minority matters is allowed or often reported, a good chunk preaching them being white, when minorities themselves have an interesting, diverse range of views. I’ve learned a lot from listening to them. They helped shape what I think on tolerance, true inclusiveness, and so on where rejecting certain views on false pretenses (eg only ignorant or hateful white dudes say that) would lead me to systematically discriminate against or suppress minority members with those views in large numbers.

                                                                                                                                                              That would be racist and sexist like my white, male executives who only tolerate their type of people, views, and practices. I’m not like that. So, I avoid it and fight it when people who do it want to make any form of it a standard practice to force everyone to think, talk and act like them. Usually have minority members backing me up in most places, too, except on these tech forums. Since they’re not present and invisible to my opponents, I have to speak up on their behalf to let people know they and their beliefs exist. They wouldn’t want to be dismissed with labeling and/or censored.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                Welp, at least I’m way off-base in my projection, though your childhood was what I meant by rough time (you brought it up in a different comment) :)

                                                                                                                                                                So, that’s a lot to reply to, and I don’t want you to think I’m ghosting or don’t appreciate the long and thoughtful reply. I do, and I thank you. But I’m about to walk out the door and won’t be able to reply in kind until tomorrow. Or, if you don’t want to continue publicly, I am happy to DM. Or if you’re sick of me and my shit, I respect that.

                                                                                                                                                                But I mean, I’m surprised you’re not in the industry, when you’re so passionate about what it’s like for people who are in it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  These discussions take a lot of energy as I aim for strong accuracy minimizing effects of my biases. They don’t piss me off or anything except for few times I’m straight up attacked in a clear way. I might not reply just to get back on other stuff like tech or better job, but I’ll definitely read and think on whatever your reply is. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  Far as IT or INFOSEC, I assumed you’d assume I was in it because it’s a reasonable assumption. I didn’t hold that against you so much as use it to illustrate we come here and to our beliefs from many backgrounds that might surprise you. Most people online can’t believe I’m not in INFOSEC. Some have accused me of lying about that to protect my identity at some defense contractor. Yeah, I’m living in movie True Lies lol…

                                                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                                                          minority members dominate the power structure.

                                                                                                                                                          If only there was a movement that wanted to eliminated dominating power structures…. I just can’t put my finger on it. Or that’s it! Welcome comrade, have you googled The Bread Book?

                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                            Lol. I do try to keep them in check. I stay away from communism, though. Utilitatianism via incentives, regulation, and individual action are my preferred methods.

                                                                                                                                                        3. 1

                                                                                                                                                          It seems like a reasonable CoC. Your argument that organizers copy and paste it is strange. 50% of software is GPL, and the remaining are copy-paste licenses like MIT, Apache, and BSD. Likely less than 1% have licenses that are custom. Would you say the same thing about software people choosing a license and copy-pasting it? It seems to me most projects do make a big deal about which license they choose.

                                                                                                                                                          A well designed CoC like the one you linked seems reasonable to re-use.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            Software licences are not the same as CoCs. Software licences police the use of software. CoCs police peoples public behaviour. Using a boilerplate template is a clear indicator that people are posting it to say they’re good people rather than properly looking at how they use or enforce them.

                                                                                                                                                            You may think the Geek feminism CoC template is fine. I find it deeply problematic for most events in my size, location and cultural bracket for events I’m involved in. That’s not to say it doesn’t make interesting points, but it’s better that event organisers consider them (along with everything the wiki has to say about CoCs) when preparing their own.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                                                                                              I think enforcement is less important than setting expectations. CoC is priming people on what kind of behavior is expected. This priming will have a positive consequence where people will likely act better. There is good psychological research behind priming that you should read. Enforcement is not the primary purpose of a CoC.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                I think enforcement is less important than setting expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                If you’re setting expectations withough an ability to enforce them then this will be your outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                I’m discontinuing this thread with you as you’re no longer adding anything to the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                        4. 6

                                                                                                                                                          I’m neither a geek, nor a feminist. I strongly resent any association between people who claim they are geeks and myself. I am also an anti-feminist. Unlike modern feminists I believe in equality; men and women should have the same rights, just like blacks and catholics and whatever other people from any group you can think of. Modern feminists don’t think that (EttiCosmocrepe provided a link below) and that’s why the are my enemy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                                                                                            Last I checked feminists want the sexes to be equal. Sounds like you are a “traditional feminist”.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                              I’m neither a geek, nor a feminist.

                                                                                                                                                              I am also an anti-feminist

                                                                                                                                                              hence

                                                                                                                                                              Sounds like you are a “traditional feminist”.

                                                                                                                                                              I believe your reasoning really speaks for itself, hence no further comment is necessary.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                I think your pet definition of feminism has clouded your reasoning. Example: You said you want men and women to be equal. That’s what feminism is! In the same breath you call yourself an anti-feminist because you have this strange idea of what feminism is.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  Technically someone who wants men and women to be equal is an egalitarian. Feminism and Masculism are mostly concerned with equality for the respective side.

                                                                                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                                                                                            Until you decide to explain which version of feminism (or even generation of feminism, grossly speqking) I don’t think it’s easy to have a productive conversation.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                              The feminism that wants equality for all sexes in all spheres of life.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                equal opportunity, or equal outcome?

                                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                  Equal opportunity and equitable outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                    You can’t have both. They’re mutually exclusive. Even given 100% equal opportunity there will always be differing outcomes. You can optimize for either, but you reach a point where optimizing for one will always displace the other.

                                                                                                                                                                    This isn’t to say we don’t live in a deeply unequal world in either sense, just that what you want isn’t possible.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                      Notice I didn’t say equal outcomes, I said equitable

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        Notice I didn’t say equal outcomes, I said that your two options were mutually exclusive and implied a trade-off between them.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                          You can’t have both. They’re mutually exclusive. Even given 100% equal opportunity there will always be differing outcomes.

                                                                                                                                                                          When I said the outcomes need to be equitable, I obviously recognize equal opportunity will result in differing outcomes. This is not a contradiction. This is simply your failure to recognize dynamic systems. Imagine a system using dead reckoning . We have our simple model of system behaviour (equal opportunity leads to equal outcome). Efforts for equitable outcomes is a course correction after applying a Kalman filter from our expected simplified model. What really happened is equal opportunity resulted in different outcomes because people are different. So we apply equitable distribution to course correct. This is a self correcting system.

                                                                                                                                                                          The truth is “equal opportunity brings more equal than no equal opportunity outcomes, but obviously not equal outcomes” is a complex model. We can simplify with “equal opportunity brings more equality” and then course correct with equitable distribution.

                                                                                                                                                                          It’s absolutely strange that computer people fall back on “logic” instead of dynamic systems to deal with an obviously dynamic system (society).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                          What would an equitable outcome look like, I’m genuinely interested in what you exactly mean with it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                            Society should decide what people need at a minimum (housing, food, healthcare, access to internet, etc) to live a decent life and provide it to them. Some people will need to be provided more than others depending on their differences (people with disabilities may need more help, etc).

                                                                                                                                                                            In other words, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

                                                                                                                                                                            I like the term David Graeber defined here called “everyday communism”

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              That indeed sounds like something that can and should be achieved.

                                                                                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                                                                                              If it’s public, I’m curious to hear more words or links about your alternative model for a CoC. What do you see as key differences do you see in problems to be addressed, approach to solving them, enforcement, administration, education, etc.?

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                CoCs assert to set expectations for behaviour, but in reality they tend to focus on harassment. We have had harassment at our event (and I have no doubt that plenty goes unreported), but our most common problems are theft, fighting and damage caused by drunkenness. I’ve never seen a CoC address this.

                                                                                                                                                                Another common (at least to us) area CoC’s tend to fall completely short is disruption of talks. BSidesScotland’s Code of Conduct is very good in this respect.

                                                                                                                                                                Now some people might think that all we need to do is make a multi-page document outlining what we can and can’t do with a 4 page section on harassment and we’ll be fine. We won’t. In the interim we’ve settled on Wheaton’s Law as the equivalent of a CoC, along with some light rules about enforcement. However, we still have theft, damage, violence etc. on occasion.

                                                                                                                                                                The current (non-public) iteration is something we’re calling house rules - a one-pager that goes up on the site, at our event that everyone’s supposed to abide by focusing on actions, not opinions. People who think that a person’s value is defined in some aspect of identity can attend. Act on that, and they’re getting thrown out. People who believe that it’s right to punch people dumb enough to think worth is related to skin colour are also getting thrown out. People who steal or try to steal are getting thrown out.

                                                                                                                                                                To make this work we’re going to hold training sessions with ops leads and all the crew, and we’re going to make sure attendees know the house rules through a mix of mailshots, entry in the brochure and possibly (although we’re not sure yet) having the house rules printed up and put up probably around the registration area. On top of this we’re looking into first aid training for ops leads and a bunch of safeguarding education so we can improve our responses.

                                                                                                                                                                This assumes that we get this ready in time for this year’s event. Previous iterations have failed due to opposition to identity-based CoCs, mostly from female members of the crew and female attendees. The feedback that I’ve had is that anything that singles people out on the basis of gender or identity is unfair and uncomfortable for them, and introduces an ugly element to our culture that previously wasn’t part of it.

                                                                                                                                                                More than anything else, we’re trying to specifically avoid a re-run of donglegate, the FreeBSD debacle(s), and make sure we’re ready to properly support a very severe incident. Ultimately we just want our event to be the same great event it’s always been, to make sure people have a good time and to be welcoming to everyone.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                                                                                            We definitely need a similar place in western Europe…

                                                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                                                              Oh yes, definitely. I bet a ton of people would be interested in signing up for something like that.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                Go to your local hacking space?

                                                                                                                                                                I have a bit of trouble to understand the point of going through 3 application rounds to take time off, not get paid and meet other people taking time off and not getting paid.

                                                                                                                                                                Sounds a bit like doing Erasmus…

                                                                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                  People have been doing write-ups about the benefits if you’re wondering about them. The mains ones I’m seeing across the write-ups are:

                                                                                                                                                                  1. A break from mentally-taxing work to only do the work they want. People tend to do one or more fun projects there instead of those they’re usually forced to by work. It’s also common to do both concentrated learning and building activities.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Improved focus since they’ve left environments with a lot of distractions. Obviously, they might need a gameplan for email, phone notifications, etc. Based on prior data, I’ll also add their focus at RC might improve by the mental and financial commitment they made by going there. Many who might get distracted doing random stuff on the Internet at home will try harder to complete their project to avoid walking away with nothing. Double true if they lost pay like you indicated. That makes the trip more like an investment.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. A crowd of people to learn from or help. They usually like listening to interesting projects others are doing there. Face-to-face provides a different experience than just Googling summaries on their Githubs or something. Regardless, I speculate that these connections with others can be a mental break from or boost for the focused projects people are doing at RC. Kind of a pause for them to let stuff process with extroverts benefting directly having people to talk to on top of that.

                                                                                                                                                                  4. You might get a job. RC is run by recruiters. People with not-so-great employment doing 1-3 might have some job skills or portfolio additions to show off. That they keep funding it is either some serious charity or the fact that they’re getting enough people jobs to keep funding it. Probably a mix of both. So, there could be job-seekers visiting who would rather not be doing 20-30 sessions of whiteboard coding in front of non-coders assessing their skill. RC might be a better experience.

                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, this assessment is based on just a handful of posts I’ve read written by people who visited. Anyone who visited or works there feel free to correct anything that seems off.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                    I would say these are all pretty spot on! I keep meaning to write a “Why RC?” page for our website that clearly and directly answers the question of why you might want to come, but for now you can get a pretty good idea by reading our about page and the things linked from it under “Further Reading”

                                                                                                                                                                    I think the only thing missing from is that RC is about more than just the time you spend at the retreat—you’re also joining a tight-knit community of peers dedicated to teaching and learning from each other. The value of this is tremedous, but hard to capture in words. If any other RC alums want to jump in here and try to explain it I think that would be great :)

                                                                                                                                                                    On point 4—all of RC’s operations, including our living expense grants for people underrepresented in programming, are funded by our recruiting revenue! You can read more about the career benefits of RC on our page about this and in our manual.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                      I’m one of many alums. Here are a couple thoughts on my experience, which I found very positive and better than regular unemployment:

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I learned a lot about myself and improved a lot as a learner at RC - much more so, I think, than I would have if I had just been unemployed for a few months on my own.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I am not as involved in the alum community as I’d like to be but it sure seems fun. It’s nice to feel like you share a connection with some pretty interesting and accomplished people. It’s a diverse crew and I like seeing what different people are thinking and learning about. I also like that, collectively, the community knows a lot and will help you with your problems if you need them.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. 0

                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like a hacker space to me. My city has two, and if I hop onto a train I can get to another 5 in less than an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                      The whole concept of having application rounds asking someone for permission to spend your own, free, unpaid time on the things you want to do … that sounds very foreign to me, maybe it’s just some concept that’s more widely understood in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                      If grown-up people are unable to make an independent, autonomous decision on how to spend their time, this looks like a parenting/education failure to me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        It is not a hacker space, any more than a blank wall beneath a bridge where you can spray paint is an artist’s colony.

                                                                                                                                                                        It’s a focused retreat for programmers to gather in one space for a period of time with other programmers, who are all there, as @jamesjporter says, to teach and learn from each other about how to be a better programmer, including theory, hardware, new models and techniques, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        I don’t know what else you’re misunderstanding about it, but I suggest you withhold public judgement until you learn more.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. 4

                                                                                                                                                                      The social signal is different - “hacking on stuff” vs. “hacking on stuff, as a result of passing 3 application rounds”. Beyond that, the application filter presumably also has some sort of effect on who’s there, compared to regular “open” hacking spaces.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                  There’s a strong culture of blogging at RC, along with some semi formal infrastructure for encouraging blogging while there, so hopefully you won’t shut down prose completely :)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the encouragement – I did hear about a blog aggregator. I think I will blog, but I was just relieving myself of the duty ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                    One thing I noticed is that my posts tend to fall into at least 2 categories: “pedagogical” ones that make some kind of point, and “work in progress” ones. The latter are generally not as popular, and I only get a little feedback on them.

                                                                                                                                                                    And I am going to be learning, so I probably won’t have as many “points” to make. It’ll be more exploration. Explaining something to others does help you learn something, but doing that in person is just as effective.

                                                                                                                                                                    So at the very least I will switch modes, to something more informal. As mentioned, I’m going to write a blog post which lists a bunch of things I didn’t publish, so feel free to leave feedback there on which ones are interesting :-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                    By the way, if you actually run this, you’ll find some pretty wacky images. I think people only save the weird stuff, so everyone is curating for unusual-ness by default, and this is a fun way to tap into that zeitgeist. Getting an IPFS daemon going using nix-env is really simple.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 21

                                                                                                                                                                      I would go one step further–I only grudgingly sign NDAs and assignments of invention too and would prefer if they weren’t there.

                                                                                                                                                                      This single issue is the thing that most makes me think we need collective bargaining and unions.

                                                                                                                                                                      Given the MO of modern companies, our ideas and skills are all that we have.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah I don’t think i’d work anywhere that did Assignments of invention. I just don’t think I could be paid enough to make me give that up. I once signed a noncompete though but it wasn’t this restrictive, it only applied to business that were making the exact same kind of product (Laboratory information Management Systems).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                          When I joined my last company they had an assignment of invention section in their paperwork, but provided a place to list exemptions. I listed so many things on that form: github side projects to theoretical ideas I’d been kicking around. When I handed in the packet to HR they didn’t know how to handle the fact that I actually filled that stuff out. They ended up removing the assignment of invention section completely.

                                                                                                                                                                          I see a distinction between companies that prey on their employees and those that build in language and terms like this because legal told them to, or it’s “boilerplate”. Nether is acceptable and in many regions that take workers’ rights seriously they are explicitly illegal. I don’t see that happening in the US anytime soon, though.

                                                                                                                                                                          If it’s important to you, don’t sign. If it’s important to you and your company is a bunch of idiots, change the contract before you sign it and watch them blindly put a signature on it. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up owning all their IP instead.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                            I can definitely understand why a company would want you to sign an assignment of invention and I don’t think they’re inherently good or bad. They’re just a trade off like anything else. If you really want to start your own company one day or side projects are really important to you than that’s something to consider strongly before signing an assignment of invention. Just like flexibility would be something to consider before taking a job if you really wanted to be able to take off work, with no advanced notice, to surf if the waves happen to be good and then make up those hours later.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 11

                                                                                                                                                                              Safety bars on looms and e-stops on lathes are a trade off like anything else…

                                                                                                                                                                              This is a local minima of error that companies are stuck in due to investors and lawyers (and greedy founders) trying to cover their own asses.

                                                                                                                                                                              It’s basically become industry standard, but seeing as how we’re all getting screwed in compensation (giving the growth we enable) compared to older days the bargain no longer makes sense. Further, the troubling trend is “Well, it’s probably no big deal to work on , just let us know and/or we don’t care anyways” is basically living with a gun to your head.

                                                                                                                                                                              If it is such a non-issue that most companies will overlook it, fucking leave it off the conditions of employment. If it is such an issue, compensate the engineers properly.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                I think we need to create a list of businesses that do this so that I can avoid ever applying to them and also ones that don’t do this so that I can weigh applying for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                  Safety bars on looms and e-stops on lathes are a trade off like anything else…

                                                                                                                                                                                  Apples and oranges. Those safety features don’t really affect the employer, but they have a huge effect on how safe the job is for all of the employees that use looms and lathes. Assignments of invention do have an effect on the employer and if you happen to be an employee without any aspirations of starting you own business then they don’t really affect you. Even if you do have that aspiration, a good company will be more than happy to stamp prior discovery paperwork to approve side projects that don’t have anything to do with the company’s area of business so an assignment of invention will only affect you if you want to compete with your employer.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Edit:

                                                                                                                                                                                  If it is such an issue, compensate the engineers properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If you compare the software engineering salaries with those of other fields it appears that we are compensated for signing non-competes and assignments of invention. Nurses, for comparison, are also highly educated salaried workers but they make on average $20,000 less per year then software engineers [Source] [Source]. It is entirely possible that the gap in pay is a result of a high demand for and low supply of software engineers. But there is a high demand for and low supply of nurses as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                    a good company

                                                                                                                                                                                    Where, where are these good companies? “Not all companies”, indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                    There is no upside to for the employer to do this once they have the paperwork in hand, and relying on the charity/largess of a company is foolish–especially once belts start tightening. Even companies that aren’t terrible can often punt forever on this sort of thing because of limited time to devote to non-business issues, because legal’s job is to provide maximal cover and push back on anything that might create risk, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I suggest that the overall tone of how employee engineers are viewed, for the good of all engineers, needs to change. Hell, most of the innovation people claim to care about so much would be strangled in the crib under the agreements that are common today!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                      Assignments of invention do have an effect on the employer and if you happen to be an employee without any aspirations of starting you own business then they don’t really affect you.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And without any intention of ever contributing to open source, and without any intention of ever writing an article or a story or a book, and without any intention of ever painting a painting, and without any intention of ever singing a song, etc., etc. (Ever assignment of invention I’ve ever seen has covered any and all copywritable works, not just code. Most have tried to claim assignment of works created before employment began.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ever assignment of invention I’ve ever seen has covered any and all copywritable works, not just code. Most have tried to claim assignment of works created before employment began.

                                                                                                                                                                                        That is an entirely different story. The assignments of invention that I’ve seen strictly pertain to ip related to the company’s products and services, during your period of employment with the company. Although they have all asked for a list of prior work as a practical means of proving that any such ip of yours was created before your time of employment. That said, my comments above were made with that understanding of what an assignment of invention is.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                          “Related” is way too open-ended for my comfort. If I contribute to an open-source project at night that is written in the same language I use at work, is that related? What about if they’re both web applications? What if they both use the same framework? If I write healthcare software during the day and I want to write a novel where somebody goes to the doctor, is that related?

                                                                                                                                                                                          In the contracts I’ve been presented with it’s been explicit that any work done prior to employment with the company that is no on your list of prior inventions becomes the property of the company. I’ve been programming since I was 12; there is no conceivable way I can list every piece of code I’ve written in 20+ years (much less other forms of copywriteable expression).

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have hired lawyers on two occasions to review assignment-of-invention contracts with provisions like these and on both occasions the advice I got was that “related” is pretty much a blank check for the employer.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                            The ones I’ve seen (and signed) have been restricted to inventions created at work or on company equipment, which amounts to roughly “we own the things we’re paying (or providing infrastructure for) you to create”. Within the context of capitalist employment, I think that’s essentially reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                              The fuzzy bit is, when you’re a salaried worker who is remote, what exactly is “company equipment”? What is “at work”?

                                                                                                                                                                                              How many of us have, in an evening say, made a commit to wrap up a thought after dinner from our laptops or desktops?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                If you’re a salaried remote worker, the company should be providing your work machine, which is either a laptop you can take with you, or a desktop that you remote into. If you’re providing all the equipment out of pocket, why are you on salary, rather than working as a contractor?

                                                                                                                                                                                                The only exception I could think would be a very early stage startup, but in that case you’re probably coming from a place of having a better negotiating position anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I’ve worked remotely for 3 jobs, and have always been provided a development machine, and have done my best to avoid doing anything that is strictly a side project on it for that reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  One of the selling points vendors of separation kernels pushed was separation of Personal and Work on one device (“BYOD”). They mainly pushed it under the illusion that it would provide security at reduced costs on consumer-grade devices. They also pushed it for GPL isolation to reduce IP risks to them. Your comment makes me think that can be flipped: use of dedicated, virtual work environment for (typical benefits here) with additional benefit of isolating I.P. considerations to what’s in the VM. If you want something generic, do it on your own time in your own VM just importing an instance of it into the work VM and/or its codebase. Anything created in the work VM they or you can assume will belong to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I’m ignoring how time is tracked for now. Far as clarity on intent of I.P. ownership, what do you think of that as basic approach? Spotting any big risks?

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                I’ve never consulted a lawyer so I’ll concede to you on this. Thank you for posting about your experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                            If safety equipment did not affect the employer, then why did it take so long for employers to adopt them? Why did they fight so hard against them?

                                                                                                                                                                                            And if it isn’t a big deal to a good company to make exceptions, why bother with the clause?

                                                                                                                                                                                            If developers are being fairly compensated for these burdens, why do we still hear about a shortage of devs?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                                              If safety equipment did not affect the employer, then why did it take so long for employers to adopt them? Why did they fight so hard against them?

                                                                                                                                                                                              The same reason anyone makes a fuss when you force them to do anything. People don’t like to be told what do to. Add to that the slow moving nature of large organizations and there is going to be a huge fight to get them to do absolutely anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And if it isn’t a big deal to a good company to make exceptions, why bother with the clause?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Because trusting every employee to be honest about signing over ip to anything they’re working on that is related to the company is not practical and it opens up the company to a huge amount of liability. If you don’t bother with the clause what happens if you inadvertently use your ip your day to day work, fail to notice, and fail to sign it over?

                                                                                                                                                                                              If developers are being fairly compensated for these burdens, why do we still hear about a shortage of devs?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Because there is a shortage. Paying more isn’t going to magically create more senior devs. It’ll increase the amount of people that get into the field (and it has) but there is still going to be a large lag time before they have the experience that employers are looking for. That said, if you compare the salaries of software developers to the salaries of other professions with shortages you’ll see that software developers make more. So we might not be compensated as much as you would like, but we are being compensated.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                It took so long to do it because it costs money to replace your lathes with ones with E-Stops. It has nothing to do with being told what to do or being slow. Corporations can actually do things quite quickly when there’s a financial incentive to do so. They struggle to do things which they have a financial disincentive to do. This is precisely why unions are necessary for a healthy relationship between corporations and employees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It has nothing to do with being told what to do or being slow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It’s both. Companies regularly waste money on stuff that doesn’t benefit the company or refuse to switch to things with known benefits that are substantially different. These are both big problems in companies that aren’t small businesses. They’re also problems in small businesses, but often in different ways. Egos and/or ineptitude of people in charge are usually the source. On programming side, it’s why it took so much work to get most companies to adopt memory-safe languages even when performance or portability wasn’t a big deal in their use cases. Also, why many stayed on waterfall or stayed too long despite little evidence development worked well that way. It did work for managers’ egos feeling a sense of control, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can’t forget these effects when assessing why things do or don’t happen. They’re pervasive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don’t think a ‘company’ has any feelings at all. I think companies have incentives and that is it, full stop. The people within a company may have feelings, but I think it is amazing the extent that a person will suppress or distort their feelings for money or the chance at promotion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would be surprised if liability was what companies had in principally in mind about ip assignment. I suspect the main drivers are profitability and the treat of competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In terms of compensation, I don’t think anyone is saying programmers are poorly compensated. The question is whether non-competes and and sweeping ip assignments are worth it. Literally everyone who works is compensated, of course it is reasonable to dicker over the level of compensation and the tradeoffs involved in getting it. …

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think there is a tendency to feel that the existence of an explanation for a company’s behavior is sufficient justification for it’s actions. Because there is an explanation, or an incentive for a company to do a thing has little to no bearing on whether it is good or right for a company to do a thing. It has even less bearing on whether a thing is good from the perspective of a worker for the company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If there is a shortage of software developers, and they are worth a lot of dollars, it is in the interest of software developers to collectively negotiate for the best possible treatment they can get from a company without killing the company. That could include pay, it could be defined benefits, it could be offices with doors on it, or all of the above and more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is a strong strain of ‘the temporarily embarrassed millionaire’ in programmer circles, though. It seems like many empathize with the owner class on the assumption that they are likely to enter the owner ranks, but I don’t see the numbers bearing that assumption out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If there is a shortage of software developers, and they are worth a lot of dollars, it is in the interest of software developers to collectively negotiate for the best possible treatment they can get from a company without killing the company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And as you know, employers colluded to secretly and collectively depress labor wages and mobility among programmers in Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Intel, Intuit, eBay), on top of the intrinsic power and resource advantage employers have over employees, further underscoring the need for an IT union.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pixar-lucasfilm-apple-google-face-suit-285282 (2012)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.theverge.com/2013/7/13/4520356/pixar-and-lucasfilm-settle-lawsuit-over-silicon-valley-hiring

                                                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/24/apple-google-settle-antitrust-lawsuit-hiring-collusion

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A very good reason for a union.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Given a union, I wouldn’t necessarily even start with salary, so much as offices with doors and agreements around compensation for work outside of core hours, parental leave and other non-cash quality of life issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                      In terms of compensation, I don’t think anyone is saying programmers are poorly compensated. The question is whether non-competes and and sweeping ip assignments are worth it. Literally everyone who works is compensated, of course it is reasonable to dicker over the level of compensation and the tradeoffs involved in getting it. …

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whether or not it is worth it is an individual decision. But at the end of the day we are compensated significantly more than our peers in other fields with shortages (accounting staff, nurses, teachers, etc). If you don’t believe that we’re being compensated enough, then what we really need to be doing is advocating for our peers in those other fields. Because if we’re not getting paid enough, they sure as hell aren’t getting paid anywhere close to enough. And if we improve the culture around valuing employees in general, that will translate into improvements for us as well. A rising tide raises all boats. But as it is, I don’t know anyone but programmers who think programmers are underpaid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I’m all for paying people more, but I’m unclear why you are focusing on these other fields, I was under the impression we were talking about programmers and the IT field

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also disagree that those fields constitute peers. Accountants may be the closes as white collared professionals, but they are in a field where everyone applies the same rules to the same data, which is an important difference. I’m all for labor solidarity, but I think it’s up for people in a given field to advocate for themselves. People elsewhere should lend support, sure

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also disagree that those fields constitute peers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          They’re peers in that they’re fields with similar, if not more rigorous, educational requirements and they’re also experiencing labor shortages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Accountants may be the closes as white collared professionals, but they are in a field where everyone applies the same rules to the same data, which is an important difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That doesn’t mean they provide any less value than programmers though. If you run a big business you absolutely need an accountant and a good accountant will more than pay for themselves. That said, given the pay gap, it’s unclear to me that programmers aren’t already getting compensated for signing non competes and assignments of invention. Especially when you consider how much lower the average compensation is for programmers in markets where non-competes and assignments of invention are not the norm [Source].

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                          I’d never sign an assignment of invention, I find the concept to be absurd, especially in an industry like software engineering.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I sign NDA’s without complaint when they’re not over-reaching. Many are sensible enough to abide by. But I once had an employer who attempted to make their workforce sign an NDA that imposed restrictions on use of USB sticks retroactively, with huge penalties - up to $10 million - in a company where USB sticks were routinely used to transfer documents and debug builds between on-site third party suppliers and employees of the company. Basically everybody would have been liable.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                          At least in California non-competes are illegal.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 14

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not illegal – legally unenforceable.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 9

                                                                                                                                                                                              Which is why I happily sign any non-compete, and tell the HR folks (with a smile) “Ok, I’ll sign this, knowing that it’s not enforceable in this state.” The reactions I’ve had vary from friendly chuckles to long useless lectures.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                Good point!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It’s a little nitpicky, but it’s also important that if a Californian were to read this thread, and then be presented with a non-compete, that she should understand that there is no reason they can’t ask you to sign; they simply can’t hold you to the provisions of the agreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One can also understand then whether or not the employer is going to try to be dishonest or threatening by insisting on signing one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whenever I see that, I wonder how often people that try to resist that get fired or lose a reference for some other reason to cover up what the real reason is. I’ve seen a lot of that outside of non-competes. Happen much in California?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure, it’s still possible. My favorite is replying to a request for information with “sorry, we are legally obliged to not share that information.”