1. 1

    GMail has this somewhat built-in: username+anytextABC123@gmail.com.

    It’s not that I’m advocating using GMail as a solution for privacy concerns :D, but if one day you’ll get a spam message containing the text username+servicename@gmail.com, you’ll know which service leaked the address ;).

    1. 1

      FastMail supports this as well. Additionally, they support (free) aliases on hundreds of very generic domains like “eml.cc”, which allows you to have a similar setup on those websites where a “+” in an email address is deemed to be an illegal character.

      Mozilla’s new service covers more ground, though, and it’s far more automated than any of these approaches. I’m looking forward to it!

      1. 1

        Well, that will hold until the spammers start filtering out the +thing part of the email address before sending their stuff :(

        1. 1

          GMail has had + aliases for at least a decade or more. Spammers know about them but it doesn’t matter since Google’s spam filtering is quite aggressive anyway.

          The more annoying thing is that either through ignorance or malice (I’ve encountered both), many mainstream services and websites will not let you use a + in an email address. They claim it’s not a valid character even though it most certainly is.

          This was actually one of the main reasons I decided to host my own email, I can tell Postfix to use . as the alias separator, which all companies and web forms accept.

          1. 2

            I know of sites that discard / disallow the plus sign because of abuse when they offer fremium services. So with user+one@example.com you get one month free, user+two@example.com a second one, etc.

        2. 1

          If you use your own domain, service@your.domain is always a thing..

        1. 9

          Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot is that the way that most software is distributed is really hostile to modifications - this post touches on that, but doesn’t go very deep into it. A question I’ve been asking recently is - what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like? And a somewhat more challenging version for some systems - what would it look like to allow end-users to patch their kernels as a first-class concern?

          NixOS has the start to an answer for this (fork the nixpkgs repo, make whatever changes you like), but it still doesn’t seem ideal. I guess maybe gentoo is a sort of answer to this as well, but it doesn’t seem like gentoo answers the question of “how do you keep track of the changes that you’ve made”, which is I think a really important part of systems like this (and the thing that’s missing in most current package managers support for patching)

          1. 13

            Note you don’t need to fork nixpkgs to edit individual packages, you can just add them to an overlay with an override eg I was trying to debug sway recently so I have:

            (sway.overrideDerivation (oldAttrs: {
                  src = fetchFromGitHub {
                    owner = "swaywm";
                    repo = "sway";
                    rev = "master";
                    sha256 = "00sf8fnbj8x2fwgfby6kcrxjxsc3m6w1yr63kpq6hv94k3p510nz";
                  };
                }))
            

            One of the guix devs gave a talk called Practical Software Freedom (slides) where the core point was that it’s not enough to have foss licensing if editing code is so much of a pain that noone does it. It looks like guix has a pretty nice workflow for editing installed packages, and since the tooling is all scriptable I bet you could streamline it even more - eg add a command for “download the source, fork it to my personal repo, add the fork to my packages list”.

            1. 6

              I only very briefly used guix, but its kernel configuration system is also just scheme. It’s so much nicer than using any of the kernel configurators that come with the kernel, and I actually played around with different configurations rather than opting to play it safe which is what I normally do since it’s such a faff if I accidentally compile out support for something important.

              1. 2

                How often do you find your overlays breaking something in strange ways? My impression is that most packages don’t come with tests or other guardrails to give early warning if I break something. Is that accurate?

                1. 3

                  I haven’t had any problems so far. I guess if you upgrade a package and it changes the api then you might be in trouble, but for the most part it seems to just work.

              2. 6

                One thing this brought to mind was @akkartik’s “layers” script: http://akkartik.name/post/wart-layers

                The post is short, but the money quote is here:

                We aren’t just reordering bits here. There’s a new constraint that has no counterpart in current programming practice — remove a feature, and everything before it should build and pass its tests

                If we then built software such that reordering commits was less likely to cause merge conflicts, you could imagine users having a much easier time checking out a simpler version of the system and adding their functionality to that if the final version of the system was too complex to modify.

                1. 4

                  I’ve gotten close with rpm and COPRs. I can fairly quickly download a source RPM, use rpmbuild -bp to get a prepped source tree where I can build a patch, track it, and add it back to the spec, then push it to a COPR which will build it for me and give me a yum repository I can add to any machines I want. Those pick up my changed version of the package instead of the upstream with minimal config fiddling.

                  It’s not quite “end users patching as a first class concern” but it is really nice and in that ballpark.

                  1. 3

                    At that point the package system would just be a distributed version control system, right?

                    1. 1

                      Interesting point! And I guess that’s kinda the approach that Go took from the start, with imports directly from GitHub. Except, ideally, you’d have a mutable layer on top. So something like IPFS, where you have the mutable IPNS namespace that points to the immutable IPFS content-addressed distributed filesystem.

                      Still, unlike direct links to someone elses GitHub repo, you would want to be able to pin versions. So you would want to point to your own namespace, and then you could choose how and when to sync your namespace with another person’s.

                      1. 3

                        This is how https://www.unisonweb.org/ works. Functions are content-addressed ie defined by the hash of their contents, with the name as useful metadata for the programmer. The compiler has a bunch of builtin refactoring tools to help you splice changes into an existing graph of functions.

                        1. 2

                          Just watched the 2019 strangeloop talk. Absolutely brilliant. Only drawback I see is that it doesn’t help with code written in other languages. So dependency hell is still a thing. But at least you’re not adding levels to that hell as you write more code (unless you add more outside dependencies).

                    2. 2

                      what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like?

                      If you just want to patch your instance of the software and run it locally, it is very straightforward in Debian and related distributions, using apt-src. I do it often, for minor things and pet peeves. Never tried to package these changes and share them with others, though.

                      1. 1

                        All the stuff package managers do doesn’t seem to help (and mostly introduces new obstacles for) the #1 issue in modifying software: “where are the sources?” It should be dead easy to figure out where the sources are for any program on my system, then to edit them, then to run their tests, then to install them. Maybe src as the analogue to which?

                        I appreciate npm and OpenBSD to a lesser extent for this. Does Gentoo also have a standard place for sources?

                        1. 1

                          I believe Debian is trying to streamline this with Salsa. That’s the first place I look when I’m looking for source code of any package on my system.

                        2. 1

                          what would a package manger that’s designed with end-users patching software as a first-class concern look like?

                          A DVCS. (It’s Christmas, “Away in a package manger, no .dpkg for a bed…”)

                          We drop in vendor branches of 3rd party libraries into our code as needed.

                          We hack and slash’em as needed.

                          We upstream patches that we believe upstream might want.

                          We upgrade when we want, merging upstream into our branch, and the DVCS (in our case mercurial) tells us what changed up stream vs what changed locally. Some of the stuff that changed upstream is our patches of improvements on them, so 99% of the time we take the upstream changes, and 0.9% of time take our changes and 0.1% of the time have to think hard. (ps: 99% of stats including this one are made up (from gut feel) on the spot. What makes these stats special is I admit it.)

                          A related topic is the plague of configuration knobs.

                          Every time any programming asks, “What should these configuration value be? He says, dunno, make it an item (at best) in the .conf file or at worst, in the UI.”

                          The ‘net effect is the probability of the exact configuration ever having been tested by anyone else on the planet is very very very low and a UI that you’d either need a Phd to drive (or more likely is full of wild arsed guesses)

                          A good habit is, unless there is a screaming need, by default put config items in a hidden (to the user) file and that is not part of the user documentation.

                          If anybody starts howling that they need to alter that knob, you might let them into the secret for that knob, and consider moving it into a more public place.

                        1. 1

                          This is great: I love the presentation and the spaced repetition features. For those interested, Michael Nielsen has a lot of the same material covered in video format.

                          1. 1

                            Unfortunately, this website has so many custom animations and fonts that it brings my 2.6GHz i7 16 GB RAM MacBook Pro to a grinding halt. It’s a shame to put such barriers in front of great information, especially when that information is fundamentally just text.

                            1. 1

                              Interesting. I’ve read the bulk of the text in Firefox on my phone, a fairly standard cheapo Android, with no issues. This includes using the spaced repetition sections, too.

                              1. 1

                                Just checked on my iPhone XR: works fine there too. 🤷🏻

                            1. 2

                              I wrote mjuziq using Clojure, and have been maintaining it for a few years now. It boils down to a slightly more opinionated RSS/Atom feed reader, but there’s a lot of (fairly simple) text extraction & parsing happening in there, and I have a primitive “plugin” system which allows me to quickly add new sources of data which was trivial to write in Clojure.

                              This is highly subjective, but I found one thing most interesting: I work on mjuziq very sporadically with commits that are sometimes separated by more than a year(!), and I don’t use Clojure too much outside of this project anymore. Yet even when I return to it after a very long time, things look obvious and familiar: it’s like returning home after a long trip. The development environment is stable and rock-solid (I use Emacs + CIDER), the language moves at a fairly slow and steady pace that’s easy to follow, and the whole thing somehow puts my “business logic” front-and-center in a way that other languages don’t.

                              That said, I know some people aren’t too happy with how Cognitect runs Clojure as an open source project. I’ve never tried contributing so I’ve missed a lot of the “drama”, but it’s probably important to keep in mind that Clojure is a product that’s, for better or for worse, made in large part by a single highly opinionated company.

                              1. 1

                                This is really interesting and useful, thanks! I’ll definitely be perusing some of the resources from your “Further reading” section.

                                After going through the chapters on nonlocality and Bell’s theorem in my QM course last year, I had a hard time understanding how all the world’s physicists aren’t just confusedly running around and screaming about entanglement. It’s an interesting universe we’re living in. :)

                                1. 3

                                  It would be interesting to further compare this with Firejail and bubblewrap – both allow you to isolate any piece of software running on your system, i.e. they don’t necessarily tie you to a single distribution mechanism. I’ve used Firejail for Firefox with great success.

                                  1. 2

                                    Yeah, heads up with firejail. Use a SELinux sandbox(1) instead ;-) I’ve tried it and the result is really worth it, in my opinion. I’m using it often, for lots of sites I don’t trust (which is close to anything, these days)

                                    1. 1

                                      heads up with firejail. Use a SELinux sandbox(1) instead

                                      Why?

                                  1. 2

                                    I’ve heard good things about Exercism, and I’ve recently spent some time very slowly working my way through one of their tracks. They seem fairly well thought-out, and taking a look at other people’s solutions after submitting my own tends to be enlightening. The exercises also range from fairly trivial (fizzbuzz) to fairly complex (implementing a parser/interpreter).

                                    1. 5

                                      Having my sister visit, going for Turkish food, hopefully being somehow physically active (climbing or hiking), and overall enjoying quality time together.

                                      If I have some time left over, I want to show some friends the travel planner I’ve been working on, and gather some feedback. I’ve been making good progress on the backend, and I’ve mostly finished the basic UI features. It even has a final name and a URL now: https://gllvr.com

                                      1. 1

                                        This look great! I am planning a trip to japan and I found the travel planner software super lacking. Will try to use this and see what I miss/what I like.

                                        1. 1

                                          Gulliver looks really neat! Thanks for not forcing users to register and for having a pretty useful example plan in a prominent location. I’ll be coming back to this. :)

                                          1. 1

                                            Thank you, that makes me really happy to hear :)

                                        1. 11

                                          Mobile Firefox has plugins.

                                          1. 6

                                            Yes, for example, https://darkreader.org/ on mobile Firefox works like a charm for most pages, not only lobste.rs

                                            1. 0

                                              iOS/iPadOS Safari doesn’t have plugins that can do that. Saying the user should be able to modify the website to view it as they want is a nice buzzword, but doesn’t actually pan out in reality. iOS/iPadOS LITERALLY DOES NOT ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT. That is not a solution. Let’s focus on actual solutions instead of elitist buzzwords please.

                                              1. 9

                                                Responding with an honest-to-machine-code option to the statement

                                                However, it leaves mobile browsers without any options.

                                                is neither elitist nor particularly buzzwordy, but a very legitimate addition to the discussion.

                                                1. 3

                                                  Honestly if it was a more broader discussion of dark mode, for sure, but when it’s a proposal to add code that supports dark mode to the website, it’s not really useful. People use iOS, others might prefer Chrome, Safari, etc. I get where you’re coming from, but there’s nothing reasonably actionable emerging from the statement, which itself is pretty hit and run - “Mobile Firefox has plugins” is pretty glib, all told.

                                                2. 4

                                                  You can’t use Firefox on iOS?

                                                  1. 11

                                                    Apple doesn’t let third party browsers use their own engines.

                                                    1. 10

                                                      That’s crazy

                                                  2. 3

                                                    iOS has a feature called “Smart Invert Colors.” On my iPhone 8, I configured triple clicking the home button to enable/disable it. Works great in Mobile Safari, and Lobste.rs looks fantastic in that mode.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Presumably it just inverts the colors of everything except for images?

                                                      1. 1

                                                        That is correct.

                                                    2. 1

                                                      With very few exceptions, most people chose to get an iPhone. This seems like a “them” problem, and isn’t elitist to push back on at all.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    This seems neat.

                                                    If I understand the release notes and the design document, running the self-contained executable for the first time will extract the contents of the archive (200+ files) to the disk. Not a terrible thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Very interesting. I do not see any additional files in the folder of the executable on either the Windows or Linux systems, but I’m sure they go into an appdev type temp folder. So maybe not a truly self contained exe, but pretty close.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      by the way, on debian you can just install the user-mode-linux package instead of compiling a kernel yourself

                                                      I had also uploaded the slirp code that debian ships, with the patches separate commits, to github: https://github.com/ailin-nemui/slirp however, it still needs to be compiled with gcc4 to produce working binaries

                                                      1. 3

                                                        How do you install GCC 4 on modern systems?

                                                        1. 4

                                                          Nix has packages for both GCC 4.8 and 4.9.

                                                      1. 23

                                                        I like dunking on Agile as much as the next guy, but this really doesn’t do it for me. It seems more oriented toward PMs and C-suits than programmers. Also it’s completely incoherent.

                                                        Here’s a quiz for you. How does the first line of the Agile Manifesto begin? No peeking. Don’t know? That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It says, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software….” … But the thing is, when people say that Agile pertains to the whole org, it’s revisionist history. It’s dishonest.

                                                        Good thing we don’t just projects by just their first line! There’s also 12 principles and everything.

                                                        Notice too it begins, “We are uncovering….” It does not say, “We have received from on high….” Don’t you think we’ve learned a thing or two since 2001?

                                                        So if things can change, why can’t the scope of Agile change too? Maybe we uncovered that it can go beyond software!

                                                        So find a good booklist. Follow some good blogs. Here’s a start: If you haven’t read Sense & Respond, Lean Enterprise, A Seat at the Table, and Everyone Is a Change Agent, I suggest you do so pronto. Your leaders too.

                                                        This isn’t an argument, this is just throwing some names out there! Why should I care about these books? Why should I trust you? Why read these and not The New Economy, Out of the Crisis, Making Software, and Data and Reality? I can list books, too.

                                                        Start reading posts by John Cutler, Melissa Perri, Bob Marshall, Allen Holub, Laura Klein, Erika Hall, Neil Killick, and branch out from there.

                                                        Any posts in particular you’re gonna link? No? Guess I have to look myself. Just some random names I picked out:

                                                        • Bob Marshall: Thinks software development is a solved problem.

                                                        • Melissa Perri: Agile coach.

                                                        • Neil Killick: Agile coach.

                                                        • Allen Holub: Agile coach. Also part of the #NoEstimates crowd. (disclaimer I’ve clashed with him a bunch on Twitter)

                                                        You give me four people for “beyond agile”, and three of them are heavy Agile fans.

                                                        Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books a year. How many books do your leaders read? And what are they reading? (HBR articles, Gartner reports, and Maeve Binchy novels don’t count.) Because, let’s face it, if your leaders are still trying to grok Scrum, then you’re firmly stuck in the 80s and 90s.

                                                        Seriously, can you link the study? And why should I care that CEOs read a whole lot?

                                                        This needs to be said: Agile is and always has been a local optimization providing little gain to the system. All Agile did was put software development teams unfairly under a microscope.

                                                        You just listed three people who apply Agile to whole organizations.

                                                        Theory vs. practice, remember? We need to be pragmatic. Agile in practice is almost always AINO.

                                                        Are you going to actually back this up? With studies, evidence, arguments, anecdotes, anything?

                                                        There are more important things to learn about anyway, including (but not limited to) Lean UX, Lean Enterprise, Beyond Budgeting, Theory of Constraints, Throughput Accounting, Design Thinking, DevOps, Marshall’s Organizational Therapy, and so forth.

                                                        Another wall of terms that really, really needs to actually link to resources. Like what’s DevOps doing there? It’s completely unrelated to everything else he’s saying.

                                                        Why, you might ask, would Lean UX top the list? Outcomes, that’s why, a concept largely popularized by Lean UX.

                                                        I’m pretty dang sure “Lean UX” did not, in fact, popularize the idea of “outcomes”.

                                                        And while we’re at it, we’ve got to stop treating dev teams like they work in a factory. We’re not making plastic cutlery. We’re creating software. We need to stop acting like we’re running a pizza joint. The same rules do not apply.

                                                        Five bucks says the author doesn’t know how to run a pizza joint. Ten says his stereotyped conception is extremely wrong.

                                                        (I’m tired of this idea that SE and Agile are magical, wholly unique things. Like we can’t learn from other fields.)

                                                        So…what’s the way out? It’s a smart focus on clear outcomes, not output, with roadmapped outcomes replacing planned milestones, with trusted product teams, not project teams, empowered to vet assumptions and discover the minimal path to value.

                                                        How is any of this different from Agile? How is anything he said before different from Agile? Isn’t this all Agile all over again?

                                                        1. 4

                                                          Great summary. These mostly decontextualized “thoughtpieces” that are anecdotal blurbs of one person’s thinking are really tiring. I’m a big fan of “literature review”-type articles disguised as rants, and this article could’ve been a great example of that. However, not putting in the minimum amount of effort to actually give a few links to the literature after this much name-dropping is an insult to the reader. I blame Medium and the modern culture of “personal branding” where producing content is priority #1, and the quality of the content is priority [integer overflow].

                                                          I’ve also made a habit of automatically dismissing anything said by any person who trivially belittles or dismisses other people’s hard work. It’s a sign of utter ignorance at best, and outright malice at worst.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            A rant about something can be useful. You’re doing a rant about something that is a rant about something, and that’s useful too.

                                                            To me, the most important message in the article is that Agile was a single team delivering software movement that became a co-opted brand attempting to solve larger problems. I think that is important for people to know.

                                                            Agile is both a triumph and a failure of marketing depending on how you look at it. Triumph because it became the dominant brand. Failure because a brand that means everything eventually means nothing of substance.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              it’s completely incoherent

                                                              I’m afraid I have to agree with you here. I found it very hard to read, and gave up after a while. It’s a like the author did a teensy bit too much coke before writing the post.

                                                            1. 41

                                                              Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

                                                              The current open source licenses have failed us completely when middlemen make billions while coders make less than minimum wage.

                                                              1. 11

                                                                Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

                                                                Probably because giving away something for free and then holding out your hat afterward in expectation of payment is a shitty business model. It barely works for some musicians, it doesn’t work at all as a faceless github account on the Internet.

                                                                If you want to make money doing what you love to do, you have to create a workable business model around it. And the thing about businesses is that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Just because you create a thing doesn’t mean you are suddenly entitled to receive a profit from it. The thing you make or do needs to have value to others, you have to prove that value to them, you need a system for delivering that value, and then make it easy for them to pay you for it. There are plenty of companies doing well enough with their own spin on a combination of open source with commercial opportunity. Like any other business, it’s not easy and many fail. But it is possible.

                                                                The current open source licenses have failed us completely

                                                                Incorrect, they work exactly as they were intended to work. The majority of open source software is given away with no expectation of anything tangible in return. Open source software (generally) gets written because someone had an itch to scratch and wanted to share the results or their work with a community. The authors may have many motivations for giving away their code (altruism, recognition, social interaction) but none of them are to make a bunch of money.

                                                                Finally, I have no opinion of the musl project but if they actually want donations, they’re doing a very good job of hiding that fact on their website.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Really? He makes only slightly less than half of what I make (and it probably goes a lot further for him), and I consider myself well-compensated by the standards of the amount of work I put in (if not well-compensated by the standards of this industry, where dev wages are hugely inflated).

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    You are not the only one.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      The current open source licenses have failed us completely

                                                                      Some licenses are way more permissive towards freeloading than others.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        That’s true, but there’s another twist to it, right?

                                                                        Giving away the source code freely and then having freeloading (e.g., not pushing changes upstream or sharing source code they link with) services live behind an inscrutable wall (network service, usually) makes catching violations very difficult. At least with a binary you can decompile it and get an idea of what libraries were used–there are no such easy fruit for web applications if even the slightest effort is put into it.

                                                                        1. 0

                                                                          Yes, SaaS make violations difficult to catch. However, licensing can make such “dark pattern” too risky or too unpractical to be used at a large scale.

                                                                          Unfortunately license adoption needs a critical mass is needed for this to work. If 90% of software stays under very permissive licenses freeloading will not stop.

                                                                      2. 1

                                                                        It depends on purchasing power, right?

                                                                        There are countries even in continental Europe where a small Patreon campaign can match a lawyer’s salary.

                                                                        Also a reason to not donate to larger projects through Patreon is that it’s impossible for the project management to accomodate everyone. People without that much disposable income, who would prefer to pay for specific features, even if they are on the roadmap but not a priority, may choose to keep their money instead.

                                                                        Or buy into a more commercial solution to get what they need without the open-source politics.

                                                                        1. -5

                                                                          A single lawyer can’t save a company several million in opex a month. I’ve have.

                                                                          I don’t quite understand why the go to example of people trying to explain to me why I should be getting paid less are jobs which have no inherent ability to scale, be it lawyer, doctor or building architect and whose only reason for being highly paid is a cartel keeping wages inflated. Here’s hoping we import enough Cuban doctors or Latvian lawyers that their wages reflect the difficulty of their job and the demand for it.

                                                                          1. 24

                                                                            Please don’t dismiss other people’s work just because you don’t understand what they do. Of course a single lawyer can save a company millions in operating expenses per month, and their profession has been doing it for far longer than we have.

                                                                            1. -5

                                                                              [[citation needed]]

                                                                              I have seen teams lawyers cost the opposing side tens of millions pretty easily, I have never seen them save money inside a company that wasn’t being sued. In short, a zero sum profession, with a high bar to entry and a marvelously developed class consciousness. Good job if you can get it. I only wish developers could develop that sense too, because we add actual value in the trillions.

                                                                              1. 13

                                                                                I have seen teams lawyers cost the opposing side tens of millions pretty easily, I have never seen them save money inside a company that wasn’t being sued.

                                                                                There’s a good reason you might not see it. By having proper policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, lawyers can save a company money by understanding the law and ensuring that they don’t get fined or sued. For example, breaking wage and hour laws in New York can be very expensive. One of the fines listed is $50 per employee per day. There are like 65,000 fast food workers alone in NYC. If all of the companies failed to comply, that would total over $3 mil / day in just fines. That’s before all the lawsuits that would probably also show up.

                                                                                Also interesting, if the guys racking up tens of millions lose their case, they might end up paying those tens of millions back to the people they sued because of laws regarding recovery of attorney’s fees, or counter-suits.

                                                                                In short, a zero sum profession, with a high bar to entry and a marvelously developed class consciousness. Good job if you can get it. I only wish developers could develop that sense too, because we add actual value in the trillions.

                                                                                I’m wary any time someone talks about how great software engineering is or developers are. Were the people who wrote the code to do spoofing and layering adding actual value? How about the engineers and developers behind the Clipper chip?

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  It’s not always a zero sum game, there are (unethical) agencies who make multi million euros a year by sending cease and desist letters for allegedly (and often false) copyright violations. Sadly, it took many years until this practice was prevent by the government in Germany, maybe because about half of the politicians are lawyers themselves.

                                                                                  Update: typo

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    You can bet Goodwill consulted a lawyer before implementing this cost-cutting strategy.

                                                                                2. 8

                                                                                  A single lawyer can’t save a company several million in opex a month.

                                                                                  Not to take away from your point, but they absolutely can: M&A, restructuring, downsizing, RightSizing™. And so on. I personally know a lawyer whose sole job is to fly around BoA offices around the world shitcanning [redundant] people.

                                                                                  I don’t quite understand why the go to example of people trying to explain to me why I should be getting paid less…

                                                                                  Because people like free stuff and one obvious way they get free stuff is if you work for free.

                                                                                  However if zig is successful, Andrew will likely get hired at a big marketing company like Google or Facebook where he’ll lead a charge to zig all the things with a nice fat salary doubled up with lots of RSU. It’s a bold move, and not for everyone, but using a “open source career” to bootstrap an enterprise retirement is easy enough to do that (while the markets are good) people are doing it on accident.

                                                                                  1. 16

                                                                                    That’s not my plan. I might consider working at a place like Mozilla but never Google or Facebook. I’m looking into starting my own non-profit company. Do you know how amazing it is to not have a manager?

                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                      Can I suggest you start a for-profit company instead and make a nice life for yourself? There’s nothing unethical about charging customers money for the tools you build. It’s worked quite nicely for me and I hate to see fellow OSS enthusiasts scrape by and play down their own value to society.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        I appreciate that you’re looking out for my interests, but why not start a non-profit company and make a nice life for myself and others? Non-profits are allowed to charge customers money for tools. There’s nothing stopping me from having a nice salary in a non-profit.

                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                          What is the benefit of a non-profit vs a privately owned company that can do what it wants? I suppose I can see why a programming language steward company might be a non profit.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            While @mperham is one of the best examples I know of for turning a profit and contributing to the community (maybe followed by Richard Hipp/sqlite), may I augment his suggestion with that of a Benefit corporation if that suits your priorities better?

                                                                                            It seems to me that the bigger problem for you (vs @mperham) is that almost everybody expects language toolchains to be free at this point (there are some exceptions, but most of those seem like legacy / gigantic enterprise work).

                                                                                            But either way, I hope to see you continue the great work!

                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                          Reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies:

                                                                                          Free winds and no tyranny for you? Freddie, sailor of the seas. You pay no rent. Free to go where you please. Then go. Go to that landless latitude, and good luck.

                                                                                          For if you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.

                                                                                          Lancaster Dodd

                                                                                        3. 0

                                                                                          Not to take away from your point, but they absolutely can: M&A, restructuring, downsizing, RightSizing™. And so on. I personally know a lawyer whose sole job is to fly around BoA offices around the world shitcanning [redundant] people.

                                                                                          I said single, any push like that would require a team of at least a dozen. On average, sure, a team of 50 lawyers can for a small investment of 10 million get you a couple of billion in roi.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            I’ve personally seen a single lawyer acting as in-house counsel and compliance officer in a heavily regulated space save the company millions in potential fines, and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands in filing and process fees.

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                                                                                    Unpopular opinion in the tech industry apparently, but I think this day is truly awful.

                                                                                    Every year, demonstrators march through London on Labour Day, with standard-bearers waving the Hammer and Sickle up high. Typical symbology also includes portraits of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin.

                                                                                    I live in Poland, where the Hammer and Sickle symbol is banned. Polish people aren’t quickly forgetting that Joseph Stalin is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler.

                                                                                    Perhaps May Day means something far less controversial to most people, but from where I stand it’s as bad as the KKK being a socially acceptable and even morally-righteous movement.

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                                                                                      Really? Stalin? Mayday was a popular movement in the west including many groups that were adamantly opposed to Russian style communism or even anything associated with Marx. Even in Polish history, the pre-ww2 socialists were a wide range of political ideas.

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                                                                                        Unfortunately, yes. It’s true.

                                                                                        If I have kids at some point, I’ll insist they take extra history lessons. It seems young adults today were truant.

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                                                                                          The MLKP is a fringe party:

                                                                                          Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (Turkish: Marksist-Leninist Komünist Partisi, abbreviated as MLKP) is an underground Hoxhaist communist party in Turkey.

                                                                                          (my emphasis)

                                                                                          The fact that they are freely demonstrating in London is less an example of creeping Stalinism than an example of the free speech rights of Western democracies.

                                                                                          As a person of the center-left, I find equating socialist movements with Stalinism as intellectually dishonest as equating far-right/populist parties automatically with Nazism.

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                                                                                            If you had flicked through the galleries that I linked to, you would have seen there is no shortage of Hammer and Sickle symbols all throughout every march.

                                                                                            My perception is that in the Western world, it is not socially acceptable to march through the streets brandishing a Swastika, whereas doing the same with the Hammer and Sickle is not met with the same opposition.

                                                                                            I hope it’s not me you were calling intellectually honest, because it’s not hard to research which symbolism is banned in which countries. Germany strictly prohibits the public display of Nazi symbols. The UK also prohibits the display of Nazi symbols if it is used to promote racial hatred — which is the only real reason why it would be displayed at a public rally.

                                                                                            Are Communist symbols banned in the UK? No.

                                                                                            Are Communist symbols banned in Germany? No.

                                                                                            There are more countries where Nazi symbols are banned while Communist symbols are not, but it is not my duty to list them all.

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                                                                                              The gallery site you linked to seems to be an umbrella organization for a lot of fringe leftist groups. May Day is not a public holiday in the UK. It is in Sweden, and the marches there are rote, almost obligatory.

                                                                                              I hope it’s not me you were calling intellectually honest, because it’s not hard to research which symbolism is banned in which countries.

                                                                                              My comment was not aimed at you, nor did it address the banning of certain symbols in various countries.

                                                                                              What I reacted to was the “tarring with the same brush” of proponents of workers (really, employee’s) rights, with the worst excesses of “real socialism”. If I call for an expansion of childcare outside the home, am I a Stalinist because the Soviet Union offered that?

                                                                                              As to Poland’s ban on Communist symbols, according to Wikipedia it was found to be unconstitutional in 2011: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bans_on_Communist_symbols#Poland. Is there a followup on this?

                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                The gallery site you linked to seems to be an umbrella organization for a lot of fringe leftist groups.

                                                                                                That doesn’t matter. These are real photos, of real people, in a real Western capital city.

                                                                                                May Day is not a public holiday in the UK.

                                                                                                That’s irrelevant. It’s May Day, not Communist Day. The point is that one has become tacitly associated with the other.

                                                                                                If I call for an expansion of childcare outside the home, am I a Stalinist because the Soviet Union offered that?

                                                                                                No, and that is still the point. One has become tacitly associated with the other. I am also a proponent of workers’ rights.

                                                                                                As to Poland’s ban on Communist symbols, according to Wikipedia it was found to be unconstitutional in 2011; is there a followup on this?

                                                                                                Yes. It says that in the paragraph you linked to.

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                                                                                                  That doesn’t matter. These are real photos, of real people, in a real Western capital city.

                                                                                                  I find that something to be proud of, not condemn. Freedom of expression and association are very important!

                                                                                                  One has become tacitly associated with the other.

                                                                                                  How, exactly?

                                                                                                  Regarding the Polish ban on the Hammer and Sickle, in your top level comment you wrote:

                                                                                                  I live in Poland, where the Hammer and Sickle symbol is banned.

                                                                                                  So this ban has been found to violate the constitution of Poland, and it’s still on the books and enforced?

                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                    I find that something to be proud of, not condemn. Freedom of expression and association are very important!

                                                                                                    …I don’t follow your reasoning here. It seemed as though you were trying to discard the photographic evidence I provided because the photos were hosted on a website with extreme views. That’s why I tried to explain that it doesn’t matter where the photos are hosted. What matters is that Communist symbols are freely displayed in public.

                                                                                                    How, exactly?

                                                                                                    I don’t understand how we’re failing to understand each other here.

                                                                                                    May Day isn’t necessarily meant to be all about Communism (thanks for making your Straw Man position clear, though). And yet, any given May Day march will include a congregation of Communists.

                                                                                                    So this ban has been found to violate the constitution of Poland, and it’s still on the books and enforced?

                                                                                                    I haven’t read the law; I have only read summaries of the law in various places online (BBC, Wikipedia, Russkiymir, etc.). Furthermore, I’m sure you’ve heard of an “amendment” before.

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      I am not discarding the evidence. I am just not that upset that people with different views (maybe even reprehensible ones) are out in public expressing those views.

                                                                                                      You are free to find these views reprehensible though, and to say so.

                                                                                                      I am aware that doing so was illegal for a long time in Poland’s history.

                                                                                                      May Day isn’t necessarily meant to be all about Communism. And yet, any given May Day march will include a congregation of Communists.

                                                                                                      The majority of marchers in May Day parades (here in Sweden, where I can observe directly) are not Communists. They are Social Democrats, Left Party, syndicalists, etc etc. Actual, literal Marxist-Leninists are a tiny minority in Sweden. And they have a right to express themselves too.

                                                                                                      I haven’t read the law; I have only read summaries of the law in various places online (BBC, Wikipedia, Russkiymir, etc.). Furthermore, I’m sure you’ve heard of an “amendment” before.

                                                                                                      I’m sorry, I assumed that you were fluent in Polish. I will try to find clarification elsewhere.

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        I am not discarding the evidence. I am just not that upset that people with different views (maybe even reprehensible ones) are out in public expressing those views.

                                                                                                        You are free to find these views reprehensible though, and to say so.

                                                                                                        Ok. Is your position on this universal? In other words, are you saying that you’re also fine with Nazis demonstrating in the streets? How about Sverigedemokraterna? Or Hamas? Or Hezbollah? The historical context of course being that Sweden profited from selling resources to Nazi Germany in WWII.

                                                                                                        If it is genuinely your view that anyone should be able to say anything, well, that is liberal indeed (or perhaps just immoral/cowardly, given how many people died as a result of Sweden declaring themselves “neutral” in the past). If that isn’t your view, well…

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                          I am well aware of the moral failings of Sweden, historically. I was not alive then, and had I been, I hope I would have the courage of the those Swedes that opposed the appeasement of Nazi Germany in Sweden.

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                                                                                                            Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                            That is not a position you hold in common with most of the Australian left, who seem to be increasingly adopting the ironically fascist behaviour of Antifa with regards to free speech they don’t like.

                                                                                                            I applaud your consistency.

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                                                                                                              Yes, of course I support these people demonstrating, as long as they follow the laws.

                                                                                                              Tell me, why was Charles Manson sentenced to death for seven counts of first-degree murder? He didn’t actually kill anyone.

                                                                                                              When Hezbollah — who’s primary political aim is the destruction of Israel and the extermination of all Jews — marched through London last year, they didn’t break any laws, right?

                                                                                                              The fact that you don’t see the naïveté of your statement is totally amazing.

                                                                                                              1. -1

                                                                                                                You are misrepresenting my views, and you are not arguing in good faith.

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                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                    I’ll be honest. I was pretty irritated by a lot of the comments here, and I made that tweet to blow off steam.

                                                                                                                    I am sorry if you feel targeted.

                                                                                                                    I have since engaged, in what I believe to be good faith, with you, and others, in this thread.

                                                                                                                    However, I do not see anywhere in my comments here, or in any of the tweets I’ve made today or before, support of the aims of Hezbollah, or of tiny splinter Marxist-Leninist parties, or of Sverigedemokraterna, or of Vänsterpartiet, for that matter.

                                                                                                                    All I have ever espoused is for these groups to have their say in public, in accordance with local laws.

                                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                                Personally, I see their presence (or the presence of analogous parties over Europe) as the residue of their strength from the 1930-50’s – they are the appendix of the left. Looking at them now, they seem neither a real threat not a real force.

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                                                                                                  Oh come on. May Day parades typically feature red flags and literal Communist Manifesto slogans. Here’s one from Melbourne, Australia:

                                                                                                  https://www.greenleft.org.au/sites/default/files/styles/glw_full_content/public/widerimages/p3%20May%20Day%20march%20in%20Melbourne%20in%202012..jpg

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    Did you mean to reply to the comment you replied to, or to the one by @vyodaiken above it?

                                                                                                    Anyway, the red flag predates Communism in Russia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_(politics)

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                                                                                                      I was actually aiming for the post by @gerikson.

                                                                                                      And yes, the red flag does. The swastika pre-dates NAZIsm, too, by thousands of years. But I’m under no illusions about why it gets waved at far-right rallies.

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                                                                                                        OK, that’s me, I apologize for missing the threading.

                                                                                                        It’s unclear to me what your “Oh come on” comment refers to. Is your position that displaying a red flag means that one espouses Marxism-Leninism? That’s a fringe position.

                                                                                                        I live in Sweden, and have seen many May Day parades. The red flag is prominently displayed in all marches, which are organized by the full spectrum of parties on the political Left here. They carry the same sort of symbolism as the Swedish flag, i.e. a benign feeling of belonging.

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          Huh. Maybe Sweden is different to Australia then (beyond the absence of giant spiders, snakes, kangaroos, and sunshine ;) ).

                                                                                                          Seriously, here, it’s a far left thing, and not at all representative of a benign feeling of belonging. There’s even a website: https://redflag.org.au/category/theory-history

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                                                                                                            To be honest, I believe that some of the graying bearers of these standards would be thrilled to hear that someone still finds them even slightly threatening.

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                                                                                                              It’s not about them, it’s about the idea they’re marching for.

                                                                                                              Many millions of innocent human beings were killed during the 20th Century by people trying to implement those ideas.

                                                                                                              What I am scared of is what will happen if they get another chance to try. What I am scared of is that people may have forgotten the history of Communism - or, even worse, may know and not care.

                                                                                                              Greybeards waving flags don’t scare me. Greybeards raising the next generation of Stasi, Cheka, or Santebal do scare me.

                                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                                            Judging by the amount of Antifa graffiti I’ve seen in Göteborg, I’d say left-wing extremism is normalised in Sweden.

                                                                                                            I lived in Sweden for more than enough years to be a citizen, I spent most of my career there, I speak the language, I still have many friends there, and I still visit often. I’m not deluded about the state of that country.

                                                                                                            Naziism is a fringe position in Sweden. I used to be a musician in a rock band and I have played at the Hells Angels headquarters in Gunnilse, so yes, I have met some people with “fringe positions”.

                                                                                                            Communism is not a fringe position in Sweden. It’s common, and it’s socially acceptable.

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                                                                                                              Gothenburg prides itself in its radical traditions.

                                                                                                              For the sake of clarification - would you consider a member of Vänsterpartiet to be a communist?

                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                Gothenburg prides itself in its radical traditions.

                                                                                                                You’re using a euphemism for violence and oppression here.

                                                                                                                For the sake of clarification - would you consider a member of Vänsterpartiet to be a communist?

                                                                                                                I’d consider anyone influenced by Gudrun Schyman to be extraordinarily naïve.

                                                                                                                I’m not sure how else to answer this question; I don’t agree with collectivism so I don’t want to make a blanket statement about a large group of people. Also, Vänsterpartiet historically has had ‘Communist’ in its name.

                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                    Aside from the one from the tiny German MKLP or whatever it is, they all seem to be trade union banners. The Ivana Hoffman story, which I had never heard about before, is so odd: she was a German woman of South African descent, who belonged to a turkish communist party and died in Syria fighting with YPG Kurdish fighters who are some kind of anarchists. Hard to draw much of a lesson from that except that it’s a strange world. But for the vast majority of UK may day marchers, I doubt Joe Stalin is much of a hero.

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                                                                                                      I have never suggested it is the majority, nor do I believe it is the majority. The problem is that it is seemingly socially acceptable to declare oneself a Communist and espouse those views.

                                                                                                      Frankly, it seems unjust that I should sit and collate evidence of the use of Hammer and Sickle symbols throughout marches in the Western world. We all know this is normalised.

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                                                                                                        It’s legal. In the west, communist parties are tiny splinter groups, with no more influence than flat earth societies. Certainly they are less threatening to free speech and human rights than, say, the anti-communist Polish government or the far right groups that are increasingly enaged in acts of terror in the USA.

                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                          In fairness I think you’ll find both left- and right-wing groups are increasingly attacking freedom of expression. “De-platforming” is largely a tactic of the left, and is quite successful, especially at Universities. Quite a sad regression from the days of the https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement.

                                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                                            I don’t think universities need to give everyone a platform - and of course they do not. The question is whether their normal selection standards should exclude people who deny the humanity of other citizens. Radio Rwanda is not free speech, it is incitement to genocide. I agree with Karl Popper

                                                                                                            Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              But we’re not talking (at least exclusively) about such people. I’m talking about students who violently shut down legitimate conservative or right-wing speakers. Ben Shapiro. Richard Dawkins. Jordan Peterson. We’re not talking about angry students shutting down literal NAZIs, we’re talking about student bodies literally rioting to silence speech they don’t like.

                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                They are not advocating censorship, they are arguing that people like Peterson not be given the honor of a platform at a university both because of their repellent views and their mockery of all the things a university is supposed to stand for. Obviously none of Peterson, Dawkins, Shapiro have actually had their free speech rights limited. In fact Peterson’s moronic point of view is hard to avoid.

                                                                                                                “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”

                                                                                                                It would be funny if it were not for how many losers take it seriously. Compare to the US right taking AK47s to synagogues.

                                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                                  all the things a university is supposed to stand for.

                                                                                                                  Universities used to stand for freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

                                                                                                                  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement

                                                                                                                  Students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    Freedom of speech does not involve offering any outsider to the university a speaking platform and it certainly does not include providing a platform for people who deny the humanity of others. Basically, everyone knows this is not a free speech issue at all - it is an effort to force universities to act as publicists for particularly nasty people who have wealthy backers.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      people who deny the humanity of others

                                                                                                                      This is newspeak.

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                                                                                                                        Like Richard Dawkins or Jordan Peterson? Both are professional academics.

                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                              It’s legal.

                                                                                                              …And? It’s legal to beat your wife in much of Africa and the Middle East. Does that make it ok?

                                                                                                              In the west, communist parties are tiny splinter groups, with no more influence than flat earth societies.

                                                                                                              I can only hope.

                                                                                                              Certainly they are less threatening to free speech and human rights than, say, the anti-communist Polish government or the far right groups that are increasingly enaged in acts of terror in the USA.

                                                                                                              That’s debatable, hence why I am debating you. The Polish government are going to have to work a bit harder if they want their death toll to reach anywhere near that of Communism.

                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                It’s right to have free speech for unpopular or even repulsive opinions. It’s wrong to beat people. How hard is that?

                                                                                                                That’s debatable, hence why I am debating you. The Polish government are going to have to work a bit harder if they want their death toll to reach anywhere near that of Communism.

                                                                                                                I have a lot of faith in them and the other right wing European governments.

                                                                                                            3. 3

                                                                                                              I am not denying that people are displaying the hammer and sickle in May Day parades in Sweden, in the UK or elsewhere.

                                                                                                              I am denying that this is a huge problem.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                Would you say the same if they were waving Swastika flags?

                                                                                                                I know you think both should be legal; so do I, as a matter of fact.

                                                                                                                I just don’t think you’d be as quick to dismiss complaints of NAZI marchers as you are to dismiss complaints about Communists.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  I would say it was an equal problem in 1930s Europe.

                                                                                                                  Today, the “star” (no pun intended) of the hammer-and-sickle crowd is falling, while that of the swastika crowd is growing.

                                                                                                                  If I ever met someone who literally thought that Stalin’s treatment of the kulak class or the Holomodor was justified, I would treat that person just as I would someone who espouses Hitler’s views on Jews, homosexuals, and Communists - with disgust. But tolday, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                                  In summary - today, Communists are (mostly) harmless - at least in Sweden. Nazis are not. I am vigilant for any change though.

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    But tolday, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                                    In summary - today, Communists are (mostly) harmless - at least in Sweden. Nazis are not. I am vigilant for any change though.

                                                                                                                    We have totally opposite views on this, and we may both be suffering confirmation bias in this regard. However, I have tried — by providing links to photos/video, and commenting on laws regarding the illegality of symbolism in the West — to support my view with some evidence.

                                                                                                                    If you genuinely believe that support for Naziism is growing while support for Communism is shrinking — which, again, I have seen no evidence to suggest this is the case — then it at least helps me empathise with your position.

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                                                                                                                      Thanks for clarifying your position.

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                                                                                                                        I’d like to thank both you and @jgt for maintaining a genuine effort to reach an understanding of each other’s opinions. It’s nice to see, especially on such a heated thread.

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                                                                                                                        Scandanavia has a recent history of far right terrorism.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          While this isn’t about naziism, the rise of far-right parties is definitely linked to it. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2016/05/24/the-rise-of-the-far-right-in-europe

                                                                                                                          This progress hasn’t slowed down. Meanwhile, far left parties seem to have disappeared in about the same time as the Soviet Union did and haven’t come back. We just have different kinds of moderate left in its wake.

                                                                                                                          Your point that some symbols are prohibited and some are not is of course to the point. The obvious reason is that nazis lost the last big war and communists (amongst others) won. The less obvious and possibly more subjective reason is that far leftism (in the sense of communism) has redeeming qualities while far rightism (when we are talking about naziism, not modern far-right parties) has none.

                                                                                                                          I mean sure, communism sucked, but mostly because it didn’t work. Naziism would’ve sucked if it had worked. I have to find incompetence to be a lesser evil than … well, evil.

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                                                                                                                            1. That article is paywalled, so I can’t read it in full.

                                                                                                                            2. I’m not sure what to make of some of the descriptions used in the not-paywalled excerpt and in other publications. Parties are far-right because they’re anti-migrant? Poland is often described as being anti-migrant or anti-refugee — this despite Poland having taken in more refugees than almost any (if not just any) other European country. The false perception stems from the fact that the vast majority of refugees in Poland are Ukrainian, and not from MENA. There is historical context for this, as well as an overwhelming deluge of current events.

                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                              Parties are far-right because they’re anti-migrant?

                                                                                                                              Do you seriously not see the similarities between those parties and the national socialists of early 1900s? Do you think all supporters of national socialists in that time were evil?

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                All I’m suggesting is that it’s not that simple. The excerpt that I could read of the link you posted (and several other publications, and the general state of sociopolitical discourse today) suggested that any society which is supposedly anti-migrant/refugee is inherently far-right. It is a fairly commonly held view that both the Polish government and its people are anti-migrant/refugee, and are therefore racist. People on this website — in this very discussion thread — have essentially said the same.

                                                                                                                                It is a common tactic of the authoritarian left — and I am politically left-leaning myself — to associate any idea/society they don’t like with racism. It is an effective tactic because nobody on either side of the debate is arguing that racism is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                And it just isn’t that simple. As I already noted, Poland has taken more refugees than [almost?] any other European country.

                                                                                                                                I can’t comment specifically on the parties mentioned in the excerpt of the article you linked to. I am not denying the existence of the far-right in Europe — or anywhere, for that matter. What I am arguing against is the common reductio ad absurdum argument made that “oh, society x doesn’t like ideology y, therefore they are racist”. The excerpt of the article you linked hinted at this sentiment, or at least I read that interpretation into it.

                                                                                                                                Do you think all supporters of national socialists in that time were evil?

                                                                                                                                I have said it before in this discussion thread, and I will say it again. I am against collectivism, so no.

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                                                                                                                          But today, the fact is it’s much more likely I would meet someone with latter views than the former - or a substantial subset of them, at least.

                                                                                                                          That’s not been my experience, at all. I have met many people sympathetic to Communist philosophy - several in the replies to this lobste.rs story, in fact! I see Communist symbology and rhetoric on a near-daily basis. Melbourne recently hosted a Marxist conference, I see young folks wearing Che and red star clothing, and colleagues who routinely describe Communism as a “good idea in principle”.

                                                                                                                          In contrast, I have only once seen literal fascists in Melbourne, and they were being counter-protested by a lot more of the Hammer and Sickle crowd outside a courtroom. The last time a person explicitly espoused sympathy for Fascism to me was in the mid 90s.

                                                                                                                          Maybe this is another difference between Australia (or at least, Melbourne), and Sweden?

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                                                                                                                    I think the writing on the MKLP banner is Turkish.

                                                                                                                  3. 0

                                                                                                                    Communist and Fascist imagery are two of the very, very few things I’d draw the line at being allowed in my home. I expect my kids to understand why by the time they’re old enough to buy their own clothes.

                                                                                                                2. 12

                                                                                                                  Unpopular opinion in the tech industry apparently

                                                                                                                  No, the tech industry in general leans right on economic issues, and you know that. It’s just unpopular on this site, which is great. Stalinism is inexcusable, but Marxism has been an indispensable ally to the working class throughout history.

                                                                                                                  There are many worker’s struggles happening in Poland right now: https://www.marxist.com/militancy-grows-over-first-week-of-polish-teachers-strike.htm

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                                                                                                                    No, the tech industry in general leans right on economic issues, and you know that. It’s just unpopular on this site,

                                                                                                                    Totally true.

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                                                                                                                    The AskHistorians subreddit has really well researched posts on these topics that are nonetheless accessible to non-historians or non-political-philosophers:

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                                                                                                                      There’s also the abridged version.

                                                                                                                    2. 6

                                                                                                                      Thank you for sharing your experience.

                                                                                                                      One of the things to keep in mind for all of us advocating for ourselves and our fellow workers is that the messaging we use and the shibboleths we touch on can lose us the support of people who have had different histories or experiences.

                                                                                                                      It is hard to, for example, talk to workers in red states about things they should agree on if we carelessly use pictures that they feel (rightly) threatened by. We can’t talk to people like you if we also invoke Soviet imagery.

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                                                                                                                        This isn’t a subjective issue that can be explained away by appealing to historical or situational relativism.

                                                                                                                        May Day celebrations worldwide prominently feature Communist rhetoric (“our fellow workers” included), Marxist and Communist organisations, Marxist and Communist banners and symbols, etc.

                                                                                                                        This also isn’t a matter of invoking the wrong imagery. Supporters of actual mass murdering dictators turn up to your events with their flags and leaflets, and are accepted with open arms.

                                                                                                                        Anyone familiar with the death toll and barbarism associated with Communism should be appalled, every bit as appalled as if “workers groups” allowed Swastika-waving NAZIs to join their parades.

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                                                                                                                          The history of the communists in the West is very different from that in Eastern Europe/Russia or China. And “fellow workers” is labor union language. France commemorates a number of Communists who took part in the resistance against the Nazis and, after the war, participated in electoral politics.

                                                                                                                          1. -1

                                                                                                                            The history of the communists in the West is very different from that in Eastern Europe/Russia or China.

                                                                                                                            Yes, in no small part because they never gained power.

                                                                                                                            Are you arguing that, if they had, the result wouldn’t have been a Mao, Stalin, Tito, or Pol Pot? Curious as to your reasons why.

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                                                                                                                              No, I’m pretty sure the result would have been terrible. But it didn’t happen. Here in the USA, we have armed right wing nuts machine gunning synagogues. In Europe, between Orban and the SS descended party ruling Austria, the 1930s seem on their way back. It’s hard to take some 11 person One True Communist Party Marxist Lenninist Whatever marching around Clapham with pictures of Uncle Joe as anything but a kind of unpleasant joke.

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                                                                                                                          We can’t talk to people like you if we also invoke Soviet imagery.

                                                                                                                          Finding yourself with an audience that’s comfortable with Soviet imagery should probably prompt some reflection.

                                                                                                                          1. -1

                                                                                                                            It’s not just that they find themselves with that audience, the Soviet flag-wavers literally turn up to their celebrations, and are welcomed. In many cases they are the organisers.

                                                                                                                            https://www.greenleft.org.au/sites/default/files/styles/glw_full_content/public/widerimages/p3%20May%20Day%20march%20in%20Melbourne%20in%202012..jpg

                                                                                                                            Red flags aplenty, and a literal Communist Manifesto slogan on the banner. Every bit as abhorrent as a march of flag-waving NAZIs, and with a worldwide death toll an order of magnitude greater.

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                                                                                                                              This is maliciously dishonest.

                                                                                                                              Any fair criticism of any ideology will separate its implementation from its thought. Fascism and national-socialism have things like violence, war, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia prominent in their ideology; communism is inherently democratic.

                                                                                                                              While the crimes of the so-called communist states of the 20th century should certainly not be dismissed, communists and socialists were crucial to the defeat of mid-20th century Nazism, played a key role in the development of modern-day workers’ & women’s rights, and had significant impact in the defeat of ISIL/Daesh – among others.

                                                                                                                              You can be a Marxist and a communist while being disgusted by what was done by Stalin; you can hardly be a Nazi while being disgusted by what was done by Hitler.

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                                                                                                                                Any fair criticism of any ideology will separate its implementation from its thought.

                                                                                                                                This makes very little sense to me. If ideologies were to stay mere thoughts, no one would be concerned. But ideologies are enacted and can, and should, therefore be judged by the outcomes of their implementations.

                                                                                                                                While not blatantly horrific like National Socialism, Communism is inherently destructive and violent, as every practical expression of it has shown.

                                                                                                                                All that aside, to use the iconography of a particular implementation of Communism that resulted in arguably the worst atrocities in human history is unforgivable and shows either extreme naivety or malice.

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                                                                                                                                  There is a difference between an ideology where {Bad Thing} is a postulate, and one where it isn’t; this fundamental presence or absence of {Bad Thing} should influence the way we think about them.

                                                                                                                                  People have used violence to fight for things like democracy and workers’ rights, yet those are still (hopefully) considered to be good things on their own. You can take a look at a relevant encyclopedic definition to see that violence and destruction are not inherent to communism unless you subscribe to schools of thought which think of taxation and redistribution of wealth as violence.

                                                                                                                                  I do agree that Stalin should not be publicly glorified, and do not fully understand the motivation of the people who do so.

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                                                                                                                                    You can take a look at a relevant encyclopedic definition to see that violence and destruction are not inherent to communism unless you subscribe to schools of thought which think of taxation and redistribution of wealth as violence.

                                                                                                                                    Guilty as charged :) A couple of schools, in point of fact. But I don’t think you’re correct that subscription to those schools is a pre-requisite.

                                                                                                                                    One can determine that violence and destruction are inherent to Communism regardless, by observing that a) state Communism implies seizure of the means of production and the abolition of private property, and realising that b) that will require literal murderous violence to achieve. I think that most people who favour partial wealth redistribution through compulsory taxation would blanch at the treatment of the Kulaks.

                                                                                                                                    Communism on a small scale actually seems to be workable where it remains peaceful and voluntary, and capable of co-existence with other political systems (like capitalism). Is that what you’re getting at, here? The voluntary, peaceful formation of small communes?

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                                                                                                                                      Yes there is a difference, but I’d argue that it is relatively insignificant. If a “peaceful” ideology routinely leads to horrendous outcomes, you have to seriously consider that it is, perhaps, not peaceful at all.

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                                                                                                                                    You can be a Marxist and a communist while being disgusted by what was done by Stalin; you can hardly be a Nazi while being disgusted by what was done by Hitler.

                                                                                                                                    There’s no functional difference.

                                                                                                                                    Every Communist state, ever, has either started out as, or has become, a totalitarian dictatorship. Hundreds of millions of people have died as a result. The USSR, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia (described as the worst genocide in history, which is a pretty high bar), China, … the death toll is staggering.

                                                                                                                                    One could perhaps be a good NAZI or a Communist in the first half of the 1900s, before it became apparent just what those ideologies led to in practice. That hasn’t been true since the Holocaust, or the death of Stalin.

                                                                                                                                    Perhaps to turn the question around: as a Marxist and a Communist, can you point to any leader of a Communist state with whom you’re not (on balance) disgusted?

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                                                                                                                                      Again, this is maliciously dishonest. The postulates of communism, fascism, and national-socialism as political ideologies are fairly clear.

                                                                                                                                      The national-socialist ideology is anti-democratic, antisemitic, eugenic, and social-darwinist. Fascism is, at best, anti-democratic and militarist. Communism is about redistribution of wealth, workers’ self-management, and ownership of the means of production.

                                                                                                                                      Most so-called “Communist states” you mention do not consider themselves to actually be communist, but rather a transitionary entity on the way to communism / socialism. To turn the question around: as an anti-Marxist and an anti-communist, can you point to any leader of any state with whom you’re not disgusted?

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                                                                                                                                        Repeatedly calling me maliciously dishonest is the sort of ad-hominem attack that, elsewhere on the site, people are proposing a flag / downvote mechanism to deal with. Please watch your tone.

                                                                                                                                        To clarify your answer, are you saying that there have never been any Communist states? Because you haven’t answered my question. Can you? Also, if those states are all transitional steps towards “true” Communism (the withering away of the state, if my memory serves?), then that seems to imply that the transition to Communism demands the deaths of hundreds of millions of men, women, and children.

                                                                                                                                        To answer yours: yes, on balance. Margaret Thatcher is a good starting point. Definitely a mixed bag (heh), but better than any of her contemporaries that I’m aware of, and a boon to England. I’m certainly more a fan of hers than a detractor, much less someone who is disgusted by her.

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                                                                                                                                          I have never called you maliciously dishonest, but rather your writing and your arguments. I have also tried to explain why I think so, even after you’ve ignored a large part of my attempts to do so. That is certainly not an ad hominem attack.

                                                                                                                                          There have indeed been no communist societies fully consistent with what Marxist thought considers to be a “full” communist society. There have been various attempts at more local and non-nation-state levels, with various degrees of success.

                                                                                                                                          The transition to communism does certainly not demand the deaths of hundreds of millions of people no more than a transition to a liberal state democracy does, yet some of them end up in bloodshed. There are various ways to transition, some more violent and disgusting, some less.

                                                                                                                                          On balance, I am not completely disgusted by Josip Broz Tito.

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                                                                                                                                            There have indeed been no communist societies fully consistent with what Marxist thought considers to be a “full” communist society.

                                                                                                                                            In the same sense that there have been no capitalist societies fully consistent with either Austrian or Objectivist definitions of capitalism. The closest we’ve achieved has been mixed, but mostly free, economies. New Zealand for a decade or two following the 1984 reforms is actually a good example. The closest you’ve achieved has been … totalitarian Yugoslavia? Really?

                                                                                                                                            The national-socialist ideology is anti-democratic, antisemitic, eugenic, and social-darwinist. Fascism is, at best, anti-democratic and militarist.

                                                                                                                                            Yes. I’d argue that it also explicitly embodies a degree of personal leadership - a.k.a. the Fuherprinzip - that was never a part of Marx’s doctrine. Discussion elsewhere ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8310 ) has led me to think that this is possibly the most significant difference between Marxism (at least in theory) and Fascism. The enormity of Stalin’s rule shocked people like Yevtushenko; that sort of rule was an explicit feature of Fascism.

                                                                                                                                            Communism is about redistribution of wealth

                                                                                                                                            … which in practice means violent revolution (because that redistribution is most certainly not universally welcomed).

                                                                                                                                            workers’ self-management

                                                                                                                                            That’s good business sense ;). Genuine empowerment and autonomy at work makes every kind of good sense, from personal well-being to profit.

                                                                                                                                            , and ownership of the means of production.

                                                                                                                                            I’m personally not against ownership of the means of production. Hell, I work for a company that literally promotes that, and also distributes half of its profits among its employees. I could leave tomorrow, taking with me my share of the profits, and quite literally the tools I’ve used to generate it.

                                                                                                                                            The problem is, Communism isn’t about ownership of the means of production, it’s about seizing it. To quote Marx himself (and I don’t think I’m taking this out of context; please correct me if I am):

                                                                                                                                            “There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

                                                                                                                                            This is particularly relevant to the leader you mention, Tito.

                                                                                                                                            I’ll grant you that he’s definitely the best of the Communist dictators. He was also definitely a war hero, having directly participated in the overthrow of NAZI rule. And I suspect that unlike a lot of other Communist dictators he genuinely wanted the best for the Yugoslavian people; witness his partial adoption of free markets later in his rule.

                                                                                                                                            But he, too, was a totalitarian dictator, and was at his worst in the first ten years of his rule, while pretty literally following Marx’s advice above. He built a secret police that routinely oppressed political opponents (including other Communists), and perpetuated a string of human-rights abuses. Even after toning it down some, the oppression continued, and there were no free elections.

                                                                                                                                            I’m afraid I agree with Marx, here (as I do on a number of points, despite being an anti-Marxist). “Murderous death agonies” and “bloody birth throes” really do characterise the establishment of Communism, even in its transitional forms.

                                                                                                                                            Edited to add:

                                                                                                                                            communism is inherently democratic.

                                                                                                                                            In which case, why has every Communist state prohibited free elections?

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                                                                                                                                              Somewhat tangentially, I’d like to point out that based on the example of New Zealand reforms, I’m quite pleased we haven’t achieved this vision of “true capitalism”. As it is, we’re still dealing with the consequences, and will continue to do so for a long time. There is an obscene amount of poverty, deprivation, and environmental destruction in New Zealand thanks to the delusions of free market economists.

                                                                                                                                              New Zealand’s economic reform program was a failure.

                                                                                                                                              Personally, I feel frustrated with how such discussions are always about the dichotomy between communism and capitalism. Neither model has worked in practice, capitalism has been enormously destructive (see climate change), we need to move on to better socio-economic models altogether instead of being fixated on two obsolete options.

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                                                                                                                                        Every Communist state, ever, has either started out as, or has become, a totalitarian dictatorship. Hundreds of millions of people have died as a result.

                                                                                                                                        Singapore is a police state. It started out rough as lots of revolutions do. They mostly take care of their citizens from what I’ve seen. I have some insiders that send me encrypted emails talking about the corruption, people dropping due to mandatory workouts, indoctrination in schools, questionable taxes, and so on. What they tell me barely compares to prior states. Actually, they’re better off than lots of people over here who can’t get a job or benefits, or work multiple jobs without health insurance. They also don’t have to go into tons of debt to got to school. If my info is correct, the average person in that dictatorship might be objectively better off than tons of people in capitalist U.S..

                                                                                                                                        You’re also leaving off the cost of capitalism, esp imperialist capitalism. To support its capitalism, the U.S. military has invaded a ridiculous number of countries. In War is a Racket, Smedley Butler admits most of those deaths were to support some corporate interests back home. The War in Iraq alone supposedly led to 250,000 to 1 million innocent civilians dead depending on which source you get from your numbers. The food, chemical, drug, and medical industries combined with the corporate media are driving the leading causes of death for Americans. Since salt and sugar are as addictive as delicious, most Americans can’t quit eating the stuff even if they wanted to. As in this thread, their jobs have also steadily occupied more of their time, demanding more, stressing them out more, and always giving less to shift that money to capitalist executives. Data coming in shows how damaging the stress and sleep deprivation is on the workers’ mental and physical health, maybe even kids down the line.

                                                                                                                                        So, capitalism is highly damaging with military-back capitalism torturing, maiming, and/or murdering all kinds of people. Better than alternatives but still does damage. I don’t see you equating with worst of capitalism any mention on Lobsters of jobs, nice acts of government, symbols like money, and so on. Likewise, you probably would’ve have left if you equated programming with burnout, apathy, and freeloading that we see in its worst implementations. One can, as you do on other topics, discuss reasonable implementations of abstract ideas without using or doing the worst. The others are saying you can do that with this topic, too, like you do with others. Especially communism which had decent ideas and beneficial influences but utterly failed in practice due to corrupt or evil leadership.

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                                                                                                                                          Especially communism which had decent ideas and beneficial influences but utterly failed in practice due to corrupt or evil leadership.

                                                                                                                                          Every time. Every single time, over the course of more than a century.

                                                                                                                                          What does it tell you about the “decent ideas” of Communism that literally every attempt to implent it at scale has lead to political terror, mass murder (often in the millions), and a debased totalitarian leadership? How are ideas “decent” if they a) don’t work, and b) kill millions of innocents again and again while their adherents keep trying them?

                                                                                                                                          Yes, somewhat-capitalist countries have committed atrocities (because, as with communism, we’ve never achieved true capitalism). But the worst of these pale in comparison with the worst of communism, and the best… well, so far on this thread we’re comparing New Zealand with Communist Yugoslavia.

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                                                                                                                                            “Every time. Every single time, over the course of more than a century.”

                                                                                                                                            Same with capitalism. Every single one became a plutocracy doing tons of damage inside and outside.

                                                                                                                                            “What does it tell you about the “decent ideas” of Communism that literally every attempt to implent it at scale has lead to political terror, mass murder (often in the millions), and a debased totalitarian leadership?”

                                                                                                                                            I’m not sure it’s ever been implemented. Like with capitalism, it looks like most of the ambitious people who can take power over countries do the kinds of things you describe regardless of model. They promote that they’ll do one thing while doing different, evil things. That means each model that allows this must be called out for it. That followed by a way for the citizens to hold the government in check regardless of what kinds of policies it follows day to day. Honest-enough leadership, accountability for them, and a feedback loop so they know what effects they’re having.

                                                                                                                                            You’re obsessively calling out specific ones equating any piece of them with the full evils of their worst implementations while denying anything remotely positive in them. Then, you’re ignoring the others on capitalist side or letting people have a balanced view of them. This is very inconsistent. If you hate evils you describe, you’d really be calling out military-backed capitalism in the West. That they maybe did less of those evils didn’t mean they didn’t do a massive amount of avoidable evil. They certainly did.

                                                                                                                                            So, we can give due credit for the good, bad, and (most often) “doesn’t matter what random people are doing” of all of these philosophies. Or negate all details, comparisons, possibilities, etc if some version or a lot of them were evil as you’re doing for just a few.

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                                                                                                                                              Same with capitalism. Every single one became a plutocracy doing tons of damage inside and outside.

                                                                                                                                              Except for the rather significant fact that it is the only system in human history that has moved, and continues to move, people to levels of wealth above mere subsistence. Capitalism certainly has its flaws, but it also has huge benefits that are actually observed in the real world. And compared to the slaughter of 10s or 100s of millions of people, those flaws are positively mild.

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                                                                                                                                                What some of us have been arguing against is the claim the the worst parts of communism mean nothing symbolic or good about it counts. That expressing the slightest thing about it negates all the good because of the bad. The author doesn’t apply that logic to capitalism, which I’ve shown is also horrific on its bad sign. So, they need to get consistent slamming anything tying into capitalism or backtrack admitting both the good and bad of communism can be considered.

                                                                                                                                                “And compared to the slaughter of 10s or 100s of millions of people, those flaws are positively mild.”

                                                                                                                                                One of my links showed capitalism slaughtering millions to tens of millions of people. They do it through a mix of direct action and using their money/spies to incite others to do it for them to reach their capitalist goals on international level. Without their input, much of it might have not happened.

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                                                                                                                                                  What some of us have been arguing against is the claim the the worst parts of communism mean nothing symbolic or good about it counts.

                                                                                                                                                  What are the good parts of Communism that have been seen it any of its practical instantiations? This is a serious question - perhaps my reading has been too much on the horrific side.

                                                                                                                                                  One of my links showed capitalism slaughtering millions to tens of millions of people.

                                                                                                                                                  Which is one or two orders or magnitude less bad than Communism. Not to mention the millions of lives that market-based economic systems have saved. I’m under no illusion that Capitalism is “good”; but I’m pretty confident based on the natural experiments we’ve seen throughout the 20th century that it’s a damn sight better than Communism.

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                                                                                                                                                    re good parts of Communism

                                                                                                                                                    Nikola already gave a few examples:

                                                                                                                                                    “communists and socialists were crucial to the defeat of mid-20th century Nazism, played a key role in the development of modern-day workers’ & women’s rights, and had significant impact in the defeat of ISIL/Daesh – among others.”

                                                                                                                                                    I didn’t spend a lot of time tracing the history of communism given even studying it was discouraged in my country. I do wonder if it had any inspiration for socialism in more democratic countries where people got education, healthcare, and safety nets. Capitalism was initially opposed to all of that unless they had money. Then, their money would be minimized while cost of that stuff maximized. Monarchies varied considerably. So, I’m not sure where socialists’ inspirations came from. Work looking into.

                                                                                                                                                    re capitalism better than communism

                                                                                                                                                    Hey, I said that! Clearly capitalism is a better experience for the citizens in most cases.

                                                                                                                                                    Still, I should probably add to the litany of crimes that imperialist capitalism also installed or supported the kinds of regimes you’re talking about to back their domestic agendas. Often just letting specific companies push more product in more countries or benefit from slave labor or lack of safety/environmental regulations there. So far, capitalism works hand in hand with external fascists and dictators since they’re good for profit maximization in domestic businesses. The people, not those businesses, pay the costs of the manipulations and wars.

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                                                                                                                                                  For example, it has raised the very real prospect of eliminating extreme poverty:

                                                                                                                                                  https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=770

                                                                                                                                                  Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power). In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.

                                                                                                                                                  Capitalism did this. During the same period, Communism reduced several previously wealthy countries to ruins, and led to the murder of millions (many by outright starvation, in a macabre contrast to the growing wealth of the free world).

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                                                                                                                                                I think the communist parties have often had a dual nature - with many members honestly hoping to improve the world and often doing good things. But the nature of the ideology seems to almost always produce ugly dictatorships - something that Marx’s opponents in other left wing movements predicted way back in the 1870s.

                                                                                                                                                Atrocity comparisons are pointless. Did the Belgian Congo pale in comparison to Stalins crimes? Not for the people who were victims, I bet.

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                                                                                                                                                  Violent revolution has almost never ended well for the people. It installs leaders who are, by definition, willing to use violence to enforce their way of doing things.

                                                                                                                                                  My reading of 20th century history shows that founding a revolution in political violence is a near-guaranteed way to produce a brutal dictator.

                                                                                                                                                  Non-violent revolutions, by contrast, produce a healthy government about half of the time (guesstimate based on my readings; I haven’t actually counted them).

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                                                                                                                                  See also:

                                                                                                                                  For what it’s worth, I’m still at @nikola@mi.pede.rs. My posts are mostly a combo of computer stuff and music, politics, physics & some other stuff I’m into.

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                                                                                                                                    Serve up AMP page to Google bots, and non-AMP to everyone else.

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                                                                                                                                      When you visit an AMP page from Google’s results page, it’ll have a google.com url. You can’t get the higher ranking without serving the AMP version.

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                                                                                                                                        Is this really doable? I.e. do you have experience / data that shows that this is something you can do without getting penalized?

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                                                                                                                                          It’s hard to do, because Google bots for crawling AMP won’t tell you whether they’re Google bots or regular users.

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                                                                                                                                            Agreed. It’s hard, but if we don’t fight back Google’s going to hoover up everything.

                                                                                                                                            I, for one, will not sit idly by and let the free and open Internet die. I remember the walled gardens of the 80’s, or the siloed access of the 90’s with AOL.

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                                                                                                                                              I dunno. I still miss getting free frisbees in the mail every month.

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                                                                                                                                          That won’t work — Google search users will get the AMP page anyway. Part of Google’s AMP implementation is that you no longer host the site yourself.

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                                                                                                                                            That part would work fine. People are talking about giving AMP where AMP is not necessary, not when it is expected.

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                                                                                                                                          I wrote a little static site generator, because that seemed like more fun than getting used to anything else. It takes HTML bodies of posts, and wraps them, generates a homepage, and an rss feed. I’m currently in the process of using it for another site, and it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.

                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                            Same here, and actually prefer it over all other static site generators. I wrote a simple Ruby script to build html from html. Final result is on my blog.

                                                                                                                                            Pretty easy YAML configuration too! Wrote about it times ago on a similar Lobster thread.

                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                              Ditto, mine’s in Python and Jinja (and it’s horrifying and bent around my own design enough that I’m not going to share, sorry). Articles are written in YaML, which was probably the right choice (it allows a decently easy combination of assorted metadata like title, post date, and tags with long free article text) but feels wrong.

                                                                                                                                              I’ve thought about switching to a standard static generator, and there are significant benefits, but (a) I don’t need to (yet) and so haven’t taken the time, and (b) I want to write all my HTML myself to minimize the amount of stupid that ends up in it, which mitigates some of the benefits.

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                                                                                                                                                For what it’s worth, Pelican allows you to write your content as HTML pages. It uses tags for metadata such as the slug, date of publishing etc., and simply includes the body of the page into the base template.

                                                                                                                                                I’ve been using it extensively for my website and it works well!

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                                                                                                                                                  Interesting, I might have to look at that. That solves a bunch of my issues with others (e.g. I don’t really want to have to install Ruby to generate my website).

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                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the “spam” and “off-topic” downvotes, keep them coming.

                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                Interestingly enough, the article is neither spam nor off-topic – it indeed deals with both AI and philosophy. It might not be very good(*), but I believe the standard practice on Lobsters is to simply avoid upvoting posts like that.

                                                                                                                                                Strange are the ways of crustaceans.

                                                                                                                                                For what it’s worth, I do find the lack of apostrophes in the Lobsters title mildly infuriating. :)

                                                                                                                                                (*) - I actually found it quite interesting, but I’m no expert on any of the topics in the article.

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                                                                                                                                                How did memory fetishization start? I’m not knocking the post for providing a method of remembering but why remember things? The bottleneck in knowledge work isn’t how much you have crammed in your head. The bottleneck is how quickly you can navigate and do fuzzy matching in a high level conceptual space of ideas.

                                                                                                                                                As far as I know there is no correlation between remembering all the parts of the biological cell and this have level navigation and fuzzy concept matching.

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                                                                                                                                                  why remember things?

                                                                                                                                                  Depends on your purpose. Most users of spaced repetition do so to learn a languages. Sure, a computer can translate for you, but it’s not the same socially as being fluent. And generally speaking, we require medical doctors to prove they know medical doctor things by examination, sans Siri. On a more personal level, memorizing family birthdays is a bit more useful than a calendar event.

                                                                                                                                                  But setting aside the demands of society, knowing things can be useful for the productivity of knowledge workers. For example, I have Anki cards for coreutils, and Python built-ins. These are pretty useful, as having to Google basic things like ‘python ascii value int’ slows you down, and in many cases, you may not think to search for things you didn’t know exist. Or in the course of conversations about hiring at work, it’s helpful to have the citation ’Schmidt and Hunter ‘98’ on tap, since Googling for it can be rather difficult and certainly derails the productive flow of conversation.

                                                                                                                                                  Beyond that, at a high level, one small part of knowledge work is synthesis – the process of combining ideas into a greater whole. Having recall level access to facts seems useful for synthesis.

                                                                                                                                                  As far as I know there is no correlation between remembering all the parts of the biological cell and this have level navigation and fuzzy concept matching.

                                                                                                                                                  As I’ve tried to convey, part of this is about relevance. If you’re an aspiring pharma researcher, maybe that information is relevant. Hopefully you recognize it as an example chosen to resonate with the audience’s K-12 experience with a memorization activity. It’s up to you really, to determine which things are worth remembering. Organelles probably aren’t it.

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                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for unpacking your reasoning. Although I disagree about synthesis being a small part of knowledge work. I’d say the majority is synthesis and a small part is recalling facts.

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                                                                                                                                                    I agree navigating high level conceptual spaces is where the real work of insight and creativity is done. But quick access to memory is part of this navigation. And I say this as someone who is stronger in the former skill than the latter.

                                                                                                                                                    For example, say I’m solving some problem in ruby. The flash of insight about the algorithm or high-level solution may occur in under a minute, or even seconds. But if I have to check the documentation for Enumerable, or regex, or how to read files, etc, that can add up to a 5-10x difference in time to a finished solution. And now say I’m working on a much larger problem (a project) that involves the above scenario happening many times over. The slowdown is not merely linear. Eventually you reach a place where it’s simply not worth doing a project that would be doing if you were faster.

                                                                                                                                                    And even with programs like Dash, a good IDE, fast internet and expert google skills, etc, etc, nothing can compete in speed with the instant recall of memory.

                                                                                                                                                    See also: http://jsomers.net/blog/speed-matters

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                                                                                                                                                      Fluency with ideas is important but I think that is still different from memorization.

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                                                                                                                                                        For a counterpoint that you mind find compelling, I suggest reading Part II of this essay.

                                                                                                                                                        Long-term memory is sometimes disparaged. It’s common for people to denigrate “rote memory”, especially in the classroom. I’ve heard from many people that they dropped some class – organic chemistry is common – because it was “just a bunch of facts, and I wanted something involving more understanding”.

                                                                                                                                                        I won’t defend bad classroom teaching, or the way organic chemistry is often taught. But it’s a mistake to underestimate the importance of memory. I used to believe such tropes about the low importance of memory. But I now believe memory is at the foundation of our cognition.

                                                                                                                                                        His personal anecdote:

                                                                                                                                                        Over the years, I’ve often helped people learn technical subjects such as quantum mechanics. Over time you come to see patterns in how people get stuck. One common pattern is that people think they’re getting stuck on esoteric, complex issues. But when you dig down it turns out they’re having a hard time with basic notation and terminology. It’s difficult to understand quantum mechanics when you’re unclear about every third word or piece of notation! Every sentence is a struggle.

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                                                                                                                                                          But this is still different from memorization no? Being familiar with notation is different from recalling the notation. I wouldn’t expect folks taking their first logic course to be familiar with all the axioms and simple tautologies but I also wouldn’t expect them to memorize the axioms as a substitute for understanding how proofs are derived.

                                                                                                                                                          But maybe we are talking past each other here because I’m not denying that memory is an important component of cognition. I’m questioning the usefulness of spaced repetition as a cognitive and problem solving aid.

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                                                                                                                                                            How did memory fetishization start? I’m not knocking the post for providing a method of remembering but why remember things?

                                                                                                                                                            versus

                                                                                                                                                            I’m not denying that memory is an important component of cognition. I’m questioning the usefulness of spaced repetition as a cognitive and problem solving aid.

                                                                                                                                                            This post looks like the literal opposite position of your first. Sure, positions can evolve; but to pull a complete 180 in 3 or 4 posts definitely feeels disingenuous.

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                                                                                                                                                              Am I supposed to thank you for your adversarial responses? What do you suppose you are achieving here?

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                                                                                                                                                                Pointing out that you’re giving antithetical positions isn’t inherently adversarial. It could be that I’m trying to figure out what your actual position is, and giving you an opportunity to dispel any notions of dishonesty. Did you simply change your position, or are these to arguments compatible in some non-obvious way?

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                                                                                                                                                              I am currently taking two undergraduate physics courses (quantum physics and electromagnetism), and I’m using Anki a lot in the process. Before that, I’ve used Anki to (very successfully) help me pass the theoretical part of my driver’s exam.

                                                                                                                                                              You can use spaced repetition to blindly memorize a bunch of context-free facts. I use it for few such things: being able to recall the units or the value of Planck’s constant will make your life a bit easier at a few places in the course, but it certainly won’t make you pass the exam on its own, nor will it allow you to master advanced physical concepts.

                                                                                                                                                              However, the vast majority of the “cards” I made in Anki actually require me to do some derivations and use the facts in context; a lot of them are fairly complex so I need to do my cards with pencil & paper handy. I mostly use them to remember fundamentals (e.g. setting up the Schrödinger equation for example systems, proving & deriving equivalence between various forms of notation etc.), because being able to retrieve and use those quickly and efficiently makes everything much easier. It’s physics, after all: “new” concepts are constantly being built upon and tied into “old” concepts. At above-“introductory level” courses, the efficiency of your ability to recall the old will heavily influence your ability to acquire the new.

                                                                                                                                                              Bottom line, I use Anki as a glorified quizzing mechanism with built-in spaced repetition (and a load of bonus points for embedding MathJax). A fair deal of research has shown that spaced repetition and repeated quizzing are key to successful long-term retention of both rote facts, and complex concepts. I’m no expert on any of this, and most of it is inspired by the excellent book Make It Stick which came highly recommended from mutliple sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                Neat. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. SRL should go hand in hand with practice. Now I have used spaced repetition practice where you create decks of problems and that was also helpful. I often use physical index cards, but I have also used anki.

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                                                                                                                                                          Nobody has ever learned anything without memory. Its simply not possible to match concepts if you don’t even remember the concepts to be matched. How would you even measure or compare two elements if you don’t have them in your memory? Sure you can memorize through using them, but it’s much more prone to holes than stepping through every item in a list.

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                                                                                                                                                            Because unlike a computer I can have flashes of insight without recalling lists of facts. Also, at what point did I say memory is not useful for cognition? The statements I made were about the utility of wholesale memorization and spaced repetition and the elevation of/emphasis on memory/memorization as a useful technique for achieving mastery in some domain.

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                                                                                                                                                              Ah. So those flashes of insight come from memory. Spaced repetition learning is a style of memorization that prioritizes that “flash of insight” style of recall. I suspect you likely have a good healthy memory, because if you didn’t it would be I think more obvious to you the value of these methods. I have ADHD which can interfere with memory formation, so these techniques have let me keep up and sometimes even surpass peers. It’s often used to gain a deeper synthesis of the material. By contrast the techniques I talked about in my post are more about putting ideas in your head like putting documents in a filing cabinet.

                                                                                                                                                              I think memory is fundamental to achieving mastery, however I have personally have traveled down the path of “memorizing through practice” and “memorizing through spaced repetition”. I would say that while you will potentially get holes in your learning if you only do memorization through practice, in real life it’s typically not a big deal. This is because most things you see, you’ll see most of the time. The things you rarely see will rarely come up. I do think if you need to learn something in short time span, space repetition learning is very hard to beat but it should come in conjunction with practice and not in place of. It’s very hard to get synthesis of the learning material without practice.