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    While I agree with the practical suggestions of this article in principle, what’s being suggested here effectively sounds like “host your own git repositories so you’re free of all criticism and can let your toxic behavior go unchecked”? I think there’s a difference between GitHub taking action on things that are legitimately offensive and would go against any Code of Conduct, and the true political censorship GitHub has been enforcing over the last months, such as barring users to access their site based on their location.

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      Presumably, people disagree with Github about the what constitutes “toxic” and “legitimately offensive”.

      Or (like me) they are uncomfortable with a service enforcing their views, even if the views themselves are reasonable.

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        Personally, I would like it if the services I used barred people who don’t think I deserve to exist from participating in the same things I participate in.

        1. 7

          I would like it if the services I used barred people who don’t think I deserve to exist

          FWIW, I have strong issues with people who think other categories of people should not exist, and it sucks that you have to deal with them.

          However, I don’t think this is a very good long term practical solution, especially when the moral compass of a lot of SV companies seems to be directly related to the amount of social media pressure a given issue garners. I would perhaps have a different viewpoint if companies had a well articulated, solid set of moral principles that they stuck to.

          Even then, I see services such as code hosting as completely orthogonal to political/moral judgement. I see no reason why they should be intertwined.

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            I don’t want to retread the same ground that we’ve been on 100 times before for the sake of winning an argument online, so I’ll just say that my opinion is that all social spaces are political and therefore require moderation (codes of conduct, etc) in order to be welcoming to newcomers. GitHub has a much larger precedent on this than almost all other code hosting platforms I’ve seen.

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              I don’t see how every social space being political logically leads to the conclusion that they should be welcoming to newcomers. And every social space being moderated sounds like a totalitarian nightmare.

              I can see that ‘social’ aspect of github does potentially shift it towards more of a political space, especially as they do position themselves as a place for newcomers. I would say, though, that people like the author of the article wanting to move away from that social aspect and the attendant rules is not necessarily a sign that they want create a den of free-for-all abuse and horror. Perhaps they just don’t want every space they inhabit to be political.

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                Professional social spaces (that is: places where some of the people have to be there in order to keep a roof over their head) need very different rules from other kinds of space.

                1. 5

                  Indeed; github is in some ways more like a workplace than, say, a cafe or a park.

                  Thinking about it in those terms helps me to clarify my objection. Github is more analogous to an office building than to an organisation. It’s a piece of infrastructure within which individuals and organisations come to work. It would seem rather bizarre if the owner of an office building enforced rules about the speech of their tenants.

                  It’s obviously an imperfect analogy.

                  1. 4

                    It would be bad if every cafe and park was required to enforce the same rules as a workplace, just in case you encountered someone you knew at work there.

                    1. 4

                      If Github is analogous to an office building, surely a project within it is analogous to the group of people operating within it.

                      If those people put up a sign saying “You’re welcome to come in, but don’t do X”, and you decide to do that anyways, don’t whinge when they call security (github) and ask to have you escorted from the premises (banned).

                      (that is: projects have codes of conduct; github has very lax rules other than ‘behave on other peoples projects’)

                      1. 4

                        (that is: projects have codes of conduct; github has very lax rules other than ‘behave on other peoples projects’)

                        The original article has examples of github enforcing their own set of standards.

                        1. 3

                          If GitHub’s own rules are that minimal, then to respond to @marisa’s original point, the relevant distinction isn’t between GitHub and self-hosted projects, but projects with an appropriate (and enforced) code of conduct and those without one. And AFAIK, there’s no reason why more project maintainers who conscientiously apply and enforce a CoC shouldn’t leave GitHub and host their repo, issue tracker, etc. under their own domain.

                          1. 3

                            I agree, but that’s not what the blog post sounded like :)

                  2. 2

                    I’ll just say that my opinion is that all social spaces are political and therefore require moderation (codes of conduct, etc) in order to be welcoming to newcomers.

                    Even if you take this as read, and I think this statement taken in isolation is reasonable, you still need platform diversity because some platforms will settle on codes of conduct which you see as wrong, perhaps even horribly wrong. One example is TERFs: They see trans women as males invading female spaces and will work extremely hard to police that kind of thing, which is inherently unfriendly to trans people. Unless you’re absolutely sure none of the kinds of platform you want to participate in (code hosting, web hosting, issue tracking, etc.) will go a pro-TERF route, you need some kind of backup plan to avoid dealing with them.

                    Self-hosting is simply the ultimate backup plan.

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                  It’s getting annoying to have to keep a list of the services I shouldn’t use due to overly pedantic/prescriptive definitions of sex/gender.

                  1. 1

                    That is confusing: How sex/gender came into question with Git Hosting?

                    Of course it is a social network that tries to map account to social identities. That is the source of the problem: Github being not only a git service but also aiming to be a part of our “lifestyle”.

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                      It’s common for queer activists, particularly trans activists, to argue that people who disagree with them on political issues related to sex and gender “think they don’t deserve to exist”, using that specific phrasing. I think this kind of rhetoric is nearly always disingenuous, designed to make it seem like their attempts to censor opposing rhetoric are unquestionably-righteous, rather than themselves a kind of true political censorship. If you think that your own freedom to publish things on the internet is important, then you should try to avoid centralized services like Github precisely because they can be co-opted by political activists (who you might not agree with) who think that advancing their cause and suppressing their opponents is more important than your freedom to publish things on the internet.

                      1. 6

                        I think this kind of rhetoric is nearly always disingenuous, designed to make it seem like their attempts to censor opposing rhetoric are unquestionably-righteous, rather than themselves a kind of true political censorship.

                        There is a difference between censorship and trying to maintain a level of basic human decency in a community.

                        In order for a larger community to function you need to set at least some rules in place to determine what kind of behavior and speech is not welcome. The worst you allow sets the bar. I can think of at least one genuinely “censorship”-free place and we all know how pleasant of a corner of the internet that is.

                        So assuming we can agree that at least some rules are needed, the question – and I’m by no means saying it’s an easy one – is where to draw the line. For me, unsolicited opinions about trans people are very far from simply “disagreeing on political issues”. They’re actively harmful. How can you “disagree” with someone’s lived experience? Is that not, in itself, a form of invalidation, of erasure?

                        The kind of behavior and speech you allow also effectively silences people who would otherwise like to be part of the community by forcing them out or discouraging them from joining in the first place. But somehow, people are more worried about censorship. I’m more concerned about the people who didn’t even get to say anything in the first place.

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                          When I become king, this will be stapled to the doors of GitHub, Twitter, the BBC…

                          I might run out of staples.

                          1. 10

                            I think this kind of rhetoric is nearly always disingenuous, designed to make it seem like their attempts to censor opposing rhetoric are unquestionably-righteous, rather than themselves a kind of true political censorship.

                            Whenever I hear or read someone saying “trans people are too pushy” I mentally substitute them saying “women are too shrill”, or “black people are too uppity”, and I afford their utterance precisely the amount of respect it deserves.

                            1. 9

                              You’re proving @Hail_Spacecake’s point.

                              What you just said can be logically reduced to “whenever I hear someone say x, I substitute that with some y that they didn’t actually say.”

                              This is exactly the kind of straw-manning disingenuous argument style that we’ve all become accustomed to when engaging this specific flavour of political activist.

                              1. 4

                                I’m saying that there’s no qualitative difference in the arguments against trans rights than in past arguments against the rights of women, gays, or people of color.

                                1. 9

                                  A criticism of an underhanded debate tactic used by a group is not a tacit denial of that group’s rights.

                                  I mean, look at it the other way around: You’re arguing against me. Does that mean you don’t believe I deserve equal rights?

                              2. 4

                                trans people are too pushy

                                But that’s really not what @Hail_Spacecake is saying, is it? He points out that there are queer/trans activists who reduce opposition to the personal attack that one “don’t deserve to exist”, which if it is a “common” thing, would be a legitimate criticism. Other than that, I don’t see how what you say related to the discussion? If anything, you would want decentralised systems so that those who do actually say “X are too Y” don’t control you, or inhibit you in acting according to your intentions.

                              3. 4

                                It’s common for queer activists, particularly trans activists, to argue that people who disagree with them on political issues related to sex and gender “think they don’t deserve to exist”, using that specific phrasing

                                Do they? Do they, really?

                                Might it be that those people who “merely” “disagree with them on political issues related to sex and gender” are actually opposing their existence? Like, say, by supporting bathroom bills - which are aimed at removing gender non-conforming folks from the public eye - by opposing anti-discrimination laws, or by trying to make access to treatment more difficult?

                                Might it be that their “disagreement on political issues” is also, most of the time, accompanied by behaviours that go beyond mere disagreement, and that “I just disagree with [homosexuality|transsexuality]” is never just that?

                                designed to make it seem like their attempts to censor opposing rhetoric

                                Is it really censorship if someone says “you suck” at the Westboro Baptist Church because of what they say? I thought both had a right to express their opinion.

                                Oh, sure, maybe hearing “you suck!” over and over again might make them think twice before opening their mouth.

                                Is that censorship? In any case, is it wrong? And, do you think that LGBT+ people are immune to it?

                                I feel like getting told, over and over again, “trans people are mentally ill”, “there is only two genders”, “they are just doing it for the attention”, might have a chilling effect on that population.

                                1. 1

                                  Is it really censorship if someone says “you suck” at the Westboro Baptist Church because of what they say? I thought both had a right to express their opinion.

                                  No, but it is censorship for github to bar them from using their SaaS product because of what they say. It’s definitely censorship for trana activists to attack the entire concept of decentralized github alternatives for the specific reason that it would make it harder for github to enforce a code of conduct requiring that they be barred from github for what they say, which is what several people in this thread about decentralized alternatives to github have done. We’re all the Westboro Baptist Church in someone’s eyes, and I don’t want Github making that judgment call for everyone who writes open source software.

                                  1. 3

                                    It’s definitely censorship for trana activists to attack the entire concept of decentralized github alternatives

                                    Where, exactly, are they doing that?

                                    Because I’m looking pretty hard at this thread and I can’t seem to find “trans activists attacking the entire concept of decentralized github alternatives”, or doing so because “[decentralized alternatives] would make it harder for github to enforce a code of conduct”.

                                    I saw a few people expressing their worry and disappointment, how they felt unwelcome in some spaces because of petty, discriminatory asshats, and how an article starting with “controversy resulting from GitHub censoring” - listing events often described as “those damned S-J-Ws want to destroy open source” - might be read as endorsing alternative spaces as free from censorship and, by extension, free from “SJWs” and “political correctness drama”.

                                    As one example of a censorship-free, “SJW”-free spaces is Voat, you can see how it might be concerning to some.

                                    There wasn’t much else here, which is both disappointing and funny. Why, “those spaces cannot be censored and might become a free-for-all” sounds more like an endorsement than an attack.

                                    We’re all the Westboro Baptist Church in someone’s eyes,

                                    Yes, yes, yes. Trivially true, and yet irrelevant.

                                    We are all the Westboro Baptist Church in someone’s eyes. We are all monsters in someone’s eyes. We can also avoid trite platitudes such as this one.

                                    1. 0

                                      Where, exactly, are they doing that?

                                      https://lobste.rs/s/s0s8fu/why_not_github#c_g1rymt

                                      1. 3

                                        The only argument against decentralization I can see there is this mild statement:

                                        decentralization can be harmful in unexpected ways (see: all of Bitcoin)

                                        And I really don’t see how you determined that @rebecca is a “trana*(sic!)* activist”. I certainly could not from her About page.

                              4. 5

                                It matters when you are a gender/sexual minority and want to avoid being shat on for factors beyond your control

                                1. 7

                                  It is easy to people in the majority to say “it’s not that painful to be in the minority”. Until they face another situation, for which they belong to the minority and suddenly change the reaction toward “it’s a nightmare everyday”.

                                  We all are in one majority for some topic. We all are in a minority for some other topic.

                                  If one hesitate between “Do I include the minority and be frown upon by the majority” and “Do I exclude the minority and be safe with the majority”, then it’s all about asking to ourselves: “in that other case in which I am the minority, would I appreciate to be included by the majority?”.

                                  Then the choice becomes obvious to me: treat the 10% minority as a first class citizen and fully give it the 10% it deserves without reserve.

                            2. -5

                              I’m left-handed. For now, this is just a simple fact which to me is totally natural while others wonder how I am able to do anything at all without fumbling all the time given that they belong to the right-handed majority. When people in that group describe my particularity they use terms like ‘south-paw’. There is a Wikipedia page on bias against left-handedness. So far, so good, I’m left-handed like Kermit the frog is green-hued and have yet to make a song about the fact, unlike Kermit.

                              Give it a few years on the current course and my left-handedness will have turned into an identity marker, yet another artificial boundary separating my clave from all the others. Give it a few more years and there will be left-handed people clamouring for the removal of right-handers who have been caught using ‘derogatory’ terms like ‘south-paw’.

                              I do not relish this prospect as I do not feel the need for others to ‘take up my cause’ in calling for the removal of people just because they think I’m an oddity. Let them think whatever they want, as long as they’re not out in the streets calling for pogroms against left-handed people their words won’t hurt me. I would certainly not want them to be banned from services I use because that would only lead to more balkanisation.

                              Ignore the loud-mouths, their liberty ends where yours begins. The same is true vice-versa, you can not force them to accept your particularity just as they can not force you to accept theirs.

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                                To be clear, there are, in fact, people out in the streets calling for pogroms against lgbt folk, and in many countries they have state backing.

                                1. 27

                                  YIKES. This colour doesn’t look good on you.

                                  You have not been removed from your family because of your handedness. You have not been fired because of your handedness. You have not been threatened with death because of your handedness. You are not vilified daily because of your handedness. You do not have your personhood disconfirmed because of your handedness. You do not have your sanity questioned because of your handedness. You are not at extremely heightened risk for suicide due to societal and familial rejection due to handedness. etc etc etc etc etc etc

                                  as long as they’re not out in the streets calling for pogroms against left-handed people their words won’t hurt me

                                  And yet this is tantamount to what we’re talking about.

                                  Ignore the loud-mouths, their liberty ends where yours begins.

                                  Would that it were so. :/

                                  1. 17

                                    you could have used the minutes spent to write this extremely in-bad-faith argument to do literally anything else

                                    1. 2

                                      In what way do you deem my argument to be in bad faith? It is not. The balkanisation of society into identity groups is a threat which needs to be countered or we’ll all end up behind walls glaring at each other.

                              2. 6

                                For other readers’ info: https://help.github.com/en/articles/github-and-trade-controls

                                GitHub themselves don’t really have much choice in the matter, but if you live outside the US, it makes perfect sense wanting to host in your same country, so that you don’t have to deal with two different sets of laws at once.

                                1. 2

                                  Author here. Added this link to an update to the article. Thanks.

                                2. 2

                                  Interesting, I hadn’t heard about that. Looking into it, though, I do agree it’s a much bigger concern than those mentioned in the article.

                                  1. 2

                                    barring users to access their site based on their location.

                                    They and everyone else have to follow the law.

                                    1. 4

                                      While that is true not everyone using GitHub lives in the US. So in many cases it really is using GitHub rather than being more independent causing that particular issue.

                                      Of course that applies to similar central hosting platforms and other countries and therefor laws as well. I’d also not read that as anti-GitHub in particular, but to a large part anti-centralization.

                                  1. 2

                                    Workflow wise, I prefer Gerrit over Github or Gitlab. It sees your patch set for what it is – a sequence of commits that are not to be shuffled, but are presumably fine to rebase onto a newer branch HEAD without you having to tell it to.

                                    With Git{hub,lab}, you have a dilemma:

                                    • One merge request for the whole patch set: My boss doesn’t understand the concept of looking at each commit independently, and used to complain that my merge requests were always too big.
                                    • One merge request per commit: This actually made my boss angry, as not only had I not learnt and pushed several large merge requests, but they contained a lot of the same changes…
                                    • Push 10 commits and mark 9 of them as WIP: Creates extra work for me: When the first commit goes in with slight alterations, I have 9 more merge requests to update. In Gerrit, they would already be up to date at this point, as I would have worked on 1 branch instead of 10.
                                    1. 1

                                      Author here. Will add a mention of Gerrit shortly.

                                    1. 2

                                      I really like gogs as a self-hosted GitHub alternative. It’s very lightweight and easy to run (particularly compared to GitLab), and immediately familiar to GitHub users.

                                      1. 2

                                        Author here. Will add a mention of Gogs shortly.

                                        1. 3

                                          Author here. I appreciate this response!

                                        1. 25

                                          I’m surprised Gitea isn’t linked, for when you want more than cgit/gitweb but find sr.ht’s setup a bit too intense.

                                          1. 7

                                            I’m a perfectly-happy user of Gitea for my personal code. It was easy to install on one of my VPSs, it provides a web interface that looks pretty much like github’s, and it means that Github can’t decide that they don’t want to host my code anymore for any arbitrary reason and delete it.

                                            1. 9

                                              Same, happy user of www/gitea in OpenBSD’s ports. I run tarsnap daily and include a pgdump in that backup.

                                              I keep public-facing projects on GitHub because ~network effects~, but everything private/exclusively personal use/pre-public goes on gitea.

                                              1. 2

                                                Your hat confuses me. What should I interpret into a GitHub dev using Gitea?

                                                1. 21

                                                  Nothing particular, was just wanting to disclose early (in case someone saw me elsewhere wearing and decided to call me out here), and perhaps contribute to an image of .. I dunno, open-mindedness in GitHub/Microsoft devs? The sentiment here for us can be negative, and I get why — in the past I’ve boycotted both MS and GH! — but I do know from the inside we’ve many reasonable people doing our best. Does that make sense? Anyway. I think projects like Gitea are a good idea, and I enjoy their use too.

                                                  1. 9

                                                    People aren’t their employers. I used to work for a company that created secure crypto stuff that was also used by some militaries. Doesn’t mean that I had a Patriot missile launcher in my garden (even though I heard that the crypto stuff was used there). Now I work for Google, Chrome OS even, and use Firefox on my non-Chromebook devices (of which there are still several) and even on some of the Chromebooks.

                                                    Do I use the products of my team (and others of my company) and recommend them to friends and family who might benefit from that? Sure, I do. I also explain what’s going on under the hood so they can decide the trade-offs (e.g. that Google Photos does large scale analysis over everything you upload, if only to find faces, if your account has that feature enabled).

                                                    One simple reason I could imagine for a GitHub dev to use gitea for their personal projects: to keep work and hobby entirely separate. For legal reasons perhaps (there’s some corporate overreach in many contracts when it comes to copyrights to personal work) but there’s also little that is more grating than working on your hobby on a Sunday morning and running into an issue that you would be well equipped to fix professionally.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      I feel something alike: there is what we choose for ourself to use because it fits our core values, and what we choose for ourself to get paid because it fits our core values.

                                                      It is obviously easier to satisfly the former.

                                              2. 4

                                                Author here. Gitea looks great. Added to the article.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Same. I wanted to run sourcehut, but I don’t have the cycles for that level of sysadmin work in my spare time right now. Gitea was just “set up the database, run the binary, set up forwarding from my main webserver, run the github migration script”.

                                                  My only gripe with gitea is that people have to set up accounts to post issues, but anyone who doesn’t want to do that can email me.

                                                  My github repositories are now clearly marked as being mirrors (possibly not quite up to date) of my gitea repositories.

                                                1. 15

                                                  FWIW GitHub is not being blocked in those regions, GitHub is blocking users from those countries.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Author here. Good point. Corrected.