1. 24

    Ancient UI? I’m actually incredibly impressed by the Fastmail web UI. It’s one of the fastest large web applications I can think of.

    1. 8

      I’m a bit miffed by that too. It feels way more polished and accessible than Gmails UI. Particularly if I want to modify any settings. I dread using Gmail’s settings UI

      1. 2

        I never meant to say that the UI is hard to use - just that it doesn’t look in line with the modern design principles employed by most websites/mobile apps. I agree that the configuration is much simpler than Gmail’s. As I said above - I think that the user experience (UX) is good, but they can throw a fresh coat of paint on the UI and flatten it a bit (what ProtonMail 4 recently did).

        1. 4

          I can only speak from my own perspective, but I sincerely hope they don’t do anything that you suggested (“fresh coat of paint” and “flatten it a bit”). In my opinion, “modern design” != “best design”. I love the way the Fastmail web UI looks and hope they don’t change it just for the sake of change. It looks and works great as it is.

          (That said, I think the rest of your article was great!)

      2. 4

        It does feel dated in the age of mostly flat UIs, at least to me. I guess that’s subjective, but I certainly liked the UI of the Gmail, HEY and ProtonMail 4 more. The UX is good, though, I just think that Fastmail could use a fresh coat of paint.

        1. 4

          I’ve been a happy FastMail customer for years, but I never use the webmail UI, except when editing server side settings. IMAP lets me use my mail program of choice and work offline.

          1. 4

            Fastmail’s web UI is the #1 reason I’m currently using Fastmail. I love it. The app on the other hand… often the app is loading, I click on the “calendar” button, then the “archive” button pops up under my finger, causing an unknown email to be archived :-/

          1. 16

            One of the neat things about SQLite is that it can actually import CSV data directly. No need for the Go script.

            Start sqlite, then:

            .mode csv .import some_data_file.csv your_table_name

            It’ll automatically generate a schema for you, too. To see what it did:

            .schema your_table_name

            You can import as many more files as you like so long as the schema is compatible.

            You can also use the “export” command in csv mode to dump your SQLite table out to a CSV file. It’s a real Swiss Army knife for this kind of small-to-medium data processing.

            1. 5

              Yeah I used the Go script because there are 4 separate CSV files, and I wanted to combine them into one table. I’m sure that could be done with sqlite cli too, but this method was faster for me. Plus I needed to dust off my Go chops, haven’t built anything for a while.

              1. 3

                what I always found unfortunate is that these features are only part of the sqlite-cli, not the sqlite library. It would be nice to do these things via a database driver (in python or java or whatever)

                1. 2

                  You can easily implement yourself a function to do that from within SQLite via UDFs in the language of your choice… here’s a quick & dirty implementation in Python (probably don’t use this as-is in a “real” setting):

                  import csv
                  import sqlite3
                  
                  DATABASE_PATH = "data.db"
                  
                  def write_table(tablename, write_path):
                      connection = sqlite3.connect(DATABASE_PATH)
                      select = f"select * from {tablename}"
                      with open(write_path, "w") as f:
                          writer = csv.writer(f)
                          for item in connection.execute(select):
                              writer.writerow(item)
                      return 1
                  
                  if __name__ == "__main__":
                      connection = sqlite3.connect(DATABASE_PATH)
                      connection.execute("CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS test(field1, field2)")
                      connection.execute("INSERT INTO test VALUES (1, 2), (3, 4), ('testing', 'onetwothree');")
                      connection.create_function("write_table", 2, write_table)
                      connection.execute("select write_table('test', 'test.csv');")
                  

                  SQLite is pretty magical

                  https://docs.python.org/3.8/library/sqlite3.html#sqlite3.Connection.create_function

                  There’s probably a more refined way to do this using C-extensions so that it can support arbitrary queries rather than just tables and views, but I’ll leave that to the reader?

                  1. 1

                    That’s cool! I will remember that the next time I try to do that from python.

              1. 13

                It was his project. Why shouldn’t he be on the board?

                1. 36

                  I don’t know, that’s sort of like me saying “it was his company, why shouldn’t he be able to run it into the ground?”

                  In both cases, the answer is the same I think: he’s not the only one on the ship, so it’d be pretty awful of him to sink it

                  1. 12

                    The argument was that he supported Epstein.

                    Some people argued his statement was poorly worded, some argued that it reflected prior statements.

                    Honestly, I dislike him in general for other reasons, although at least he isn’t ESR.

                    Personally I feel the better question is:

                    Why was he kicked out if it’s appropriate for him to return? Or the reverse, if it’s considered appropriate for him to return, why was he kicked out?

                    e.g. did you make a real choice when he was kicked off or was it purely a political move

                    1. 24

                      The argument was that he supported Epstein.

                      I think you either misunderstood what was being said at the time, or you’re extrapolating in dangerous ways what RMS posted on the MIT mailing list. Could you please dig up some links that support your statement?

                      1. 10

                        Possibly more problematic than his support for Epstein (in terms of relevance to his board membership): he’s actively transmisogynistic, anti-queer, and apparently awful to be around most of the time if you’re not a cis dude. So for anyone interested in a more forward-thinking and diverse FSF (i.e. one that is not actively hostile to possible members/supporters/contributors who belong to certain demographics), having someone like him on the panel would be a bit concerning.

                        1. 9

                          [..] his support for Epstein

                          Since parent hasn’t substantiated this claim, could you please do it? I feel like it represents a gross mischaracterization of what RMS posted on the MIT mailing list. If you have evidence to the opposite I’d like to see that.

                          1. -4

                            I would call the above comment by vector_spaces defamation and ask that the account holder either be removed or required to put their real name under their account.

                            You shouldn’t be able to post possibly defamatory content on this site under an anon account.

                            1. 7

                              Accusing me of defamation (i.e. of making spurious false statements) and calling for the site owners to nuke my account or force me to dox myself 1. implies my comments were false right off the bat and 2. doesn’t really make me want to engage with you, since it comes off like you’re trying to intimidate me. Further, it makes me wonder what you’d even do with my real-life identity if you knew it, making you come off a bit creepy and hostile. So, given the main reason I maintain pseudo-anonymity is to avoid being targeted by creepy & hostile weirdos on the internet, as it concerns identifying myself: respectfully, no thanks! Although if you’re determined/creepy enough, I shouldn’t be too hard to unmask

                              Presumably you’re a hacker (in the original sense of the word – i.e. this is a compliment, not an accusation), and so presumably you have fairly well-honed Google-fu, so I’m honestly not sure why you and the parent are having trouble here. Fruitful search queries to get you started include “richard stallman harassment of women” and “richard stallman comments about women” and “richard stallman sexism”.

                              Anyway, virtually all of the results are anecdotal (except for the now-infamous comments Stallman made on the mailing list), which some may take issue with. I personally believe victims, and I think when such anecdotes multiply over the course of many decades as they have in Stallman’s case, they tend to suggest a pattern of behavior.

                              You used an interesting argument in another comment about how labels are dangerous because they don’t take into account who a person is now and how they’ve grown since. Rather they focus on a snapshot of the person as they were (perhaps making an offhanded and thoughtless comment). I think there is something to be said for this position, but my experience has been that people are generally willing to take growth into account if growth is shown. It really does not take much other than showing some sincerity & good faith – apologies go a long way, as do comments affirming queer/trans folks, or “my thoughtless comment wasn’t intended to dehumanize xyz, you’re right, I could have said that better”. Unfortunately we haven’t seen this at all from Stallman.

                              1. -5

                                I couldn’t give a shit about wanting to engage with you. I have a life.

                                “Defamation is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime” That perfectly describes your comment. The fact that you are unwilling to post your real name is not surprising. In my experience people that commit crimes usually wear masks and not name tags.

                                RMS has been publishing under his real name for nearly forty years and has endured countless personal attacks and death threats. He’s got more courage in his pinky finger than I see in your whole comments.

                                Edit: okay TIL defamation is not a “crime”, something about torts. So I was wrong on that front. But anyway, I think a good rule of thumb in life is if you’re going to say something mean about another person, do it under your real name. Even if that could get you hurt? No, ESPECIALLY if that could get you hurt. I grew up the son of a public official. Can’t tell you how many death threats we got. One time someone even firebombed our car. If you want to build a better world it takes people not being anonymous. RMS has set a great example of being open and authentic about who he is, even if it meant he has been attacked for 4 decades.

                                1. 7

                                  If your entire premise here is that people aren’t allowed to discuss something unless they risk physically violent reprisal for their comments, and it certainly seems like that’s what you’re pushing, then:

                                  1. No.
                                  2. It suggests strongly that you don’t have, or don’t care if you have, facts and reason on your side, because the argument can always be “won” through violence or threat of the same. Making it a literal ad hominem, because the counterargument is against the person. A world where might makes right is not a world I particularly want to live in, and I think you probably don’t either – there’s always someone bigger/stronger/meaner who’ll be along eventually to teach you why.
                                  3. Still no.

                                  If you’re still here at this point: strongly suggest you take a long, long break from the internet.

                                  1. 0

                                    It is cowardly to attack another person from an anonymous account.

                                    You want to attack an idea or organization, fine. But it is cowardly and dishonorable to throw stones at someone from an anonymous account. Always has been and always will be.

                                  2. 4

                                    Even if that could get you hurt? No, ESPECIALLY if that could get you hurt.

                                    You would really do well to consider how radically different life is for people who aren’t cis white men.

                                    1. 0

                                      That’s right because I’ve never had guns pointed at my head or the shit kicked out of me by an angry mob standing up for what is right. I’m not talking about figuratively online.

                                      Here’s a great video on courage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6XSBeMqSxM

                                2. 7

                                  It’s often unsafe for queer people to use their real name online. Instituting a policy like that can simply remove whole swathes of minorities from discussions for that reason. If you think someone’s rhetoric amounts to “defamation” and don’t like that they’re anonymous, just accord it the attention you believe it deserves and move on.

                                  1. 0

                                    Fair enough. I just think there should be no place for lazy anonymous content. If you want to post anonymously, fine, but put a shred of effort into it before you write. There should be an extremely high bar of data backing if you post anonymous stuff. Otherwise this site is supporting defamation.

                              2. 9

                                Do you have a source on transmisogyny/anti-queer? All I could find was https://stallman.org/articles/genderless-pronouns.html, which is pretty tame (he’s just being stupid about grammar, which fits the neuroatypical M.O.)

                                1. 6

                                  he’s actively transmisogynistic, anti-queer

                                  What has he said or done that makes him anti-queer and transphobic? (genuine question and not a challenge btw, because I can’t remember seeing this ever being brought up before.)

                                  1. 6

                                    I am struggling to see it; I am even pleasantly surprised:

                                    A proposed California bill would stop the state from doing business with companies that discriminate against transgender employees.

                                    I think it is a step in the right direction.

                                    I think his opinions on pronouns are perhaps off-the-mark, but not harmful (and oddly plural-friendly).

                                    1. 8

                                      There was an incident a few years ago where a transgender FSF employee was being harassed by a coworker for being trans. The employee brought it up to Stallman, who responded by terminating the trans employee.

                                      The incident is discussed in this thread https://www.reddit.com/r/transgender/comments/539x50/breaking_the_free_software_foundation_dismissed_a/

                                      In various places on his personal website he announces that he won’t use “they/them” pronouns for individuals and ridicules usage of singular “they/them”, despite the fact that “they/them” pronouns are some people’s chosen pronouns.

                                      So while he posts stuff stating approval/support for queer and transgender folks (and that’s great), it is clear from other writing of his and also from his treatment of transgender folks that his support isn’t rooted in actually talking to people about this stuff.

                                      1. 5

                                        Who knows what happened with that foring, or even how Stallman was involved. Maybe it was really bad. Maybe it wasn’t. Unless there’s a pattern of things it seems a bit much to attach these sort of descriptions like anti-queer.

                                        And I don’t think that having a different opinion on the future evolution of the English language to be more inclusive makes one “actively transmisogynistic, anti-queer”. I read his pronoun article before; you can dislike his “language innovation” but he seems to be doing it for the right reasons. As you said, you actively supports transgender people, which fits my general impression of him as fairly progressive (some issues with personal behaviour notwithstanding) so I was surprised by your description. He basically agrees with you: language should be inclusive, there is just a disagreement on how this can best be done. If this is the best you can come up with then, to be completely honest, is not a good look for you here, because what it looks like is the casual hurling of slurs over a fairly minor disagreement. It’s kinda toxic to be honest.

                                        As I have described at length elsewhere in this thread, I really don’t like Stallman and haven’t for a very long time. But please, let’s not turn him in to a devil he’s not.

                                        1. 2

                                          I’m not sure that calling Stallman “anti-trans” is correct either. To me, he seems more like your generally older, left-of-center out of touch dudes who haunt the American internet. He’s not kept up on the social changes in his sphere.

                                          The real question is, should a person like that be in a leadership position of an advocacy group? That’s for the FSF leadership and membership to decide.

                                          1. 3

                                            To me, he seems more like your generally older, left-of-center out of touch dudes who haunt the American internet. He’s not kept up on the social changes in his sphere.

                                            This sounds about right; combined with perhaps a rather large dose of stubbornness. In Dutch we have a rather nice word for this: “eigenwijs”, literally translated it’s “own wisdom”. It’s not exactly “stubbornness” but more “can only convinced by their own wisdom”. There isn’t really a word in English for this AFAIK.

                                            A lot of people are so quick to take everything in bad faith nowadays. It’s okay to be a bit older, “out of touch”, be pedantic, and have some eclectic opinions you post on your website that 6 people read. That doesn’t make you some sort of horrible person.

                                            The real question is, should a person like that be in a leadership position of an advocacy group?

                                            No, of course not.

                                            1. 2

                                              In Dutch we have a rather nice word for this: “eigenwijs”, literally translated it’s “own wisdom”. It’s not exactly “stubbornness” but more “can only convinced by their own wisdom”. There isn’t really a word in English for this AFAIK.

                                              Swedish has “envis” but it’s much more connected to being stubborn. Does Dutch have a word that’s more corresponding to “stubborn”?

                                              1. 2

                                                I’d use “koppig”; which translates to “headish” and probably has the same root as the English “headstrong” (and/or “pigheaded”, since “kop” is, traditionally anyway, only used to refer to the head of an animal).

                                                Eigenwijs does imply some degree of stubbornness, but it’s not exactly the same.

                                                1. 2

                                                  OK, Swedish has “tjurskallig” (bull headed) in similar context. Almost willfully stubborn.

                                                  Swedish has more Dutch loanwords than you might expect, and of course both are Germanic languages.

                                                  This is getting way off-topic, but thanks for taking the time!

                                        2. 4

                                          In various places on his personal website he announces that he won’t use “they/them” pronouns for individuals and ridicules usage of singular “they/them”, despite the fact that “they/them” pronouns are some people’s chosen pronouns.

                                          This qualifies as “actively transmisogynistic”? I think your definitions are different than mine, probably to a severe degree. He even says he’s totally fine with using they/them for plural people, and he says that he’ll call you whatever you like even if it makes him personally mad!

                                          Dunno about the FSF firing thing, looking at news articles makes it look not exactly cut and dry. Rowe seems to be on good terms with Stallman now, perhaps it was a misunderstanding of some sort? Still seems absolutely unnecessary to call Stallman these horrible things. Call him out for making people uncomfortable with his “friendship cards” or whatever, sure, but come on.

                                          1. 4

                                            So, I interpreted his comments in that post and elsewhere as stating that he wouldn’t comply with they/them pronouns. But regardless, ridiculing someone’s choice of pronouns is actively anti-queer. Saying “I’ll respect your pronouns but I think they’re silly” (which is the most charitable interpretation of what he’s written) is actively hostile in my book.

                                            RE: the firing, I err on the side of believing victims. And Rowe was a friend of the person who was fired, not the person who was actually fired, so it’s immaterial what her current relationship is with Stallman.

                                            1. 3

                                              Yes, and Rowe was the complaintant (spelling?) in that situation, right? I couldn’t see any statement or anything from the fired employee, only Rowe’s. “I err on the side of believing victims” is all well and good, but it doesn’t look like the victim said anything? (and is also a hilarious way to imply that I don’t believe victims, nice one!).

                                              You can read his statements regarding pronouns however you like, I think he’s being a dickhead about it but I don’t think he’s being actively transmisogynistic. Or, to take a page from your book, maybe you’re being ableist to a clearly neurodivergent figure? Probably not, but that’s how I’m going to read what you’re saying now.

                                              1. 1

                                                Has Stallman ever identified himself as neurodivergent? It’s not a neutral term. I’d hesitate to apply it to someone against their express wishes.

                                                In the previous hellthread, @mempko states that Stallman has described himself as “borderline autistic”.

                                                https://lobste.rs/s/yxj6cd/remove_richard_stallman#c_j6rxy7

                                                Based on a comment in the previous hellthread, someone states that Stallman has described himself as “borderline autistic”.

                                    2. 9

                                      this is all that needed to be said. people are out here parsing his statements with a magnifying glass when he’s clearly been a mysogynist, he’s been anti-trans and anti-queer for a very long time. If we want a more inclusive community it starts at the top

                                      1. 2

                                        I like how you have a non-anon account. Then we can have a conversation.

                                        You call him “anti-trans” and “anti-queer”. Can you back that up with data? Does he ever specifically give himself those labels or are you giving him those labels? If you are giving him those labels, based upon what data? What percentage of software and writings by RMS could be labelled that? Does 50% of his writing focus on those categories? 10%? 1%? .1%? 0.01%? 0.00001%?

                                        I for one read a lot of his code and writings, and can’t remember him ever talking about those issues so I would be very surprised if those were relevant labels at all to him.

                                        Also, growing up in Boston it was very common to use the terms “gay” and “fag” and “queer” in a derogatory sense early and often. It wasn’t until I dropped a “that’s gay” freshman year of college and a female hall mate from California (became a best friend) stormed off in disgust that I had any notion I was on the wrong side of that one. Could you have called 18 year old me “anti-gay”? Absolutely. But I just was ignorant, and eventually matured.

                                        I think labelling people is generally a bad idea. It would be like labelling a new garden “dead” before you even gave the seedlings a chance to grow.

                                  2. 7

                                    He had to leave due to a heated controversy that originated in a MIT mailing list. Details here: https://jorgemorais.gitlab.io/justice-for-rms/

                                    1. 23

                                      That’s not a particularly good source. The original article that led to his resignation is a better place to start reading:

                                      https://selamjie.medium.com/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec210794

                                      You can also skip all that and just go read the CSAIL mailing list exchange yourself first, found at the bottom of this Vice article:

                                      https://www.vice.com/en/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-scientist-richard-stallman-described-epstein-victims-as-entirely-willing

                                      Finally, just a general disclaimer: Stallman didn’t resign just because of the article by Selam, but rather because of the wide range of news coverage that documented his past behavior. Selam’s article was really just a catalyst.

                                      1. 16

                                        Stallman didn’t resign just because of the article by Selam, but rather because of the wide range of news coverage that documented his past behavior.

                                        Or, rather, a bunch of slander, which is documented here.

                                        https://sterling-archermedes.github.io/

                                        1. 19

                                          Truth is an absolute defense to slander, and the article you link must admit that the things it analyzes are all ultimately rooted in things that Stallman actually factually truthfully really said and did. Beyond that it’s just a matter of how the author of that article and the authors of other articles subjectively interpret the given facts, which is a matter of opinion and thus something slander explicitly cannot apply to. So you should probably stop referring to “slander” in this context.

                                          1. 1

                                            Reporting that someone “says that an enslaved child [implied to be in the general case] could, somehow, be “entirely willing”” when they actually say that a [particular] enslaved minor close to age of majority in one specific country (not a child) may have presented themselves as willing — i.e. acted as if they were willing, i.e. propositioned someone who would have no idea that they were a slave or a minor — is clear, unadulterated slander.

                                            That it’s rooted in something that Stallman said doesn’t change that; twisting someone’s words in such a disgusting way is as wrong a lie as making something up entirely from scratch.

                                            I find it sick that you can actually pretend that the claims made about what Stallman said could be characterised as “truth”. Truth is an absolute defence to slander, but there was plenty of untruth propagated about what Stallman actually said.

                                            So I will not stop referring to slander in this context (though I am not @ethoh).

                                        2. 7

                                          Just reading some of that first link. The best word used was harem - I mean how does somebody use that word in a serious way in a non-historical context? I always knew the guy was eccentric, but he really comes off as a piece of garbage.

                                          I hadn’t even heard about any of this (don’t really pay attention on that side of the fence), boy oh boy. Thanks for those links.

                                          1. 6

                                            I see the word harem used all the time (and sometimes use it myself) and don’t at all see how it’s usage would make somebody “a piece of garbage”, can you elaborate?

                                            1. 10

                                              Have you used it to suggest that economically disadvantaged women and children being actively trafficked by a convicted sex offender constitute a harem*? Because that’s the usage that (among other things) makes Stallman “come off as a piece of garbage.” Which, if we’re going to keep trying to rules-lawyer, is not the same thing as ‘making [him] a “piece of garbage”’.

                                              * If we’re being at all technical a harem is an architectural feature; we probably should retire the word when applied to anything else.

                                      2. 11

                                        You work on Void Linux, right? Can’t we say the same thing about Juan and Void? Clearly things aren’t always as simple as “it’s his project”.

                                        1. 6

                                          Touche. I’ll not be responding, but I appreciate the chuckle.

                                        2. 8

                                          Please read the Wikipedia article about him.

                                          1. 6

                                            None of which are criticisms of his work or even his working persona, but his personal persona.

                                            1. 21

                                              You can’t be a leader with half of your personality. While I agree that some things are in the realm of private, your personal blog and your public speeches aren’t. You can’t go and have spicy opinions on your personal blog all the time and then pretend that they do not matter when running your projects and finding your peers in your projects.

                                              People are particularly questioning his ability to lead GNU and the FSF in a new era.

                                              I also don’t know how 33 GNU developers signing a letter that Stallman can’t remain the head of the GNU project can be anything but criticism of his working persona. https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/joint-statement-on-the-gnu-project/

                                          2. 8

                                            I guess that depends whether the project wants to be judged by the things RMS says about.. you know … fucking kids.. fucking corpses.. etc.

                                          1. 2

                                            Personally I got the most out of Erlang (in terms of mind expansion a la Sapir-Whorf and also in terms of usefulness as a tool for building systems), and I learned about it via the Seven Languages in Seven Weeks book mentioned by another commenter. There’s a sequel to that one out by now I believe.

                                            1. 4

                                              Excited about the attention UX is getting – hopefully that means issues impacting core functionality won’t languish for months anymore (see e.g. [1]) and also that Element won’t provide such a poor experience for non-technical users.

                                              While I admit that I’m interested in Cerulean as well, my worry here is that the Element team are spreading themselves too thin/becoming unfocused. Slack is “just” a chat app – not a protocol with multiple server and client implementations and also a social app. Because of that razor focus (and also by virtue of having a gargantuan team + orders of magnitude more revenue and funding, to be sure), Slack is able to provide a pretty straightforward onboarding experience for new users that doesn’t require half a degree in computer science, with detailed end-user documentation to boot.

                                              I can’t help but be slightly excited at the mad science experiments, but they also make me a bit nervous. I know as a developer when we go too far down these “cool” rabbit holes (especially ones that nobody asked for, and that are somewhat removed from my core value proposition), the systems we are responsible for that people rely on can suffer. Here’s to hoping the Element team gets this balance right

                                              [1] https://github.com/vector-im/element-ios/issues/3762

                                              1. 29

                                                I’m so sick of lobsters. From the profiles that post and have (presumably RL) pictures, and from tapping through the invite trees of posters, it feels like there is very little racial, class, and gender diversity here. The ensuing discussion on threads involving diversity are sickening to read and pretty much reinforce this perception. They are orders of magnitude worse around this than threads on HN about this stuff, which is hard to believe.

                                                I doubt I’ll be sticking around. If anyone who operates this thing cares to make it more diverse and less of a dumpster fire and happens to see this, consider that only allowing members to invite members might be partly why diversity is so poor here (at least when it comes to commenters). I’m not advocating to open the floodgates, not totally sure what the solution is (it’s a hard problem in general), just proposing that as a potential problem

                                                But anyway, at least for the meanwhile, this is not for me. Have fun downvoting/flagging me into oblivion

                                                1. 8

                                                  Most comments here are pretty happy or at least politically indifferent with the change made by Git: where are the “not diversity friendly” comments that reinforce your perception of oppressive content ?

                                                  From the profiles that post and have (presumably RL) pictures, and from tapping through the invite trees of posters, it feels like there is very little racial, class, and gender diversity here.

                                                  If we are being open to each others, why would you even consider anyone ethnicity, gender or class to judge their arguments ? Should we not aim for the complete opposite: care about the message, not the messenger ?

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I get what you mean, but one of the great things about Lobsters is hearing opinions from subject matter experts. If topics like this are going to keep coming up, I think it’d be nice to have more people familiar with the subject talking about it.

                                                  2. 8

                                                    I doubt I’ll be sticking around either. I already know a few other people who just stopped coming here because of similar issues. I’ve also noticed quite a few of the people in this thread complaining and spouting whataboutisms were also doing the same in that furry post from a couple of days back.

                                                    @pushcx Maybe consider how this site is run and the outward image it projects when these types of topics come up. It’s a recurring pattern and not a welcoming one. You’re free to run your site how you want but there is a perception in certain off site circles about this site and the type of user here. If this is an image you’re fine with then that’s fine but don’t expect minorities to stick around, want to join, or recommend the site.

                                                    1. 10

                                                      If I could upvote more than once, I’d give you all I had left.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        it feels like there is very little racial, class, and gender diversity here

                                                        I’m a racial minority who grew up in a low social class so I feel this on every tech site (where folks seem to have endless anecdotes about their gifted and talented program in their competitively ranked national high/secondary school, but none about how computers were expensive growing up which made experimenting with them difficult (in my high school, a sizable amount of people could not even afford computers)), and Lobsters is no exception.

                                                        But setting that aside for a moment, I think lobsters diversity problems extend even beyond this to technical content as well. I’ve been on Lobsters for a long time (6 years according to my profile), and the Lobsters technical community spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on PLT, especially as related to functional programming, and has a particular dislike of cryptocurrency. While HN and other tech social sites have similar biases, it feels so glaringly obvious on Lobsters that it feels like predictable groupthink. It’s to the point where I feel like I could game the karma system just by adding tags and keywords into a post title.

                                                        There’s so much more to tech out there. In particular, despite the huge growth in scientific computing over the last decade, I rarely see anyone here mention anything about Deep Learning, statistics, SAT, or convex optimization. We get the occasional post on 3SAT and Z3 seems to be somewhat popular here, but other than the occasional post on computer graphics, Lobsters largely ignores scientific computing. I never thought about this until your post, but I think the invite system might be a contributing factor.

                                                      1. 50

                                                        To whomever downvoted this as off-topic:

                                                        • It’s about cryptography, security, and privacy
                                                        • The source code examples are written in JavaScript

                                                        …so which topic is it off-?

                                                        1. 37

                                                          It’s probably an expression of political distaste for overt references to furrydom rather than an authentic opinion that this article’s content is off-topic. I think this is absolutely topical content myself, but I’ve seen plenty of articles posted that I also thought were entirely topical (some of which I posted myself), that had off-topic or other flags because they were triggering to the political sensiblities of other users.

                                                          1. 53

                                                            Just posting in support of this.

                                                            Folks, this is a nice high-effort post about implementing security, with code and references and the whole shebang. It isn’t shilling a service, it isn’t navel-gazing on politics, it isn’t even some borderline case of spamming a blog to get more views without care for the community.

                                                            Anybody who flagged this as off-topic either didn’t read the article or is a tremendous asshole.

                                                            Anyone who flagged this as spam either didn’t read the article or is a tremendous asshole.

                                                            If the reference to furries in the title rustled your jimmies, despite the site policy here being to use the original title as close as possible, and you were unable to evaluate the quality of the article on its own merits, you’re a tremendous asshole.

                                                            1. 26

                                                              I get off topic downvotes for my posts with Mara too. Some of the graybeards here really dislike furries for some reason I can’t comprehend. I hope they can find something better to do that downvote furry adjacent content. Anyways, keep up the good work!

                                                              1. 46

                                                                I’m that kind of a person, though I don’t have a gray beard. To me it’s just cringe (for lack of a better word), just like an unironic “euphoric” atheist, a gun-obssessed anarcho capitalist, a “My Little Pony” Fanboy or a western-anime otaku. I honestly don’t see what the difference is.

                                                                Any blog that tries to mix that kind of usually fringe subculture is fine by itself, people are strange, but I have my doubts how relevant it is to a general-public site like Lobsters.

                                                                That being said, I didn’t flag it, I’ll just be hiding it.

                                                                1. 16

                                                                  Setting aside how cringe or not it is, we should evaluate the article on its technical merits.

                                                                  1. 14

                                                                    In principle, yes, but we often have discissions on the form of sites (don’t post twitter threads, avoid medium, not loading without JS, too low contrast, automatically playing videos), and interspersing a page with furry imagary is just something that some people are used to (apparently this is an american thing), and others are not.

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      It’s not an American thing.

                                                                      I don’t know why you think it is.

                                                                      Eurofurence, Nordic Fuzz Con, and FurDU are just a few of the international furry conventions that attract thousands of attendees every year (COVID notwithstanding).

                                                                      1. 16

                                                                        Honestly that comes of as saying that McDonalds isn’t an american thing, because they have joints all over the world. Have you ever wondered why we are writing in English? I think everyone knows that american culture has a kind of dominance that no other culture has, because of hollywood, TV series and media in general. It’s always the de facto standard, and almost anything that is a thing in the US has following somewhere else. That has only intensified with the internet. But if anywhere in this thread, this is the point where we would be crossing over into off-topic territory, so I’d sugest we agree to disagree.

                                                                        And regarding

                                                                        I don’t know why you think it is.

                                                                        First of all, Wikipedia says

                                                                        The furry fandom has its roots in the underground comix movement of the 1970s, a genre of comic books that depicts explicit content.[5] In 1976, a pair of cartoonists created the amateur press association Vootie, which was dedicated to animal-focused art. Many of its featured works contained adult themes, such as “Omaha” the Cat Dancer, which contained explicit sex.[6] Vootie grew a small following over the next several years, and its contributors began meeting at science fiction and comics conventions.

                                                                        So it literally comes from the US. But setting that aside, even if I didn’t know that, it’s something so inherintly american, that I would have been really suprised that something that at the same time desexualizes bestiality (by removing the inherent link) and sexualizes animals (by giving them human cues of attractivness and anatonomy) could come from anywhere else.

                                                                        Edit: Also I was curious and looked it up, “Nordic Fuzz Con” has 1499 atendees in 2020, but considering how many contries these people came from, it’s approximatly 0.000008% of the population. It’s common that when people are too online, they overestimate how large their bubble really is. “Eurofurence” with almost twice as many atendees isn’t much better of.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          That’s super off topic for the discussion, but I’ve recently changed my mind about “american culture”. I now feel that a significant part of it is just universal, liberal culture, and not specifically American (hamburgers, pizzas and sushi being fun gastronomical examples). This post changed the way I think about this.

                                                                        2. 2

                                                                          I don’t know why you think it is [an American thing].

                                                                          Probably due to mako’s comment, which said they “always considered it an American subculture”. I hadn’t heard of it being American before… thanks to your comment I’ll unlearn that.

                                                                    2. 12

                                                                      Lobsters is general public? :-)

                                                                      I think you could tack on just about any group and the content would be pretty much the same. “…for punks,” “…for people with a pulse,” or whatever. I’ve no strong opinion on furries. As long as their hobbies are not hurting anybody, I’ll just file it in the “not my thing, but not hurting me” bucket and see if the rest of what they have to say is interesting or not.

                                                                      1. 11

                                                                        Technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Practitioners, users, researchers, and creators are people whose experiences of technology will be informed by their lifestyle preferences, race, gender, queerness (or not), positionality in society, past experiences, mental health, hobbies, friends and so on.

                                                                        It’s ridiculous and downright depressing to me that anyone would consider a blog off topic because the writer chose to make their technical narrative their own. It strikes me as the kind of narrow thinking that leads the tech industry to not be a very accessible or diverse place in general.

                                                                        Divorcing technology from the real world leads to isolation and atrophy (to borrow the words of Courant). It reduces diversity, leads to moral atrophy, and systems built without empathy for users.

                                                                        And it leads to gatekeeping. Don’t do that.

                                                                        1. 8

                                                                          The cringe is a reaction of your own, not the content itself. I would avoid downvoting a post just because of my relationship to it, so I’m glad you made the same call.

                                                                          1. 11

                                                                            Lobste.rs caters to a very specific subculture that exists in the IT sector that is in itself part of a broader subculture of technology creators and maintainers. It’s just that you think your subculture is important enough to be let in and others are not.

                                                                            1. 11

                                                                              You’re right that “technology” is a subculture, but my claim is that we are perpendicular/stochastically independent to “furry culture”.

                                                                              It’s just that you think your subculture is important enough to be let in and others are not.

                                                                              I would very kindly ask you not not be this elitist about this, this is explicitly a techonology site, with no further designations. The community has it’s tendencies, this way or another, but that doesn’t change the fact that the average to something as obscure as a “furry” will be recieved with some hesitation. This isn’t anything personal, I can imagine that if I went to some “normal” site like Facebook and started talking about the need Free Software that most people would consider me crazy.

                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                It’s the exact opposite of being elitist, it’s about being inclusive. You call “technological community” a thing that is aligned to your culture and values and it’s just a very small fraction of the people that produce digital technology. You universalize it because you cannot conceive that there might be different ways than yours of producing technology together. You believe your way is THE way and you reject other ways.

                                                                          2. 11

                                                                            I don’t think it’s greybeards, rather non-Americans. I’m in the UK, London, and if there’s a furry subculture here it is so microscopic that I’m not aware of it. I’ve always considered it an American subculture, and possibly mostly silicon valley, but certainly for non-Americans I think it’s very obscure. I didn’t vote either way, and have no idea what the furry thing is about, just glimpse it once in a while.

                                                                            1. 11

                                                                              For what it’s worth, in America you don’t just see people walking around expressing as furries while they shop for groceries. Most of us have never run across the culture in person. I think it’s not that this is an American phenomenon but that online spaces are safer, so that’s where you (and we) see them.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                just how microscopic would it have to be for you to not be aware of it? do you keep tabs on all… culture… in London?

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  It’s honestly not very hard.

                                                                              2. 10

                                                                                I really enjoy most of the aesthetic of your pages, and the technical content! I just don’t like the random stuff being jammed in between it. I don’t need a bunch of reading space occupied by a full color, artistic, glorified selfie 6 times. Or in the case of Mara’s first appearance, 16 times.

                                                                              3. 19

                                                                                I’m not going to flag it, but the „for furrys“ bit certainly is off topic

                                                                                1. 39

                                                                                  Furry is my blog’s aesthetic and theme, and a significant chunk of the content, but the focus is 99% encryption. The parts that are furry-relevant are:

                                                                                  1. A lot of tech workers are furries (or furry-adjacent).
                                                                                  2. I’ve found that furries are generally more comfortable with the abstraction of “identity” from “self” than non-furries. I generally attribute this to the prevalence of roleplay in our culture. (I remarked on this detail in the post.)
                                                                                  3. Implied but never stated in this particular article: Since roughly 80% of furries are LGBTQIA+, and queer folks are likely to be discriminated against in many locales, improving furry technology will likely have a net positive impact on queer privacy in oppressive societies.

                                                                                  This page isn’t so much for furries than it is from a furry, published on a furry blog, and with a bad furry pun in the title.

                                                                                  1. 27

                                                                                    You don’t actually need to entertain anti-furry sentiment. And do not worry either, there’s also people who appreciate this. I’d rather see furries than most common traits of the modern web.

                                                                                    1. 19

                                                                                      A lot of tech workers are furries

                                                                                      For certain values of “a lot”. I’d guess that this kind of stuff is more popular in the US than in India.

                                                                                      1. 28

                                                                                        The main problem with this kind of title phrasing is the forced communication of a political/sexual/whatever message, which is off-topic for the site, and most people don’t care, and don’t want to care for it.

                                                                                        Anybody visiting the link would see that the page has a furry aesthetic. Then they would have the chance to read the article, or close the page. This way a message is promoted on the main page. I think identity politics are already too emphasized and destructive in discussions, and have a bad effect on communities and society. Consider seeing things like a Heterosexual christian father’s guide to unit testing on the front page. Without judging anybody’s identity, this is not the place and form for that topic and that kind of statements.

                                                                                        1. 15

                                                                                          I wonder why the simple reminder of a group’s existence bothers you so.

                                                                                          1. 17

                                                                                            For some reason you failed to understand my point, and are accusing me with something instead of arguing my points. Most likely this is because of my inability of phrasing my point efficiently.

                                                                                            But in the same spirit: I wonder why do I even need to know anybody’s affiliation at all in context of a technical discussion?

                                                                                            1. 11

                                                                                              One could make the same argument to flag “Beej’s Guide to Network Programming” or any post about how company X solves their problems.

                                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                                And usually they do so, considering it as spam, a form of advertisement… Only not of the political, but of the business kind.

                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                  I don’t think you are familiar with at least the first example.

                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                    But at least I can be familiar with the second example…

                                                                                                    Your style is not that of a Friendly engineer.

                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                      There was a time he went by a different name…:p (angrysock)

                                                                                              2. 6

                                                                                                I wonder why do I even need to know anybody’s affiliation at all in context of a technical discussion?

                                                                                                Because the author decided, that their “affiliation” is relevant to their content, that’s it. You don’t need to follow that thinking, you can opt-out of reading their article, even hide it on sites like lobste.rs.

                                                                                                Any articel tells you something about the authors identity and cultural affiliations. And most of us just fill the blanks with defaults, where details are missing. i.e. an authors gender on technical content is often assumed to be male, if not stated otherwise. Most of us who grew up in societies with Christian majorities just assume that most guides to unit testing are a variation of the “Heterosexual christian father’s guide to unit testing”. That’s bad because it taints our perspective, even on the already factual diversity of tech and the net. So IMHO it’s a good thing, if more of us keep their affiliations explicit and maybe even reflect on how those influence their perspectives.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  Your points aren’t worth arguing. You assert several things (“most people don’t care,” “have a bad effect on communities”) without any supporting evidence. To the first about whether people care and “don’t want to care” – I don’t find that persuasive even if you can provide evidence that a majority of people don’t want to be confronted with the identities of people who’re considered outside the mainstream. But I also suspect you’re making an assertion you want to be right but have no evidence to back up.

                                                                                                  Likewise, what even is a “bad effect on communities and society”?

                                                                                                  You also express an opinion (“I think identity politics are already too emphasized”) which I heartily disagree with, but that’s your opinion and I don’t see any point arguing about that. OK, you think that. I think too many craft beers are over-hopped IPAs and not enough are Hefeweizens. The market seems to disagree with me, but you’re not going to convince me otherwise. :-)

                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                    Your points aren’t worth arguing.

                                                                                                    Start with a thought-terminating cliché. Then you start arguing my points. :) No problem.

                                                                                                    To the first about whether people care and “don’t want to care” – I don’t find that persuasive even if you can provide evidence that a majority of people don’t want to be confronted with the identities of people who’re considered outside the mainstream.

                                                                                                    I understand your points, but you didn’t really grasp what I wanted to phrase. IMHO “mainstream” and other identities should not confront each other here unless being technically relevant ones, about which technical discussion can be carried on. There are other mediums for those kind of discussions.

                                                                                                    Lucky someone has managed to phrase my ideas better than I could above:

                                                                                                    https://lobste.rs/s/mn1am1/going_bark_furry_s_guide_end_end#c_xndsrl

                                                                                                2. 14

                                                                                                  As I understand @kodfodrasz, they were bothered not inherently by the reminder of the group’s existence, but by the broadcasting of that reminder to the Lobsters front page. When an article title on the front page asserts the author’s voluntary membership of a group, that is not only a reminder that the group exists—it’s also implicitly an advocation that the group is a valid, normal, defensible group to join. One can agree with the content of such advocacy while also disliking the side effects of such advocacy.

                                                                                                  What side effects would those be? @kodfodrasz said that “identity politics are already too emphasized and destructive in discussions, and have a bad effect on communities and society”. I think they are referring to way advocacy for an identity can encourage an “us vs. them” mindset. Personally, I see the spread of that mindset as a legitimate downside which, when deciding whether to post such advocacy, must be balanced against the legitimate upside that advocacy for a good cause can have.

                                                                                                  1. 9

                                                                                                    ^ this

                                                                                                    My assertion is that currently I see a trend where legitimate topics are not discussed because some participants in the discussion have specific opinions on other topics than the one discussed. Dismissing some on-topic opinions for off-topic opinions is an everyday trend, and if bringing our off-topic identities to the site would gradually become more accepted, then that trend would also creep in from other parts of the society, where it has had done its harm already.

                                                                                                    I hold this opinion as a guide for every off-topic identity. I think of it with regards to this forum a bit similarly to the separation of church and state has happened in most of the western world.

                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                      by the broadcasting of that reminder to the Lobsters front page

                                                                                                      The submitter (author in this case) has one “vote” in promoting their content on this site. Usually one net upvote keeps stuff in /new and outside the front page. What’s promoted this content to the front page is the site’s users, who have upvoted it enough to appear on it.

                                                                                                      At time of my writing this comment, the current standing is

                                                                                                      50, -7 off-topic, -4 spam
                                                                                                      

                                                                                                      Also note that comments themselves contribute to visibility, so everyone commenting complaining about this being off-topic and “in your face” aren’t helping their cause…

                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                        When an article title on the front page asserts the author’s voluntary membership of a group, that is not only a reminder that the group exists—it’s also implicitly an advocation that the group is a valid, normal, defensible group to join.

                                                                                                        Are you (or @kodfodrasz) implying that identifying as a furry is in some way so dangerous as to be suppressed by society at large?

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          One can agree with the content of such advocacy while also disliking the side effects of such advocacy.

                                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                                        Would you be fine with a BDSM-themed blog post on a tech topic?

                                                                                                        1. 10

                                                                                                          It depends how the theme is explored.

                                                                                                          If it uses BDSM culture to explore the nuances of consent in order to explain a complicated technical point, I’m all for it.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            What if it’s just interlaced with drawings of BSDM activities, like that old GIMP splash screen? I wouldn’t be caught dead scrolling that (nor opening GIMP) at work.

                                                                                                            1. 8

                                                                                                              If you work at a place that cares more about some bullshit policing of imagery than technical merit, that’s a yikes from me.

                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                There’s an inherent sexual quality to BDSM that isn’t inherent to furry culture.

                                                                                                                You do realize that, correct?

                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                  Strictly speaking that isn’t necessarily true about BDSM.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    Oh? This is news to me.

                                                                                                                    1. 16

                                                                                                                      Yep. There are people, for example, for whom submission is not a sexual thing but instead about being safe and there are people for whom having a little (in the subcategory of dd/lg) is about having somebody to support and take care of and encourage in self-improvement.

                                                                                                                      That’s not everyone, the same way that there are in fact furries who are all about getting knotted.

                                                                                                                      My point is just that if you want to go Not All Furries, you should be similarly rigorous about other subcultures.

                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                        o/ I’m asexual but still very into BDSM (and also a furry!). I know what something being sexualised feels like — took a while to get here — and while a lot of people do link the two intimately (as many do for furry things), they aren’t dependently linked.

                                                                                                              2. 6

                                                                                                                Actually, I know a real example. There is a Python-related French blog named Sam et Max. The technical articles are generally considered high-quality by the French-speaking Python programmers. But there are also BDSM- and sex-related articles alongside the Python articles. Even within a Python-related article, the author sometimes makes some references about his own fantasies or real past experience.

                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                  As long as there’s no overt pornography, sure. I’d read a good article on crypto that had “by someone currently tied up” on it. What’s the point of writing if you get shamed for putting your personality in it.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    Already mentioned elsewhere but it’s my understanding that being a furry isn’t inherently sexual / about sex, though there can be that aspect. I certainly wouldn’t mind a post that was something like “a lesbian’s guide to…” or “a gay person’s guide to..” because those identities encompass more than sexual practices. (Someone elsewhere says that BDSM isn’t strictly speaking sexual, which … is news to me, but I admit my ignorance here. If there’s a non-sexual aspect to BDSM identity then sure, I’m OK with a BDSM-themed post on tech.)

                                                                                                                2. 5

                                                                                                                  Consider seeing things like a Heterosexual christian father’s guide to unit testing on the front page.

                                                                                                                  That goes without saying, because that’s the default viewpoint.

                                                                                                                  The way the author clarifies and establishes their viewpoint does not make their technical content anymore off topic than someone submitting something titled “A Hacker’s Guide to MFA” or “A SRE’s Guide to Notifications”. The lens that they are using to evaluate a technical topic is an important piece of information that we often-times forget in tech with disastrous outcomes.

                                                                                                                  1. 13

                                                                                                                    No, it is not necessarily the default. But even if it would be, articulating that off-topic identity on the front-page would be unnecessarily divisive, and I’m pretty convinced, that people of other identities would flock the comment section claiming that the post is racist (sic!), and is not inclusive, hurts their feeling, and I think they’d be right (on this site).

                                                                                                                    Hacker or SRE are on-topic tech identities themselves, while sexuality, political stand, religion are not really.

                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                      Hacker is a political identity. For instance, it’s one that I find really degrading when associated to the whole profession. The nerd identity or the general infatilizing of programmers is degrading as well. These are tolerated because they are the majority’s identity in this specific niche and presented as “neutral” even though they are not.

                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                        Well I see some positive vibe about the hacker word in the IT sector, if you remember there was some hacker glider logo thingie around the millennia. I’m not one of them, and agree with you, I also find hacker somewhat negative, and not because of the “evil hacker”, but of the unprofessional meanings of the phrase (eg. quick hack). Still lots of fellow professionals don’t agree on this one with us.

                                                                                                                        Regarding Nerd: I also find the phrase degrading, and I don’t understand those who refer to themselves as nerds in a positive context.

                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                          I don’t understand those who refer to themselves as nerds in a positive context.

                                                                                                                          The best way of removing the degrading conotation of a word is to rewrite its meaning. The best way to do that is to unironically use it in a neutral-to-positive context.

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            yeah but the problem is what you want to appropriate. The word “slut” has been reappropriated to defend the right for men and women to have sex freely without judgement. The word “nigger” has been reappropriated because black people are proud of being black. But the word “nerd”? “nerd” means being obsessed with stuff and have very poor social skill and connections. Reappropriating the word flirts very closely with glorifying social disfunctions, exclusion and individualism.

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              Reappropriating is done because there are negative connotations that we want to take out of focus; that’s the whole point.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                but Nerd is imho all negative. The positive connotations, like being dedicated and consistent on a practice is not exclusive to being a nerd. Being nerd is not even stigmatized anymore: now it’s cool to be nerd and still it’s degrading, like being a circus freak. You reappropriate a word to remove a stigma towards a category, but the stigma is already gone and what is left is a very distorted portrayal of knowledge workers.

                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                  That the stigma is gone is precisely because people took the term and ran with it.

                                                                                                                                  Besides, I have no problem with assholes (whose opinion of me is no concern of mine) considering me a circus freak: it makes them keep themselves at a distance which means less work for me to get the same desirable result.

                                                                                                                                  (Also: I disagree with the term “nerd” glorifying “social dysfunction” - normalizing, maybe, but that’s a very inclusive stance, especially when these “dysfunctions” are called by their proper name: neurodiversity. And what precisely is the problem with individualism again? And another tangent: knowledge workers aren’t necessarily nerds and nerds aren’t necessarily knowledge workers)

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    I agree with all your values but it doesn’t seem like this is what’s happening in the real world. Inclusion of neurodiversity is happening only in small bubble in USA/NE: if anything, neurodiverse people are just more aware of being different. Good for coping, not that good for social inclusion. Really neurodiverse people are still rejected by the society at large and at best they get tokenized and made into heroes but not really included. Also this appropriation of the word detached the concept of nerd from neurodiversity that if it was ever a thing, it’s not a thing now. Today being nerd is wearing glasses and a checkered shirt. Then if you flirt flawlessly with girls, entertain complex social networks and work as a hair dresser, it’s enough to say your hobby is building radios and boom, you’re a nerd. I don’t see how this process would help neurodiverse people and I don’t see how it is good to have to live up to this stereotype to be included in the IT industry (because in most places, if you are not some flavor of nerd/geek, you’re looked at with suspicion)

                                                                                                                3. 15

                                                                                                                  A lot of tech workers are furries (or furry-adjacent).

                                                                                                                  I don’t doubt that a lot of furries (or furry-adjacent) might be tech workers, but I’m not sure your statement is accurate, given just how many tech workers there are.

                                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                                    For most people, “Furries” is “that weird sex thing”. I can see a lot of people wanting to make it clear that sexual references are out of place in order to make tech a more comfortable and welcoming place for everyone. I suspect that famous Rails ‘pr0n star’ talk has (rightly) made people feel uncomfortable with sexual imagery in tech.

                                                                                                                    I’ve upvoted because the content is good, but I’m also not really one for keeping things milquetoast. I’d like to see more content like this. The technical parts are worth reading, even though I have no interest whatsoever in furries, and mildly dislike the aesthetic.

                                                                                                                    And yes – I’ve discovered today via google that it’s only a sex thing for 30% to 50% of the people in the subculture, but as an outsider, the sexual aspect is the only aspect I had ever heard people mention.

                                                                                                                    Going forward, I’d just suggest ignoring the downvotes and moving on – they’ll always be there on anything that’s not boring corporate talk, and the threads like these just suck the air out of interesting conversation.

                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                      [edit: content moved to different post, this was accidentally off-by-one click]

                                                                                                                    2. 12

                                                                                                                      Yiff it bothers you, why not just read it without the images? Firefox reader view works great fur me.

                                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                                        It doesn’t claim to be for furries, it claims to be by one.

                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                          Is it, though? If it was written as “a teacher’s guide to end-to-end encryption” would anybody be flagging it or carping about the title just because the intended / primary audience was teachers but the content could be abstracted to anybody who cared about end-to-end encryption?

                                                                                                                          1. 11

                                                                                                                            That’s a good type of question to ask, but your example title “A Teacher’s Guide …” is not equivalent. The author being a teacher could be highly relevant to the content of the article; for example, the article might especially focus on the easy-to-teach parts of encryption. The author being a furry, however, is likely to affect only the theme.

                                                                                                                            Analogous titles would change “furry” to another subculture that is not innately connected to tech and that people choose rather than being born with. Two examples:

                                                                                                                            • “Hide my Waifu: An Otaku’s Guide to End-to-End Encryption”
                                                                                                                            • “Communication is Key: A Polyamorous Person’s Guide to End-to-End Encryption”

                                                                                                                            Would people complain about those titles? I predict that yes, some people would, though fewer than those who are complaining about the furry-related title.

                                                                                                                        2. 5

                                                                                                                          Obviously it’s great that someone wants to give us this information. In return we should give them respect and thanks.

                                                                                                                          Showcasing their identity not only gives personal color to the post, it also donates some of the credit to the community they identify with, rather than to some default security engineer type we might imagine.

                                                                                                                          Thanks to this personal touch, some readers can no longer say furries are unintelligent, or never did anything for them.

                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                            Belatedly, but I’m following up on these flags. I missed this story and am reading through it now.

                                                                                                                          1. 12

                                                                                                                            Something tells me that neither of the authors has substnatial experience as software developers. But I think both of them have experience writing text, on macs perhaps? Perhaps even using Sublime Text, an editor that has a vim/emacs lookalike mode?

                                                                                                                            I’m an emacs user myself, FWIW, and my development screen has no animations in my field of vision, and no web browsers either. (The browser I’m using at this moment runs on a different host, outside my regular field of vision.) My big bottleneck is to melt into the code, and extra windows don’t help with that, magic or not. It helps when the code fills my field of vision, that way it’s easier enter the zone and have nothing except reliable computer input and feedback.

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              They don’t – both of them are career content marketers.

                                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                                I suspect the stack overflow blog is also specifically designed to rile up a dev audience to increase engagement; make obviously absurd claims so armies of commenters on the internet spike up their numbers.

                                                                                                                                And here I am commenting on it too. Mission accomplished :(

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  Content marketing is a odd profession. People who do that for a living describe themselves using another term, such as “technical writer”, which makes it sound as if what they do is somehow dishonourable.

                                                                                                                                  I wrote “have experience writing text” precisely in order to avoid the phrase they themselves chose not to use. Maybe that was dishonest of me. Or politel

                                                                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                                                                  Something tells me that neither of the authors has substnatial experience as software developers.

                                                                                                                                  It was a little ridiculous to see them try to sell git as an IDE feature when knowing its CLI is universally useful. I get the sense that they don’t really understand how things work in a UNIX workflow.

                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                  Curious about why C is considered less harmful than D. My experiences with D were all pretty pleasant. In another thread someone mentioned how D takes a “kitchen sink” approach to programming, which I could see. Then there’s also the fact that it’s unsafe by default. So being a larger unsafe language, maybe one could argue that it’s like C but it gives you more rope?

                                                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                                                    It is just unsubstantiated nonsense, it doesn’t even try to provide justifications and has a lot of very iffy items.

                                                                                                                                    But if I wanted to defend that position for argument’s sake, I might say C is more of a known quantity than D. Less rope perhaps, but also many of the problems of C are known to a lot of people and there’s processes to mitigate its risk whereas D has more uncertainty, especially in some areas where C has a lot of history like kernel development. (I know Linux Torvalds prefers plain C and I think it is because he finds it easier to follow what is going on; less syntax sugar, less potential for runtime surprises.) The hint at the end of the link saying “complexity” is the problem could just say since D is more complex, it is worse.

                                                                                                                                    I don’t believe that myself but it is the most reasonable argument I can think of. (The counter I like to the complexity thing is much of that is inherent to the problem. Simple languages attacking a complex problem still lead to complex code… it isn’t eliminated, it is just shifted.)

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      I swear I thought you guys were talking about options A and B which are really C and D but had little to do with programming languages until I hit Torvalds.

                                                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                                                      I think it’s because Pike designed Go and the author of the article was a big fan of Pike.

                                                                                                                                      The point of view of Walter Bright (D creator) has always been: https://forum.dlang.org/post/m19mc6$1798$1@digitalmars.com and that investment in a langage is a one-time investment (vs reading code).

                                                                                                                                      There is accidental complexity in D, things that didn’t worked out and complicate the language, but honestly it’s not too bad and all fits in a few blog articles.

                                                                                                                                      I think the author has a small point because (as seen with C++) using a complex tool puts you in the mood to write complex things :) but all in all software exists to make things possible.

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      I encouraged a friend to install Linux on his new XPS 13 and recommended Pop!_OS after having a good experience using it briefly on my Desktop PC. It was his first time installing Linux as the main OS on one of his computers. I expected it to be a smooth and pleasant introduction to everyday Linux computing but it has been anything but. He has had headache after headache and I’m honestly feeling a little guilty for not recommending something else. The package manager seems to tie itself in knots with remarkable ease (the split between the Ubuntu and System76 repos seems to aggravate this), while the desktop environment is prone to dramatic lag of a sort that one would not expect at all on a high end laptop.

                                                                                                                                      The most absurd episode was when, a couple of weeks post-install, the computer steadfastly refused to reach the LUKS password screen. This bizarre glitch was solved by disabling RAID on the SSD, a mode which it had bizarrely entered of its own accord - I can only assume because something in the OS messed about with the EFI vars.

                                                                                                                                      I’m now apologetically nudging him towards an Arch+Sway setup like my own. Not a very beginner friendly choice one might think, but it works flawlessly for me day-in day-out without ever slowing down or breaking my system.

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        I ran into that funky bug where it wouldn’t reach LUKS early last year. That was a super silly waste of time.

                                                                                                                                        Other than that, it’s been mostly smooth sailing for me, but like you I probably wouldn’t recommend this distro to someone non-technical.

                                                                                                                                        The most annoying bug I’ve run into is some memory leak in gnome-shell that to my understanding is caused by some Pop_OS plugin that it ships with. It’s caused me to nearly run out of RAM a few times on a 120gb machine. Lately I’ve been dealing with it by working around it (restarting every week or so) but one of these days I’ll put some time into fixing it

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          Just tell him to use void and be done with it

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                                                                                                                                            I like Void and use it on some of my machines but I think a non-systemd recommendation is a poor choice for a Linux newcomer.

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                                                                                                                                          It would be nice if the core functionality of the iOS client[1] and accessibility of the ecosystem were fixed too, or at least if some visible movement was seen on those. The basic ability of two mutually encrypted users to send each other messages has been broken for months with very little responsiveness from the maintainers.

                                                                                                                                          One of the key issues I have found in general with the matrix ecosystem is that it is highly inaccessible to the people who need it most – non-technical but tech-literate end users. For instance its SDKs and APIs and protocol are all very well (even beautifully) documented for the most part, but client functionality, less so – there is no documentation on the website or anywhere I could find in the repos discussing e.g. how to properly set up cross signing, or even going through the basic steps of how to verify another user’s device (not to mention why one would want to bother, or what E2EE is in layman’s terms)!

                                                                                                                                          Coupling that with removing “escape hatch” functionality like the ability to manually verify someone from the mobile clients, and it becomes exceedingly difficult for non-technical users – even for more technical users like me – to understand when something isn’t working because of improper setup on the part of the user, or because the client has been broken for months as the iOS client has been.

                                                                                                                                          The end result is that the entire ecosystem goes from being a genuinely useful tool for activists, journalists, and vulnerable demographics to being basically a toy whose benefits can only be properly enjoyed by more technical users for whom none of this is a matter of life and death. Blog posts like this, while interesting for someone like me who has the background to understand them, only reinforce this: very few of the blog posts on matrix.org are comprehensible to end users who aren’t also engineers.

                                                                                                                                          [1] https://github.com/vector-im/element-ios/issues/3762

                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                            So there’s a big difference between Matrix the protocol, Synapse the server implementation (subject of the OP here) and Element the client (subject of the comment here). The Matrix.org website and Synapse and the OP are unashamedly focused on developers and sysadmins.

                                                                                                                                            Separately, totally agreed that matrix clients like Element need to do better at usability - the intention is of course to be as easy as WhatsApp / Telegram / Slack etc to use, and there should have some major changes in the next weeks to show visible progress there. Meanwhile, the bug you linked is a plain old bug which we’re hunting down (thank you for providing the logs).

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              I appreciate the reply. I’m aware of the differences between the protocol and the server and client implementations. That said, I’m genuinely excited to hear about those updates, and to know that you agree there’s a usability problem. Thanks for working on that bug.

                                                                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                                                                              Synapse was dog-slow with rooms with a large number of people for a long time, which made the experience of using Matrix frustrating and unreliable. Fixing that is as important for usability by anyone, including nontechnical people, as fixing client-side encryption.

                                                                                                                                              The end result is that the entire ecosystem goes from being a genuinely useful tool for activists, journalists, and vulnerable demographics to being basically a toy whose benefits can only be properly enjoyed by more technical users for whom none of this is a matter of life and death.

                                                                                                                                              People who understand encryption well enough to deal with Matrix client encryption usability issues can just as easily be activists, journalists, and people who would be harmed by having their private communications leaked, as people who don’t. These are orthogonal, not disjoint, categories.

                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the point about performance being relevant from an accessibility perspective

                                                                                                                                                With regard to your second point, the set theoretic language obscures more than it helps here since we’re talking about accessibility. These sets are fuzzy: clearly activists, journalists, and others who aren’t software engineers, security researchers, or otherwise have technical (or tech-adjacent) day jobs can and do deal with Matrix client encryption. My claim is that Element is, at the time of writing this, orders of magnitude more challenging to learn, use, and trust if you aren’t in the latter category. For some, my observed experience is that the usability concerns make it completely non-viable.

                                                                                                                                                The fact that some e.g. journalists can persevere and make it work for them is not relevant to my point – that is similar to saying “even though Acme Cafe isn’t wheelchair accessible, it’s still accessible to other people”.

                                                                                                                                            1. 8

                                                                                                                                              I’d have a test like: t.equal(ss.gamma(11.54), 13098426.039156161);

                                                                                                                                              record scratch

                                                                                                                                              OK, that’s your problem right there. It’s well known that you don’t write tests like this: instead you always leave some margin for error in FP equality assertions.

                                                                                                                                              There’s difference between precision and accuracy. Just because IEEE doubles give you 52(?) bits of mantissa doesn’t mean those bits are all correct down to the LSB. And in cross platform code, like anything JS, you can’t even trust those bits will be 100% consistent from one platform/version to the next.

                                                                                                                                              If you make assertions like that test, you’re basically asserting that the implementation of every math function you call remains exactly the same, which is a bad idea. You’re testing stuff that’s not part of the contract of the API, basically.

                                                                                                                                              1. 12

                                                                                                                                                Did you read the rest of the post? It explains this, just less condescendingly. You write that “It’s well known” not to write tests like this, but where exactly are people supposed to learn that? Posts like this seem like as good a place as any.

                                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, for sure. It nearly always comes off as gatekeepey and obnoxious to write “It’s well known that …” (comparable to the “It’s obvious that …” in a lot of math textbooks), and even when it doesn’t, it is never to the benefit of the reader. So cut it out if you do it!

                                                                                                                                                  I learned something from this blog post because I’ve run into this exact behavior when writing unit tests. I used the epsilon approach to dealing with it mostly because that was the only way that made sense to me – glad to know that is a reasonable approach, and good to know about the others

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    Well, I was told about floating point arithmetic’s gotchas at least on 8 different courses on the university. Is learning what you are doing gatekeeping? Such is life. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                      No, learning is not gatekeeping. It’s the tone one uses to express that learned knowledge what can be perceived as gatekeeping. Some people are great at enthusiastically sharing their knowledge with others, which is completely different than simply stating “it is well known”, which sounds very much like “you should have already known this”.

                                                                                                                                                      About this topic in particular, i think it is totally reasonable to conclude that floating point operations are stable and well defined given the admittedly limited experience of noting that Math.sin(x) has always returned the same value when called with the same argument. It’s learning by doing, and that’s how many many people learn programming. Only when the result changes, because of a different browser or Node version, this assumption would be challenged, which i think is what the blog post is trying to convey :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                                                                                    I did read it; see my reply to @hwayne. I think the author misunderstands the nature of FP math: complex operations are always approximations, and roundoff errors always occur. (Trig functions are mostly computed as Taylor series, and there’s always a decision of how many terms to add before stopping.)

                                                                                                                                                    Sorry for sounding snarky. This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but I shouldn’t have climbed on my high horse so readily.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                      where exactly are people supposed to learn that?

                                                                                                                                                      In just about any course on floating-point arithmetic. This error is not even a quirk of a hardware implementation. It shows that this person has never seen how errors propagate through FP operations, how FP works in the abstract (with all those (1 + ε) factors). It’s fundamental knowledge. Similarly, I wouldn’t expect an article about strcpy(3) causing buffer overflow in some situations or the discovery of two zeros in FP to get this much attention.

                                                                                                                                                      Posts like this seem like as good a place as any.

                                                                                                                                                      Learning programming from blog posts is a terrible idea, akin to learning programming from Stack Overflow answers. That’s how you learn trivia, not systematic knowledge. It’s also how you assimilate a lot of misinformation. Well-reviewed books (or lectures) are the way.

                                                                                                                                                    2. 5

                                                                                                                                                      He explicitly discusses epsilons in the article.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, but only as a workaround for when you can’t afford to lug a custom JS reimplementation of the entire math library around with you. IMHO that’s the wrong way to look at it. Asking for accuracy down to the last bit in complex FP operations is not realistic. (For example, what happens if someone in the future finds a bug in that JS math lib, or an optimization, but can’t deploy it because it’ll break every use of it that expects perfect precision?)

                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                          This is why the generally accepted modus operandi is to use binary coded decimal arithmetic for financial calculations, where “exact” solutions are needed (and usually only addition/subrtraction/mutiplication and in extreme cases division are used), and floating point arithmetic is used for engineering (as in real engineering, not ad-tech and div layout engineering) , where working with tolerances has been the norm since centuries.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                                                                      Why is this horrible website asking me to solve Google’s captcha in order to read the article?

                                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                                        I reached out to them and got a response. They’d hit a cap for recaptcha calls, they attempted mitigation, and it caused this problem. They’ve pushed an update which seems to fix the issue for me.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                          Cool that your reached out and got a response! Nice of them

                                                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                                                          Haven’t noticed that. Are you a risky visitor? Using tor? Blocking Javascript? Anti Google?

                                                                                                                                                          1. 7

                                                                                                                                                            Why should being “anti-Google” make one a risky visitor? I have nothing to gain and potentially something to lose from being followed around the web by Google so I take small measures to prevent it from doing so. This sentiment is completely antithetical to the spirit of the web – not to mention that it makes the web more inaccessible/more painful to use for about half the world’s population. It’s legitimately depressing.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                              Send servethehome a message, I can’t help you. But if they have recaptcha (from Google), then blocking Google things is a red flag. They can’t track you so can’t be sure it’s “you”, so you then must be a bug risk, or you must complete the captcha so they can gather more data on you.

                                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                                              I’m using Firefox on a macOS. True, there are several extensions that I have (Privacy Badger, DDG Privacy Essentials, Adblock Plus, Privacy Possum), but never ran into this issue.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                I manage one site where I have Google recaptcha enabled on the entire site for a contact form, and I do sometimes get a captcha as well, on my non regular browser on the laptop that also runs tor, but that is to be expected. But I don’t know why this site does it…

                                                                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                On my iPad, the recaptcha popped up at the bottom of the page, leading to a low-contrast read. No tor or blocking, I’m logged into google. I’ll drop a line?

                                                                                                                                                                Edit: Comments are broken on the article, “Error: User response is missing.” I left a message in a contact form about both issues.

                                                                                                                                                              3. 1

                                                                                                                                                                I got the same, quite weird.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                During this time, I dabbled with vim. However, the modal nature of editing felt foreign. At times, I’d try out a tutorial, but it never stuck

                                                                                                                                                                That seems to be something that most (non evil mode) Emacs users have in common.

                                                                                                                                                                For those of you looking to improve your editing experience, I recommend persevering through the initial foreign feel of modal editing. The payoff is well worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                                                                                  I’m fully capable of using vi and Vim and I still prefer Emacs. I don’t use Evil mode either.

                                                                                                                                                                  I can use modal text editing. I just prefer not to.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                    I was into vim before emacs, and love love loved modal editing. I hated how manual VSCode and other editors felt by comparison. I wish emacs were more powerful natively in this regard. But the main deal breaker for me was that vim still required some level of “task switching” with the “Unix as an IDE” philosophy – as someone with ADHD, the kitchen sink nature of emacs keeps me productive. And there’s always evil of course.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                      Out of curiosity, which language(s) do you work in currently?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                        In my day job, mostly Python and R, lots of SQL and rarely C, C#, and node.

                                                                                                                                                                        In side projects, mainly python and Erlang

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                          Ooo - thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                      I know a lot of people like it, but in my eyes Evil seems out of plae in Emacs. Yes, it’s technically possible, but there are better ways to combine modal editing with the already-existing conventions in Emacs. Objed and lispy are two interesting attempts at this, in my eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        FWIW, I use a package that marries lispy and evil: https://github.com/noctuid/lispyville and have had a pretty good experience for ~6 months. You could argue that I’m missing out on some core lispy-editing experience though by approacing it from an evil origin point

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 12

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for this.

                                                                                                                                                                      About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, and was prescribed a drug called propranolol. It’s a blood pressure medication with interesting properties that is used off-label for PTSD, anxiety, and various other things.

                                                                                                                                                                      I used to have severe arachnophobia (not directly related to the PTSD, or at least the arachnaphobia wasn’t why I sought treatment). To the point where when I was around 20 I found a spider on me and stripped naked and ran screaming into the backyard.

                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, one day after having been on propranolol for some time, I was out hiking with friends and we stopped under a tree. After a few minutes I realized there was a spider on my shoulder. I picked it up in my hand and suddenly it dawned on me – I wasn’t afraid. Not even a little.

                                                                                                                                                                      I went home and started seeking out spiders to pick up and hold. I went from being absolutely terrified of them to becoming excited whenever I saw one – it became like seeing an old friend. This persists to this day, and I’ve been off propranolol for several years now.

                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I live in New Mexico now, and right now it’s spider season, so black widows (which have a needlessly bad reputation) and other spiders are out in force. So the best part of my day lately has been walking around the backyard and checking on all of the webs in the garden and around the house, and occasionally giving them a little drink of water. It’s been wonderful watching their progress and getting to know each of them.

                                                                                                                                                                      A footnote re propranolol – years after my experience with it, I learned that the effects of propranolol on arachnaphobia were studied[1][2] with results very similar to mine! In a way it makes sense – there are a lot of commonalities between PTSD and phobias, and one could imagine there are similar mechanisms at play especially when it comes to memory.

                                                                                                                                                                      [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/15/scientists-say-theyve-found-way-to-cure-fear-of-spiders-in-2-minutes-could-they-also-cure-ptsd/ [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/opinion/sunday/a-drug-to-cure-fear.html

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        black widows (which have a needlessly bad reputation)

                                                                                                                                                                        Seconded! I have even accidentally lightly mushed them while moving pots around with bare hands to no fanfare from them. Youtube search black widow bite videos and people really have to harass them for a reaction.