1. 3

    I don’t really understand this—I bailed out pretty quickly—but i want to offer major kudos for the quality and discoverablility of the site. It’s rare to see a language that obviously comes out of academia and explores advanced PLT concepts have such a friendly and well-implemented website.

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      I’m glad to see this trend of standing up against poltiical exclusion in Open Source. I assume that the Code of Conduct for llvm was written in good faith, but the continued demonization of political groups (and to some extent, white men) is troubling. Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

      1. 43

        Who is being excluded? How is Outreachy preventing someone from contributing to llvm?

        I remember those days too. “No one” cared because “everyone” assumed you were white, male, and college educated. “There are no women on the Internet” dates back, at least, to the early ’90s.

        As a black male dropout, that was fine for me— I could get involved. No one questioned my capabilities. And as long as I kept up a good impression of being fluent in upper-middle to upper-class white culture, I could build my skills and social capital.

        I also got beat up on the street in front of my grandmother for “showing off” how I could “talk white” at school.

        I also remember, when Pentiums were out, using a pawn shop purchased Apple IIc with a gifted modem. I also remember hacking into dial-up pools to get telnet— haha, as if my machine could talk SLIP or PPP. I remember begging friends from MOOs and IRC for a shell account. I remember having no concept of the disparity between myself and the people with whom I played games, chatted, wrote code, and made friends. They simply had things, and I didn’t.

        I don’t see a problem with choosing to give their time and their money to mentor people who otherwise might not be able to participate. There certainly hasn’t been a problem with people choosing to give their time and their money to people who look like them, sound like them, grew up with them, attend the same church as them, went to the same school as them, are friends with them, enjoy the same movies as them, play the same sports as them, and just happen to be a well-off straight white male. Just. Like. Them.

        1. 5

          I also remember hacking into dial-up pools to get telnet

          Holy crap, you and I are kindred spirits. The terminal-concentrator at the local university dropped you into a command line…you were supposed to then immediately telnet to the VAX on campus, but they didn’t enforce that. I was 13 years old and certainly not a student at said university but boy did I get around using that little trick.

          (This would’ve been like 1993. I’m old.)

          1. 4

            🙏🏾 s/the local university/Sprint/ and that was me too!

            1. 4

              It was an eight year old Amiga 1000 that my dad got at an estate sale for like $20 because it would only boot up about half the time and shut down and random intervals, hooked up to a black and white TV, with an old external 1200 baud modem and a terminal program I got off a disk on the cover of a magazine. I felt like the lord of all creation.

              Man I’m nostalgic now.

              1. 4

                Who ever thought we’d make it this far?

          2. 3

            I remember when internet arrived at my hometown. It was 1996. I am not sure such delay was related to skin color.

          3. 46

            There is no whitemend.

            Outreachy isn’t out to make a monster out of you. It’s trying to correct for GSoC. You don’t like Outreachy’s policies, a much smaller, less well-funded org than Google, then go through GSoC and Google. You have lots of other options other than Outreachy.

            The code of conduct doesn’t say anything about how white men are bad. Reading the CoC, if you object that strongly to it that you must leave, then please do! That’s the CoC working as intended. You are deciding to exclude yourself by deciding that what the CoC forbids (i.e. being an asshole) is something that you must be and defend.

            Also, one more thing.

            I wish I could explain to people who are privileged one way or another, that it doesn’t mean your entire life is handed to you in a silver platter. Being a white male doesn’t mean you can’t be poor or can’t be gay (thus discriminated) or that you can’t have a slew of other problems.

            It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

            1. 5

              Reading the CoC, if you object that strongly to it that you must leave, then please do! That’s the CoC working as intended. You are deciding to exclude yourself by deciding that what the CoC forbids (i.e. being an asshole) is something that you must be and defend.

              I would disagree with that notion. I think it’s certainly possible to disagree with the CoC or parts of it without being an “asshole as the CoC forbids”. Personally and for example, I would say the “Be welcoming” clause is too exhaustive and could be shortened to “Be welcoming to everyone regardless of who they are and choose to be” which would IMO cover the same topics as it does now. The fifth clause is also way too broad and vague. A simple note that discussion not furthering the the project or it’s software, being NSFW or otherwise non-productive would have achieved the same goal and would give moderators more leeway to deal with troublemakers.

              I specifically wonder why number 6 was necessary. It’s a community of coders, if they can’t understand disagreement I seriously question what is going on behind the scenes that warrants such a rule. Does discussion derail so often into low level sand-flinging?

              Not too long ago I was member of a forum focused around LEGO robots. There were no rules of any kind but plenty of electricians and programmers around, men, women, kids and teens, etc. Everyone was happy to participate and be happy to exchange ideas and code. When there was drama the moderators enacted unspoken rules of the clearly obvious kind. If you insulted someone for no reason you got banned. Same for insulting someone based on their gender. We didn’t need rules for that. It was obvious as day that such behaviour was not something you’d do to have a productive conversation with someone about the intricacies of rubber bands vs gearing.

              1. 8

                I specifically wonder why number 6 was necessary. It’s a community of coders, if they can’t understand disagreement I seriously question what is going on behind the scenes that warrants such a rule. Does discussion derail so often into low level sand-flinging?

                Speaking as someone who has over the course of many years, moderated things on the internet. Things like this exist because otherwise someone will come along and say “but you didn’t say”. It’s an unwinabble battle, there will always be a “but you didn’t say” response to something. You try to cover the big things in a broad way so that people have a general idea.

                I’ve answered many emails as a member of the Pony core team where well meaning people write in to ask “if I do X, would that be against the CoC”. I can’t say that is how every CoC operates, but its how I like them to operate:

                Here are some ground rules. If you aren’t sure if what you are going to do violates those ground rules, maybe don’t it or ask whoever enforces the CoC.

                CoC’s are far from perfect. A large amount of that lack of perfection is that they are administered by people. Establishing some ground rules for a community is better than having none. Most communities have a CoC whether they call it that and whether its explicit. Take HackerNews, its called “Guidelines” there. It’s still a statement of some behavior that isn’t acceptable.

                1. 2

                  I think if someone goes down the route of “but you didn’t say” that would be grounds for getting a mute from the poor moderator they annoyed. At least back in the forum that was how it was handled. Nitpickers aren’t people who tend to keep around once the people in charge hammer them on the fingers.

                  I don’t think Hackernews’ Guidelines are comparable to a Code of Conduct. HN’s book of laws is much more vague and subjective, the word “guideline” already implies a certain amount of softness. Moderators won’t stick to that word-by-word and rather apply common sense on top of the rules. A “Code of X” for me implies a certain rigidness and thoroughness that isn’t present in most of them.

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                The code of conduct doesn’t say anything about how white men are bad.

                And yet that is how it has been applied. The organisation is funding a scholarship which is very explicitly open to people of some race/gender combinations and not others. I don’t think finding that unconscionable makes someone an “asshole”; quite the opposite.

                I wish I could explain to people who are privileged one way or another, that it doesn’t mean your entire life is handed to you in a silver platter. Being a white male doesn’t mean you can’t be poor or can’t be gay (thus discriminated) or that you can’t have a slew of other problems.

                It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

                Put it this way: I would lay money that, in practice, the average Outreachy scholarship ends up going to someone who has had an easier life than the average open-application scholarship (GSoC or similar). The rhetoric of inclusion is all about underprivileged groups, but somehow the beneficiaries always end up being middle-class college-educated liberals.

                1. 15

                  The organisation is funding a scholarship which is very explicitly open to people of some race/gender combinations and not others. I don’t think finding that unconscionable makes someone an “asshole”; quite the opposite.

                  Races and genders which are significantly unrepresented in the field they are trying to get them into.

                  There are campaigns and organisations here to try and get more male primary school teachers, because males are significantly unrepresented in primary education. Are the people running those organisations and campaigns “assholes” for discriminating against women, who represent over 84% of primary school teachers?

                  1. 4

                    He said although he made hiring decisions based on who was the best teacher, irrespective of gender, it would be great to see more men giving teaching a go.

                    That’s what the non-asshole version of this kind of thing looks like. Marketing the career to a particular demographic is fine. Giving that demographic an unfair advantage is not fine.

                    1. 2

                      It’s an unfair advantage that’s not even managing to negate the pre-existing unfair disadvantages that certain groups face.

                      1. 4

                        It’s Simpson’s paradox in reverse: picking an advantaged member of a disadvantage group over a disadvantaged member of an advantaged group is a negative step for equality that sounds like a pro-equality move.

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                    The outreachies I’ve seen have gone to Indian and Eastern bloc girls. You don’t see a lot of those in GSoC.

                    1. 4

                      Sure. That doesn’t contradict what I said: that the beneficiaries of these efforts end up being disproportionately people from the international college-educated liberal middle class (a group that’s far more homogenous in the ways that matter than most races or genders, though that’s a separate discussion), people who have had an easier life with fewer problems than the people they are displacing, even when those people are white and male.

                      1. 4

                        Let’s assume you’re right.

                        How does Outreachy working with international college-educated liberal middle class Indian and Eastern bloc girls displace anyone?

                        1. 2

                          If LLVM is choosing to fund a scholarship with Outreachy in place of funding one with GSoC, the recipient of that scholarship is displacing the person who would’ve received the GSoC one.

                          1. 9

                            Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it:

                            • LLVM participates in both Outreachy and GSoC.
                            • LLVM doesn’t fund either programme.
                              • Outreachy and GSoC both provide funds for their own programmes.

                            So, neither LLVM nor Outreachy are “displacing” anyone from GSoC.

                            Moreover, no one even signed up for LLVM’s Outreachy! So this is hypothetical “displacement.”

                            1. 1

                              Outreachy doesn’t fund internships, you need to bring your own funding to them. I’m not sure how LLVM is funding their outreachy internships.

                              1. 8

                                [citation needed]

                                Because, from their front page:

                                Outreachy provides three-month internships for people from groups traditionally underrepresented in tech. Interns are paid a stipend of $5,500 and have a $500 travel stipend available to them.

                                And their sponsor page:

                                Outreachy internship stipends, travel fund, and program costs are supported by our generous donors.

                                Same page, “Commonly Asked Questions”:

                                Q: Who pays the interns? A: The Outreachy parent organization, the Software Freedom Conservancy, handles payments to interns.

                                Not to make too fine a point:

                                Q: We have a company internship program. How does that work with Outreachy internships? A: Outreachy internships are completely separate from any other internship program. Outreachy organizers find FOSS communities that are willing to provide mentorship and use corporate sponsorship to fund the internships.

                                1. 1

                                  I guess I don’t see how you’re disagreeing with what I wrote. You need to have funding arranged before you can set up an outreachy internship.

                                  1. 4

                                    FOSS community provides mentorship. Corporate sponsor provides funding. Internship = mentorship + funding. Outreachy provides internships.

                                    The money from corporate sponsors goes into a pool that is used for all internships. Outreachy is a funds aggregator.

                                    When you say “you need to bring your own funding to them,” who is the “you?” It’s not the FOSS community. It’s not the internship applicant. Who is it?

                                    1. 1

                                      Perhaps the policy changed. When I looked this up in November it was the responsibility of whoever wanted to start an outreachy program for a project to identify a source of funding.

                                      1. 2

                                        According to the Internet Archive, in September of 2017, their policy was exactly the same. It’s the same at least back through the last GNOME Outreachy, over a year ago.

                                        Update: I deleted my follow-on questions. This is the kind of back and forth @pushcx warned about.

                                        1. 2

                                          Did you see my other comment? Each org needs to find a coordinator who needs to find funding for their org (see under coordinator, here: https://www.outreachy.org/mentor/). That might be in terms of corporate sponsorhip, but outreachy won’t do that for you.

                                          1. 2

                                            No I didn’t, I missed your self-reply. Sorry about that!

                                            And, yeah:

                                            Coordinator Duties Before Application Period Opens

                                            • Finding funding for at least 1 intern ($6,500)

                                            That’s clear and conflicts with their other pages. “Perhaps the policy changed” indeed. I put more weight on that page, though, than their more advertise-y ones.

                                            mea culpa!

                              2. 1

                                I understood LLVM was funding the scholarship but could easily have misunderstood. In any case it’s beside the point: my point goes through exactly the same if we’re talking about the person a hypothetical open-application scholarship would have selected or a person who was displaced as such.

                                Moreover, no one even signed up for LLVM’s Outreachy! So this is hypothetical “displacement.”

                                Isn’t it just the opposite? If choosing to offer an Outreachy scholarship rather than some other scholarship meant that instead of getting a likely-less-privileged individual they got, not a more-privileged individual but no-one, that’s an even bigger loss.

                                1. 1

                                  If choosing to offer an Outreachy scholarship rather than some other scholarship […]

                                  They also offer a GSoC scholarship, and there’s nothing to imply Outreachy replaced an alternative rather than being an addition.

                                  1. 0

                                    Scholarships don’t grow on trees; surely the fairest comparison to make is offering a scholarship versus offering a slightly different scholarship. (Would you apply the same reasoning if someone wanted to offer a scholarship that was only for white people, say?)

                                    1. 3

                                      I can play this game too, where “displaced” is entirely hypothetical:

                                      • LLVM has displaced compiler developers from gcc!
                                      • My drinking tea tonight displaced a purchase of beer from the bar down the road!
                                      • My mother and father each displaced every other person on the planet born before 1980!

                                      THE INJUSTICE

                                      1. 1

                                        Um, yes, it’s 100% fair to compare gcc to llvm, tea to beer, or your mother and father to other people?

                    2. 8

                      It just means you don’t have those problems in addition to also being discriminated for being a woman, for being black, for being anything else.

                      That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority. Human nature dictates that all groups favor those like them and penalize those unlike them. Examining the politics of non-white nations in World History or current affairs confirm those groups are just as racist in the social systems they create. Examining the actions of black administrators or elected officials show they mostly bring in people like them regardless of what the mix is in their area. The kind of political beliefs behind these Codes of Conduct and privilege assume this doesn’t happen on a large scale by non-whites to whites. The wealth of evidence disagrees with that so strongly that believing in it anyway and suppressing alternative views is comparable to a religious faith. One that damages specific groups while propping up others.

                      Another point folks in favor of those beliefs and CoC’s never bring up is how many minority members disagree with them. The surveys they usually take are almost never worded to assess how many people believe it’s something all groups do to each other. That’s because they’re biased enough to try to just reinforce their own beliefs. In my surveys, I always present both sides asking which they think it is. I rarely meet black or Latino people, majority of minority members in my area, that think structural oppression is only a white thing. It’s so rare out here. Most think all groups do it but that whites are doing it the most. That’s reasonable. Yet, under CoC’s and associated beliefs, their views would be censored as well since they’d be construed as racist (in their definition) or contributing to reinforcement of it. Likewise, any “language” or “terms” that are racist, sexist… scratch that, which their political beliefs without supporting evidence label as inherently racist, sexist, etc. That too.

                      So, I object to these CoC’s that act like a good chunk of minority members’ opinions don’t matter, that ignore the fact that minorities do structural racism/sexism all the time (by default like people in general?), ignore the fact that whites/men they’re addressing might have been the oppressed minority in previous environment (or current), and then build social structures and enforcement mechanisms on top of those damaging, faith-based beliefs. I also say this as a white guy who spent years in black-run schools living a long time in many areas of black-run city working in black-run departments and companies. If I write about my experiences or tell it like a 3rd party, the black people always think the person in the story is black saying the feelings and obstacles are what they endure. When I say they’re white, then type of people I’m countering say, poof!, none of it counts as evidence of racism. That shows it’s politically-motivated maneuvering, not consistent logic.

                      These should be fought in favor of CoC’s that don’t require everyone in America or the World to believe and speak as if one, smaller, vocal group is unconditionally right in all political claims about these matters.

                      1. 14

                        That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority. Human nature dictates that all groups favor those like them and penalize those unlike them. Examining the politics of non-white nations in World History or current affairs confirm those groups are just as racist in the social systems they create.

                        I’m sorry, what are you talking about? I’m from Peru where ‘whites’ are a minority. They are most certainly not discriminated against, quite the contrary. Whiteness is equated to privilege to the extent we have a saying here: ‘El dinero blanquea’, which roughly translates to ‘Money bleaches’.

                        The discrimination comes from factual power, not a head count. Power which was built upon centuries of enslavement and exploitation. Exploitation most members of the white elite minimize and/or are oblivious to.

                        It is the same in other places of South America. Certainly in Brazil, where the author is from.

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                          I’m from Peru where ‘whites’ are a minority. They are most certainly not discriminated against, quite the contrary. Whiteness is equated to privilege to the extent we have a saying here: ‘El dinero blanquea’, which roughly translates to ‘Money bleaches’.

                          I appreciate you sharing your example where one of the minorities has power. That supports my view that it’s highly conditional. Power is one thing that ties into discrimination. Group identity is another. You don’t need centuries of enslavement or exploitation to get one group working for themselves more or against another. It can be a factor, though. Often is. I also noticed you’re mentioning countries where white armies invaded them and their upper classes, not whites in general, did coercive negotiations for trade that benefits them. In this case, it’s real but tied to who did what. You can bet a group invaded by non-whites will also develop some reaction to that group.

                          Whereas around Memphis TN, being white in specific areas won’t get them respect or power due to the slavery that happened in the South. They’ll just get a warning to leave, beat down, robbed, and/or killed. No power. Like with those that invaded Latin America, the power was with a subset of them in high places or any that could get them to act on their behalf. As a civil rights proponent in America, I assure those powerful, white people would try to squash or minimize white people like me when our interests conflict. They hate outsiders even more but I would be treated more like them than your scenario would lead you to expect. I’m still in the outgroup. Just not as far out as Latin America. Same with local blacks or latinos that control specific areas, organizations, businesses, and so on. Being white conveys me large benefits in some contexts, about none in others, kind of negative in others, and violence/death in others.

                          It varies by context is my overall point. It’s not “If white, always this. If non-white, always that.” It’s really complicated. I’m sure I have plenty more to learn about the dynamics of the many groups. Thing is, countering it my way is much simpler than trying to trace it all: being civil, going out of your way to bring in others, accepting each other despite differences, and randomizing/blinding where possible selections/promotions. Increased fairness without further discrimination or hate. It’s simple, but not easy.

                          Edit to all: Other replies will be delayed since I have to work a late shift tonight. Heading out now. Hope yall have a good day and appreciate all the civil replies so far. :)

                          1. 4

                            Thank you for the thoughtful response. I get a better sense of what you were getting at. I don’t think I’m qualified to say much more on the matter, I don’t think I have a proper grasp of the dynamics of structural exploitation. But I’d like to add a couple of not fully developed ideas.

                            – Whiteness is sometimes used as a proxy for privilege.

                            – Whiteness is context dependent. My cousin from the US grew up on Pensilvania. Here he is a ‘gringo’, where he grew up he was considered far from white, being called racial slurs when growing up.

                            – It may be a better idea to talk more in other terms w/o proxies. Class politics are more relevant today than race IMHO.

                            – Even in Perú there are some contexts where you can be subject to specific instances of discrimination, but they pale in comparison to the structural discrimination that happens in the day to day basis. Which is why (in the context of Latin America at least) I view focusing on ‘reverse racism’ as a mechanism to distract from the larger and more important problem of structural discrimination.

                            also noticed you’re mentioning countries where white armies invaded them and their upper classes, not whites in general, did coercive negotiations for trade that benefits them.

                            I understand and empathize and partially agree with what you are getting at. Certainly you can’t be held personally accountable for everything action your government does. But at the same time they have to some extent the support of the general public. At best, you are turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering that supports your economy. But then again, it is our (Latin American) governments which are complicit and also responsible for said exploitation.

                            I’m the words of a mining worker, when talking to a college student:

                            – You speak of the gringos you’ve seen in Morococha and Cerro (Mines in Perú). But they are millions. Don’t generalize…

                            – So why do they send those how look down on us, cholos, not like people but like dogs.

                            Another thing, the exploitation of Latin America is not limited to ‘economic deals’ and is not something of the past (But there is more than a fair share to blame on our obsequent governments). In the 90’s US Companies hired henchmen to kill union leaders. The US Goverment (through US-‘AID’) provided logistic support for the mass forced sterilization of millions of women in Perú. Or even this decade, the US government, through the DEA, determines the policy and funds the forceful eradication of coca leaves further contributing to the impoverishment of Peruvian farmers. The Coca plant is legal here and is consumed by many in their day to day.

                            1. 1

                              I thank you for your detailed response. That was a mix of interesting and pretty sad. I’m going to back up a bit first on one issue since I was using a simplification that you and @stephenr are showing I probably shouldn’t use maybe here or in general. I’ll have to think on it. The actual belief I have about the ingroup vs outgroup dynamic is that they’re just treated differently in a way where it’s often positive to first and negative to second. It doesn’t have to be. I was just going with common pattern since it fits both my experiences and minorities in the U.S. which is mostly the topic around this thread. You’ve both given examples where a white outgroup can be benefit from their status in other countries. Likewise, there’s examples where the ingroup is a rough position with expectations for man or women coming to my mind easiest. One of the worst examples I’ve seen is the tribe that covers people in bullet ants to prove they’re men. I’d rather be the outgroup they look down on forever. ;)

                              On to your comments on exploitation. Far as unions, sterilization, and so on, that’s a side effect of the elites controlling America. They use the media to keep folks under control fighting enemies that aren’t the main enemy. You won’t see the stuff you described on American media much. Instead, it’s stuff that shocks or lets people point fingers temporarily for quick reactions. Next wave of shock happens making them forget what came before that. Americans can’t keep track of history. They can only focus collectively a moment at a time with what’s carefully put in front of them. The parts of the government doing things like you describe are mostly autonomous working for rich and powerful. Those that get voted in do a mix of things they said they’d do and things that appear to benefit their voters with lots of publicity for both. The choices are few with the non-participation and apathy so high that government doesn’t worry about rebellion. It’s kind of a constant rehash of the same games and corruption with businesses getting laws passed benefiting them more and more every year mostly under Americans’ noses since media barely reports on it.

                              So, that’s how that works if you were wondering. When I was young, I never thought handfuls of companies and some government organizations could really control most of several hundred million people with the presence of the Internet, activists getting word out, and so on. Yet, they actually can. They’re also intelligent, focused, well-staffed, and relentless in their pursuits vs masses that are hit and miss on these things with more scattered beliefs, goals, and participation. Just like in this, those fighting over the CoC’s and such aren’t investing effort in joining together against the elites like folks did in MLK days which truly scared them enough to plot murders. If they beat the corruption, they could work law by law, reg by reg, case by case to get a lot done starting with something as simple as due process for workers (I’m union). It takes unity and focus on where the foundational problems are, though, to achieve something like that. Not to knock efforts to improve things elsewhere but we really should be almost all in on dealing with people paying bribes for damaging laws to be passed that give corrupt jurisdictions and companies impunity in their evils. It seems like so much starts right there.

                              Anyway, there’s a lot of people pulling for the folks you describe. They just feel powerless to do anything about it. Also, those that care are so few that giving up products that come from there will change nothing. So, everyone from the consumers to the traders ignore their fleeting thoughts since they need some cheap copper.

                        2. 13

                          I’m not sure how anything you’ve written is relevant to LLVM’s code of conduct. It says; be welcoming of everyone, be considerate, be respectful, don’t make violent threats. All very basic, common sense stuff that the vast majority of people don’t need to a checklist to accomplish. I’m not sure how you went from what is actually written there, to this:

                          The kind of political beliefs behind these Codes of Conduct and privilege assume this doesn’t happen on a large scale by non-whites to whites.

                          Which part of LLVM’s CoC do you think is saying this? Do you think the part about being welcoming of everyone regardless of race is non-white people discriminating against white people?

                          1. 8

                            “Violent threats or language directed against another person. Discriminatory jokes and language. especially those using racist or sexist terms Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.” (my emphasis added)

                            It’s those words that are used to block people based on political beliefs. The kinds of people that push CoC’s often have specific views about what is considered racist, sexist, etc that there’s not a wide consensus on. Any words or behavior will be interpreted in the light of their views. This is double true when they get into the moderation positions, which they often aim for. I don’t have to speculate as I’ve been banned from forums for quoting under my own name minority member’s opinions on minority issues. They were racist, sexist, etc. by their definitions. These policies interpreted however they want are the leverage they use to reinforce their own groups or eject other groups. Advocating for is the last term where anyone even debating whether something was racist or sexist might be construed as supporting the racist or sexist person. That’s happened plenty, too.

                            So, it’s the intent behind the terms along with whose enforcing them, what their beliefs are, and if they’re willing to exclude people with different beliefs on contentious topics. They usually are. So, I oppose those in favor of CoC’s without enforcement of political ideology that focus on people just staying civil, friendly, etc. Those parts of the CoC’s I have no problem with.

                            EDIT to add what I’m fine with since I’d rather not be overly critical of something that’s mostly good:

                            “be friendly and patient, be welcoming, be considerate, be respectful, be careful in the words that you choose and be kind to others, and when we disagree, try to understand why.”

                            Most of the weaseling is built into that “be careful in the words you chose” part. Minus the weaseling, even quite a few points in that section are good. Also note that we don’t have to speculate given Lobsters already has enforcement that’s similar to what I’m advocating for. Our moderators may agree or disagree with people’s political views but haven’t ejected anyone for stating their views with data in a civil way. Our community is still a thriving, functioning community despite any political scuffles.

                          2. 11

                            That’s incorrect in any environment where whites or men are the minority.

                            I guess you’ve never been to Thailand. Whites are a ridiculous minority, but they’re held in such high regard by a large percentage of the population.

                            Edit: and to clarify, this isn’t the same situation as @PuercoPop’s:

                            Thailand was never colonised, has never been under ‘white’ or ‘western’ rule and was not a ‘source’ for slavery by whites, Heck, whites (without getting Thai citizenship, which, holy shit is that a long process) can’t own land, can’t own more than 49% of a company, etc.

                            Try to find some Thai soap operas on YouTube - notice how all the actors are very pale skinned: they’re all half-Thai, half-white. If they want to show a ‘poor brown girl’ (believe me, their stereotype, not mine) they literally take a Thai/White actress, and use makeup/body paint/whatever to show their version of what anyone else would think of as a ‘natural’ brown skin.

                            I’ve been stopped at police licence checkpoints, and the cop has been so excited just to say hello to a white guy he doesn’t even care if I have a licence.

                            1. 4

                              Of course structural oppression isn’t a white only thing. Anyone can discriminate against anyone. And sure, in localized areas some groups can oppress others in different ways than the average. That doesn’t mean CoCs shouldn’t try to prevent racist / sexist conduct.

                              What things do you see in CoCs that minority members disagree with, that unfairly construes their beliefs as racist? Or disregards their opinions? Or ignores that whites/men may have been the oppressed minority in their environment?

                              1. 4

                                That doesn’t mean CoCs shouldn’t try to prevent racist / sexist conduct.

                                I didn’t say that. I said it’s usually interpreted in a way where racist and sexist conduct has definitions that usually mean whites/males can’t experience the negatives, are often responsible for them (supported point in general case), and inherently have the positives. Evidence strongly counters two of those showing it has to be judged case by case, place by place, etc. For instance, the forums dominated by the types of people with that ideology make them the majority with the structural power to include, exclude, oppress, and so on. By their own definitions this is true. Yet, any person in a different group dissenting in such a place will be told they’re the “majority” with “privilege” who wouldn’t understand the… blah blah blah. Actually, at least in that context, they’re a minority getting treated worse than its majority at risk of damaging affects of discriminatory treatment. This plays out in other contexts like school, work, etc. where non-whites or non-males in the majority positions reinforce themselves at others expense. A general pattern.

                                Far as minority members disagree with, who are the minority members? That’s exactly what I mean. It depends on who you’re talking about in what context. Someone who is a minority member in one environment might be part of the privileged majority in another. The very definitions of who constitutes a minority (absolute vs conditional), what defines racism, who has privilege… these are in dispute across the nation. Many non-white and non-males dispute some of same points, too. So, starting from a specific set of views on it being true with enforcement working from there is already discriminating against all who disagree. They’ve not proven these views with evidence either.

                                Note: You can try to cheat with legal terms that one side or a group of them got in but treating the law as truth or moral is dangerous. Slavery and women not having rights were legal. So, my definitions are about reasonable categories people are in with their numbers or influence compared to groups of other categories.

                                The evidence collected on a global scale indicates that all groups in power reward their own and oppress others. So, if by evidence, this stuff will be conditional with every group monitoring themselves for bias boosting their outgroups when they don’t get a fair shake: not just whites or males being monitored with everyone boosting non-whites or non-males in all scenarios. In this country or in tech scene, the results would mostly be boosting non-whites or non-males to correct existing imbalances just on the numbers alone. No argument there. Yet, other things wouldn’t be taboo or inconsistent with the rules: a mostly black or women organization in mixed area with people in other categories having skills would be said to give more privilege to blacks/women, possibly structurally racist/sexist in hiring if ratios of workers vs supply were really skewed, encouraged to diversify, and activist action taken if they didn’t. Just like such people would do with white or male majority structurally reinforcing their own groups.

                                We don’t see this. Most of the types that push and want to enforce CoC’s frame it as one thing by definition with whites or males on high-privileged/victim-creating side in all situations. That’s dishonest. I’ll take “this happens more often than that” but not “this never happens or we should act like it doesn’t exist.” With that, they can’t eject people for disagreeing with them on what counts as discriminatory language or behavior if it’s something there’s no consensus on by people who otherwise are against a lot of clearly-discriminating behavior. Further, they might be more likely to go with diverse inclusion plus blind evaluation/selection to correct imbalances instead of ignore whites/males much as possible to only focus on everyone else. One is inherently more fair achieving a similar goal.

                                1. 2

                                  But don’t you think that being the privileged majority in the society you live in will have more to do with shaping your experience and fortune in the world than being the privileged majority in an online message board or OSS project?

                                  1. 3

                                    In the spaces I live with, my lack of privilege as a white minority in many contexts has cost me likely mental health, plenty humiliation, confusion, physical beatings, missed dates, missed jobs, missed promotions, and so on. Coworkers locally were just telling me recently about black-run classes singling them out for opposing beliefs. Things they say get an entire room screaming at them to intimidate them into silence on top of whatever penalties teacher might give. More extreme versions of this ideology are going campus to campus all over the place taking on life of their own where students are doing things like holding up signs protesting inferred problems in words or ideas of instructors that are there to help them during class.

                                    Again, I”m white male who doesn’t or can’t have such problems in a structural way according to specific groups in the United States despite the evidence of such things happening with non-white or non-male majorities. The forum example was just easier for people to see where you can tell the white male is not in control, is subject to the whims of others, and can be damaged for that. People causing outgroups problems is totally predictable in my model. That’s not the interesting thing. The interesting thing about the forum example is that the people in control who are the majority continue to describe their limited, powerless target in the same terms like powerful and majority. It doesn’t usually change as the circumstances change. It’s usually politics or religion when people’s beliefs or dictated rules don’t change when data flips by 100%.

                                    So, it’s not what they say it is or consistent. That’s enough reason to resist it. That following it would damage more innocent whites or males making them suffer as so many of us did is even more reason. You could say what motivates me to write these posts isn’t much different as what motivates those on the other side with personal experiences in racism or sexism to write their posts. It’s not “reverse (ism)” so much as all the same evil to me. Once we see and experience the evils, we have to stop them from continuing in any form they’ll take. Another thing I noticed is we seem to do it for others’ sake more than ourselves as we can’t undo what we experienced. We’ll always be a bit fucked up by it. We can maybe stop someone else from having to experience that, though. I want someone else to be everyone instead of “everyone but whites and males.”

                                    As usual, that’s on top of all the non-whites and non-males I care about and try to help. They just get a lot more attention and support than this other cause. Hence it being a focus area you’ll see me on. Plus, having been affected so strongly, that’s a motivational bias of mine on top of it.

                                    1. 4

                                      @nickpsecurity, that sucks. You’ve been a victim of structural discrimination. Worse, because it’s not a politically sexy or easily visible form, people continually reject your experience. That. Sucks.

                                      In the past, if I’d heard your narrative, I’d have dismissed you by thinking something like “this white dude forgets he always has the option to leave, unlike …” But that’s unfair.

                                      You’ve been a member of these communities, for years. You’ve been a decent person. You have family, friends, colleagues, social capital, and memories in these communities. To tell you “get up, leave, move on” is to ignore the simple reality that we’re social animals and structural discrimination harms everyone.

                                      Thank you for your repeated posts on this point. At the very least, you got through my thick head. Hopefully, in the future, I can be a better person for it.

                                      1. 2

                                        Damn. That means a lot to me you saying that. I sent a private message not long ago about your comments being interesting as usual on these discussions. More than usual with one comment about you getting beat up for talking white to presumably get ahead whereas I was learning early to talk or act black to attempt inclusion in my environment. It’s because some of what you wrote seems like you might have started in similar circumstances as me going in an opposite direction to find yourself with opposite views. Maybe a stretch to say two sides of same coin but that metaphor popped into my head at least. Then, we end up here in this moment on this forum. A trip, eh?

                                        It’s why I fight for flexibility on these topics in these discussions in wherever places I can. It’s painful and costly but the moments I learn from or reach people are worth it to me. I think those moments are critical. Probably gotta get to sleep now as I intended to. I just had to respond to that comment. :)

                                        Edit: Oh yeah, sleepy enough I forgot to say Good Night.

                          3. 16

                            demonization of political groups (and to some extent, white men)

                            I’m a white man in tech and I can count the number of times I’ve been demonized on zero fingers.

                            demonization of political groups

                            The dominant political party in this country has in black and white in its party platform a desire to make same-sex marriage illegal (while simultaneously claiming “government overreach” is a bad thing). If hearing that we shouldn’t punish gay people just for being gay makes you uncomfortable, well…it’s supposed to.

                            (That same party has in its platform a denial of anthropogenic climate change, an existential threat to our civilization; the denial of which has zero scientific backing….but no, we can’t tell them that they’re wrong.)

                            More importantly, the stuff I’m talking about above is also banned. You can’t go to a conference and talk about how “Republicans are stupid”. You’d be asked to leave or at least tone it down.

                            The problem is that a lot of people hear “don’t be an asshole” and they think “man when I tell transgender folks they’re stupid and make jokes about gay people I get called an asshole (totally unjustifiably!) and I might get in trouble. Ugh, SJW’s!”

                            Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

                            I’ve been on the Internet since around 1992. That’s only three years after the very first consumer ISP served its first customer.

                            Was there a large contingent of people who really did believe that? Absolutely, I mean, I was one of them. Were there plenty of racists, sexists, homophobes, and bigots of all stripes? Absolutely. Go look at old Usenet archives from the 80’s and 90’s. Racism, sexism, homophobia abound. There was a long diatribe against same-sex marriage on a Perl newsgroup for some damn reason around 1996; there were plenty of people who chimed in and agreed. Various big names in the early hacker community were famously bigoted (often hiding behind “libertarianism” while simultaneously claiming women and black folks are just inherently inferior and it’s “just science”).

                            The “good old days” are very often viewed through rose-colored glasses. People were people back then too, for all the good and the bad.

                            1. 16

                              Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved? I want to go back to that :/

                              This was never true. People on the internet have always cared about who you are in ways that factor these things in. The fact that the (largely white) nerd culture contingent who had a lot of influence on the early internet has decided to tell this utopian story does not make it any more true than stories your grandpa tells about respectful children and walking both ways uphill in the snow.

                              1. 23

                                It’s less that “No one cared what you looked like” and more “Everyone assumed you were a white dude with roughly conformal beliefs, behaviors, and similar.”

                                1. 3

                                  There’s no contradiction. Both those things were true.

                              2. 12

                                Remember when no one on the internet cared what you looked like, believed, or who you loved?

                                And look where it got us. Toxic subcultures, huge gender inequality in the workplace, software products that simply don’t work for many groups people… The field was biased towards white male hackers from the very beginning, and “not caring” only increased this bias. No, I don’t want to go back to that, I want to fix it.

                                Updated:

                                Also, “no one one the Internet cared what you looked like” simply because they technically couldn’t: nicknames and plain text don’t divulge much. As soon as we got real names and YouTube it became obvious that the majority of people care very much about how you look like. So a young girl making a guitar cover or an Ubuntu installation walk-through mostly gets “you’re hot” and “nice boobs” comments.

                                1. 16

                                  People with privilege have been getting more and more outraged that the world is discriminating against them. They see it as unfair. Yes, it’s discrimination and that sucks. But it’s infuriating when they paint it as unfair, because that implies they’re somehow being disproportionately discriminated against, that the discrimination is unfairly balanced against them. And of course that’s nonsense. These privileged people, intentionally or not, feel they’re entitled to live free from any and all discrimination at the expense of those less privileged.

                                  Remove yourself from the politics and think about a simple model instead of race, sex, gender, or orientation. Just group A and group B.

                                  • members of group A receive 120 points a day
                                  • members of group B receive 80 points a day

                                  Members of group A develop a belief system that they are entitled to their 120 points. When some members of group B try to increase their points to 85, and that lowers the group A points to 119, the members of group A become angry. They say the members of group B are being unfair.

                                  Group A believes that group B should not take any action that decreases their daily points. Group A compares their loss of 1 point to group B’s initial 40 point deficit, drawing a false equivalency. Some subset of A, group A’ deliberately take points from group B members around them to restore their original 120 points. Group A’ claims this is fair.

                                  Group A’ bands together to institutionalize the 40 point difference. Some extreme members of group A’ even try to widen the 40 point difference. Group A’ comes to believe at an institutional level that the 40 point deficit either doesn’t exist, or is somehow natural and fair. Group A’ believes they hold the moral superiority by defending their 120 points.

                                  Members of group B continue to try to elevate themselves, but A’ demands that all work done by group B must benefit group A’ equally. A’ considers this fair. Groups A and B focus on elevating group B rather than bickering with group A’ about whether 1 equals 40. Some members of both groups A and B institutionalize polite exclusion of group A’ just to simplify the whole thing, because they’re tired of bickering.

                                  A vocal minority demonizes group A’ for their actions. Some members of group A find this demonization troubling. A larger and less vocal group of A and B think group A’ is a bunch of fucking douchebags, and start to actively exclude A’ rather than deal with their asinine bullshit. A surprising amount of group A wonders if this exclusion is fair or reasonable. Group B, and an increasing amount of group A, respond “are you fucking joking my ass what the actual fuck?”


                                  If you’re a member of group A, please try to empathize with group B. Next time you feel discriminated against for your group A membership, take a step back and reflect on how you’re feeling in that moment. Try to imagine what it’s like to feel that way every single day of your life, at work, on the street, or in your own home through the media.

                                  1. 2

                                    But it’s infuriating when they paint it as unfair, because that implies they’re somehow being disproportionately discriminated against

                                    I think there is more to this implication than you’re letting on, because it makes assumptions about what “fairness” actually means from the person wielding the term. You’ve assumed one definition, but perhaps someone else has another in mind. As a nominal example, consider this implication in different ethical frameworks (say deontological or Kantian ethics versus utilitarian). Is it true in all of them? Alternatively, do you dismiss ethical frameworks in which it isn’t true as nonsense or intractable? Either way, those are important assumptions to state, because your entire comment appears to rest on them.

                                    (I do wholeheartedly agree with your final paragraph, but try my best to perhaps apply it as much as possible, with a healthy dose of perspective taking on all sides. I don’t always succeed!)

                                  2. 4

                                    I’m glad to see this trend of standing up against poltiical [sic] exclusion in Open Source.

                                    Me too, I just wish more people would up and leave, instead of stick around and yell about “reverse discrimination” and such. I’m definitely coming at it from a selfish angle (and concern for my friends,) I’m just really tired of people who “disagree” with us existing, at best, and actively harass us at worst. The only way I can participate in open source is anonymously, which means it’s mostly uncredited work. It’s just not worth the toll it takes on my mental health. Of course, whenever possible, I contribute to projects/communities who show that they are aware of these issues, and are actively doing something about it.

                                    Looking forward to the Incorrect, Off-topic, and Troll downvotes.

                                    1. 4

                                      I think it’s a loss when someone who can write code leaves a OSS project. I also think that discrimination, which you refer to as “reverse discrimination” in certain contexts, is bad, end of story. I don’t want anyone to be discriminated against. “Contribute good code” is all I ask off people looking to work with me. Politics are boringly unproductive towards that goal.

                                      1. 4

                                        I think it’s a loss when someone who can write code leaves a OSS project.

                                        I don’t, if they keep other people away who can also write code. I honestly can’t understand what’s wrong with participating in this, unless you believe (actual) discrimination isn’t real.

                                        1. 2

                                          I do believe actual discrimination is real but I think discriminatory internships aren’t the solution as they only lead to problems down the road. It’s great that outreachy is doing it and I believe they honestly think it’s the correct solution but I simply can’t agree on that.

                                  1. 16

                                    Unless I am misunderstanding “Brutalism”, shouldn’t a “brutalist web site” be something like a no- or minimal-css web page? The examples the article gives, while pretty in their own right, don’t appear (to me) to go counter to much of everyday web-design one tends to see.

                                    1. 12

                                      That’s my understanding, too. My touchstones for web Brutalism are this motherfucking website and this other motherfucker.

                                      1. 6

                                        There’s another school that considers the Instragram iOS app as an example of brutalism. Other examples:

                                        Brutalist websites
                                        Brutalism in UX

                                        I consider the two sites that you linked to more an example of design minimalism (only using as much as you need), as opposed to the minimalism of information that seems to typify “modern” design today.

                                        I’d also be curious if y’all would consider something like my wiki as an example of brutalism

                                        1. 3

                                          I’d say it’s pretty brutalist. It probably wasn’t designed or implemented with accessibility in mind. :)

                                        2. 2

                                          Those are just trivial documents. It would be like calling a lost pet poster an example of brutalist graphic design!

                                        3. 9

                                          I would imagine that to draw a useful analog to architecture, we have to imagine what it is we’re saving or optimizing for under a digital brutalism (in the same way that architectural brutalism is cheaper, easier, faster, less specialized, in addition to its aesthetic impact). As a programmer, I would imagine therefore that digital brutalism would have to at least partially be motivated by a desire for simplicity in construction: avoiding a reliance external resources that might not be available, avoiding a reliance on technologies or techniques that require specialization, avoiding techniques that require complexity in order to be correct (in favor of technologies that, while maybe less rich, can be correct more simply), and optimizing resource usage for browser speed and compatibility.

                                          I think it’s perfectly fair to associate the above motivations with a particular aesthetic if they happen to be accompanied by one (after all, when I think about architectural brutalism I don’t think about the equipment, specialized or un-, that was used to construct it). But to say anything useful or interesting with term, it can’t just be the way they look.

                                          1. 4

                                            But to say anything useful or interesting with term, it can’t just be the way they look.

                                            Isn’t look (legibility) in print/web design fundamental? If we’re talking about a brutalist web design, it’s certainly not brutalist because the author used tables for layout, though that might contribute to a look that has hard edges (defining sections/compartments, etc)–an element often associated with brutalism.

                                            1. 1

                                              Legibility and aesthetic are not the same, though. As I said above, it’s not that aesthetics are irrelevant; but using modern whizbang web design and tech, and just replacing your full-screen white-people-typing-together background video with graphics and video of a different aesthetic, is just another flavor of the status quo.

                                              1. 2

                                                Legibility and aesthetic are not the same, though.

                                                I agree with this.

                                                and just replacing your full-screen white-people-typing-together background video with graphics and video of a different aesthetic

                                                What I think you’re saying is that Brutalism is a philosophy that can’t simply be replicated by copying an aesthetic. Is that right?

                                                1. 1

                                                  Sure, that’s fair.

                                          2. 8

                                            Wikipedia has a nice passage which I think can be applied in spirit to websites:

                                            Brutalist buildings are usually formed with repeated modular elements forming masses representing specific functional zones, distinctly articulated and grouped together into a unified whole. Concrete is used for its raw and unpretentious honesty, contrasting dramatically with the highly refined and ornamented buildings constructed in the elite Beaux-Arts style. Surfaces of cast concrete are made to reveal the basic nature of its construction, revealing the texture of the wooden planks used for the in-situ casting forms. Brutalist building materials also include brick, glass, steel, rough-hewn stone, and gabions. Conversely, not all buildings exhibiting an exposed concrete exterior can be considered Brutalist, and may belong to one of a range of architectural styles including Constructivism, International Style, Expressionism, Postmodernism, and Deconstructivism.

                                            Another common theme in Brutalist designs is the exposure of the building’s functions—ranging from their structure and services to their human use—in the exterior of the building.

                                            So don’t do elaborate styling, expose how the site was built, and organize the site into functional zones in ways visible to the user. A thoughtful version of non-CSS, non-Javascript, image-light design might be the best Web “version” of Brutalism, with visual grouping being the only organization. Getting people to give up CSS and Javascript might be a bit much, but in terms of basic construction, HTML is the equivalent of concrete (the “raw structural members” of the Web site) and Brutalism is very much about not hiding or ornamenting that.

                                            1. 3

                                              Getting people to give up CSS and Javascript might be a bit much, but in terms of basic construction, HTML is the equivalent of concrete (the “raw structural members” of the Web site) and Brutalism is very much about not hiding or ornamenting that.

                                              I have no trouble giving up JavaScript. I’d prefer to use mostly semantic HTML5, with just enough CSS to make the text more readable (because browser defaults are trash).

                                              1. 2

                                                Great excerpt and follow up. I think you can keep CSS so long as what it’s doing is (a) visible in source behind the scenes, maybe even removable and (b) keeps the fundamental structure of the site or page. It might even give it the structure.

                                              2. 4

                                                Maybe GeoCities was brutalist? http://oneterabyteofkilobyteage.tumblr.com/

                                                1. 9

                                                  The Classic Geocities, with all of its animated GIFs and background images and using images as dividers, is too ornamented to be Brutalist. It’s best described as Vernacular, which Wikipedia describes as:

                                                  Vernacular architecture is an architectural style that is designed based on local needs, availability of construction materials and reflecting local traditions. At least originally, vernacular architecture did not use formally-schooled architects, but relied on the design skills and tradition of local builders. However, since the late 19th century many professional architects have worked in this style.

                                                  The Geocities Vernacular was definitely the “architecture from people who weren’t architects” Vernacular.

                                                  In fact, the Terabyte Of The Kilobyte Age describes Geocities as Vernacular:

                                                  http://blog.geocities.institute/archives/5983

                                                  More to the point, Vernacular design is bottom-up unplanned design, with no large-scale goals in mind, whereas Brutalism is top-down planned design, and capable of designing in the large.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I always thought of it as rococo (in the sense that it’s maximalist in the distribution of small decorative features), but I don’t really have a strong background in the history of architecture.

                                                2. 1

                                                  That would be in line with architectural brutalism, but the term came out of critiques of architectural brutalism (which basically came down to “it’s ugly because it breaks convention in non-decorative ways”). “Web brut” has been used as an insult for longer than its current (3-4 year) rehabilitation.

                                                  I think both senses are useful for different reasons. Web brutalism in the sense of avoiding bloated web standards that necessitate bloated browsers is important for usability and for minimizing waste, while web brutalism in the sense of rejecting faux-minimalist aesthetics in favor of direct & straightforward mapping of form to function is important as a UX concern. (I’ve argued for the latter in https://lobste.rs/s/cyopoi/against_ui_standardization and the former in https://hackernoon.com/on-the-web-size-matters-e52ac0f5fdbe and https://hackernoon.com/an-alternate-web-design-style-guide-1aae8d0b5df5)

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Regarding your hackernoon article where you say

                                                    Use only the following tags: a, b, body, br, center, h1, head, i, li, ol, p, table, th, title, td, tr, ul. All other tags are unnecessary distractions. If, for some reason, you must include images, the img and align tags are also suitable.

                                                    what would your thoughts be on directly hostilng markdown, probably without literal html, instead of the “more powerful” full-html standards and deviations? Maybe protocols like Gopher could serve as a base for this?

                                                    1. 1

                                                      I consider hosting markdown marginally more reasonable than hosting html, but to be honest I don’t think we, as writers, should be controlling how the text is formatted except in the rare cases when the formatting is truly necessary and part of the point (like, if we’re writing concrete poetry or something).

                                                      In other words, something like gophermaps-as-document-format seems ideal: we get jump links, but literally nothing else.

                                                      The alternate web design style guide, despite apparently looking pretty radical to a lot of web devs, was very much a compromise – in the vein of “oh, if we MUST have web standards at all, at least ditch everything other than HTML 1.0!”

                                                1. 3

                                                  Perhaps beside the point, but: the gendered language was a bit distracting. By this point in history, when I read a blog post like this that exclusively uses “he” and “his” for unspecified genders, it feels like the author is making a political point of it (as I say, feels like: I have no insight into this author or his political position), and ends up niggling a little while reading.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Yes, same here.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      While I agree with you, on further reflection, this does seem like derailing.

                                                      1. 0

                                                        when I read a blog post like this that exclusively uses “he” and “his” for unspecified genders, it feels like the author is making a political point of it

                                                        I’m the opposite: when I read a post which uses incorrect English, it feels like the author is making a political point of it. In English, the feminine is only used when referring to a specific female; for all other purposes the masculine (or, if you prefer, the ‘general’) is used.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          In English, the feminine is only used when referring to a specific female; for all other purposes the masculine (or, if you prefer, the ‘general’) is used.

                                                          According to whom? I’m asking this because the singular they goes at least as far back as 1848, where it appeared in William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            It actually goes back further than that — and in fact Shakespeare used it, IIRC! Still, it’s an ugly construction.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              It actually goes back further than that — and in fact Shakespeare used it, IIRC! Still, it’s an ugly construction.

                                                              Ugly? Again you beg the question: according to whom? For example, the Associated Press has a style guide article which offers the following recommendation:

                                                              “They, them, their — In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them.They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze…”

                                                              “Arguments for using they/them as a singular sometimes arise with an indefinite pronoun(anyone, everyone, someone) or unspecified/unknown gender(a person, the victim, the winner)…”

                                                              “In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person… “

                                                              I’ll admit it can be awkward if you’re not used to it, but I don’t buy the premise that singular they is ugly or wrong.

                                                      1. 13

                                                        This one feels like he forgot to keep going. The explanation of hooks and forks is fairly lucid and useful, but he forgets to justify or even mention the apparent thesis: how the qualities that lead to J being extremely difficult to read actually lead (allegedly) to some other level upon which it’s easier to understand than otherwise.

                                                        1. 6

                                                          Author of OP here. Did you continue reading past the newsletter signup block? I should probably make that less conspicuous. If you read to the bottom and still feel like I left you hanging, I apologize for not being clear. My goal was to explain that verbs and hooks can be read linearly as sentences, rather than having to consciously consider argument routing through each of the hook/verb’s verbs.

                                                          1. 3

                                                            I read until the paragraph after tacit, and I agree with /u/zdsmith here. If your goal was to explore hooks and forks, perhaps it would have been better to title the article something different.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Wow, yeah. I didn’t know there was more article. My eye immediately stops when it hits that kind of thing. My apologies for jumping the gun, though yes, as you say, it may also be a lesson in growth hacking :)

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                                                            This is often undervalued, but shouldn’t be! Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to humans, and you can’t effectively or cost efficiently scale up by throwing more bodies at a project. Python is one of the best languages (and ecosystems!) that make the development experience fun, high quality, and very efficient.

                                                            As a Python programmer, this is a perspective that has never entirely made sense to me. Well, I should say hasn’t made sense to me for the last few years, at least. I feel like many people have this held-over dichotomy in their heads where Python is expressive and enjoyable, and thus one can write production code quickly, whereas other languages are not expressive and not enjoyable and thus code takes a long time to write. But while this might have been true in the past—while your performant options in the past might have all been some variation on fighting with the compiler, diagnosing obscure compilation errors, waiting for interminable builds—none of those are actually hallmarks of development in a typed, performant language anymore (except for C++). But modern compilers are fast, languages like Nim and D and Haskell are expressive and have powerful type inference. And generally speaking we are now in an era where a type system is not just a necessary evil for a compiler that’s too stupid to know how to interpret any variable without being explicitly told; they are universally recognized to be programmer aids, helping in writing correct code as well as performance. Without wading into the types vs tests debate, at the very least there is one—at the very least there’s a recognition that type systems, too, are for making the devlopment experience high quality and very efficient.

                                                            If I were being cynical I would say that sometimes arguments like this feel like it’s really mostly about the “fun” part. That “programmer happiness” part, which is often conflated with programmer efficiency and expressiveness, but isn’t actually the same. It can almost feel like a hostage job—“I better enjoy the language I’m writing in, otherwise I couldn’t possibly be productive in it!”

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                                                              I find typed/compiled languages more fun actually, even C++. Because it drives me absolutely fucking bonkers to run a program and get a really stupid type error, fix, re-run, and get another type error. The compiler just tells you all the type/syntax problems up front and you can fix all of them with minimal rage.

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                                                                yeah, mypy and typescript have been a boon to productivity. Especially strict null checks.

                                                                The advantages of the weaker languages is not having to play the “I have to make containers for all my thingy” games. Sometimes just a tuple is nice.

                                                                Some of the existing typed languages don’t always follow the “if it’s conceptually simple, or if it’s easy for a computer to do, it should be simple in practice” rule. Especially when you’re crossing library boundaries and now spending a bunch of time marshalling/unmarshalling (sometimes necessary of course!) functionally equivalent stuff.

                                                                Devil in the details of course

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                                                                I think your confidence in compilers is perhaps misplaced. It’s not just a matter of speed–other factors, like memory usage and even ability to compile period are relevant.

                                                                none of those are actually hallmarks of development in a typed, performant language anymore (except for C++).

                                                                I’d argue that the only widely-used performant typed language is C++, possibly Fortran (thought rust is getting close).

                                                                The reason for this is that the farther you get into the problem domain (and the more comfortable it is for you), the farther you move away from actual silicon running instructions. It’s not a false dichotomy.

                                                                The best-performing code will be written in assembly, but it’ll be terrible to deal with as a human (because we aren’t computers). The most comfortable code will be written in a high-level language (ultimately taken to extreme of “hey, grad student, write me a program to do X”), which is exactly not what runs on silicon.

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                                                                  I think your confidence in compilers is perhaps misplaced.

                                                                  Now include python on the same plot, and the axes will stretch so far that GHC will look indistinguishable from GCC.

                                                                  the farther you get into the problem domain (and the more comfortable it is for you), the farther you move away from actual silicon running instructions. It’s not a false dichotomy.

                                                                  It’s only a true dichotomy if the human is better at telling the silicon how to implement the problem than the compiler is, which gets less true every day. It’s already the case that GCC will often beat hand-coded assembly when trying to solve the same problem. And my experience is that on real business-sized problems with ordinary levels of programmer skill and limited time available to produce an optimised solution, Haskell will often comfortably outperform C++.

                                                                  The best-performing code will be written in assembly, but it’ll be terrible to deal with as a human (because we aren’t computers).

                                                                  These days assembly is a long way away from reflecting what the actual silicon does. To first order the only thing that matters for performance these days is how well you’re using the cache hierarchy, and that’s not visible in assembly code; minor tweaks to your assembly can lead to radically different performance characteristics.

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                                                                The author recommends learning about session management before digging into the window management side of things, which I think is reasonable. One software suite that makes that a little easier is abduco + dvtm, which are designed to work together, but don’t need to be, and separately handle the session management and multiplexing (respectively) that tmux/screen couple together. I am not an avid user because I haven’t found the great need for any of the above quite yet, but I found them very helpful in demystifying what tmux is supposed to be so great for.

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                                                                  Thanks for the links. Factoring tmux out into abduco/dvtm does seem conceptually nice, and clarifies the building blocks of what tmux is doing. Although if I were to always use them as a pair I’m not sure there’d be a big practical advantage to them being separate binaries. Seems like the advantage would come if I were to sometimes use just one or the other on its own.

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                                                                  I’m not giving up colorful text schemes or immersive experiences anytime soon, but one nice affordance of the acme scheme the author uses is that it could make coding on low-color outdoor displays (e-ink, transflective lcd, epaper) more usable.

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                                                                    Yes, it got simpler to use projectors too!

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                                                                    This is off-topic, but do you live in Sunset Park? I live here too and was surprised by the blog name.

                                                                    Anyway, great post. It’s going to take me a few reads to process but there’s a lot of interesting stuff here. Thanks.

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                                                                      I used to :) Now I live in Windsor Terrace. You know, I have to rep BK.

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                                                                        South(ish) BK represent!

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                                                                      I have fought against this myself. It’s hard. What I found really helpful was to decouple my self-worth from my job. Nothing related to programming skill is related to peoples’ inherent value; almost nothing in programming is a moral decision (except being willing to say “this is a job I will not do”). Personally I have found it easier to find this from philosophical, theological, and moral texts than from self-help books; tastes vary.

                                                                      If you are interested, I recommend these books:

                                                                      • The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
                                                                      • Xunzi (translated into English by Hutton)
                                                                      • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
                                                                      • The Confessions by St. Augustine
                                                                      • The Seven-Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

                                                                      Several of them are “religious” (Mindfulness is Zen Buddhist and Augustine and Merton are both Catholic), but there is a common thread of self-critique and examination that runs through them that I found really valuable.

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                                                                        What I found really helpful was to decouple my self-worth from my job

                                                                        I will go one further, and say what really works for me (and what I’m constantly having to practice) is to decouple my self-worth from my own intelligence or talent, and to go on to admit that whatever I happen to be suited to, there’s very little credit I can take for it. As a programmer, I am entirely reliant on prostheses: documentation, yes, but also unit tests, type systems, and mathematics—these are all useful to me, and everyone else, specifically because they help fill in the gaps where my reasoning ability (supposedly the thing I am proud of as a programmer) is deficient.

                                                                        Nevertheless my mind does rush to judgment constantly; it’s been fine-tuned to always find a way to set myself apart from whoever I’m looking at. At then end of the day, when it comes to this profession, pretty much every single one of us would benefit from approaching it with a huge degree of humility.

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                                                                          Nevertheless my mind does rush to judgment constantly

                                                                          Programming encourages this, because code has to be right. Pointing out mistakes is something we frequently have to do as a result.

                                                                          Most of ‘the real world’ doesn’t need the same kind of correctness. Businesses run on approximation and best efforts.

                                                                          This is (to my mind) the most significant ‘Déformation professionnelle’ of the programmer. In the rest of society, maintaining a relationship is (often) more important than pointing out a mistake.

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                                                                            …every single one of us would benefit from approaching it with a huge degree of humility.

                                                                            This is the key point, I think. Humility helps you see where you’ve made a mistake; where you can improve; where you might be entering an area of weakness. It also helps you relate to your coworkers and colleagues. If you can come to recognize things as opinions, rather than subjects of Objective Truth, that don’t really matter very much, then a lot of friction is removed.

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                                                                              Humility for me is really hard when met by arrogance. Arrogance provokes arrogance in myself.

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                                                                                That is very true. It’s easy to get offended and act arrogant/negative in return. This is probably my primary failure mode! Still, it’s just something to recognize and work on.

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                                                                            Thanks for your comment, especially the small sentence “it’s hard.”

                                                                            I struggle with the concept of decoupling my self-worth from work. Sometimes, I think that this is the right path. Then I cannot perceive how something on that I spent so much deliberate time & energy should be irrelevant for defining my self? I am currently digging into mediation, maybe your recommendations provide further guidance. Thanks.

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                                                                              Consider these ideas.

                                                                              1. Imagine that there is an economic down-turn and you are not able to keep your job. You are forced to work, to make ends meet, as a cook in a restaurant.
                                                                              2. Imagine that you were struck by a car while crossing the street. You have a head injury and, while you are able to walk and talk, are never able to work as a programmer again.

                                                                              In either case, should your self-worth be damaged? I would say no. How we treat our personal obligations is what defines us as people, not our work. If you are meeting your personal obligations as best you can in the circumstances—treating the people around you well, taking care of your children, generally making the world better—then you’re doing fine.

                                                                              I really like Xunzi for this, because he sets out his goals plainly.

                                                                              The gentleman is the opposite of the petty man. If the gentleman is great-hearted [confident] then he reveres Heaven and follows the Way [i.e. follows social rituals and educates others]. If he is small-hearted [shy] then he cautiously adheres to yi [moral standards] and regulates himself. If he is smart, then with enlightened comprehension he acts according to the proper categories of things. If he is unlearned, then with scrupulous honesty he follows the proper model. If he is heeded, then he is reverent and reserved. If he is disregarded, then he is respectful and controlled. If he is happy then he is harmonious and well-ordered. If he is troubled, then he is calm and well-ordered. If he is successful, then he is refined and enlightened. If he is unsuccessful, then he is restrained and circumspect.

                                                                              In short, there is a way to be a “gentleman” (or “sage”) in every circumstance. Of course, nobody is perfect, so it’s better to be seen as a “process” than an end point.

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                                                                            I like that the next comment is “throw it all away and start over”. Never could have predicted that…

                                                                            But otherwise, I have no idea what this is about. Random comments on random github issues don’t convey much information without a lot of context digging.

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                                                                              Crystal is strongly typed, but overwhelmingly uses type inference, rather than explicit types. Because Crystal aims to be spiritually—and frequently literally—compatible with Ruby, that’s a problem: to accomplish that, Crystal relies on sometimes-nullable types with implicit structure and implicit unions, such that, frequently, the only way to even begin type inference is to load the entire program’s AST into RAM all at once and then start your massive type inference pass. What you’re seeing in this thread is how a “simple” fix to a YAML parser error reporting hit that problem, causing Crystal to use a critical amount too much RAM and OOM.

                                                                              I think there’s probably an interesting discussion here about how a language that relies on implicit strict typing really needs a carefully thought-out type system (or language compromises, such as OCaml’s .mli files) to be scalable. But I agree with you that it’s hard to have that discussion based on this GitHub issue thread.

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                                                                                Thank you for this explanation! Apologies that I posted it without context. May I quote your comment in the post text?

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                                                                                  Sure.

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                                                                                I agree with you about linking to a github comment being a poor post. I had to read through more comments, as far as I could gather Crystal uses an obscene amount of memory when compiling so you cannot make anything large with it. But hey, maybe that’s actually a good strategy to keep things smaller.

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                                                                                issues I have with productivity, focus, and when it’s getting hard to sleep, and everything’s getting to me, and I’m coming into the office around noon, my tardiness

                                                                                The great news here is that you have a pretty concrete list of patterns of behavior that are holding you back—and “acumen” isn’t one of them. So you can feel pretty confident that you’ve got the raw materials.

                                                                                I was in a very similar place, actually. I started programming a long time ago, loved it, but failed out of school; and failed in my jobs after school for a lot of the same reasons you mention. I was smart and had a natural talent for programming, but I also:

                                                                                • was also majorly depressed
                                                                                • didn’t know how to motivate myself beyond my own intellectual interest (which was never omnipresent)
                                                                                • dealt with stress by procrastinating and staying up late
                                                                                • which meant I was often fatigued and had less ability to focus.

                                                                                As it happens, I did get a simpler, lower-paying job, which I did for 7 years. It was never very satisfying. But it did give me enough time to teach myself a lot of the mental habits necessary to resolve the laundry list of issues above. In particular I:

                                                                                • developed a pretty solid meditation practice
                                                                                • built a series of strong support relationships
                                                                                • started going to therapy.

                                                                                By the time I realized I didn’t actually want to do what I was doing (I had assumed I was actually a terrible programmer since I failed the first time), I was in a place to keep myself grounded and deal with the stress of working at a higher level. I needed a lot of work before I could bring to bear my natural talent on a practice that I really loved.

                                                                                I don’t know you, but the things you mention up there feel like similar issues to me. They sound like the patterns of a mind that probably struggles with some kind of depression, and can get into spirals of aversion and withdrawing when it encounters stress. I could be totally wrong, of course. But I bet that some of the habits you’re describing can be reformed. The benefits to this kind of practice are great.

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                                                                                  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much coding is done without thinking. Just throw stuff at the compiler until it seems to work. In Pragamtic Programmer, they call this programming by coincidence. I find myself doing this out of laziness, and it’s not good. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything by hand, but I’m pretty if I tried it would result in better code. I’d be wary of anybody saying they can’t program by hand.

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                                                                                    That’s funny, because at the end of your first sentence, I was agreeing with you, on how all the real programming I do is on an intuitionistic level, below critical thinking.

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                                                                                    Can anyone familiar with Nim comment on the quality of the contents? I like the “in Action” part as it shows real examples but would like to learn idiomatic language if possible.

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                                                                                      Author here. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the quality as I am biased. But the book does show many practical examples and thus teaches you the idiomatic way to do things. Hope that helps :)

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                                                                                        dom is being a bit modest below - in addition to being the author of the book, he’s also the second-most prolific contributor to the language itself and has written much of the core tooling besides. Which is to say—you can trust that you’re learning idiomatic language from him because he wrote the idiom.

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                                                                                          Excellent reply! That’s what I wanted to hear. Thank you.

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                                                                                        itamar, you’re sure to be pilloried by every ad/fin/etctech engineer who has been assuaging the niggling and constant awareness that they’re not actually producing anything of intrinsic value with the banality that they’re working on “interesting problems”. But you’re right on the money - it’s not that they need to meet your, or my, standard of usefulness; but they still have to meet their own. We can all smirk about the excesses of SV and the money that’s thrown around, but we’re the ones making things that do something. Or don’t do something. Each of us as individuals—and all of us as a trade community—need to fully reckon with how we are affecting the world every day. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Not even Snapchat.

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                                                                                          I can only imagine it’s because in most places, the number one reason to hire a new developer is because you want to increase your bandwidth in terms of LoC. The prospect of hiring a developer not to write as much of the code you need the most right now runs counter to that.

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                                                                                            What a mature and gracious signoff. A model to be emulated.

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                                                                                              It turns out that in D, if you declare an enum with only one value (in this case a list), it is declared to be a manifest constant. That seems to me like a slightly strange way of getting a compile-time-only value, but I’m not a D programmer.

                                                                                              Actually, I suspect it’s “you’re not a compiler writer who wrangles DWARF debug output format for a living.”

                                                                                              In which case DW_TAG_enumerator is the only / obvious applicable hammer for that particular nail.

                                                                                              http://dwarfstd.org/Download.php

                                                                                              Alas, a language designer has a hard choice…. to design a language and write a compiler……

                                                                                              Or design a language and executable format and a debugging information format … and write a compiler and a linker and a debugger and a loader and a way of linking to pre-existing elf code and debugging that…….

                                                                                              Walter Bright and company has wisely opted for the former path.

                                                                                              However I suspect it does, shall we say, ahh, “inform” certain choices.

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                                                                                                I don’t follow… Can you break it down for me?

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                                                                                                  EDIT: Disclaimer: This is not a D official view… This is a wild arsed guess based on way too much time staring at objdump -S and objdump –dwarf=info for various C / C++ programs.

                                                                                                  I think the,

                                                                                                  • from the C programmers perspective,
                                                                                                  • strange choice of the enum keyword for this use case….
                                                                                                  • probably relates to the fact it uses exactly the underlying mechanics
                                                                                                  • that the compiler backend / linker / dwarf debugger format… uses for enum values.

                                                                                                  It may be tempting to create a new category for these things, but unless you rewrite the rest of the toolchain…. you’re pretty much stuck with being creative with whatever is already there.

                                                                                                  Even C repurposes the linker mechanics that was set up for ye olde FORTRAN common blocks, and C++ does horrible post processing on .o files to set up static constructors.

                                                                                                  So I think this is a case of a compiler writers perspective leaking into the language design.

                                                                                                  If you look really really closely at C constants… and what happens at the assembler / linker / debugger level, they are a bit… ahhh. Strange. Not quite what you’d think on first glance what they mean. And the debugger support for them is ahh, stranger. And there are subtle differences between what C++ and C means as well.

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                                                                                                The link points to a download page for an html file.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Strange, they must have their MIME types misconfigured on the server - I just sent an e-mail.

                                                                                                  http://peters.gormand.com.au/Home/tools is a link that seems to work correctly.

                                                                                                  Also, the whitepaper is old (1998) but still valid: https://bit.ly/2rN3ycg

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                                                                                                  Why do folks have such a hard time looking for 3rd party packages? An immutable, sorted map doesn’t come up all that often (I don’t think I’ve ever “needed” the immutability bit), but there are packages out there that can do it. For example: https://github.com/Workiva/go-datastructures#dtrie. *

                                                                                                  It’s not type safe, but it fits the requirements he wanted.

                                                                                                  • caution: I’ve never actually used this package
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                                                                                                    One of the chief dangers of excessively verbose and inflexible code is not just that its implementer has to do a lot of typing; it’s that all that typing provides a high surface area for bugs and generally difficult-to-reason-about implementations. This sort of issue affects whoever has to use the library, not just whoever has to do the implementing.

                                                                                                    It’s also, by the way, generally true that code which somebody else wrote is going to be more general and, you know, not written by you, and therefore magnify the verbosity and difficult-to-reason-about issues.

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      Why do folks have such a hard time looking for 3rd party packages?

                                                                                                      Sometimes people don’t want to add external dependencies for things that, in some cases, are (relatively speaking) straightforward to implement.