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Re: Free Software and the New Sexism
Re: Free Software and the New Sexism
Mon, 28 Aug 2023 16:24:25 +0100
On Mon, 28 Aug 2023 at 05:40, Jacob Bachmeyer <email@example.com> wrote:
The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC
documents are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and
inappropriate in a software development context. Sexism, racism,
whatever-ism-of-the-day are all irrelevant because discussions are
supposed to focus on the /software/ instead of on the /people/ writing
the software. Yes, your patch proposing to add "sex" to Guix's CoC was
wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the same way as your patch: none
of those issues are relevant.
Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a person,
you are a stream of messages. More idealistically, on the Internet,
/you/ /are/ /your/ /ideas/.
There is something wonderfully aspirational about this utopian and
well-intentioned approach. Unfortunately however, personally I don't
see how it can ever work, because we don't cease to be human beings or
lose all human context when we move our communication and
collaboration online. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that
moving communication online tends to /increase/ unkind behaviour and
therefore the need for kindness and communication guidelines.
Some may agree with this but still contend that it is outside the
scope of Free Software or GNU. However there seem to be
- If it was out of scope, the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines would
not have been written.
- Whilst Free Software can exist as a pure, abstract concept, GNU and
other Free Software communities consist of people, all of whom have
our own biases and communication styles.
- Copyleft and other Free Software licenses do not and cannot exist in
a vacuum, and indeed are built on and enforced by the socio-legal
construct of copyright.
Similarly, whilst arguments along the lines of "if you don't like the
community, you are free to fork the software and/or build your own
community" are (marvellously) true, they ignore the pragmatic reality
that as a movement we are generally stronger together through
economies of scale, rather than fragmented into siloes. The freedoms
granted by Free Software are a wonderful baseline, but that doesn't
mean we shouldn't aim higher. Communication guidelines can help
prevent unnecessary fragmentation.
Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the
Internet space, are, put simply, /wrong/
Maybe that is true for deliberate efforts, but given that it is
impossible for human beings to entirely divorce themselves from their
baggage in the Internet space, realistically we need systems for
dealing with it.
The crux of this particular debate seems to be whether it is possible
to support one group of people without discriminating against another.
Personally I think it /should/ be, /regardless/ of the group(s) in
question, and that doing that should obviate or at least minimise any
conflict. Indeed, that is why I like the neutral words "any other
demographic characteristics" in the first sentence of the GNU Kind
"The GNU Project encourages contributions from anyone who wishes
to advance the development of the GNU system, regardless of [...]
any other demographic characteristics"
Perhaps it would have been better if the "[...]" words I trimmed were
not present and it just read "regardless of any demographic
characteristics", because there is an argument that mentioning certain
demographic distinctions may introduce biases against other
distinctions not mentioned.
That said, this last point is much more philosophical in nature,
possibly getting off-topic for this list, and certainly a rabbit-hole,
so I won't continue down that avenue here. Please let's all just be
kind to each other and assume good faith?
Re: Free Software and the New Sexism, DJ Delorie, 2023/08/27
Re: Free Software and the New Sexism, dick, 2023/08/27
Re: Free Software and the New Sexism, Jacob Bachmeyer, 2023/08/28
Re: Free Software and the New Sexism, Parodper, 2023/08/28
- Re: Free Software and the New Sexism, (continued)