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Re: Code of Conduct complaint about Linus's comments at DC14 :: Respect

On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 11:49:56AM +1000, Russell Coker wrote:
> On Mon, 22 Sep 2014, Paul Hedderly <paul@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> > 
> > Ahh see there lies the problem. You are clearly not allowed to make
> > _any_ jokes.
> http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/punching-up/
> When discussing comedy it's generally accepted that people should "punch up" 
> not "punch down".

Russ used this term in the conversation we had off-list, and I wasn't
aware at the time that this was A Thing.  But I'll say again what I
said then.

"punching up" is just a glorified turn of phrase for "knocking down",
and Tall Poppy Syndrome is no less deplorable or poisonous than any
other form of abusive behaviour.

In fact in a merit based community, such as people say ours sometimes
is, or ought to be, it's arguably much worse.  Why would capable and
smart people want to take on extra responsibility if it was just a
licence for others to "legitimately" consider them punching bags?

I don't think we want a system where only psychopaths who enjoy a
fight rise to "the top".

> You will see this in many discussions by professional comedians
> about what is appropriate humor, above is just the first blog post 
> that I found in a quick google search.

Strange comedians distributing punches is no basis for a system of

Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses,
not from some farcical selection of who it is profitable to abuse.

> I'll quote one relevant paragraph:
> # Punching down is a concept in which you’re assumed to have a measurable
> # level of power and you’re looking for a fight. Now, you can either go after
> # the big guy who might hurt you, or go after the little guy who has
> # absolutely no shot. Either way, you’ve picked a fight, but one fight is
> # remarkably more noble and worthwhile than the other. Going after the big
> # guy, punching up, is an act of nobility. Going after the little guy,
> # punching down, is an act of bullying.

Unless nobility was redefined as "the quality of being a total knob"
while I wasn't looking, I think this is utter intellectual nonsense
with no connection at all to what we should really consider Noble.

The idea that boxing is a "noble art" ran out of steam and credibility
much the same way that the idea Hysteria was a medical condition which
could be cured by hysterectomy did.

I don't think the advice of "professional comedians" about how you can
make the most money by attacking the smallest group of people that the
largest mob will pay you to insult, is in any way relevant to the kind
of interactions that most people would like to have with each other
here.  Or even relevant to how we decide what humor crossed some line.

Only the people offended can do that, and only the people who offended
them can go "oh, sorry.  I didn't mean it like that." and modify their
behaviour based on the continual, respectful, feedback of their peers.
And we empowered a group of people to arbitrate when that goes horribly
wrong.  So far, they've respected the trust we put in them to do that

If they ever don't, we'll deal with them in the same way.

This whole thread started precisely because someone disrespected that
process and tried to raise a lynch mob to help them "punch up".

I hope we've learned our lesson from that.

If we haven't, it's going to be repeated until we do.  So please,
learn fast.


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