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

Paul Hedderly <paul@xxxxxxx> writes:

> Let me try some hyperbole - its all the rage don't you know. Debian says
> everyone deserves respect. Sounds nice.  So Hitler deserves respect? The
> man who murdered Foley deserves respect?  No. No.

Er, yes, they do.  I entirely disagree with this.  Even mass murderers
deserve respect.  They also need to be incarcerated to protect the rest of
society from them.  These are not inconsistent concepts.

I think we are running into definitional problems here.  I'm a
descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist, so I'm not going to say that
your definition of respect is wrong, but I don't think you're using the
word the same way that others are using it.

By my definition, respect does not mean agreement, or support, or trust,
or even a willingness to listen to someone or consider their ideas.
Rather, it means treating people as human rather than treating them as
objects or some form of subhuman creature.  All human beings deserve
respect in that sense.

For example, the way in which Ian expressed his disagreement with Linus's
position on community interactions was respectful.  It was not agreement,
and arguably it wasn't *polite* (which is a whole other can of worms -- I
don't think one should always follow the rules of traditional politeness
since they can often be used to support existing privilege structures),
but it was respectful.  He engaged with Linus's position as another human
being and expressed specific disappointment at Linus not living up to
standards to which he believes Linus should be held, but he didn't scream
expletives at him, call him subhuman, say that he should have been drowned
at birth, or question why he didn't starve to death due to inability to
locate food.  Those acts would have been disrespectful.  Ian was not.

> Debian says everyone deserves respect, so Debian allows everyone to
> submit packages to NEW and UPLOAD.  No.

What you are calling respect here, I would call trust.  I consider trust
something completely different from respect.

> Why not? Because not everyone has earnt the right to be respected to do
> so in a trustworthy and dilligent manner. SO actually Debian does
> require people to earn respect...

Using my definitions, *trust* must be earned.  Respect should be extended
to everyone for the simple fact that they are another thinking, feeling
human being with whom we are sharing the planet.

If there's some other word for respect that will help more people
understand, I'd be happy to switch, but that word is definitely not
"politeness."  "Polite" means other things, like not disagreeing with
someone publicly or not calling people on bad behavior, that I don't
believe is included in what I call respect.  And trust is definitely also
not that word.

"Treating people decently" is closer to what I mean by respect.

Russ Allbery (rra@xxxxxxxxxx)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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