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

On 2014-09-19 07:04:42, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On 19 September 2014 09:42, Matt Taggart <taggart@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> If your definition of tolerance means accepting of abusive assholes, then
>> yes we should be intolerant.
> So earlier Russ and Steve talked about it being okay to criticise
> behaviour, but not people. Calling someone an abusive asshole is
> surely crossing the line, no? [0]

I'll let matt speak for himself but I am pretty sure he was making a
general point about assholes, not calling someone specifically an

>> Accepting assholes may create a welcoming environment for assholes
> Accepting isn't the same as welcoming. For instance, Debian is
> accepting of people who live far away from other DD's, but if we only
> accept them when they have signatures from multiple other DDs on their
> key, and don't do anything to help make that easier, that wouldn't be
> an entirely /welcoming/ environment. Likewise, I'm sure you could
> imagine a project that accepts women as members, yet offers an
> environment they find hostile, and isn't willing to do anything about
> changing it -- I wouldn't call that welcoming either.
> Which is to say I think Debian could accept some assholes without
> necessarily creating a welcoming environment for assholes. More
> particularly, I think Debian could accept people who act obnoxiously
> outside of Debian without tolerating "poisonous" behavour within the
> project. For most trolls, I think that'd end up being a very
> unwelcoming environment.

I don't think the biggest issue right now in Debian is that "assholes"
do not feel welcome. On the contrary, I believe that there is a very far
ranging tolerance to all sorts of poisonous behavior that make things
unwelcoming for *other* people. That's the whole problem here.

>> but 1)
>> IMO those aren't the type of people we want to welcome and 2) it creates an
>> unwelcoming environment for people who don't like assholes.
> It's really easy to call the people you don't like assholes and decide
> it's okay to be intolerant of them. Maybe you do that by making
> insulting gifs that ridicule them, maybe you do it by ignoring their
> requests to be more polite, maybe you do it by saying they'll got to
> hell, maybe you do it via the law of the land, maybe you do it by just
> getting all the nice clubs and restaurants and stores you frequent to
> refuse to do business with your preferred pariahs, maybe you go all
> out and try to maim and kill them.

This is a rather far ranging slippery slope. We're not talking about
attacking those people, much less physically so. I'm just thinking that
having someone come to our conference and tell us that our work is
"useless" and a "waste of time", even going as far as saying that some
individuals, coincidentally present in the assembly, should "do
something else with their life" doesn't feel like the best idea ever.

Similarly, there's the problem right now of people feeling constantly
threatened and oppressed online, not because you made harsh statements
or (say) sexist comments, but simply because you made a mistake, spoke
your mind or god knows what triggered the "thick skin" that happened to
pass by.

Why is it, again, that people assume that the only response we're going
to use for abusive behavior is with more abusive behavior? Certainly
there are ways here, and the Code of Conduct and certainly the people
behind it have so far showed they can do pretty good in that matter. It
seems to me a lot of the arguments made here have been that,
theoritically, those systems can be abused by people out of bad
faith. The problem with that logic is that it (1) assumes that those
people *will* operate out of bad faith and (2) that the alternative is
less abusive. Both assumptions are incorrect, in my opinion.

>> (btw those people are welcome to go and create their own project where that
>> kind of behavior is normal)
> I'm not a fan of that approach, either -- you could just as easily say
> "women can go setup their own project if they don't like Debian" or
> "people who want a code of conduct should go make their own distro,
> Debian's about free speech and free software", or "people who don't
> like non-free should go make their own project". I think you get a
> better result if you can find a way of tolerating the conflicting
> ideas, and working together. Maybe that means people who enjoy
> swearing or a good flame should request a new list for it with a
> different code of conduct, much like debian-women or debian-curiosa
> exist to provide different environments/rules compared to what's
> generally par for the course. I'm not sure anyone actually wants that,
> just that if they do, I think that should be okay. At least from how
> I'm understanding your (and other's) emails, I think you and others
> disagree.

Interestingly, that's exactly the point people are making about
Linux. To paraphrase, the general idea out there seems to be that the
Linux kernel is Linus' project, so he's allowed to be as brutal and
abusive as he wants on the mailing lists. It has been stated here before
that people that are unhappy with this are free to basically start their
own kernel project from scratch. (It also been suggested they move to
another country, for some reason.)

Why is the argument acceptable to ban sensitive people from projects but
not "thick skin abusers"?

It's not a zero sum game: you can't just "accept" violence and "welcome"
non-violence and pretend you have an egalitarian society. It doesn't
even out in a nice peaceful playground. It degenerates into a violence,
abuse and unproductive conflict.

We have unfortunately a far ranging sample of such problems in
Debian. But with time, patience and understanding (and yes, a few people
pointed to the door) we shall overcome.



Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity, but don't rule out malice.
                         - Albert Einstein

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