Condemning Censorship, Even of Werewolves

Thomas Paine once wrote: “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” Paine’s truth is not idealistic handwaving, it is brutal pragmatism. Justifications for censorship, even the best-intentioned kind, have a way of expanding until they become instruments of abuse. Therefore, if we truly care about freedom of speech, it is not sufficient to defend that freedom when it is comfortable to do so — when the censors are ugly and the victim is appealing. It is necessary, sometimes, to speak up in defense of ugly victims of censorship.

I have found myself placed under that necessity in the last week. A member in good standing of the open-source community, one Beth Lynn Eicher, had sought and achieved the suppression of public speech by one Mikhail Kvaratskhelia, aka ‘mikeeeUSA’, aka serveral other aliases. When I first approached her privately on the matter, she refused to apologize or retract. In my judgment, she was committing a crime against our community’s future by setting a precedent which might one day reach to all of us.

This put me in a difficult position. I had received an explicit appeal for redress in my capacity as one of our tribal elders, and I felt the appeal was in the right and Ms. Eicher in the wrong. But I knew — for various reasons which will become very clear — that making that case would involve me in a batter and divisive wrangle. I was prepared to do it anyway, because my conscience would not permit otherwise, but I knew it was going to be hell.

Fortunately, after several days of debate among myself and some friends of mine who leapt to Ms. Eicher’s defense, Ms. Eicher proved to be cleverer than either them or me. While Ms. Eicher’s defenders were still flaming me for intransigence on the free-speech issue, she designed a solution which I consider totally appropriate, and which I actually hope will set a precedent.

Mikhail Kvaratskhelia is what constitutional lawyers sometimes call a werewolf – the most unappealing possible victim. He is a creepy, repellent, misogynistic crank, given to uttering threats of violent death against female Linux hackers, and quite possibly clinically insane. I first became aware of his existence last week when he sent a long letter of complaint to Richard Stallman, Linus, Bruce Perens, and myself asserting that his speech rights had been trampled on and linking to blog entries by Ms. Eicher and one other person. The letter was disturbing – intelligent in a feral way, but unhinged.

I was eyeball-deep in a new coding project; I read both blog posts, finding the story therein sad and troubling. Kvaratskhelia had posted level maps for a first-person-shooter game called Nexuiz on SourceForge; possibly also executable code, the accounts are unclear. The accounts concur that the maps contained violent imagery and slogans attacking women’s rights, and this creep’s ugly and hate-filled letter leaves me in no doubt that the maps were ugly and hate-filled as well.

I did not pursue the matter until RMS replied on 15 October asking whether Kvaratskhelia had made backups of the censored material. I thought this was a sensible question; it was the first one that had occurred to me, anyway. Following this, I searched the web for relevant material (I had deleted Kvaratskhelia’s letter rather quickly – my eyeballs felt soiled by it) and found Ms. Eicher’s original blog entry. I felt, at that point, the pricking of my conscience for not having responded to Kvaratskhelia’s earlier complaint immediately. I wrote Ms. Eicher an email condemning the suppression of speech and expressing my judgment that she owed Kvaratskhelia an apology for her suppressive conduct – which she refused to do.

This is not, at first blush, a situation in which the law offers much guidance. Censorship in the strictest sense is not involved, as no government force or threat of force was involved in the suppression. SourceForge was within its property rights and terms of service to delete the offensive material, and there was certainly no law barring Ms. Eicher from asking that they do so. My position was nevertheless that Ms. Eicher’s specific request for suppression of Kvaratskhelia’s public speech was, though within the law, consequentially and ethically wrong, because it set a precedent legitimizing suppression of public speech as a political tool.

Ms. Eicher, and her friends, maintained that her action was justified by the death threats that Kvaratskhelia has been uttering since 2005. Taking them at their word about the facts, I agree that those threats were gravely wrong, injurious, and probably criminal. But the material on SourceForge that was actually censored is not represented to have constituted a death threat, merely a political argument that Ms. Eicher and her friends found obnoxious. I am pretty sure I’d have found it obnoxious myself…but on this, law and ethics are both clear. Nazis threaten death to Jews, but they can march in Skokie anyway – the mere fact that one has an ideology that is crazed and bigoted and potentially violent does nothing to dissolve or abrogate one’s free-speech rights. Nor should it. The rules of engagement that protect mikeeeUSA’s right to utter controversial political speech are the same rules that protect Ms. Eicher’s; we cannot deny one without the other.

And as for violent misogyny in games – I remember what side most of the hacker community was on in the running PR and legal battles over Grand Theft Auto. I think that was the right side to be on, and any of us who would choose the side of the censor now, simply because it’s one of our people demanding suppression instead of some grandstanding redneck DA, would be at best succumbing to special pleading and at worst an outright hypocrite.

I was (and am) not happy about appearing to defend Kvaratskhelia. To judge by the letter and the reports of his past behavior, he is a vile piece of scum; if he were to threaten harm to Ms. Eicher in my presence, I would cheerfully shoot him. But the way to deal with death threats is to (a) report them to law enforcement, and (b) be prepared to defend yourself against the very likely contingency that the authorities won’t be around when you need them. It is not to seek suppression of the threatener’s public speech. By doing that, Ms. Eicher put herself in the wrong; worse, she put this odious character — at that moment, and on this issue — in the right.

For, if we deem suppressing his speech acceptable, where does it stop? Today it’s tirades against sexual equality that are supposed to accept as bad enough to warrant booting someone off a hosting site. But tomorrow, what will it be? Advocating restrictions on abortion? Denying global warming? Dissing vegetarians? Wearing fur? The precedent Ms. Eicher apparently wanted us to accept, whether she intended it or not, would have been unacceptably dangerous to liberty in general and our community in particular.

The hacker culture is more delicately dependent on the unfettered flow of creativity and conversation, more functionally threatened by the possibility of systematic censorship, than any other I can think of in human history. Thus, our need and our responsibility to defend freedom of expression — even when we find it uncomfortable, even when it’s being exercised by werewolves — becomes greater rather than less. We cannot hold ourselves to lower standards than a court interpreting the First Amendment would apply; if the Nazis can march in Skokie, we must respect mikeeeUSA’s right to make vile political arguments in our public spaces. Ms. Eicher’s blog is not a public space, but SourceForge was intentionally designed to function as one and our community uses it in that way; thus, the rules of the public square apply.

I was very concerned that Ms. Eicher’s original action not become a precedent for how we deal with trolls and nutjobs in the future. For if we censor public speech in aid of our own political positions, we forfeit the right to object when others censor our public speech in aid of theirs. There is only one place that road can end, and it’s not anywhere we want to be.

That was why I might have ended up in a very ugly, very public fight over this. But while others where flaming, Ms. Eicher was listening. And thinking, to far better effect than the flamers. Just a few few hours ago, without consulting me, she undertook to host the offending material herself. This is what I had to say when I learned of this:

Ms. Eicher, *well done*! A creative and even brilliant solution!

Hosting the creep’s stuff with a loud warning that it is vile and possiblly criminal attached to it is *exactly* the correct response! *Exactly*!

The best remedy for hate speech is not suppression of that speech but counterpropaganda that makes the hater look both vile and ridiculous. The fact that you publicly held yourself out as an offended party gives the act of turning around to host his stuff even more force as a gesture of both contempt for him and principled opposition to censorship than it would have had otherwise.

Yes, host his stuff. And, I advise, mock him mercilessly. Don’t dignify the filth on your disks with sober hatred; *laugh* at the poisonous fuckwit. Your choice makes you larger than him; grind that in mercilessly.

I can live with a community rule that if you successfully have someone’s stuff booted from a public space for vileness, custom requires you to carry it yourself. But don’t drop the ball. Honor now demands that you host it as reliably as your own content.

Now I will post about this, but instead of condemning you for setting a bad precedent, I will praise you for setting a good one. It is ethically, rhetorically, and pragmatically perfect; the only tiny cloud on my happiness is that I wasn’t imaginative enough to think of it myself.

I’ll add one point to that now. In an ironic and lovely way, Ms. Eicher’s sacrifice of her own disks and bandwidth to carry Kvaratskhelia’s misogynist crud is exactly the apology and retraction I originally hoped for — but delivered in a way that will give the creep no comfort in the end. I really could not ask for a better outcome.

Ms. Eicher has earned my respect for avoiding the harm of censorship, and my personal gratitude for navigating us both out of a collision neither of us wanted. And I hope her solution will indeed set a precedent that will enable us to never, ever advocate the suppression of public political speech, no matter how vile we find it.

209 thoughts on “Condemning Censorship, Even of Werewolves

  1. I must admit I am slightly confused. From your post I am to understand that Ms. Eicher submitted a request for a review of an offending project on SourceForge, which they agreed to and consequently found in violation of their terms of use. At which point in this process can “Ms. Eicher”, rather than “a party offended by the project”, be singled out as being the first actor in the process of project removal?

    Her name is relatively irrelevant in this dispute, from what I can tell; irrespective of anything that this “mikeeeUSA” has done to her personally, she is still a person belonging to a group of people who were intentionally singled out and harassed by his SourceForge project. had this not been Ms. Eicher, but a concerned mother called Mrs. J. Doe, reporting this project to SourceForge, they would have likely drawn the exact same conclusion.

    This raises a problematic question; does ms. Eicher’s prior involvement with this “mikeeeUSA” override the process argument? Rationally, it does not. If a black man and a white man hate each, and the black man points out that the white man is apparently so engrossed in his hatred that he is promoting the slaughter of all black people, then it is irrelevant why or to which degree they hate each other. Mr. Black has pointed out a fact about Mr. white that warrants a policy decision. In the eyes of the law, that policy decision would probably be incarceration. In the eyes of an ISP hosting a blog, that policy would probably be suspension of an account, and in the eyes of an organisation like SourceForce, project termination.

    While your concerns about potential censoship are interesting, and would certainly make for a lively debate in philosophy classes, as well as a lecture on civil law, it seems you have misinterpreted what censorship means. We speak of censorship when a party dogmatically bars certain information from reaching the public. That is not the case here; SourceForce is by no means the only way for people to present their code to the world. Ms. Eicher is therefore not responsible for censorship, but only for account termination. We can hypothesis what she would do if “mikeeeUSA” were to host his code at some other code repository, but at this point I think it is safe to say that anyone who read this story would now be a potential whistle blower if his projects were to show up elsewhere. As such, int his hypothetical situation we can no longer single her out (it would make for a more interesting argument if we could, but even within hypothetical reasoning, we must stick to sound reasoning).

    Finally, a remark on your comment that your decision was made in your capacity as “tribal elder”: it would seem that you ignored the fact that a tribe has people in it. If decrees are morally grounded, then those morals should be shared, not mandated. Was the community consulted? If not, then regardless of your position, the decision was personal.

    Taking all this into account, it would seem that your conclusions were drawn based on incomplete reasoning, and I feel it is my responsibility as critical thinker to point out that there are several questionable points in your process of decision making. Certainly, I believe you have made the wrong decision, but this is irrelevant given that I believe this because I believe you have (perhaps grossly) erred in your reasoning to reach this decision.

    Regards,

    Mike Kamermans

  2. I note with interest that the site where the code is cited is the web interface to a Mercurial repository, and that there are several women who are taking the original code and changing it, in ways the original author probably doesn’t like.

    That mikeeeUSA wasn’t bright enough to keep copies of his own work independently from other sites where he did not have control speaks volumes about his computing competence.

    Had I known this was coming, I’d host the material as well, not out of any desire to perpetuate the attitudes it displays, but simply out of a desire to fight censorship in any form. The proper answer to hate speech is not censorship (and here I use it in the common, broader sense, not the strict First Amendment sense); it is more speech.

  3. They had nothing to take to law enforcement (in regards to his threats posted to debian-women) because of his use of tor and throw away yahoo accounts. You shouldn’t insinuate that they did _not_ attempt to do that when his instability first manifested in the form of his attacks against linux-chix and debian-women.

    ESR says: I’m confused. Who do you believe made this “insinuation”? I don’t see it in my post or any of the attached comments.

  4. Ouch, this “solution” strikes me as even worse as the opposite.

    If the precedence is the ability to remove hate work and repost it with a huge long disclaimer and counter propaganda than I just couldn’t get behind such a sick idea :(

    In this case it is justified counter propaganda (well the majority of people would agree so). But what about issues such as global warming, abortion, etc. How is such a precedence a good thing in those cases?

  5. @Mike Kamermans: ESR did state that censorship did not take place under the strict definition. He was arguing ethics and philosophy, not law. As horrifying as the speech in question was, by having it suppressed, the individual in question is only empowered to carry on with what they are doing (in a similar fashion to the Phelps family in Topeka, Kansas). By hosting the material herself, Eicher is essentially sucking the wind out of the sails of mikeeusa, who in my opinion is nothing more than a notorious troll seeking attention and laughing every time people respond to their actions. After all, if threats were being delivered since 2005 and they have failed to deliver by now, something tells me that they never will.

  6. My position was nevertheless that Ms. Eicher’s specific request for suppression of Kvaratskhelia’s public speech was, though within the law, consequentially and ethically wrong, because it set a precedent legitimizing suppression of public speech as a political tool.

    What if mikeeeUSA’s “speech” has the effect of censoring others’ speech? This is analogous to the “do we tolerate intolerance?” paradox — the resolution is to realise that we are dealing with a problem of constrained optimisation. It is possible that SourceForge’s censoring of mikeeeUSA increases freedom of speech.

  7. >What if mikeeeUSA’s “speech” has the effect of censoring others’ speech?

    Speech cannot censor speech. One of two things is required for censorship: either control of the communications media between speaker and audience, or a credible threat of force against the speaker.

  8. >I note with interest that the site where the code is cited is the web interface to a Mercurial repository, and that there are several women who are taking the original code and changing it, in ways the original author probably doesn’t like.

    This seems just to me. And funny.

  9. > Speech cannot censor speech. One of two things is required for censorship: either control of the communications media between speaker
    > and audience, or a credible threat of force against the speaker.

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but

    http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/04/death_threats_a.html
    http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/04/my_favorite_gra.html

    (brief: an email or series of, especially one with a photoshopped gruesome depiction of the author make Kathy Sierra stop blogging).
    How’s that not ‘speech that censors speech’? If I say ‘One of these days, I’m gonna cut you into little pieces’ to shut someone up or make it leave my project, with the right intonation, delivery and to the ‘right’ person, how’s that not speech that censors speech?

    Yes, true, guns don’t kill people, and pure speech cannot censor (or indeed act). If this is your point, then you could try answering the real question posed instead of arguing semantics.

  10. >Finally, a remark on your comment that your decision was made in your capacity as “tribal elder”: it would seem that you ignored the fact that a tribe has people in it. If decrees are morally grounded, then those morals should be shared, not mandated. Was the community consulted? If not, then regardless of your position, the decision was personal.

    You appear to have an entertainingly romanticized notion of how actual elders in actual tribes behave.

    Yes, sometimes you can do the job by articulating an already-shared consensus. But other times you have to lead the tribe where it has not yet realized it needs to go. I’ve played both roles, and probably will again. Neither style is sufficient on its own.

  11. >If I say ‘One of these days, I’m gonna cut you into little pieces’ to shut someone up or make it leave my project, with the right intonation, delivery and to the ‘right’ person, how’s that not speech that censors speech?

    It’s the “credible threat of force” that’s suppressive. And this is not a merely semantic distinction; focusing on incidents like the Cathy Sierra mess obscures the fact that the actual censored material was not a threat. Everyone involved concedes this, so please don’t change the subject.

  12. Speech cannot censor speech. One of two things is required for censorship: either control of the communications media between speaker and audience, or a credible threat of force against the speaker.

    Sometimes speech is a “credible threat of force”. Granted, “I’m going to insult you which will make you feel bad” is a relatively feeble threat, but it’s often sufficient to discourage (“censor”) someone’s speech.

    Also: You’ve banned people from this blog. Was that ethical?

  13. >but it’s often sufficient to discourage (”censor”) someone’s speech.

    You need to think more clearly about the difference between discouragement and actual force.

    >Also: You’ve banned people from this blog. Was that ethical?

    Yes. Different ethical rules apply in private space. Even so, it took very extreme behavior, repeated over long periods of time, to push me to that point.

    I assert the right to ban people on a whim. But I don’t do it.

  14. >You need to think more clearly about the difference between discouragement and actual force.

    I have, and I consider psychological harm to be real harm — and therefore causing psychological harm constitutes the use of”actual force”.

    >Different ethical rules apply in private space.

    So this is a “private space” and SourceForge is a “public space”? How are you making that distinction? I suggest that the rules applying to a space are up to the owner of that space — in SourceForges case these are set out in the ToU.

  15. @pete: It’s esr’s blog, and from what I’ve read, only four people have been banned. There is a difference between banning from a site you own and operate and taking away someone else’s medium of expression. If I were to be banned for no good reason (not that it would happen… just illustrating a point), I could at least go to my blog and complain about it. Now what would happen if my hosting provider was pressured to shut down my blog and they cave? This is apples and oranges you are attempting to compare. The situations are different. Please treat them as such.

  16. >I have, and I consider psychological harm to be real harm — and therefore causing psychological harm constitutes the use of”actual force”.

    Oh, my. “Psychological harm.” Excuse me while I wet my diapers.

    Sometimes I wish everybody had to live under a real old-fashioned rubber-truncheon despotism for a few years, just so they wouldn”t talk such vacuous, risible shit.

    >So this is a “private space” and SourceForge is a “public space”? How are you making that distinction?

    By the behavior and expectations of the community that SourceForge, Inc. has deliberately encouraged to form around it, same way it’s normally done at common law. Er, and you might want to recall that I was on VA’s board of directors when SourceForge was launched by the company.

  17. >Thomas Holbrook II: There is a difference between banning from a site you own and operate and taking away someone else’s medium of expression.

    SourceForge does own the SourceForge site! So they are well within their rights to ban someone, just like esr is here.

    >esr: Oh, my. “Psychological harm.” Excuse me while I wet my diapers.

    So initiation of force is okay as long as it’s trifling?

  18. >Now what would happen if my hosting provider was pressured to shut down my blog and they cave?

    This is indeed a key point. I can’t make the entire history of someone’s blog or project go poof; SourceForge can.

    As it happens I’m actually working on technological means to mitigate this problem.

  19. >By the behavior and expectations of the community that SourceForge, Inc. has deliberately encouraged to form around it, same way it’s normally done at common law.

    Um, isn’t the ToU part of deliberately encouraging certain behaviours and expectations? In which case enforcing the ToU would be the ethical thing to do?

  20. >So initiation of force is okay as long as it’s trifling?

    I reject the assumption that “psychological harm” counts as initiation of force at all. That claim trivializes real suffering and real oppression; I’d like to see you try it on a concentration-camp survivor, or someone who had his joints broken by the Mukhbarat. Such people would laugh in your face – and they’d be right to.

  21. >I reject the assumption that “psychological harm” counts as initiation of force at all. That claim trivializes real suffering and real oppression; I’d like to see you try it on a concentration-camp survivor, or someone who had his joints broken by the Mukhbarat. Such people would laugh in your face – and they’d be right to.

    So I have to torture someone before I’ve initiated force? Seems like you’re setting the bar a little high there.

  22. @pete: How is esr setting the bar so high? If a message is being conveyed via the Internet and only the Internet, that would prove that the individual or group of individuals responsible may be lacking a life in the real world. If that is the case, how can such individuals be taken seriously? In general, when visitors of 4Chan are blasting a person who spews such hateful nonsense on the web, one can safely assume that said individual poses no real threat whatsoever. In the event that such a person does pose a real threat, they are quickly exposed, just like what happened with Hal Turner.

  23. ESR says:
    > One of two things is required for censorship: either control of
    > the communications media between speaker and audience, or
    > a credible threat of force against the speaker.

    An which was in play here? Certainly SourceForge does not control the communications media between speaker and audience (though it does control a tiny sliver of it), and, I don’t believe they threatened him in any way, credible or not. So which was it?

    > Different ethical rules apply in private space. Even so, it took
    > very extreme behavior, repeated over long periods of time, to
    > push me to that point.

    Couldn’t agree more. However, but why doesn’t source forge fall under that same category? They are just as private an entity as Eric Raymond. If you accept extreme behavior warrants banning, you concede that banning is legitimate. To misquote Churchill, all we are doing now is negotiating the price.

    I am not in agreement with you on this at all Eric. The very essence of censorship is the government. A publisher choosing not to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover is their legitimate decision, the government saying no one can publish it is a whole different matter. We are inundated with claims of censorship that are not censorship (such as the government not funding this or that ridiculous art project) and by muddying the waters we loose the true essence of censorship, and why it is bad: namely that the government threatens to put you in jail if you say or write about a particular topic.

    I agree that the better way to deal with offensive speech, whether on this blog or elsewhere, is to speak more, to present the other side, and even, in some cases do so mockingly or offensively to the offending speaker. When Shelby Moore was blabbing a lot of nonsense here, that is exactly what I did (as did many others, and as also is reflected in the very admirable later actions of Ms. Eicher.) I was very uncomfortable when someone called for him/her to be booted from the blog. However, I fully support your right to do so. It certainly isn’t censorship. However, if the government comes to arrest Shelby for posting his/her thoughts then I will be standing at his/her door locked and loaded. I suspect you will be there with me Eric.

    You see a danger in the suppression of speech, your concern is very real and legitimate. I see an greater danger in diluting the meaning of “censorship” to include activities that are perfectly legitimate, and thus disguising the truly dangerous nature of its true, naked evil.

  24. >Thomas Holbrook II: How is esr setting the bar so high?

    esr said that causing psychological harm is not initiation of force because worse things happened in the concentration camps. I think we need to set standards for morality higher than “better than the Nazis”. Therefore we need a lower threshold for what counts as “initiation of force”.

  25. I find that I think the end result here was awesome.

    I also find that I don’t think any censorship was going on. There are a multitude of ways in which this material could be published to the internets. Sourceforge is but one of them.

    If SF had the power to demand that no one host the material, that would be censorship.

  26. @pete: Are you a voluntaryanist by any chance?

    @JessicaBoxer: I believe you and esr are on the same page without realizing it. In terms of censorship, it usually involves government action. What esr is asking here is that we actually practice what we preach. To quote Noam Chomsky, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” Sourceforge is not an entity that is owned by one and only one person, so other factors must be taken into consideration. For starters, people can post entire websites that relate to the projects being worked on. Again, if entire projects are deleted due to disagreements in philosophy, what projects are next?

  27. >Thomas Holbrook II: Are you a voluntaryanist by any chance?

    From what wikipedia tells me, probably not. I’m pretty sure I’d disagree with them over what would constitute legitimate property rights.

  28. karlzt:
    No, Bob is one of MIkee’s buddies. His blog has a link to Bob’s blog in the sidebar. Mikee goes by various names. The one ESR is using is just his most recent. He has, over the years, been Mike McAllister (in 2004) and Mitch O’Brian (when he was trolling the Debian Women mailing list). His SF account was under the name Mike B.

  29. There are limits even to free speech.

    First of all, you do not have the right to deliver your speech on private property, or to use private resources to do so. You are limited to speaking on public property, on your own property or on property where the owner permits your expression. You are likewise limited to using public resources reserved for the delivery of free speech, your own resources or resources supplied by a third party. Both when it concerns place and resources, a private party has the rights to suppress any expression that is not to their liking (by removing you from the premises and/or by removing the resources).

    As far as I can see, SourceForge removed the materials because they did not want to be associated with them. I consider this a commendable action, akin to a property owner erasing the grafitti from the facade. As for the actions of Ms. Eicher, I’d say that her actions should be judged on their own merits, and not on the final outcome.

    A second limit to free speech is that you do not have the right to be heard.

    This means that people should be able to shut you out of their private spaces, and only allow you in when they want to hear what you have to say.. If you do not respect this, you are in my world committing a severe crime, and as a consequence you may have your freedom of speech curtailed.

  30. @Jacob: Again, SourceForge is not owned by one person and only one person. It is owned and operated by a group of people. By removing the items in question, mikeeusa is only being empowered. The best way to suck the winds out of their sails is to ignore them.

  31. Jacob Hallén Says:
    > There are limits even to free speech.

    Sorry, I don’t agree. Or more specifically I don’t agree to what you are implying which is to say “there should be limits to free speech.” Obviously there are actually limits to free speech, but the purpose here is what should be not what is.

    The United States Constitution enshrines the laws on free speech with these important words “Congress shall make no law…” Free speech is enshrined in the very idea of government restriction on speech. I agree, congress should make no law on this matter.

    You bring up a red herring, specifically free speech on other people’s property. Again, I don’t agree. I think I should be able to say whatever I want on your property. However, I also recognize your right to ask me to leave, or have me kicked out. I also recognize your right to say “you shall not talk about religion or politics on my property”, and I recognize that you may use that as a pretext to ask me to leave if I violate it. I also recognize your right to refuse me entry to your property because I have abused your rules in the past, or you think I might abuse your rules in the future, or because you think I am ugly, or because you think I have bad hair or because you have a sign up saying “No girls allowed.” It is your property, which means you control it. However, you have no right to control my voice. I should be able to say whatever I want. The question of microphones and printing presses are essentially identical to the previous one.

    However, although you have a right to set up these rules on your property, congress does not have that right. Because if you kick me off, I can always go somewhere else, but if congress makes a law, then I can’t escape it anywhere.

    SourceForge have a perfect right to make rules on their private property (whether it is owned individually or corporately really doesn’t matter at all.) They have a perfect right to delete content that violate the rules, and to ban someone from their property for violating the rules (or for any reason for that matter.) They offer a written agreement to provide users with reasonable expectations, but there is no divine obligation on them to spend bits of their privately owned hard disk drives to store content they don’t want there.

  32. @Thomas Holbrook II – an even better way to take the wind out of their sails is to edit My Little Ponies into their shitty art, and refactor their even shittier code :)

  33. Many sites, like DeviantArts and possibly SourceForge as well, have standing TOS policies concerning hateful or bigoted speech. That’s as much their choice to implement as it is yours to moderate or ban posters here based on content. These sites have a vested interest in keeping poisonous people like MikeeUSA the hell away. If Mikee wants to post on Stormfront or alt.seduction.fast, that’s his business and his right. But communities which are rightly loath to embrace such a character can and should be encouraged to ban him and his material.

    The best remedy for hate speech is not suppression of that speech but counterpropaganda that makes the hater look both vile and ridiculous.

    Part of me wishes you’d kept Mikee’s letter. It would have made an excellent centerpiece to his EncyclopediaDramatica page (which, as of now, appears to focus mainly on his crappy FPS maps).

  34. @Jeff Read: What is being argued is a matter of ethics and philosophy, not binding agreements and certainly not law. The issue at hand was the fact that the FPS maps and other products in question were not related to what Beth Lynn Eicher was putting up with in the first place. I disagree with mikeeusa’s philosophy on life, so I can do the following:

    A.) Respond to him using free speech of my own.

    B.) Ignore him altogether.

    When mikeeusa and their ilk are ignored long enough, they become disappointed and will do everything in their power to garner the attention of other people just for the sake of having attention. It drives them insane when their perceived enemies refuse to respond. That is the best way to deal with the situation at hand as opposed to removing access to a form of media they are used to using (since that will legitimize their cause in their eyes, assuming it is an actual cause and not trolling). Long story short: don’t feed the trolls.

  35. # Thomas Holbrook II Says:
    > A.) Respond to him using free speech of my own.
    > B.) Ignore him altogether.

    Lets apply your strategy shall we?

    Imagine you are a black man having a birthday party for your daughter. Someone from the Klan walks on to your property and starts calling you all the names that Klansmen are know for calling people of darker complexions.

    Which of your two strategies should you use in that case?

    If a separate strategy is appropriate, why is it not appropriate in the case of Source Forge?

  36. This is a bad call you’re making, Eric. You are expecting SourceForge to be responsible for protecting a “werewolf”‘s “free speech” rights, but that’s not SourceForge’s place. SourceForge exists for the sake of the community, and in order to properly serve the community, it has clear Terms of Use (at http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/sitelegal/wiki/Terms_of_Use).

    Specifically, under those terms of use, which every user or potential user of SourceForge should read and understand, content that “endorse[s] or promote[s] racism, bigotry, hatred, or physical harm of any kind against another group or individual” or which “discriminate[s], incite[s] harassment or advocate[s] harassment of any group or individual” is unacceptable. MikeeUSA’s contributions fall squarely into that category, I doubt there can be any disagreement with that.

    That being the case, SourceForge is entirely within its rights to “restrict access to or the availability of material that SourceForge, in its sole discretion, considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable”. Note that this is an agreement which SourceForge users enter into of their own free will, without any duress on anyone’s part.

    If one doesn’t like the Terms of Use, then one should find some other accommodation than SourceForge. If one decides to use SourceForge, and then fails to adhere to the Terms of Use, one has no right whatsoever to complain if SourceForge keeps their side of the bargain.

    SourceForge has no obligation to “protect” anyone’s “enemy”, nor should it. SourceForge has an obligation to protect and serve the community as a whole, and those who don’t operate under the clearly laid out terms and conditions which are the “price of admission” should get no protection at all. You’d, however, seem to prefer that SourceForge ignore its own Terms of Use so as to avoid a completely dubious and misdefined (as you admit) sort of quasi-”censorship”.

    You worry about drawing the line one way; by refusing to do so, you cut the legs out from under the Terms of Use. After all, if MikeeUSA’s “contributions” deserve protection, why shouldn’t pedophilic content, equally in violation of the terms of use, enjoy equal protection?

    Anyone can put up a web site or an SVN server. No one is entitled to a web site or an SVN server. If MikeeUSA is determined to “contribute” his content, such as it is, let him pay his own way. SourceForge is in no way obligated to foot the bill for him, nor should it be.

    By attempting to turn this into a sort of “thin end of the wedge” argument, you run the risk of allowing the “werewolves” to effectively dominate the community at the expense of the worthwhile contributors. There’s a Gresham’s Law that applies to community as well: bad “contributors” can certainly drive out good ones. While the choice that Ms. Eicher made is amusing, it’s fairly irrelevant to the question of whether SourceForge was or wasn’t justified in removing MikeeUSA’s content: clearly they had every justification under the sun.

    Let’s keep that “rough meritocracy” in mind. Contributions that are without merit—as MikeeUSA’s clearly are—should get short shrift. A contribution to SourceForge is not “public speech”. If MikeeUSA wants to speak publicly, there are plenty of ways he can do that without SourceForge’s support and assistance.

  37. Morals and ethics,.

    >I reject the assumption that “psychological harm” counts as initiation of force at all.

    I’m amased you made that statement, what is the definition of TERROR ?. If you are harmed psychologically then it IS physical harm. People can killed themselves, or been killed by others as a result of psychological harm.

    ESR, you may consider yourself a “tribal elder” of the FOSS world, but that does not give you the right to be a “tribal elder” for all society!.

    Here in Australia, we have real tribal elders, and in times past they “pointed the bone” at people that had such a strong psycological effect that they went away and died.

    This person was also _NOT_ censored, we was blocked from ONE site, he is able to post elsewhere and using other forums. He has not been censored, that would entail him being unable to post his brand of bile elsewhere.

    The FOSS community is very diverse, it contains people of all ages, sexes, sexual preferences, races and many minority groups.

    ESR, as a “Tribal Elder” do you not think it’s your responsibility as such to do you’re upmost to promote a harmonious and coherent FOSS society?

    Or to perpetuate hate speech, racial and sexist intolerance ?

    Do you think what you are doing is helping the community, or just allowing you to express you’re personal views using your FOSS name and reputation as your vehicle?

  38. Why are you people feeding this troll? Just point out that he’s a troll and move on. As for the death threats, that’s a matter that should be quietly reported to law enforcement. SourceForge is well within its rights to remove objectionable content. He will read this post and be pleased that he’s getting a heap of attention.

  39. “The proper answer to hate speech is not censorship (and here I use it in the common, broader sense, not the strict First Amendment sense); it is more speech.”

    The problem with that is that it’s hard to make counter-hate-speech even remotely as interesting as hate speech, given that hate speech is thankfully much rarer. Neither is censorship a good solution, the last thing one would want is giving a “martyr’s crown” to a werewolf. I can think of two solutions, one is totally ignoring the werewolf, without any sort of feedback, everybody quickly becomes tired and bored. The problem with that is that there is always someone who can’t hold his nerves and begins feeding the troll. Another way is the good old ad hominem. The reasons ad hominem arguments are considered forbidden amongst decent people is exactly that they are too effective, they are the nukes of debates, and that they don’t help much in finding out the merits of argument. If it’s obvious the argument has no merit and is pure trolling, feel free to nuke the troll with an ad hominem.

  40. “By the behavior and expectations of the community that SourceForge, Inc. has deliberately encouraged to form around it, same way it’s normally done at common law. ”

    Interesting point. I think you should make the distinction between private and public clearer. Public often means “state-owned” – clearly not the case. Sometimes it means unowned or owned by a large number of people – still not the case. SF is clearly a private space but operates as a kind of communal space, I think that’s the best term for it, not public but communal.

    I think your blog can be compared to hosting guests in your living room, while SF can be considered having a meeting of the LUG in your living room every Saturday. In both cases the space is private and there is a right to kick anyone out but in the second case one should be much more tolerant about the guests because by hosting a LUG meeting he temporary committed the space into a communal space, meaning he does not have individual guests but a community, and it should be the decision of the community who can participate there, and the homeowner should rather just decide the community as a whole can stay or not. In other words, hosting a communal meeting is a temporary delegation of certain homeowner’s rights to a community. Er, it’s kinda confusing, but this is the best way I can think about to nail down the difference between a blog and SF.

  41. I am mentioned in Eric’s posting, so I’ll make my standing clear. Sourceforge is not a monopoly or a common carrier. Nobody can keep Kvaratskhelia from getting an internet provider, there are very many, in many countries. Free speech doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to give you a podium. So IMO censorship wasn’t happening.

    I agree with Eric that Kvaratskhelia is extremely creepy and reprehensible in his online conduct. But I find one comment of Eric’s really strange and inappropriate: “if he were to threaten Ms. Eicher in my presence, I would cheerfully shoot him.” One can only hope that Eric has been afflicted by foot-in-mouth disease and would not pull the trigger of anything more harmful than a video camera in response to a verbal threat to a woman in his presence. Such threats, though reprehensible, are well handled by the system of justice without the assistance of vigilantes. I could also hope that Eric would not be _cheerful_ in shooting anyone regardless of the context. Strange.

    In a discussion last month on LWN, I learned that many people have very strong opinions regarding the issues of women’s involvement in technology, and very few have good information that can be used to actually enact positive changes. One person did: Kirily Roberts took the time to educate me on some gender studies issues, which I am putting into effect in a positive way in a teaching program I’ve just run for the first time and which I will soon write about. But until I get to that, I would warn that the vast majority of people, including some who have engaged in dialogue here, contribute much more heat than light to the issue. What can you do that is positive, rather than just ragging on other folks in our community? It turns out there’s a good deal.

    Thanks

    Bruce Perens

  42. >One can only hope that Eric has been afflicted by foot-in-mouth disease and would not pull the trigger of anything more harmful than a video camera in response to a verbal threat to a woman in his presence.

    I wasn’t thinking of a mere verbal threat. I’ve already said I don’t equate those with initiation of force, so I certainly could not justify shooting the creep in response to something he merely said

    I think, to make this clear, I’ll add the word “harm” to the original post.

  43. >In other words, hosting a communal meeting is a temporary delegation of certain homeowner’s rights to a community.

    I think that’ s very well put, Shenpen.

  44. I have to say that “gender studies issues” is one of those phrases that makes me want to (er…metaphorically) reach for my revolver. It’s not that I’m anti-feminist, it’s that I associate that phrase with shrill, stupid anti-humanism of the Andrea Dworkin all-sex-is-rape variety.

    On the other hand, I know Kirrily Roberts and respect her. I’ll listen to anything she has to say on the topic.

  45. “In other words, hosting a communal meeting is a temporary delegation of certain homeowner’s rights to a community.”

    I understand what you’re getting at here, Shenpen, but if I open my doors for a spirited gathering, and somebody starts acting like a POS, I grab him by the balls and throw him out.

    I may be inflating a balloon of tolerance for others’ opinions, but at no point do I surrender my property rights. You speak freely by my good graces, ultimately – and if you don’t like it you can fsck off home ;)

    SF has every right to maintain its site in the manner it pleases, in this respect I disagree with ESR and agree with Jessica. The aspect that I am in agreement with ESR with, is of the impact such behavior has on the credibility of a community to continue asserting that it is a stoic defender of free speech. Opponents will correctly point out that “yeah, you defend free speech until you really don’t like what’s being said”….and the floodgates open. Logically it is a fallacious attack, yet it will cut deeply.

    Ultimately, I too am impressed by the solution. That’s the way to deal with such odious bastards :)

  46. >SF has every right to maintain its site in the manner it pleases, in this respect I disagree with ESR and agree with Jessica

    What are we disagreeing about? I’ve conceded that SF was technically within its rights – I criticized Ms. Eicher for invoking their TOS, not SF for having them.

    SF could behave in a way that violated the expectations of community around the site – the TOS gives it ample room to do so – but I’m not aware that they’ve ever started that kind of trouble.

  47. What are we disagreeing about? I’ve conceded that SF was technically within its rights – I criticized Ms. Eicher for invoking their TOS, not SF for having them.

    8======D ERIC SUCKS COCKS ERIC SUCKS COCKS 8======D

  48. > that makes me want to reach for my revolver.

    I guess I’m not going to be able to convince you that your style is self-defeating :-)

    Yes, there is a good chance of hearing misandry during this sort of discussion, including from men, and it’s hard to grade what you are told.

    One very simple and compelling theory that Roberts turned me on to: Consider that there is a leaky pipe that women enter at birth, and at the end of the pipe is involvement in science and technology as an adult. At every stage in the pipe from infancy on, women are leaked out of the system. It might start with what mommy chooses to do as an infant looks on, and then it goes on to the way adults react when young children engage in non-traditional gender roles, and on to when those controlling research positions consider that women will drop out after a few years to bear a child, etc. At every stage, women are leaked out of the system and at the end you get very few.

    What I am still having trouble with is the nature or nurture question. I believe that the effect of nature is significant, others say no. I have also heard (from a woman not involved in this discussion) that what turned her off on a technical community was not the men’s conduct but the fact that the style of the women already involved didn’t match the sort of female community that she was attracted to join. But I don’t want to stress that one so hard that it sounds like I’m blaming the women.

    So, what I am working on is mostly how to attract young women into technology using compelling educational programs involving Open Science (in this case hands-on educational science incorporating a design that is itself Open Source). I did a small teacher education on this at my university in Norway and they came away really motivated.

  49. Note that Eric is guilty of banning trolls from his own blog on numerous occasions.

  50. JessicaBoxer asks, “If a separate strategy is appropriate, why is it not appropriate in the case of Source Forge?”

    As nearly as I can tell, because there’s widespread agreement that racism (or at least creating the appearance of personally _supporting_ racism) is totally inappropriate. As many of the comments on virtually every posting which has brought up the subject vividly attest, there’s clearly no such consensus when it comes to sexism: indeed, there’s a very strong (or at least loud) contingent that seems to feel that overt sexism is just fine.

    I have a difficult time imagining a hypothetical situation in which a well-known figure could tell a racist joke as part of a keynote, and when people complained, they were advised, “Well, you’re not black. Black people need to grow thicker skins.”

  51. @Bruce Perens: have you seen Terri’s recent post over on GF about the nature/nurture debate and women in CS? The tl;dr version: there isn’t any evidence backing up nature being much of a cause of the gap.

    I’ve got some other links on the topic of getting young women involved in CS, as it’s a research interest of mine, but I’ll take those to email as this isn’t the place. But I couldn’t let a “zomg nurture” argument rest without refutation :)

  52. @esr: fwiw, while I disagree with much of Dworkin’s work, she never said “all sex is rape”, and nor did Catherine Mackinnon, to whom the quote also gets attributed. I mean really, it’s even on snopes :)

    ESR says: True. Technically, the claim is that all sex is rape if the man has an erection. Excuse me if I don’t find this a significant qualification. (And yes, I didn’t have to read snopes.com, I knew that already)

  53. >I guess I’m not going to be able to convince you that your style is self-defeating :-)

    Dang it, you got in there in the three minutes before I added “(er…metaphorically)” :-)

    >At every stage, women are leaked out of the system and at the end you get very few.

    At every stage, *men* are leaked out of the system and at the end you get very few.

    I find this kind of argument at best unconvincing, and at worst a not very well disguised form of special pleading. OK, fine, it’s a qualitative model of what night be going on, but it treats the entirety of life as a delivery system for producing engineers and ignores the possibility that women (or men) don’t get into CS because it’s not the place they would be happiest even in an ideal world free of prejudices.

    My own theory about this is that CS attracts men with shadow autism-spectrum traits, and it’s a self-reinforcing effect because non-autistic men tolerate shadow-autist behavier much more easily than non-autistic women do. It’s not clear what can be done about this.

  54. # Bruce Perens Says:
    > So, what I am working on is mostly how to attract young women into
    > technology using compelling educational programs

    Let me ask what seems to me to be a fairly obvious question: why is it necessarily a laudable goal to get more women into technology? Should we also have a goal of getting more men involved in fashion, or more white guys involved in basketball?

    (Aside from the obvious answer of “geeks need dates too.”)

    I suggest rather you expend your efforts producing compelling educational programs that attract and educate new engineers as an end in itself, not for some politically correct goal.

  55. If I read this correctly you are conflating public speech with comments posted on a privately owned website. You say:

    “SourceForge was within its property rights and terms of service to delete the offensive material, and there was certainly no law barring Ms. Eicher from asking that they do so. My position was nevertheless that Ms. Eicher’s specific request for suppression of Kvaratskhelia’s public speech was, though within the law, consequentially and ethically wrong, because it set a precedent legitimizing suppression of public speech as a political tool.”

    You claim that it was ethically wrong because it suppresses his public speech. However, you admit it is private property not owned by Mr. Kvaratskhelia, You also further classify him as a “vile piece of scum.” I contend that you and the other influential people who worked to cajole others get his vitriol hosted somewhere else are the ones acting in a wrong manner. You are setting the precedent that property owners who exercise their right to delete things they find offensive from their sites will expect to have you leading the charge against them for exercising their rights. While “pieces of scum” who spread garbage on other peoples property can expect you to stand up for their alleged “right” to speak out.

    If he wants to speak out let him host his own website with his own money. Any claim that his site doesn’t get enough traffic therefore he is having his rights trampled is absurd. That would be like me claiming that no one comes to hear me speak outside my own house therefore the owners of Rockefeller Center must allow me to speak in their lobby. This is the same argument that leads to actual violations of rights as the “Equal Time Rule.” In the end it is you who is asking to control speech not Ms. Eicher.

    You laud “Ms. Eicher’s sacrifice of her own disks and bandwidth,” but that is just what it is a sacrifice, she has traded something of higher value, her bandwidth and disks and irreplaceable time for the lower value of hosting his filth on her site and your inappropriate praise for it. The only possible wrong that could have occurred here is if Mr. Kvaratskhelia had a contract with sourceforge guaranteeing him the right to post whatever he wished to their site.

    I’ll close this comment with a quote from Ayn Rand’s article “Man’s Rights” which makes a nice point, “It is forgotten that the right of free speech means the freedom to advocate one’s views and to bear the possible consequences, including disagreement with others, opposition, unpopularity and lack of support. The political function of ‘the right of free speech’ is to protect dissenters and unpopular minorities from forcible suppression—not to guarantee them the support, advantages and rewards of a popularity they have not gained.”

  56. I was on fairly solid ground until,

    > What are we disagreeing about? I’ve conceded that SF was technically within its rights – I criticized Ms.
    > Eicher for invoking their TOS, not SF for having them.

    Why is it OK for SF to have a policy requiring “Your Content is not obscene, lewd, lascivious, excessively violent,” and if they ban it thats fine, but it’s not OK for a community member to raise a red flag over some content that they believe breaches said policy?

    I could understand raising questions about SF’s complaint handling procedure (e.g. is their procedure that if a complains about something then it gets removed automatically without review?) or even their banning procedure but unless someone is basically trolling with complaints (e.g. religious fundamentalist, “i see ankles, thats obscene”) how is a single act of invoking the TOS in and of itself a bad thing?

  57. # esr Says:
    > What are we disagreeing about? I’ve conceded that SF was technically
    > within its rights – I criticized Ms. Eicher for invoking their TOS, not SF
    > for having them.

    FWIW, where I disagree is that I think Ms. Eicher made a good choice in invoking the TOS, and I think her doing so bore no resemblance whatsoever to the profound evil of government censorship. They are as different as chalk and cheese.

    The posting was dog poop in the park, it is quite appropriate to pick it up and throw it in the trash. To use terms like censorship in proximity to that is very misleading. Censorship is putting publishers in jail for printing books; censorship is banning Dutch politicians from your country because you don’t like what they say; censorship is executing people for criticizing the Dear Leader.

    Picking up dog poop in the park — not so much.

  58. @JessicaBoxer: because the field is missing out on the contributions of women who are not joining the profession for shitty, socially mediated reasons (“computers are for boys” etc).

    Just like nursing is missing out on the potential contributions of men, who are turned off of that profession by social expecations as well.

    Within FOSS it honestly breaks my heart to see people argue “why should we care about recruiting women? that’s playing favourites / affirmative action” or whatever you want to call it. We should care because we’re failing at it now. We’re missing out on contributors. Shouldn’t that be reason enough?

    @esr: she didn’t say that either :/ she repeatedly explained how people got her wrong over the years. As usual with these things, her intent was more nuanced than either of the soundbites you mis-quote allows for.

  59. “What are we disagreeing about? I’ve conceded that SF was technically within its rights – I criticized Ms. Eicher for invoking their TOS, not SF for having them.”

    I think the disagreement we have (as Jessica highlights) is with the application of the concept of ‘censorship’. Nobody was censored here….and appealing to the site admins with respect to their TOS is not censorship either. If anything, it is a _political_ error to demand that such material be removed.

    For the concept of ‘censorship’ to be meaningful, it surely has to be distinguishable from the rightful capacity of humans to ignore and discard that which they deem worthless. Censorship is the despicable act of making that decision for others, and imposing it by force.

  60. Leigh Honeywell Says:
    > because the field is missing out on the contributions of women who are
    > not joining the profession for shitty, socially mediated reasons
    > (”computers are for boys” etc).

    Leigh, if you move Susie from nursing to computers, then computers gains and nursing looses. So we net out at zero. To put it another way, to gain the contribution of Susie in computers, you loose the contribution of Susie in nursing. So your argument seems entirely bogus to me, unless you can make some case that women have some special set of skills or propensity in technology that is lacking in men.

  61. “Technically, the claim is that all sex is rape if the man has an erection.”

    I know it’s OT, but seriously…WTF? Should I prod my flaccid cock into her pussy with my fingers? How am I expected to come? Goodwill? A non-binding peaceful UN resolution?

    Are these kind of dumbass bulldykes taken seriously?

    *shakes head in bewilderment*

  62. “Just like nursing is missing out on the potential contributions of men, who are turned off of that profession by social expecations as well.”

    Listen lady…I want Nurse GoodBody taking care of me, not Gaybe Focker.

  63. > Within FOSS it honestly breaks my heart to see people argue “why should we care about recruiting women?
    > that’s playing favourites / affirmative action” or whatever you want to call it. We should care because we’re
    > failing at it now. We’re missing out on contributors. Shouldn’t that be reason enough?

    Off the top of my head i’d argue that the question “How are we driving away women contributors?” is more productive. Open source software doesn’t really recruit anyone, a need to make a change in some software and the knowledge to make that change (or the desire to learn how) is what recruits someone.

    In my (albeit limited) experience, I can’t think of a single incident where gender had any bearing on a discussion (i’m sure incidents exist, but not anywhere i’ve had any say). And certainly as far as i’m concerned, gender HAS no bearing. Either the code is good, or the code is bad. End of Story. The gender, politics, sexual orientation, race, religion, blood type and even preferred editor of the person writing the code is completely irrelevant. Ok maybe the preferred editor is relevant but thats a whole other story.

    The closest i can think of is the standard crap that is given to a newbie who asks questions the wrong way (see http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) is being misinterpreted as misogyny. That is unfortunate and if the code would have been good, then i’d definately see it as a loss.

    Perhaps the culture of “flame the offender” is at fault, but thats not going to change unless you can subvert the culture to deal with its offenders in a different way. I don’t have enough saliva to erode that rock by spitting on it. Or maybe i just have rosy coloured glasses for the open source movement.

  64. I don’t understand some of you. If I submit something to a site claiming it violates a TOS, if it does not violate the TOS it should not be removed. If it does violate the TOS it should be removed.

    Why does the burden of “blame” get placed on the person reporting it? If it’s not an actual violation then, outside of some time wasted to check, no actual harm has been done, and nothing has been removed.

    If you sign up for a hosting account at an ISP and their TOS says, “You may not run a commercial site,” if I see you’re running a business selling stuff and tell them, am I a bad person? Are you somehow exempt from the rules?

    This guy broke the rules of Sourceforge & was caught and reported. Everything else used to “blame” the person for reporting him is just wanking and whining.

  65. >Leigh, if you move Susie from nursing to computers, then computers gains and nursing looses

    This is a really important point that often gets lost in all the breathless urgings to fix the diversity problem in CS, or any other historically male field.

    I have a friend, a CS professor as it happens, who makes a persuasive argument that we have badly damaged our K-12 educational system as an unintended side effect of ceasing to discriminate against bright women entering other professions. He’s not opposed to the change, he just thinks we shouldn’t be blind to the cost and the ripple effects.

  66. I think volunteer programs to get school-aged girls involved in computing are good, because it may be an untapped source of talent for our industry. However, the notion that we need an even number of men and women in particular jobs is silly. There will always be more male firefighters than women; attempts to take feminism past economic liberation and on to the smoothing over of gender differences (whatever their cause) has failed. Look around you; many aspects of feminism that are unrelated to unfair treatment in the workplace are receding.

  67. @esr: I think that a crucial element that is ignored as well is the fact that if an individual is not exposed to a certain field, let alone encouraged to participate in said field, then the individual will not miss it in any way, shape, or form. The phrase, “You don’t miss what you never had” comes to mind. I have a friend who lives down south whose daughter is brilliant when it comes to computers. They are quite capable of coding in C, and they’re a teenager in high school! However, it took his constant encouragement in order to get them to that point, and I think that nurturing is a factor that often gets overlooked as well.

    It’s trolls like mikeeusa who don’t help matters any by pretending to have a cause in the first place, when in reality they are doing nothing more than attempting to get a rise out of people. If they really wanted their stuff out there they would simply purchase a hosting plan and set up their own site themselves instead of using free services all the time.

  68. @JonB: many of these are from non-FOSS parts of geekdom, but: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents . That said, I think the “flame the newbie” culture drives a huge number of folks away, not just women.

    @Jessica and @esr: If our hypothetical Susie really wanted to do CS, but ended up in nursing because that was socially safer, and is then bored and mediocre in nursing when she could have gone on to be an awesome computer scientist, haven’t both nursing and CS lost out?

    That’s the kind of thing I want to work against. I’m in CS; if I were in nursing I’d be advocating to get more dudes interested :) It’s not a zero sum game, and when people feel free to do what they are passionate about regardless of gender roles, we all win.

    @Barry: my comment to Jessica and esr applies here too. I don’t care about numbers, I care that people be able to get beyond socially constructed ideas of who can be a computer scientist. Because it’s an awesome field, and I hate to see folks who might be great at it miss out.

  69. >Leigh, if you move Susie from nursing to computers, then computers gains and nursing looses. So we net out at zero.

    You’re assuming that Susie’s contribution to nursing is exactly equal to her potential contribution to computing.

    If careers were assigned by a central planner, there would be a net loss. The sane occurs when structural barriers divert people into sub-optimal careers.

  70. Leigh, from reading your writings and especially the writings of your fellows it seems to me that the opensource-chix aligned ladies would be happy if the men they find offensive were removed from every opensource community site and mailing list that existed. It seems to me that your tune only changed once the heavyweights of this movment weighed in against censorship. It seems to me that you know that it would be unwise of you to continue your charge for exclusion of such men in light of that, atleast in the immediate future, as it may negatively impact how the men of the opensource community view your social-corrective movement. It seems that you value the contributions of a woman who is alligned with your social world view far above that of a man who does not. I think that you wish to rid the opensource movement of sexism and the only way you know of how to do that is by sanctioning sexist men. To banish a man who is opposed to your social view from contributing is a victory, untill you are informed that it is not.

    That’s what I see. It is based on the actions of the opensource-chix before the anti-censorship opinions of the most respected members of the community were aired. I may be blind.

  71. > but: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents .

    Interesting list. Definately something to bookmark and meditate on.

    Some are societal norms (seriously… name me an industry that doesn’t use pretty females to sell things. I suppose at least when funeral homes do so the women in question are soberly dressed) but I also found a couple to be a bit trivial as well. The Della one in particular… “marketing doesn’t understand their target audience”. Gee, really? Thats true film at 11 material. Personally i’d be inclined to invoke Hanlon’s Razor here.

    A lot strike me as the standard “tact filter issue” ( http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/tact.html ) that overlay many geek interactions mixed with badly conceived or delivered mixed-meta-level humour (specific case in point being the “EMACS Virginity” incident which I just think was in poor taste, not specifically sexist). I also note that many of those things I don’t find either trivial or explainable from esr’s “shadow autism-spectrum” seem to have a large chunk of the community responding with either “dude thats not cool” or “why would you do that? i’m confused?”

    I’d like to know more about the “girls suck at python” one but that is less about the “girls” part and more because i don’t believe it’s physically (mentally?) possible for anyone to suck at python and still be capable of breathing.

    > That said, I think the “flame the newbie” culture drives a huge number of folks away, not just women.

    I think it’s an unfortunately necessary evil or at least a “yeah it’d be nice but…. ” style you-fight-the-battles-that-are-winnable acceptable loss. I leave the explanation of why to the earlier article i linked.

  72. @JonB: hehe, you had to pick the one I was responsible for red-linking :) “Girls suck at python” was the name I came up with for the voluminous backlash and mockery that followed Leah Culver posting an (admittedly rather silly) code snippet: http://blog.leahculver.com/2007/04/star-ratings.html

    I don’t have the cycles to do a whole writeup on it, but I’ll at least fix it into a stub.

    The title is a play on an xkcd: http://xkcd.com/385/ – specifically referring to how when minorities (in a given field) are seen to fail, their failures are often used to paint the group to which they belong as also failures.

  73. I think i’ll wait for the writeup.

    All i can see is the standard “You should have used language Z instead” waffle which accompanies any “how do i do X with Y” programming solution request i’ve ever seen online and when you start seeing posts where the suggested Z is “assembler” you stop taking them seriously.

    As far as the actual topic goes, i’ve taught enough newbie programmers that to me the whole gender issue is completely trumped by attitude. At least 50% of the students that attempted intro to programming with me as the tutor went in with no desire to learn it (it was a required subject for a design focused degree) and regardless of gender they were almost always terrible. Those that went in with a desire to learn it generally did well even if they sucked at math. Those that managed to acquire the desire to learn (or managed to fake the desire to learn) the material tended to do ok as well.

  74. .-.
    __|___|__
    (__.—.__)
    |o_O| – “HURRR.. I AM A CORE LINUX DEVELOPER”
    |/-\|
    .-’—’-._
    / _ \
    / /| #1 |\/\
    //\/ |.____.| |\
    / | |
    / /| |
    / \ / |__|
    *DRAG*/__/ |___\

  75. @JonB: further reading on why we document even the things that may seem trivial on their own: http://geekfeminism.org/2009/08/19/why-we-document/

    As for what industries don’t use “pretty females to sell things” – plenty. They tend to be the ones which have basic standards of professionalism, or more than a tiny fraction of women, or some combination of the two. Also, that society sucks shouldn’t be an excuse :)

    I agree with you on the tact filters issue; I’d add GSF #1 too though: http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html .

    FWIW, I read the “smart questions” article many years ago. I’m very familiar with the issue of clueless newbies sucking up all of our time. I still don’t think it’s necessary to be jerks to newbies, and I think to say so is a bit of a cop-out.

  76. “grandstanding redneck DA”
    “grandstanding mick DA”
    “grandstanding wop DA”
    “grandstanding nip DA”
    “grandstanding nigger DA”
    “grandstanding kike DA”
    “grandstanding …”

    Where does your bigotry draw the line?

    There is a distinct difference between the statement “Women are not as good a programmers as men”, the statement “Women are cunts”, and posting some form of images of a woman getting sexually abused.

    Now, of course, context is everything, but in my world view the first of those should be discussed openly and honestly. Not shouted down, not ridiculed without fact, but it COULD be a legitimate statement, or it could be made more or less accurate.

    The second of those statements is rarely defensible, and is inappropriate for almost any forum, but in the vast majority of them I would be in favor of leaving it up and linked to the authors nym. To appropriately enhance his reputation capital as it were.

    The last is simply inappropriate outside of sex-fetish sites or discussion groups.

    The idea behind “free speeh” is the open and unfettered exchange of ideas. It does not mean that every single expression must be enshrined.

    We enshrine free speech as a “right” because over the years we have found that the (more or less) unfettered exchange of ideas, the discussion of things “in the light” leads to better results.

    I do not think it unreasonable that someone insist that you discuss whatever topic you wish, but you must do it–to the extent possible–without using foul or abusive language. This censors no one but the tourettes sufferer, and, well, you can’t shut them up anyway. It also forces civility in the debate–allowing greater input from those who simply don’t car to try to scream over foul mouthed blowhards.

    One last thing: While I have something of disdain for those who whine about “psychological harm”, it *can* be real. It is relatively trivial to create conditions that cause dramatic psychological stress and lasting problems but have no physical component. Look at PTSD. It is very real. Spend a couple weeks at SERE school (or anything like it where professional psychologists are on hand to make sure that lines are pushed but not crossed)

    I’ve met (fortunately very few) people who have a singular talent for getting under peoples skin and getting RIGHT to the issues that frighten or bother them. These people are absolutely horrible to be around if one is not either very, very strong mentally, or almost without blemish mentally.

    We should, as a free society, be willing to tolerate speech that is unpleasant in content. Only by examining both the content and why we find it unpleasant can we deal with it as appropriate. And clearly it is difficult to draw bright lines between appropriate and inappropriate forms, so it is legitimate that we insist the government tread as lightly in this area as possible. But it is also just as clear in my mind that when one wishes to foster discussions of certain kinds, one must strive to maintain an atmosphere conducive to that discussion.

    And sometimes that means insisting in a certain level of decorum. (Yes, in essence there are somtimes when you have to restrict speech to get more speech. We’re humans, not robots.)

    And yes, there was some psychological pressure against using THAT word.

  77. >It’s not that I’m anti-feminist, it’s that I associate that phrase with shrill, stupid anti-humanism of the Andrea Dworkin all-sex-is-rape variety.

    It’s not that I’m anti-gun, it’s just that I associate guns with .

  78. >It’s not that I’m anti-feminist, it’s that I associate that phrase with shrill, stupid anti-humanism of the Andrea Dworkin all-sex-is-rape variety.

    It’s not that I’m anti-gun, it’s just that I associate guns with <insert your least favourite strawman gun-nut stereotype here>.

  79. Would it be too ironic if I asked you to remove my stuffed-up-the-html post above?

    ESR says: Actually, I love that irony. I think I’ll just let it sit there.

  80. The only kind of “free speech” that matters is the freedom of “offensive” speech. There is not point and no reason to protect speech that agrees with your own political or social prejudices. “Freedom of Speech” only exists when someone has the protected right so say things that you find wrong, offensive, or just plain bad.

    The open source community has been tested under its banner of support for “free speech” and found to be sorely lacking. The so-called “Solution” is not a solution at all, its an affirmation of ownership and control of speech that the would be censors find “offensive.” One person’s “offensive” is someone else’s opinion. Free speech only exists when the right to offend is protected.

    Open source only exists as long as censorship does not exist. This whole censorship issue is suicidal to open source. You cannot be practicing censorship at the same time your existence depends on the open flow of free speech.

  81. Leigh Honeywell Says:
    > As for what industries don’t use “pretty females to sell things” – plenty. They tend to be the
    > ones which have basic standards of professionalism, or more than a tiny fraction of women,
    > or some combination of the two. Also, that society sucks shouldn’t be an excuse :)

    An excuse for it happening? No.
    But i’m not sure I sign off on sexist adverts causing a scarcity of women in CS when I see vastly more sexist advertising on the TV watching snippets of the simpsons than the adverts I saw. Heck given the way our societies glorify slightly risque but still clean adverts, those adverts probably won an award.

    I would argue that sexist advertising is more an effect than a cause. There is advertising that appeals to men because marketing departments see men as being the ones they have to speak to. Not because they want to drive the women out but because either a) it works or b) thats what their information says. But I have no information to back that up.

    My gut reaction is that with the necessary context that is a very good page (thank you btw), but without that context being more explicit there is a risk of alienating the class of people who are sympathetic but clueless (which i’m more than willing to cop to being a part of).

    > I still don’t think it’s necessary to be jerks to newbies, and I think to say so is a bit of
    > a cop-out.

    I agree it’s not strictly speaking necessary, however I do believe it’s a war that would be pyrrhic to win. And the end result of victory would be dead air instead of someone getting flamed which isn’t going to be of help to the newbie and will lead to much the same frustration and anger.

    Ultimately if someone is spending their free time helping people on a forum or mailing list for no monetary reward, they are going to feel angry if they feel someone is abusing their help. And the natural response always seems to lash out using whatever justification comes to hand.

  82. # pete Says:
    > If careers were assigned by a central planner, there would be a net loss.
    > The sane occurs when structural barriers divert people into sub-optimal careers.

    Pete, I am afraid you are forgetting one important thing: most people suck at what they do. In particular, anyone who has worked in commercial software development will readily acknowledge that most programmers suck. I’d argue that at least 90% of the useful work in any programming community is done by at most 10% of the people, possibly as low as 1%. (And by community here I am referring to groups of people who sit in a room and are paid to do it full time, not part time contributors to large open source software. I don’t work in the latter, so I don’t know, but from what I see that is true and more so in open source.)

    If all your recommendations attract more mediocre female programmers — big whoop. If one is a good female programmer, the field is so attractive that the minor barriers that might be in your way are unlikely to prevent you from succeeding. No rather, if you want to attract more great programmers then Mr. Perens’ instructional programs should be designed to attract more of the people who have the raw hacker quality that makes for a great programmer. I doubt he will do it, because if you do that well you will attract far fewer people, just that you will attract the right people.

    FWIW, in my very limited experience, the best programmer I have ever personally known and the worst programmer I have ever personally known were both female. Read into that what you will.

  83. ESR writes:
    > we have badly damaged our K-12 educational system as an unintended side
    > effect of ceasing to discriminate against bright women entering other professions.

    Right I agree. I think that the way things have been improved for girls is basically by emasculating boys. Boys are treated as defective girls. How about we stop discriminating against the very skills we need to be successful? Our school system is specifically designed to pump information into brains, not teach thinking. In fact, thinking outside of the box is strongly discouraged. The goal is to get the “right answer.” The goal is to follow the rules. The goal is to comply with the requirements for the state examinations or the SAT. The goal is not to provide the thinking skills and the basic knowledge base necessary to make good decisions. Why, pray tell, is there no class on thinking or logic in our high schools? Why is there no class of learning techniques? Today, no child should leave the school system without being able to write a basic computer program (say read a table of numbers and calculate the average and standard deviation.) Yet such a goal would be laughed out of town on a rail.

    (BTW, in relation to my previous comment on crappy programmers, I would bet that 50% of professional programmers would take more than a couple of days to write the aforementioned program. In fact, I would bet a quite significant number of them could not even do it.)

    Perhaps most importantly of all, why is there almost zero diversity in our public school systems? By diversity here I am referring to diversity of educational techniques, not ethnic origins. Do our school boards really think that they have achieved perfection, and that no improvement is possible?

    The public school system is the biggest albatross around the neck of our country. If we want to see our civilization take off, I suggest we privatize them all right now.

  84. > I have, and I consider psychological harm to be real harm — and therefore causing psychological harm constitutes the use of”actual force”.

    Many comments by “pete” (if that’s hir real name) have caused me significant psychological harm and I demand that they cease and be deleted forthwith. Further comments must not be published absent my explicit approval.

    And I want a pony.

  85. >JessicaBoxer: Pete, I am afraid you are forgetting one important thing: most people suck at what they do.

    I’m aware of Sturgeon’s Law. The point is to let people go where they’re gonna suck the least. Do you really want barely-competent female programmers deciding they can’t hack the hostile environment and going off to become actively harmful teachers?

  86. >Many comments by “pete” (if that’s hir real name) have caused me significant psychological harm and I demand that they cease and be deleted forthwith. Further comments must not be published absent my explicit approval. And I want a pony.

    Heh. One of the reasons I reject pete’s theory is that it makes accusations of ‘aggression’ unfalsifiable. To the loudest whiner would go the spoils. The above is a good parody of what results.

  87. Pete says:
    > Do you really want barely-competent female programmers deciding they can’t
    > hack the hostile environment and going off to become actively harmful teachers?

    No, you missed the point: sell computer programming for what it is: that is a far stronger attractor than any of the fairly small societal barriers that might detract good female programmers. Similarly sell teaching for what it is: that will attract good teachers, and so forth. Muddying the waters by pretending that every freshly minted programmer gets a pink colored keyboard and a sandalwood candle in her cube is not the right approach. Sell computing as being geek friendly, not as being girl friendly.

    Tell her she will be able to solve complex logic problems, and concisely express her ideas in code. Explain to her the elegance of a partition based sort, or how small modular interfaces decrease inter-system coupling. The ones you want will put up with the pizza boxes and BO because the ideas excite her so much. The ones that don’t will go into phlebotomy, because the idea of recursion is so disturbing to them.

    So too with teachers and nurses.

    What about people who aren’t really good at anything, the leftovers so to speak? Just do what we have been doing for two hundred years and send them into politics and civil service.

  88. >esr: Heh. One of the reasons I reject pete’s theory is that it makes accusations of ‘aggression’ unfalsifiable. To the loudest whiner would go the spoils. The above is a good parody of what results.

    Are you suggesting that we cannot, epistemologically speaking, distinguish between Andy Freeman’s claims of offence and Ms Eicher’s?

  89. @JessicaBoxer: google for “fizzbuzz”. You don’t even have to go to standard deviation to find professional programmers incapable of solving a problem.

  90. >Are you suggesting that we cannot, epistemologically speaking, distinguish between Andy Freeman’s claims of offence and Ms Eicher’s?

    That depends on which claim you mean. The claim that a werewolf repeatedly threatened violence against her friends, or some hypothetical claim (which I’m not aware she has actually made) that they suffered ‘psychological damage’ as a result? I can readily distinguish the first claim from Andy’s parody, but not the second.

    We don’t actually need the category of ‘psychological damage’ to condemn werewolves; their actual threats are enough to do it. With sporadic exceptions near things like PTSD – none of which are relevant to this thread — that category seems to me to be nothing but an artifact designed to enable parasites and professional grievance-peddlers.

  91. @pete: I’m left rolling my eyes too, at the referenced comment, at the previous comments on what constitutes harm, and at the previous comments in another thread about what constitutes torture. If applied to sex, it would be ‘since some people enjoy fisting and sticking things up their urethras, I don’t believe the missionary position to constitute real sex”.

    As an aside, if you find the above more disgusting than descriptions or mentions of waterboarding or other torture methods, I didn’t come here to please you.

  92. >We don’t actually need the category of ‘psychological damage’ to condemn werewolves; their actual threats are enough to do it.

    The message I’m getting from you is that bullying is acceptable so long as it does not involve physical violence or credible threats of physical violence. Have I read you correctly?

    ESR says: Yes.

  93. Jessica and others hit it on the head: Sourceforge censoring the content is fine, all that matters is if the govt were to censor it. I say this as someone who has had several comments edited or deleted at various blogs, including this one (esr played it off as off-topic but I don’t see that being much of a concern here generally). The blogs are controlled by their owners, it’s up to them to host what they want. It’s just funny to see the cognitive dissonance when these same bloggers rail against censorship later on, when they have no problem censoring those who speak against THEM. I think the solution will be technical, comments will increasingly be controlled or audited by neutral third parties, as we’re seeing now for more technical reasons anyway, as most blogs find the burden of comment hosting too large. As for this specific case, I think it’s fine that Sourceforge thinks the content is objectionable to some subset of its users and removed it. esr’s public spaces arguments are wishy-washy handwaving, trying to apply the laws against govt censorship to so-called “public spaces” too.

  94. Please do call me out if I’ve read incorrectly, and I don’t particularly care to take any sides on this (I’m not sure there ARE sides here…), but I can’t help but feel people are missing the point. It seems to me ESR is not saying that SourceForge overstepped their bounds (they didn’t), or that Ms. Eicher was wrong in calling ToS on the project (for purely that, she wasn’t).

    I think there is something deeper here, in that the ToS was called specifically to silence something. If I understand ESR properly, then the specifics (site, reason, person) would not have mattered, purely the intent. I personally take this as an example of an area we need to watch ourselves carefully in.

    I mean, if Ms. Eicher had brought the project to the attention of SF _SPECIFICALLY_ because of the ToS violation, that would be fine. But the reality, it seems to me, was that the ToS was used as a tool or weapon against someone’s expression she didn’t like. That is less than good. Replace any of the players in this comedy and the plot remains the same; whether it is a feminist issue, or racist, or generally ideological. That the content is reprehensible doesn’t and shouldn’t matter, nor that it violated the ToS. The point here is purely the actions taken and the Reasons for those actions.

    Am I making any sense?

  95. @pete: I think you are confusing acceptable and tolerable. Esr has made it pretty clear that in this instance he thinks the material is worthy of mockery, derision and condemnation. You’d have to stretch the meaning of acceptable quite a bit to get it to cover that. On the other hand we tolerate that kind of objectionable speech not because we agree with it, or think it has value or find it acceptable but because the alternative (i.e. censoring it) is more harmful. That’s a pretty standard and I thought universally understood interpretation of free speech as far as govenment censorship goes.

    If I am reading him right, ESR is applying the same principal to Sourceforge because as a community dedicated to open source software it is important that it maintain the same kind of openness in its own baliwack.

  96. Ajay says:
    >esr’s public spaces arguments are wishy-washy handwaving,
    > trying to apply the laws against govt censorship to so-called
    > “public spaces” too.

    To be honest I think you are not really representing Eric’s argument here very well. However, it did prompt me to a thought that I would love for ESR to address. From my perspective certain civil rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, press, and RKBA, are rights that can legitimately be suppressed in private spaces. For example, in Ohio there is a fairly permissive CCW law, but many private businesses have signs indicating that concealed weapons may not be carried in their facilities. I am sure you agree that the Catholic Diocese has a reasonable right to ask workers not to put little Bhudda statues in their cubicles.

    However, in an anarcho-capitalist society AFAIK there basically are not public spaces, certainly not in the way we use the term today. Does that mean that all those rights don’t exist as rights in such a society? I suppose “Congress shall make no law…” doesn’t really apply when there is no congress. To put it another way, are civil rights an artifact of government itself, or can they, do they, exist independently of government?

  97. “I think that the way things have been improved for girls is basically by emasculating boys. Boys are treated as defective girls.”

    I’d like some proof that classroom treatment of boys has changed since the 1960s, the period at which the steep ascent for girls’ scores began. American classrooms have required, for example, sitting still at desks (often claimed as a disadvantage for boys) since at least the 19th century. There’s no reason to believe that academics are a zero-sum game in which one group must lose if another wins.

    However, there’s substantial evidence that there are societies in which there is no gender gap in mathematics performance, and that the size of a gender gap correlates closely with sexual stereotypes in that society. See: “Gender, Culture, and Math Performance”, Mertz and Hyde, 2009, which did cross-cultural studies demonstrating that gender gaps in mathematics performance correlate closely with gender equality in the society. See also Nosek et al., 2009 “National differences in gender–science stereotypes predict national sex differences in science and math achievement.”

    As to teachers and nurses being lost to the professions, my father has been making that argument since the 1970s. He has been making it, in particular, about my mother, who rose to excellence as a teacher (retired as Assistant Superintendent of Schools) but would certainly have been encouraged to attend something other than a teaching college if she had been a boy. He never suggested that it was a Good Idea for her to have been so restricted, however; merely that if society wanted people as excellent as my mother to go into teaching, they should damn well pay and respect them as much as if they had gone into engineering.

  98. The issue of censorship, feminist misandry, attack and destroy feminism, and the ongoing feminist hate campaign against MikeeUSA is now the subject of a recent article on The World According to Bob. The typical feminist tactic is to pick on one man to attack and destroy. Anyone who supports him is also attacked. They put all men on notice that anti-feminist speech is subject to censorship and wholesale banishment. Then they go after the next man — if any dare speak against them.

    ESR says: I do not endorse the tone or assumptions of this comment, but it is precisely the sort of political speech which my principles require me not to suppress. “Bob” is put on notice, however, that he may be banned if he iinterprets this as license to engage in contentless abuse or felonious threats.

  99. Jessica, I thought I perfectly captured the confusion behind esr’s argument, what did you think I missed or misrepresented? As for your question about civil rights in anarcho-capitalism, I think one of the points of anarchy is to deny the concept of rights to begin with. There are certainly principles, like freedom of speech, that would be best if most would adopt voluntarily, and many would, but the concept of a “right” enforced by govt is denied. That wouldn’t stop mutually consenting people or private law-enforcement agencies from coming up with commonly accepted rules that they think are best, there’s just no such thing as divine right, or whatever other power you imagine such “rights” spring from.

  100. “I think one of the points of anarchy is to deny the concept of rights to begin with”

    Whoa there….what on earth gives you this idea? If you substitute the word “authority” for your use of the word “right” you’ll be on the way to a clearer understanding. The philosophical concept of ‘rights’ sits comfortably alongside anarchism….I cannot imagine how you came to think otherwise.

  101. pete: The message I’m getting from you is that bullying is acceptable so long as it does not involve physical violence or credible threats of physical violence. Have I read you correctly?

    Seems reasonable to me. Taunting can be ignored. A punch in the face, not so much.

    If someone decides that they need to impugn my intellect, sexual prowess, or race, have at it; I can ignore it and get on with my life. People who know me will know it’s bovine excrement.

    If, however, they decide that they need to threaten or attempt physical harm against my person, my family, my pets, or my residence, they are likely to spend time in a hospital, jail, morgue, or some combination of same.

    Offensensitivity leads to a society where everyone must walk on eggshells for fear of offending some heretofore unrecognized protected class.

  102. Dan, I’m familiar with the natural rights arguments for liberty, though maybe not well-versed in them, I just find them silly so I thought about including that alternative position then chose not to. Intrinsic to the concept of any “right,” or even principle, is enforcement. By using the language of universal “rights” one is implicitly making an argument for a universal enforcer, ie govt. I realize that there are anarchists who still believe in such rights, choosing to farm out enforcement to private agencies instead, I just find such reasoning somewhat silly.

  103. @Ajay -

    Not as such. We form societies, and collectively agree to “outsource” the enforcement of socially-agreed-upon rules to government.

    Small government is a necessary evil, but it prevents vigilantism. However, there are times when it is incompetent to act.

    Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

  104. >brian: Seems reasonable to me. Taunting can be ignored. A punch in the face, not so much.

    You can pretend to ignore taunting, if that’s what you mean. This will be effective sometimes (YMMV). The point is you shouldn’t have to.

  105. > To put it another way, are civil rights an artifact of government itself, or can they, do they, exist independently of government?

    The framers of the U.S. Constitution believed human beings have natural rights which are pror to government and which no government can infringe without forfeiting its legitimacy. So do I.

    >However, in an anarcho-capitalist society AFAIK there basically are not public spaces, certainly not in the way we use the term today

    You’re confusing “public” with “state-owned”. Of course an anarcho-capitalism would have public spaces. Mostly the same ones, or the same kinds., we have now.

  106. Speaking of all this feminism debate in opensource: Does anyone know what happened to Ted Walther? He used to be a Debian Developer. He is now not a Debian Developer. How did this change of state occur? Could you research this and give the answer?

  107. # esr Says:
    > The framers of the U.S. Constitution believed human
    > beings have natural rights

    Right, generally, they (or at the least Jefferson and Franklin) believed them endowed by our creator. I presume you do not concur with that? I have never seen a convincing argument to support the idea of “natural rights”, and I would surely enjoy doing so. However, I remain convinced that there is no more such a thing than there is such a thing as morality (that is to say, they exist not in themselves but as an evolved societal meme, and have no more intrinsic validity that the preference for two eyes over three.) But I could be completely wrong.

    > You’re confusing “public” with “state-owned”.

    Not really (please see my caveat.) The point is not whether groups of people share the space, but who controls the space, which is the subject at hand. If you own a nice grass park in the middle of town, and I pay you for the right to use the park (by some means), then you get to control what I can and cannot say within the park. If the government owns the park, that is when the matter of rights becomes relevant, where they have no business controlling what I can and cannot say.

    Unless you think that my natural right to free speech allows me to say whatever I want in your park. If the latter, that might explain why you seem to think that SourceForge have some sort of moral obligation, if not a legal obligation, to decline enforcement of their TOS in the matter of your original post.

  108. Eric: However, an anarcho-capitalistic society, by not having state-owned spaces, has no space that’s not owned by someone. Under what circumstances would that someone be justified in committing what would be censorship if a government did it?

    Pete: I endured quite a lot of taunting and mockery after my costume exploded onto the net. Yes, it hurt, probably to a degree that you would consider psychological harm. No, it wasn’t any fun. No, I don’t respect the people who hid behind their keyboards and did it. I did not, however, call for them to be thrown off the net.

  109. Yes, it hurt, probably to a degree that you would consider psychological harm. No, it wasn’t any fun. No, I don’t respect the people who hid behind their keyboards and did it. I did not, however, call for them to be thrown off the net.

    How could you put your disgustingly fat body on the Internet and not expect to be ridiculed? Do you have any concept of how other people perceive you? Prediction: Eric will reveal himself as a hypocrite once he becomes sufficiently annoyed with my behaviour here.

  110. brian, I’m not sure where you disagree with me about my original point regarding rights in an anarchist system, as your subsequent points seem to be in favor of small govt and private defense, two fairly separate issues. As I’m basically an anarcho-capitalist, I see no need for outsourcing anything to govt or that govt prevents vigilantism any more effectively than private defense agencies would. I do think that it could take a while for most societies to transition to an existence without the state though, because of the ignorance of most people on these issues and perhaps current transaction costs on some services, so I think it’s best to push for small govt for now.

    Oh wow, the tron guy posts here? :) Haha, that’s pretty cool, I remember seeing him on Jimmy Kimmel a couple times years ago.

    Barry, esr has already said that he sees no problem with censoring in private spaces like his blog, what’s at issue is why he doesn’t give Sourceforge the same leeway. If you think your silly comments would piss him off, you clearly haven’t been reading this blog’s comments long.

  111. How is this blog any more of a private space than sourceforge?

  112. >Prediction: Eric will reveal himself as a hypocrite once he becomes sufficiently annoyed with my behaviour here.

    Your strategem is transparently obvious. Now go read How to get banned from my blog. This is not public space, and I refrain from banning you only as a demonstration of my principled superiority to trolls. When I cease to find you amusing, I may very well ban you.

  113. >How is this blog any more of a private space than sourceforge?

    Google for “public accommodations doctrine”. This may give you a clue about the ethical principles involved.

  114. >Eric: However, an anarcho-capitalistic society, by not having state-owned spaces, has no space that’s not owned by someone. Under what circumstances would that someone be justified in committing what would be censorship if a government did it?

    The same circumstances that now obtain at common law. Private roads, for example, are treated as a form of quasi-public space in common law; if they control the only access to someone else’s property you cannot prevent people from using them. Also, if you permit the use of your owned property as public space, you can lose the right to control public uses. These precedents are never applied to residences, but they’re very much alive for parks and commercial buildings.

    Have I mentioned public bulletin boards in supermarkets yet? In the U.S. there’s actually law that says the supermarket owners can only exercise content-neutral control. This was a key precedent in the lawsuits leading up to the nullification of the CDA in 1996, which is how I know about it – I was an amicus in the Supreme Court brief.

    All these precedents would translate easily into an anarchocapiltalist legal system; they’re underpinned by sound microeconomics and easily discernible Schelling points.

  115. > gnores the possibility that women (or men) don’t get into CS because it’s not the place they would be happiest even in an ideal world free of prejudices.

    Yes, this is something I am still having a problem with, too. You have to comprehensively solve the injustice before you can prove the effect.

    The educational system _is_ a delivery mechanism. Mostly for creating wage slaves. There is much room for reform.

  116. What a pseudointellectual wank this thread has turned into. A troll posted obviously inappropriate material on a privately owned website. The owner was informed and enforced an agreement the troll was presented with when he signed up. Only you could turn this into a crusade for free speech wearing your wannabe-economist hat.

  117. JessicaBoxer asks: “Should we also have a goal of getting more men involved in fashion, or more white guys involved in basketball?”

    Sure, why not? Some time ago a woman implied that I would be distressed if my son became an airline flight attendant. No, I would not be distressed and by the way if he turns out gay he’s still OK with me.

    White guys in basketball seems to be partially a matter of physical development and – yes – partially a matter of socialization in part due to the paucity of opportunities out of the ghetto for inner-city Blacks.

    Sure, let’s solve racial imbalance.

    That leaves physical development. So far society seems to be reacting against the sort of drug that might allow a white guy to be as tall as a black guy, either because it’s bad for their health (good reason) or because it’s cheating (which would be arbitrary but for the health issue). But if I could solve the physical issue of why white guys don’t play as much basketball, I would.

  118. >Unless you think that my natural right to free speech allows me to say whatever I want in your park.

    Under some circumstances, yes. If I allow my park to be used as public space, I lose the right to excercise special control over speech there. This is true even under current law.

  119. >White guys in basketball seems to be partially a matter of physical development and – yes – partially a matter of socialization in part due to the paucity of opportunities out of the ghetto for inner-city Blacks.

    There’s something else going on. There are actual race-linked physiological differences that matter in athletics. Bearing in mind thatwe”re talking about average differences and there are always individual exceptions, blacks as a group don’t compete well in swimming because their bones are denser than is typical for Caucasians. White men, on the other hand, really can’t jump – or, to put it more precisely, blacks (especially West African blacks) have a better distribution of fast-twitch muscle for that task. On the other hand, whites at the same weight average better upper-body strength. So you get blacks dominating track and field and football, but whites dominating swimming and weightlifting and competitive in baseball. There’s a sportwriter/ethicist named John Entine who’s written some excellent articles and a book on this topic.

  120. ESR writes:
    > Under some circumstances, yes. If I allow my park to be used as public
    > space, I lose the right to excercise special control over speech there.
    > This is true even under current law.

    The mist is clearing, now I have a much better understanding of your perspective, both here and regarding Source Forge. You evidently subscribe the the idea of public accommodations, which is to say, you think there are some rights over property that are not held by the property owner, but are held by society at large. For example, I can’t ban black people from my store, but I can’t ban them from my private club, and all the associated similar law.

    So why do you believe that is the case, and are you willing to accept that it is a very slippery slope pointed to many of the regulatory controls that are strangling our society? Furthermore, how do you propose enforcing such a fuzzy division in a society with no central law making and law interpreting agency?

    I think the doctrine of public accommodations is at the very heart of much of what is wrong with property law, to the point I think it is a scurrilous and naked power grab. Its origins in the law in the United States seem to be founded mainly in the uncomfortable compromise between States Rights and Federalism dug up by the civil war and the overthrow of the Jim Crow era. Which is to say the discord between the Federal government’s undermining the very principles of federalism toward the good end of ending slavery and legalized discrimination.

    However, I respect you enough to reconsider that position if you disagree, and any pointers to help my re-education would be appreciated.

  121. >The mist is clearing, now I have a much better understanding of your perspective, both here and regarding Source Forge. You evidently subscribe the the idea of public accommodations

    Yes. Not in its current form, but in the common-law version from which today’s abuses (unfortunately) spring.

    I agree with you that laws banning racial and gender discrimination in private clubs are odious, overreaching, and should be repealed. But I also agree with the common-law doctrine that if my road is the only access to your property, I may not bar you from using it. If you think about the difference between these cases, I think my principles will become clearer. They have nothing to do with “ownership by society” and everything to do with refusing to grant legal privilege to asymmetric power relationships.

    SourceForge is certainly public space under the principles I accept from ethics and common law, and (this is confirmed by my wife Cathy the attorney) may very well be under current law, which sweeps in a lot more property than I would.

  122. Bruce Perens Says:
    > Sure, why not? [work toward overcoming the gender imbalance in various professions]

    Because there are more important things to do, for example, make better computer programmers. To reiterate my point, instead of reconstructing your curriculum to be more accommodating to women, why not stop patronizing women and simply reconstruct it to be more accommodating to all people who have a propensity to be good computer programmers? From what I have seen of computer science curricula there is plenty of room for improvement. The fact is the colleges are pumping out tens of thousands of trained programmers who can’t write the most basic pieces of software.

    I have been involved in interviewing many computer programmers. One of the tests my company gives is to write a function to find the largest item in a binary tree. Writing the code on a piece of paper, and allowing accommodations for minor syntax errors that a compiler would quickly fix. Would you like to guess what percentage of programmers (pre-screened based on resumes) can make a good attempt at that in less then 30 minutes? I will leave it up to your imagination, but lets say it does not speak well of what our colleges are producing.

    I suggest we deal with that before we break out the pink keyboards.

    ESR says: I wish to note that I am in 100% agreement with this post.

  123. As far as it goes, I think I agree with ESR about SF’s ‘censorship’; though I’m not so sure that SF has any moral or ethical responsibility to host odious material, pragmatically it’s certainly better to just host it and post loud disclaimers saying ‘We are not responsible for, nor do we endorse, the contents of this project.’, if only to avoid accusations of censorship–which are in a gray area in this case, I think. About the issue of ‘rights’ in an anarchistic society–I think that ‘rights’ as we are currently used to thinking about them (or as we should be–lately there’s been a lot of muddying the waters about a ‘right’ to health care) are not so much affirmative guarantees as negative ones, i.e., it isn’t anyone saying ‘I grant you the ability to speak freely’, it’s the government promising ‘I will not prevent you from speaking freely’. By this definition, you can only have a ‘right’ to something that you have by default–free speech, RKBA, assembly, press, etc., all fall under this, because they’re all guarantees that the government will not prevent you from activities that people can usually do. Thus, in an anarchistic society, by definition having no government, rights by the above definition will be…just…there, unless someone specifically bans you from doing something (e.g., you’re on their property). So, more or less the same as now, but with less government cheating.

  124. Tom Dickson-Hunt says:
    >By this definition, you can only have a ‘right’ to something that you have by default

    What about the right to trail by jury or to question your accusers and call witnesses in your defense? What about the right to a writ of habeus corpus? What about a right to redress of government? These rights all impose an obligation on someone else.

    Some other commentator on a separate thread hear gave a great definition of rights: approximately quoting him: a right is that thing without which a people refuse to be governed. I think that captures it, and applies fairly well in all types of society.

    Of particular note is the fact that each society demands different rights because of their background, social capital and expectations. I would tell you that most likely the people in much of Western Europe probably think they do have a right to healthcare, and by that definition, they are probably right.

    The USA was formed by a demand that the people have the rights of Englishmen. It was the subjugation of those rights by, ironically, the English/British government that was the casus belli. Were that not so, we would have been Bolivia.

  125. Jessica, to be fair to those advocating more women in CS, I don’t think they quite say pink keyboards would do it. ;) Regarding why there aren’t more women in CS, I think it’s a complex interaction of nature and nurture. On the nature side, some research has shown women less aggressively pursuing such math/science work for whatever reason. On the nurture side, there’s no doubt that human society is still steeped in a fair amount of gender stereotyping. However, the fact that some places actively try to counter these societal pressures and still women are less prevalent leads me to believe that nature is the more important factor. It’s also possible that the different IQ distributions cause this, ie the Larry Summers argument that men are predominant in science because of longer tails to their intelligence distribution, just as dumb men predominate in jail. Recent research has also shown that nurture may actively change “nature” and the divide may be artificial even for adults, with brains actively rewiring circuits well into adulthood based on how often parts of the brain are used. I think it’s certainly worth looking into how we can better structure learning so that we’re not excluding people for dumb reasons, whether it’s women put off by an all-male culture or men put off by the overly academic nature of most CS teaching. In that I agree with Leigh and Pete, we’re likely losing talented people just because of the horrible state of education today.

    Tom, interesting point about rights still existing without a govt but that doesn’t take the logic to its natural conclusion. If you believe that everyone has a right to free speech in an anarchist world, does that mean you then HAVE to intervene everytime someone else has that “right” abrogated? The problem with “rights” is that they imply globally fundamental laws, that then raise hairy enforcement and entanglement issues. Of course, any anarchist society will have commonly agreed upon sets ofsets of rules anyway, so I suppose the fact that for some people those rules originate from their own conception of rights may not be a big problem in itself. I just find the concept of “natural rights” dumb to begin with, so the subsequent enforcement problems may be secondary. While your notion of affirmative vs negative rights may be instructive for the dimbulbs who think every basic human need is a right to be guaranteed by others, I don’t think it clears up much for us anarchists. The fundamental issue practically is enforcement, whether of negative or affirmative rights, and I don’t much care for those who would then run around enforcing/imposing their “rights” on everybody else. As for Jessica’s mention that such rights arguments were prevalent historically, that’s probably because most of them were religious or at least believed in some higher power.

  126. Barry: It’s the body I have. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. As for expecting to be ridiculed, what I expected was that the people around the net would behave better than the 6th-grade playground mentality I actually found. I learned two lessons from that: people on the net can be even more disappointingly immature than they are off the net, and there’s no point in my attempting to minimize that in my decision making. I’m going to have fun my way, and if you’ve got a problem with that, it’s your problem.

    Ajay: I’ve been proud to call Eric my friend for nearly two decades. We don’t agree on lots of things, but his head is screwed on straighter than a lot of folks.

  127. This is not the first time a “geek” feminist group has campaigned for the exclusion of a man from opensource. A few years ago the debain-women group had Ted Walther (also known as Johnathan Walther) kicked out of the debian project because he held anti-feminist views. This is becoming more and more common: men who do not agree with feminism are targeted and removed from the “software” society.

    The women have not stopped trying to aquire jail-time for their detractors (see comments on the linuxtoday story, not going to post the links here as it would trip the spam filters.)

    There is no place for anti-feminist men to place their freely licensed code or media. They are effectivly barred from contributing their own projects to the pool of free software. Some people claim that they can buy their own hosting, but since payments are non anonymous they would then be subject to criminal prosecution on the behest of the women to sympathetic DAs (anti-feminist men are not promoted within the legal system, only those who toe-the-line are.) Even a simple arrest bars a man from ever being hired for a well paying job. That’s all the women need to destroy a man’s life.

    If you read the comments of the pro-feminist men and women in any of the stories you will see that they want men who are opposed to women’s rights to be not only ejected from contributing anything to the public but also removed from society (imprisoned) and they are making complaints to law enforcement and make sure investigations are started so that their wish and demand will be realised.

    Women, as a group (and yes, unlike men, they work and campaign as a group), never supported freedom of speech. They generally always support “community standards”, which they create and the white knight castrati males enforce. The only consolation that exists is that those rights of woman that the castrati males support in their youth are later used against them some years later.

    This is a woman’s world, increasingly the whole world over. The time of men has passed. It would be better that the world not exist than women reign supreme over men and be victorious.

  128. “If you believe that everyone has a right to free speech in an anarchist world, does that mean you then HAVE to intervene every time someone else has that “right” abrogated?” No, but you are allowed to do so.

  129. It’s one thing to oppose feminism. There are plenty of people out there — men and women both — who publicly oppose women’s rights and believe that men should run the home, the workplace and the world.

    It’s another thing to advocate *and encourage* violence and/or the death of women (whether feminists) and to directly threaten feminists with death or worse.

    There’s nothing sillier than complaining that other people are breaking the rules when you yourself are breaking the rules. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And when it comes to violence, there aren’t three lefts, either.

  130. >“If you believe that everyone has a right to free speech in an anarchist world, does that mean you then HAVE to intervene every time someone else has that “right” abrogated?” No, but you are allowed to do so.

    Agreed. To anarchocapitalists this seems too obvious to need mentioning.

  131. Regarding psychological harm, the key difference between it and physical harm is that it always depends on a controllable reaction by the target. Physical harm does not. Calling me names only hurts inasmuch as I choose to care about your opinion. Everyone has the choice to ignore any insult, even if they have been forever trained not to ignore insults. The choice is always there. Since ultimately the target can avoid it by a conscious decision, it is not inflicted upon the target the same way a bullet to the chest is, and thus does NOT fall within the standard defintion of “Harm”. If you want to keep the term psychological harm, I can live with that as long as you still recognize that they are categorically different. It is ethically consistent to claim that psychological harm can’t be used as a justification for physical retaliation, but only for psychological retaliation.

    ESR says: Good analysis, well expressed.

  132. I think that the idea of ‘psychological harm’ is valid and can be compared to real harm, in some cases. However, the justifications for these tend to put them in the same box, by Phlinn’s definition, as physical harm in the first place. My case in point is, for instance, that of a POW who was captured and tortured while in prison. Even assuming no lasting physical harm, they are not going to come out of that as well as they went into it; when I think of ‘psychological harm’, that is my referent. By that standard, ‘psychological harm’ by insult seems so trivial as to be negligible.

  133. >”"It’s one thing to oppose feminism. There are plenty of people out there — men and women both — who publicly
    >oppose women’s rights and believe that men should run the home, the workplace and the world.

    >It’s another thing to advocate *and encourage* violence and/or the death of women (whether feminists) and to
    >directly threaten feminists with death or worse.

    >There’s nothing sillier than complaining that other people are breaking the rules when you yourself are breaking the
    >rules. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And when it comes to violence, there aren’t three lefts, either.”"”

    Have you noticed that countries that have turned away from being (except for the power of the state) violent societies have had an unstoppable increase in women’s rights and an intractable diminishment of the liberties of men over their wives, women, girls (a diminishment enforced by the state, ofcource).

    Men are not collectivists. Women are collectivists, for the most part, when it comes to women’s rights:

    When the way things are decided is by a fully pluralistic democracy women’s desires always outweigh whatever is to the advantage of men: The demands of 51% of the population (women) plus a large percentage of the non-violent non-aggressive non-assertive men of the society equals an absolute undefeatable majority (undefeatable by ballot and argument atleast)).

    (Note: Pluralistic democracy, in this sence, also covers pluralistic republics)

    It seems that pluralistic democracy is objectivly corrosive to the interests of men, especially in the domestic sphere.
    Pluralistic democracy, perhaps, is good for women because both women and men vote for whatever is good for women “and children (just a proxy ideal for whatever is best for women)” rather than what is most advantageous to men. It seems that only in dictatorships, monarchies, oligopolies, and anarchic tribal areas the laws and customs are kept to the favor of men. This may be because, in such systems, only men who are aggressive and hungry for advantage make it into the governmental bodies… and they pass laws that are good for them … but those laws also happen to be objectively to the advantage of all men (at-least in the realm of domestic relations.)

    >There’s nothing sillier than complaining that other people are breaking the rules when you yourself are breaking the
    >rules. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And when it comes to violence, there aren’t three lefts, either.”"”

    Who is being pursued, on my request or demand, for criminal prosecution because of their published beliefs, thoughts, opinions?

    Who’s life have I tried to destroy using the power of the state?

    Who’s future employment have I attempted to jepordize by bestowing them with a criminal record because I didn’t like that they were opposing my attempts to create a “community standard” that would bar sexist men from contributing to free-software?

    When did I, after becoming angry that someone was opposing my attempted power grab “for women”, dig through the history of said person’s comments looking for something, ANYTHING, “actionable”, so as to excize them from society (imprison them)?

    What contributors programs and media have I had deleted? Oh and then brought back a very small subset of so as to “save face” when respected MEN weighed in against such anti-free-software actions?

    Who’s websites, weblogs, and hosting arrangements have I campaigned (and successfuly so) to be removed from the internet? What have I done for free-software? Have I tried and partially succeded to have those who write free-software and construct free/opensource-media which contains ideas I don’t like to be effectivly barred from contributing? Have I then proclaimed that my “bug fixes” and “package matinance” is of more value than the original and additive contributions of the men which I have campainged to be removed from both the free-software movement and from society itself?

    I don’t recall doing any of that. I don’t recall alot of things, however.
    Women’s rights activists have succeded in destroying the lives of millions of men in the western countries. That is what they do. You obey the community standards of women, you sit down and shut up, you obey your wife, you support whatever it is women decide they want to do, or you are destroyed. That is what women’s rights is. That is what we live with.

  134. What exactly was the code or comments which SF.net considered to be over the line? The worst I could find in SF.net’s code was http://code.geekfeminism.org/mikeeusa/rev/5559dbba769c I understand that he posted vicious diatribes elsewhere, but his postings on SF.net seem to be relatively mild and not a violation the TOS. Though, I understand that SF.net might draw the line elsewhere and consider a call to repeal the 19th amendment as a violation of their interpretation of their TOS.

  135. Gotta agree with Tom, psychological harm can happen but you’ve got to be careful you don’t misuse it for every slight or you become the PC police. Phlinn, saying you’re allowed to intervene when someone’s rights are abrogated is fairly meaningless, does that mean you’re not allowed to intervene if it isn’t a right? My point is that the language of rights is inextricably tied up in notions of divinity or its modern day descendant, the state, as it implies universal laws, which I find dumb. Obviously someone who believes in natural rights might limit their intervention to their surroundings or tribe, in which case you have to question how much of a “right” they really think it is, but resources are limited and most people’s principles aren’t consistent. ;) I don’t want to imply that those who don’t believe in natural rights might not also run around saving babies from abusive families or whatever for their own ethical reasons. However, the fact that those who believe in such irrational “rights” are much more likely to run around sticking their nose in others’ business, similar to the leftists who today command a mandate of universal health insurance, bothers me. esr, perhaps the illogic of natural rights anarchism makes sense to a believer like you, but to those of us who find the whole concept of natural rights dumb, it clearly doesn’t.

  136. >Who’s websites, weblogs, and hosting arrangements have I campaigned (and successfuly so) to be removed from the internet

    Your complaint about speech suppression is, on the face of it, at least somewhat justified. If I had not so judged, I would not have acted.

    Have you threatened violence against Beth Lynn Eicher or any of her friends or associates? Do not lie or shade the truth; I have ways to check the record. I consider any such threats a separate issue from your right to expressive speech. But if I catch you in a falsehood on the question of violence, you will forfeit my support even on the free-speech issue. You will receive no further warning than this.

  137. >”Have you threatened violence against Beth Lynn Eicher or any of her friends or associates?”

    I do not recall doing so.
    Years ago I did post “I hope you get into a terrible car accident” posts to the debian-women and linux-chix list.
    I do not recall threatening anyone. I let them know that I did not support their ejectment of Ted Walther from debian, nor their desire to “conqure” the free-software movement for womankind/feminism, nor their removal of the works of free-software contributors programs from the debian distribution because said programs offend women, nor the removal of some fortune files from debian because they are offensive to women, nor the proprosed re-writing of manuals to use “nonsexist” language such as “she” or “s/he” rather than “he” (thus disrespecting the original writers of the documentation by saying (in action): you’d better use pro-woman politically correct language or else your contributions are looked down upon and perhaps not wanted).

    I don’t know who Beth is, nor do I know who her friends are, nor do I know who any of these people are. All I know of is their ideas and their stated goals, and since these goals are the suppression of sexism and sexist men from the free-software movement, or of any men from the free-software movement, I oppose them (not to say that my opposition means anything: most people in the opensource community seem to support the removal of sexism and sexist men from contributing, for the “common good” (they try to dress up the ejectment and supression of such contributing men as /helping/ the free-software movement, ofcourse. They promise that whatever is deleted or blocked from circulation will be made up by throngs of women-programmers who will work for free just like the men-hobbiest do (or did))).

    I haven’t emailed any of these women’s rights activists mailing lists (or email addesses procured from the mailing lists) anytime in the last year, and I do not recall doing so anytime in the last two, two point five, or three years.

    They are digging for anything “actionable”, regardless of how old it is, so they can remove me from society… because they don’t like that I opposed them recently and they do not like that I post anti-women’s rights and pro-men’s liberties ideas on various weblogs. They claim to have an FBI investigation going forward against me as well as having filed reports against me in various far-flung locales (do they wish to imprison me if I make the mistake of traveling to any european-decendant country outside of the United States?)

  138. >nor their removal of the works of free-software contributors programs from the debian distribution because said programs offend women, nor the removal of some fortune files from debian because they are offensive to women,

    Can you specify programs or fortune file entries that were removed? Can you provide copies?

  139. It’s overstepping to say that there was ever an ethical problem with the removal of those files.

    The person in question wrote materials that were in violation of the TOS of Sourceforge. He unethically agreed to abide by the TOS of Sourceforge, and then violated it by uploading the materials onto their servers. Someone called attention to his violations, and the people in charge of enforcing the TOS agreed that a violation had occurred and removed the materials.

    The ethical violation was in uploading materials that were in violation of the agreement that gave him access to the servers in order to upload.

    Calling attention to that violation is not unethical. Enforcing the TOS is not unethical.

    Every programmer has a right to hold and express any viewpoint that they please, but they don’t have a right to demand that private entities (such as SourceForge) provide the medium of distribution of what they create.

    Further, even if there were an actual ethical violation on the removal of the materials in this case, why are you directing it against the person who asked the Sourceforge review the code, and not Sourceforge as the actual entity that made the decision to remove it?

    For an analogy, let’s hypothetically say that I call the police tonight and tell them that I suspect any one of you of committing a crime. The police come to your homes to investigate, and they commit any number of violations of your civil rights in the process, and perhaps a few acts of brutality as well, in spite of the fact that you haven’t committed any offense at all. Who would be at fault for the civil rights violations and brutality? Me as the person who told the police they ought to check into you, or the police for actually taking the actions that followed?

    Is it just easier to threaten to target a person for abuse because they called attention to a possible issue, than it is to go after the policies of an entire organization like Sourceforge?

  140. To my recollection, the program “hot babe” was removed from debian because it was offensive to women.
    Fortunes, which in spanish, said something like:

    >Women are like colonies:
    >They are ment to be conquered.

    were removed from debian because they were offensive to women.

    The debian-women and linuxchix, to my recollection, searched out such things and requested they be removed, not limited to those two examples.

    I have also been told that prospective debian-developers were denied membership because some of the debian-women (“helen faulkner” comes into my mind while thinking of this) objected to their membership (because they were not friends of feminism).

    This is all to my recollection, and I haven’t tracked what they have gotten removed recently (untill this happened), they have a fairly new wiki at geekfeminism dot wikia dot com where they list a “timeline of incidents” and an “timeline of geek feminism” along with lots of other complaints.

    I apologise for not being capable enough to be more precise. This is a general trend, however, and has been going on since opensource became real popular. The tenor of the movement changed overnight: after the big headlines the feminist came, made their demands, and those demands were acquiesced to.

  141. >He advocates killing feminists on his (crude) cartoon blog: http://mikeescomics.blogspot.com/

    I’m not seeing that. The cartoons strike me as mainly ugly and hysterical (and, I admit, occasionally truthful) but but I don’t see advocacy of killing feminists. Can you point at a specific cartoon that you think advocates this?

  142. >For an analogy, let’s hypothetically say that I call the police tonight and tell them that I suspect any one of you of
    >committing a crime. The police come to your homes to investigate, and they commit any number of violations of your
    >civil rights in the process, and perhaps a few acts of brutality as well, in spite of the fact that you haven’t committed
    >any offense at all. Who would be at fault for the civil rights violations and brutality? Me as the person who told the
    >police they ought to check into you, or the police for actually taking the actions that followed?

    Both whomever informed upon you with the intent and knowlege to cause you physical harm and the mecenaries hired to do you that harm are your enemies.

    Think of those in the soviet union who had their neighbors imprisoned and killed. Think of those in any country who do the same.

  143. Certainly either one can be your enemies, “Mikhail”. Whether they committed an actual ethical violation, however is a separate matter.

    I could declare the entire nation of Austrailia (who I’m sure are lovely people, but have the bad luck of landing in an example) to be my enemies if I pleased. It wouldn’t necessarily follow that they were responsible for having wronged me in any way, or violated an ethical boundary against me to which they owed respect.

  144. >I apologise for not being capable enough to be more precise.

    You need to be more precise when making serious charges such as the systematic suppression of speech and the exclusion of men for their politics. I think you should start compiling your own timeline of incidents. If they can document behaviors that arguably trespass on community norms, but you cannot, you are disarmed.

    Even though I am a free-speech absolutist, I am not inclined to take the deletion of “Women are like colonies: They are me[a]nt to be conquered.” very seriously. I don’t see a political argument there, just a crude attempt at wit that is not much above the level of bathroom grafitti. On the other hand, excluding a developer for anti-feminist views is serious. The man should be judged by his code, and not on any other criteria.

  145. Sierra> The person in question wrote materials that were in violation of the TOS of Sourceforge.

    Can you point out the specific code/comments on SF that are in violation of the TOS? His work is available at http://code.geekfeminism.org/mikeeusa/

    I have found statements such as “Go to the local women’s group office and liquidate it (kill the feminist women there). Wear a dark suit and drive an expensive car (these are more likely not to be suspect). Continue destroying the people who have helped to destroy countless of your fellow Men untill you are killed. Go from women’s rights organisation’s office to women’s rights organisation’s office, maybe throw in a few domestic violence shelters and abortion clinics if you wish.” ( http://geekfeminism.org/2009/10/08/psa-mikeeusas-hate-speech-and-harassment/ ) but since that was not posted at SF, I see no reason to delete his code from there.

    Does SF.net have a policy of censoring code from people who make hateful speech elsewhere? E.g. should they delete code that was contributed by people who support attacking abortion clinics or killing homosexuals? Or do they require that the material in question be directly offensive rather than offensive by association?

    If I have code on SF.net that contains quotes by Dawkins insulting religious people or quotes from the Bible supporting rape, should they delete that code?

  146. >@esr: you missed the top one i guess?

    You’re right, I missed part of it. That neon green is hard to see on my monitor.

    Mr. Kvaratskhelia, can you explain why I should not consider you have lied about threatening Ms. Eicher and her associates? You and they agree that they are feminists. You advocate killing feminists. Therefore you advocate killing them. Explain why I should not consider this a threat of violence.

  147. >@esr: also the one previous to the one Leigh mentioned, titled “Cleaning Up the Place”, depicts killing a woman at a NOW (National Organization for Women) office:

    I though that one came closest, but I couldn’t actually assign a gender to the corpse. Now I see those letters are supposed to be “NOW” backwards. OK, point made. We have multiple counts of advocating the murder of feminists here.

  148. >If I have code on SF.net that contains quotes by Dawkins insulting religious people or quotes from the Bible supporting rape, should they delete that code?

    You put your finger on the reason I considered Ms. Eicher’s takedown request over the line. If we do not defend the werewolves when the censors come for them, the next time around the censors will come for us.

  149. I do not see Ms. Eicher’s picture on that cartoon. I have not threatened Ms. Eicher.
    I do not see the pictures of Ms. Eicher’s associates on that cartoon. I have not threatened Ms. Eicher’s associates.

    I would be happy if every single feminist woman on earth would die.
    I would be happy if that had happened at the inception of their movement in the 1850s.
    Women’s rights activists strive to make the world a worse place for men.

    I did not lie.
    But you may take this as you wish (and you will.)

    >You need to be more precise when making serious charges such as the systematic suppression of speech and the
    >exclusion of men for their politics. I think you should start compiling your own timeline of incidents. If they can
    >document behaviors that arguably trespass on community norms, but you cannot, you are disarmed.

    Why? No one will care. It is only a very few men who are opposed to women’s rights. These men, aggressive for power as they were, once ruled countries. They do no longer. The masses of men and women who are infavor of women’s rights now rule the world.

    >Even though I am a free-speech absolutist, I am not inclined to take the deletion of “Women are like colonies: They
    >are me[a]nt to be conquered.” very seriously. I don’t see a political argument there, just a crude attempt at wit
    >that is not much above the level of bathroom grafitti. On the other hand, excluding a developer for anti-feminist
    >views is serious. The man should be judged by his code, and not on any other criteria.

    If one believes in absolute freedom of speech or expression one supports the witticist too.
    Those sayings were removed at the behest of women’s rights activists because they were offensive to women.
    That is a fact that cannot be disputed, but would change nothing to be cited.

  150. S> Can you point out the specific code/comments on SF that are in violation of the TOS?

    My judgment about what may or may not violate the ToS of SF is not particularly useful for this purpose. Apparently both Ms. Eicher and the SF administrators were of the opinion that it was in violation of the ToS (presumably the portion that insists that you must agree that “Your Content is not obscene, lewd, lascivious, excessively violent, harassing, libelous or slanderous, does not advocate the violent overthrow of the government of the United States, does not incite, encourage or threaten immediate physical harm against another;”)

    Unless your position is that Ms. Eicher was acting in bad faith, and reporting the material for review when she genuinely had no belief that he was in violation, then she was calling SF’s attention to what she felt was a violation of their policies. She, as far as anyone here has said, had no direct power or special access that would her permitted her to make a decision to delete his materials and close his account. Therefore she’s not the person responsible for the actual removal, only for calling SF’s attention to the issue.

    If the author was unwilling to live by SF’s policies, it seems that he had ample opportunity to read their ToS and decide that he would prefer to store his work elsewhere. He agreed to their terms in order to gain the use of their servers and their bandwidth.

    Now, whether those terms are something any given one of us would feel are ideal is a separate matter. He had the opportunity to know about them, and he agreed to them. Had he wished otherwise he could have set up his own competing service and advertised it as the “absolutely no censorship alternative!” (or perhaps, more moderately, as the “we only censor what the law absolutely requires us to, but everything else is fine”).

    Either way, the actual party that made the decision to execute the removal/deletion were the admins at Sourceforge. Unless we actually believe that Ms. Eicher secretly is in charge of them (or has some really juicy blackmail material or something), they’re the ones responsible for making the final decision. Fixating on the person who said “Hey, I don’t think this stuff is within the rules. You should review it.” rather than the people who actually got rid of the data, is very questionable to me.

    Further, Ms. Eicher’s agreement to put the materials up elsewhere doesn’t do anything to address what you claim is the actual issue of a possible precedent of censorship. If you have a problem with the policy, and with the way it was executed, she doesn’t appear to be either the person who wrote the policy or the one who actually executed it.

  151. > I can live with a community rule that if you successfully have someone’s stuff booted from a public space for vileness,
    > custom requires you to carry it yourself. But don’t drop the ball. Honor now demands that you host it as reliably as your
    > own content.

    Oh my lord, what tripe! If I find something seems to be a clear violation of a TOS agreement, and which bothers me enough, I will report it to the site owners. If they agree and boot it, then excellent. If they disagree then clearly either my understanding of the TOS or my reading of the original material was in error. I can handle that.

    I applaud Ms Eicher and those at the Geek Feminism blog (http://geekfeminism.org/2009/10/19/mikeeusas-code-now-available-on-geekfeminism-org/) for being awesome and discussing this code (and some of its more special w.t.f moments). I think that they’ve done a great thing. However, I disagree that they are responsible for hosting it “as reliably as [their] own content.” If they get bored of it, then that’s fine, they can delete it. It’s their website, their space. Just by making it available already, mikee has had a chance to a) learn from some improved coding techniques by more seasoned Perl programmers than himself and b) access the code if he still wants to.

    The Geek Feminism blog is not a source repository site. It may host code (as it does right now) and perhaps it will continue to do so into the future; but that is not its primary purpose. It’s a blog. It’s even a relatively new (although excellent) blog. Nothing about the future is completely predictable. Perhaps in 5 years time it will be hosting lots of code, perhaps none. It may or may not exist. Should mikee’s code disappear from that site, with him still not having taken a back-up, surely that’s his fault, not Ms Eicher’s, not those who currently run the blog.

    I certainly won’t bow to any “custom” that makes me responsible for safe-guarding other people’s filth just because I pointed out it violated their hosting site’s TOS. I’m sure it’s very possible to find hosting online which doesn’t care about how vile your content is; so if the authors of the filth can’t be bothered finding such a site, and possibly paying for the privilege; I won’t take responsibility for bailing them out. Werewolves and not, we’re all responsible for adhering to the agreements we make (such as honouring the appropriate TOS agreements) and for keeping our data safe (by managing sensible back-ups). If any of us fail in those responsibilities then we have only ourselves to blame.

  152. >I do not see Ms. Eicher’s picture on that cartoon. I have not threatened Ms. Eicher. I do not see the pictures of Ms. Eicher’s associates on that cartoon. I have not threatened Ms. Eicher’s associates.

    That isn’t good enough. When you advocate the murder of all persons in category X, you are advocating the murder of every individual in category X. Ms. Eicher and her friends were well within the bounds of reason in considering this a form of threat and intimidation directed at themselves. You are either a liar or a moral imbecile. For the moment I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter, but do not try my patience again.

    >Why? No one will care

    You are wrong. I would care, and I am not without influence. If I am convinced the “geek feminists” have a pattern of suppressive behavior, I will raise hell about it; it would be my clear duty to do so. I consider you a detestable excuse for a human being — more so now that I know you have actually advocated the murder of your political opponents — but evidence of wrongdoing is evidence of wrongdoing even when a moral imbecile presents it. Make your case, with facts not invective, and thank whatever you worship that I am obsessively fair-minded. I do not think you will ever get a better hearing.

    Can you document cases in which a developer has been excluded from project participation on political grounds?

    Can you document cases in which “geek-feminist” lobbying has led to the suppression of political speech in public places?

    Note about the latter: bathroom graffitti will not count. “Kill feminists!” won’t either, it is a crude threat with no argument attached. Advocating repeal of the 19th amendment would count, especially if accompanied by a rationale or analysis. It would be more persuasive if you could document suppression of political speech uttered by persons other than yourself.

    Mere allegation will not be sufficient. I want URLs, accounts written by affected parties, actual evidence. You are, of course, under no actual obligation to answer to me, but without such evidence I can do nothing further to address your allegations.

  153. Sierra> My judgment about what may or may not violate the ToS of SF is not particularly useful for this purpose. Apparently both Ms. Eicher and the SF administrators were of the opinion that it was in violation of the ToS.

    Either that or the admins decided that they don’t like people with anti-feminist views and will delete any related contributions. Since you have stated that he did violate the TOS, I thought you had seen something in the code that you considered a violation of the TOS. That is why I asked if you could point it out.

    A lot of comments here and elsewhere state that his code on SF is highly offensive, but I’ve yet to see any excerpts to back up these claims. From what I can tell, his code related comments on SF were anti-feminist, but not excessively so.

    Sierra>” He had the opportunity to know about [the TOS], and he agreed to them.”
    The TOS does not say that political or religious speech is not allowed. I have yet to see something in his code that is more offensive than the Bible or the Koran. If someone does point out such material, then I will reconsider my stance.

    Sierra>”Unless we actually believe that Ms. Eicher secretly is in charge of them (or has some really juicy blackmail material or something), they’re the ones responsible for making the final decision. Fixating on the person who said “Hey, I don’t think this stuff is within the rules. You should review it.” rather than the people who actually got rid of the data, is very questionable to me.”

    Kvaratskhelia’s claim is that “[feminists] gain administrative positions and then kick out the men who’s ideas/beliefs are opposed to them” While I would normally dismiss this as a paranoid claim of someone playing the victim, the code that I’ve seen so far makes it seem that the SF.net censorship was based on his beliefs rather than a direct TOS violation in his code.

  154. >Kvaratskhelia’s claim is that “[feminists] gain administrative positions and then kick out the men who’s ideas/beliefs are opposed to them” While I would normally dismiss this as a paranoid claim of someone playing the victim, the code that I’ve seen so far makes it seem that the SF.net censorship was based on his beliefs rather than a direct TOS violation in his code.

    So far this is also my impression, but I think reasonable people can differ on whether the TOS was violated in this case, and don’t consider the SourceForge people to have behaved wrongly.

  155. >That isn’t good enough. When you advocate the murder of all persons in category X, you are advocating the murder of
    >every individual in category X. Ms. Eicher and her friends were well within the bounds of reason in considering this a
    >form of threat and intimidation directed at themselves. You are either a liar or a moral imbecile. For the moment I will
    >give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter, but do not try my patience again.

    I did not claim that I haven’t wished for the non-existance of feminist women. It is true, however, that I did not threaten any individual feminist woman. I don’t know any of these people either, though for some unknown reason they make it out as if I did.

    >You are wrong. I would care, and I am not without influence. If I am convinced the “geek feminists” have a pattern
    >of suppressive behavior, I will raise hell about it; it would be my clear duty to do so. I consider you a detestable
    >excuse for a human being — more so now that I know you have actually advocated the murder of your political
    >opponents

    With what army would I enact these murders? I know of none. Clearly, it is rhetoric: my showing of absolute hate and detest for women’s rights activists. This detest stems from the fact that the laws and mores they have had enacted have ruined or degraded the lives of millions of men, and before this century is through they will ruin the lives of billions of men as women’s rights sweeps the developing world.

    > moral imbecile.
    We have diffrent morals. I care about what is most advantageous for men. Women care about what’s most advantageous for women. Men care about whatever they were told to care about since birth.

    You can believe me to be a liar, so as to support a principaled dislike and a cessation of support on the free speech issue, but… I guess it is just a diffrence of opinion. You asked if I threatened a certain individual and I responded that I did not because I did not. I could say I wanted the entire world to evaporate in nuclear fire… but that would not be a threat, for what nuclear arsneal do I hold in my posession?

    >Mere allegation will not be sufficient. I want URLs, accounts written by affected parties, actual evidence. You are,
    >of course, under no actual obligation to answer to me, but without such evidence I can do nothing further to
    >address your allegations.

    Ted Walther (Johnathan Walther) can, perhaps, give you his own story first hand.
    http://reactor-core.org/~djw/myblog/
    ted at reactor-core.org

    And, is it a lie that “hot babes” was removed from debian? Is it untrue that various fortune files were stripped of sexist or “anti-woman” content? Is the thrust of the debian-women, at there very inception, to rewrite the man pages (though that seems to have failed) a fabrication? No. But can I provide URLs to things that no longer exist? I don’t see how I could.

    Really, these exclusions are happening. You saw one happen right before your eyes here. You read the comments and the plans of the women’s rights activists to have me arrested. You saw the research they did to try to track me down… and in some time I may very well be arrested and jailed for what I have said against them and women’s rights. This is not a lie. What you saw infront of you was not a fabrication. One incident /just/ happened.

    But what can be done? Women and men who are infavor of riding the world of male sexism and “male privilege” are the norm.

    ESR, have you ever in your life wanted a sweet young woman as a bride? Perhaps one that had not had relationships with others before you? Perhaps one that could truly bond with her husband?

    We can’t have that. Men who try to aquire that are jailed, destroyed. Because of them (the women’s rights activists and their male white-knight co-patriots).

  156. It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

    Lazarus Long

  157. “ESR, have you ever in your life wanted a sweet young woman as a bride?”

    Worth noting here that by “young” he means aged 12-14. O Hai Pedobear.

    Don’t believe me? I’m not going to link to it, but it’s the 2nd most recent post on his blog.

  158. >With what army would I enact these murders? I know of none.

    This is another demonstration of imbecility. Nobody requires an army to murder; I could probably kill you in any of about four different ways if we were face to face, and that’s without assuming I have my usual weapons handy. When you broadcast explicit threats of murder to a class of people, those individuals in it with no combat or weapons training (e.g, almost all of them) are not required to hypothecate armies to consider you lethally dangerous and feel legitimately threatened.

    >But can I provide URLs to things that no longer exist? I don’t see how I could.

    We have version-control systems. Code and manuals and fortune-cookie files are maintained in them; often web pages as well. Find the diffs. Find the discussion of the deletions on relevant mailing lists. If, as you claim, Ted Walther was blackballed from Debian, I cannot imagine that there is no record of it on Debian mailing lists, and they have archives.

    If the pattern of suppressive behavior is as pervasive as you claim, it will have left many traces and you should have no difficulty documenting it and putting together a page of links to evidence. Your opponents have documented your disgusting behavior without difficulty; it is up to you to demonstrate that there is any case at all on the other side.

  159. You’re obviously on the side of the women’s rights activists. You can contact Ted if you give a damn, which you will if your care (which you do not). I’ve referenced some “incidents”, which you can look up if you care about such things (which you do not), and there’s the incident of deletion right here (which you now support, after getting flack from your peers and learning that I truly am opposed to women’s rights).

    My behavior is not disgusting. My behavior is non-existent. It seems that you are a person who confuses speech with action, rhetoric with war, cartoons with murder.

    I’m not going to bother to do this citation work for you. I know that nothing will change if I do, and what will happen is that your feminist friends will have their admin friends grep through the logs of whatever servers I cite to, see who accessed what url when, and use that to attempt to locate me.

    I gave you Ted Walther’s email. His expulsion from debian is well known. You can contact him if you care about such things (you won’t).

    >“ESR, have you ever in your life wanted a sweet young woman as a bride?”
    >Worth noting here that by “young” he means aged 12-14. O Hai Pedobear.

    Females are best married off once they become young women: once they are able to have children. This occurs at age 12, 13, or 14. This is what has been done since the dawn of humanity untill the reign of women’s rights began. Men today are jailed and destroyed for having young women as their brides. You all support such opression against men.

    As for free speech. No, you are not a free-speech absolutist. There is not “free-speech… but…” in absolutism.

    >I could probably kill you in any of about four different ways if we were face to face, and that’s without assuming I
    >have my usual weapons handy.

    The women’s rights activists would consider that a threat. Often a conservative man, though he likes to pretend he’s not a fan of feminism, when confronted with true anti-feminism, goes on the defensive for the poor wymn. When things are going good the wymn are independent and have no need nor want of man, when things get hard they come running.

    If you’d like to see if any of your four ways would work, however, I’ll be waiting for you to approach me for that duel… wherever it is that I am.

  160. >You’re obviously on the side of the women’s rights activists [...] I’m not going to bother to do this citation work for you

    I interpret this to mean you have no ability to produce evidence of the supposed suppressive conspiracy, because it does not actually exist. You may refute this interpretation by producing evidence.

    Otherwise, get the hell off my blog. I am an actual man, not a werewolf, and I am really not interested in hearing about your desire to molest 12-year-old girls.

  161. If you want evidence about other cases, contact Mr. Walther. He can give you all the details of what happened to him. He also has his telephone number listed on his site so you can call him up and get in contact him right away http://reactor-core.org/~djw/

    I gave you the facts, but I can’t remeber all the particulars (web sites) of other people’s run-ins with the geek feminists and women’s groups.
    You don’t want to believe it though. Even though one such incident occurred before your eyes.
    You want to raise the bar to some spot that you know I won’t reach.
    (I’m not going to try to dig through mailing list archives for Linux Chix, for instance, because they do not
    keep an archive for their woman-only discussion list and they ban anyone who does keep an external archive. Their main list.)
    Try to download one of the deleted programs from apt though, perhaps? Notice that you cannot because such things are not available?

    Every man is attracted to young women of childbearing age.
    American men are obedient enough to deny this, however.
    American men are good men. Obedient men.

    As for me:
    Here is where they try to track me down and talk of having me arrested and how they have reported me to their local police and to the fbi:
    http://geekfeminism.org/2009/10/08/psa-mikeeusas-hate-speech-and-harassment/
    http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com/2009/10/attention-folks.html

    Here is where they gloat about having my GPLd programs and media deleted:
    http://geekfeminism.org/2009/10/15/weve-got-your-back/comment-page-1/#comment-1914
    http://whatwillweuse.com/2009/10/13/not-in-my-neighborhood-mikeeusa-removed-from-sourceforge/
    .
    Other, more recent comments about jailing/imprisonment:
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-10-19-030-35-OS-CY-0010
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-10-19-030-35-OS-CY-0017
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-10-19-030-35-OS-CY-0019
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-10-19-030-35-OS-CY-0021

    As far as I can tell, my programs and my media WAS deleted.
    This was after women’s rights activists went after other accounts and websites of mine.
    This was also after they campaigned to discover my identity and also reported me to the athorities inorder to get me arrested (these things take time)
    Women’s rights activists then claimed victory for the deletion.
    Ted Walther is NOT a debian developer.
    He WAS at one time a debian developer.
    Those are the facts I know of very well.
    He told me that the debian-women had him kicked out.
    You cal call Jonathan up on the phone to discuss and get all the facts.
    His contact info is on the top right corner of http://reactor-core.org/~djw/

    He might even remeber more “incidents”, not related to him, that I don’t. As I said, my memory isn’t the best.

  162. Kvaratskhelia> It is true, however, that I did not threaten any individual feminist woman.

    Are you saying you “did not threaten any individual feminist woman” *recently*? Or are you saying that those who accuse you of having sent personal, hateful and threatening messages including horrible fantasies, off-list to various members of LinuxChix, Debian Women and (in some cases) *their families* since July 2005 are lying?

    I remember discussions about those private emails you sent. One blog post from July 2005 is here: http://puzzling.org/logs/thoughts/2005/July/22/20050722 The Geek Feminism wiki claims that “around September 2007 [you] made more specific threats against LinuxChix posters and advocated sexual violence against and murder of specific individuals” (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Debian_death_threats). In 2008 the Register even ran a story about it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/03/debian_death_threats/

    You’ve been spilling your vile poison for at least 4 years now and you’ve been lucky that no concerted effort has been made previously to call you to account for it.

    These women aren’t out to get you just because you’ve been a vile, little creep over the past month. They are instead standing up for their rights (which you would deny) to work in an environment that’s safe from the garbage and threats that you seem unable to contain. You pushed them too far. Yet even now, I think that if you were to stop attempting to connect to IRC channels where you’ve been told you’re not welcome; to stop sending your “men’s rights” rants to those IRC channels and to the various women in IT mailing lists; to stop commenting on all the geek feminist blogs you can find… even now, I think you could avoid these women investing further time and effort into identifying you and pushing the matter into the legal realm. So really, one must assume that you’re delighting in the attention and really haven’t thought about what might happen if they succeed.

    I know that you’re self-confident enough to believe that they won’t succeed. You (ab)use TOR so that they can’t find your IP address that way. You use numerous pseudonyms and throw-away email addresses. You know that the hate speech you’re so focussed on is a crime and you have educated yourself sufficiently to make it hard for you to be caught. But if you continue to force the issue, by upsetting people, they will try harder to find you, and sooner or later they will. Perhaps that’s why you’re whining to ESR about how they’re trying to shut you down; perhaps they’ve gotten too close to the truth.

    Kvaratskhelia> I’m not going to bother to do this citation work for you. I know that nothing will change if I do, and what will happen is that your feminist friends will have their admin friends grep through the logs of whatever servers I cite to, see who accessed what url when, and use that to attempt to locate me.

    But you (ab)use TOR, so checking the logs wouldn’t be helpful. I actually doubt that the women would even try doing that though; unless it was an extremely unpopular server, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Frankly I think you’re just being lazy. ESR asked you for evidence, but we all know it doesn’t exist. Thus instead of trying to give it to him, you’re just going to whine about how unfair the world is.

  163. reposting as it seems to have gotten spamtrapped:

    It seems Walther was ejected from the community after getting into a physical altercation at DebConf6: http://madduck.net/blog/2006.05.23:post-debconf/ , http://debconf6.debconf.org/blog/2006/05/19.html#removal_of_attendee

    There seem to have been far wider issues with his participation in the Debian community than his “contributions” to the Debian Women project, which include such gems as offering of matchmaking services on the project email list (I shit you not: http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2004/07/msg00217.html ) after questioning whether or not the members had “repaid [their] debt to [their] parents, ancestors, and the human race by bearing lots of healthy children with good genes, and an affluent, easy to get-along-with father?”

    Anyway. Still not seeing a vast feminist conspiracy :)

  164. Virtually every game or “action” film I’ve ever seen depicts the killing of men in large numbers, usually without any remorse or guilt. They are just men being killed. Nobody cares. Men are depicted as worthless body count who don’t even matter enough to give the dead men names.

    I have to wonder if SF is going to apply the same standards to code, games, cartoons, etc., that depict killing men? I wonder if esr will apply the same standards? I have to wonder if the only thing that matters in this whole censorship is a very bigoted anti-men, pro-female sexism?

    Does material that shows men being killed violate TOS at SF? Somehow I seriously doubt that the same standards will be applied. In other words, its not the content, its the prejudice of the censors that matters.

  165. >As far as I can tell, my programs and my media WAS deleted.

    There is now a Mercurial repository from which you can pull them. Nothing requires you to check out versions the geekfeminism women have altered.

    >Here is where they try to track me down and talk of having me arrested and how they have reported me to their local police and to the fbi:

    Appropriately so. You repeatedly made criminal, felonious threats. This was not protected speech either in law or in ethics. I have stood up for the proposition that where your behavior is strictly the publication of odious political opinions the geekfeminism women should ethically not interfere with it, and I will make that case again if I must, But felonious threats are a different behavior. You do not convince me by attempting to confuse the two. The fact that they seem prone to the same error doesn’t excuse you for making it.

    As for Ted Walther, even a limited perusal of his blog makes it clear that he is a religious fanatic and batshit-crazy in ways having nothing directly to do with feminist issues. It may be incidentally true that Debian women pressed to have him removed, but I would take some convincing before I would blame a conspiracy of feminists. A conspiracy of people who are not batshit-crazy seems more likely. Mind you, I think he still has a right to publish his opinions, but I see no evidence that feminists or anyone else have attempted to prevent this.

    You have alleged that there is a systematic attempt to enforce feminist political opinions on the open-source community. This is a charge I take seriously, because other feminist groups in other communities have in my judgment been guilty of such overreaching, and the SourceForge takedown was far too close to such behavior for comfort. If there is a pattern of that going on in my community I want to put a stop to it. But you do not advance your case by confusing that with entirely appropriate responses to felonious threats.

  166. That’s a great Thomas Paine quote as it reminds us that we shouldn’t back away from discussing such touchy issues. Though, unlike your argument, I think that it does imply that TOS violations should always be reported. Otherwise, unenforced TOS policies become a source of hypocrisy. If SourceForge is a place for making unrestrained political statements, then it is their TOS policy that warrants challenge. It makes no sense to label the reporting of a TOS violation as censorship.

    In fact, the recent debates that have arisen on the subject have led me to start looking at whether or not TOS policies are being enforced. We have to keep in mind that as people shop for productive environments, they may wisely examine terms of service to see if an environment suits them. Failing to enforce a TOS policy is in effect a betrayal of those who have invested their time and effort based on the the rules set forth in a TOS policy. In the case currently being discussed, it is these women who would have been betrayed if SourceForge had not enforced their policy. We can, in fact, reasonably assume that there are many women who would have had justifiable objections if the TOS was not enforced. You could even say that according to Thomas Paine’s quote all SourceForge participants should have reported the violation.

    So, that brings us to the question of whether SourceForge is a place for pursuing political agendas, but you seem to address that in your next post.

  167. >I wonder if esr will apply the same standards?

    Yes, in fact. If I see women advocating the murder of all men with a masculinist agenda, I will condemn them.

  168. Phlinn Says:
    > Regarding psychological harm, the key difference between it
    > and physical harm is that it always depends on a controllable
    > reaction by the target. Physical harm does not.

    You are asserting a bright line difference that does not exist. In reality it is a spectrum. Consider the following statements:

    1. “You are a big poopy head.”
    2. “I hate you and wish you were dead.”
    3. “I’d love to stick a knife in your throat.”
    4. “Watch out, one day I might just come get you.”
    5. “I’m going to hurt you one day.”
    6. “I’m going to kill you one day.”
    7. “I’m going to kill you right now.”
    8. (pointing a fake but realistic gun), “Ready to meet your maker?”
    9. (pointing a real, loaded gun), “I’m going to blow your brains out.”
    10. “I am a suicide bomber and everyone in this building is about to die.”

    In not one of these cases has any actual physical harm been done (yet). Your reaction to them, and any pain you might feel, are all entirely controllable in your mind. Yet surely some of them are actionable? Somewhere about the middle of this list, you would be justified in some sort of violent response.

    My point: there is no bright line.

    If you are willing to accept that a realistic threat of injury is sufficient for an actionable response, (which I do), then you stand at the top of a slippery slope from threats of violence, through building codes, through “no smoking in any bar in the State”, through, two minutes for hate for Emmanuel Goldstein the traitor, through think the way Big Brother tells you or we will take you to a re-education camp.

  169. @esr:

    The man should be judged by his code, and not on any other criteria.

    What was your stance on Theo de Raadt’s expulsion from the NetBSD project?

    I think there’s some point to be made for judging a coder also based on his obnoxiousness. If he is poisoning the community, then it’s not only the code that matters.

  170. >If he is poisoning the community, then it’s not only the code that matters.

    Some would say that Ms. Eicher is poisoning the community. This divisive disagreement and numerous others in similar vein are largely her doing.

    Once again it is the prejudice of the viewer that makes the difference.

  171. >Some would say that Ms. Eicher is poisoning the community. This divisive disagreement and numerous others in similar vein are largely her doing.

    Ms. Eicher’s original conduct was a mistake with potentially dire consequences, which she has repaired. I no longer see “divisiveness” there; in fact, I think she has acted properly to reaffirm the values of our community. I do not think, on the other hand, you would find much support for a person who advocates wholesale murder and child molestation. Any remaining divisiveness is of your own making.

  172. >I think there’s some point to be made for judging a coder also based on his obnoxiousness. If he is poisoning the community, then it’s not only the code that matters.

    You have a point. My intention, I guess, is that a coder should be judged only by his (or her) ability and contributions, not by politics.

  173. Why do feminists come in all gangbusters and attack people like RMS and Mark Shuttleworth and claim they are helping the community? They might be helping the women community but what do they do for opensource? I’ve never actually seen one of the feminists that hang around write a program. They seem to only editorialise, usually on big name linux news sites, sometimes on blogs, sometimes on other people programs, but never anything new.

  174. Wello opined:
    >Why do feminists come in all gangbusters and attack people like RMS and Mark Shuttleworth
    >and claim they are helping the community? They might be helping the women community
    >but what do they do for opensource? I’ve never actually seen one of the feminists that
    >hang around write a program. They seem to only editorialise, usually on big name linux
    >news sites, sometimes on blogs, sometimes on other people programs, but never anything new.

    I would call that “poisoning the community.” It makes all men nervous about speaking their mind or get attacked and destroyed. It is poison.

  175. DebConf6 was held in a small resort town in the heart of Mexico, a beautiful place surrounded by towns, shops, fruit trees and vibrant citizenry. I was ejected from the Debian project at Debconf6 in 2006.

    At Debconf6, my removal from the Debian conference was triggered by the complaints of several members of the debian-women subgroup, led by Amaya. I had heard there was going to be dancing at the big banquet. I misheard; the ballroom dancing was to be the next evening. I looked around at the 600 men present, noticing there were only a dozen women among us. I like to dance, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of embracing my fellow developers on the dance floor. So I repaired to a local Free Software supporter, and explained the situation to him. He brought in his aged mother, a Spanish lady of stature in the community, who in turn arranged a date for the banquet. The date was a friend of their family, an accountant. When my date and I arrived at the banquet, some of the Debian Germans told me I couldn’t bring in guests. I was surprised, since I saw several other guests there. I told them I had a right to bring a guest since I was a Debian member, just as they were. I didn’t realize at the time they were part of the conference organizing team. When the banquet started, an Argentinian member of the debian-women crowd came up to my date and told her in Spanish that her life was in danger, she wasn’t welcome at the banquet, that she was a prostitute, and she should leave right away. My date was shocked by the Argentinians aggressive pose, and walked outside. Her friend and one of my friends were standing outside, monitoring things. I saw a group of about 20 debian-women members standing huddled outside the entrance of the banquet hall. My friend and the young ladies friend told me that they’d been watching the debian-women group huddled together, talking in an agitated way ever since I arrived at the hall. Amaya told my friend and others that I had disrespected Debian by bringing a prostitute to the banquet. Once outside, my friends and I spoke to the young lady, found out exactly what had been said, and reassured her that the Debian ladies were just jealous. There was one or two ladies at the banquet who were better looking than my date, but they weren’t involved in the debian-women huddle. The woman who approached my date was quite large and overweight, lending weight to my belief that the “Debian Women” were jealous that a woman who was better looking than them had chosen to spend time with me, after they’d been unsuccessfully trying to maneuver me around at the conference.

    Leading up to that event though, I had brought on animosity from debian-women by involving myself on their mailing list a couple years earlier. I thought it was nice that they wanted to fix problems that were preventing women from joining Debian, but I was disturbed by comments that were made on the mailing list that a goal had already been decided on, and that debian-women the mailing list was in existence to “change” Debian according to their vision whether Debian liked it or not. The debian-women group was using Debian resources. I felt it was inappropriate for Debian resources to be used to change Debian, without all of Debian being able to weigh in and have input. Especially since that “change” was banced on damaging assumptions, such as the negative assumption of bad faith and sexism on the part of Debian members. Acting in good faith, I attempted to correct some incorrect assumptions that the Debian women group was basing itself on, such as the type and amount of female participation being a result of male sexism. I was censored from the debian-women mailing list and IRC channel. I can get behind a group concensus. But it sticks in ones craw to be denied a voice. After all, doesn’t Debian aim for concensus, and give every member an equal vote with every other member? That implies equality. I don’t mind being a minority of one; I do mind being a minority of zero as a result of being censored and banned. That isn’t how any proper liberty-loving group operates.

    I enjoyed the few days I spent at Debconf6, and wasn’t too surprised at the outcome. I attended with the intention to see if I could work with other Debian members despite our vast differences in mental outlook. I met many decent people there, who I would have liked to have gotten to know better. But in the end, I knew the end was in sight when I tried to have lunch on the day of the banquet. Up to that point the doorkeepers letting people into the group luncheons were Latin and Hispanic. I explained I’d lost my lunch tickets, but they could see I was definitely a legitimate attendee of the conference. They allowed me into the lunches. But on the day of the banquet, there were Germans manning the door. They said I couldn’t go into lunch without the lunch tickets, which I’d lost on the first day. After some discussion, I got upset and told them they were acting “very German”. I find it telling that afterward they told every that I called them “Nazis”. I was careful not to call them Nazis, although that thought was definitely going through my head. The Germans also told me I was disrupting the conference by asking for kosher food to be available. One of the conference attendees, an Orthodox Jew, was very kind. He took me aside on the first day and let me know that he’d had a word with the chef and so kosher food would be available every day of the conference. Many of the Debian-Women crowd ate at the vegetarian table. They seemed to expect that I would be forced to eat at their table in order to eat kosher. They seemed angry when I didn’t eat with them. Maybe the Orthodox Jew hadn’t told them what he’d done.

    So, I feel debian-women AS A GROUP was largely responsible for giving me the final push out of Debian, but the German contingent would have pushed me out eventually anyway. I now understand a bit more about the German situation, and the rules by which many German Debian developers are given state funding to participate. My presence in the project put that at risk, because I have beliefs that are considered criminal in the fascist fourth reich of Germany. The first and second amendments are considered silly and irrelevant in Germany. Since it is Germans who now dominate the Debian project, the first and second amendments are no longer core values of Debian.

    I have received private communications from Mikhail/Michael/Miguel. I find him to be a likeable and earnest young man, although I don’t agree with the extreme aspects of his statements. I have advised him not to utter words that could be interpreted as threats, and he has said he didn’t intend to threaten anyone. I also advised him that good relations between men and women are best promoted when everyone respects each other fully, without any demeaning of their respective abilities and accomplishments.

    To summarize: the Debian Women group publicly stated on their mailing list that they are based on the assumption that Debian is “sexist” or “machist”, and they intend to fix this, with the ultimate goal of encouraging more women to participate in Debian. I find those assumptions negative, incorrect, and harmful. I am glad to be away from an environment that attaches such labels to me just because I have some bits dangling between my legs.

    Ted

  176. I wrote the previous comment before reading fully through this thread. Regarding “MIkhail”, I also advised him in the past AGAINST blowing off steam by making violent cartoons. I rebuked him for advocating the killing of a woman judge. I told him if he wants to effect positive social change, it is more effective to do it with love than with violence. I also advised him that if “men” are suffering, it is their own fault and that things will change for the better when men change themselves for the better. Mikhail told me he is practicing the politics of “Take an extreme position to pull everyone else back to a moderate position”. I advised him that such tactics are costly to those that engage in them, and backfire in the long run.

    In addition, there is more to the pattern of Debian Women acting as censors. My wife is a former human rights journalist. When I told her what was happening with Debian Women, she joined up. They banned her from their mailing list and IRC as well. I don’t recall exact names, but do remember a couple other women being silenced and banished from the mailing list because their views weren’t politically correct enough. Perhaps debian-women thought that anyone who disagreed with their radical analysis of the “sexism” problem must be me in disguise. Honestly, it wasn’t. I don’t (and didn’t) have time and energy for such charades. I would suggest to the readers that such guilty actions on the part of Debian-Women suggests guilty knowledge. They knew or suspected they were doing something wrong, so they had to silence anyone who disagreed with them.

    To really see this esr, you’d need access to the logs of all the actions taken on the debian-women mailing list and IRC channel, when accounts were banned, suspended, or moderated. I don’t have access to it. Good luck getting it from the list administrators. For all its reputation for transparency, Debian has a lot of backroom dealing going on, off the mailing lists and out of the public eye. I don’t see that as an evil thing necessarily, but it is wrong for Debian to misrepresent itself as being more transparent and open than it really is.

    Many of the debian-women members I referenced in the previous message were actually male.

    To address a couple other items: there was one man who I called a “fucking Nazi” at the conference. After the incident where Biella called my date a prostitute, we returned inside to sit down and eat. Three Germans, led by Holger, stopped me. Holger told me to leave. I refused. He slammed his beer bottle down and broke it. His breath smelled of alcohol and his muscle movements were somewhat uncoordinated. Then the three Germans grabbed me by the elbows and pushed me to the front door with the intention of throwing me on the cobblestone street. At that time my friend stepped up from the street, shouted at them to stop. They did stop. Then I saw Amaya and “madduck” (also a German) rushing up trying to help his friends push me out onto the street. Amaya and madduck told my friend, to his face, that I had disrespected Debian by bringing a prostitute to the banquet. He knew that wasn’t true because he had been with me the whole day. It may have been inappropriate to call “madduck” a Nazi, but many of the Germans and Argentinians at the conference were acting very Nazi-like. I am told that genetically, a lot of Argentinians are of German descent. Being threatened by a tall German with a broken beer bottle in his hand, then frog-marched out in front of the entire banquet, after my date had been accosted and called a prostitute… well, you can understand that I was pissed off.

    And the Erinn didn’t even have the decency to give me one of the “Debian Nazi’s Hate Women” t-shirts she sold to other members in an attempt to mock me.

  177. It seems that my use of the phrase “psychological harm” triggers some sort of mental block that prevents certain people from approaching the idea rationally. In retrospect I assumed common knowledge that was not in fact common. I will try to rephrase things…

    Jane Random Hacker participates in community X. She enjoys doing so, and therefore gains value by participating. Community X* gains from Jane’s contributions. If you want to go all Chicago School, you could, in principal, put a dollar value to these gains.

    Along comes Mike Random Werewolf. He harasses Jane. This causes Jane to enjoy her participation less; she decides that on balance she is better off not participating. Mike has destroyed value in community X; this value was the product of Jane’s labour and the labour of the community.

    Ergo, Mike’s harassment constitutes violence. Probably, I’m not quite sure of the weird libertarian usage of the word. It was definitely wrong though.

    (*) Methodological individualist may read this as “Members of community X”.

  178. Group of Men Random Hackers participates in community X. They enjoy doing so.

    Along comes A bunch of Feminist. They harrass each individual Man of Group of Men Random Hackers. They seek for their ejectment from projects and linux distributions and achive that. Men random hackers see that their work is not valued, and above that: they cannot post it anywhere. Bunch of feminists have destroyed value in community X, this is applauded by Pete the Leftist. He asks for the arrest and imprisonment of some of the Men of the group of Men Random Hackers because he’s too afraid to go attack the people he wants the state to attack himself.

    Leftists get what they want through exclusion and proxy violence. They always get what they want. They love to claim speech is violence so they can use real violence against those who speak against them. They fill every branch of our governments and are unassailable. We suffer under them

  179. Pete, please consider the possibility that the mental block exists on your part. I would also argue that you are using an odd definition of ‘Violence’. Using the standard definitions, I think the issue comes in here: You are blaming Mike for Jane’s reaction. He didn’t destroy that value, she chose to cease producing it. There’s a significant gap between “This causes Jane to enjoy her participation less; she decides that on balance she is better off not participating.” and “Mike has destroyed her participation in community “. Without a logical bridge for that gap, your calling it ‘Violence’ doesn’t make it so. Holding mike responsible for the harassment is legitimate. I agree that his harassment is wrong, and I would have no issue with anyone engaging in harassment against him as well. Jane choosing to avoid the harassment instead of responding is kind is also acceptable, but it’s her choice, not his.

    Jessica, the bright line still exists. But there is another bright line between insults, and threats. Which is the same distinction ESR has made repeatedly in this thread. If you apply the threats versus insults distinction to your examples, there is an easy to spot separation. Threats are actionable for reasons that nothing whatsoever to do with the psychological reaction of the recipient. If you’d like boiled down reason why: Inasmuch as rights exist (I think they are nothing more than a useful illusion), they do so only on a quid pro quo basis.

  180. # Phlinn Says:
    >If you apply the threats versus insults distinction to your examples,

    I don’t agree at all. I gave you a list, where is the breaking point in my list? “Perhaps one day I will stick a knife in your throat.” Is that a threat? What if a threat is made in words but can’t be backed up? What if the threat is ridiculous? What if it is non-specific? What if it is promised far in the future? What if it is handwavy? What if it is said in an obvious pique of anger?

    > Inasmuch as rights exist … they do so only on a quid pro quo basis.

    In the example of threats of violence, what is the quid and what is the quo? This doesn’t make sense to me. If you are saying that I only have a right to not be threatened if I extend that same right to you, I suppose I agree, but that does nothing to help understand what constitutes and actionable or a non actionable threat.

    Lets look at some other classic examples:

    If I build a building next door to you that is very high and does not have a sufficiently deep foundation, is that an actionable threat?

    If instead I rewire my house with inadequate electrical system precautions, causing the potential for a fire in my house spreading to yours, does that constitute a threat?

    If I fail to cut my grass sufficiently often, causing a deterioration of the neighborhood, and a devaluation of your property, does that constitute a threat?

    If, during time of war, I distribute leaflets on the street corner encouraging others to stop supporting the war (thus endangering you and your family from foreign attack), does that constitute a threat?

    If a parent feeds their children more pizza and chocolate milk than they should, does that constitute an actionable threat to their well being?

    I suggest that defining what a threat is, is far from a bright line.

  181. >Pete, please consider the possibility that the mental block exists on your part.

    Read the replies. Consider the emotive, rather than rational, language. Most of them are just whining “if I admit people have feelings, I’ll have to turn in my man-card!!!

    >I would also argue that you are using an odd definition of ‘Violence’.

    I was explicitly mocking the libertarian “odd definition of violence”.

    >You are blaming Mike for Jane’s reaction.

    Yes, and I am correct to do so. Suppose Mike had spray painted a cock on the Mona Lisa. The owner could, of course, “choose” to consider this an improvement, adding value to the work. The owner could also “choose” to consider the work ruined. In this case we would blame Mike, not the victim!

    >He didn’t destroy that value, she chose to cease producing it.

    Participating now has negative value for Jane. Ceasing production is a rational, and therefore predictable choice. And so the destruction of value is a predictable consequence of Mike’s actions.

  182. >I don’t agree at all. I gave you a list, where is the breaking point in my list? “Perhaps one day I will stick a knife in your throat.” Is that a threat? What if a threat is made in words but can’t be backed up? What if the threat is ridiculous? What if it is non-specific? What if it is promised far in the future? What if it is handwavy? What if it is said in an obvious pique of anger?

    I think it’s true that there’s no easy line between actionable threats and non-actionable insults. I am currently doing stage work for the play 12 Angry Men*, one of which’s plot points is that a verbal threat in the vein of ‘I’m going to kill you!’ cannot necessarily be taken as evidence of murder (the recipient of the threat is actually murdered soon afterward); most would agree that saying something like this in anger is not an actionable, felonious threat, unless perhaps if combined with a damning history, though it’s fairly obvious that ‘I’m going to kill you’ is, semantically, a threat. Where’s the bright line?

    * Cue flame war over the “sexist” title.

  183. The censorship of MikeeUSA’s work is clearly sexist misandrist in nature. Its about silencing men, not about content. His content, although containing some violence, is not characteristically different from thousands of other fictional product, many produced by females. For example, see a recent article from the Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/6431386/Book-reviewer-quits-over-increasing-sexist-violence.html

    We don’t censor violent fiction in any popular media. What is censored is the voice of men. SF conducted a selective misandrist attack in favor of the feminist war on men.

    All you “white knights” who rush to defend females by attacking other men they pointed at should turn in your manhood.

  184. Jessica, you have a point, although it’s not the one you originally tried to make. When you posted the list, you attempted to demonstrate a flaw in the bright line distinction between physical and psychological harm by claiming that some of those statements were actionable and other weren’t. Threats are actionable for reasons having nothing to do with psychological harm and your list doesn’t change that, but the border between threats and insults is fuzzy, and my initial response was incorrect. The first item was of course an insult not a threat, but applying that distinction does not make the rest of the list clear.

    I would like to add that the fact that something is a continuum in no way indicates that there are no bright line divisions within it. 0 is a very obvious bright line divider between positive and negative real numbers for instance. Every integer could be considered a bright line division between sets of real numbers.

    Basically what I was getting at was that your right not to be harmed is contingent on you recognizing my right not to be harmed. Once you demonstrate that you don’t recognize my right to not be hurt, I have no obligation to respect your right not to be hurt. I also recognize value in mercy and forgiveness, and that multiple distinct rights exists, but digging deeper into this method of examining rights is beyond the scope of a blog comment. I would suggest that freedom from mental anguish and freedom from physical assault are distinct.

    Pete, please point out the emotive language in my replies. I accept no responsibility for anyone else’s reply. Note that I don’t claim people don’t have emotions, only that emotional distress is controllable in ways physical harm is not, and is thus categorically different, and that some of those differences make the word ‘Harm’ problematic. I may not have been sufficiently clear.

    My point on the violence definition is that libertarians don’t in fact have an odd one unless you call the dictionary definition odd. Your use of the term is not compatible with the dictionary definitions unless you proceed to redefine force or action. Mike Random Werewolf may be hoping that’s the response she will choose to his insults, be he wasn’t actually forcing it in the original hypothetical. Your most recent hypothetical is a perfect example of why I think you might have a mental block here. You are asserting that your new example, which involves physically altering an object, is analogous to the first example, which consisted only of “harassment”, which to make sense for your argument had to consist of psychological harm. You are, in effect, asserting your claim that physical and psychological harm are the same as proof of the claim that harassment is violence. Do you see why that appears to be a circular argument? And yes, she can choose how to react in both cases, but her reaction does not determine whether his actions constituted violence or not.

  185. I would say this situation was handled immaturely by all parties. SourceForge are in the wrong for not giving MikeeUSA time to refactor the code; those who campaigned to have him removed on the grounds of gender politics are in the wrong for causing SF to remove the code (did Mike abuse sourceforge in any way?) and MikeeUSA was in the wrong for mixing politics with software.

    This whole situation goes against what free software stands for and it makes me wonder who and what I personally should be supporting. If members of the feminist community promote a heavy-handed approach to easter eggs in software and artistic metaphor in textures which they dislike; it makes me fear for the liberties of artists, programmers and other contributors. A movement that goes against what I believe in is not something I can contribute to or support.

    As much as I disagree with MikeeUSA’s extreme views; they are political views and are merely opinion…. Many of Mike’s “attacks” and/or “harmful” comments are merely explanations of political opinion, not direct threats or insults.

    Humanity as a whole rightfully has free speech on the Internet and that extends to freedom of opinion too; those who seek to censor that are undermining core values of the Internet.

  186. Phlinn Says:
    > I would suggest that freedom from mental anguish and
    > freedom from physical assault are distinct.

    I am working in a 7/11. Someone walks in, pulls a gun and says, “Empty the cash register into a plastic bag.” Barely able to control the shaking of my hands, though a haze of cold sweat and tears, I put all the money in the bag, and pass it over to you. Then he walks out the store and drive off. I throw up in the corner.

    Clearly, this caused me considerable mental anguish. However, please explain what physical assault took place.

    If I had a shotgun under the counter, would I have been justified in using?

  187. Yes. Threats to your physical well being are evidence that someone has no respect for your right to not be harmed. Consequently, you have no moral obligation to respect that right in him. Such threats may also trigger mental anguish, but that is irrelevant to whether physical retaliation or preemption is justified or not. I utterly fail to see why you think that scenario would indicate that mental and physical harm are not distinct.

  188. # Phlinn Says:
    > I utterly fail to see why you think that scenario would
    > indicate that mental and physical harm are not distinct.

    Because he did not ACTUALLY assault me, just threatened to do so. When you move from the realm of measurable harm (bullet, punch, kick) to words only, then you are on the slippery slope.

    What f he did not point a gun at me, but still demanded the money, would I be justified in shooting him.
    What if he made a fist? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he shook his fist in my face? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he slammed his fist down on the counter? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he had a switch blade in his hand, but it was closed? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he had a switch blade in his hand that was open, but pointing down toward the floor? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he had a gun in his hand but pointed it downward? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he was dressed as a policeman, and had a holstered gun? “Give me all the money!”
    What if he did nothing, but was a very large, tattooed man, with three other similar men behind him, and he yelled his demand at me in a very loud and intimating manner? “Give me all the money!”

    When am I allowed to shoot him?

  189. I think that the point is that the threat of physical force is wrong in and of itself, and mental anguish that results from said threat is external. Any of the scenarios above imply a threat of force; that’s the whole point of robbery (“your money or your life”). As such, you are entitled to defend yourself. Perhaps not to shoot someone–I would be very careful with that, even as a mental exercise–but certainly to defend yourself to the best of your ability, with regard to the threat.

  190. When are you brave free speech advocates going to stand up for the right, indeed the obligation to stand up for people are the targets of hatenuts and trolls? I think you’re not defending free speech at all, but your own moral cowardice. You don’t see a problem because you don’t want to see it, therefore anyone who complains is the one with the problem.

  191. Looking at these questions as if I were on a jury considering the mattter…

    >What f he did not point a gun at me, but still demanded the money, would I be justified in shooting him.
    >What if he made a fist? “Give me all the money!”
    >What if he shook his fist in my face? “Give me all the money!”
    >What if he slammed his fist down on the counter? “Give me all the money!”

    Up to this point, you’re justified in drawing down on him and threatening to kill him if he doesn’t fuck off. Optionally, you’d be within your rights to arrest him and forcibly detain him until you could hand him off to a cop and file charges for attempted robbery.

    >What if he had a switch blade in his hand, but it was closed? “Give me all the money!”
    >What if he had a switch blade in his hand that was open, but pointing down toward the floor? “Give me all the money!”
    >What if he had a gun in his hand but pointed it downward? “Give me all the money!”

    At this point, I’d vote to acquit you if you shot him, fatally or not.

    >What if he was dressed as a policeman, and had a holstered gun? “Give me all the money!”

    If a cop’s demanding your money, he’s attempting to commit a crime under color of authority. I’d acquit you if you shot him.

    >What if he did nothing, but was a very large, tattooed man, with three other similar men behind him, and he >yelled his demand at me in a very loud and intimating manner? “Give me all the money!”

    In this situation, I’d say draw down on them and tell them to fuck off. Open fire if they move toward you.

  192. >If I build a building next door to you that is very high and does not have a sufficiently deep foundation, is that an actionable threat?

    No, that’s a nuisance and there is a process in tort law for dealing with it.

  193. > Amaya told my friend and others that I had disrespected Debian by bringing a prostitute to the banquet.

    If she claimed incorrectly that your date was a prostitute, that’s defamation. Whether it’s worth pursuing legal action to obtain compensation for the damage to your reputation is up to you.

  194. “Some Guy Says:”
    “November 3rd, 2009 at 8:16 am”

    “> Amaya told my friend and others that I had disrespected Debian by bringing a prostitute to the banquet. ”

    “If she claimed incorrectly that your date was a prostitute, that’s defamation. Whether it’s worth pursuing legal action to obtain compensation for the damage to your reputation is up to you.”

    This is a bullshit response and you know it. You KNOW that he would get nowhere with defamation. You KNOW that men get NOWHERE in the courts: this is why you always promote such “solutions”. You KNOW that the courts are generally opposed to men and in-favor of “women and children and Lesbian/Transgendered/etc” people. You KNOW men fail in the courts.

    You KNOW that the ONLY avenue of redress for men is VIOLENCE. You suggest they submit to the court so that they will be driven to bankruptcy or imprisoned and thus prevented from committing MURDER or a well deserved assault against their ENEMIES.

    You KNOW that state power is ALWAYS used AGAINST MEN and usually used in the favor of women, children (women’s proxies), lesbians, etc interest.

    Men: You must fight. You have NO other option.
    Your life WILL be destroyed one way or another once you are in the cross-hairs of the scum that is the pro-women’s rights states of the world. Destroy their lives as your final act rather than rotting in prison with no way to then achieve recompense.

    Some Guy: You are scum and are a supporter of the enemies of Men. You are a column on which the oppression of men sits. You must be knocked down to the ground and DESTROYED like all the other like columns around you: your friends and supporters. The supporters of women’s rights. The destroyers of men’s liberty.

    Your kind must die for men to be free. I hope it happens. I hope that one day men have enough of your “reasonableness” and slaughter you and yours. I hope it is painful and I hope that there is NO afterlife for you to then go. I hope you just disappear as you have disappeared MILLIONS of men into your fucking prisons.

    I pray every night, every hour, every moment for the destruction of the PEOPLE who support women’s rights, who oppress MEN, who DENY men what is good (good young wives, good capable weapons so that NO ONE can take ANYTHING from the men (nor can the wife LEAVE him with the help and the threat of the state and the “good people”)).

    There are many other men who pray the same. They usually suffer in silence until they die or kill themselves. If only they would kill the likes of you and yours. If only they would destroy the society that hates them (the society that is built for WOMEN (and children) and in OPPOSITION to the likes, wants, and dreams of MEN).

  195. Some Guy: You are scum and are a supporter of the enemies of Men.

    I’m curious, Mikhail: have you ever consulted a psychiatrist to find out exactly what kind of a nutcase you are?

  196. Your kind must die for men to be free.

    Think you’re man enough to make it happen? I read your frothing and see a scared little boy who has little if any hope of ever growing up.

  197. Pingback: On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events | Geek Feminism Blog

  198. Pingback: Re-post: On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events | Geek Feminism Blog

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