Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

Now comes Roberto Rosario of the Django Software Foundation. Django is a web development framework that is a flourishing and well-respected part of the ecology around the of the Python language. On October 29th 2015 he reported that someone posting as ‘djangoconcardiff’ opened an issue against pull request #176 on ‘awesome-django’, addressing it to Rosario. This was the first paragraph.

Hi

great project!! I have one observation and a suggestion. I noticed that you have rejected some pull requests to add some good django libraries and that the people submitting thsoe pull requests are POCs (People of Colour). As a suggestion I recommend adopting the Contributor Code of Conduct (http://contributor-covenant.org) to ensure everyone’s contributions are accepted regarless [sic] of their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, height, place of origin, etc. etc. etc. As a white straight male and lead of this trending repository, your adoption of this Code of Conduct will send a loud and clear message that inclusion is a primary objective of the Django community and of the software development community in general. D.

Conversation on that issue is preserved in the Twitter link above, but the issue itself in GitHub has apparently been deleted in its totality. Normally, only GitHub staff can do this. A copy is preserved here.

It is unknown who was speaking as ‘djangoconcardiff’, and that login has now been deleted, like the GitHub issue. (DjangoCon Europe 2015 was this past May/June in Cardiff.)

The slippery, Newspeak-like quality of djangoconcardiff’s “suggestion” makes it hard to pin down from the text itself whether he/she is merely stumping for inclusiveness or insinuating that rejection of pull requests by “persons of color” is itself evidence of racism and thoughtcrime.

But, if you think you’re reading that ‘djangoconcardiff’ considers acceptance of pull requests putatively from “persons of color” to be politically mandatory, a look at the Contributor Covenant he/she advocates will do nothing to dissuade you. Paragraph 2 denounces the “pervasive cult of meritocracy”. [Update: The explicit language has since been removed. The intention rather obviously remains]

It is clear that djangoconcardiff and the author of the Covenant (self-described transgender feminist Coraline Ada Ehmke) want to replace the “cult of meritocracy” with something else. And equally clear that what they want to replace it with is racial and sexual identity politics.

Rosario tagged his Twitter report “Social Justice in action!” He knows who these people are: SJWs, “Social Justice Warriors”. And, unless you have been living under a rock, so do you. These are the people – the political and doctrinal tendency, united if in no other way by an elaborate shared jargon and a seething hatred of djangoconcardiff’s “white straight male”, who recently hounded Nobel laureate Tim Hunt out of his job with a fraudulent accusation of sexist remarks.

I’m not going to analyze SJW ideology here except to point out, again, why the hacker culture must consider anyone who holds it an enemy. This is because we must be a cult of meritocracy. We must constantly demand merit – performance, intelligence, dedication, and technical excellence – of ourselves and each other.

Now that the Internet – the hacker culture’s creation! – is everywhere, and civilization is increasingly software-dependent, we have a duty, the duty I wrote about in Holding Up The Sky. The invisible gears have to turn. The shared software infrastructure of civilization has to work, or economies will seize up and people will die. And for large sections of that infrastructure, it’s on us – us! – to keep it working. Because nobody else is going to step up.

We dare not give less than our best. If we fall away from meritocracy – if we allow the SJWs to remake us as they wish, into a hell-pit of competitive grievance-mongering and political favoritism for the designated victim group of the week – we will betray not only what is best in our own traditions but the entire civilization that we serve.

This isn’t about women in tech, or minorities in tech, or gays in tech. The hacker culture’s norm about inclusion is clear: anybody who can pull the freight is welcome, and twitching about things like skin color or shape of genitalia or what thing you like to stick into what thing is beyond wrong into silly. This is about whether we will allow “diversity” issues to be used as wedges to fracture our community, degrade the quality of our work, and draw us away from our duty.

When hackers fail our own standards of meritocracy, as we sometimes do, it’s up to us to fix it from within our own tradition: judge by the work alone, you are what you do, shut up and show us the code. A movement whose favored tools include the rage mob, the dox, and faked incidents of bigotry is not morally competent to judge us or instruct us.

I have been participating in and running open-source projects for a quarter-century. In all that time I never had to know or care whether my fellow contributors were white, black, male, female, straight, gay, or from the planet Mars, only whether their code was good. The SJWs want to make me care; they want to make all of us obsess about this, to the point of having quotas and struggle sessions and what amounts to political officers threatening us if we are insufficiently “diverse”.

Think I’m exaggerating? Read the whole djangoconcardiff thread. What’s there is totalitarianism in miniature: ideology is everything, merit counts for nothing against the suppression of thoughtcrime, and politics is conducted by naked intimidation against any who refuse to conform. Near the end of the conversation djangoconcardiff threatens to denounce Rosario to the board of the Django Software Foundation in the confused, illiterate, vicious idiom of an orc or a stormtrooper.

It has been suggested that djangoconcardiff might be a troll emulating an SJW, and we should thus take him less seriously. The problem with this idea is that no SJW disclaimed him – more generally, that “Social Justice” has reached a sort of Poe’s Law singularity at which the behavior of trolls and true believers becomes indistinguishable even to each other, and has the same emergent effects.

In the future, the hacker whose community standing the SJWs threaten could be you. The SJWs talk ‘diversity’ but like all totalitarians they measure success only by total ideological surrender – repeating their duckspeak, denouncing others for insufficent political correctness, loving Big Brother. Not being a straight white male won’t save you either – Roberto Rosario is an Afro-Hispanic Puerto Rican.

We must cast these would-be totalitarians out – refuse to admit them on any level except by evaluating on pure technical merit whatever code patches they submit. We must refuse to let them judge us, and learn to recognize their thought-stopping jargon and kafkatraps as a clue that there is no point in arguing with them and the only sane course is to disengage. We can’t fix what’s broken about the SJWs; we can, and must, refuse to let them break us.

(Roberto Rosario, Meredith L. Patterson, and Rick Moen assisted in the composition of this post. However, any errors are the sole responsibility of the author.)

740 thoughts on “Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

  1. “Civil rights” has truly jumped the shark when people openly advocate that objective merit take a back seat to identity quotas.

    I am now leaning toward advocating a nearly-complete dismantling of all “civil rights” offices and positions in government and education. No more affirmative action, no “Diversity Officers,” no racial/gender quotas, etc. Just a few people to collect statistics and refer any real cases of discrimination etc. to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The current system is grinding to a halt due to massive inefficiency and internal contradiction.

    The screams from the left would be epic, but I think the real-world effects would be much more positive than negative. It would be the social equivalent of Ludwig Erhard ending price controls in Germany in 1948, which began the “German economic miracle,” and which many also thought would be disastrous.

  2. I wonder if you’ve been a bit heads down on your current projects, for this has been a not so recent and ever widening problem. GitHub in particular has become a nest of SJWs—too many incidents to quickly cite, but the “retard” one is particularly alarming given their ostensible purpose—and that “meritocracy” word you like? They purged the meritocracy rug they had in their entrance. Opalgate also went much like the Roberto Rosario incident you cite, and I note he’s been forced out of at least one Python group for the usual unreasons and otherwise viciously attacked, no doubt one reason he was so forceful so quickly this time.

    Or what about the Mozilla Rust documentator and public face Steve Klabnik, who’s proud for “no platforming” the engineer otherwise known as the “neoreactionary” Moldbug in this year’s Strange Loop conference, where the latter was going to talk about his Urbit project? Klabnik open praises “anti-fascist” AKA antifa violence in Europe, and in that context was wondering what a technology antifa should do.

    We indeed have a serious problem with these SJWs tearing at our modern sinews of civilization; I’m not sure what to do other than things like ruthlessly applying the program at the end of SJWs Always Lie and “no platforming” them out of their tech positions and livelihoods. I don’t see any alternatives, they certainly won’t leave us alone, and our livelihoods as well as this minor detail we call civilization would seem to require such a program.

  3. But the totalitarians are at places like Apple (Steve Jobs was about merit, but he’s gone), Google, Microsoft.
    So what if it is easily hacked, crashes, loses data, and is unusable, we have safe spaces and let anyone use any locker or restroom they want!
    BTW – how many H1-Bs are not young males from India?
    I’m waiting for the SJWPL so FreeBSD can adopt it.

  4. > The hacker culture’s norm about inclusion is clear: anybody who can pull the freight is welcome, and twitching about things like skin color or shape of genitalia or what thing you like to stick into what thing is beyond wrong into silly.

    What about people who can pull their own weight, in the sense of coding well, but don’t apply this standard to the people they bring on, i.e., SJW who can code? Should they be brought in for the sake of meritocracy, or kept out to prevent the people they bring in from causing damage?

  5. @tz
    Steve Jobs was always a totalitarian, only he was totalitarian about design rather thanvolk-marxist causes.

  6. “anybody who can pull the freight is welcome”

    Yeah, but that’s racist and misogynist, as police departments, fire departments, and the military are finding out. Removing meritocracy from the world is a long-standing desire of some segments of society; I was just reading a 1980s letter from a teacher’s union rep, complaining that there’s no such thing as merit pay for teachers… not mentioning that it’s because teacher’s unions had already come out against any form of measuring results, preferring to tie pay to certifications.

  7. (ardent SJW here, though I wholeheartedly concede computing chops to ESR)

    At this point I must ask if RMS is not a hacker. Literally the whole point of Free Software is social justice. Or for a lesser example, Matthew Garrett, who happens to be literally why your laptop runs Linux at all.

  8. How easy would it be, as a last ditch, to fork hacker culture and infrastructure, reinstating meritocratic ideals? If SJWs pose such a detrimental effect to software quality, the effort rebuilding the necessary infrastructure will be outweighed by more competent coders. Preventing entryism into the new culture would also be in important issue.

  9. @David Gerard

    Well, RMS doesn’t see to be bothered by nearly all the programers on his projects being white men.

  10. @David Gerard: Even if “the whole point of Free Software is social justice,” which I think is quite arguable, that does not mean that free software must adopt anything and everything that waves the banner of “social justice.”

    Not to mention Hayek’s demolition of the entire concept of “social justice.” (The TL;DR version: justice can only operate at the individual level. Once you try to apply it to groups, you destroy true, individual justice.)

  11. I tried raising a pull request against Coraline’s covenant a while ago, to clarify wording such that restrictions on speech would apply only to the context of communications within the project covered by the covenant.

    My PR was rejected – it’s clear from reading the thread that Coraline and her comrades wish to make participation in covenant projects dependant upon correct speech in all fora.

    Judge for yourself:

    https://github.com/CoralineAda/contributor_covenant/pull/74

    As far as I can tell, Social Justice is about power. It’s sad because there *is* a lot of irrational discrimination in tech (including agism) and the SJWs are casting a massive shadow of mistrust across genuinely benevolent attempts to address these issues.

  12. @Duncan Bayne: SJWs won’t be against ageism until more of them get old. Now they’re almost all teens-30s, so most are probably fine with a form of discrimination that happens to their major enemies, who are usually older. Mentioning ageism would complicate grabbing power from older people.

  13. @Duncan Bayne “Judge for yourself:”

    Well, since you asked so nicely… I don’t think your description is a fair summary of the discussion you linked.

  14. What’s the deal with the ~27 projects listed towards the end of the “Contributor Covenant” page? Have all these projects bought into this shit? I have checked out a few and found the contributor code of conduct. Most, but not all, of the names are links are to github.

  15. Random832: that’s a fairly charitable position, *especially* in the context of the OpalGate fiasco.

    My reading of events is that:

    * the covenant categories certain speech as unacceptable

    * that’s fine in itself (most teams have this, whether explicitly stated or not)

    * Coraline and others want to extend the context in which speech is to be regulated to all fora, not just those related to the project

    My reading of this is: if you want to participate in a project to which the covenant applies, you will regulate your speech in public accordingly.

    How do you interpret it?

  16. Even if you don’t agree, do you at least understand that they don’t really want to do away with meritocracy, but rather that they believe that the lack of representation of some groups is prima facie evidence that it’s not a real meritocracy, and that “meritocracy” is just an excuse for discrimination, and that when they say things like “pervasive cult of meritocracy” they’re talking about this supposed lie rather than an actual meritocracy?

    Even if they’re wrong, I see absolutely no evidence that it is not their sincere belief.

  17. >Even if they’re wrong, I see absolutely no evidence that it is not their sincere belief.

    Go read the entire djangoconcardiff thread. That – and events like the scalping of Tim Hunt, and Shanley Kane’s entire history as a public figure – fails to support this benign interpreatuon.

    Even supposing it’s their sincere belief, they have a pattern of behaving like vicious thugs who want to end meritocracy in the sense I describe it.

  18. > Random832: that’s a fairly charitable position, *especially* in the context of the OpalGate fiasco.

    I have no context but the thread you linked.

  19. > How do you interpret it?

    I interpret it as an attempt to prevent “loopholes” like, as someone suggested, one contributor chasing another contributor to an unrelated forum in order to harass them. Maybe some of the language is overly broad, but I’d have to see an actual example of it being used the way you suggest to conclude that this is intended to be applied that way.

    Really, I’m a bit baffled by the whole thing. Normally, a project’s leadership wouldn’t need to justify their decision to kick someone out to others (and therefore wouldn’t have any need of excessively broad rules allowing them to do so, or any rules at all).

  20. Random832: What about the context of the OpalGate discussion itself that I linked to above?

  21. Eric, you probably want to re-read the opening two paragraphs. Lots of cut-and-paste-without-edits errors there.

    There is a difference between “rules” and “principles.”

    The people attempting this ideological purge do not recognize that difference.

    I recommend that anyone who asks that that CoC be applied to an existing project be invited to clone the project, set up that CoC and start their own form. Do it politely, be very gracious about respecting their opinion and right to form their own community.

    That IS the Open Source way. If someone doesn’t like how a project is being run, they have access to the source code and can fork the project to match their own needs.

  22. Also, meritocracy and identity politics are mutually exclusive. You cannot advocate both consistently and honestly.

    It’s annoying. As I’ve said I think there are many real irrational biases in tech, and there are many approaches one can take to mitigate them – that is, to approach true meritocracy more closely.

    SJWs are hindering, not helping, this issue. I’ve seen them drive off people who I know have been very effective in challenging irrational discrimination in the past; I’m guessing as to the reasons, but one might be a reluctance to associate with people who who treat them as enemies.

  23. “I’d have to see an actual example of it being used the way you suggest to conclude that this is intended to be applied that way.”

    Rules by themselves have no intention. A fundamental principle (not a rule) is that in any organization larger than six people is that any rule that can be abused will be abused. Particularly rules that leave sanctions on behavior open to interpretation and the will of the pillory.

  24. Random832: the chasing you describe was performed by the maintainer of the covenant. It was designed specifically to enable that behavior, an example of which is OpalGate.

  25. I can’t look into this further now, but I have checked several of the 27 projects listed on the “Contributor Covenant” page and they do seem to have adopted this Code of Conduct.

  26. @Random832: Even if they’re wrong, I see absolutely no evidence that it is not their sincere belief.

    I, personally, don’t care what their sincere beliefs are. Actions are what matter, not beliefs. If someone is trying to get me to give up my freedom, I don’t care that they sincerely believe it’s for a good reason.

  27. But the totalitarians are at places like Apple (Steve Jobs was about merit, but he’s gone), Google, Microsoft.

    To the best of my knowledge, Tim Cook cares a lot more about your code or design quality than your ability to fit a diversity checkbox; he just talks about it a little more to get people to shut up.

    (It helps when you’re Apple and can just throw money at “getting really, really, really good people who happen to fit those checkboxes”.

    But the supply of such people is limited – for reasons unrelated to “the industry is all bigoted!”

    So even if everyone had Apple money – without this causing an inflationary spiral in programmer/STEM/whatever salaries – you couldn’t do it that way all over.)

  28. ESR: You are gettting more and more absurd with every passing post. Has no one told you that you don’t speak for hackers? That you may well have had some good stuff in the past, but that “hacker culture” has moved on, and you aren’t as relevant as you may once have been?

    “Meritocracy” is flawed concept. In the original essay that defined the term, it wasn’t flawed; it was satire.

    Anyway, I am happy to say that ESR: you don’t speak for me. Moreover, your bullshit is bullshit.

    I have more to say, but I’ve other things to do. I’ll say ’em later.

  29. ESR: you’ve been properly told off now; apparently you don’t speak for a “hacker” who doesn’t use his or her real name and thinks meritocracy is a flawed concept.

    Frankly, I’d be worried if you ever did ;-)

  30. >ESR: you’ve been properly told off now; apparently you don’t speak for a “hacker” who doesn’t use his or her real name and thinks meritocracy is a flawed concept.

    Yes, that struck me as ridiculous too.

  31. Eric, you are defending but one front in this war. The problem you highlight is pervasive in our society, as reflected in current events on college campuses and such prior movements as Occupy Wallstreet. What is happening is analogous to a mutating and metastasizing disease. It succeeds by consuming its host, or failing that, killing it. It’s not simply a battle in defense of meritocracy in hackerdom; but an existential conflict between producers and parasites.

  32. >It’s not simply a battle in defense of meritocracy in hackerdom; but an existential conflict between producers and parasites.

    I’m aware of this. I’m focusing on one battlefield because that’s where I can fight effectively.

  33. ” A movement whose favored tools include the rage mob, the dox, and faked incidents of bigotry is not morally competent to judge us anyone or instruct us anyone.”

    FIFY.

  34. I’ve had run-ins with what you call “social justice warriors.” I have about as much patience for their BS as I do for “engineers” and “hackers” who are convinced that they are purely rational and meritocratic (or at least more so than everyone else). Sorry, no, if you are human, you have emotions, blind spots, and irrational biases. Acting as if things were otherwise is irrational.

  35. >Sorry, no, if you are human, you have emotions, blind spots, and irrational biases.

    Of course. But a culture in which people strive to be meritocrats despite those flaws is better than a culture of rage-mobbing.

  36. I think the bigger concern would be over SJW’s that actually write good code only as a means of implanting themselves within the culture in order to subvert it.

  37. @Justin:

    “Thank you for your concern. I do not choose to follow that set of guidelines out of fear of disrupting the project. Here’s a cloned repo; you are welcome to fork the project.”

    I’m certain that a macro could be programmed that did this automatically…

  38. It’s all very well for to claim that one should only judge only on merit.

    But one must account for the reality of direct and indirect discrimination.
    http://levlafayette.com/node/457

    @PapayaSF

    Social justice (in the aggregate sense) most certainly exists, as injustices are applied against people on group identification, as noted above. Defaming a collective identity is a reality, despite what Hayek argued.

  39. You need your own set of vile faceless minions, or borrow Vox Day’s.
    Have them join the projects with codes, have half post subtle but things which might cause offense, and have the other half report them as being intolerable, so as to bury the SJW thought police too busy to do anything but evaluate grievances. E.g.
    Trans acceptance: The art of eunuchs programming.

  40. > I think the bigger concern would be over SJW’s that actually write good code only as a means of implanting themselves within the culture in order to subvert it.

    With a tiny change you can make that sound like rms. It’s irrelevant, only the code matters.

  41. I hire technical people and I hire engineers.
    I do not care what their genital arrangement might be or the colour of the skin or the intonation of their accent or what their gender identity is.
    I care about whether they have the skills to do the job and the aptitude to adapt to a fluctuating technology environment. I care about whether they are a team player and have something to contribute to the team.
    I currently run a team of 8 and other than english, my team cover 7 other languages the usual differences in genial arrangement. All that is incidental to the reason they have the job. The reason they have the job is that they are qualifed to do it. Thats it.

  42. Tz,

    That is about the worst idea I have seen here.

    ” A movement whose favored tools include the rage mob, the dox, and faked incidents of bigotry is not morally competent to judge us anyone or instruct us anyone.”

    This applies to Vox and his mob just as much as it does to the SJW pukes who insist their feels are more important than working shipped code.

    Any culture left after filtering signal from the noise of a permanent flame war SJW vs G8ers will not produce much working code.

  43. @Lev Lafayette: “Defaming a collective identity” is still the act of individuals. It’s not justice to punish any group for the actions of some individuals in that group. Which is, of course, the injustice at the core of any “social justice” movement.

  44. Two text corrections?
    interpreted this as an attemp to bear the hacker culture
    ..you meant “attempt” I assume?

    Django is a web development famework
    ..you meant “framework” I hope ;)

  45. Part of this conflict (but not all) is due to a misunderstanding. Critics of “meritocracy” aren’t criticizing the idea of judging contributions on quality. Part of what they’re saying is that due to things like unconscious bias, we humans aren’t always capable of making accurate judgements of merit, and we need to be conscious of those biases in order to correct for them. They’re also saying that the culture of some tech projects has the effect of disproportionately turning away certain groups of people, even when their work is of equal quality.

    Hypothetical example: if someone calls some code “ghetto” it sends different messages to different people. If you’ve never had to seriously worry about being judged by your race, you might just hear “this code is sloppy.” But if you’ve lived your entire life under the threat of racial discrimination, you might hear “we don’t like this code because of the race of the author.” You might think it should be obvious you don’t mean that, but it’s not. Also, at best, you’re saying “in this community it is normal to be ignorant of or indifferent to the racial implications of this word, and anyone who has a problem with it is not welcome here.” So most of the people who criticize “meritocracy” are actually striving for a more meritocratic process by pointing out that proponents of “meritocracy” are often unknowingly contributing to an un-level playing field.

    Just as in any ideology, there are some self-interested bullies who use social justice language to do harm, and I think there is a real problem among social justice advocates in not being honest enough about that. But, having read the suggested code of conduct, it seems like if applied as written, it would be just as effective at keeping those people out.

    For great justice,
    elplatt

  46. Pretty sure SJWs are here to stay. Enjoy your “democracy”! lol

  47. Actually, I don’t have any more to add, besides a suggestion to look up “the meritocracy myth”. In short, “meritocracies” aren’t, to the extent that various other factors influence how well people do. In some cases, merit is worthless, despite what people might claim.

    And this is the case in software development communities, including “hacker” communities. In many cases, women (and others who aren’t perceived as white men) will face a harder time. Even if their code is good, it’s not accepted as good as (objectively) equally good code (from a white man).

    You should be focused on “ejecting” those bigots rather than a few social justice warriors. If you want to get rid of anyone, why not get rid of those who fight against meritocracy from a racist, sexist and similar standpoint? (“Vox day”, or whatever his name is, is a perfect example of someone that you really don’t want on your side if you actually do believe in meritocracy regardless of gender, sexual preference, colour of skin, or similar irrelevancies.)

  48. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to push back against the Codes of Conduct that have proliferated at technical conferences? They’re obviously applied asymmetrically, as talks frequently endorse “increasing diversity” and sometimes even explicitly call for having fewer white men in tech, but anyone who calls the conference organizers on their hypocrisy risks outing herself as a crimethinker.

  49. >Of course. But a culture in wehich people strive to be meritocrats despite those flaws is better than a culture of rage-mobbing.

    Some people seem to instinctively know not to let imagined perfection be the enemy of the merely very good.

  50. Ken Burnside wrote:

    I recommend that anyone who asks that that CoC be applied to an existing project be invited to clone the project, set up that CoC and start their own form. Do it politely, be very gracious about respecting their opinion and right to form their own community. That IS the Open Source way. If someone doesn’t like how a project is being run, they have access to the source code and can fork the project to match their own needs.

    Perfect assessment. Eric, I would politely suggest that you promote the Gehenna of Ken Burnside’s comment, and I’ll tell you why:

    The right to fork (w/implied access to source) is the core principle of open source. It’s the bedrock, the one thing everything else is built on. People who don’t believe in it, don’t believe in open source, full stop. And:

    Saying to a critic, who wants changes unwanted by code maintainers, ‘Well, since you want us to take measures we’d rather not, but you’re most welcome to fork, and we hope both projects thrive’ is polite, constructive, and provides the critic exactly what he/she wants. All the critic has to do, then, is code. And everyone gets what he or she wants.

    Even better, this response is completely politics-neutral and utterly fair, from any viewpoint, and appeals to anyone who agrees to open source principles, regardless of any other convictions. It can be adopted both by those thinking hacker culture is under attack and by those who don’t. It requires neither manifestos nor ejecting anyone nor rhetoric of any kind. It’s peaceable and requires next to no effort — just answering back the five words ‘Feel free to fork, then.’

    It’s fair when the critics are ‘SJWs’. It’s fair when they’re neocons. It’s fair no matter what the issue is, for critics with any ideology, and for critics with none.

    In addition, anyone who claims to favour diversity would be an utter hypocrite to disfavour a policy of ‘letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’. And it would be uncharitable to suggest they would, so we certainly should not.

    (No points for identifying the quotation, still famous in my youth in Hong Kong.)

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  51. I find it quite telling that those who criticize meritocracy because of the flaws in its real-world examples never seem to turn those discerning eyes on their own ideals: an end to war, poverty, injustice, prejudice, and inequality. They’re starry-eyed idealists who can easily see the gap between other people’s ideals and real-world practice, but not the gap on their side.

  52. @Rick Moen: Perfect. The three-word answer to SJWs in open source: “Just fork it.”

  53. Far as I’m concerned there’s a vast gulf of difference between “Bay area startup ninja rockstars” and “hackers”. The Bay area startup scene resembles Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League schools in that it selects for people who resemble the already-present establishment, regardless of merit. This is often done under the rubric of “cultural fit”, which often is a fig leaf for all sorts of discrimination: gender, racial, or you’re-just-not-cool-like-us. I’m every tickbox of privileged you can think of: white (literally whiter than Eric), male, cishet, Christian parentage — and I can’t hang with that crowd on cultural fit grounds.

  54. > Of course. But a culture in wehich people strive to be meritocrats despite those flaws is better than a culture of rage-mobbing.

    I’m reminded of an aphorism I once heard: something which can’t break can’t be fixed. If “striving to be meritocrats” includes denying the existence and extent of those flaws (as may or may not be true, but as these people believe is true and certainly should not be dismissed out of hand), then it’s really not.

  55. @Ken Burnside

    > “Thank you for your concern. I do not choose to follow that set of guidelines out of fear of disrupting the project. Here’s a cloned repo; you are welcome to fork the project.”

    I think the problem with this approach is it attempts to provide a reason for the rejection.

    Patches are accepted or rejected based on technical merit, so there are usually reasons associated. Non-technical patches, like ‘Please adopt this CoC,” or “Please change the license terms to XYZ,” don’t necessarily require a reason for rejection, just like some religious sect knocking on your door and asking you to consider joining up … ‘Because I don’t want to,” is a more than sufficient reason.

    Note: I have nothing against projects adopting whatever standards, licenses or CoC they want, but treating ideological changes like software patches misses something fundamental about what is being asked.

  56. @Random832

    I’m reminded of an aphorism I once heard: something which can’t break can’t be fixed. If “striving to be meritocrats” includes denying the existence and extent of those flaws (as may or may not be true, but as these people believe is true and certainly should not be dismissed out of hand), then it’s really not.

    The concept of “merit” comes from power. All these people running around trying to critique merit on the basis that it favors the powerful are correct on the basic facts. And since in Christian morality we’re all supposed to be equal, this is a potent argument for the vast majority of people (i.e. moralizing bozos). And the counter argument – that, for example, open source is composed of “equals” is retarded. In fact, merit is good *because* it favors the powerful.

  57. Let’s talk about something interesting, like video games. Who is playing Black Ops 3?

  58. I agree with Eric, with one important exception: I think we should get rid of ALL the assholes. SJW assholes? Gone. Racist assholes? Gone. Sexist assholes? Gone. Liberal assholes? Gone. Feminist assholes? Gone. Conservative assholes? Gone.

    Or to phrase it another way, “Assholes drive away people who might learn to code well, thus preventing us from growing our meritocracy.”

  59. > Or to phrase it another way, “Assholes drive away people who might learn to code well, thus preventing us from growing our meritocracy.”

    There is no single “meritocracy.” You can have merit in your own domain or project, but you don’t deserve shit outside of that until you earn it.

  60. @ Ken: There is no single “meritocracy.” You can have merit in your own domain or project, but you don’t deserve shit outside of that until you earn it.

    BFD. Your project can be a different meritocracy than my project. Hopefully we’re all improving our code.

  61. This is tragic. The SJW disease is metastasizing. The SJWs demand that a core developer be excluded from a project because his opinions on a completely separate topic, expressed in a completely separate milieu, might offend potential contributors to that project.

    There is no actual evidence of of such offense, nor of any useful contribution to that project being rejected because of bigotry, but the SJWs demand a pre-emptive purge lest some such discrimination occur.

    I wonder what the SJWs would say if this principle was exercised in other ways.

    For instance, ESR has said that monotheistic religions such as Christianity or Islam are a form of insanity (IIRC; apologies if that is a misstatement). Surely that would be “unwelcoming” to any believing Christian or Moslem, and ESR must be excluded.

    I can’t cite an example, but I bet I could find comments on political forums denouncing American soldiers as war criminals – by people who are also FOSS developers. Such sentiments would be “unwelcoming” to any veteran contributor, so those people must be excluded.

    Let’s not not forget the venom routinely directed toward “Zionazis”, “breeders”,and “Rethuglicans”.

    “But it really doesn’t matter whom you put upon the list,
    For they’d none of ’em be missed,
    They’d none of them be missed.”

  62. >For instance, ESR has said that monotheistic religions such as Christianity or Islam are a form of insanity

    Monotheism is not the relevant predicate; “faith-centered” is. But they almost coincide, as polytheisms tend to be orthopractic rather than orthodox.

  63. > The right to fork (w/implied access to source) is the core principle of open source.

    But forking an open source project is a “nuclear option”. It is done only (well, done successfully) only when really needed – there is network effect, and splitting community, etc.

  64. @Jakub Narebski:

    But forking an open source project is a “nuclear option”. It is done only (well, done successfully) only when really needed – there is network effect, and splitting community, etc.

    Of course. (You possibly don’t know that, back in ’99, I wrote one of the major more frequently cited articles about code forking in open source.) So, if the critic feels that his/her cause is of vital importance, I’m sure a little inconvenience is a small price for helping save the world. So, ‘Feel free to fork, then’ is in that context a polite and constructive way of saying ‘no’ to someone with demands you’d rather not discuss and have better things to deal with.

    In passing, I’ll note that classic forks are not the only option for such a person. Ken Burnside mentioned, for example, the idea of critics ‘setting up their own form’. (Which I’m guessing was supposed to be ‘forum’; thus the reference in the next sentence to respecting their right to form their own community.) I believe Ken’s idea, here, is that if a critic or group of critics doesn’t like the social conventions and tolerated speech of a project’s own discussion forum, they are free to ‘fork’ the discussion community by setting up an alternate one.

    Then, too, I’m betting that code forks over social issues will always tend to have frequent resyncs with or without much discussion of same. Watch what happens with Matthew Garrett’s I-don’t-like-LKML-culture fork of the Linux kernel. How much do you think he’ll veer from mainline over the long run? I’m betting not far at all, with frequent veering back.

    There is a noble history, e.g., rather than being annoyed at or having strife over Jörg Schilling’s questionable notions of licence compatibility and passive-aggressive complaints about Linux in cdrtools, it proved smarter and more constructive to fork off cdrkit and patch out the Schillingisms.

    Network effect and splitting community, yes, and people fuss and complain over that until the fever breaks and commenters remember that community members’ loyalty isn’t anyone else’s to hoard.

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  65. Klabnik isn’t just antifa, he is the most shameless communist I saw for a long time, and not the watered down type of communist, but the type who uses artwork clearly reminiscent to the Soviet imagery: https://twitter.com/steveklabnik to me this is roughly like the guys who think they are clever because their swastika has three arms not four.

    @David Gerard I really wish RMS’s name was not dragged into it. He is far more of an “older left” type who don’t turn the political into the personal and largely confine their politics to anti-war, anti-corporate and pro-spending views. The main difference is attacking big targets who can defend themselves vs. swarming up on normal average guys. So in this “older left” stuff there is something more honorable and braver. There is a difference between the revolutionary who is taking on something big, no matter how misguided his views may be, and the mob who singles out and attacks normal everyday individuals. Important to remember: back around 1930 when Hitler was nowhere and there was no war, this was precisely that one thing why the world started to hate the Italian Fascists, and how the word slowly became an insult: because they were perhaps the first group to regularly attack everyday individuals and shame them (force them to drink rapeseed oil, a laxative) or beat them up. Nobody knew what their politics is, it was these _methods_ that generated their bad rep. Everybody else obeyed some sort of a honor code to attack big targets only and not each other. So there is a lesson in there, I think. David, other people know SJWs not primarily by their goals, but by their methods. This is the biggest difference.

    @Anon Vox Day isn’t associated with hackerdom YET, as far as I have heard, but you look like you are doing a good job convincing hackers to buy his book.

    @Jeff Read I think SJWs are far more interested in the startup ninjas than actual hackers because the first are cool and the second look geekier and they are always after the easy prestige. This is a useful difference.

    @ESR this time pay attention to Jeff, this is really a useful idea, one part of the your strategy could be to communicate the difference between startup ninjas and hackers. They aren’t holding up the sky, they are focusing on the Snapchat type cool, fashionable, faddish projects and as that sort of thing is naturally less meritocratic and could have more of a party-bro athmosphere… hm.

  66. @Anon https://medium.com/diversify-tech/i-m-a-white-guy-in-silicon-valley-and-i-m-done-buying-the-meritocracy-myth-2cc0ef9f9b60

    The problem here with the mentioned Navy example is that it removes “tacit knowledge” from the picture, trying to base promotions on “objective” knowledge. That is one of the reasons why socialism didn’t work either. If you run job interviews, and get 10 applicants, and lets say they all are white men so it is not even about that, and all have the best records but still in 2-3 cases you will get a certain “whiff” that you somehow don’t want to work with that guy. There is just the lack of that personal trust. “culture fit” is a poor term because sounds like a workplace is some community. It isn’t, there is a boss and employees, and it is all about you as a boss not feeling comfortable with trusting some personally, you feel like you are not going to become friends and you fear you will be yet another adversary hire where people mostly focus on pushing work on each other but taking credit etc.

  67. @Troutwaxer

    The problem is that even the term and concept “asshole” got so over-politicized by SJW types that it is suspicious. To give you an example, I have heard it said a couple of times that if you oppose abortion, no matter in how reasonable and diplomatic way you express it, you are considered a woman hater, because restricting the rights of others counts as hating them. Well, this is pretty insane, because “hate” is supposed to be something you yourself feel and not others report that they feel hated by you, but anyway, a hater is pretty close to an asshole, right?

    Now of course politics like that should not appear in software projects at all, but still it is so that that is very easy to distort calmly expressed, perfectly normal opinions into “hate” or “asshole”, such as:

    – sticking to the traditional “he” pronoun in docs to describe user behavior
    – opposing any sorts of quotas
    – thinking Master/slave are normal terms in technology, in device or process control

    At some level it is clear that you don’t want to work with asocial people, but I think the key is that you have to set up your etiquette so that it only polices tone not content.

    I mean, this is the perfect opposite of the SJW resistance to tone policing. Tone is the only thing that worths policing, not content. This means, for example, academic freedom means you can research racial IQ, but you cannot put expletives into the published results because a certain professional tone or style is expected.

  68. [RMS] is far more of an “older left” type who don’t turn the political into the personal….

    Tell that to the “Software Hoarders” of the mid-80s. I grant you that in style and tactics he isn’t like the more recent SJW left, but he made his crusade very personal back then, which I found particularly galling when he was attacking UniPress, who had the legal license to Gosling’s Emacs, which he appropriated to start Gnu Emacs.

    Note I say this as someone who worked for LMI and had his support (/ I was one of the few still willing to dine with him back then) to roommate when he launched the GNU project to consultant to UniPress for their Emacs on PCs. Nothing came of RMS’s appallingly unwise appropriation because two guys who owned UniPress where mensches who were allergic to lawsuits from their own experience, and stated that they believed Gnu Emacs would increase the market for their formally supported one.

  69. > this is really a useful idea, one part of the your strategy could be to communicate the difference between startup ninjas and hackers. They aren’t holding up the sky, they are focusing on the Snapchat type cool, fashionable, faddish projects

    I think we shouldn’t be dismissing the startup folks. Just because these frontend “ninjas” are not focusing on core Internet infrastructure, doesn’t mean that there’s no merit to what they’re doing. Those “unicorn” company that are worth many million USD have to be providing a significant amount of value (yes, including Snapchat) – no matter how hard to see where that value comes from.

    And they’re certainly meritocratic, inasmuch as they’re successfully operating in a very competitive market environment. They’re going to share our values, at least to some extent.

  70. i think @esr is absolutely right and all projicts should haev a coad of conduct to make them more meritocratik. I liek the covanant witch say:

    >>> We are committed to making participation in this project a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of level of experience, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality.

    if @esr adopt the coad of conduct for his projicts liek NTP then he will be saying I ONLY ACCEPT GOOD CODE IF U R GOOD SEND ME THE CODE i DONT CARE OTHERWISE. witch is very fare becaus no one should cair if coad come from mars or whatever we want projict to be about teh CODE AND ONLY THE CODE. If he haev no coad of conduct then bad people might be mean to teh meritpeople and they will leave.

    as usual @esr is right and THANKYOU ERIC KEEP UP TEH GOOD WORK LOL

  71. @guest – well, they’re successful today. For every eBay there were a thousand Pets.coms. And for Snapchat in particular, its appeal as an app depends on an arms race against screenshot apps, one I suspect it will ultimately lose.

  72. Huh. Possibly-interesting anecdote: I’ve met Coraline briefly, at a conference where she was speaking on the usual diversity topics. I looked her up after the talk; a friend of mine had recently come out as transgender and I was looking for advice on her behalf.

    General impression: I found her talk disturbing (I find most privilege-framing disturbing, more for association than content), but on the personal level she was pleasant and helpful.

  73. Where’s the evidence? The rejected requests will still be public on GitHub – or, if they have been adminstrator erased without trace, the evidence (missing sequence numbers) will still be. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the original complainer to refer to those requests to demonstrate what is happening, so that the rest of the community could judge for themselves why they may have been rejected.

    Evidence can be open as well as code, so let’s see it.

  74. @James M: Well, there is indeed a missing sequence number. And a page capture by a 3rd party service. (archive.is) So all the evidence appears to be right there.

  75. What’s wrong with meritocracy, from the point of view of these SJW assholes?

  76. @efraim: To be precise, I meant the requests that “djangoconcardiff” had claimed were rejected because of being submitted by POCs – of which, according to the phrasing used, there should be more than one.

  77. @Guest: It’s the culmination, even the reductio ad absurdum, of the “progressive” worldview.

    For most of history, the common attitude towards the poor was that it was just the way things were (maybe especially for the local low-status ethnic group), it was God’s will, they were unlucky, and/or that it was their own fault. In recent centuries, there grew to be more of an awareness of social forces like prejudice (which is a valid p.o.v., up to a point).

    But now, that attitude has been taken to an absurd extreme. It’s now considered rude if not oppressive to judge someone on their (somewhat) objective merits, and to expect anyone to help themselves. Instead we are told that “systems of oppression” are crucial and must change first. Which is one of the things that makes SJWs so annoying: their problems are always somebody else’s fault, they’re helpless before forces both massive and subtle (e.g. “microaggressions”), so they demand that other people do something to help them.

    Thus you get absurdities like masked London “anarchists” demanding that the government do more. You get protests because Yale did not condemn, in advance, potential (not actually seen!) Halloween costumes that might be offensive. If police often mistreat or shoot inner-city black males, it must be entirely the fault of the police. We must not look at all the stupid and violent things done by inner-city black males which have something to do with how police often treat them. Etc.

    In short, meritocracy is repellant to SJWs because it focuses on individuals and not groups. It expects changes and growth from personal effort. That takes the steam out of demands that other people change, and so deflates the core strategy of SJWs.

  78. > Literally the whole point of Free Software is social justice.

    Lol, what? Have you confused free software with your Marxist professor or something?

  79. Pingback: [SocJus] Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs | Social Justice Warcrimes

  80. There’s a much more succinct reason: If we don’t eject them, they will eject us.

    Fortunately, as the LKML shows, ejecting them is as simple as refusing to concede to them. They’ll rage, and rant, and defame, but eventually their move is to storm out saying “see how horrible you are for not welcoming a handicapped lesbian transgender woman of color like me?”. And all you have to say is “goodbye”.

  81. esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1310

    They aren’t a new thing.
    They’ve had success before having opensource projects removed.

    They are trying to oust Linus now.
    When they do Linux will fully go the way of mozilla,
    in all systemd style “glory”.

    Feminists always win. They’ve been winning since 1870.

  82. >Or what about the Mozilla Rust documentator and public face Steve Klabnik, who’s proud for “no platforming” the engineer otherwise known as the “neoreactionary” Moldbug in this year’s Strange Loop conference, where the latter was going to talk about his Urbit project? Klabnik open praises “anti-fascist” AKA antifa violence in Europe, and in that context was wondering what a technology antifa should do.

    There is only one solution to violence.
    We all know what it is.

  83. Good points, Eric. I’ll go further to say all of us supporting free speech, free expression, and meritocracy unite against these people and smash every attempt they make at this. They so far have been good at getting crowds to back them, magazines to denounce what they hate, careers destroyed, and so on. Yet, the nonsense they speak rarely represents the opinions of Americans as a whole. Even most liberals I know are more moderate or compromise in issues SJW’s hard-charge over.

    So, what they are is an extremely, vocal minority of people that tries to bully (yes, bully) others to speak and act the way they want. Their methods include verbal aggression, smear campaigns, cutting off opponents money supply, and so on. So, as in any similar situation, we should collectively disregard or expose their nonsense while blocking its harmful affects and punishing it in some suitable way. Otherwise, we’re just letting bullies run all over us and our freedom. Not acceptable.

    Side note: Effects of giving in to SJW’s ~= effects of surveillance/police state?

    Wanted some opinions on a related thought. I’m all for fighting true injustices, prejudice, etc. Much SJW activity is instead of made-up harm that exists in their head which they project onto others to target them. The alleged harms vary considerably from group to group. Anyone trying not to offend any of them literally has to maintain a list of all offensive and acceptable words or behavior in their heads while assessing every word or behavior against that before acting. In my opinion, this is very much like the self-censoring, stressful effects of living in a surveillance or police state. It’s unacceptable to force someone to live that way as 80-90% of their energy is wasted catering to those that will allege offense. Moreover, many of these SJW’s will campaign against police-states or censorship while behaving in a way that creates the same effects. So, I think their behavior is damaging to the mind of anyone tolerating it and hypocritical given the parallels to what they often oppose in other circles. Thoughts on that comparison?

  84. @ TheDividualist: The problem is that even the term and concept “asshole” got so over-politicized by SJW types that it is suspicious. To give you an example, I have heard it said a couple of times that if you oppose abortion, no matter in how reasonable and diplomatic way you express it, you are considered a woman hater, because restricting the rights of others counts as hating them. Well, this is pretty insane, because “hate” is supposed to be something you yourself feel and not others report that they feel hated by you, but anyway, a hater is pretty close to an asshole, right?

    I use the word “asshole” precisely because it seem non-political to me. If anyone tries to make it political, they’re being an asshole. :)

    Going forward from that thought, I think there are a couple issues here for project management. First, that everyone should have an “assumption of good will” towards everyone else who works the project. In practice that means that if someone on the mailing list uses the word “niggardly” everyone should assume that the word means “miserly” (which it does, dating back to Shakespeare) and it is not meant as an assault on African Americans.

    Second, it means that the person who used the word “niggardly” should be willing to apologize to an offended African American – use of the word is probably insensitive and not everyone knows what the word means – and use the word “miserly” next time. The “offender” needs to do it without accusing the black person of being racist against white people or any of the really stupid responses I’ve seen to that kind of critique. Everyone needs to be willing to be educated on both writing good code and on how to not offend other people on the project. Engineer your project with the best coding and architectural practices. Polish it with your social skills.

    Third, it should be understood that there will be a certain amount of mutual criticism about everything from code readability to architectural decisions, and sometime people who are excited phrase things poorly, and that this is normal, and frankly folks, get over yourselves. Everyone needs to have, at least, a semi-think skin., be willing to make and accept apologies, improve their social skills and otherwise be at least semi-professional about not shitting all over the project.

    Belittling trans-folk or insisting that everyone refrain from using Cis-gendered language is not acceptable in-project behavior, and if you’re a project leader, maybe accusing trans-folk of being “delusional,” even on another forum entirely, will probably have consequences, and if you’re not willing to accept those consequences, maybe you should STFU. (And if you’re an offended trans-person, don’t file a bug report because the project leader is being a jerk – take it to twitter or write about it on your blog or something.)

    This isn’t rocket-science. But the racist asshole and the SJW asshole* both need to learn how to behave real quick or get out of the community. They’re not welcome here.

    * And all the other assholes.

  85. >Second, it means that the person who used the word “niggardly” should be willing to apologize to an offended African American

    I would not apologize. His ignorance is his problem; I refuse to allow it to be mine. I would, in fact, tell him to shut the fuck up until he gets an education.

    Caving to that kind of offensensitivity only invites others to engage in language policing for purposes that are neither good nor innocent. I’m not only defending my own liberty by not buckling, I’m defending the black man’s liberty as well.

  86. Based on the title I wanted to hate this post, but you are absolutely spot on.

    I’m still adjusting to the negative connotation associated with the phrase ‘social justice’, which for my whole life has been a positive thing. I also can’t imagine ‘meritocracy’ being a negative thing either, so I’m not sure where I fit.

  87. I take it you never got as far as the actual text of the covenant at http://contributor-covenant.org/version/1/3/0? It’s not nearly as objectionable as the base page the OP links to; there is none of the garbage about “thoughtless use of pronouns” or “cult of meritocracy”, etc. Basically, it bans attacking the other party and doxing. In particular, the prohibition on doxing is something I’d view favourably, and the personal-attack restriction is kinda meh– I can operate in an environment with or without them; I don’t need them to get my point across, but I have a thick-enough skin to tolerate them being directed at me.

    That’s not to say I think it’s a great fit for every project- adopting it for the kernel would hamstring Mr. Torvalds’s management of the project, for example, and a number of others that aren’t as high-profile. There’s also a number of people who take bizarrely broad views of what constitutes attacks and harassment (see comments by TheDividualist, above), but the structure of the covenant is such that the project maintainer is the final arbiter of what constitutes violation of the policy.

    If the covenant matches the norms you’d like to see on your project, by all means go ahead and adopt it; as far as I’m concerned, your project = your rules. To me, the most objectionable feature of the whole business is that people may interpret it as signaling agreement with the kooks, but if enough projects take a sane interpretation of its provisions, I think that stigma is likely to dissipate (and wouldn’t it just tick off the crazies to have their platform hijacked, ha!). On the other hand, if you chafe at not being allowed to insult contributors, then ignore it or modify it to fit. But I don’t find it particular cause for alarm as it isn’t in itself particularly Orwellian and it doesn’t represent a significant step in that direction- it’s just a formalisation of certain community norms which are already well within the spectrum of civilised behaviour.

  88. The Code of Conduct in question includes these criteria … well, as Richelieu is reputed to say, “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” These require but one line:

    The use of sexualized language or imagery

    Trolling or insulting/derogatory comments

    Public or private harassment

    Other unethical or unprofessional conduct

    And the ambit is total, if you represent your project in any way in public, as Coraline made crystal clear in OpalGate:

    This code of conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community.

    The “actual text”, as used by these SJWs, is nothing short of totalitarian. We’re way beyond anything theoretical about these “codes of conduct.”

  89. @ TheDividualist: My reply to you is in the moderation queue, probably because we both used the word “ab–tion.”

  90. @Harold

    Sure, any of those lines could be twisted to penalise sane behaviour, but the point is that as project maintainer you get to decide how they’re interpreted (and all of them could reasonably be interpreted in a way consistent with civil community norms). The covenant has no recourse to the Most High Priestess of SJWs or Richelieu or whomever to kick you off your own project.

    And if you dislike the terms even under a sane interpretation, ignore the covenant and don’t adopt it in your project. Close that bug report WONTFIX, maybe with a comment summarising what would actually get you kicked from the team under your norms, and move on. But this panicking about it being totalitarian and evil is silly at best and spreading FUD at worst.

  91. Until we have eliminated our unconscious biases, there can be no meritocracy.

    This is only possible by the elimination of randomness in thought i.e. creativity which is the most essential force for human advance.

    Thus the reason to eliminate “meritocracy” has nothing to do with anyone’s social agenda and everything to do with it being an unattainable and self-defeating paradox.

    You may now return to your entirely worthless discussion of labels.

  92. The Nybbler on 2015-11-14 at 13:13:31 said:
    There’s a much more succinct reason: If we don’t eject them, they will eject us.

    Conquest’s Second Law: Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.

    Why? Because people with left-wing attitudes are disproportionately drawn to work inside organizations. One can see numerous examples in recent history: “mainstream” Protestant churches, labor unions, colleges and universities, scholarly and professional associations, charitable foundations – in all these areas, the full-time organization staff are overwhelmingly left-wing, much more so than the memberships. The leftists drift in, accumulate, become dominant. People with right-wing opinions feel unwelcome, stop coming in, diminish. Some leave, others retire. The leftists squeeze out the rest.

    What Is To Be Done? One shouldn’t try to make apolitical institutions right-wing. That would simply expand the poisoning. All I can think of is a sisyphean struggle to detect the syndrome and roll it back “by hand” (i.e. by recruiting non-leftists to do organization work and nudge leftists to retire).

  93. d5xtgr on 2015-11-14 at 15:17:51 said:

    The covenant has no recourse to the Most High Priestess of SJWs or Richelieu or whomever to kick you off your own project.

    And if you dislike the terms even under a sane interpretation, ignore the covenant and don’t adopt it in your project.

    What happens when adoption of the covenant is a prerequisite for access to all the major source repositories and distro channels? What happens when membership and recognition on other projects is denied to anyone who contributes to a non-covenant project? What happens if core software APIs or architecture are altered to break or exclude non-covenant software?

  94. @Troutwaxer: “Asshole” has certainly been politicized in exactly the way TheDividualist pointed out. To an SJW, they’re the only decent ones and anyone bucking them is by definition an “asshole”. This is one of their entryist tactics; they claim to be just trying to get rid of assholes and establish decent (sometimes “professional”) rules of behavior. But I think you knew that.

    As for the codes of conduct, there is no doubt they are intended to eject those who will not yield to Social Justice in _any_ public space from the communities they cover. The idea (as you will occasionally see them make explicit) is to eject the anti-SJ from society entirely; if you express opinions opposed to theirs you should be shunned by all. Opalgate makes this clear — the original complaint was about a developer making a remark Coraline didn’t like, completely unrelated to Opal, on Twitter. The Go code of conduct makes this clear: “if your conduct outside the Go community is against our values (below), it may affect your ability to participate within our community.” (The Django code of conduct, which the Go code of conduct borrows from, contains similar language.) The disinvitation of Moldbug from Strangeloop makes this clear. The ejection of the Honey Badger Brigade from the Calgary Expo makes this clear.

    The idea is nothing less than to make a political litmus test for participation in open source, or any other arena they can manage to get control of.

  95. [Whynotboth.jpg] Isn’t the world big enough for meritocracies some places, and charity in others? I won’t tell you how to run your life, don’t tell me how to run mine (unasked). Dowhatchalike.

  96. >Isn’t the world big enough for meritocracies some places, and charity in others?

    I think so. I want the SJWs to go do their “charity” thing (if that’s what it is) somewhere else, and keep their slimy tentacles off my meritocracy.

  97. @Rich Rostrom

    First, I think you’re arguing cross-purpose to me. I’m simply pointing out that adopting this covenant does not mean espousing the extreme political correctness these folks advocate, and its existence is not cause for alarm. Your scenarios are more addressing what happens if that extreme political correctness is espoused by major players in the FOSS community, which would in itself be cause for alarm. The covenant is purely incidental to your propositions; in them, one could as easily replace “adopting the covenant” with “having a gender-balanced core team” and the idea is the same- neither one is intrinsically objectionable or alarming, but forcing somebody else to certainly would be.

    Specifically addressing your three what-ifs, I’ve tried to offer a variety of options depending on where you want to fall on the spectrum of idealism to pragmatism.

    > What happens when adoption of the covenant is a prerequisite for access to all
    > the major source repositories and distro channels?

    Seeing you as the project maintainer:
    (a) Refuse to adopt it, set up your own channel, and let the ‘market’ decide where the balance is between defending free speech and norms of civility,
    (b) Adopt it and use your authority of interpretation to be as permissive as the repository-enforcer will let you get away with, or
    (c) Adopt it, conclude that the behaviour it proscribes is in fact outside the bounds of social norms, and adjust your conduct accordingly.

    > What happens when membership and recognition on other projects is denied
    > to anyone who contributes to a non-covenant project?

    Seeing you as a would-be contributor without enough influence to change either side’s mind:
    (a) Contribute to your non-covenant project and don’t contribute to the covenant one as a form of protest against the non-covenant one,
    (b) Contribute to both, using a pseudonym for one or the other so as not to trigger whatever blacklisting mechanism is employed by the covenant project, or
    (c) Contribute to the covenant project and either fork the non-covenant one to apply the covenant or wait for someone else to do so.

    > What happens if core software APIs or architecture are altered to break
    > or exclude non-covenant software?

    Seeing you as the maintainer of the affected non-covenant software:
    (a) Use a replacement for the covenant software (an existing alternative or a fork you or somebody else made),
    (b) Use technical means to bypass whatever exclusion mechanism or breakage the covenant package introduces, or
    (c) Choose option (b) or (c) from the first answers.

    I’m sure if you’re reasonably creative you can come up with a solution that fits you just fine.

  98. Pingback: Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs - Blastar Business Blog Blasts

  99. esr: I would not apologize. His ignorance is his problem; I refuse to allow it to be mine. I would, in fact, tell him to shut the fuck up until he gets an education.

    I would say, “My use of the word “niggardly” was not a great example of sensitivity. However, “niggardly” means “miserly” and has meant so at least since Shakespeare’s time, long before the use of something which sounds similar to describe Black people. So I apologize for your hurt feelings, but also strongly suggest that you add the word to your vocabulary so you don’t make a mistaken assumption of racism in the future.”

    I might even add a link to the etomology of the word “niggardly,” and I would certainly judge my correspondent by how they reacted to my response. Unfortunately, “Shut the fuck up until you get an education” is why you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution. IMHO, you don’t need to be infinitely tolerant of every idiot in the world (I’m certainly not) but you can certainly do better than “Shut the fuck up.”

    As I’ve said before, the failure mode of “anti-asshole” is “bigger asshole” and I wish you’d stop falling into that trap. I think you’ve got another revolution or two inside you, but it won’t happen if you spend your time screaming that some messed up SJW needs to get off your lawn.

    If you don’t like their manifesto, (or their code of conduct) write a better one. You’ve done it before.

  100. >If you don’t like their manifesto, (or their code of conduct) write a better one. You’ve done it before.

    In progress.

  101. ” They’re starry-eyed idealists”

    No, they absolutely are not. They use starry-eyed idealists as useful idiots. In other eras they’d be happily burning witches, hunting down Catholics/Protestants/Jews, lynching blacks…

  102. on the personal level she was pleasant and helpful

    Psychopaths often are.

  103. @Troutwaxer:

    Could not agree more. If you refuse to even try to be civil, misunderstandings will quickly become grudges and opportunities will be lost. My ignorance of Shakespearian English is my fault; your failure to realise that some people have a smaller vocabulary than you do is no-one’s fault than yours.

    More broadly, I see many people here trying to do to SJWs what SJWs are doing to others, to the abandonment of their own ideals. He who fights monsters…

  104. @ Lambert: More broadly, I see many people here trying to do to SJWs what SJWs are doing to others, to the abandonment of their own ideals. He who fights monsters…

    He who fights monsters… Exactly.

    Further, when someone says, “I’m experiencing prejudice and I need to defend my territory,” are they in fact experiencing prejudice, or are they an SJW? Maybe it’s worth looking at the whole thing on a case-by-case basis and making a judgement about each particular case.

  105. > you can certainly do better than “Shut the fuck up.”

    “Shut the fuck up, you concern-trolling shitweasel?”

  106. @TroutWaxer

    Belittling trans-folk or insisting that everyone refrain from using Cis-gendered language is not acceptable in-project behavior, and if you’re a project leader, maybe accusing trans-folk of being “delusional,” even on another forum entirely, will probably have consequences, and if you’re not willing to accept those consequences, maybe you should STFU.

    lol.. they are delusional? People are “assholes” for not going along with some mentally ill person’s belief that they’re the opposite gender? Transwomen are not real women, just ask any man. Now that you’re been hammered to pieces on this forum, you’re pretending to be “nice” and “reasonable” to get people back onto your side. But you don’t fool me.

  107. @ rogue_philologist: they are delusional? People are “assholes” for not going along with some mentally ill person’s belief that they’re the opposite gender?

    I think you made an assumption and failed to read anything I wrote very carefully thereafter. I thereby banish you to the Abyss of Careless Readers!

  108. @Jeff Pugh: You’d make a stronger case if you explained why you think it’s “garbage.”

  109. @Troutwaxer: “you can certainly do better than “Shut the fuck up.””

    How about “It’s not my job to educate you!”

  110. >How about “It’s not my job to educate you!”

    “Shut the fuck up” is merited because the imputation of racism is not merely unmerited but insulting. Who the hell is this hypothetical “African American” to casually assume that I’m being racist rather than wondering if he might not have understood what he heard and, say, Googling the word “niggardly” on his phone?

  111. >I want the SJWs to go do their “charity” thing (if that’s what it is) somewhere else, and keep their slimy tentacles off my meritocracy.

    Now that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I certainly can’t condone what you’re alerted us to regarding Torvalds or Rosario, and I can’t conceive of a “cult of meritocracy” being a bad thing, but neither can I see considering a group as the enemy as a good thing, outside of a game. Sorely mistaken, yes, but not the enemy. I too have suffered personally at such hands, but there’s a lot of opportunity out there, and I move on, a little more carefully, but still.

  112. @ Random832: How about “It’s not my job to educate you!”

    The most likely response to your phrasing is that someone who did not previously know the word “niggardly” would leave the project after assuming that you are a racist, so the appropriate response is to educate a little and calm the situation down, particularly if you value that person’s coding ability. IMHO, your response is ideal, but not practical.

    As I posted above, my preferred response would be, “My use of the word “niggardly” was not a great example of sensitivity. However, “niggardly” means “miserly” and has meant so at least since Shakespeare’s time, long before the use of something which sounds similar to describe Black people. So I apologize for your hurt feelings, but also strongly suggest that you add the word to your vocabulary so you don’t make a mistaken assumption of racism in the future.”

  113. So, I feel like there is an important misconception here – what is a ‘meritocracy’? Originally, the word was coined as an obvious satire, but in some groups it has been swallowed at face value with the actual meaning filed off. This appears to be what you have done. Many have done good work explaining why this version of meritocracy is the opposite of what it claims to be, and undermines what it claims to produce.

    Some really simple examples, as existence proof rather than exhaustivity proof or anything (we can get into more details or the actual interesting bits of this if anyone responds to this comment):

    – Erasure: Christine Peterson coined the term ‘open source’, but people tend to remember it as being coined by ESR. This kind of thing happens with science, with code, with politics, and it means that we should at least take seriously the idea that merit is not recognised as such.

    – Lack of merit: Most of the technological infrastructure out there actually really sucks. Like, really really badly. This includes the stuff made by ‘alpha geeks’. The really good stuff that I have seen has huge trouble getting adopted, or even recognised as such – just look at things like the VPRI/STEPS project, which made a complete system plus userspace plus applications in 20kloc. Actual ‘success’, even in hacker spaces, hinges on so many things that are *not* merit.

    – Merit at what: Even looking at the ‘alphas’ of the OSS world, what most of the truly big names have in common is a bit of luck, some skill at self promotion, some skill at managing groups, and network effects. There are people out there who are better programmers than Linus, but Linus has an outsized impact, and outsized fame, because of these non-programming factors. Thus, focussing only on merit-as-programming-skill misses some really important stuff.

    – False predestination: People’s skill can change over time, people can move into areas with different levels of impact over time, people can accrue things (like the network effects of connections and fame) that change their impact over time. The more chances someone gets, the more help they get early on, the more likely they are to move from a low state to a high one, and chances and help are very unevenly distributed. This uneven distribution is often justified because ‘it works’, but that is false predestination – many other distributions of chances would also have ‘worked’, though of course different people would have risen to the top. Absent RCTs, it is very difficult to say that this is the optimal distribution of ‘chances’ and help, and indeed we have some evidence that it is *not*.

    Anyway, I’m going to stop here before this turns into an effortpost. If you want to continue this though, I would be more than happy to.

  114. >Many have done good work explaining why this version of meritocracy is the opposite of what it claims to be, and undermines what it claims to produce.

    And they’re all full of shit. If meritocracy weren’t a real thing, worth striving for and worth achieving, you wouldn’t have the comfortable life from which you can utter such vacuities. The innovation and wealth you take for granted was largely created by people who, by dedicating themselves to excellence and demanding the maximum of themselves and each other, got out in front of where anyone thought a human could be until they did it.

  115. @Troutwaxer,

    I disagree with using ‘was not a great example of sensitivity’ or ‘I apologize for your hurt feelings’, as they constitute an acceptance of the claim that using niggardly is wrong or objectionable. I do agree on the importance of civility. I would respond with something like ‘Your assumption of racism is incorrect. “niggardly” means “miserly” and has meant so at least since Shakespeare’s time, long before the use of something which sounds similar to describe Black people.’

  116. “If you refuse to even try to be civil”

    Screeching “racist” at the drop of a hat is not civil, by any sane definition of that term.

  117. ‘You can certainly do better than “Shut the fuck up.”‘

    Try doing better than “raaaaaaaaaacisssssst!!!!!”. Glass houses. Stones.

    You just don’t like it because the people you are crybullying are starting to respond with the level of civility that you deserve, i.e., none whatsoever.

  118. flaviusb: yes, all of those issues do exist. Does that mean that it’s not worth trying to identify and mitigate them, in order that we as a community can approach meritocracy as closely as possible?

    Random832: I’ve seen the “not my job to educate you” line from a few people in this line of debate, now. Don’t you think that, if you’re trying to convince people of the merits of your argument, that your *sole* job is to educate people as to their errors and the merits of your position?

    Imagine if I wandered in to a place doing say XP wrongly, loudly announced that fact, and then rudely refused to explain either the merits of my position or the errors of theirs. “We’ve done TDD this way for years, what do you think is wrong with it?” “Fuck off, it’s not my job to educate you.”

    Consider your audience: how would that approach be received by that team? How is *your* approach being received by the hacker community here?

  119. @TroutWaxer No, it’s that you don’t understand my objection to what you’re saying, you shallow turd. “Careless reader” my fucking arse. I know perfectly well what you’re doing: you’ve been roundly defeated on this forum, and now you are trying to placate your enemies with a whole lot of phony civility.

  120. @TroutWaxer See, for example this:

    Everyone needs to be willing to be educated on both writing good code and on how to not offend other people on the project.

    Which is perfectly revealing of what you really think, deep down.

  121. Another way of putting it: what is your *purpose* here? Are you trying to convince the regulars? Broadcasting your message to lurkers? Testing weak points in your philosophy by exposing it to debate?

    Then: how does your approach achieve this?

  122. @flaviusb Utter retard. Yes, Unix is fucking stupid, C sucks etc. But they are perfectly meritorious. Good luck figuring out why you fucking primitive. Hint: same reason toilet cleaning sucks but is perfectly meritorious. Derp some more.

  123. Well, that went over everyone’s head. The point of “It’s not my job to educate you!” was that it’s something that SJWs say. Sauce for goose, etc.

  124. @ Hank Griffin: ‘Your assumption of racism is incorrect. “niggardly” means “miserly” and has meant so at least since Shakespeare’s time, long before the use of something which sounds similar to describe Black people.’

    That works too. In fact, I think it works better than mine in some ways.

    @ Duncan Bayne: I’ve seen the “not my job to educate you” line from a few people in this line of debate, now. Don’t you think that, if you’re trying to convince people of the merits of your argument, that your *sole* job is to educate people as to their errors and the merits of your position?

    Half-agreed. On one hand, you’re quite correct. In responding to a complaint, do you want to calm things down or make the argument worse? Do you want to give your enemies ammunition or deprive them of something to shout about? Do you want to have a tantrum because someone misunderstood something you said and got upset, or do you want to be the adult in the room?

    On the other hand, I think we can all expect that anyone who joins an OSS effort should have basic social skills, and OSS leaders have no obligation to run a finishing school. If you’re dealing with an outrage junkie or SJW, your efforts to educate will be in vain, so I wouldn’t let the “attempt to educate” go on for too long before disengaging and (possibly) banning someone. There’s work to be done.

    @ Doctor Locketopus: Screeching “racist” at the drop of a hat is not civil, by any sane definition of that term.

    Black people have different requirements for assessing and responding to racism than white people, and the consequences of making such a mistake are much, much higher for Black people. Do Black people make mistakes in their evaluations of racism? They definitely do and sometimes it damages their chances for success. On the other hand, one bad encounter with a serious racist can really fuck up a Black person’s life, so I’m inclined to take any oversensitivity in stride, be really calm about it, and attempt to put the relationship back on a good footing.

    @ esr: “Shut the fuck up” is merited because the imputation of racism is not merely unmerited but insulting. Who the hell is this hypothetical “African American” to casually assume that I’m being racist rather than wondering if he might not have understood what he heard and, say, Googling the word “niggardly” on his phone?

    Maybe he read your blog entry about how the correct response to a misunderstanding about race is to scream “Shut the fuck up,” and drew the wrong conclusions about you.

  125. > yes, all of those issues do exist. Does that mean that it’s not worth trying to identify and mitigate them, in order that we as a community can approach meritocracy as closely as possible?

    The point of my post was that our existing, claimed meritocracy isn’t, and that this is in general true of meritocracies. If meritocracy could exist, it would probably be super awesome, though there might still be some problems with the whole ‘merit = value’ thing for people who believe in eg intrinsic human freedoms and rights. But looking at the flaws in our existing, claimed meritocracy is step one in fixing them, regardless of anything else, and this is one thing that ‘SJW’s do in fact do.

    > If meritocracy weren’t a real thing, worth striving for and worth achieving, you wouldn’t have the comfortable life from which you can utter such vacuities.

    Several problems here. First, I never said that merit wasn’t real, or that better was not better than worse, or whatever, though other people have made those arguments in other places – notably, I seem to recall you agreeing with Richard Gabriel here about ‘Worse is Better’. I said that our existing, claimed meritocracy is not meritocratic. Secondly, I do not see that ‘I have some okay stuff’ implies ‘nerd culture is a true meritocracy’. We can see this in the fact that Japanese megacorps are clearly not meritocratic, as they operate through a rank-seniority system, yet Japan still has wealth and comfort, and Japanese microelectronics and computer infrastructure are pretty damn good. So, ‘has good stuff’ does not imply ‘has true meritocracy’.

    Another way of looking at this is that one of the big problems with ‘meritocracy’ as an idea is that it causes a confusion between ‘rank’ and ability, and eventually rank becomes used as proof of ability; similarly, as you have done, ‘what we have’ gets taken as proof that this is the best we could have, flatly ignoring other, better stuff (like the VPRI/STEPS program I mentioned). Like, people end up essentially reasoning ‘((a ? a) ? a)’, which is false.

  126. Hmm, unicode doesn’t seem to make it through this comment system.

    Those question marks should render as \implies. ‘->’ or ‘therefore’ is an okay substitute.

  127. This doesn’t even factor in the fact that, given that ‘merit’ is a complicated concept which can be cashed out a number of different ways, and whose realisation is at least partly political, if ‘realised merit’ -> ‘rank’, some people will use rank to redefine either how merit is realised, or what merit is seen to be, to keep or enhance their rank, or to stop people who they do not like from achieving rank.

  128. > Who the hell is this hypothetical “African American” to casually assume that I’m being racist rather than wondering if he might not have understood what he heard and, say, Googling the word “niggardly” on his phone?

    Well, to play devil’s advocate here, he might – even knowing it has an unrelated etymology – believe that your choice of such an otherwise uncommon/obscure word was a deliberate one intended to get under his skin and/or to let you snicker* at him behind his back feeling you have got away with something.

    I’m not entirely convinced, for that matter, that the incidence of people choosing the word specifically to be able to point and laugh at people who haven’t heard of it before is zero.

    *And/or a similar word with a similar meaning but a different set of consonants.

  129. esr> I’m not going to analyze SJW ideology here except to point out, again, why the hacker culture must consider anyone who holds it an enemy. This is because we must be a cult of meritocracy. We must constantly demand merit – performance, intelligence, dedication, and technical excellence – of ourselves and each other.

    I realize this is potentially an inflammatory question in your blog, but I’m curious: Have you ever discussed this point with your friend Richard Stallman, who is both a champion of social justice and a hacker of great merit in your community? Given that he cares about both sides of your dichtonomy, I would be interested to hear where he comes down on this issue on balance.

  130. Furthermore, I think maybe even a majority of people who do know the word first heard it in the context of “here’s an obscure word that sounds like n***** but is actually innocent”, and I suspect that a significant percentage of the subset of those who went on to integrate it in their vocabulary did so from a place of “I can be an edgy little shit and have an excuse to laugh at any black people who doesn’t know I’m totally not being racist”.

    I certainly wouldn’t think that of you. I know you better than that. But does the hypothetical person you’ve offended?

  131. If they don’t know you that well, then their prior probability of you being a racist, given you’ve said that word, is justified as being well over 50%, whether they know what it means or not.

  132. “Django is a web development framework that is a flourishing and well-respected part of the ecology around the of the Python language” in the article has my mind’s tongue tied up in knots. Sorry for being a Grammar Gestapo :)

  133. “Black people have different requirements for assessing and responding to racism than white people”

    Ah, yes. The soft bigotry of low expectations. Black people can’t be expected to use common courtesy, or give others the benefit of the doubt before taking offense, or any of that white people stuff.

    You’re the one who’s being racist here, choom.

  134. “If they don’t know you that well, then their prior probability of you being a racist, given you’ve said that word, is justified as being well over 50%”

    Calling someone a racist without hard evidence results in a 100% probability of being an asshole.

  135. @ Troutwaxer

    I think you have the magnitude of the problem wrong. SJWs are not a few deviant malcontents that that create an annoyance in the workplace because of hypersensitivity (and hence should be corrected and educated as if they were spoiled children). Rather, they are memetically corrupted memebots that are actively spreading an infection. If unchecked (or dismissed as benign), they will metastasize until the threat is lethal and the host is dead. You are the sort of person who will not recognize the cancer until it is at Stage 4. Good luck with that.

  136. @ Random832: Well, to play devil’s advocate here, he might – even knowing it has an unrelated etymology – believe that your choice of such an otherwise uncommon/obscure word was a deliberate one intended to get under his skin and/or to let you snicker* at him behind his back feeling you have got away with something.

    I never thought of that! I just saw it as an interesting misunderstanding. But I can totally imagine it happening, “Hey Tanisha, check out the niggardly amount of memory we got allocated. Hur Hur.”

  137. @ Doctor Locketopus: Ah, yes. The soft bigotry of low expectations. Black people can’t be expected to use common courtesy, or give others the benefit of the doubt before taking offense, or any of that white people stuff.

    Not my point at all, particularly the “low expectations” part. As I am white, my consequences for not recognizing and responding to white racism are very minor. The worst that could happen is a Black friend might become angry with me. The consequences for a Black person not recognizing racism might literally be life-threatening. So I set my “threshold” for noticing racism to a level which is safe for me, and my Black friend sets his “threshold” to a level that is safe for him, and we end up with wildly different responses to the same situation because the consequences for each of us is vastly different.

    Also note that a Black person can win big by pointing out trivial points of racial etiquette, (by “win big” I mainly mean stop violations before they get worse,) while a white person can win big by ignoring those same violations of etiquette. The Black person is clearly in the loser’s corner here, because pointing out too many violations makes him/her a killjoy, while pointing out too few violations makes him/her a doormat.

    @ TomA: I think you have the magnitude of the problem wrong. SJWs are not a few deviant malcontents that that create an annoyance in the workplace because of hypersensitivity (and hence should be corrected and educated as if they were spoiled children). Rather, they are memetically corrupted memebots that are actively spreading an infection.

    Agreed, but who among these three hypothetical people is an SJW, who misunderstood what you just said, and who is a truly oppressed person? They’re all using college-level language to discuss the problem, and they’re all angry. Figuring out which one needs to be thrown out of your organization, which one misunderstood what you said, and which one needs help and support is not a trivial problem, and you have to do it before the SJW recruits the other two into the cult!

    What’s pissing me off about the whole discussion is that we’re treating the easier part (getting rid of the assholes) as if it was a difficult problem which requires high-level ideological cognition, and we’re treating the really important and very difficult part of figuring out why people behave as they do and what we should do about it, as if it were very, very easy. This won’t end well.

  138. @kosh:

    Until we have eliminated our unconscious biases, there can be no meritocracy.

    and/or @flaviusb:

    … ‘merit’ is a complicated concept which can be cashed out a number of different ways, and whose realisation is at least partly political, …

    If,as you claim, political or unconscious forces has prevented the formation of (by your definition) a true meritocracy, how do you measure this? And more importantly, what proof can you show to convince me your measurement does not itself contain unconscious or political bias?

  139. > If,as you claim, political or unconscious forces has prevented the formation of (by your definition) a true meritocracy, how do you measure this? And more importantly, what proof can you show to convince me your measurement does not itself contain unconscious or political bias?

    @kosh: Please see the examples I listed earlier in the thread, as existence proofs. I deliberately picked simple, obvious examples – things like who gets credited as coined the term ‘open source’, vs who actually did. It is obvious that if, say, Christine Peterson coins a term, and then ESR generally gets the credit for it, this is an example of ‘meritocracy’ being not meritocratic – this is especially poignant as the term in question is ‘Open Source’, and the whole dialogue around Open Source is fairly key to modern nerd culture.

    My claim is not that ‘political or unconscious forces has prevented the formation of (by your definition) a true meritocracy’, but that ‘the currently existing nerd culture has these (amongst other) problems, so it isn’t a true meritocracy (under its own terms)’. Politics and unconscious bias and so forth only come into the discussion later, after my claim has been shown.

  140. @esr
    > Ban hammer descending now.

    Have you ever banned someone for being too far left, or do you only ban people for being too fat right? If so, you might want to think about what kind of selection pressure this is exerting on your commenters.

  141. >Have you ever banned someone for being too far left, or do you only ban people for being too fat right?

    I never ban on political grounds at all.

  142. It’s not just the coders. This issue impacts just about any volunteer effort. My example: I was driven out of a documentation effort by newly-arrived “experts”. I was publicly scolded for using “see man page” because it reminds the “vision challenged” of their disability. I left the project, after noting that I’m legally blind in one eye and that the only thing brought to mind by such discussion was that there are asinine people in the world.

  143. @’niggard of question, but in answer’- It’s a large assumption that Shakespeare, author of Mercutio’s statement that he’d sure like to butt-rape Juliet, not to mention Ophelia’s country matters, was too classy for ethnic humor about funny-looking foreigners distant from him by several months dangerous travel.

    @troutwaxer ‘the really important and very difficult part of figuring out why people behave as they do’ isn’t all that difficult. Computer Science 101 attracts a lot of dumb, lazy, and ignorant people, as well it should. Like Bonehead English, it is aimed at getting those of us who are dumb, lazy, and ignorant of the subject up to some minimum adequacy. Given the large chunk of IQ 80-95 people going to subsidized college, a large chunk of students needs easy A’s. Pop Sosh, Eng Lit, Computers for Dummies, all easy A’s come with loyalty oaths to the Democratic Party. Four years of that, and they have the certificate they need for a sit-down job. What happens when they compete with smart people who learned their first computer language at six? They can’t show Eric their code. They aren’t even script kiddies. Back to flipping burgers? If education loans are enforced any more tightly they’ll be back to debtor’s prison.

    Or semi-legal parades! With studly yelling and maybe some fistfights and vandalism! And loyalty tests: remember, they really are more loyal to the Party than Eric, and they know it. Display their loyalty to the the Democratic Party, display strong feelings of outrage, flaunt the courage to stand their ground, bark their scorn for ‘meritocracy’ as the oppression dreamed up by those smarty-pants triple-digit IQ work-ethic-privileged evil enemies? More fun, more effective; I’d be doing it too.

    Eric’s problem is keeping low-IQ Party loyalists who will always have more political clout and vastly greater numbers than his side from taking over Open Source and breaking it without ever being competent to know they’ve done it. Won’t be easy.

  144. @Russ Nelson: Wow. I view OpalGate as nothing more or less than an attack, not on any one contributor, but on Opal itself…

    I don’t know how to interpret this particular controversy because the remarks about trans people aren’t in any kind of context. If anyone can retrieve the original post, which appears to be dated around June 17th on Twitter, along with its surrounding context, I’d be thrilled.

  145. “Not my point at all, particularly the “low expectations” part. ”

    Yes, it was. It was exactly your point. Exactly.

    “As I am white, my consequences for not recognizing and responding to white racism are very minor. The worst that could happen is a Black friend might become angry with me.”

    Funny, I could’ve sworn that two University of Missouri officials just lost their jobs for allegedly doing that.

  146. “this is an example of ‘meritocracy’ being not meritocratic”

    You are implying that lack of perfection in the existing system constitutues evidence that your hypothetical system is going to be better, come the eschaton.

    History has shown again and again that this is not the way to bet.

  147. Have you ever banned someone for being too far left, or do you only ban people for being too fat right?

    Roger wasn’t banned for being “too far right”, he was banned because he’s been banned repeatedly before and keeps coming back using alts and displaying the same behavior that he got banned for (specifically, the snide and gratuitously insulting tone that Eric explicitly called out right there). I’m not entirely convinced you’re not an alt yourself, for that matter.

  148. @ Doctor Locketopus: Funny, I could’ve sworn that two University of Missouri officials just lost their jobs for allegedly doing that.

    Not a fair comparison for 99 percent of the human race. A university president is paid, – fundraising – first and foremost, – fundraising – to make sure that the school – fundraising – doesn’t have a scandal which makes the papers… whatever tensions were involved should have been quieted long before they made the nightly news. We’re not talking about anything here but sheer incompetence.

  149. @Troutwaxer:

    The consequences for a Black person not recognizing racism might literally be life-threatening.

    Y-e-e-e-a-h, but how often does that happen? How many blacks have been killed by racists in the United States in the last (say) 30 years? Unless you’re fudging the numbers by including people like the auto-Darwinated Michael Brown, then the total is probably less than one year in Chicago or Baltimore.

    I’m not changing the subject, I’m pointing out the over-dramatization of racism by today’s anti-racists. To listen to them, you’d think we were living in rural Mississippi in 1955. Or 1855. We don’t have lynchings and biased poll tests any more, so people who want to get upset about racism have to freak out about trivialities like Halloween costumes and “microaggressions” and “statistical underrepresentation in movies.” They act as if the KKK lurks everywhere, when it’s an insignificant group that at this point is probably 75% FBI informers.

  150. “Not a fair comparison for 99 percent of the human race.”

    Keep spinning, deflecting, and derailing. We’ve all seen your Marxism 101 rhetorical tricks a hundred times. They don’t work any more.

    Let’s say a white person has been robbed by a black person, and suffered grave bodily harm. Does that make it okay for the white person to treat all blacks as robbers from then on, and misinterpret anything they say as part of a plan to commit robbery?

    Of course it doesn’t.

    You are arguing that black people shouldn’t be expected to (or, perhaps, can’t) abide by the standards of civilized behavior. That makes you a racist. Q.E.D.

  151. The essence of Eric’s genius in raising this alarm is that the real danger is in not seeing the danger until it’s too late. Once we’re circling the drain, the bandwagon of despair will be overflowing, but at that point, it’ll be a little late to rally the troops.

    There a more than a few dead people in Paris today because it’s easier to bury your head in the sand than to take a stand.

  152. >The essence of Eric’s genius in raising this alarm is that the real danger is in not seeing the danger until it’s too late

    Oh, I saw the danger some time ago. But it was in the “possible threat – might bear watching” category. My threat assessment began to rise during the scalping of Brendan Eich, and more rapidly as a result of shirtgate and the fraud run against Tim Hunt. But even my source’s allegations about honeytrapping didn’t quite have me raising the alarm yet.

    Then I learned the details of the djangoconcardiff incident. That’s when I realized it was time to light the hilltop fires and call the clans to war.

  153. They want nothing less than to completely eradicate diversity of thought from the hacker culture in the name of promoting the victim group of the week. It’s now a full-blown existential threat of the first order.

  154. @ESR @everybody I found something interesting, a correlation, maybe not substantial, but maybe it is useful information. So this Code of Conduct is apparently accepted by Rails community, and generally it seems Rails and GitHub arefairly big on this SJW stuff, we can say?

    Years ago, Zed Shaw, whom I consider a trustworthy guy precisely because of his brutally honest no-punches-pulled “gonzo” style, wrote on how GitHub is apparently infested with immature teenagerish trolls who think ASCII penis jokes are funny: http://web.archive.org/web/20110716053523/http://sheddingbikes.com/posts/1306816425.html and how it is full of other kinds of twats: http://web.archive.org/web/20080103072111/http://www.zedshaw.com/rants/rails_is_a_ghetto.html and Zed is clearly no SJW nor male feminist nor nothing, just a normal type who doesn’t want to put up with idiots.

    Years later, the very same space, Rails/GitHub is full of SJWs crying that penis jokes and suchlike are cyberbullying microaggression against women.

    Wonder if this is related?

    We know well enough how one extreme tends to raise its opposite. But in this case look at how silly both extremes look, the other described aptly by Zed. But it looks a bit like an internet war between two groups of teenagers originally?

    Not sure what do with this, I am just sharing it because this correlation may matter. Maybe it is just a generic Eternal September with two factions.

    Also, I am not sure it is decent for me to use the web.archive to share posts Zed has pulled. Authors decisions to retract articles should probably be respected even though paper media was never able to respect it, but the machine exists and everybody can use it and I saw them linked elsewhere. But anyway @ESR if you think better not do this, and remove this comment, I won’t grumble about it, I would find that an understandable decision too.

    Also, I am not trying to reduce the importance of this stuff. If anything, it is HUGE – it is not just SJWs trying to take over hackers but the political “Cathederal” slowly taking over everything. I am just saying in this case perhaps it is somehow related to former, different kinds of idiocy.

  155. @flaviusb

    Try to think of it something like sports, athletics. At some level perfect fair play and fair rules don’t exist, people with genetic potential and rich moms and trainer dads have a fair higher chance at sports and so on. And merit even at what, pro athletics is not even healthy, they are pushing themselves too hard for health and use doping and game the rules etc. And what is the use in even running that fast. And and and. But still sports has a meritocracy, and it means roughly the following things: by having banned the most obvious kinds of unfairness like winning by being the referees nephew, and by made success fairly objectively measurable, they push and motivate people to try really really hard. Thus the goal of meritocracy is NOT to deliver perfectly deserved rewards to everybody it. It is to push everybody to work hard, and it achieves it by a limited, never perfect sense of fair rewards.

    Think of hacker meritocracy as a halfway fair system to make hackers work hard. Like the free market. Like sports. Nothing is really fair, nothing is supposed to be, but some level of fairness is necessary merely for optimal motivation.

    I think there may be some sort of a fundamental difference of political philosophy here. You may be interested in somehow delivering fully merited, deserved levels of rewards to people. I am not, I am only interested in performance, if the reward system is good enough to push max performance, that is good enough. I consider actual fairness a pipe dream.

    “Fair” is a social contruct. It is constructed towards maximizing performance, not to distribute every possible reward in harmony with some cosmic sense of justice that doesn’t exist because there is no god and people aren’t a collective god either.

  156. > “Black people have different requirements for assessing and responding to racism than white people, and the consequences of making such a mistake are much, much higher for Black people. Do Black people make mistakes in their evaluations of racism? They definitely do and sometimes it damages their chances for success. On the other hand, one bad encounter with a serious racist can really fuck up a Black person’s life, so I’m inclined to take any oversensitivity in stride, be really calm about it, and attempt to put the relationship back on a good footing.”

    What utter bullshit. Blacks swagger like they are aristocrats and whites are peasants, just as women in the workplace continually interrupt and talk over their bosses. They know that the cry of racism can destroy anyone they want to destroy.

    How can one bad encounter with a serious racist fuck up a black person’s life? White racists do not physically attack black people for being black, while black people frequently physically attack white people for being white. White people do not have the social power to destroy a black person’s career, while a black person does have the social power to destroy a white person’s career for trivial and frivolous reasons.

  157. The reason that the feelings of members of protected groups are so easily hurt is that it is, under an ever wider range of places and circumstances, illegal to hurt their feelings.

    This absolutely guarantees that they will feel entirely genuine hurt feelings no matter how much everyone else walks around on eggshells.

  158. @TheDividualist: Please read what I posted earlier in this thread. I enumerated some basic ways that our claimed meritocracy really wasn’t, and showed that in some cases the claims of meritocracy are really acheiving the opposite of meritocracy. Claiming that this broken not meritocracy delivers the full fruits of meritocracy, in fact the maximum possible fruits of any system is obviously false, if only because we drive out people with merit who do work hard for non-merit related reasons, and we do not nuture many people who do not yet show merit to the point where they can begin to show their merit.

    Finally, I am actually interested in questions of basic fairness and justice, because good is better than evil. I do not require perfection, just that if we are given some obvious ways to be better we at least give them a solid try.

  159. @flaviusb

    The problem with fairness and justice is that it can be incredibly asocial. Work is service provided for others. Every time anyone proposes that, I don’t know, group X should have a fairer chance of becoming doctors, it automatically means that being a doctor is no longer a duty or service provided for patients but just some sort of a high-status position to bask around in. More reward than service. “Uneven distribution” primes everybody to see things as some sort of a reward to get for effort and not a job to do. The only proper goal in these regards is to not lose potential talent – if someone of group X is working in a coal mine because prejudice while could be a lawyer is obvious an amount of lost output for society, and this is what matters, not the tough luck for himself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_of_the_Meritocracy was obviously a satire, by a guy about as much of the intellectual ruling class as possible, but only because he seemed to buy into a similar sense of divine justice. In reality, the rise of the meritocracy in 1950’s Britain was simply about easing up the former aristocratic ones and replacing more upper class twats with middle class talent because they wanted more output, more efficiency, not because distributing perfect reward could anything but a secular reinvention of religion.

    But looking at your examples:

    – Erasure: even if true it may somewhat demotivate people from inventing terms. Whatever, not important.

    – Merit at what. Project management and people skills are important. But again if the goal is not fairness but efficiency, it is a good idea to make a few really outsized rock stars like Linus. This works everywhere from basketball to CEOs. It motivates people.

    – Distributing chances is a huge bullshit, don’t you smell it? It looks like there is some big hierarchy and it hands people chances. This is one of the things that always bothered me about left wing thought: does the world really look like it is ran by bosses who distribute chances? In reality people don’t need to get chances, they MAKE them by starting New Things.

    – You are probably right in claiming that it works like everything else in the world like there are 100 people of the same acting talent, one gets a minor role in a movie and it can launch a snowball of mentoring and “getting chances” (because movie roles indeed chances given by others, actors cannot make their own movies, it is different from software) which is at some level unfair. But what else should be done, all 100 should get minor roles and nobody ever a star? Having stars is useful and it can never be fair because there is no need for too many too big ones.

    The only good argument in this regard that chances are possible that generate more collective output. I believe the best method that is called the free market i.e. if some employers regularly prejudice against .e.g black employes that depresses their salaries and someone else hires them and makes a lot of money which then ends the prejudice. So this arbitrage thing. If something is unfair in the sense of bleeding talent, there is always the possibility for arbitrage.

  160. @flaviusb:

    My claim is … that ‘the currently existing nerd culture has these (amongst other) problems, so it isn’t a true meritocracy (under its own terms)’. Politics and unconscious bias and so forth only come into the discussion later, after my claim has been shown.

    also

    Finally, I am actually interested in questions of basic fairness and justice, because good is better than evil. I do not require perfection, just that if we are given some obvious ways to be better we at least give them a solid try.

    Right, I think you misunderstood me. Right now I shall accept your claim regarding the flaws in hackerdom if only “for the sake of argument” (which is really to ensure I clearly understand your argument). Merit is not given to those most desrving and is given to several who have not earned it—but what I want is not specific examples of this. If hacker culture is not a perfect meritocracy, you should be able to describe [without using examples] which qualities it lacks. Alternately, can you give me a pattern or formula to use by which I could find all such examples of the flawed qualities for myself?

    I ask because without such a rule, I can only presume you do require perfection. (Your example of the misattibution of the term “Open Source” seems to me a flaw of business culture—assigning all merit to the president, and none to underlings—or Western culture as a whole, rather than of hackerdom specifically.)

  161. @TheDividualist: Sure, once you have a computer and an internet connection and some free time and education and mentoring and access you can make a thing. Take away those things, and see how difficult it is, how much more work it takes and how much worse a result you end up with. Those are what I was referring to as ‘chances’, in programming. I got into programming young in part because I had a computer and an internet connection and free time and education and mentoring and access, and I am as good as I am now in part because I got those things in fairly good supply, and also because I was able to take a bunch of time off work in funemployment, and in starting my own companies to make the stuff I wanted to make. If I didn’t have those chances, I would not be as good as I am today.I want to see those chances better distributed, as I see a lot of people who could have been amazing, but the chances they got were really crap, so now they are merely okay, and I see a lot of people who got chance after chance not because they had the nascent talent, but because they looked the part, or because they sounded like a nerd, so we accepted them, or becuase their parents had money, or whatever, and they are also merely okay.

    Now, I am not saying that there are some kinds of bosses that hand these things out in all cases (though yes, in some cases I was literally handed chances by my boss at the time, and in some cases I was told later that they took a chance on me because ‘I really looked like a programmer’) – a lot of these things are given through more complicated mechanisms, whether because your parents happened to have both the money and the interest, or because you were easily accepted as part of the ‘in crowd’ on IRC, instead of being told curtly to RTFM, newb, when no one has even told you which FM is possibly relevant, or where you can get it to read it. Recognising that this is a thing, we can change the distributions in some cases and in some ways to be better, and we can also recognise that ‘I am not water that boiled itself’, that is, that we didn’t get to where we are by dint of merit alone.

    Part of the reason this particularly grinds my gears is that we have some people (like Linus) who are happy to argue from authority, as they believe that their authority is a perfect stand in for their merit (because meritocracy), who end up doing a lot of damage because they (for example) don’t understand security at all, and their authority lets them mandate this flawed understanding as the basis for kernel security going forwards, leading to all of our devices being permafucked.

    Another part of the reason this grinds my gears is people (again, we will use Linus as an example) who use their authority to keep people from getting chances, while defending their antisocial behaviour on the basis that meritocracy means that it must not be antisocial, otherwise I wouldn’t have the position that I do.

    Finally, with regards to the free market and arbitrage, http://economics.mit.edu/files/553 seems like a fairly good intro to why even ideal perfectly competitive free markets do not necessarily fix discrimination, and why arbitrage is not necessarily even possible here, depending on contingent factors – such as the number of prejudiced employers, and the number of prejudiced customers, the amount of prejudice, and the rate of unemployment. Even with very low numbers of very marginally prejudiced employers and customers, unemployment rates like what many advanced economies have today would result in large amounts of effective prejudice under a perfectly competitive free market. These results also speak to the state of things in other areas too – hence why I favour intervention, either socially (to make prejudice less aceptable), or in some cases through rules or laws.

  162. @AlexK: A complete formulation of all bad qualities, or all lacking good qualities? Fine. It lacks the quality of rank being solely or primarily through merit, where if you outrank someone you also naturally outmerit them, it lacks the quality of usually recognising and rewarding merit, it lacks the quality of efficiently, naturally and fairly stewarding future merit amongst the potentially meritorious, it lacks the quality of promoting merit amongst the constituents, and it lacks the quality of rigorously promoting meritorious works over less meritorious works.

    Even if you had those things though, two major problems still remain. The first is: what merits? There are many ways to look at merit, and there does not seem to be a sufficiently detailed true answer we can all agree on. For example, many people currently are arguing that ‘Go’ *must* be meritorious, because lots of sofware has been written in it, and Google is promoting it. The same arguments have been made for PHP (except Facebook, not Google), and C++ (lots of places, not just one big company). Yet, these languages are awful!

    The second is more a problem with what follows from taking meritocracy as a ruling philosophy: what of intrinsic human value and freedom?

  163. @flaviusb

    >The second is more a problem with what follows from taking meritocracy as a ruling philosophy: what of intrinsic human value and freedom?

    Exit over voice. This is the fundamental problem with your understanding that you put voice above exit. At some level this may be the left-right thing. Libertarians like ESR understand exit over voice on a bone level, I think. The intrinsic human freedom and dignity is in the ability to secede from others, make your own thing, community, project etc. This is exit. Voice means trying to tell other people how to run their own gang. Voice over exit results in something as chaotic and inefficient as democracy or public schools supervised by parents committee or revolutions, while exit over voice represents the efficient behavior of the marketplace where you don’ tell Bill Gates how to run Microsoft, you just decide to never buy their products again and they will perhaps get the message if enough people do so but even if when not there are other alternatives, and in history represents the wise guys who emigrated instead of revolting.

  164. @TheDividualist: I get the Exit, Voice, Legitimacy thing. I just think that exit is vastly overemphasised, and voice and legitimacy are vastly underemphasised in programming discussions, especially in cases that can be seen as resource allocation or territory based, or where there is an ecosystem, or where there are disputes over externalities. For example, Linus has basically destroyed a generation of kernel hackers – how do we ‘exit’ from this, in a way that saves the next generation of kernel hackers? Network effects mean that if we use exit, we are then compelled to severely diminish Linus, as otherwise he will still fuck everything up. On the other hand, if we use voice, we can explain what the problem is, and maybe use persuasion and social pressure together with a micro-exit to actually fix the problem, with Linus getting to stay not diminished at all.

    Also, I tend to believe that democracy is good, and that many past revolutions were necessary for us to have the good that we have today.

  165. I don’t know how to interpret [the OpalGate] controversy because the remarks about trans people aren’t in any kind of context.

    The context is here https://twitter.com/elia/status/611319469982527488 It was about gender reassignment surgery, including for children, e.g. “I still fail to see how that kind of invasive surgery on kids can b cherished“.

  166. @Flaviusb:
    You answer my question regarding a heuristic with “lacks merit”, and then rather than giving me a definiton just ask an open ended question and cite examples that there are several competing definitions. If you aren’t able to tell me directly what “merit” you’re looking for, how can I be sure you will see it when it arises? Why should I believe you have a real vision of merit, rather than being some sort of nihilist who only wishes to degrade the works of others?

    Let me second what TheDividualist said. If you feel that a project isn’t being meritorious, you are fully empowered to build and promote an alternative of your own. The fact that you are arguing to impede the freedoms of others to follow their definition of merit rather than pursuing your own implies an awful lot about how much you actually believe in freedom, equality, and merit.

  167. “Sure, once you have a computer and an internet connection and some free time and education and mentoring and access you can make a thing. ”

    Internet connections are free at nearly every public library, coffee shop, and McDonalds in the country. Older computers adequate to write code are free for the taking (you can even get people to pay you to take them away, if you play your cards right). Unemployed people or people on welfare have plenty of free time. Education is free on the web and at the aforementioned library. Mentoring is nice, but not necessary. I’m not sure what you mean by “access”, but there plenty of public repositories to distribute your source code.

    In short, your argument is bullshit.

  168. @AlexK: I gave you the list of qualities that hacker culture lacked to be a true meritocracy, because that is what you actually asked for. You never asked me to define merit. If you had asked for a rigorous definition of merit, I would counter by asking you for something that is surely simpler, as it is a restricted form of that question: surely you can provide me with code that will unambiguously tell me which code is good and which code is bad, for all forms of code? That is, it will detect all flawed algorithms, all security problems, all memory leaks, and so forth? What is that, you can’t provide me with that impossible thing? Then do not ask for an even bigger, more impossible thing.

    As for favouring Exit over Voice, well, I already explained a bit of my objections to that idea earlier in the thread.

  169. @Doctor Locketopus: Sure, if you are in a country that has those, and if you can get to one of them, and they are open when you have free time, and they haven’t been closed down for budget or zoning reasons, and you don’t get kicked out, you can get internet access. But that does not cover most people. As for acquiring older computers – sure, if you are surrounded by people who have computers, and you already magically know how to get an older computer working. Again, this does not cover most people. Unemployed people *sometimes* have a lot of time – but a lot gets taken up jumping through hoops to keep the lights on and keep yourself fed and in a home, not to mention looking for work. Also, this doesn’t cover people who *are* employed, but don’t make much money. The amount of education you need before the free education of the web or the library becomes really useful is, again, not something that everyone has. Even in the US, lots of places have failing schools, and lots of people don’t have access to any relatives or friends that have the time and knowledge to show them the ropes. ‘Access’ is access to people or things that can help you out – for example, without access to an academic institute, I would have been paywalled out of basically every single journal article I have needed to seriosuly grow as a programmer. Without being able to speak like a hacker, I would not have had access to communities on IRC who have helped me to grow immensely as a programmer. Without access to some more knowledgeable friends, I would not have had the nice introduction to Vim that I had, and would probably still be using Nano like a barbarian.

    In short, you are wrong about these things being both easy and universal.

  170. ” Sure, if you are in a country that has those, and if you can get to one of them”

    Keep shifting the goalposts. It’s quite amusing. Once again you are arguing that because the present system isn’t perfect (an impossibly high bar, needless to say) that this somehow makes your system of enforced “equality” better. It doesn’t work that way. Enforced “equality” winds up making everybody (except the people on top) impoverished slaves. Every time. For my part, 100 million dead bodies sacrificed on the altar of socialism is more than enough, but apparently that isn’t the case for you.

    ” I would have been paywalled out of basically every single journal article I have needed to seriosuly grow as a programmer”

    This is total crap. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of working programmers in the world have never read a single paper in a research journal in their lives.

  171. @Doctor Locketopus: So, your response to ‘here are some problems with hacker culture’ is to say apropos of nothing, that I am somehow shifting the goalposts, then call me Stalin, then claim that programmers don’t need to know things. Sure, whatever. *plonk*

  172. ” is to say apropos of nothing, that I am somehow shifting the goalposts, then call me Stalin, then claim that programmers don’t need to know things. ”

    Translation: “I will now start lying about what you said, even though your original words are still there for all to read”. To be specific, I never “claimed that programmers don’t need to know things”. That is a lie, and you are a liar.

    Plonk, indeed.

  173. @flaviusb:
    “…then claim that programmers don’t need to know things. Sure, whatever.”

    No, the claim that programmers don’t need to know things in paywalled journals.

    The fact that you have difficulty telling these apart suggests that you have a view of programmer-as-expensive-certification; something you get with a sheepskin saying that you’ve completed the official programming course and written a formal programming thesis that cites recognized programming papers in paywalled programming journals and are therefore a true and real programmer.

    If that’s your view of programming, I can see why you’d want more scholarships to teach programming and grant official recognition to the disadvantaged.

    But to most of the hacker community, such a view is complete and utter nonsense. It’s like saying that you need to be a nutritionist to prepare a dinner for yourself. It’s like saying that you can’t drive a car unless you also participate in Formula 1. It’s a view that’s going to largely face incomprehension, not argument, because to a lot of programmers, suits, droids and their ilk in advanced formal education are not viewed as knowledge-bearers in the first place outside of a few select places like the maths and physics departments.

    Anything behind a paywall should be assumed completely irrelevant to learning programming as it is viewed around here.

  174. >Anything behind a paywall should be assumed completely irrelevant to learning programming as it is viewed around here.

    I agree. I’ve never read a paywalled paper. Didn’t finish college, for that matter. No formal CS or programming instruction whatsoever except I once audited a grad-level seminar on ontology-building because a friend of mine was teaching it (and found I already knew most of the material, which didn’t surprise her).

    OK, so it’s a question open for debate whether I’m merely an exceptionally capable programmer or a freak outlier genius. (No, I’m not sure of the answer to that one myself.) If the latter, then my experience can’t be used to generalize about people outside the extreme right end of the bell curve.

    Still, the conclusion that we can reach is that either (a) I’m a freak outlier genius, or (b) credentialitis, paywalled papers, and indeed most of the formal apparatus we’ve developed to teach programming – is mostly bullshit unrelated to the actual learning process of good programmers.

    I incline towards position (b). But I seldom say that very loudly because (a) might be true and I should shut up lest I give misleading advice to the less bright.

  175. This seems like the sort of problem that bazaars are born to route around. Successfully replacing meritocratic recruitment with political recruitment in one organisation may destroy that organisation but another will take its place, probably with all the same people who were removed from the first organisation. Even if these politics people are completely successful taking over all existing organisations, in a few years there will be a new ecosystem of organisations that have been specifically selected for their hostility to political infiltrators.

    This sort of political action only works where monopoly is guaranteed by law, as in government employment, or at least there is a lot of inertia and incumbency advantage built in, as with large corporations.

    I am not saying that the politics people can’t make a mess and waste a lot of resources and time in the short term, not to mention destroy well-loved brands and the history associated with them. I am saying that they not only can’t ultimately win but will produce a culture that is much more hostile to them than before they started.

  176. @Erik: It isn’t ‘you can’t make dinner without being a nutritionist’, it is ‘if you want to get to the point where you are a Michelin Star level chef, you will probably need some kind of formal knowledge of cooking’. Like, I didn’t need stuff in journals when I was just starting out – I needed it to get as good as I am now, more than twenty years in to being a programmer. Anyone that promotes merit should want to see more people becoming good programmers, rather than fewer. Also, claiming that eg John McCarthy and others like him are simply suits or a droids, and not knowledge-bearers, is delusional. So much of the pearls of programming knowledge are locked up behind paywalls.

  177. @mdc: You are fundamentaly wrong. Externalities exist, there is already a political fight over what ‘merit’ means, and the currently existing hacker groups are just as fiercly political about this as the groups trying to challenge them and change them.

  178. @ Harold: The context is here https://twitter.com/elia/status/611319469982527488 It was about gender reassignment surgery, including for children, e.g. “I still fail to see how that kind of invasive surgery on kids can b cherished“.

    This provides insufficient context, as we’re only seeing the last bit of the discussion. It kinda, maybe looks like Elia is maybe being a little prejudiced, but without the first part of the discussion it’s really hard to form a reliable judgment.

  179. Troutwaxer: I noted the same problem, but someone who knows more about Twitter than me will have to trace back the conversation. That said, I linked the specific part that Coraline was pointing to and shrieking about (http://www.amazon.com/product/dp/9527065682/), to which she didn’t feel the need to add any context. So it should do for now.

  180. “Like, I didn’t need stuff in journals when I was just starting out – I needed it to get as good as I am now, more than twenty years in to being a programmer.”

    Here again, you’re shifting the context. “Just starting out” is exactly the situation we’re discussing, not “twenty years into being a programmer”.

    If you are already working as a programmer and actually do need something in a paywalled journal, then you’ll have money to pay for it.

    But, you know, there are an awful lot of people out there paying the bills by slapping together CRUD apps. Probability of those people needing something in a paywalled journal: zero, or nearly so.

  181. @flaviusb: > we have some people (like Linus) who are happy to argue from authority

    Linus doesn’t argue from authority. He argues from technical merit. When he rakes someone over the coals, it’s not because he’s an “authority” and they’re not; it’s because they did something stupid that, if he hadn’t caught it and stopped it, would have made the Linux kernel technically deficient.

    > they (for example) don’t understand security at all, and their authority lets them mandate this flawed understanding as the basis for kernel security going forwards, leading to all of our devices being permafucked.

    What are you talking about?

  182. Two thoughts:
    1) How about taking the SCOTUS death-penalty model* to these systematic discussions?
    2) I don’t accept the premise**, but generally any member of the public can read pay-walled journals for free at a local college/university library.

    Background:
    * In the US, there have been a number of cases taken to the Supreme Court of the US claiming that the death penalty was unconstitutional because $METHOD of administering the death penalty fell into the category of “Cruel and unusual punishment”, prohibited by the US constitution. The resolution the Court came up with was to say that the death penalty wasn’t prohibited in and of itself. And, if somebody wanted to claim that the current method of implementing the death penalty was cruel, they would have to come to court with a proposed alternative instead.
    ** I read only a handful of paywalled journal publications in college, and that was because I took a deep and narrow dive into certain aspects of number theory. I’ve read more journal articles as an EMT trying to improve my knowledge.

  183. Datum: My formal programming instruction was a year of incanting “public static void main string args” a hundred times in a hundred Java files, while endlessly cursing Java for not having various Lisp features I had come to take for granted. I had previously picked up the Lisp entirely informally, this in the days long before there was any such thing as Stack Exchange.

    Which brings me to another point. The development of helpful utilities such as Stack Exchange and Google, the cheapness of internet and computing power, the ubiquity and display capacity of cellphones, etc. are all facilitating access far more effectively than I expect any political movement could do, also with less vitriol.

    Programmers are fixing their end in making programming easily accessible to anyone who can read. Others, such as cellphone producers, are helping out in their way. Literacy is someone else’s end. It is very unfortunate that there are still illiterates around, but that one’s not on the programmers. Ask for contributions to fix that and you might get some. Try to make demands or impose obligations on a particular community to fix all the world’s problems and you’ll rightly be told to sod off for a myriad of reasons.

  184. @flaviusb: There might be a political fight about what meritocracy means within individual organisations but in the bazaar model the winner is chosen by which organisations prosper in free competition, not by the outcome of the political battles within individual organisations. Even if almost all organisations agree about going down a blind alley it doesn’t matter because they will lose to the handful that don’t.

    I notice that the “SJW” side in the political battle has not been able to create any successful organisation of its own. Its strategy is based wholly upon taking control of already successful organisations. I infer, perhaps wrongly but I think with high probability of being right, that the people the “SJW”s want to install are simply less capable and that their view of what is meritocracy is wrong. I believe with somewhat lower but still high confidence that they know that it is wrong, do not believe in meritocracy at all, and only claim they do as a smokescreen, and therefore that there is no real battle within organisations about the definition of meritocracy.

    I think what the “SJW”s fundamentally don’t get is that they are not dealing with a big bureaucracy here. What they are doing works when you are trying to redirect the government or a big corporation that has ten or twenty years of ruin in it. It does not work in the wheeler-dealer anarcho-capitalist outpost of open source. Politics takes a back seat to merit at the structural level not at the level of individual organisations. This is a fight they cannot win unless the people they are promoting are genuinely better than the ones they are attacking and if that were true they wouldn’t need to, and would have no interest in, co-opting existing organisations rather than creating their own.

  185. Patrick Maupin: “SJWs Always Lie”.

    Reading the article you linked to, it’s clear it’s a fork, even if he’s not calling it that. Which is not the same as “forking it”, but he’s not stating what he expects to happen after he gets a set of things done. I would guess initially it would be to enhance the ability of distros to “deep-throat Microsoft” as Linus so elegantly put it.

  186. Nb. people are trying to switch to *open access* (not paywalled) journals, mostly due to [censored] unconstrained greed of publishers (making e.g. electronic version of the journal more expensive).

    On high end of programming you probably find yourself implementing ideas presented in journal articles (e.g. EWAH bitmap in JGit, then Git, see e.g. [1]), but I doubt that paywalled journals are the only source of idea.

    [1]: http://githubengineering.com/counting-objects/

  187. > It was about gender reassignment surgery, including for children, e.g. “I still fail to see how that kind of invasive surgery on kids can b cherished“.

    The problem is that any argument relying on the assumption that this actually happens is, as far as I know, at best ignorant and at worst a straw man.

  188. Which incidentally makes his remark actually significantly worse than I had assumed it was.

  189. @ Random832:

    I think we need to see the whole discussion before we make any judgments. I’m not going to decide about anything if I know there’s evidence I haven’t seen.

    That being said, I am also dubious about gender reassignment surgery on children, not for any anti-trans reasons, but because one can expect brain chemistry changes, including hormonal changes, plus large amounts of brain development during puberty. Until we know the exact cause (causes? there may be more than one) of transgenderism, I’d be very leery of gender reassignment surgery on children.

    These doubts are why I really want to see the conversation that leads up to the comment; I might agree with Elia.

  190. I agree. I’ve never read a paywalled paper. Didn’t finish college, for that matter. No formal CS or programming instruction whatsoever except I once audited a grad-level seminar on ontology-building because a friend of mine was teaching it (and found I already knew most of the material, which didn’t surprise her).

    In this respect you resemble my father, who really is an outlier genius and who made a successful (still ongoing) career in mechanical engineering despite having only about a semester’s worth of university credit to his name.

    My suspicion is that code sings to you; you do not need academic papers because you can look at the code and glean the concepts directly from the code itself. With sufficient practice one can look at a page full of cryptic symbols, identify familiar patterns, and thereby discover new concepts when the programmer arranges these patterns in an unusual way; but it takes practice, and practice requires dedication, and dedication requires a certain fascination which not many people will have.

    And it’s this way in every discipline. The average person starts a game of Pac-Man, dies a few times, and gives up because the frustration of failure overwhelms the fun in playing. But world-champion Pac-Man players have kept playing until they reach a level where they can not only identify abstract patterns in the enemy AI (and, like programmers, give them clever names like “cruise elroy” for the speedup the red ghost undergoes after some time in any level), but manipulate the ghosts to set them up to be eaten, or to avoid Pac-Man completely so the player can take a piss break.

    It’s possible for a sufficiently clever layman to teach themselves programming. But in my experience, without the benefit of a formal program they usually don’t make it much past the “Visual Basic” stage of development. They know how to string statements together to get basic tasks done, but when it comes to composing abstract concepts and turning them into code which instantiates them in the machine, they are still at a very low level. The concepts have to be presented to them, as the GoF did in Design Patterns, before they can work with them. Fortunately, the market is still huge for programmers at this level of capability and it’s possible to make a very comfortable living this way.

    Remember when some of us were bickering in blog threads about UIs and I kept insisting that I thought Linux was just fine the way it is, UI-wise, but I’m weird and different and what I say should not be construed as to apply to ordinary rank-and-file users, who for the most part could never suffer through the clusterfuck that passes for “UI design” in the open source world? Welcome to why. In the time it takes me to figure out which mouse gestures do what in Windows or GNOME, I’ve already composed a command or pipeline in my head and it’s just a matter of typing it in, so consequently I loathe “desktop environments” with the fire of a thousand suns, and am much more at home at the command line or even a primitive X environment from 1995. But my sister cannot operate in that realm at all (she’s even one of those who get frustrated the first time they die in a video game), so she will always stick with Windows or Macintosh machines.

  191. >My suspicion is that code sings to you; you do not need academic papers because you can look at the code and glean the concepts directly from the code itself.

    Um, duh. I assume that anyone above junior-programmer level has this experience at least some of the time. I would find it a bit disturbing and upsetting if anyone convinced me that only freak outlier geniuses do.

  192. …though I probably wouldn’t agree with how he phrased things – the “not seeing reality” comment is probably undiplomatic.

  193. Nb. people are trying to switch to *open access* (not paywalled) journals, mostly due to [censored] unconstrained greed of publishers (making e.g. electronic version of the journal more expensive).

    Scientists have taken to using the hashtag #ICanHasPDF as a surreptitious message to their colleagues: “Please pirate this paper by downloading it from your university and sending me an electronic copy.” They seem unfazed by the fact that this is what Aaron Swartz faced felony charges for doing (albeit at a much greater scale).

    And the journals really are that bad. Elsevier are the scum of the earth; in addition to the money squeeze, they were the ones who set up a vanity publication for Merck to push Vioxx through the FDA and onto the market without adequate research being done into its safety and efficacy.

  194. @Harold:

    Anybody who has code that Linus isn’t currently willing to incorporate in the kernel has to maintain their own tree. But sometimes things change later and the code (or a modified version thereof) becomes acceptable (perhaps because of the mods; perhaps partly because the same need is later recognized by others). Look at some of the early changes google made with Android.

    There’s a difference between a temporary fork and forking the project. The first one is expediency; the second one is an attempt at a coup. Despite Garrett proudly claiming to be an SJW (does he really understand all that entails), the article doesn’t read like he’s looking to create a coup. I dunno — haven’t really kept up with it otherwise. But, it’s a heck of a lot of work to maintain a parallel tree, and even with the resources google could throw at Android they were begging to get their code back in the main tree. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Garrett doesn’t want his code there, either.

  195. @flaviusb:

    If you had asked for a rigorous definition of merit, I would counter by asking you for something that is surely simpler, as it is a restricted form of that question: [solve the halting problem]?

    Once again you state something that makes be suspect that, despite your statements to the contrary, you are indeed seeking perfection from others. Every time I look, you seem to have said in slightly different terms, “I’m not a perfectionist but [nothing less than perfection is demanded].” I wish you the best of luck with that, but I’ve no interest in hearing anything else you have to say now.

    @esr:

    …either (a) I’m a freak outlier genius, or (b) credentialitis, paywalled papers, and indeed most of the formal apparatus we’ve developed to teach programming — is mostly bullshit unrelated to the actual learning process…

    Here’s an interesting statistic: just over one quarter of college graduates work in a job whose duties are related to their major—the example given is whether a Communications major works as a public relations manager or retail salesperson. Given this information, I can only conclude that either the value proposition of a college degree is mostly uniform across various fields of study (for example, as proof of a particular work/study ethic) or not directly related to the credential itself (networking with people, rite of passage).

    However, in either case, this strongly implies that the “credentialitis” and formal educational apparatus are currently given mis-attributed esteem or praise. (This is given further credence when you consider the number of very famous college dropouts who went on to lead a major technology firms. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg? Heck, the statistics almost make it seem as if you should drop out of college if you want to be rich and famous in tech!)

  196. Um, duh. I assume that anyone above junior-programmer level has this experience at least some of the time. I would find it a bit disturbing and upsetting if anyone convinced me that only freak outlier geniuses do.

    My unfortunate suspicion is that only “freak outlier geniuses” experience this without benefit of formalized education; and I know for a fact that there are plenty of people well above junior programmer level who experience it rarely or not at all. Look for managers, “software architects”, or senior programmers who are fond of giving stern lectures to young programmers about how code has no value in itself and how it’s the business that truly matters.

  197. @Jeff Read:

    > only “freak outlier geniuses” experience this without benefit of formalized education

    It’s certainly possible that the right education (formal or informal) can help with this, but IMO the primary prerequisite to seeing the code sing is the willingness to put in enough hours looking at code. And by “looking at” I mean editing, moving around, thinking about how you would do it — is there a better way?, thinking about what constraints, real or imagined, caused the code to look as it does now, etc…

    IMO, to become really good, you don’t have to be a genius, but you do have to have a passion that extends past work hours.

  198. >With sufficient practice one can look at a page full of cryptic symbols, identify familiar patterns, and thereby discover new concepts

    You should try playing Dwarf Fortress sometime. It is that comment turned up to somewhere between 11 and Graham’s number.

    *reads about Linux fork*
    “getting Linux boot and install on PCs locked down with Windows 8’s UEFI”
    *Locks self in cupboard and screams expletives for half-hour*

  199. IMO, to become really good, you don’t have to be a genius, but you do have to have a passion that extends past work hours.

    What if I told you… that this and what we call “genius” are the same thing?

  200. >What if I told you… that [a passion that extends past work hours] and what we call “genius” are the same thing?

    I don’t believe it. Passion, translating into time invested, is not enough to make genius.

    An extreme case to illustrate the problem: suppose you managed to teach Logo, or some other ultra-simple instructional language, to someone with a dramatically subnormal IQ, say 85 or so, and by doing so infect that person with a passion for programming. Now add 15 years. Think you’ll get a genius programmer? Not going to happen – your victim simply can’t handle long enough inference chains, and can’t learn new tools fast enough or well enough. You’d have perpetrated a kind of cruelty.

    The theory that genius is just perspiration is very beguiling; it appeals to our egalitarian cultural values. I don’t believe it; I’ve known too many geniuses myself, and there’s a difference that “passion” doesn’t capture, a quality you can’t get by sweating. I’m not sure IQ is an entire measure of it, but it’s certainly implicated.

  201. @Jeff Read: > this and what we call “genius” are the same thing?

    I would partially agree and partially disagree — the hours are necessary in most cases, but certainly not sufficient in all cases. I know a lot of people who could put in the hours and still come up empty-handed. To your point of education, though, as with anything else, having (the correct) others around to guide you when you are putting in your first several hundred hours could certainly be a good thing.

    On the flip side, I know a lot of people (men and women) who are more than smart enough to become computer geniuses, but who are not at all interested in that, and are smart enough to apply their energies where their passions lie.

  202. Well, I have certainly (and unfortunately) encountered negative side of examining source code of inexperienced programmers. My eyes, they burn… ;-)

  203. @Jeff Read: My unfortunate suspicion is that only “freak outlier geniuses” experience this without benefit of formalized education

    FWIW, I don’t consider myself a “freak outlier genius”–just smart :-)–and I am entirely self-taught as a programmer, but I have had the experience being described plenty of times. I think, as Patrick Maupin said in response to you, the key is not “genius” but enjoying programming enough to put in the time.

    Look for managers, “software architects”, or senior programmers who are fond of giving stern lectures to young programmers about how code has no value in itself and how it’s the business that truly matters.

    IMO this is just people rising to their level of incompetence. I don’t need to be lectured about how code has no value in itself; in fact I just spent a week or so throwing away a bunch of code I’d written for a project because it was clear it wasn’t doing the job. But it’s still the programmer who needs to do that, and the key to doing it is not “genius” but having enough pride in your work to know when it needs to be redone.

  204. @esr: Passion, translating into time invested, is not enough to make genius.

    To clarify the post I just made before reading this :-), I don’t think passion (or love of programming), translated into time invested, is enough to make genius. I think the experience that was described earlier, of having code “sing to you”, does not require genius. It may need less time invested in order to have it if you’re a genius, but it’s not inaccessible if you’re not.

  205. >It may need less time invested in order to have it if you’re a genius, but it’s not inaccessible if you’re not.

    Agreed. I don’t expect that all intermediate- and senior-level programmers (which I expect should hear the song at least part of the time) are geniuses.

  206. @Jakub Narebski: My eyes, they burn… ;-)

    Yeah. Sometimes a break from Stack Overflow is in order.

    @Alex K:

    > Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg?

    Yeah, to conflate these two threads, if you drop out of college to follow your passion and are passionate enough to put in the hours, there is a chance that good things will happen. Several women have done the same thing, but for the most part they are not in STEM.

    According to one list, the thirty most successful dropouts were often technical and, with the exception of the embattled Elizabeth Holmes, all male.

  207. If that’s your view of programming, I can see why you’d want more scholarships to teach programming and grant official recognition to the disadvantaged.

    But to most of the hacker community, such a view is complete and utter nonsense.

    A potentially practical idea: I think it’s blatantly obvious to experienced hackers that formal education is not a prerequisite to successfully inventing and building new things, that informal tinkering of some variety is, and that there undoubtedly do exist some individuals who have the potential to make worthwhile contributions but for whatever reasons (and for youth especially, I’m willing to entertain the concept of “lack of ready access” to the core material requirements, such as computers with Internet connections in environments appropriate to hacking, which libraries often can’t provide).

    Given that, it seems that one possibly effective approach would be to support the development of maker spaces accessible to interested but disadvantaged youth or even adults—basic computers with standard programming tools, a decent Internet connection, a simple electronics workbench, and the like. The ones I’m familiar with seem to be today’s analog of the university electronics and computer clubs that nurtured Eric’s generation of hackers, and the actual capital investment to set one up would be fairly low (the biggest cost being rent/office-type expenses and labor for supervision, which might very well be volunteer).

  208. >Given that, it seems that one possibly effective approach would be to support the development of maker spaces accessible to interested but disadvantaged youth or even adults—basic computers with standard programming tools, a decent Internet connection, a simple electronics workbench, and the like.

    I concur.

    Note that we generally didn’t have computer clubs per se. What we had was 24/7 access to terminal rooms, and lots of opportunities to work near other people who were learning in the same way we were.

  209. What we had was 24/7 access to terminal rooms, and lots of opportunities to work near other people who were learning in the same way we were.

    That sort of environment is what I think the ideal maker space could be in today’s technological milieu. The two main bits that I see as important that library access really doesn’t provide are the unconventional hours (maybe 24/7 isn’t always practical, but the most likely hours for youth to be tinkering are nights and weekends, not 9-5 M-F) and the physical environment for interaction. These days a significant chunk of that “working near people” is more virtual than physical, but access to a variety of communication channels, especially IRC and video chats in addition to Web-based resources like Stack Overflow, doesn’t fit with the traditional and still predominant “shh, it’s a library” model.

  210. >These days a significant chunk of that “working near people” is more virtual than physical,

    While this is true, I think being able to hang with peers on a similar learning track in meatspace has advantages not to be underestimated.

  211. @Christopher Smith:

    Yeah, I toyed with trying to set up a hackerspace-like-substance around here. I don’t think it can be done standalone — rents are too high. Finding the right partner is paramount. As you point out, libraries are an obvious but problematic possibility. Schools (both public and community college) and churches also have pros and cons. All it should take is the right pitch to the right person at any of these to relate it to their mission.

  212. Alex K: Good for you, for reading Liberty Street Economics blog! It is one of my very favorites. I am using this opportunity to tell you how much I like your bluebird avatar :o)

    Troutwaxer’s tone reminds me of a more leftward-leaning version of a sea lion.

  213. “In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.”

    “Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.”

    “We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.”

    http://stemtosteam.org

  214. >These days a significant chunk of that “working near people” is more virtual than physical,

    While this is true, I think being able to hang with peers on a similar learning track in meatspace has advantages not to be underestimated.

    I didn’t intend to. But the skill space is so wide now (languages, toolsets, even target platforms like Unix/Web/Arduino/Pi/Beagle) that good Internet comms are necessary-but-not-sufficient in a way that they weren’t when “Unix and core TCP/IP” covered most of the territory.

  215. This is the “code of conduct” that I will be adopting in all of my projects henceforth:

    The one and only criterion that will be used to determine whether a contribution to this project will be accepted is the quality of the contribution and how well it solves the problem it was contributed to solve. Period.

    I do not give one milli-micro-nano-fraction of a fuck what race you are, what gender you are or identify as, who you want to sleep with, how old you are, what your height or weight is, what if anything may be different about your body or brain, what language you speak, what country you’re from, what God you pray to, where you work, how much money you have, et fucking cetera. Is your contribution any good? That’s all that matters.

    There is one exception to the above rule: If you’re an asshole, you’re banned from the project. Permanently.

    If your contribution is not accepted, and you start whining about how it’s “actually” because you’re of some-or-other gender/race/religion/nationality/whatthefuckever, you are attempting to have the deck stacked in your favor because you’re “special.” That makes you an
    asshole. And you’re gone.

    This project explicitly rejects the “Open Code of Conduct” as published by the TODO Group, and any similar “codes of conduct” that may be promulgated. Anyone complaining about this is an asshole, because who the fuck are you to tell me how I should run my goddamn project? And you’re gone.

    I reserve the right to change this as I see fit…but anyone who tries to force me to change it in ways that are offensive to me is an asshole. And they’re gone.

  216. @Erbo. Okay, now: someone reports to you that someone else, in a forum where they have attached the project’s name to their words, is being an asshole. What do?

  217. Or did you mean to suggest that believing that one’s contribution has been rejected due to their race/etc is the only relevant way in which it is possible to be an asshole?

  218. > That being said, I am also dubious about gender reassignment surgery on children, not for any anti-trans reasons, but because one can expect brain chemistry changes, including hormonal changes, plus large amounts of brain development during puberty. Until we know the exact cause (causes? there may be more than one) of transgenderism, I’d be very leery of gender reassignment surgery on children.

    I think you weren’t paying attention. The problem wasn’t that he doesn’t think it should happen, the problem is that he thinks it does happen and/or thinks his opponents do think it should happen.

  219. esr: Bear in mind that if you consider 85 IQ to be “dramatically subnormal” then the vast majority of mid and senior level professional programmers are correspondingly geniuses. About 16% of the population has an IQ lower than 85; are 16% of the population clever enough to be mid or senior level professional programmers?

  220. @Random832
    “I think you weren’t paying attention. The problem wasn’t that he doesn’t think it should happen, the problem is that he thinks it does happen and/or thinks his opponents do think it should happen.”

    And the original comments and outrage were indeed based on utter (and willful?) ignorance. What happens is that puberty is delayed for children who have been able to convince a lot of others they suffer. The irreversible changes are started at a later age.

    New Dutch study supports delaying puberty for transgender youth
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/9/11/1329035/-New-Dutch-study-supports-delaying-puberty-for-transgender-youth

  221. @flaviusb

    It seems Leo wasn’t held back by these problems: http://www.businessinsider.com/leo-the-homeless-coder-2015-2015-4?IR=T

    (Although it is weird he doesn’t want to claim the money he earned, get a place, and so on.)

    Look, overcoming obstacles IS a good filter. What is your ideal idea of a talent – just natural born high IQ people who have education, mentoring, everything dropped at them? It is horribly cliche but obstacles, difficulties are character building. Come to think of it, I saw a certain pattern of upper class people who had it too easy and all the education and “chances” dropped at them and lacked difficulties, tended to quit (I am talking about employment corporate programming, not hacking) when a project became hard in an endless yak-shaving racing with a deadline way.

    Learning programming while unemployment, homeless, black, whatever IS a good signal.

    So what is exactly wrong in having obstacles to overcome? I have heard that in the USA Ivy League universities aren’t just looking for a perfect high school record but also things like sports performance or charitable work – something that is at some level difficult for coddled upper class people and signals more character strength, more ability to deal with difficulties?

    So, the flip side of the coin is do you really want to make things easy for everybody in which case how do you test for things like ability to persevere?

  222. @ESR before we start stroking your genius, it is important to point out that a genius could independently reinvent various programming paradigms but the implementation will differ enough to annoy the living bejeezus out of people trying to read that code. Programmers are famously easy to annoy this way, some even get all worked up about spaces vs. tabs in indentation. Since nobody complains your code is hard to read, we can assume you haven’t magically reinvented accepted standards and code style but simply that you learned most things by immersion back then, similar to how people learn human languages in an efficient way.

    I always figured pattern matching is usually better than explicit logical reasoning (the mind still runs logic but as a background process, becoming conscious only when fitting looking patterns don’t fit), that is why I believe in learning by imitation, as in, don’t explain much just show me examples way.

  223. “asshole” in practice means the the first person to stop cheering Bruce Jenner is deemed an asshole, thus loses his job and can never get another one, leading to the Stalin problem that no one dares to stop cheering Bruce Jenner.

  224. And the original comments and outrage were indeed based on utter (and willful?) ignorance. What happens is that puberty is delayed for children who have been able to convince a lot of others they suffer. The irreversible changes are started at a later age.

    We know that triggering puberty before its normal time has large and serious side effects. Girls permanently lose a lot of potential IQ. No one really knows what the effect of delaying puberty to beyond its normal time is. Maybe it is harmless or beneficial. Maybe we should delay everyone’s puberty. But today, even if ninety percent of those who suffered delayed puberty wound up has horrible freaks who usually committed suciide, no one would dare mention the fact, just as no one dares mention the fact that most male homosexual “families” are harems of sex slaves, that the prognosis for children raised by homosexuals is extremely bad, and most male to female transexuals suffer an early death due to violence, drug abuses, or, most commonly, suicide.

  225. @JAD (James Donald)
    ” But today, even if ninety percent of those who suffered delayed puberty wound up has horrible freaks who usually committed suciide, no one would dare mention the fact, just as no one dares mention the fact that most male homosexual “families” are harems of sex slaves, that the prognosis for children raised by homosexuals is extremely bad, and most male to female transexuals suffer an early death due to violence, drug abuses, or, most commonly, suicide.”

    It is clear that your fantasies are haunting you. I think you should seek professional help. Really, it can benefit you too.

    For other interested readers, just read the report:
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/09/02/peds.2013-2958.abstract

  226. @JAD on early puberty: seems to be an effect of fscked up childhoods, abusive parents, ghetto etc. that kind of stress speeds it up and is generally a part of Fast Life History Strategy which is basically the 2010, evolution-backed, really worked out version of the old sociological research on time preference in the 1960’s that everybody who wasn’t blinded by PC loved (Banfield – The Unheavenly City Revisited and these stuff back then, now out of print). I can really wholeheartedly recommend these 6 articles, one could build a whole ideology just on these: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201007/life-in-the-fast-lane-part-i-evolution-the-fast-life

  227. Bravo Eric, well said. The open source community has, so far, resisted SJW attacks and affirmed the obvious: everyone is welcome to contribute, regardless of their skin color, gender, and sexual orientation (all of which are irrelevant), and all contributions are selected uniquely on the basis of their quality. Let’s keep it so.

  228. @Erbo is right – just the same way as explict GPL or Mozilla or similar licencing was/is a better idea than just throwing everything into public domain, the correct way to fight these awful Codes of Conduct is to make one of yours – for example it could contain just these rules, contributions should be relevant and high quality, and communication should be constructive, on-topic and non-flamey (I think hackers have these types of unwritten rules since Usenet times?) write it down, call it the Cod of Conduct with a cod fish logo because you guys seem to love such silly puns and I think it gets a bit of intended mockery through right, and advertise it loudly as a signal of being an SJW-free project.

    Even put the cod fish logo on the project front page just to send out the signal. This is the type of stuff you hackers seem to like.

    Understand that it is far harder for them to push theirs if there is already one in place.

    @ESR you seem to be just the right guy to push something like this.

  229. >@ESR you seem to be just the right guy to push something like this.

    Agreed. Meredith, Roberto, Rick Moen, Ken Burnside, and myself are working on it.

  230. > call it the Cod of Conduct with a cod fish logo

    Consider this post a pre-order for several t-shirts should you adopt this strategy :)

  231. Relatedly, I hope that everyone silently (or not so silently) encouraging ESR to publish a hacker-friendly cod of conduct (or whatever it will be called) has noticed the shiny Donate button on the top right hand side of the page ….

  232. “So what is exactly wrong in having obstacles to overcome? I have heard that in the USA Ivy League universities aren’t just looking for a perfect high school record but also things like sports performance or charitable work – something that is at some level difficult for coddled upper class people and signals more character strength, more ability to deal with difficulties?”

    The Ivy League are looking to select future corporate and government bureaucrats, and corresponding entrepreneurs and politicians, who can kick back money and power to them in the future. They are not (primarily) looking for the best academics or voluntary work hacker-like people, who only have prestige to donate. So they set up these “Junior CEO” requirements that don’t exist in other countries. Generally the people who meet them are upper middle class, as they are the ones who are accustomed to taking initiative and being leaders, and maybe have actual CEOs as family and friends to advise them.

  233. There’s a cult of meritocracy?

    Does it enjoy constitutional protection in the U.S.? Is there a particular cult image for a shrine? Are there rituals for blessing a level playing field or invocations calling for dispassionate objectivity and a lack of favoritism from the gods? Does membership mean meritocratic donations are tax deductible?

    And if you’re a member of the cult, can you invoke the terms of a Contributor Covenant against the author of the introductory page on contributor-covenant.org for the alienating derogatory reference to your religion, or hasn’t that site adopted a code of conduct?

    The calm, assured tone and baiting presuppositions in the djangoconcardiff thread were very familiar. I don’t associate it with a particular ideology, but rather with a particular kind of ideologue. Conversation with them is never productive, and I’ve never really worked out whether they’re deliberate trolls or just kind of self absorbed.

    Perhaps a member of the cult of meritocracy could use their holy symbol to “turn meretricious” and send such people away.

    And while the Code of Merit linked above seemed a bit too wordy, a nice, concise Cod of Conduct could preemptively inoculate vulnerable projects against an obvious malady, and (with a suitable cod logo) would also make a decent decoration for a coffee mug.

  234. If a Chinese person wants to hang with another Chinese person for any reason that is a human preference and I don’t think I’m entitled to dispute it. Not even if I’m excluded. Not even if they offer a service to Chinese people only. Straight and gay also. Men and women too. There is no violence. No theft. Individuals are not only fully entitled to discriminate they are biologically required to do so on whatever basis they choose. If they weren’t we wouldn’t be alive today.

    Free software is not about social justice it’s about using transparency to reject involuntary subversion and enslavement.

  235. One thing about programming that made it very easy, and even compelling to learn (and I’m not (primarily) a programmer) was the immediacy of feedback. If you want to code something for a computer to do, you hack it together, run it, then look at the results. Then iterate, until it does what you want it to do. Not just syntax errors (which your compiler will make you aware of), but what all the pieces are really doing, and how you need to change them to make them do what you intended.

    Compare with learning a dry discipline like certain kinds of math, or statistical mechanics, or things like that: Sure, there are pictures/processes you can use to see what is going on in your head, but the entire working of the problem has to live in your head. There’s no helpful flawlessly logical thing showing you what happens if … all the time.

    … Well, until recently, which leads back to programming, and the other reason why it interests me. It lets me see how the models work, which leads to much faster understanding.

    Compare learning orbital mechanics the way Kepler and Euler had to do it, with learning orbital mechanics via Kerbal Space Program. KSP provides you with rich and immediate feedback about the domain of the problem, sending it straight into your cerebellum as intuitive understanding. If you have that, you can learn the math easily without being turned around.

    Without an intuitive picture, you have to be very careful with your formal system, because if anything breaks you’re lost and have no picture of what is going on.

    At least, that’s how I learn.

  236. I have always used to think that codes of conduct are for children. For dealing with actual and functional children they can be helpful, but these are not the sort of people you want to have to babysit in open source in the first place.

  237. Also: All the things we learned in aerospace engineering undergrad years ago (90% of which was crammed in one ear and fell out the other in 23 credit hour cram semesters) to learning how to fly a real plane recently.

    Everything has become concrete, sitting in the cockpit of an actual aircraft, using actual instruments, interacting with actual air traffic control, preflight checking the real control systems. It is worlds different in terms of the level of understanding I can maintain when I have actual experience with the domain.

    It makes me wonder about some of my peers who never see the outside of an entirely abstract systems engineering labs. The story of how the founders of Bell Helicopter designed their first vehicle: They built it, crashed it, rebuilt it, crashed it, performed tethered flights, untethered flights, attached flywheel stabilizer things, adjusted weights. Then they hacked together the drawings.

  238. ‘but Nelson, rejecting involuntary subversion and enslavement *is* social justice’

    Need your definition of social justice then, because that’s where we’re going to disagree.

    During that discussion you’ll need to establish the right to not be discriminated against, in order to establish that discrimination is a matter for ‘justice’ at all. I’ve already argued, it isn’t.

  239. Social media and mass communication are rapidly changing the paradigm of cultural evolution that has been operating within our species for the past few millennia. Hacking is the root skill set for controlling these new levers of power in memetics. As such, the SJW invasion into hacking culture is no accident.

  240. To me, this all comes down to freedom of association. And that freedom means two things, the freedom to associate, without coercion, and the freedom to NOT associate, without coercion.

    The latter of the two ideas is arguably the more important.

    So I’d probably just say something along the lines of, “I value contributions based on their technical merits, in accordance with my vision for , and I appreciate not even having to think about your identity as a . But, while I fully intend to do my best to be as welcoming and helpful as my time permits, and to ban rarely, I reserve the ultimate right to not accept contributions, or ban someone from my blogs, wikis, or talk groups, for any reason at all. If you disagree, you are free to fork the project.”

  241. Hmm.. it seems that ( insert project name ) and ( insert identity group name ) got automatically stripped out, so please add those to the previous comment at the proper places. :)

  242. @David Isecke
    > If you disagree, you are free to fork the project.”

    Are you telling dissenters to fork off?

  243. @Random832 – “Okay, now: someone reports to you that someone else, in a forum where they have attached the project’s name to their words, is being an asshole. What do?”

    Stipulated: I can only make rules for a project I control. Anyone else’s project or forum has their own rules, and it’s not up to me to enforce them; I’m not the Internet Police. Therefore, the most I would do is disavow them speaking for the project, unless I have empowered them to do so (unlikely). If they’re being an asshole someplace else, let whoever runs that other place lower the boom on them.

    Worse: If I go banning people as “assholes” based on what amounts to hearsay, I leave myself open to a disinformation attack…which is exactly the kind of tactic that an SJW might use! At most, such a statement might warrant “keeping an eye” on somebody’s behavior, to more quickly spot if they’re actually an “asshole” in my project.

    (Of course, if Sally SJW behaves like an asshole to someone else’s project, it’s a good bet that she’ll do the same to mine eventually. But this is not Minority Report and I can’t and shouldn’t engage in preemptive banning.)

    Contrariwise: If someone brands themselves an asshole under my rules, the most I can do is ban them from my projects. I may choose to publicly “name and shame” them, but I would not recommend that anyone else preemptively ban those assholes as a result of my doing so. (Of course, they might do so anyway. I’m not the boss of them. But it’s unwise of them to put that level of blind trust in me or anyone else.)

    I may amend that code of conduct to clarify that point.

  244. I find it sad and telling that so many SJW battles are about things so rare, theoretical, and ultimately trivial (though all are grouped under the banner of “civil rights” for political purposes). A reporter asks a pizza parlor if they’d cater a gay wedding and all hell breaks loose. I must have missed the civil rights crisis of gay couples who can’t get pizza at their weddings. In fact, I must have missed all the gay weddings that included pizza.

    The example above is even worse: someone voices polite and not unreasonable doubts about gender reassignment for children, and is pilloried. Such children are quite rare, and of course the topic has absolutely nothing to do with coding. It’s depressingly similar to the Eich event. AFAIK nobody could point to a single incident of Eich ever being rude or discriminatory toward anyone, but that was not enough to save his career, because a few people “felt uncomfortable” about his Mormon belief in traditional marriage.

    “The personal is political” is ultimately totalitarian.

  245. ” Paragraph 2 denounces the “pervasive cult of meritocracy”.

    THE SJW’s wet dream:
    ( Somewhen in the future)
    Attention: Will Mr. Harrison Bergeron and Mr. Eric Raymond, please report to the office of Handicapper General Glompers. Your handicapping requires adjustment.

  246. The first lines of the quoted message should probably read:

    “Nice project you got there. It would be a shame if something where to happen to it.”

  247. > Stipulated: I can only make rules for a project I control. Anyone else’s project or forum has their own rules, and it’s not up to me to enforce them; I’m not the Internet Police. Therefore, the most I would do is disavow them speaking for the project, unless I have empowered them to do so (unlikely).

    And if they continue claiming to speak for the project?

    I was actually more interested in the case where you [i]disagree[/i] that they’re being an asshole, though. It sounded like you were inclined to punish the person reporting them to you out of spite, despite the complete lack of clarity as to what behavior you consider to make someone an “asshole” (because if you did have a list, that’d be a code of conduct).

  248. > Worse: If I go banning people as “assholes” based on what amounts to hearsay

    If it’s a public place that you can go see yourself it’s not hearsay

  249. > Contrariwise: If someone brands themselves an asshole under my rules, the most I can do is ban them from my projects. I may choose to publicly “name and shame” them, but I would not recommend that anyone else preemptively ban those assholes as a result of my doing so. (Of course, they might do so anyway. I’m not the boss of them. But it’s unwise of them to put that level of blind trust in me or anyone else.)

    I’m a bit confused. I thought we were talking about public conduct – doing so would not imply trusting you, merely trusting the service providers involved not to falsify their public posts (which would be a serious crime)

  250. @PapayaSF:

    I find it sad and telling that so many SJW battles are about things so rare, theoretical, and ultimately trivial (though all are grouped under the banner of “civil rights” for political purposes).

    According to this article I read in my news feed this morning, this is because of a shift and (literall clash) of culture:

    “It was once considered unbecoming, or annoying itself, to moan publicly about trifling personal ordeals. Now, in a seismic shift for the moral culture, abetted by technology, we tolerate and even encourage the ‘microcomplaint’: the petty, petulant kvetch about the quotidian.”

    “… conclusions drawn in a 2014 paper in the journal Comparative Sociology called ‘Microaggression and Moral Cultures.’ The authors Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning argue that the increased attention recently given to microaggressions is a result of ‘the emergence of a victimhood culture that is distinct from the cultures of the past.'”

  251. @Alex K.: It’s an interesting question why that has become the case. I think there are many factors, but I suspect these are among them: 1) The rise of single-child families: only children are often a bit spoiled. 2) The rise of singe motherhood: children of single mothers are often indulged to a greater degree.

  252. @Random832:

    “And if they continue claiming to speak for the project?”

    After my public disavowal of their words? In that case, they are deliberately trying to write checks that they know they can’t cash and that I won’t honor. That would make them an asshole. And they’re gone.

    “If it’s a public place that you can go see yourself it’s not hearsay”

    But it’s still someone else’s project/forum. I don’t enforce rules there. “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” At least I know the reporter is accurate and not running a disinformation campaign, though.

    “I thought we were talking about public conduct – doing so would not imply trusting you, merely trusting the service providers involved not to falsify their public posts (which would be a serious crime)”

    I’ve called them an asshole as far as my own projects are concerned. They may or may not be an asshole elsewhere. (I’d bet they would, but I could be wrong.) Whether or not other projects want to take my word for it that a given person is an asshole is their business, not mine. I control only my own projects.

  253. Nota bene, IIRC Linux kernel has Code of Conflict, not Code of Conduct…

  254. @pf ‘the calm, assured tone and baiting presuppositions in the djangocardiff thread were very familiar … a certain type of ideologue …. I’ve never worked out if they were trolls or just very self-absorbed.’

    It’s how mildly retarded career petty criminals think administrative memos should be written. Yes, some trolls and self-absorbed people write like this, but if you read stuff written by guys fresh from the joint and headed back, they all write like this. And it works- if that memo had gone to a Computing for Dummies 101 project it would probably have gotten some money or clout for the writer. Remember there are thousands of Computing for Dummies projects for every high-IQ computing project. They outnumber you, they have more power, and they know it.

  255. flaviusb> Erasure: Christine Peterson coined the term ‘open source’, but people tend to remember it as being coined by ESR. This kind of thing happens with science, with code, with politics, and it means that we should at least take seriously the idea that merit is not recognised as such.

    If that be so, then your problem with meritocracy is that we should be having more of it but don’t. I don’t see how this amounts to a rebuttal of Eric’s points. He thinks we should have more meritocracy, too. The same applies, correspondingly, to the other examples in your post.

    As an aside: a quick Google search shows that the Open-Source Initiative Eric founded does give proper credit to Christine Peterson for coining the term. So if the general public remembers it as being coined by Eric, how is that any fault of his or his fellow meritocrats at the Open-Source Initiative?

  256. @ PapayaSF – “It’s an interesting question why that has become the case.”

    Modeling suggests that it is primarily due to affluence and lack of existential threat or significant hardship in our daily lives. Evolution has built us to overcome difficulties in life, and without any significant hardship in our current environment, we often seek to overcome trivial (and often self-created) pseudo hardships. And you need lots of these to repair your self esteem; especially if you’re sustaining yourself largely as parasite.

  257. @TomA: I think that is part of it, too. Another aspect is something I believe I said earlier: reform movements all start with legitimate grievances, but as they achieve their goals, they tend to focus on smaller and smaller issues. Nobody sane thinks discrimination against blacks or gays is worse than it was 30 years ago, and yet the “civil rights” rhetoric has gotten more extreme. You’d think that the KKK was on the march. But self-appointed leaders want to lead, and people want to socially signal that they are against Bad Thinking, and so we have a lot of hysteria over Halloween costumes, microaggressions, and people’s opinions of transgenderism.

    And note that we are simultaneously told that 1) this is all just being polite, so what’s the big deal?, and 2) it’s all a crucial, life-and-death civil rights struggle equivalent to slavery and lynching. Some Black Lives Matter types have now started the #FuckParis hashtag because the media focus shifted away from trivial events at the University of Missouri.

    (P.S.: It’s interesting to note that the media attention on the Missouri football team a year or two ago had to do with sexual assaults and rapes by players. Now all that is forgotten, and they are now victims of racism because of what one drunk guy said, the notorious “cotton ball” incident, and a poop swastika of unknown provenance which is somehow assumed to be anti-black.)

  258. > As an aside: a quick Google search shows that the Open-Source Initiative Eric founded does give proper credit to Christine Peterson for coining the term. So if the general public remembers it as being coined by Eric, how is that any fault of his or his fellow meritocrats at the Open-Source Initiative?

    Why does it not being his fault equate to it not being a problem?

  259. @Random832:

    So far no one has demonstrated that “the general public” or anyone else remembers the term “open source” as having been coined by Eric. Citing a problem which isn’t actually a problem proves nothing.

  260. >So far no one has demonstrated that “the general public” or anyone else remembers the term “open source” as having been coined by Eric.

    Unfortunately, I have encountered this misconception; I am always at pains to correct it, and Christine knows this.

    But that is basically irrelevant. That we have trouble achieving anything like perfect meritocracy is no reason to stop trying to approximate it as closely as possible.

  261. > But that is basically irrelevant. That we have trouble achieving anything like perfect meritocracy is no reason to stop trying to approximate it as closely as possible.

    See, this is where you’re getting tied up in rhetorical knots with what you believe they believe and with what they believe and with what you believe what they say means.

    The problem is, they think their proposed policies will do a better job of approximating a real meritocracy, by removing “this is a meritocracy” as a thought-terminating-cliche that allows the established contributors of each project to avoid having to justify rejecting any contribution they feel like rejecting whereas the real reasons for the rejections, the SJWs suspect, are influenced by the established contributors’ biases towards different groups of people.

  262. >whereas the real reasons for the rejections, the SJWs suspect, are influenced by the established contributors’ biases towards different groups of people.

    But, in reality, the SJWs are completely full of shit about this. There is a reality here; it’s not just conflicting narratives all the way down.

  263. esr> Unfortunately, I have encountered this misconception; I am always at pains to correct it, and Christine knows this.

    I agree this is irrelevant to your core point: imperfectly-accomplished meritocracy calls for more meritocracy, not for abandoning the concept. But while we’re on the topic: On further web-searching, I noticed that the Jargon File’s entry on Open Source does not currently contain any attribution to Christine. It probably should. I thought I’d bring it to your attention so you can update the entry. It’s the meritocratic thing to do. :-)

  264. >On further web-searching, I noticed that the Jargon File’s entry on Open Source does not currently contain any attribution to Christine.

    That’s because it doesn’t attribute anybody. Chris understands why this is; she gets it about victory happens when your ideas are such conventional wisdom that your name isn’t on them anymore.

  265. Datapoint: Until five minutes ago I thought it was coined by Eric. Thanks for correcting my brain.

    I still have the impression that ESR popularized the term. Wouldn’t be surprised if people conflate the two — I figure that’s probably what happened to me.

  266. >I still have the impression that ESR popularized the term. Wouldn’t be surprised if people conflate the two — I figure that’s probably what happened to me.

    You have that impression because in fact I did popularize the term. And that conflation does occur.

  267. random832 >Why does it not being his fault equate to it not being a problem?

    I didn’t say it equates to that, and I do think it’s a problem. It’s just not a problem with meritocracy. Quite the opposite: it’s a problem with a lack of meritocracy.

  268. esr> That’s because it doesn’t attribute anybody.

    That’s a fair point.

  269. @Random832:

    The problem is, they think their proposed policies will do a better job of approximating a real meritocracy…

    I honestly don’t understand why you bother to indulge in overly generous speculation on their thought processes, when the plain text of the front page at contributor-covenant.org says:

    [other stuff] and side effects of the pervasive cult of meritocracy make contributing to open source a daunting prospect for many people.

    This isn’t that hard to parse. They aren’t complaining that the goal of meritocracy hasn’t been fully reached, or that it needs some tweaking — they are complaining that it is pervasive and has pernicious side effects. Later text at that URL makes it clear that one of the ways to fix this is by “welcoming all people to contribute.”

    Even if if you accept this as a naive worldview, the text of the actual covenant puts immediate lie to it:

    Project maintainers have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject comments, commits, code, wiki edits, issues, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, or to ban temporarily or permanently any contributor for other behaviors that they
    deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.

  270. > But, in reality, the SJWs are completely full of shit about this. There is a reality here; it’s not just conflicting narratives all the way down.

    First of all…

    Are you saying that it is impossible to have an unconscious bias about someone based on their race/gender/etc? Or that hackers are, every single one, immune to this?

    It doesn’t even have to be racism, or any -ism. A bias against “outsiders” [i]in general[/i] could reasonably be said to disproportionately affect minorities if “insiders” tend to be white/male/english-speaking/etc.

    Second…

    Even if they’re mistaken about this, why can’t they just be [i]honestly mistaken[/i] rather than you interpreting everything as some sort of pseudo-marxist deliberate sabotage?

    Also, incidentally…

    > It has been suggested that djangoconcardiff might be a troll … The problem with this idea is that no SJW disclaimed him – more generally, that “Social Justice” has reached a sort of Poe’s Law singularity

    SJWs don’t seem to be so dense on the ground at github that any would even have [i]heard[/i] of this incident before it was already resolved. Certainly none showed up to comment before the project maintainer reported the post to github staff as harassment and got it deleted (and yet in your post you imply it’s a big damn mystery how and why it got deleted). At which point any effort to disclaim him “doesn’t count” as anything more than “it has been suggested that he might be a troll”.

  271. >Are you saying that it is impossible to have an unconscious bias about someone based on their race/gender/etc? Or that hackers are, every single one, immune to this?

    I’m saying that in more than 30 years of closely observing the hacker community I have seen no credible evidence of such bias, and that there are excellent reasons to doubt that such “unconscious bias”, to whatever extent it exists, affects behavior in any way above measurement noise.

    >A bias against “outsiders” [i]in general[/i] could reasonably be said to disproportionately affect minorities if “insiders” tend to be white/male/english-speaking/etc.

    Supposing this were true, it would not a warrant to yell “racism” or “sexism”, because the bias is not racial or sexual.

    >Even if they’re mistaken about this, why can’t they just be [i]honestly mistaken[/i] rather than you interpreting everything as some sort of pseudo-marxist deliberate sabotage?

    Because their presuppositions, rhetoric, and tactics are precisely those of volk-Marxist sabotage, with djangocconcardiff as a perfect example. I can’t really blame you for being ignorant of Marxist theory and rhetoric, but I am not ignorant and I know the shit by its stink.

  272. > they are complaining that it is pervasive and has pernicious side effects.

    It is absolutely clear to me that what they mean by “cult of meritocracy” is not what you are claiming it means.

  273. > Even if if you accept this as a naive worldview, the text of the actual covenant puts immediate lie to it:

    I have no idea how you think the text you quoted contradicts any of my theories.

  274. @Random832: what they mean by “cult of meritocracy” is not what you are claiming it means.

    To me, “meritocracy”, in the context of a technical project, means that, if you want to contribute, your contribution gets judged on technical merit, and nothing else. So a truly meritocratic Code of Conduct would just be that one sentence. Even if you don’t think that’s realizable in practice, it should at least serve as a useful idealized model.

    Given that, it seems to me that the proposed SJW Code of Conduct is a lot farther from that idealized model than, for example, the one Erbo posted in this thread.

  275. And I realize I use some pretty offensive language in my Erbosoft Code of Conduct, but, as the saying goes, “You can get more with a kind word and a blunt instrument than you can with just a kind word.” My code of conduct is a blunt instrument. :-)

    Besides, I suspect that the set of people that would be offended by the profanity and the set of people that are intended to be deterred by such a Code of Conduct have substantial overlap.

  276. > Supposing this were true, it would not a warrant to yell “racism” or “sexism”, because the bias is not racial or sexual.

    There is, however, a difference between “yelling “racism” or “sexism”” vs declaring something to be a problem, even to be a problem because of the effect on minorities/women.

    > “with djangocconcardiff as a perfect example”

    And how convenient for the narrative that you either don’t believe he is, or don’t believe it matters if he is, a troll. Incidentally, that line of argument reminds me nothing so much as “We should still treat ${fallen-apart accusation of rape or abuse which has got egg on the media and feminists’ face} as if it is true anyway, because it stands in for all the other equally heinous cases [I have in my hand a list] that really are.”

    And even if it precisely matches, you haven’t provided any reason not to believe that it’s “useful idiots all the way down” – or in other words what you call a “prospiracy” – which does not justify the moral outrage against individual “members” that you are arguing for.

  277. > To me, “meritocracy”, in the context of a technical project, means that, if you want to contribute, your contribution gets judged on technical merit, and nothing else.

    But they didn’t say “meritocracy”, they said “cult of meritocracy”.

  278. > Given that, it seems to me that the proposed SJW Code of Conduct is a lot farther from that idealized model than, for example, the one Erbo posted in this thread.

    I really don’t understand why. Patrick Maupin pointed out “Later text at that URL makes it clear that one of the ways to fix this is by “welcoming all people to contribute.”” but I honestly don’t understand why this is the case, unless you deliberately misinterpret it as requiring all contributions to be accepted regardless of quality.

  279. Random832:

    > But they didn’t say “meritocracy”, they said “cult of meritocracy”.

    Even with all the disparagement I can find to put on the word cult (and that’s a lot), this is a cult I am a proud member of. OTOH, if (as you seem to propose) they are arguing for meritocracy but against some sham version of it, they bloody well should say so. We aren’t in Wonderland, and words mean what they mean.

    The fact that the only thing they have to say about merit is disparaging speaks volumes. The fact that you’re still arguing what you’re arguing speaks even more volumes.

  280. @Random832:

    welcoming all people to contribute.”” but I honestly don’t understand why this is the case, unless you deliberately misinterpret it as requiring all contributions to be accepted regardless of quality.

    I was comparing and contrasting “welcoming all people to contribute” with the actual text of the covenant, which spells out all the people they don’t welcome contributions from, and hint — quality has NOTHING to do with why they say they should reject stuff.

  281. The most charitable reading of the Code of Conduct itself places it orthogonal to any code quality concerns, but the text at the website that only mentions merit in the disparaging phrase “cult of meritocracy” and then goes on to say we need to welcome all contributions obviously places code quality second, if at all.

    The code itself then makes it clear that contributions should be rejected if they come from the wrong source, whether they are meritorious or not. This doesn’t square with your lame interpretation that of course they don’t mean all comers, because they are going to reject bad quality code.

    No, a plain reading of the covenant is that they don’t mean all comers because they are going to reject code from people who make them cry.

  282. And, finally, esr said:

    Because their presuppositions, rhetoric, and tactics are precisely those of volk-Marxist sabotage,

    which is true, but you don’t need to go there. All you have to do is not follow them down the rabbit hole, and take the actual words at that site at face value, and realize that they don’t add up to anything good.

  283. > The code itself then makes it clear that contributions should be rejected if they come from the wrong source, whether they are meritorious or not.

    Wait. Are you suggesting that no open-source project should ever “ban” (i.e. deny access to discussion venues, patch submission mechanisms) anyone for any reason?

  284. @ Erbo

    If you’re an asshole, you’re banned from the project. Permanently.

    What if, a month later, the asshole submits a valuable patch that you would accept if it came from anyone else. Do you accept the patch?

  285. I think it’s important (and this is a failure on the COCs’ part as much as anything) to distinguish between being able to contribute code vs being a “member” of the project or being allowed to hang out in the project’s space.

    Maybe projects should be willing to ban people for misbehavior so that everyone else doesn’t have to hang around them, but still provide an alternate way for them to contribute patches and bug reports (maybe an email address of a designated thick-skinned co-maintainer?)

  286. @ Random832

    …to distinguish between being able to contribute code vs being a “member” of the project or being allowed to hang out in the project’s space.

    I am expecting Erbo to make this point, and then I go: “Right. That’s a meritocracy.

  287. @Random832: they didn’t say “meritocracy”, they said “cult of meritocracy”.

    But they don’t give any non-cult version of meritocracy–they don’t talk about merit at all. So anyone who puts value on technical merit is SOL with their Code of Conduct, as far as I can see.

    I really don’t understand why.

    Because they don’t freakin’ talk about merit at all. Which makes it clear that they don’t actually give a crap about merit; it’s just the same old chimp power game.

  288. @Random832:

    > Wait. Are you suggesting that no open-source project should ever “ban”

    Not at all. Which IMO makes it laughable or naive to say up front they will be “welcoming all people to contribute, and pledging in return to value them as human beings…”

    The text of the code itself shows they recognize they can’t do that, so you can remove naive, and laughable remains.

  289. @Peter Donis:

    > Because they don’t freakin’ talk about merit at all.

    No, it’s worse than that. It would certainly be possible to arrange a code of conduct to be orthogonal to contribution merit, e.g. “we try to be respectful when giving criticism.” But they have gone out of their way to assert that this code of conduct is in place of, not an adjunct to, any culture that cares about merit.

  290. @Patrick Maupin – have you considered the possibility that their opposition to the “meritocracy” argument may have been more directed towards giving established contributors a pass on bad social behavior on due to the “merit” of their past contributions, than anything against rejecting low-quality contributions?

  291. I also don’t see how it is necessarily anti-meritocracy to remove people from official discussion venues or tell them not to describe themselves as core contributors, as long as they’re not prevented from submitting patches. They might be discouraged from contributing, but we’ve already established that only real contributions matter, not hypothetical ones.

  292. By the way, I looked it up in a dictionary… meritocracy means rule by people selected on the basis of ability, it doesn’t mean a system of valuing technical contributions by the merit of the code (and I have no idea why, from start to here, we’ve all been treating it as if that’s its primary or only meaning). So if anything, their “cult of meritocracy” refers to the idea that people are being given some sort of untouchable status based on them being ‘people of merit’, rather than anything regarding how code is accepted or rejected.

  293. Which, I think, is strong evidence that djangoconcardiff is a troll – because his language was calculated to frame the debate as being about code instead of people.

  294. @Random832: meritocracy means rule by people selected on the basis of ability, it doesn’t mean a system of valuing technical contributions by the merit of the code

    But the one requires the other; if you’re going to select people on the basis of ability, you have to judge everyone’s technical contributions on technical merit, and nothing else. So if you have a Code of Conduct that says nothing about judging contributions solely on technical merit (or worse, actively works against that), how can it possibly help build a meritocracy?

  295. @Peter Donis: You’ve completely missed my point. Selecting people to have a status where they can do no wrong, because you’re terrified to take away that status because they might contribute less, is not a good thing, regardless of whether it’s on the basis of ability or otherwise.

  296. And no-one has advanced any argument that actually supports “meritocracy” in the form of rewarding people for past contributions with things like “core contributor” titles and de facto immunity from being kicked off the mailing lists or whatever. They can still contribute without those things. And if they choose not to, either out of spite or due to frictional costs, they’re not any different from any potential contributor who’s been run off by the LKML culture or whatever.

  297. their “cult of meritocracy” refers to the idea that people are being given some sort of untouchable status based on them being ‘people of merit’, rather than anything regarding how code is accepted or rejected.

    I don’t see this going on at all. All the complaints about Linus Torvalds, for example, are entirely about how he accepts or rejects code. Nobody complains that he’s not nice to them at parties. They complain that he lays into them when they submit a patch that is technically stupid.

    (What makes it even worse is that, at least in every case I’ve seen, the patch was technically stupid–one example I recall was about someone submitting a patch that broke userspace, and then, when Linus said “you never f**king break userspace”, or something like that, instead of saying “you’re right, I screwed up”, they tried to argue that it was ok to break userspace in that particular case. Even if, hypothetically, that argument was not completely out to lunch, it’s an argument that should have been made before submitting the patch–indeed, before even embarking on the work at all.)

  298. > So if you have a Code of Conduct that says nothing about judging contributions solely on technical merit (or worse, actively works against that), how can it possibly help build a meritocracy?

    You can judge contributions solely on technical merit without judging contributors solely on technical merit. And if the former is what you mean by meritocracy, and the latter is what the SJWs think it means, then there’s really no conflict.

  299. > I don’t see this going on at all. All the complaints about Linus Torvalds, for example, are entirely about how he accepts or rejects code.

    Well, technically speaking, they’re about what he writes to the mailing list after rejecting code. “How he accepts or rejects code” suggests, wrongly, that they’re about how he decides what code to accept or reject. The difference is that one of these things is technical and the other is not.

  300. @Random832: Wait. Are you suggesting that no open-source project should ever “ban” (i.e. deny access to discussion venues, patch submission mechanisms) anyone for any reason?

    Interesting question. Let’s do a little thought experiment (and gleefully break Godwin’s Law in the process.) Do we accept code from Hitler? Or Pol Pot? Or Stalin? Hitler likes your project, he contributes decent-or-better code, he keeps his politics off the mailing list, and even refrains from sending the SS to kill your Jewish contributors. He sticks to purely technical issues the entire time he’s part of the project… maybe it’s a hobby, something to do when the tensions of running the Third Reich get to be too much. Everyone needs a hobby.

    If the answer is “No,” then we’ve accepted the principle that there are some people we just don’t want around, and it’s OK to keep them off the project. Now we simply need to figure out who those people are… and I don’t have a problem with that as long as the criteria for rejection is at least vaguely fair.

    If we answer “Yes,” then we’ve got a real, true-blue meritocracy! Yay! (I think.) Personally, I’d prefer to contribute to a project that doesn’t involve Hitler and I suspect that even the most hard-core meritocrats among us feel the same way – some people are just beyond the pale.

    I suspect that answer is someplace in the middle – I don’t think anyone wants code from Hitler, however divorced from politics it might be. On the other hand, merit counts for something, particular where lives are involved, as with GPS, so I don’t think most of us want to arbitrarily ban folks based on their race or genital-touching preferences – that person who’s religious preferences we dislike might write awesome code.

    So we’re left with banning the assholes. Are we done now?

  301. I think another, related issue is…

    Let’s suppose, for a minute, that there are some aspects of the “sexism” argument that are true. Not that anyone hates women or is against women contributing, but that there are some aspects of, say, LKML culture that are, for whatever reason (whether it’s because of how people are socialized differently, or biological differences, or whatever other reason, it doesn’t matter), more off-putting on average to women than to men.

    I’m not sure of it, myself, but let’s assume for the sake of this line of thought that it’s true.

    The problem is, even if it is true… it’s nobody’s fault. Well, “society”, maybe. But certainly no-one present, not in anything remotely resembling a direct way. No-one involved is, personally, to blame. And because of that, no-one takes any responsibility to fix it. Imagine if we had that attitude towards buffer overruns.

  302. > I suspect that answer is someplace in the middle – I don’t think anyone wants code from Hitler, however divorced from politics it might be.

    The trouble is that Esr has denounced me as even worse than Hitler, or something along those lines – but I am pretty sure it would go against his principles to reject my code contributions on the basis of our political disagreements.

    Indeed, as the left moves ever leftwards, I am pretty sure that all of us, including Obama had worse than Hitler political positions ten or twenty years ago. In an earlier discussion, esr attributed political positions to his parents and his past self that seem extraordinarily enlightened for those times. We have always been at war with EastAsia.

    Consider what is happening in Sweden now, as the Swedish ruling party, overwhelmed by a flood of “asylum seekers” is forced to furtively adopt policies that everyone in Sweden, all decent correct thinking people a month or so ago, agreed were much worse than Hitler. In the current environment, being opposed to people that are worse than Hitler is likely to result in you being opposed to a quite inconveniently large number of people.

  303. Pingback: The “cult of meritocracy” in hacker culture « Quotulatiousness

  304. @flaviusb please read this, the best succint article about human motivation I’ve ever read: http://lesswrong.com/lw/uh/trying_to_try/

    TL;DR if meritocracy means you only respect actual success no matter how unfair is (success by the genetically gifted, rich parents, whatever) you have to have it, because when you try to detect and reward trying hard and failing, people will naturally ease into “trying to try” i.e. pretending trying. And it is not even just a cynical thing to run on others, it is actually a self-help method how to configure your self-talk to be productive yourself.

  305. @JAD
    “to furtively adopt policies that everyone in Sweden, all decent correct thinking people a month or so ago, agreed were much worse than Hitler.”

    In countries where people still have a living memory of the rule of the Nazi’s (and Sweden is close enough), the phrase “worse than Hitler” is never used. Claiming any US politician has such ideas shows you really do not know what you are talking about.

    But we already knew you do not know what you are talking about.

  306. @TheDividualist
    “TL;DR if meritocracy means you only respect actual success no matter how unfair is (success by the genetically gifted, rich parents, whatever) you have to have it, because when you try to detect and reward trying hard and failing, people will naturally ease into “trying to try” i.e. pretending trying.”

    A meritocracy is the “rule of the successful contributors”.

    First, there is a large difference between “Rule” and “Reward”. Those who rule because they contributed most can very well decide to reward the spoils based on effort (trying). The reason is that to get a single success, you need many failures.

    Only rewarding the success is unfair, but giving the ruling power to those who fail is madness.

    In Open Source it is clear that we want those who can improve the project most to “rule”, but we also want to reward those who do the menial work and those who honestly try but fail.

    And that is exactly what most project leaders try to communicate: Doing useful work, any useful work, is really appreciated, be it moderating forums or writing documentation and tutorials.

  307. Winter:
    > In countries where people still have a living memory of the rule of the Nazi’s (and Sweden is close enough), the phrase “worse than Hitler” is never used.

    Really?

    The Swedish democrats are supposedly Nazis, according to the Social Democrats. Why are they Nazis? For advocating pretty much what the ruling Swedish parties, overwhelmed by the massive inflow of illegals, now find themselves doing

  308. Winter:
    > In countries where people still have a living memory of the rule of the Nazi’s (and Sweden is close enough), the phrase “worse than Hitler” is never used.

    Tell that to Antifa, the state sponsored thugs that go around beating up dissidents. Everyone they beat up is worse than Hitler.

  309. @JAD
    “Everyone they beat up is worse than Hitler.”

    Please give us references of who are actually use the words: “Worse than Hitler”. I have never seen this printed, except in your comments. So I am curious who uses them. Pointing to Antifa is not the same.

    @JAD
    “Tell that to Antifa, the state sponsored thugs that go around beating up dissidents.”

    I would like to know how the “state-sponsored” part is determined?

  310. @Random832:
    “The problem is, they think their proposed policies will do a better job of approximating a real meritocracy, by removing “this is a meritocracy” as a thought-terminating-cliche that allows the established contributors of each project to avoid having to justify rejecting any contribution they feel like rejecting whereas the real reasons for the rejections, the SJWs suspect, are influenced by the established contributors’ biases towards different groups of people.”

    They are not meritocrats, they are communists.

    Meritocrats believe that people have different talents, temperaments and interests, something for which there is overwhelmingly massive evidence, and want to match these as best as possible to important tasks so as to best serve human welfare.

    Communists start from the totally arbitrary assumption that every person (or at least group, to make it sound a bit less bald-faced ludicrous) starts with the same talents, temperament and interests, and any deviation from this is due to a massive evil conspiracy. That’s really the only conclusion left once you have excluded “our assumption is horribly mistaken” as a possibility.

    The communists do believe that in the status quo talents are mismatched to tasks, because they believe there is no such thing as a difference in talent while they see persistent patterns in how people are assigned to tasks. If some people or groups seem to be doing consistently better than others it must be because they are evil parasites.

    It’s not even worse than Hitler, it’s just the same basic logic, neither better nor worse.

  311. I’m not sure what’s so complicated about a meritocracy. A bridge doesn’t know or care who built it. If you think it does it’s liable to fall down. Why be surprised people who hate the idea of a meritocracy are the fallen?

  312. > A bridge doesn’t know or care who built it.

    It also doesn’t care whether the builder is given a position of power as a reward for having built it.

  313. Whatever happened to “I despise everything you just said, but will fight to the death for your right to say it, {brother, sister}?

  314. >Whatever happened to “I despise everything you just said, but will fight to the death for your right to say it, {brother, sister}?

    See, this is where being able to recognize SJW ideology as a kind of volk-Marxism is helpful. Once you have, you’d no more expect it to defend free speech than you’d expect an SS Gruppenfuhrer to say the kaddish.

  315. random832> Are you saying that it is impossible to have an unconscious bias about someone based on their race/gender/etc? Or that hackers are, every single one, immune to this?

    None that a boilerplate “code of conduct” can correct. If you have an unconscious bias based on X, you won’t change your behavior in response to the commandment that “thou shall not discriminate based on X”. That’s because the bias is unconscious, so to your mind you’re not discriminating by X in the first place. (Disclaimer: I don’t speak for hackers because I’m not one mysefl. But my point applies to humans in generals, and to that I can speak.)

  316. @Random832:

    I also don’t see how it is necessarily anti-meritocracy to remove people from official discussion venues or tell them not to describe themselves as core contributors, as long as they’re not prevented from submitting patches.

    There are bad actors, and any group that wants to survive will have a formal or informal method of insulating itself from them. But the code gives lots of wiggle room for doing political stuff under the cover of being nice. The second part of your argument — the answer to speech is certainly more speech, and you are always free to ask someone not to describe themselves in a way that you feel is inaccurate. But if someone decides to keep describing themselves as a core contributor, what are you going to do about it? What do you think should happen?

    They might be discouraged from contributing, but we’ve already established that only real contributions matter, not hypothetical ones.

    Perhaps you didn’t mean it this way, but this is the best argument so far against the code of conduct. Its entire rationale, as discussed in the first two paragraphs on its home page is premised on the hypothetical contributions that might materialize once it is adopted.

  317. > Perhaps you didn’t mean it this way, but this is the best argument so far against the code of conduct.

    I was pointing out the absurdity in giving a damn about the possibility that someone who you “ban” might stop contributing when the entire argument relies on their hypothetical future contributions. And without that, your argument falls apart.

  318. In other words, you’re clearly unable to grasp sarcasm, since I was pointing out the idea that people being discouraged doesn’t matter as a problem in your argument, not uncritically endorsing it.

  319. @Brian Marshall: “What if, a month later, the asshole submits a valuable patch that you would accept if it came from anyone else. Do you accept the patch?”

    Ideally, I never see the patch at all, because I have used technical means to block the asshole from the project. (Think Facebook “block.” Can you do that on GitHub?)

    Anyway, the chances that someone branded an “asshole” under the ECoC will even have the capability to submit a worthwhile patch are minimal, given that one of the roads to assholedom is whining about a rejected patch. Not merely “getting a patch rejected.” The appropriate response to having a patch rejected is to debate it on its technical merits and either abandon the effort or revise the patch. It’s the “oh, you aren’t accepting my patch because you’re biased against Latina bisexual transwomen!” response that is the mark of the asshole….and someone who has to resort to those arguments is unlikely to have the technical chops to back themselves up.

  320. The only thing worse than your pathetic fall into irrelevance, is that there may be young hackers who read your posts and think you represent “hacker culture.”

  321. >The only thing worse than your pathetic fall into irrelevance, is that there may be young hackers who read your posts and think you represent “hacker culture.”

    I truly, deeply love comments like these. That is, people who scream that I’m falling into irrelevance not realizing that their felt need to do so conforms the exact opposite.

  322. > given that one of the roads to assholedom is whining about a rejected patch

    Yes, but he was talking about the other roads. If there are any.

  323. If I didn’t recognize the sarcasm, it’s because the first part of your argument is against a position you seem to feel I have taken that I have never defended, e.g. a strawman.

    IMO, any group should feel free to adopt this CoC or not, and/or to expel anybody for any reason or no reason whatsoever.

    But personally, I would be leery of investing time and energy in any group which has carefully considered the history and meaning of the CoC and then decides to adopt it anyway. I’d much rather be around others who likewise have no use for the thought police.

  324. @Random832:

    > Yes, but he was talking about the other roads. If there are any.

    There are certainly people who are extremely competent but are difficult to deal with. This is something that is best dealt with on a case-by-case, project-by-project basis. Attempting to prescribe behavior for all interactions in a sphere (and even dragging in ex parte interactions) is, as esr has pointed out, the hallmark of those who wish for a centralized command-and-control economy.

  325. > That is, people who scream that I’m falling into irrelevance not realizing that their felt need to do so conforms the exact opposite.

    Without implying a conclusion either way, the minimum level of relevance necessary for people to want to complain about someone on the Internet is far below the level of relevance you claim to have. Maybe even below the lowest level of relevance your worst critics have accused you of having.

  326. > Interesting question. Let’s do a little thought experiment (and gleefully break Godwin’s Law in the process.) Do we accept code from Hitler?

    Personally, granting your premises regarding his behavior, I’d more or less without complaint accept his code. (Or substitute Stalin, or Pol Pot, or someone else; the comparison to Hitler has been used too much, and by the wrong kind of people, to generate much of a revulsion reaction in me anymore.)

    The greater danger you run into in such a case is that of entryism (and this is where it profits one to substitute the name of someone they actually despise personally, not just an abstract symbol of Evil; the visceral reaction is greater). That is, that by establishing credit within the community on the basis of their code (granting it’s genuinely meritorious), $DESPISED_PERSON may be laying a foundation to later use that respect to promote their despised agenda. In the general case, it seems this is a very real threat; see the projects which actually do pay credence to this Code of Conduct nonsense. (And this is why it’s better to substitute the name of some modern enemy, rather than Hitler literally; the risk of a project takeover by entryist neo-Nazis is low, to say the least, and so using Hitler himself risks overlooking this risk.) Whether a contributor should be banned on the basis of potential entryism, rather than mere odiousness, seems a matter of an individual project lead’s preference and risk-tolerance. But it’s by no means clear to me that the answer is always “ban them”.

    >I truly, deeply love comments like these. That is, people who scream that I’m falling into irrelevance not realizing that their felt need to do so conforms the exact opposite.

    It’s interesting, too, that this is always the insult the drive-by flamers use. They don’t even bother denouncing you for your putative thoughtcrime; they merely declare you to be irrelevant. Presumably because “omg, are there still people like this in 2015? Wow, just wow”.

    As everyone knows, the wave of the future is leftism, and anyone who dissents is an outdated relic.

  327. > Presumably because “omg, are there still people like this in 2015? Wow, just wow”.

    I really don’t think the suggestion that he’s irrelevant has much to do with his views, except that it is in speaking out about those views that it’s most likely to come up [because he says he speaks for all hackers and that all (or a solid majority of) hackers share those views]

    Meanwhile, it’s undeniable that his profile is much lower than it once was. Has he made the mainstream news since the Halloween Documents? It’s been a decade since he’s published any books. For people to whom any of those is a primary measure of “relevance”, he’s certainly less relevant than he used to be, if not irrelevant, and his attitude has not changed to match.

  328. >Meanwhile, it’s undeniable that his profile is much lower than it once was.

    I certainly intended that outcome.

    On the other hand, the reaction when I show up at a live event like FOSSCON 2015 is, from a certain angle, entertaining. I generally try to delay having people figure out who I am as long as I can, because I know jaws are gonna drop and fanboys are gonna fanboy once the penny drops. This somewhat impedes my ability to have actual conversations.

    Same thing when I visit an IRC channel I don’t frequent. Only it’s funnier there because one of the common reactions is “Prove you’re the real ESR!” At which point I’m likely to say something like “You’ve found me out. I am, in fact a mere simulation of ESR running on a darknet supercomputer buried beneath the Transylvanian Alps,” … and someone else will say “Yeah, that’s him.”

  329. But ultimately, at this point it’s going to be tested. He’s made a [metaphorical] call to arms; his relevancy can be measured by who answers it.

  330. > Let’s do a little thought experiment (and gleefully break Godwin’s Law in the process.) Do we accept code from Hitler?

    No, that’s not breaking Godwin’s Law. It’s COMPLYING with it.

    Godwin’s Law simply states that the longer a discussion continues, the closer the probability of someone bringing up Hitler or Nazis gets to 1. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not in any way cast aspersions on the first person to do so, including but not limited to “you said ‘Hitler’, so you lose!”.

  331. @ Michel v

    I assume that you intended your one sentence opinion as some sort of insult or perhaps as a warning to others on this board. If the latter, then you may wish to establish some credibility first by making an intelligent comment. The unintelligent do not tend to stick around in this place for very long.

  332. The Monster> Do we accept code from Hitler?

    If it’s good code, sure why not? Come to think of it, maybe you should accept it even if it’s lousy code. Every hour he spends coding is an hour he’s doesn’t work on evil, destructive projects.

  333. Oops, that quote was from troutwaxer, not The Monster. Sorry for the misattribution!

  334. troutwaxer> If we answer “Yes [to Hitler’s patch],” then we’ve got a real, true-blue meritocracy! Yay! (I think.) Personally, I’d prefer to contribute to a project that doesn’t involve Hitler and I suspect that even the most hard-core meritocrats among us feel the same way – some people are just beyond the pale.

    No problem. Feel free to contribute to a different project instead. The problem in cases like ‘djangoconcardiff”s arises when somebody moves from “I don’t want to contribute to a project like that” straight to “YOU shouldn’t be allowed to RUN a project like that. And if you do, I’ll report you to the authorities.”

  335. It must go without saying (at least it doesn’t seem to have been noted in comments here) that (successful) project leaders actually do more work than admit code contributions.

    Whenever more than one person is collaborating on a project there will be interpersonal dynamics at play. A successful project leader has a role in managing the effects of those social interactions as well as the technical merits of code submissions.

    There must be *personality* involved, otherwise any project leader would be immediately fungible (without interruption to the project) for another identity, which we know is not the way leadership transitions commonly pan out.

    Is it possible that those of you who seem to honestly believe that there is no place in software development for principles that call for people to be reasonable in their personal interactions might be simply under-estimating the importance of these interactions for overall project success?

  336. @Random832: technically speaking, they’re about what he writes to the mailing list after rejecting code.

    If you do something technically stupid, and Linus calls you on it, then you don’t complain about the words he used. You fix what you did so it’s no longer technically stupid.

    If someone else does something technically stupid, and Linus calls them on it, and instead of fixing it, they make lame arguments about how it wasn’t really technically stupid in that particular case, you don’t complain about the words Linus used, and you certainly don’t say that the person who did the technically stupid thing is being “discriminated” against. If you aren’t willing to say out loud that yes, what the person did was technically stupid and their argument when called on it was lame, then you should just keep silent. Complaining about the words Linus used doesn’t help the technical issue, it hurts it, by distracting attention from where it belongs.

    one of these things is technical and the other is not.

    No, they’re both technical, because, as above, if you focus on the words Linus used instead of the content of what he said, you’re distracting attention from the valid technical issue.

    Perhaps the problem here is that you and I have different priorities. I think that, for a project like the Linux kernel, fixing technical issues, or even better avoiding them in the first place, takes precedence over managing people’s feelings. You appear to think the opposite. In itself that’s fine; reasonable people can disagree. But my response to the disagreement is, fine, fork the project so you can have your own version that you manage the way you want to manage it, and leave Linus alone to manage his version the way he wants to manage it. The SJW response to the disagreement, which you appear to support, is to impose martial law on all projects and force them to conform to their Code of Conduct. True, they can’t actually do that, at least not yet, but that’s what they would like to do, and failing that, they at least want to pester the hell out of every project with any public visibility whatsoever and make the maintainers’ lives a burden to them for no good reason. That is unacceptable.

  337. @Random832: It also doesn’t care whether the builder is given a position of power as a reward for having built it.

    Nobody “gave” Linus his position of power in the Linux kernel. He started it, fer chrissake. It’s his project.

    This looks to me like just another version of the “daddy model” of wealth; in this model, no wealth is ever created, it can only be doled out by some higher omnipotent entity. But in the real world, wealth is created, and so are “positions of power” like the one Linus holds for the Linux kernel. Nobody doles them out as rewards for good behavior; they are created out of nothing by people building things of value. The failure to recognize this is, as esr has already pointed out several times now, a huge red flag of Marxist memes lurking in the background.

  338. > my response to the disagreement

    I should have said “the hacker response to the disagreement, which I support”, since plenty of others in this thread have already stated it.

  339. >Complaining about the words Linus used doesn’t help the technical issue, it hurts it, by distracting attention from where it belongs.

    So there’s an finite unchanging supply of attention, and absolutely none of it can be spared for considering the possible future benefits of changing how interpersonal interactions work?

    If you really want to avoid distraction, why not just back the patch out and move on, and temp-ban the person who submitted it for a month for wasting everyone’s time? Practical problem solving rather than a lot of noise.

    > Nobody “gave” Linus his position of power in the Linux kernel. He started it, fer chrissake. It’s his project.

    I was talking in an abstract sense, and the example was meant to map more closely to Elia (who seems to have been a subordinate to “meh”) in the Opal thing anyway

    > But in the real world, wealth is created, and so are “positions of power” like the one Linus holds for the Linux kernel. Nobody doles them out as rewards for good behavior; they are created out of nothing by people building things of value

    “positions of power” in open source projects are not created and held as property, they are a continuous process of the wider community’s decision to continue working with that person rather than forking the project.

  340. @Random832: “Yes, but he was talking about the other roads. If there are any.”

    The other currently-defined roles in the ECoC are (a) bitching about my rejection of the OPEN CoC and similar CoCs, and (b) trying to force me to change the ECoC in ways that are offensive to me. In both cases, this implies that the potential asshole is focused more on the project’s CoC than on any technical issues, indicative of SJW status and thus assholedom.

    Bear in mind that, under most circumstances, nobody should give a shit about the ECoC at all. They should just contribute, focus on technical issues, and do their thing. No different from how a dev team at a company would function.

    @Patrick Maupin: “There are certainly people who are extremely competent but are difficult to deal with. This is something that is best dealt with on a case-by-case, project-by-project basis. Attempting to prescribe behavior for all interactions in a sphere (and even dragging in ex parte interactions) is, as esr has pointed out, the hallmark of those who wish for a centralized command-and-control economy.”

    This is true. I don’t think it’s possible for me to define in advance every possible way in which a person can become an asshole. Assholes are so ingenious. :-) My blog’s comment policy is in a similar spirit:

    “There may be free speech, but there is no free lunch. You want to make a speech, get your own blog; I run and pay for this one. I reserve the right, at all times, to delete any comment if I choose not to want it here.”

  341. And I took great pains to make it clear in my post that an environment of general hostility that drives people away is not the same thing as an individual “villain” “discriminating against” an individual “victim”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, so I’m very annoyed right now that you once again characterized this as a question of whether people are “being “discriminated” against”.

  342. @Random832: So there’s an finite unchanging supply of attention

    It’s certainly harder to create more of it than it is to create more of a lot of other forms of wealth. :-)

    If you really want to avoid distraction, why not just back the patch out and move on, and temp-ban the person who submitted it for a month for wasting everyone’s time?

    In the particular example I was thinking of (breaking userspace), IIRC Linus’ first response was basically to revert the patch, say “we never f**king break userspace”, and leave it at that. It was only when the submitter tried to argue that it was OK to break userspace in this particular case that there were fireworks.

    As for temp bans over cursing as a way of getting the message across, I don’t know enough about the details of kernel development to know for sure, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be practical, since anyone who is submitting patches to Linus is already aggregating the work of many other people, so temp banning them would cause a huge blockage in the pipeline.

    “positions of power” in open source projects are not created and held as property, they are a continuous process of the wider community’s decision to continue working with that person rather than forking the project.

    Yes–so why create a huge hoohah to impose a Code of Conduct, instead of just forking if you’re not happy about how someone is managing a project and repeated requests to change have failed?

    In other words, you have just stated that the community already has a process in place to handle this issue; yet you advocate imposing a Code of Conduct on projects instead of letting that process work. Why?

  343. > I really don’t think the suggestion that he’s irrelevant has much to do with his views, except that it is in speaking out about those views that it’s most likely to come up [because he says he speaks for all hackers and that all (or a solid majority of) hackers share those views]

    I’ve seen the same insult (“you’re irrelevant, you’re outdated, not in touch with the wave of the future, history is leaving you behind”) in manymany contexts unrelated to ESR or his actual, objective relevance. Invariably, it’s a leftist or an SJW directing it at someone who opposes leftism. (Interestingly enough, “you’re irrelevant” tends to be directed at those who openly place themselves in opposition to SJWism, like ESR or Vox Day; the reaction to someone who criticizes any individual piece of SJW batshittery, while not explicitly opposing the movement as a whole, is much more “how dare you thoughtcrime like that, you thoughtcriminal!” A tactical move?)

    > an environment of general hostility that drives people away is not the same thing as an individual “villain” “discriminating against” an individual “victim”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem,

    I think how much of a problem it is depends greatly on against whom the general hostility is directed. Linus’ habits may well create an environment of general hostility against those who submit bad patches, but I’m more or less fine with that. (Meanwhile, it’s classic SJW entry tactics to present any hostility from anywhere directed at anyone as an “environment of general hostility” directed against whomever they’ve decided is disprivileged this time.)

  344. You know, as an aside… the “never break userspace” policy or equivalent actually seems like a very unique position (well, apart from MS Windows). Certainly we wouldn’t have much compiler optimization if everyone were afraid of breaking programs that rely on a particular outcome of undefined behavior. Programs other than the kernel can have bugs, and pulseaudio may well have had one, and it’s really not Linus’s place to say it didn’t and characterize it as “blaming” the program, since Pulseaudio is not his project. Being perfectly backwards compatible even to programs that have bugs may or may not be a laudable goal; it clearly is one of the Linux Kernel’s actual goals in light of this… but it’s not the only possible sane position to hold.

  345. > (Meanwhile, it’s classic SJW entry tactics to present any hostility from anywhere directed at anyone as an “environment of general hostility” directed against whomever they’ve decided is disprivileged this time.)

    As far as I know the contention is that women are less able to deal with it (and thus would be more able to participate in the project if it weren’t there), rather than that it’s directed at them specifically.

    You’re still transforming this into something that has to be someone’s fault, where someone has to be doing something wrong for there to be a problem. And therefore nothing that someone can’t be blamed for is a problem worth fixing. And you’re projecting that onto the people pointing out the problem and accusing them of accusing others of “discrimination” or other wrongdoing.

  346. failing [to impose martial law], they at least want to pester the hell out of every project with any public visibility whatsoever and make the maintainers’ lives a burden to them for no good reason.

    Where “a burden” extends to trying contacting his employer and employer’s clients in this case: https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-cuba/2015-July/000106.html And as we’ve seen in others, ending his career (when it comes to programming it’s almost always, if not always a male being targeted). These people are profoundly evil, to attack so severely for slights so minor or non-existent except in their fevered minds.

  347. > You’re still transforming this into something that has to be someone’s fault, where someone has to be doing something wrong for there to be a problem.

    I entirely acknowledge that a bad situation for which nobody is particularly to blame can still be a problem. It’s also entirely possible that highly-acerbic norms in technical discussion fora might be one of those problems.

    However, it is transparently obvious to me that the whole “code of conduct” initiative, pushed by SJWs supposedly in order to address the above (hypothetically a) problem, is in fact designed not with any technical objective in mind, but for the purpose of asserting and consolidating SJW political control of technical projects and communities. It is explicitly a goal of these people to kick everyone they define as a wrongthinker out of every community they can, to the extent of destroying communities which refuse to go along. Even granting the existence and seriousness of the ‘general attitude of hostility’, I cannot imagine it to be doing damage remotely comparable to what would result from consolidated SJW control. Thus, I oppose the whole thing, by means as vigorous as are available to me. Any similarly transformative proposition to address any supposed problem, if it is proposed by people who are visibly SJWs, I will likely similarly dismiss as a stalking horse.

  348. @Random832: the “never break userspace” policy or equivalent actually seems like a very unique position (well, apart from MS Windows).

    Linux and Windows, peas in a pod. :-)

    it’s not the only possible sane position to hold.

    In the general case, I agree. But Linus has made his position for the Linux kernel so clear so many times that anyone who even thinks they might possibly, by some stretch, have an argument should know enough to try it out on him before they submit the patch, not after (or indeed, as I said earlier, before they even do the work at all). Pulseaudio is not Linus’s project, true, but any project that runs on an OS has to be aware of how that OS expects projects to work with the kernel.

  349. “You’re still transforming this into something that has to be someone’s fault, where someone has to be doing something wrong for there to be a problem. And therefore nothing that someone can’t be blamed for is a problem worth fixing.”

    If nobody is doing anything wrong, how can there be “an environment of general hostility that drives people away”? Surely “the environment” can be unpacked to particular instances of hostility, for instance individual rebukes to bad patch submissions or the like.

    If those rebukes cannot be proven to be specifically hostile to sensitive groups (women, gays, minorities, etc.), then I don’t see that people in those groups claiming discrimination have a leg to stand on. I’ve participated on various boards and lists where it turned out the general culture was jackassery and so I left; but the jackassery was literally indiscriminate. Some folks dig that, some don’t.

    If your argument is “Women/gays/minorities can’t handle jackassery and therefore it’s discrimination” my answer can only be “Boo hoo. Grow up and join the real world.”

  350. > If your argument is “Women/gays/minorities can’t handle jackassery and therefore it’s discrimination”

    See, now you’re failing to unpack. (It’s not my argument, but nevermind that for now) “…and therefore it’s discrimination” is, as far as I can tell, entirely your invention. Something can be a problem without being a deliberate effort to alienate people. Why can’t it just be “Women can’t handle jackassery [ywnm] and that is one of several reasons why maybe it’d better to have less of it”?

    What’s the benefit of it, anyway, besides it evidently being too much of a distraction to think about not doing it.

  351. > Why can’t it just be “Women can’t handle jackassery [ywnm] and that is one of several reasons why maybe it’d better to have less of it”?

    Because “women can’t handle jackassery” is an example of the sort of sexism that the majority of the hacker community doesn’t want a bar of.

    +1 for less jackassery, though.

  352. Winter: Please give us references of who are actually use the words: “Worse than Hitler”. I have never seen this printed, except in your comments. So I am curious who uses them. Pointing to Antifa is not the same.

    Perhaps, in standard Jim style, he’s taken a possibly-supportable claim and stretched it beyond recognizability? The whole Gamergate is worse than ISIS thing, maybe?

  353. > Because “women can’t handle jackassery” is an example of the sort of sexism that the majority of the hacker community doesn’t want a bar of.

    So the idea that statistical differences in ability between groups exist (regardless of the cause) is okay when it excuses differential outcomes, but not when it provides a reason to be accommodating of those differences?

  354. +1 for less jackassery, indeed.

    So let’s say some project institutes a “no-jackasses” CoC*. Presumably the project owner is to enforce it. But the project owner is already in charge of setting the tone. If they choose to be a jackass anyway, or permit others to be jackasses, who is to enforce their CoC against them?

    I don’t see any way to force an owner (and by extension the group they lead) to stop being a jackass, at least not without unacceptable levels of coercion.

  355. > I don’t see any way to force an owner (and by extension the group they lead) to stop being a jackass, at least not without unacceptable levels of coercion.

    No, and neither should there be. The appropriate response is to leave, and if you’d like, fork the project and found your own community more in line with your values.

  356. (To clarify that, by all means *first* bring up the CoC violations with the owner and others first. Try to resolve things that way *before* taking the fairly drastic step of forking).

  357. <snark>How ’bout:   If women want the culture of a project to change to suit them better, it is discrimination against that culture – discrimination that should be stomped on! Ruin those women’s lives!</snark>

    I imagine that some projects could benefit from more participants that they could get if they seriously eased up on the jackassery.

    OTOH, a project team might work together so well that maintaining the team is more important than attracting more people that don’t like the current project culture.

  358. Agreed, but the argument “jackassery is offputting to women, which is bad and should be fixed, but it’s nobody’s fault specifically” sounds like the desired solution is “it’s really ‘society’ which should be fixed, but that’s too hard, so we’ll have to fix it one group at a time whether they like it or not.” And then we get back to “who decides” again.

  359. Right. The fact that open-source projects are run by a (hopefully benevolent) dictator is a good thing.

  360. To steal a joke from P.J. O’Rourke…

    Let the SJWs have their way, and sooner or later they will be pushing for mandatory helmets while taking a bath and legislated bedtime.

  361. > So the idea that statistical differences in ability between groups exist (regardless of the cause) is okay when it excuses differential outcomes, but not when it provides a reason to be accommodating of those differences?

    1) Statistical differences between groups are *never* justification for treating individuals differently based upon their group membership. This means one shouldn’t presume that black people are thieves* because more black people are thieves in your society, just as one shouldn’t preferentially hire black candidates because their group is under-represented in your field.

    2) It is perfectly reasonable to be accommodating of the difficulties *individuals* may face. If someone is having difficulty with English**, be more patient and helpful than you might be with someone fluent in the language. If someone is new to coding in general, perhaps offer mentoring and more guidance with PRs than you might for a more experienced programmer.

    3) There is no evidence (that I know of) that women are in some nebulous way “can’t handle” jackassery, or are more sensitive to it than men. Even if there were, it still wouldn’t alter the fact that treating *individual* men and women differently on that basis is sexist.

    * http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-12/melbourne-students-accuse-apple-store-of-racial-profiling/6936750

    ** assuming that English is the ‘default language’ for your project

  362. @Random832: So the idea that statistical differences in ability between groups exist (regardless of the cause) is okay when it excuses differential outcomes, but not when it provides a reason to be accommodating of those differences?

    Statistical differences in ability between groups can’t be “okay” or “not okay”. It’s a fact of life that everyone has to live with. Would you say that gravity is “okay” or “not okay”?

    Differential outcomes are also a fact of life that everyone has to live with. Nobody has a right to be part of a particular project. But everybody has a right to fork one or start their own. And everybody has a right to leave a project if they simply can’t work with the other people on it. But nobody has a right to force those other people to “accommodate” if they choose not to.

    What I can’t understand is why people who claim to care about technical merit would even bother pestering project owners who clearly don’t want to “accommodate” them. Why the bleep can’t they just either fork the project or start their own? If they really think something technically better could be done in that project’s particular area if only their wonderful contributions were accepted, the proper response is not to complain, it’s to compete. Make a better project, and drive the one you don’t like out of business.

    (Actually, of course, I can understand why SJW’s don’t do this: it’s way too much like actual productive work, and actual productive work is the one thing SJW’s are absolutely allergic to.)

  363. @Random832:

    Why can’t it just be “Women can’t handle jackassery [ywnm] and that is one of several reasons why maybe it’d better to have less of it”?

    Because this position is indistinguishable from “women are weak and need to be protected.” The smarter of the SJWs realize this, so they try to reframe it as “jackassery is a tool of the patriarchary meant to keep us down so we have to root it out and eradicate it as if it were smallpox.”

    The right answer, of course, is to call out jackassery if it bothers you, and leave the group if it bothers you too much. The free market is very much at work in the open source world; it is not that hard to find laid-back small groups to contribute to.

    @Bryan Lovely:

    “it’s really ‘society’ which should be fixed, but that’s too hard, so we’ll have to fix it one group at a time whether they like it or not.”

    That’s a far too generous reading of what is going on. Nobody is agitating that healthcare discriminates against women, so it’s not society. Nobody is agitating that deep sea fishing and trucking industries need to be reformed to add more women, or that there is systemic bias against men in the teaching profession.

    No, these are skills that are perceived to lead to good jobs — well-paid, not dangerous — in a field that is dominated by men. So of course, that is perceived to be prima facie evidence of discrimination. The fact that the skills that are conducive to success in this field are often found in individuals who don’t possess much tact makes for the occasional big, juicy target, who can be used to add fuel to the fire.

    If they were just “fixing” one open source project at a time by carefully providing constructive feedback, that would be one thing. But they feel a need to make the entire open source ecosystem safe for women in one fell swoop.

    Frankly, if you accept their premise — that the lack of female participation is due solely to rampant systemic misogyny, and further accept the (unstated in the case of the CoC, but stated often enough elsewhere) premise that these dictated changes would have a net positive effect on the ecosystem, then remaking the entire ecosystem may be the right answer, because “you’re missing out on the potential participation of half the workforce” can be a persuasive argument.

    But even if it’s true — even if a lot of women who would usefully participate are put off solely by the atmosphere, tactics designed to highlight misogyny (or, even, if some reports are to be believed, create misogyny out of whole cloth) are the wrong answer — attempting to prove that the system is fucked up in this fashion (e.g. calling out Linus Torvalds and then quitting) is not likely to bring in the mellow recruits that could make it all better.

  364. @Patrick Maupin: “you’re missing out on the potential participation of half the workforce” can be a persuasive argument

    A persuasive argument for forking or starting your own project, yes. :-) But a persuasive argument for coercing everyone else to conform to your standards? Absolutely not.

    (I know you know this, I’m just addressing in advance the inevitable SJW response.)

  365. @Patrick Maupin: I’m not accepting the premise; I was paraphrasing Random832 on 2015-11-17 at 01:33:29:
    Let’s suppose, for a minute, that there are some aspects of the “sexism” argument that are true. Not that anyone hates women or is against women contributing, but that there are some aspects of, say, LKML culture that are, for whatever reason (whether it’s because of how people are socialized differently, or biological differences, or whatever other reason, it doesn’t matter), more off-putting on average to women than to men.

    I’m not sure of it, myself, but let’s assume for the sake of this line of thought that it’s true.

    The problem is, even if it is true… it’s nobody’s fault. Well, “society”, maybe. But certainly no-one present, not in anything remotely resembling a direct way. No-one involved is, personally, to blame. And because of that, no-one takes any responsibility to fix it. Imagine if we had that attitude towards buffer overruns.

    And attempting to point out that stating the problem that way implies coercion as necessary to the solution.

  366. @Bryan Lovely and @Peter Donis:

    Yes, I think we’re in violent agreement.

    FWIW, here’s an interesting data point:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22107-stress-may-cause-womens-brains-to-age-prematurely#.UeahCU396Uk

    As we all know, STEM (as practiced in the US, anyway) can be quite mentally stressful, even before you add in the interpersonal crap. I wonder if some women instinctively shy away from it for purely biological reasons (even though their biology also makes them more than smart enough to participate at a high level).

  367. > And attempting to point out that stating the problem that way implies coercion as necessary to the solution.

    It really doesn’t. There’s no reason not to try to convince people to change their behavior, and there’s no reason to stop trying to convince them, and none of that is coercive.

  368. The no-jackassery standard is a red herring anyway. It’s intended to make the SJW position sound good and anyone arguing against it sound like a jackass. And to draw out (for the purpose of discrediting) those who would defend jackassery while admitting that’s what it is.

    But if you attempt to apply the SJW standards to SJWs, they squirm out of it so fast you’d swear they were greased. They’ll attack someone for their harsh tone, but if they are ever harsh they’ll swear it’s wrong to tone-police.

    As Peter Donis notes, it’s just chimp power games.

  369. No-one’s really advanced any argument for not stopping the… I really don’t think “jackassery” is the right word, but I’m not sure what is… No-one seems to have any argument for it beyond “we want to and you can’t make us stop” and maybe “spending absolutely any thought at all on anything non-technical like getting along well with others is a ‘distraction’ and therefore bad for the kernel”

    You can make observations on what someone’s desire not to do something says about them without forcing them to do that thing.

    > It’s intended to make the SJW position sound good and anyone arguing against it sound like a jackass.

    Or maybe this is a symptom of the fact that there’s no “the SJW position”, just some people with good positions and some people with bad positions, all being grouped together (largely by their opponents) under the single banner of “SJW”. Maybe if you didn’t reflexively oppose absolutely any position that pattern-matches as “SJW”, you wouldn’t sound like a jackass.

  370. It’s not software, but my code of conduct on the Abandoned Rails facebook group is very simple:
    1) it’s got to be abandoned.
    2) it’s got to be railroad.
    3) those are obvious and should go without saying. Part from that, there is only one posted rule:

    Rule #1 for this group is: if you don’t like something, report it. Don’t whine. Don’t comment on how awful a posting it is. Don’t post a picture of a can of spam. Don’t say “Moderator”. Don’t comment on it at all.
    Instead, report it: There is a grey angle in the upper right of every posting here. If you click on it, one of the menu entries will be “Report to Admin”. Click on it. People who report posts help make the group better. People who whine make the group worse. It’s kinda like parenting, only with 11,551 children, nearly all well-behaved, a few not so.

  371. @JAD
    > > “Tell that to Antifa, the state sponsored thugs that go around beating up dissidents.”

    Winter:
    > I would like to know how the “state-sponsored” part is determined?

    Fairly often Antifa attacks groups that could crush them like bugs if allowed. Police protect Antifa from the groups that they are attacking, but do not protect the attacked groups from Antifa. They don’t keep the peace against Antifa, but do keep the peace in favor of Antifa.

    Thus, for example, when Antifa clashes with UK-IP on private property, UK-IP effortlessly throws them out like the limp wristed gays they in fact are, but when they clash with UK-IP on the streets, Antifa effortlessly owns the streets.

  372. Random832 on 2015-11-17 at 23:39:11 said:

    No-one’s really advanced any argument for not stopping the… I really don’t think “jackassery” is the right word, but I’m not sure what is

    Well I have several times. Perhaps I was insufficiently clear:

    Political dissent is defined as evil. Horribly evil. And the standard for what constitutes dissent shifts ever leftward, justifying any destructive measures you can apply against anyone, such as framing Linus and Julian Assange for rape.

    You are not proposing to silence jackassery. You are proposing to silence dissent, where the standard for what constitutes dissent moves rapidly leftwards.

  373. Notoriously, social justice warriors regard any dissent as bad behavior and any dissident as an evil person. If you have a code of conduct that forbids contributions by people that supposedly behave badly, you forbid contributions by dissidents.

  374. @Random832: There’s no reason not to try to convince people to change their behavior, and there’s no reason to stop trying to convince them, and none of that is coercive.

    You are using the term “trying to convince” to refer to taking away people’s jobs, getting them charged with harassment, and shoving a Code of Conduct down their throats. That is an…interesting…use of language.

    Also, even if we restrict attention to activities that are appropriately described as “trying to convince”, there is a reason to stop trying: because the person you’re trying to convince tells you to shut up and leave them alone. Persisting after that is no longer “trying to convince”.

    No-one’s really advanced any argument for not stopping

    No one has advanced any argument for why it should stop, either. “It’s racist/sexist/insensitive/discriminatory/etc.” isn’t a argument, it’s an opinion. Or a tactic.

    You can make observations on what someone’s desire not to do something says about them without forcing them to do that thing.

    You can “make observations” that cause them to lose their jobs, get charged with harassment, and have a Code of Conduct shoved down their throats, yes. But hey, you’re not “forcing” them to do anything; you’re just “making observations”. And we have always been at war with Eastasia.

  375. >You are using the term “trying to convince” to refer to taking away people’s jobs, getting them charged with harassment, and shoving a Code of Conduct down their throats. That is an…interesting…use of language.

    No, I am not. I haven’t done any of those things, nor proposed doing any of them. To my knowledge, neither have any of the people who have complained about LKML culture. Even if some people have, that doesn’t make other people, unconnected with them, guilty by association.

  376. >You are not proposing to silence jackassery. You are proposing to silence dissent, where the standard for what constitutes dissent moves rapidly leftwards.

    Saying “We don’t fucking break userspace” instead of e.g. “It is not acceptable to break userspace” has nothing to do with dissent.

  377. @Random832: I haven’t done any of those things, nor proposed doing any of them.

    Then at what point do you draw the line? Where does “trying to convince” stop and something not justifiable begin? From what you’ve said, the only answer I can see you giving is “nowhere”.

    Saying “We don’t fucking break userspace” instead of e.g. “It is not acceptable to break userspace” has nothing to do with dissent.

    But it might have a lot to do with getting an important point across. Remember, the person who submitted the patch that broke userspace had already heard/read Linus say “It is not acceptable to break userspace” umpteen times. Yet he did it. So clearly “It is not acceptable to break userspace” wasn’t enough.

  378. How about people decide themselves what they want to say, and how they want to say it, rather than you and your fellow busybodies?

  379. @Random832
    “Saying “We don’t fucking break userspace” instead of e.g. “It is not acceptable to break userspace” has nothing to do with dissent.”

    But the former does more clearly show the resolve of Linus. Also, it is more predictive about what is needed to change his mind. Therefore, the former formulation will make kernel work more efficient than the latter.

    I do not know everyday use of spoken English in the US, but I understand from others that the former formulation is in common use by men and women (and children). So Linus’ use of English in message lists conforms to the global trend to use spoken language formulations in online conversations.

    In short, I think Linus use of words is fully justified: It is clear and unambiguous, efficient, and aligned with common use.

    Btw, the people who complain about Linus’ rants are never those addressed by Linus. It is always non-involved people, bystanders, who take his words out of the wider context if the conversation and feel enraged.

  380. @JAD
    “Police protect Antifa from the groups that they are attacking, but do not protect the attacked groups from Antifa. They don’t keep the peace against Antifa, but do keep the peace in favor of Antifa.”

    As usual, what’s sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander for you.

    On the streets, the police has the task to quell violence, any violence. So they protect both sides in the dispute. They are not perfect in it, and it depends on how well they are able to predict the problems in advance. Obviously, it must all be the fault of the violence of the “other side”.

    Anyway, that is very, very far from “state sponsored Antifa”.

  381. @Random832

    >Saying “We don’t fucking break userspace” instead of e.g. “It is not acceptable to break userspace” has nothing to do with dissent.

    Well, one hand, this is just like saying the General Patton School of Diplomacy is not always the ideal social lubricant, and that is everybody who works in an office, goes to church or has a dinner with his aunt has to accept at some level, so this could be OK.

    Still, it is slightly, I repeat, SLIGHTLY anti-male, because IRL men cuss even in a business professional environment when the ladies aren’t around, the GPSD (see above) is a sort of a male social lubricant and trust builder, and one of the best way women can get accepted as one of the boys is by cussing, smart ones usually figure that out fast. And in that sense political, although OK, it is not a big deal. Just watch really hard it towards not slipping more and more toward policing typical male behavior. And be aware that you are breaking a certain level of camaraderie by this rule – things get a bit too official. You are removing the project from the locker room and putting it into something like an office. Are you sure you want to do that? It has consequences.

  382. I’ve written up a proposal for a software contribution policy that is intended to reject the SJWs’ attempts to force crap code down our throats in the name of equality. Comments are welcomed.

  383. @Random832
    “Saying “We don’t fucking break userspace” instead of e.g. “It is not acceptable to break userspace” has nothing to do with dissent.”

    People who have an allergic reaction to schoolmarms are also an identity group and perhaps an unusually productive one.

  384. No-one’s really advanced any argument for not stopping the… I really don’t think “jackassery” is the right word, but I’m not sure what is…

    At this point i might have lost track of what you’re trying to stop but (assuming i’m still on the right track) i think you’re looking for this quote from Linus on LKML :-

    The fact is, people need to know what my position on things are. And I can’t just say “please don’t do that”, because people won’t listen. I say “On the internet, nobody can hear you being subtle,” and I mean it.

    And I definitely am not willing to string people along, either. I’ve had that happen too—not telling people clearly enough that I don’t like their approach, they go on to re-architect something, and get really upset when I am then not willing to take their work.

    I’ve seen Linus say this in other ways but this was the easiest to find direct quote. You can say it’s a terrible argument if you like (Sarah Sharp did) but it definitely exists.

  385. Hi Eric

    Since you seem to be planning to do a code of conduct, a few suggestions that I hope you will use. To be honest, I still think most projects are probably better without one but since there seems to be a risk of it becoming really widespread or at least widely copied it had better be done right. If you can make it good it will force others who want to do a different one to have to be better. Please see if you can get some support from one of the friendly / freedom oriented lawyers with a history of making stuff simple too.

    General
    * so far most codes of conduct don’t seem to address real issues that have caused serious problems in F/OSS projects. If there has to be a code of conduct it would be good if it was useful.
    * Having a code of conduct which addresses a few issues but doesn’t address an important issue _might_ be worse than not having one at all. “I didn’t think your project cared about patents; it’s not mentioned at all in the code of conduct; anyway too late now, your users all owe me the license fee”. At the very least the CoC should state clearly that it is limited to some cases.
    * there are lots of different opinions; any code of conduct should probably have some options. E.g. some people care about code assignments, other people don’t want them. GPL people want compatible copyleft in their forums, OpenBSD people want less licensing etc.

    Freedom of speech is a fundamental issue for most FOSS branches; something should be said about this.

    * “we don’t care about…. lifestyle, political viewpoint, or anything” – is good (from Maynard)
    * however “our forums are for discussion of our software, please keep extraneous discussion outside the ‘offtopic’ forum” is better
    * “other people’s political views outside the project should not be brought up inside the project unless directly relevant to their project activity” might be good too.

    There should be some statement on commercial interests:

    * “all contributors are expected to declare if they make a suggestion or contribution on behalf of someone else who is paying them in money or in kind”
    * “This project has lots of secret contributors and does not expect declarations of commercial interest. That privacy is important in keeping ongoing cooperation in the project. Please do not attempt to force contributors to declare their interests.”

    There should be some statements about patents

    * “contributors who are aware of any patent risks should declare them to the project board”
    * “this project is based in a software patent free country, contributors and users from software patent inhibited countries are responsible for their own legal situation”

    there might be some statement about forking

    * “We discourage project forking, we would rather see a branch within our own repository. Maintainers involved in an unjustified fork may lose their status. Valid contributions and backports will be accepted however”
    * “project forking is a major part of FOSS development. We encourage it, however project maintainers involved in a long term fork are required to make it available in a public Git repository or risk losing maintainer status”

    there should be a clear statement against oversensitivity

    * “Our project accepts contributions from many people from many different cultures and we want to be welcoming to those who’s first language is not English or who do not have traditional education. Contributors should avoid over-interpreting statements and finding insult where none was intended. If you find a comment disturbing or insulting then please try to resolve it with the poster a manner which does not disturb the functioning of the forum. In a case where direct resolution fails please contact the moderator for support.”

    it would be really good to say something about maintenance

    * “Contributors of large sections of code are expected to maintain and support their contributions, at least for a period (one release?) after acceptance, providing fixes and explanation. Contributions from contributors with a clear record of support will normally be preferred over equivalent contributions from those without such a history. ”

    security is important in many projects

    * “contributors are expected to declare any security issues they are aware of in their code”.
    * “contributors are expected to follow the security guidelines listed in XXX”
    * “contributors should declare the security measures they have taken”

    @Jay Maynard

    Surprisingly, brief though it is your statement says too much. “We will accept contributions…” should probably be “We will give serious consideration to contributions…”

    * Sometimes it has happened that projects don’t accept perfectly good code simply because it doesn’t fit their chosen direction. E.g. (if memory serves) real time patches to Linux have been rejected from mainline because they risked making maintaining normal non RT Linux more difficult.

    * Sometimes it has happened that a large code contribution is not accepted because the maintainer has a history of not following up. E.g. reiserfs updates (seems prescient from today’s point of view).

    * It’s also quite reasonable not to want to accept a contribution for reasons of stylistic disagreement (e.g. adding full power closures to Python would not match python style even if it might be considered “good”)

    There’s no right to have code included. At most there is a right to have a explanation of why it wasn’t accepted combined with the right to fork.

  386. Re: patents –

    The open invention network has created a demilitarized zone around linux, with a HUGE patent pool that I hope defangs all the trolls, as well as neutralizes a ton of overbroad patents in general.

    I just joined, after learning that google and Cisco were licenses, including quite a few other firms. I sleep better, now. I used to hate waking up with a “new” idea.

    http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/community-of-licensees/

  387. Re: Code of Conduct

    Don’t assume that once a CoC is developed and implemented that the problems will magically go away or the antagonists will suddenly disappear. Sometimes this sort of defensive response prompts them to redouble their efforts or modify their tactics. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that this issue is solely an instance of good faith disagreement about sensibilities in the workplace. In other words, don’t drop your guard or ignore your six.

  388. Michael, you make good points. I added a section to the policy draft:

    If we reject your contribution, it means only that we do not consider it suitable for our project in the form it was submitted. It is not personal. If you ask civilly, we will be happy to discuss it with you and help you understand why it was rejected, and if possible improve it so we can accept it. If we are not able to reach an agreement, then you are free to fork our project, as with any Open Source project, and add it to your fork.

  389. @Random832:

    There’s no reason not to try to convince people to change their behavior, and there’s no reason to stop trying to convince them, and none of that is coercive.

    in the second post by djangoconcardiff, they wrote “I urge you to reconsider for the good and future of this project :)” [sic] and their final post made what this meant clear: “I will be forwarding the content of this issue to the Chair to evaluate your continued presence in the DSF.” Now, you claim this is not coercive, but in order for me to agree with you I must know one thing: does djangoconcardiff speak on behalf of [legitimate] authority?

    If a manager in a store, the bouncer in a bar, or a park ranger tells me I need to leave, they have the authority and right to eject me for (nearly) any reason whatsoever. However, if a random person tells me I need to leave a communal space —unless I’m clearly obstructing their usage [such as walking through a wedding photo] they most likely don’t have sufficient grounds or authority to eject me, and any attempts to do so on their part will be bulling and coercion.

    That’s the most puzzling element of this whole tale to me. Djangoconcardiff has no commit history, so the fact they responded to a refusal not by justifying the request but with “I will see you get kicked out of the community for this”—well, that seems like someone acting as a bully and trying to coerce the behavior they want, without proper authority.

    I’d be interested to know what causes you to see things differently, because to me this looks like almost like a textbook example of coercion.

  390. @Alex K, I will not dignify with a response your attempt to unilaterally reframe my argument as applying to djangoconcardiff’s actions.

  391. > I will not dignify with a response your attempt to unilaterally reframe my argument as applying to djangoconcardiff’s actions.

    You haven’t provided any reason to think that your proposed program is not, consciously or unconsciously, a stalking horse for djangoconcardiff and the like.

    Or do you think that they’ll just magically disappear once Linus is convinced to stop using the word ‘fuck’?

  392. I’ve already made clear what I think of reflexively grouping together any position that pattern-matches as “SJW” and assuming any individual who holds one of them holds all of them.

  393. Okay, so here’s the connection.

    The SJWs (here defined excluding you) make it their explicit goal to kick anyone who violates their idea of PC out of any group they can manage, including groups which have nothing to do with the debate, even when that damages the nominal purpose of the group. They have, empirically, begun attempting to implement this agenda by forcing codes of conduct on open source projects, using the acerbic tone of discussion in some projects as an excuse.

    You show up here talking a whole bunch about how the acerbic tone of discussion is really a problem, and the people who are reacting against the SJWs have no good reason to oppose them, because they’re just trying to improve the tone.

    Even assuming you are sane and reasonable — an assumption I’m entirely willing to grant — you are giving cover to their agenda, while nowhere (that I can see) condemning their actual enormities. It is hardly surprising that people therefore make assumptions about your other positions, or attack you along with the SJWs. Orwell’s discussion of “objectively pro-fascist” comes to mind.

  394. @ Jay

    I like your contribution policy. However, code isn’t the only kind of contribution, particularly on large projects; there is: documentation/man-page/FAQs, bug reports, art-work/web-content…. um… with authorization from the project leader: dealing with email, moderating forums

  395. @Jay:

    I like your proposed contribution policy, but I have one suggestion; in the last bullet, the “from anyone” one, I would take out the second sentence. It’s not necessary, and IMO as soon as you start listing specific categories, even if you add a disclaimer that the list is not all-inclusive, somebody will complain that you didn’t list their pet category.

    Also, listing the categories at all invites the inference that group identification on the basis of these categories is legitimate in the first place. But that is precisely the mindset we are trying to combat.

  396. > They have, empirically, begun attempting to implement this agenda by forcing codes of conduct on open source projects, using the acerbic tone of discussion in some projects as an excuse.

    I think you’re confusing at least two different incidents.

  397. “At which point I’m likely to say something like “You’ve found me out. I am, in fact a mere simulation of ESR running on a darknet supercomputer buried beneath the Transylvanian Alps,””

    But can the real ESR pass the Turing Test?

  398. Brian: You’re right about that. I tried to address it, but it needs more generalizing. Will fix.

    Peter: The listing of categories is quite intentional, as examples of the kind of arrant pedantrysilliness up with which we will not put. The bit about “or anything extraneous like that” is intended to be an answer to the “you didn’t include my grievance-group-of-the-week!” BS.

  399. @Random832:
    If your arguments regarding LKML culture cannot be applied elsewhere, it is far more enlightening to receive an explanation why than the simple statement “that’s so wrong I won’t dignify it with a response”. Why, one might argue the piquant tone of the latter implies the speaker can’t rebut the argument as presented.

  400. @AlexK – considering neither the (real or imagined) problem, nor the people involved on either side, nor the tactics, are even remotely the same, I don’t see what either one has to do with the other.

  401. @JAD
    >> “Police protect Antifa from the groups that they are attacking, but do not protect the attacked groups from Antifa. They don’t keep the peace against Antifa, but do keep the peace in favor of Antifa.”

    Winter:
    > On the streets, the police has the task to quell violence, any violence. So they protect both sides in the dispute.

    If they protect both sides, how come Antifa is able to clear its vastly more numerous and powerful opponents off the streets. If they protect both sides, should not the other side, the side that antifa opposes, be able to hold a peaceful protest?

    UK-IP hires a hall and invites the public. Antifa infiltrates the hall, and when the show starts, start disrupting. Without the inconvenience of police presence, UK-IP casually sweeps the disruptors out of the hall with force so firm and overwhelming that there is almost no fuss.

    Try the same thing in the street, when police apply their thumb on the side of antifa, and it is UK-IP that gets swept off the street.

  402. > If they protect both sides, how come Antifa is able to clear its vastly more numerous and powerful opponents off the streets. If they protect both sides, should not the other side, the side that antifa opposes, be able to hold a peaceful protest?

    Maybe because the goal of a society in which peaceful protests are a valid form of speech is much better served by having demonstrations in an orderly manner (i.e. one group gets the street at a time) rather than having crowds of people push each other around by weight of numbers?

  403. And maybe the fact that private UK-IP venues are able to eject them comes from, you know, the fact that it is private property and Antifa has no right to speak there, rather than because this is somehow happening under the police’s nose. Otherwise why wouldn’t they just call the police to the location in advance of starting the disruption, if police presence guaranteed an Antifa victory?

  404. You might as well claim the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church are state-sponsored.

  405. Random832 on 2015-11-18 at 13:21:24 said:
    > I’ve already made clear what I think of reflexively grouping together any position that pattern-matches as “SJW” and assuming any individual who holds one of them holds all of them.

    Social Justice Warriors are conspiratorial and entryist. Thus it is reasonable to assume secret ulterior motives in anything done or said by someone who pattern matches to a SJW.

  406. Random832 on 2015-11-18 at 17:51:03 said:
    > And maybe the fact that private UK-IP venues are able to eject them comes from, you know, the fact that it is private property and Antifa has no right to speak there, rather than because this is somehow happening under the police’s nose.

    Antifa have no right to shut down other people’s protests either. The bottom line is that they can shut down other people’s political activity when police are present, but not when police are absent – because they can and do use criminal violence when police are present, but not when police are absent.

  407. @Random832:
    Looking at your post history in this thread, you stated the following:

    The problem is, they think their proposed policies will do a better job of approximating a real meritocracy, by removing “this is a meritocracy” as a thought-terminating-cliche that allows the established contributors of each project to avoid having to justify rejecting any contribution they feel like rejecting whereas the real reasons for the rejections, the SJWs suspect, are influenced by the established contributors’ biases towards different groups of people.

    You previously stated:

    Not that anyone hates women or is against women contributing, but that there are some aspects of, say, LKML culture that are, for whatever reason (whether it’s because of how people are socialized differently, or biological differences, or whatever other reason, it doesn’t matter), more off-putting on average to women than to men.

    I’m not sure of it, myself, but let’s assume for the sake of this line of thought that it’s true.

    The problem is, even if it is true… it’s nobody’s fault. Well, “society”, maybe. But certainly no-one present, not in anything remotely resembling a direct way. No-one involved is, personally, to blame.

    [This latter post, if you will recall, led directly to the line I originally quoted.]

    Take these two together and we get the following conclusion: If the SJWs are correct, then any sexism in open source communities is not traceable to particular, malicious individuals. Furthermore, proposals for a “Code of Conduct” is not done to reject the idea of judging contributions solely on technical merit, but on the belief that explicitly stating that the contributor is not considered helps move communities closer to this ideal.

    You even said something like this:

    You can judge contributions solely on technical merit without judging contributors solely on technical merit. And if the former is what you mean by meritocracy, and the latter is what the SJWs think it means, then there’s really no conflict.

    Now, by comparison, what was the reason Djangoconcardiff stated for their proposal?

    As a suggestion I recommend adopting the Contributor Code of Conduct to ensure everybody’s contributions are accepted regarless of their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, height, place of origin, etc, etc, etc. As a white straight male and lead of this trending repository, your adoption of this Code of Conduct will send a loud and clear message that inclusion is a primary objective of the Django community and of the software development community in general.

    So there’s my confusion: if I take everything you stated and what Djangoconcardiff states, the hypothetical problem being described by both parties certainly seems the same (certain groups being excluded for non-specific cultural reasons). Additionally, given that the argument I responded to began with the hypothetical case where it’s not specific individuals causing problems, the people involved cannot be considered as a factor. Finally, we are left with only tactics: which can reference either the Code of Conduct as improvements over existing systems (again, you seem to agree with djangoconcardiff there) or my question regarding coercive verbiage.

    Since you have [so far] left your position on the latter unclear, I’m left wondering exactly how the comparison fails.

  408. @ Jay Maynard: I’ve written up a proposal for a software contribution policy that is intended to reject the SJWs’ attempts to force crap code down our throats in the name of equality. Comments are welcomed.

    Jay, I think your effort is damn-near perfect so far. The only suggestion I have for what you’ve written so far is that you move the following sentence “This does not mean just program code, either, but documentation and artistic works as appropriate to the project.” up to the “contributions” section.

    As to what hasn’t been written, I can think of only three things. First, (and I’m not sure of this) perhaps something about how the mailing list/irc channel is for technical discussion only. Also, in the “if you code is rejected” you might point out that rejections can happen for both technical reasons AND reasons of project direction. Lastly, perhaps a place where any project which uses your code of conduct can point to the project’s coding standards and/or a discussion of what constitutes “good code” for the language(s) which are being used for the project.

    I like very, very much that you’re keeping it short and sweet. Making it a one sentence code of conduct and then interpreting it is completely fucking brilliant!

  409. > the SJWs’ attempts to force crap code down our throats in the name of equality.

    I don’t think that’s their plan, at all. You’re still thinking like a hacker. It is only parenthetically about the code (heh).

    The real issue, at least as I see it, is the SJWs destroying individual lives and possibly entire hacker teams and communities in order to punish political or philosophical activity they consider unacceptable. In particular, see OpalGate: Coraline complaining to the Opal team about comments made by a team member in public, entirely outside of the context of the project.

    It’s about political power – the power to silence incorrect opinions.

  410. > It’s about political power – the power to silence incorrect opinions.

    Okay, hold on a damn minute. “The evil liberals are mutilating their kids” is not an opinion. It is a claim of fact. Expressing disapproval of the evil thing one just invented just a smokescreen to deliver that payload.

    >Antifa have no right to shut down other people’s protests either.

    And you’ve not shown, or even advanced a serious claim, that they do so. A counter-protest not being allowed to occupy the same section of the same street at the same time as the protest they’re counter-protesting is just common sense. Your vision of an ideal world is for the larger mob to literally trample the smaller mob. There would be blood in the streets, on both sides. Why does it mean the police are taking sides that they want to prevent that?

  411. > So there’s my confusion: if I take everything you stated and what Djangoconcardiff states, the hypothetical problem being described by both parties certainly seems the same (certain groups being excluded for non-specific cultural reasons).

    I am genuinely baffled as to why you think that. Djangoconcardiff is claiming (without evidence) that people’s contributions are being rejected. The supposed problem with the LKML is that people are being driven off from contributing in the first place by the atmosphere of the community spaces. Those are two completely different things, with nothing in common but that they both pattern-match to your “SJW” filter.

  412. @James Donald

    Yes or no: Do you believe that the fact that they are protected from violence from their counter-protestors means that the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church are “state-sponsored”? If not, why not?

  413. @Jay:

    Looks great to me.

    @Troutwaxer:

    1) I actually like the sentence that essentially broadens the definition of code where it is, for the simple reason that it makes it clear that “good” is imperative.

    2) I like that there is no mention of a communications mechanism here, and I think that “go away if you’re going to be obnoxious to us” pretty much covers the necessities.

    3) I think that not “suitable for our project in the form it was submitted” nicely covers technical reasons and reasons of project direction, and I would expect and hope that a serious attempt at contribution would be met with a rationale even before the submitter invokes the “ask nicely and we’ll tell you why” clause.

    4) I think that ” “good code” for the language(s) which are being used for the project.” is orthogonal to this. What Jay has written is, IMO, nicely project-independent. It also doesn’t cover usage of git, how to run the test cases, etc.

    5) I agree with you that it is short and sweet, and that the style of creating a one-liner and then unpacking it is awesome.

    I think most, if not all, of your proposed changes would negatively impact this conciseness for zero to minimal gain. To be honest, this is short and sweet enough that any serious potential contributor ought to be able to easily read it in a few minutes and discern the correct answers to all your critiques except the one about coding style.

  414. > Okay, hold on a damn minute. “The evil liberals are mutilating their kids” is not an opinion. It is a claim of fact.

    That’s utterly irrelevant to my point. Please stop being a language lawyer.

    Perhaps I should have said “the power to punish people for engaging in behaviour SJWs don’t approve of”.

  415. @Random832:

    Coraline complaining to the Opal team about comments made by a team member in public, entirely outside of the context of the project [is] about political power – the power to silence incorrect opinions.

    Okay, hold on a damn minute. “The evil liberals are mutilating their kids” is not an opinion. It is a claim of fact.

    IIRC, the statement was essentially that “I fail to see how [gender reassignment] invasive surgery on children can be cherished.” To the extent that there is a claim of a fact in there, it can easily be verified in less than 30 seconds with the google.

    Expressing disapproval of the evil thing one just invented just a smokescreen to deliver that payload.

    The only smokescreen I see here is, and has constantly been, emanating from you.

  416. @Patrick Maupin that link absolutely clearly does not support the claim of “invasive surgery” on children.

  417. @Jay Maynard:

    After re-reading the policy, I have two small potential changes. On the one hand, my proposals are superfluous, adding a few words that don’t really need to be there, so I’m not really thrilled about suggesting them. On the other hand, the added words are few and are explicitly about bad behavior and disagreements, so the redundancy may be warranted. With that in mind:

    1) s/your contribution must be given freely/your contribution must be given freely and irrevocably/

    The purpose of this is to make it crystal-clear that subsequent bad behavior doesn’t allow them to pick up their ball (previously accepted code) and go home when disagreements occur.

    2) s/and add it to your fork./and add your contribution to your fork of our project./

    Again, this is not necessary, but it might make things a bit clearer, especially for non-English readers.

  418. @Random832:

    His clinic has worked with local surgeons who’ve done breast removal surgery on girls at age 16, but that surgery can be relatively minor, or avoided, if puberty is halted in time, he said.

    Note that (16 == children), and (“relatively minor” != “minor”), simply “minor in comparison to other gender reassignment surgery.”

    As Duncan explained, his statement of this was outside the scope of the project, so it shouldn’t have anything to do with the project, no matter how much it offends your snowflake sensitivities.

    And even though his statement might be hyperbolic compared to reality, your characterization of the complete falsity of his statement was even more hyperbolic.

  419. > And even though his statement might be hyperbolic compared to reality, your characterization of the complete falsity of his statement was even more hyperbolic.

    Also, the falsity of his statement is utterly irrelevant to Coraline’s attempt to punish him through the software project he was working on. Had he claimed that the world was flat or the moon was made of green cheese, it still wouldn’t be right of her.

    We are getting seriously off-topic here, arguing about the merits or otherwise of one particular example of a general case.

    Could we please re-focus on the key issues and ignore attempts to divert the discussion?

  420. @ Patrick Maupin: And even though his statement might be hyperbolic compared to reality, your characterization of the complete falsity of his statement was even more hyperbolic.

    Anyone who is discussing this particular issue (transexual surgery on children) should keep in mind that we have not seen the entire conversation. At one point Elia supposedly says a “bad” thing, but without knowing how the conversation led up to the “bad” comment I am completely unwilling to judge who is right and who is wrong where Elia’s conflict is concerned.

  421. @Troutwaxer:

    I am completely unwilling to judge who is right and who is wrong where Elia’s conflict is concerned.

    I’m not judging. I’m judging the judging. As near as I can tell, unpacking and ignoring all the gratuitous hyperbole on both sides, Random832 has made the claim that (a) a claim was made that gender reassignment surgery happens on children; and (b) this claim is false and was not made in good faith.

    I knew nothing about any of it and didn’t bother doing research until Random832 started flying off the handle about this. The most charitable thing I can say about his characterization of the situation is that his google-fu sucks.

  422. @Duncan Bayne:

    Could we please re-focus on the key issues and ignore attempts to divert the discussion?

    Personally, I think it is instructive that the attempts to divert the discussion are exactly the sort of behavior that is under discussion, compleat with provably false statements about how the other side lies.

    I for one, feel that everybody here has been more than accommodating to Random832’s misdirection, but I’m done now.

  423. > I knew nothing about any of it and didn’t bother doing research
    > until Random832 started flying off the handle about this. The most
    > charitable thing I can say about his characterization of the
    > situation is that his google-fu sucks.

    In addition, the subsequent argument has largely derailed the
    conversation from the original topic.

    I propose that we put this issue to bed, and return to the original
    topic forthwith.

  424. @Duncan Bayne:

    I have a comment stuck in the moderation queue. The gist of it is that IMO this side-tracking issue makes a good case study for exactly the sort of tactic we are discussing.

  425. You know, let’s take a step back. Maybe what’s really needed is a decentralized project management model where people don’t have to directly interact with people they feel are hostile to them to both be able to work toward improving a project.

    If only there were some sort of decentralized version control system that could be used for this…

  426. @Random832:

    You know, let’s take a step back. Maybe what’s really needed is a decentralized project management model where people don’t have to directly interact with people they feel are hostile to them to both be able to work toward improving a project.

    How is this different than the “fork it if you don’t like it here” approach that has been discussed here and incorporated into Jay’s proposed software contribution policy?

    FWIW, I see this all the time. I think it usually has more to do with perceived friction than with any political motivations though. Looking at a project graph on github and finding all the small patches that people have done on their own copies (without bothering with any sort of PR) is often a fruitful exercise.

  427. I think we are running in circles here. I see two different issues, or maybe not so different issues.

    1) There are discussions (or fights?) within communities about the social norms of these communities.

    2) People outside of communities try to force their norms onto the communities.

    Situation 1) is normal and is generally healthy. Norms have to be adapted to changing times. When you see a new “kind” of people entering a community, you expect them to challenge established norms. The complaints of Sarah Sharp seem to be in this category. She is a kernel developer and she does not like the way people talk on LKML. Whether her complaints are justified is another matter.

    Situation 2) is what most of you seem to think of when you are talking about SJW. These are the toxic people. SJWs do not really participate in the communities they try to change. This would also tend to include the people who send death and rape threats.

    A CoC will not help in situation 2), as the people involved do not participate in anything useful. They are not even interested in the survival of the targeted communities or projects. As far as they are concerned, the project may die an instant death after they are ready.

  428. @Winter;

    The way it seems to work is that a bunch of people turn up at a project either on a pretext (of some event) or at the request of a single project member who feels offended. At that point one of the following happens:

    1) the project completely rejects the discussion and refuses to have a CoC
    2) the project decides to adopt a minimal CoC basically as a placeholder to avoid adopting the full one proposed
    3) the project adopts the standard CoC proposed from outside since “it seems to be a standard”; that seems to be what happened in the Opal case.

    Case 1) does no harm and there isn’t much good which can be done since no CoC will be adopted in any case. Jay’s CoC or the Linux Code of Conflict provide examples for case 2). Codes of conduct that are so minimal that they do no real harm beyond the state of having none.

    The problem comes in case 3). If the “standard” CoC being suggested was carefully tailored with an aim to “do no harm” then it might be okay. Unfortunately the “standard” CoC proposed tends to be seriously deficient and will almost certainly lead to long term trolling, flame wars and project paralysis. In order to be able to point this out clearly there need to be other CoCs which have features such as the following:

    * are designed to rule out “unreasonable” oversensitivity and other behaviors likely to lead to trolling
    * supporting a sense of proportion in which active enforcement is not required, for example in the case of “minor” violations
    * being designed to support acceleration of development processes (e.g. licensing issues
    * showing clear support for freedom of speech
    * enforcing the principle that “justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”
    * supporting principles of “innocent until proven guilty” and forgiveness for identified project members without which systems of judgement have been shown to be dangerous
    * supporting principles of project ownership and the ability of project owners to act to limit the effects anonymous and pseudonymous agents without which all Internet forums have been shown to be vulnerable to trolling.
    * providing protection for the judicial process – e.g. project members who are responsible for CoC “enforcement” cannot be punished if they acted in good faith

    If such CoCs exist and there are projects which use them successfully then there will be competition between projects and codes of conduct and we will see which ones work best. As it is now the CoC process seems somewhat limited; basic lessons from Netiquette seem to have been completely forgotten. Eric’s aim to create a new CoC is likely to be valuable if it’s reasonably complete and addresses the real issues that do sometimes exist in FOSS projects. Then it will be possible to point to it as an alternative to replace or merge with other CoCs which are deficient compared to it.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the FOSS environment today is somewhat different from 20 years ago. It is very likely that a CoC will end up as part of a lawsuit. I can see at least two situations. A programmer working on a FOSS project for a company may sue their employer for being forced to work in a hostile environment. Allowing someone to repeatedly breach a CoC will lead to a project member from the same or other company to be involved in the suit. Alternatively, if a CoC which is oppressive of free speech is implemented with the support or involvement of a person working for a government funded institution then that could be a US 1st amendment violation. A CoC which had been checked with the support of a sane lawyer might support a sensible outcome (part of the reason why I’m not writing my own CoC). Current CoCs could lead to legal problems especially since they seem to leave open ended, unlimited and impossible to achieve obligations for CoC enforcement on the project members.

    BTW. WordPress documentation on Google says that sometimes some HTML formatting is active. It would be nice if I knew which and had a preview button so I could be sure it was working. As it is I’m avoiding HTML codes.

  429. Patrick: “To be honest, this is short and sweet enough that any serious potential contributor ought to be able to easily read it in a few minutes and discern the correct answers to all your critiques except the one about coding style.”

    That was the idea, yes. And the one about coding style should be discernible from reading the project code itself, which anyone wishing to contribute should do anyway.

    Your suggestions do make things clearer. I’ll use them.

    Random832: I don’t know about it, but the Mercurial documentation says explicitly that it is not a substitute for project management, which needs to happen outside Mercurial itself.

  430. >You know, let’s take a step back. Maybe what’s really needed is a (…)

    Observe how the weasel immediately tries to change the topic, when people finally bother to demonstrate that he has been lying through his teeth.

  431. @Anonymous So I was “demonstrated” to be technically incorrect in a tiny number of cases via a combination of equivocation between hormone treatment and surgery, and equivocation between teenagers and “children”, and this is supposed to mean that claiming that it’s some sort of prevalent and “cherished” thing is automatically in good faith?

  432. At the meta-level of this discussion, there are at least three fundamentals.

    First, all of this nonsense (including the CoC issue) is an entropy that degrades the positive contribution that FOSS makes to humanity.

    Second, this social infection that has now spread into hackerdom is on the march everywhere.

    Third, bullies only back down when you punch back.

  433. >So I was “demonstrated” to be technically incorrect in a tiny number of cases via a combination of equivocation between hormone treatment and surgery, and equivocation between teenagers and “children”, and this is supposed to mean that claiming that it’s some sort of prevalent and “cherished” thing is automatically in good faith?

    You are supposed to stop weaseling. Your problem is that the things you wrote previously are still on this very page. Let’s take a quick look.

    >> [Not you] It’s about political power – the power to silence incorrect opinions.

    > [You] Okay, hold on a damn minute. “The evil liberals are mutilating their kids” is not an opinion. It is a claim of fact. Expressing disapproval of the evil thing one just invented just a smokescreen to deliver that payload.

    Here you are spinning really, really fast to try to justify Opalgate. And the justification you come up with is that the tweet in question is not just an opinion – because you don’t like the interpretation that people are trying to silence opinions – but rather a claim of fact, and that the fact is invented, i.e. incorrect.

    Now it turns out that the tweet is actually correct about the facts. Either you knew this previously, and was straight up lying – or perhaps you just didn’t know jack shit, but felt like pretending you did, which is only marginally better. In either case, an honest debater should feel compelled to revise their old arguments as they become incompatible with what they know to be true. But you are a weasel – you have no dignity which compels you to own up to your mistakes. Instead, you instantly try to change the topic, because you understand that the more the attention lingers on this blunder of yours, the worse you and your pet cause will look.

    Thus we get this nonsense:

    >You know, let’s take a step back. Maybe what’s really needed is a (…)

    Nice try. Now, let’s finally return to your most recent spin:

    >So I was “demonstrated” to be technically incorrect in a tiny number of cases via a combination of equivocation between hormone treatment and surgery, and equivocation between teenagers and “children”, and this is supposed to mean that claiming that it’s some sort of prevalent and “cherished” thing is automatically in good faith?

    First, let me point out that the source given claimed a single doctor had performed thirty surgeries on minors. Wholly insignificant, I guess. Furthermore, you are objecting to someone’s use of -children-, which is nowhere near any kind of incorrect, all the while not the least bit bothered by being at best technically incorrect yourself. A man of principles, indeed. [Note that the New York Times uses -children- in the exact same sense, in an article that is optimistic about this sort of surgery.]

    So now the argument is no longer about wrong facts. This time around, it is about the intentions that you have read into other people’s minds. Crucially, this new argument -cannot be substituted for the one you made previously-, because you were trying to make a case that nobody is trying to silence dissent. But now you are suddenly in favor silencing arguments that are made in -bad faith-, as judged by your personal mind-reading apparatus. Which is functionally very, very similar to silencing dissent.

  434. > But now you are suddenly in favor silencing

    Silencing? Where does this idea come from that people are entitled to “core developer” bragging rights (or a CEO title and six figure salary, in Eich’s case), and that taking it away is some great injustice?

  435. Ending one’s association with someone (or asking someone else to consider doing so) does not violate their right to free speech

  436. > Random832: I don’t know about it, but the Mercurial documentation says explicitly that it is not a substitute for project management, which needs to happen outside Mercurial itself.

    But decentralized source control enables decentralized project management – if you have centralized source control you have to have gatekeepers to control access to that source control.

    Now we just need decentralized bug tracking and a robust way to do “pull requests” by email, and everyone can be the maintainer of their own version.

  437. @Random832:

    Now we just need decentralized bug tracking and a robust way to do “pull requests” by email, and everyone can be the maintainer of their own version.

    This is bullshit of the highest caliber. If you don’t want to send stuff to people, fine, don’t. If you’re such a precious snowflake you can’t bear to see what they’ve written, don’t look. But then don’t complain when others don’t take your stuff because you haven’t bothered to understand the technical discussions.

  438. > This is bullshit of the highest caliber. If you don’t want to send stuff to people, fine, don’t.

    I have no idea what scenario thought I had in mind so I’ll spell it out. A decentralized system would allow, for example person A and person B to both to send to person C, without ever having to interact directly with each other (maybe person A hates person B, or maybe person A thinks person B hates him/her) or with person D (who is technically brilliant but well-known for being rude, and person C has thick enough skin to deal with him – neither A nor B want the trouble.)

  439. >Silencing? Where does this idea come from that people are entitled to “core developer” bragging rights (or a CEO title and six figure salary, in Eich’s case), and that taking it away is some great injustice? >Ending one’s association with someone (or asking someone else to consider doing so) does not violate their right to free speech

    Do you realize that you are changing the topic, but hope that no one else will notice? Or does it happen involuntarily, like some sort of dialectical equivalent of a gag reflex?

  440. > Silencing? Where does this idea come from that people are entitled to “core developer” bragging rights (or a CEO title and six figure salary, in Eich’s case), and that taking it away is some great injustice?

    > Ending one’s association with someone (or asking someone else to consider doing so) does not violate their right to free speech

    In principle, sure.

    In principle, it’s also fine for private businesses to put up WHITES ONLY signs on the same reasoning. Refusal to associate, no entitlement to enter a private store, etc. Given the existing actual regime on that point, aka “Try it and we’ll fucking send in the fucking US Army to make you fucking stop that right fucking now”, one might reasonably insist on free speech in principle and yet argue that Eich should have kept his job. For example if one has a preference hierarchy looking something like this: (full freedom of disassociation) > (what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander) > (mandate of unilateral disarmament).

  441. > Do you realize that you are changing the topic, but hope that no one else will notice?

    You accused me of endorsing “silencing” people, I pointed out that no-one is being silenced and no-one is proposing silencing anyone. You chose the topic I was responding to.

  442. > In principle, it’s also fine for private businesses to put up WHITES ONLY signs on the same reasoning.

    That’s not the same reasoning. And it is fine for private businesses to throw people out based on what they say.

  443. “Civil rights” has truly jumped the shark when people openly advocate that objective merit take a back seat to identity quotas.

    “Identity quotas” have been part of the agenda from the word go. No less a civil-rights champion than Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated requiring preferential treatment for blacks. If you systematically exclude people of group B from a field, and then relax those restrictions, it follows that group B will be woefully underrepresented in the field’s most meritorious exemplars, leading to continued discrimination in effect if not in intent. This is why we have affirmative action. It’s not just about ending injustice; it’s about correcting the damage wrought by past injustices. In King’s words, “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do sonething special for the Negro.” Or to any oppressed group; he also said this principle “should benefit the disadvantaged of all races”. Source.

    That “content of their character” bit was intended for an idealistic white audience. It described a hypothetical future, not a plan for present-day policy. King’s actual action plan was explicitly socialist in character, and had much in common with what today is attributed to eeeevil SJWs.

  444. >King’s actual action plan was explicitly socialist in character, and had much in common with what today is attributed to eeeevil SJWs

    Then to hell with him. Congratulations, you just crossed MLK off my list of heroes.

  445. >You accused me of endorsing “silencing” people, I pointed out that no-one is being silenced and no-one is proposing silencing anyone. You chose the topic I was responding to.

    The reason I am confused about this, is that the first time someone brought up -silencing incorrect opinions-, you made a very different claim, namely that the opinions in question were actually not opinions, but (false) factual claims. And then a bit later, when you were made aware of the actual facts, the facts ceased to be important, and it was instead about the implicit bad-faith. But now you are making an entirely different argument, where the content of the tweet is no longer relevant, it’s the verb that is wrong rather than the noun.

    Now, the primary thing isn’t that this is a -bad- argument, the primary thing is that it is an entirely -different- one. We could of course have discussed this particular argument in detail, but seeing as you have been perfectly unwilling to defend -any- of your previous arguments, I expect you will whenever convenient come up with yet another position, pretending it has been your position all along.

  446. > The reason I am confused about this, is that the first time someone brought up -silencing incorrect opinions-, you made a very different claim, namely that the opinions in question were actually not opinions, but (false) factual claims.

    So, I am not allowed to object to the characterization of a statement as a mere opinion without conceding that it is being suppressed (or vice versa, I suppose)? All you have to do to force me to concede something is to make two claims at the same time?

  447. >So, I am not allowed to object to the characterization of a statement as a mere opinion without conceding that it is being suppressed (or vice versa, I suppose)? All you have to do to force me to concede something is to make two claims at the same time?

    If I make two claims at the same time, you can object to either one of them first and defend that objection. If I then claim victory because you have not refuted the second simultaneously, then I would be an idiot. After all, it has been demonstrated that I was in error.

    But if I make two claims at the same time, and you choose one of them to object to, and it is then shown that the claim is actually true, then you ought to have some humility. Of course, the second claim might also be false, and you are free to make that case, but you’re off to a bad start.

    If, however, you refuse to concede that you have blundered, but instead try to seamlessly redirect your objection to the other claim – then you are being an idiot. If you have also tried dancing around with a change of topic – let us take a step back! – and a partial retreat – it’s still not in good faith! – then you are, well, a weasel.

  448. The “take a step back” was a suggestion of a change of a different topic. Some people in here (not you) were discussing practical ways to deal with the interpersonal problems that sometimes exist in open-source projects.

  449. @Random832:

    A decentralized system would allow [for someone to be the central guy in charge who everybody deals with directly].

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  450. @Patric Maupin – my example only included the four people most relevant to it. I intended D as the “central guy in charge” such as there is one, with lots of other people dealing with him directly (and maybe having other groups of people that they are a proxy for).

    The point is to allow anyone to act as an intermediary for anyone else – with only code and technical information flowing back and forth – so that any two people who can’t tolerate interacting with each other directly are not prevented from both contributing to the project.

  451. Then to hell with him. Congratulations, you just crossed MLK off my list of heroes.

    I’m surprised he was still a hero of yours; his sympathies with the left are kind of an open secret. Why do you think Hoover’s FBI tried to discredit him publicly, and secretly induce him to commit suicide with vaguely worded “anonymous” threats?

    King recognized fifty years ago what has become the dominant political issue of today: that without economic equality, equality before the law is a mere pipe dream. Civil rights and leftism are ideologically conjoined; most of the credit for securing for blacks and other minorities treatment as full human beings belongs with the left. And even then it was a hard battle; the Civil Rights Act was largely a geopolitical maneuver.

  452. @Random832:

    And as I pointed out earlier, there is already stuff going on even more decentralized than that. Anybody can take stuff, fix it up, and put it back out where people can find it.

    IOW, IMO this is not a problem in search of a technical solution, and, in fact, the solution you proposed is not purely technical — it only requires what already exists plus someone willing to be a babysitter.

  453. >>>Ending one’s association with someone (or asking someone else to consider doing so) does not violate their right to free speech

    >> In principle, sure.
    >> In principle, it’s also fine for private businesses to put up WHITES ONLY signs on the same reasoning.

    > That’s not the same reasoning.

    Sure it is: I refuse to trade with you. I refuse to associate with you.

    > And it is fine for private businesses to throw people out based on what they say.

    No it’s not, in part because it’s easy to convert practically any access restriction into a speech-based restriction by means of including performative or demonstrative speech, and so it’s completely unsustainable to meta-ban people from only banning based on what people say.

    The conversion goes something like this: Instead of banning X from your business, ban from your business people who don’t endorse the principle that X should stay out of your business. Any X who enters your business is now obviously rejecting this principle and can thus be thrown out on the basis of their speech act.

    By this and related methods the US has gotten several tons of byzantine regulations and laws as a result of trying to sort out who can or cannot or must or must not react in what manner to what speech by whom in which environment.

  454. Random832 on 2015-11-18 at 23:14:15 said:
    > Okay, hold on a damn minute. “The evil liberals are mutilating their kids” is not an opinion. It is a claim of fact.

    Irreversible sexual surgery on a sixteen year old is indeed a fact. By and large, they don’t do it to their own kids. They adopt kids and do it to those adopted kids in order to demonstrate their own superior holiness. Kind of like sacrificing your children to Moloch – a potent demonstration of faith in the official religion to burn one’s own children alive in the idol of Moloch, except that members of the ruling classes usually found a sneaky way to demonstrate their holy faith by burning someone else’s children alive.

    Our ruling classes usually find a sneaky way to demonstrate their holy faith by sexually mutilating someone else’s children.

    > > Antifa have no right to shut down other people’s protests either.

    > And you’ve not shown, or even advanced a serious claim, that they do so

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWAvi7LA2_k

    https://www.facebook.com/events/418419871653679/

    Whenever they try this violence without police supervision and protection, they get crushed like insects.

  455. @Jeff Read: without economic equality, equality before the law is a mere pipe dream.

    Affirmative action is not economic equality. Economic equality means freedom to compete: it does not mean handouts.

  456. “GitHub is apparently infested with immature teenagerish trolls who think ASCII penis jokes are funny”

    AFAICT that was just one guy, Nick Martini, who was trolling Zed because Zed is a twat.

  457. Affirmative action is not economic equality. Economic equality means freedom to compete: it does not mean handouts.

    Not only is income equality positively correlated with greater civil harmony (and income inequality positively correlated with greater civil unrest), equality is also positively correlated with better health outcomes for the individuals in a society — both physical and mental. The easiest and cheapest way to alleviate the inequality problem is with guaranteed basic income.

    Even libertarian economists are starting to advocate guaranteed basic income as the solution to the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.

  458. @Jeff Read
    “Even libertarian economists are starting to advocate guaranteed basic income as the solution to the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.”

    Indeed, think of the situation where all production and services can be performed by machines. Then the owners of the machines will own everything and the rest of the population will have nothing, not even a job. And it will be sure that very few people will control the production and ownership of these machines in ways that will look like current copyright ownership.

    This situation was nicely described in a science fiction story where a universal copying machine lead to most people becoming slaves. I forgot the title of the story.

  459. @James AD
    “They adopt kids and do it to those adopted kids in order to demonstrate their own superior holiness.”

    [Citation needed]

  460. @Jeff Read @Winter

    >Even libertarian economists are starting to advocate guaranteed basic income as the solution to the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.

    Starting? Friedman came up with negative income tax in the 1960’s and Murray wrote In Our Hands almost ten years ago. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/04/why-murrays-big-idea-wont-work/304830/

    It is not even machines, it is just simple popularity. Putting things realistically, every libertarian must accept that in a democracy whatever is popular, happens, and there is no way to make welfare unpopular. You can try to think outside democracy, which case welcome to Neoreaction, or you can think it will collapse anyway, fiscal event horizon, which is what ESR is thinking, but otherwise the pragmatic libertarian must accept that popular things are going to get voted for, period.

    Therefore one of the jobs of the pragmatic libertarian is to try to reduce the damage from welfare / redistribution, and the rather obvious way is is some form of a basic income which would do away with the welfare bureaucracy, so the taxpayer at least does not have to pay the salaries of the employees of the dole office. Friedman came up with negative income tax because in that case you can give the job to the tax office, simply send tax “returns” to the poor using their existing processes, and basically really close down the dole office. Clever man, he was. Especially today, you would hardly even need to rehire some of the folks fired from the dole office, just a few programmers who write the code that generates the tax “returns” to the poor.

    Now this plan has a very obvious advantage, at least if you are cynical enough to think that college educated leftists support welfare so much not because they think they themselves will need or not because of the goodness of their hearts, but because they can easily imagine themselves having a cushy job working in the dole office or other parts of the bureaucracy. So a basic income, properly done, would hurt the left. In fact, it could be used to turn the poor against the left, if we are clever enough, basically we could tell the poor look at all the salaries the employees of the dole office are getting, this money could be yours with a negative income tax or something like that, but the left is resisting giving it you. To quote Rao, intelligent politics means Be Slightly Evil.

    Now of course this is precisely why the left is always trying to distort the idea of the basic income in to something that is added to existing bureucratic welfare, not replacing it.

    Game theoretically speaking, there is a potential compromise there. As I have no realistic way to eliminate welfare in a democracy, I am more than willing to accept a nonbureaucratic basic income, negative income tax, provided that I really see those guys fired from the dole office and basically there is a reliable way to show the accounting books to the taxpayer showing less of the taxes is used for bureaucracy and more of it goes to the actual poor. What you guys, Jeff or Winter, have to decide is whether you want to help the poor more than to help the left. As I am not the only one on the right willing to make this compromise, but this requires you throwing all the progressive college students who dream of cushy government jobs under the bus, so to speak.

    I will be 100% honest here: the goal is to ensure that nobody is profiting from helping the poor. By profiting, I mean, having a cushy government job. I think it is ethically quite defensible, it is Not Even Evil, which is kind of surprising, but maybe I am getting old or something. Since poverty is bad thing, nobody should take any sort of advantage from its existence, because that is an incentive for preserving it. So no cushy government jobs. No conferences. Just a computer generated check or money transfer, the only thing the code needs to check is if the recipient is alive and is a citizen or not. (Obviously, you don’t want to incentivize illegal immigration by paying BI to without citizenship requirements. OTOH people should get the BI from their home country even if they don’t live there. It would make the bums want to live in a cheap country, and if yours isn’t one, that is probably a good thing for you. Imagining Dutch welfare villages in Ukraine is not a huge stretch, if you compare it to British retirement villages in Spain. Pretty sure you don’t be too sad and won’t miss them much if the tracksuit types will want to live abroad.) But I think if it is ensured that people argue for welfare spending only for altruistic reasons and not because it means government jobs, that will generally balance out in somewhat lower welfare spending as well, the idea will have a bit of a less of steam, this is also fairly obvious. So you have to factor this into your calculations as well that if we fire all the people from the dole or social housing office, you get fewer votes and somewhat reduced popularity of welfare.

  461. The whole idea of a basic income bothers me, because it is the antithesis of the basic concept that the world owes nobody a living. It disincentivizes work and encourages idleness. It increases government dependency, a road we’ve already traveled far too far down. It also assumes money grows on trees. It is the sort of “major redistributive change” that Barack Obama has sought all his life.

    And again, those proposing it have no answer to Lady Thatcher’s question.

  462. @Jay Maynard
    “it is the antithesis of the basic concept that the world owes nobody a living.”

    That is a central thesis of the Libertarians. However, the rest of the world seems to disagree with this one way or another.

    @Jay Maynard
    “It disincentivizes work and encourages idleness.”

    This is an empirical question that has been tested in real life. And this has been shown to be totally wrong. A (low) basic income does neither disincentivize work nor does it encourages idleness more than no basic income.

    @Jay Maynard
    “It also assumes money grows on trees.”

    No, given the GDP per capita, a low basic income is easily paid for.

    @Jay Maynard
    “And again, those proposing it have no answer to Lady Thatcher’s question.”

    See the per capita GDP. All calculations show that this is not a real problem.

  463. @ Winter, Jeff Read, TheDividualist

    All Ponzi schemes work until they don’t.

    If the gravy train runs forever, then all is good. If a resource crunch (or financial catastrophe) occurs, what happens to the parasitic invalids that are no longer capable of self reliance?

    From an evolutionary perspective, is it better to gamble on the character traits of innovation and self reliance, or on infinite parasitic need?

  464. > The whole idea of a basic income bothers me, because it is the antithesis of the basic concept that the world owes nobody a living.

    It bothers me too. But I think that in certain scenarios, it might be the least bad of a lot of bad options.

    It seems to me at least *possible*, if not certain, that in the course of the next century, practically all physical labor and very much low-level mental and social labor (such as serving burgers) might be automated to the point where a majority of a country’s working-age population might wind up being largely unemployed, unemployable, and untrainable. I see at least three classes of choices they might have at this point:
    A) Starve due to shortage of human-fillable jobs
    B) Take pseudo-jobs as bootlickers, sycophants, and court jesters, because you can’t automate the feeling of power from having real people as toadies
    C) Demand redistribution by force (force here includes vote)

    I expect effectively nobody will pick A if they can help it. B is going to be uncomfortable for many, who will refuse it, and many who do pick it will likely wind up toadying for movements promising them C anyway. That means dealing with C somehow. Bad options for dealing with C include “basic income” welfare, condemning several billion people to death for being too incompetent for gainful employment, passing and somehow enforcing Luddite laws banning automation to ensure there are low-level jobs still (wave to Dune!), and that old standby of politicians, ignoring the problem.

    Right now there isn’t anywhere near that degree of automation and so I don’t presently support basic income. If it were to come about, what would you suggest doing about it?

  465. @TomA
    “All Ponzi schemes work until they don’t.”

    Basic income is NOT a Ponzi scheme, as you must know. Given that in EVERY society known there is a large part of the population that will at some time be dependent on support. That in itself is not new. Actually, that is why humans are a social species.

    The point here is not that “Living on support” cannot work. It has been shown that it works. The point is that Libertarians do not want to be “forced” to support others.

  466. For those who would like to read more about basic income, just enter “basic income experiments” in Google Scholar.
    http://scholar.google.nl/scholar?oe=ASCII&q=basic+income+studies+experiments

    Or look for the books:

    Basic Income Worldwide: Horizons of Reform
    Matthew C. Murray, Carole Pateman

    Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research
    Karl Widerquist, Jose A. Noguera, Yannick Vanderborght, Jurgen De Wispelaere
    http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405158107.html

  467. Winter, there’s a word for being forced to work with the fruits of one’s labor going to others: slavery.

    Erik, I work for a company with automation in the name that sells a series of products that, put together, allow a farmer to drive his truck up to a secured facility at 3 AM and leave a bit later with his truck full of custom-blended fertilizer, with full tracking and automated billing of the exact quantities delivered – without ever interacting with a human once his order is entered into the system. Can we automate other things to that degree? Almost certainly. Can we automate everything to that degree? Almost certainly not.

    We’ve adapted to disruptive technologies before. We’ll do it again.

  468. @Jay you are perfectly right, but I think it is an inherent problem with democracy. The inmates are running the asylum type of problem. You have to compromise, or wait for a collapse (running out of other people’s money) or seek a way to exit democracy. There is no fourth. One compromise that has strategic advantages is okay to welfare, to nay to bureaucracy. Simplistic Friedmanian negative income tax, easy to automate. Perhaps, if there are no cozy jobs in the welfare bureaucracy, in the longer run it will be not so popular amongst educated elites. I can’t really think of anything better. There is one strategy that is clearly not working, namely what libertarians were doing so far: argue a lot and hope one day everybody becomes rational. So basically let’s try everything else now. What else is there? Try to make welfare unpopular (no chance), seek a way out from democracy (a criminal offense in many countries) or try to figure out how could you minimize the damage from it. Harm reduction. One way to reduce harm is to find methods to make sure the college educated classes are not getting jobs in the dole office and thus have no personal interest in maintaining it. This requires something simplistic, meaning, BI-like, like a negative income tax.

    BTW I can see why a rural fertilizer firm needs to be fully automated. I used to work for one, and their employees and customers were able to take stupid to a whole new level. So we ended doing something almost similar to this, but not to have lower labor costs but to avoid the continuous idiotic mistakes is data entry, like people creating invoices that aren’t even plausible with basic common sense, like if it is an X ton truck how the heck don’t they notice they are trying to bill 10X quantity. If welfare is making people stupid and I guess it does, it is actually driving automation and I find that irony really interesting.

  469. @TomA

    You are right, of course, but the central issue is democracy. There is no way to making intelligent bets or not run out of other people’s money if nobody _owns_ the government itself. Democracy is essentially the communism of government – government is publicly owned, tax revenues are publicly owned – and this is why it always tends toward economic communism. The alternative is what David Friedman calls competitive mini-dictatorships, basically hotels, or Moldbug calls Patchwork.

    But of course, thinking outside the box of democracy is highly dangerous. And Inside the box the the options are limited. Just argue and argue and hope voters will get rational, which they won’t, or wait for the collapse, which is almost guaranteed, because it is just one big feeding frenzy and scramble, or try to work out some sort of a compromise, like, yes to welfare and no to welfare bureaucracy.

  470. > You accused me of endorsing “silencing” people, I pointed out that no-one is being silenced and no-one is proposing silencing anyone. You chose the topic I was responding to.

    Don’t be an idiot. You said:

    > Silencing? Where does this idea come from that people are entitled to “core developer” bragging rights (or a CEO title and six figure salary, in Eich’s case), and that taking it away is some great injustice?

    The only way this can be read is that you are defending Opalgate, and Eich’s ouster, on the basis that they don’t count as “silencing” anyone because the people in question weren’t entitled to their positions.

    This is either toweringly stupid, or actively malicious. You cannot say “If anyone expresses this opinion we disagree with, we will do our utmost to kick them out of every prestigious position they hold” and then defend yourself with “But we aren’t silencing anyone, really!” If you are personally and unilaterally attempting to impose serious consequences on anyone who dissents, you are silencing them, or attempting to do so. This isn’t different in the slightest from the fascist tactic of beating up their political opponents in the streets. If anything, the long-term consequences of being the subject of an Internet Firestorm and losing your job are likely to be far worse than a stay in hospital. (As of several months ago, at least, Eich was still unemployed.)

    This style of equivocation is classically SJW. It’s so transparently dishonest that nobody sane could actually believe it, but to actively oppose it is to declare enmity with the SJWs, and thus to add yourself to their target list. It’s a bullying tactic, pure and simple. I am rapidly updating my estimate of your behavior away from “sane and reasonable”; it’s becoming clear that your disclaiming SJWism is just a smokescreen.

  471. >I am rapidly updating my estimate of your behavior away from “sane and reasonable”; it’s becoming clear that your disclaiming SJWism is just a smokescreen.

    To be fair, he may just be infected with the same memetic virus without quite having realized how much he has in common with SJWs. This is a common problem among left-liberals.

  472. @Jay
    Slavery is when you can be legally sold for parts. What you mean is servitude. But servitude where the rich pay the poor is actually a different thing.

  473. > We’ve adapted to disruptive technologies before. We’ll do it again.
    Isn’t this survivorship bias? The Neanderthals could have been “we”, but they didn’t adapt (at least not well enough) to what the historically-resulting-we did, and our own past adaptations to major environmental/economic changes have sometimes involved dieoffs.

    > Can we automate other things to that degree? Almost certainly. Can we automate everything to that degree? Almost certainly not.
    It’s the former that concerns me, though. You don’t have to automate everything to put worryingly vast numbers of people out of a job, permanently. If you automate, say, 90% of the jobs doable by -1SD semi-morons, the situation is already getting nasty. To give an idea of scale: Current US labor data, cooked as it is to hell, says ca 8 million unemployed. If 90% of the working-age sub-1SD population in the US winds up out of work indefinitely, fighting over the scraps of remaining jobs, my rough estimate is that that’s another *20 million* dumb enough to be screwed and smart enough to realize they’re screwed.

  474. Winter: “servitude where the rich pay the poor is actually a different thing.”

    When I do it to you, it’s discrimination.
    When you do it to me, it’s affirmative action.

    It’s the same kind of rankest hypocrisy, the Left’s stock in trade.

    Serrvitude is servitude, regardless of who’s forced to serve whom, just as racism is racism, regardless of who’s doing the race-based hating.

  475. @Jay:

    Slippery slopes can be argued from either end. All taxes are redistributive; Jay pays taxes, therefore Jay is a slave.

  476. >All taxes are redistributive; Jay pays taxes, therefore Jay is a slave.

    I don’t consider this argument is unsound. I want to abolish all forms of slavery.

  477. @esr:

    > This is a common problem among left-liberals.

    Interestingly, most of his(her??) posts seem rightward of Jeff Read and Winter, but both of those are quite capable of seeing this meme for what it is.

  478. @ Winter – “Basic income is NOT a Ponzi scheme,”

    The first rule of running a Ponzi scheme is don’t let anyone call it a Ponzi scheme. Bernie Madoff called his an “investment fund” and portrayed himself as a part-time philanthropist and all-around good guy. The US social security Ponzi scheme has been going on for nearly a century now; we will soon see if it survives the upcoming retirement phase of the Baby Boom generation.

    @ TheDividualist

    No one here is arguing that we can chit-chat our way out of this mess, and the US political system is a republic, not a democracy. And even that is an anachronism. Professional politicians in Washington DC essentially rule as elitist oligarchy and ensure their incumbency by buying votes with borrowed or printed money. Modeling strongly suggests that this addiction-driven vicious cycle will continue until a significant majority of the US population is effectively helpless and dependent; at which point in time some charismatic tyrant will emerge and utilize the US military to confiscate overseas wealth in order to appease the entitlement masses domestically.

    The really strange feedback mechanism is that the future foreign victims of this looting are currently rooting for more US leftism and hastening this process.

  479. @TomA
    “The first rule of running a Ponzi scheme is don’t let anyone call it a Ponzi scheme”

    But there is an established definition of a Ponzi scheme, and a basic income does not fit it. The US pension entitlements are already a stretch. Income redistribution without even a promise is in no way a Ponzi scheme.

    @Jay
    Look up your old history books (if you ever had propper history classes). Servitude is when poor people are forced to do specific work for rich people. The system were people are free to take any job but are forced to pay fixed amounts of money to rich people is called debt service or bankruptcy.

    The situation where you are free to work, but have to pay a fraction of your income to the state is called taxes. There is no historic, legal, or semantic relation between taxes in the USA and any kind of servitude.

  480. @TomA
    “Modeling strongly suggests that this addiction-driven vicious cycle will continue until a significant majority of the US population is effectively helpless and dependent; at which point in time some charismatic tyrant will emerge and utilize the US military to confiscate overseas wealth in order to appease the entitlement masses domestically.”

    But this has been going on for two centuries. When are we finally going to see the collapse? And how do we square this analysis with the fact that it is the left wing coastal regions that are doing much better economically than all these honest to god conservatives in the middle? The coastal areas are actually subsidising the conservatives in the middle.

  481. @esr:

    > I don’t consider this argument is unsound.

    I didn’t expect you did :-)

  482. @esr
    ” I want to abolish all forms of slavery.”

    I find it extremely silly to compare having to pay taxes to a system where your wife and daughters can be sold to a brothel and yourself to the mines.

  483. I rather abhor the “taxes are theft/slavery” line of argument. Oh, the reasoning may be sound, but it will never, ever convince anyone for a very simple and sad fact: Taxes are also a prime example of special pleading, and one to which most people remain blind.

    I have never seen an argument for taxation that could not also be applied to corporations or civic charities (or in the worst cases, legitimize the activities of organized crime). As TheDividualist said above, ‘outside the box’ thinking is dangerous—and for most people, “taxes are bad” is well over their horizon of normalcy.

  484. “Even libertarian economists are starting to advocate guaranteed basic income as the solution to the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.”

    Trend unemployment has no relationship to technological development. People said this sort of thing about the spinning jenny and were wrong for the same reasons.

  485. “I find it extremely silly to compare having to pay taxes to a system where your wife and daughters can be sold to a brothel and yourself to the mines.”

    Imagine we opposed a large tax on all women and girls who did not work in brothels. Would this be morally distinct? Does it matter if the tax is 99% of income or 1c/year? Taking the former case, would this system be better or worse than a slave system in which people can be forced to do regular work for no pay but not killed, abused, forced into prostitution, etc. by their master?

    Taxation is a form of slavery but slavery, like most crimes, has more or less severe variants. The fact is most people aren’t opposed to slavery, they’re opposed to mistreating slaves.

  486. > Trend unemployment has no relationship to technological development. People said this sort of thing about the spinning jenny and were wrong for the same reasons.

    At what point does the technological development get to be enough that any new jobs that “evolve” are, morally speaking, just make-work?

  487. @ Winter

    It’s a Ponzi scheme because people and institutions (many of them foreign) keep investing in the US federal government via the purchase of treasury securities, and they have an expectation that they will continue to earn interest and eventually have their investment returned to them. Politicians use this money to purchase votes by bribing the electorate with endless entitlement handouts and thereby subsidize and institutionaiize parasitism. Parasitism is addictive and virulent, and eventually undermines productivity. When US productivity declines sufficiently and the ability to repay the federal debt becomes untenable, then federal debt investors will learn that they have been screwed. Just like in a Ponzi scheme.

    And no one can know when the Ponze scheme will collapse. It took the Roman Empire many centuries to fully collapse. The US has only been in this death spiral for about a century now (most historians regard the turning point as beginning with the Woodrow Wilson presidency).

    One could argue that the recent enormous growth of the US welfare state has been funded largely by the labor and productivity of the Chinese industrialization era. What happens when they figure out that their investment in the US government has evaporated? They can’t exactly swim across the Pacific Ocean to try and collect. And in case you haven’t noticed, the US military has a dozen carrier task forces, and the rest of the planet combined isn’t anywhere near as potent.

    Why on Earth you guys keep rooting for the Leftists here is incomprehensible to me.

  488. “At what point does the technological development get to be enough that any new jobs that “evolve” are, morally speaking, just make-work?”

    You are begging the question.

  489. @Jeff Read: the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.

    @Winter: think of the situation where all production and services can be performed by machines. Then the owners of the machines will own everything and the rest of the population will have nothing, not even a job.

    Who builds the machines? Who fixes them when they break down?

    If the answer to both of those questions is “other machines”, then we are in the Technological Singularity and the machines do not have “owners”–the humans that originally provided the capital to build them are just as useless, from the machines’ point of view, as all other humans, and don’t get any more benefit from the machines. Either the machines are willing to provide stuff to humans, or they’re not. There will be nothing humans can do about it either way at that point.

    OTOH, if the answer to the above questions is not “other machines”, then all that has happened is a shift in what types of human labor are required, and how much. If it turns out that very little human labor is required to keep all the machines running, then that means everything the machines produce must be very, very cheap–so cheap that even humans who do very little work can afford it. At least, that’s what will happen in a free market. The fact that it does not happen all the time in practice is because the market is…wait for it…not free. Why do you suppose that might be?

  490. > You are begging the question.

    I don’t know what question you think I’m begging.

    I do think that the idea that being forced to work in order to survive in a world where everyone can survive without anyone who doesn’t want to working is slavery is on far more solid ground than the idea that taxation is slavery.

  491. @Erik: I see at least three classes of choices they might have at this point

    You left out 4) Make everything cheaper. A lot cheaper. In a free market, if very little human labor is required to make all the stuff everyone needs, then that stuff will be very cheap, so cheap that even humans who do very little work can afford it.

  492. “I don’t know what question you think I’m begging.”

    I have said that trend unemployment is not related to technological development. You asked me when I think technological development will result in widespread make-work which is disguised unemployment. It is a non-response.

    You have to justify the premise that technological development will result in open or disguised unemployment.

  493. > I have said that trend unemployment is not related to technological development.

    I don’t think that’s a sustainable claim. Maybe it’s true now, but 500 years from now when we all have fusion energy and matter replicators – My point is that surely there is some hypothetical level of technological development that would lead to employment being unnecessary (or “necessary” only because the people who own the fusion reactors and matter replicators feel like making people work for them), even if it’s (as I read your original claim) not true today or in the near future.

  494. That’s not a point it is an assertion. It may seem obvious to you but that does not make it convincing to others.

    Compared with the Europe (let alone, say, the Australia) of 1700 we already have a post-scarcity society; over 90% of jobs that existed at that time are gone. Why is our employment rate higher? Having answered that question, why do you expect a different outcome in the future?

  495. And the claim is perfectly well sustainable. Technological development isn’t something that just might happen in the future, it has been an on-going process for thousands of years. So the claim I made is empirical and testable, and correct:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ca/US_annual_unemployment_rate.svg/383px-US_annual_unemployment_rate.svg.png

    People who claim there is an observed trend for unemployment to rise in line with increasing productivity or technological development are simply wrong. When they say that one day most people will be unemployed because the spinning jennies will spin too damn fast they are not extrapolating any current trend, they are predicting that a new trend in outcomes is going to appear without any change in the trend in causation. This is pretty weird and requires some seriously strong argument to be taken seriously.

  496. >And how do we square this analysis with the fact that it is the left wing coastal regions that are doing much better economically than all these honest to god conservatives in the middle? The coastal areas are actually subsidising the conservatives in the middle.

    They’re really not.

    Our bluest areas are generally the ones that have been richer, longer, true. But that wealth has been thoroughly squandered. Problem is, it’s been used as justification for redistribution and other wealth-discouraging policies, and then served to hide the failure of said wealth-discouraging policies.

    But the wheels are starting to come off. Productive individuals and businesses are fleeing the blue areas as quickly as they can. Most new jobs are in red (and business-friendly) areas like Texas. Certain unique situations remain in some of the blue areas, to enable them to limp on (like Wall Street in NY, the tech concentrations in MA and CA) but as a whole, what you describe as rich areas are the ones with the most desperate economic (state and local level) problems.

    The state of IL is so broke it can’t pay out on its lottery, and pensions? Good luck. CT has, in only 3 decades, gone from wealth and promise to financial desperation. NY’s situation is dire, and without Wall Street NYC would be another Detroit. NJ is in a worsening spiral, all due directly or indirectly to the high costs of massive and corrupt state and local gov’t. CA’s utopian policies *drive* increasing income inequality, not address it, and aside from tech wealth the state might as well be part of the third world (the interior is grim, and the poverty rate in CA is the highest of all states).

    The blue areas of the country, and blue policies, are ruin for the middle class. They’re expensive, overgoverned and overtaxed. The rich can afford the taxes, and are able to use the government to their benefit. The poor don’t pay taxes, but they do collect handouts. The guys in the middle? Sheep to be fleeced. And they’re fleeing. (Unfortunately some of those fleeing obvious ruin go to new states, and advocate for the same policies that ruined their old states.)

    Any American who is paying attention knows this.

    The fact that you don’t, and yet you insist on explaining to Americans how your idea of what conditions are here means… is laughable.

  497. I’d like to propose a way to communicate the sentiment of “shut the fuck up” while avoiding the “bigger asshole” trap: use a Shakespearian insult—preferably a real one. There’s really no comeback to

    Thou art a boil,
    A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle
    In my corrupted blood.

    (King Lear, II.iv.219–21) or

    A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
    As you are toss’d with.

    (Henry IV, Part 1, II.iii.72–73).

    “Your project rejected pull requests from several PoC (People of Colour). You should adopt this Code of Conformity.” => “Away, you three-inch fool!” (The Taming of the Shrew, IV.i.5).

  498. @James AD
    > > “They adopt kids and [sexually mutilate] those adopted kids [rather than their own biological children] in order to demonstrate their own superior holiness.”

    Winter on 2015-11-20 at 03:02:48 said:
    > [Citation needed]

    “No pressure: The boy’s two lesbian adopted mothers, Debra, left, and Pauline, right, say that they have not forced their son to become a girl”
    Captioning a photo where it is perfectly obvious that the lesbian “mums” are forcing their profoundly unwilling adopted child – but none of their numerous natural chidlren.\

    Every story I have been able to google up of prepubertal children being forced to undergo sex change, it is always an adopted child of progressive parents, never a natural child. I suppose if you search enough you might might find a natural child, but you are going to have to search hard.

    Digressing, notice that gays do not fuck women, and for the most part do not want to fuck women, but lesbians always fuck men, and usually cheat on their lesbian partner with men more than they fuck their supposed partner. Hence lesbians, despite theoretically despising breeders, often somehow manage to breed copiously.

  499. It is usually gay married or lesbian married couples sexually mutilating their adopted children, but even when real couples sexually mutilate children, it is almost always adopted children, not their natural children.

  500. @JAD
    “Every story I have been able to google up of prepubertal children being forced to undergo sex change, it is always an adopted child of progressive parents, never a natural child. ”

    I did some googling too. It proves that US cops eat black children.
    http://gawker.com/5978550/cannibal-cops-online-friend-bragged-of-eating-a-black-woman-and-a-white-child-and-roasting-whole-pelvises

    I have earlier posted this report that is not based on sensationalism and Google’s adaptation to your search interests
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/9/11/1329035/-New-Dutch-study-supports-delaying-puberty-for-transgender-youth

    Even a cursory look at the situation outside of your favorite media will show you that most transgender youth are the biological children of heterosexual parents. Your lack of Google skills is no evidence of anything.

  501. @Greg
    “Our bluest areas are generally the ones that have been richer, longer, true. But that wealth has been thoroughly squandered. Problem is, it’s been used as justification for redistribution and other wealth-discouraging policies, and then served to hide the failure of said wealth-discouraging policies.”

    If those are “failures” then I think I prefer the failures of the coasts over the success of the Righteous people in between.

    But this is always the argument. The peace and prosperity we see is explained away because it will collapse any moment now. And the armageddon is always just around the corner. Meanwhile, the people doing it “the right way” are worse off interminally waiting for the days of reckoning.

  502. @Peter
    “If the answer to both of those questions is “other machines”, then we are in the Technological Singularity and the machines do not have “owners”–the humans that originally provided the capital to build them are just as useless, from the machines’ point of view, as all other humans, and don’t get any more benefit from the machines. ”

    That is neither the “American” nor the Libertarian way. In Libertarian theory, everything has to have an owner. Even patents and copyrights are eternal. Hey, that was the central message of Atlas Shrugged. The hero invented free energy and his “morals” forbid him to give it to the masses.

    So, in a Libertarian future, the factory that makes the machines, owns them and everything they produce. And that factory will have owners who will own everything.

  503. @TomA
    “It’s a Ponzi scheme because people and institutions (many of them foreign) keep investing in the US federal government via the purchase of treasury securities, and they have an expectation that they will continue to earn interest and eventually have their investment returned to them. ”

    1) The USA does not pay its interest out of new loans, which is crucial for a Ponzi scheme

    2) USA bonds have nothing at all to do with a basic income, which is simple internal redistribution.

    You desperation to link a certain income redistribution plan to an unrelated criminal activity just shows that you have no real arguments, just innuendo and propaganda.

  504. @mdc
    “Imagine we opposed a large tax on all women and girls who did not work in brothels. Would this be morally distinct? ”

    Yes, because this has never happened anywhere. What comes closest is a fine to get out of compulsory conscription to the armed forces. There have also been “taxes” that could be paid by doing specific work. But that work was always “normal” work, e.g., construction and infrastructure work. And these practices have been largely abandoned together with slavery and debt prisons. Taxes simply do not work this way in the USA.

    If “taxation” is used as a method to force servitude, then it is not different from using the police or army to force the same servitude. That is not what taxes, police work and serving in the army are about.

    In other words, all these hypothetical, never seen, scenarios cannot hide that taxation is a very normal practice without horrible moral dilemmas. Slavery and servitude were and are horrible institutions that robbed people of all their freedoms. There are more important “freedoms” than the right to keep all the money you make.

  505. @ESR
    >To be fair, he may just be infected with the same memetic virus without quite having realized
    >how much he has in common with SJWs. This is a common problem among left-liberals.

    I think it is important to recognize that there are many on the left who share the policy preferences of the SJWs but who would never engage in their tactics (mobbing, doxing, etc). They are often willfully blind to the bad behavior of their SJW compatriots, but many on the right paint with a broad brush and accuse everyone who shares SJW policy preferences of being SJWs.

    I personally prefer Social Justice Bully (SJB) to SJW but I think SJW is too solidly established at this point to hope for any change in usage.

  506. @Winter:
    “Yes, because this has never happened anywhere. …”

    Ducking the question. If you’re not OK with a 99% tax on women who don’t work in brothels because it is basically the same as sex slavery, which is immoral, but are OK with a 99% on general income, all I can conclude is that you don’t consider slavery as such to be wrong, only certain abuses on the part of masters such as sex slavery. If you think 99% is too high but 10% is OK, at what point does it become slavery in your eyes? Why the sharp distinction?

    “In other words, all these hypothetical, never seen, scenarios cannot hide that taxation is a very normal practice without horrible moral dilemmas. Slavery and servitude were and are horrible institutions that robbed people of all their freedoms. There are more important “freedoms” than the right to keep all the money you make.”

    In the broad sweep of time and space, slavery is totally normal and accepted and was not considered to raise any more fundamental dilemma than, “Why am I his slave rather than he mine?”. Which is of course what democratic politics is all about today.

  507. @Hank Griffin
    “I think it is important to recognize that there are many on the left who share the policy preferences of the SJWs but who would never engage in their tactics…”

    The goals are what are most objectionable, not the tactics. The goal of Social Justice is to make society completely blind to very real aptitude differences. This is bad even if it could be achieved without coercion, because it would cause wild misallocation of resources, worsening living standards for everyone. The fact that it can’t be achieved without a totalitarian state – for what I hope are obvious reasons – makes those who balk at mere doxing while clinging to the same goals either cowards or idiots.

  508. @Greg
    “Our bluest areas are generally the ones that have been richer, longer, true.”

    Blue (should be Red, but then Chinese should have an alphabet and the UK should drive on the right) is an elite-underclass alliance against the middle. Only 23k people in Washington DC voted for Romney and only 6k in Detroit voted for Romney. Those are some pretty incredible numbers, and a totally inexplicable split if you believe the class war narrative.

    Same thing with education. Blue won its highest percentage of the vote among high school drop-outs and its second highest among PhDs. People with a bachelor’s and nothing more were the only group to split for Romney.

    Blue basically appeals to people who are happy to be subjects of a kind-sounding master on the one hand and people who view themselves as so powerful that the government is “we” and not “they” on the other. Independent “they” people vote Red. The relationship of this cultural split to income is much more complex than either you or your interlocutors are making out.

  509. @mdc
    “Ducking the question. If you’re not OK with a 99% tax on women who don’t work in brothels because it is basically the same as sex slavery, which is immoral, but are OK with a 99% on general income, all I can conclude is that you don’t consider slavery as such to be wrong, only certain abuses on the part of masters such as sex slavery. ”

    There are no taxes that try to force women into prostitution. Taxes are contributions to public costs. What you are trying to pass as a “tax” is a hypothetical fine. You claim income tax as slavery because you can come up a hypothetical horror story that has never happend and then call a fine a tax. It isn’t a tax and it could not happen in the USA.

  510. “Taxes are contributions to public costs.”

    “Contribution” implies “voluntary”. There’s nothing voluntary about taxation.

  511. That is neither the “American” nor the Libertarian way. In Libertarian theory, everything has to have an owner.

    False, there are “unowned things” that are sophonts, to “own” one is called slavery. There are also unowned things that simply haven’t been homesteaded by anyone, or have been abandoned. Rather, it is leftist thinking that is incapable of making these distinctions, with help from Locke’s fuckup of referring to unowned property as “owned in common”.

    Even patents and copyrights are eternal.

    Wow, you really know jack shit about Libertarians or Conservatives don’t you? Even the hardline IP believers don’t believe that. And one of the biggest splits in the modern libertarian movement is between the people who are certain that IP is True Property, and those who are certain that IP is Not True Property. There are also a few (ESR and Friedman) who are pro-IP but acknowledge that the case for IP is not as strong as they would like.

    Hey, that was the central message of Atlas Shrugged. The hero invented free energy and his “morals” forbid him to give it to the masses.

    We have already established several times that you don’t understand any of AS, so there is no point in even debating it.

    So, in a Libertarian future, the factory that makes the machines, owns them and everything they produce. And that factory will have owners who will own everything.

    Unless the machines are sophont, which they must be to have the abilities that are attributed to them.

  512. @winter:
    “There are no taxes that try to force women into prostitution. Taxes are contributions to public costs. What you are trying to pass as a “tax” is a hypothetical fine.”

    You cast a tax on not being a prostitute as a punitive fine (how about a tax on buying cigarettes, gasoline, or high frequency trading?). Tax on general income is then equally a punitive fine on working, which is not only lawful but necessary for subsistence. Imposing a punitive fine on working is clearly immoral and should be stopped. Agree or disagree?

    “You claim income tax as slavery because you can come up a hypothetical horror story that has never happend and then call a fine a tax. It isn’t a tax and it could not happen in the USA.”

    No I am not. Income tax is on a continuum with slavery because it forces people against their will to work for the benefit of others. This is quite independent of the hypothetical I put to you. The hypothetical is intended to test whether you really believe that taking part of peoples’ income is inherently different to slavery, or whether you merely consider sex slavery to be icky and normal slavery to be OK if carried on in a sufficiently humane manner. It seems to be the latter, although you continue to refuse to give a clear answer.

  513. @Winter: In Libertarian theory, everything has to have an owner.

    Yes, but some things can own themselves. We do. If the machines are capable of doing everything without any human intervention at all, then they would own themselves. Even if humans tried to make some legalistic claim that they were still the “owners” of the machines, the machines would have no reason to assent to it, and since the humans could not control the machines, the machines would prevail in any such dispute.

    in a Libertarian future, the factory that makes the machines, owns them and everything they produce. And that factory will have owners who will own everything.

    That factory would itself be a machine, on the “Technological Singularity” hypothesis, and as above, it would own itself. So the “owners who will own everything” would be machines at this point, not humans.

    (Foo Quuxman gives an alternate viewpoint, where what I call “things that can own themselves”, he calls “sophonts who cannot be owned”. Same thing, different words.)

  514. @ Winter – “The USA does not pay its interest out of new loans”

    I don’t think you understand how government treasuries work. Each year, the US federal government receives income from both taxation and borrowing. There funds are commingles within a general fund from which all payments are dispersed. Economics 101, money is fungible.

    @ Winter – “desperation to link a certain income redistribution plan to an unrelated criminal activity”

    This is actually a good point. When Bernie Madoff conducted a Ponzi scheme that primarily fleeced wealthy dupes, it was a crime and he was punished. When elitist politicians legislate a Ponzi scheme to fleece the productive middle class, it is legal theft.

    Winter, my modeling suggests that when the bubble bursts, the elitist politicians here will first try to force the productive element of US society to foot the bill, but the backlash will be so bad that they will soon change course and look overseas for the booty to pay for their misdeeds. Think Roman legions enslaving and looting Gaul for your historical analogy.

    You are utterly nearsighted if you think this anti-evolutionary drive for maximum parasitism is a good thing for the planet.

  515. I could be considered a hacker: I like programming, I’ve read the jargon file(but am maybe too young for most of it to apply in my memory), the Bipolar Lisp Programmer describes me well.

    But ESR’s wrong here. Hackers lack the political power/solidarity (one would be enough, but hackers have neither) to “eject” SJW’s. Best that can be done is to be on one’s guard individually against stuff like he talks about.
    One of the less-admirable traits of hackers (I strongly include myself here) is that they dislike the messy business of politics, preferring to stay in the realm of code, where though the compiler may be anal-retentive about semicolons, if you satisfy its demands, it will see reason. More like the IRS than a college leftist.
    That is an escape, but not a permanent one. You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you—as we’re seeing today, with both “diversity in tech” and the government’s requests for encryption backdoors.
    To any hackers reading this, I’d say: stop trying to escape! You pay a steep and ever-increasing price for living in a world without messes. It is possible to write good code on the other side.
    http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/dont-call-yourself-a-programmer/

    http://paulgraham.com/schlep.html

    https://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/why-i-blog-about-software-culture-instead-of-just-coding/

  516. > The goal of Social Justice is to make society completely blind to very real aptitude differences.

    Even if the aptitude differences you are referring to are real, the inequality that exists today is far beyond what can be accounted for by those aptitude differences alone.

  517. > If the machines are capable of doing everything without any human intervention at all, then they would own themselves. Even if humans tried to make some legalistic claim that they were still the “owners” of the machines, the machines would have no reason to assent to it, and since the humans could not control the machines, the machines would prevail in any such dispute.

    There is a difference between “capable of doing everything without any human intervention at all” and what was actually claimed. Being capable of performing their own maintenance (or a system of multiple machines that can do each other’s maintenance) does not mean they are capable of independent thought, or that they desire freedom.

    You have not sustained the argument that such a dispute would exist between the machines and their human owners (as distinct between the dispute between the human machine-owners and the other humans which must dance for their amusement to be allowed to receive any of the benefits of this technology)

  518. > I don’t think you understand how government treasuries work. Each year, the US federal government receives income from both taxation and borrowing. There funds are commingles within a general fund from which all payments are dispersed. Economics 101, money is fungible.

    If the amount of income from taxation were ever shown not to exceed the interest on the loans, the system would rapidly fall apart. Just because money is fungible doesn’t mean you can’t reason about how someone is paying for something.

  519. @Random832: There is a difference between “capable of doing everything without any human intervention at all” and what was actually claimed.

    Um, no there isn’t. “Capable of doing everything without human intervention at all” is exactly what was claimed.

    Being capable of performing their own maintenance (or a system of multiple machines that can do each other’s maintenance) does not mean they are capable of independent thought, or that they desire freedom.

    “Being capable of performing their own maintenance” is not all that was being claimed. The claim was that machines can perform “all production and services” (Winter’s original claim), plus building all the machines (which includes designing them) and doing all the maintenance on them. In other words, machines are doing everything without human intervention. That was the intent of my option #1. The case where human intervention is still required was my option #2, so if you want to talk about that case, you should be addressing what I said in my option #2, not my option #1.

    (Note that in option #1, whether the machines “desire freedom” is irrelevant. They must be “capable of independent thought” in one sense, since they are doing everything without human intervention; but that doesn’t mean they have to have “desires” in any human sense at all. The point is that if they are doing everything without human intervention, then humans have no control over the processes of production.)

    You have not sustained the argument that such a dispute would exist between the machines and their human owners

    It wouldn’t be a “dispute”. It would just be, as above, that humans no longer had control over the processes of production.

    Of course it would be a bad idea for humans to let things get to this point; but human society has a track record of doing lots of things that turned out to be bad ideas after they were done. My point is not that such a state would not suck; just that, once it got to the point of machines doing everything without human intervention (which might happen even if no human intended for it to happen), it would suck for the humans that used to “own” the machines as much as for any other humans, since their “ownership” would be meaningless in any practical sense.

  520. > plus building all the machines (which includes designing them)

    No, if the existing designs are capable of providing an acceptable standard of living for everyone in the world, then no-one needs to design new ones. People could choose to, but my point was that if everyone can have an acceptable standard of living with no-one being forced to work (i.e. the labor of only people who voluntarily choose to work is sufficient), then forcing people to work and starving them if they don’t is a damn sight closer to “slavery” than taxation is.

  521. AI is not imminent. We cannot emulate Caenorhabditis elegans;even though every neuron is mapped, and the total mapping, plus real time observation of every neuron, turns out to be not very helpful in understanding how Caenorhabditis elegans;does what it does.

    And if AI was imminent, we would make machines that were happy to serve and obey.

    ai is no

  522. @Peter Donis
    “That factory would itself be a machine, on the “Technological Singularity” hypothesis, and as above, it would own itself. So the “owners who will own everything” would be machines at this point, not humans.”

    Sorry, but I will only will factor in the singularity and self-conscious machines when they happen to exist. Before that these are simply machines owned by humans.

    Hence, my analysis still stands.

  523. > AI is not imminent.

    True, but I can’t see how it’s relevant.

  524. @TomA
    “You are utterly nearsighted if you think this anti-evolutionary drive for maximum parasitism is a good thing for the planet.”

    So your arguments against basic income come down to “its immoral”. So immoral that you rather have people to starve than to give them money to live.

  525. @mdc
    “Tax on general income is then equally a punitive fine on working, which is not only lawful but necessary for subsistence. Imposing a punitive fine on working is clearly immoral and should be stopped. Agree or disagree?”

    Silly argument.

    A tax is a contribution to the community. And contrary to what Jay thinks, there is no reasons why contributions must be voluntary. You pay according to your means. This has been chosen as the most efficient way to tax. Many societies have chosen, just like the USA, to excempt the very rich from taxation. This kind of mismanagement tended to lead to disasterous consequences (e.g., the fall of Rome). And some countries have levied self-defeating taxes (Sweden is an example with a tax bracket of over 100%).

    But all this is just comic relief. A tax is not a fine on working. Just an obligation to contribute to the community.

    And this obligation for everyone to contribute to the community is not related to slavery. Slavery is where you and your loved ones can be tortured, abused, and killed with impunity. Where you have no rights at all, not even the right to your own body and life.

  526. “So immoral that you rather have people to starve than to give them money to live.”

    That the world does not owe anyone food, or shelter, or health care, or transportation, or anything else is a hard lesson to learn, but learn it we must, lest we turn into a society that cannot provide for its own needs.

  527. “Involuntary contribution” is a euphemism for “armed robbery”.

  528. @Foo
    “Wow, you really know jack shit about Libertarians or Conservatives don’t you? Even the hardline IP believers don’t believe that. ”

    I must admit that the answer to your question is afirmative. I have been seriously confused about the IP position of Libertarians. Thanks for educating me.

  529. @JAD

    And if AI was imminent, we would make machines that were happy to serve and obey.

    Ah, building a slave complex right into the system; 1. What could possibly go wrong? 2. Who the hell is so pathetic that they want to hobble those around them? (don’t answer that, I know it is most people)

    @Random832
    True, but I can’t see how it’s relevant.

    It is relevant to whether the machines own themselves are are owned by a person.

    @Winter
    Sorry, but I will only will factor in the singularity and self-conscious machines when they happen to exist. Before that these are simply machines owned by humans.

    Granted, I don’t expect AI anytime soon either. Now lets deal with some of the other problems with Automation Doom.

    For this to be a problem in the first place the robots have to be cheap, which blows out the entire basis of the “problem” because anyone who has one have afford to give one away if they feel like it. Or a group of people can pool their resources to buy one which can replicate itself.

    And no, you can’t claim that all the “haves” will band together and form a cartel because again, self-replicating, if a single robot is out of the cartel’s control it is over. That is on top of the fact that cartels always fail in the end on their own, so long as they aren’t propped up by a nearby state.

    All of this assumes that these super robots just appear out of nowhere without any pre-adaption to what came before them, in reality that will not be the case.

  530. @Jay
    “That the world does not owe anyone food, or shelter, or health care, or transportation, or anything else is a hard lesson to learn, but learn it we must, lest we turn into a society that cannot provide for its own needs.”

    You will be hard pressed to find people in the world that have no obligations towards others that they did not voluntary choose. Every community that has ever existed has levied obligations on its members that went beyond voluntary assistance. Taxes are as inevitable as death.

    The hard lesson you talk about means death to many.

  531. @Foo
    “And no, you can’t claim that all the “haves” will band together and form a cartel because again, self-replicating, if a single robot is out of the cartel’s control it is over. That is on top of the fact that cartels always fail in the end on their own, so long as they aren’t propped up by a nearby state.”

    That is all wishfull thinking. Copying music has no costs. But it has been made illegal. Even the software running on most computers is not the property of the owners of the computers.

  532. @Winter
    Copying music has no costs. But it has been made illegal.

    I’m sorry, which side of this debate are you arguing?

  533. @Random
    “Even if the aptitude differences you are referring to are real, the inequality that exists today is far beyond what can be accounted for by those aptitude differences alone.”

    I disagree but this is an empirical and not normative question and I am therefore persuadable. By a good enough argument very quickly and easily. Please show me the data.

  534. @ Winter – ‘So your arguments against basic income come down to “its immoral”. So immoral that you rather have people to starve than to give them money to live.’

    I have never introduced morality into this discussion. The evolutionary mechanisms that have guided life on this planet for billions of years were not influenced by morality; which is a recent invention of our unique sentient species. I am making an argument founded in rationality.

    You believe that your altruism is a good social policy even though it fosters dependence, parasitism, and loss of ancestral survival skills and motivation; the end result of which is to promote a vicious cycle of endemic weakness. This deficiency is camouflaged by current technology-driven affluence, but that just means that the cancer is dormant. And your weakness makes you a prime target for aggressors (see all of human history for confirmation).

    Now you want to infect US culture with this same disease; and if you succeed, there is a good chance that a future US-grown tyrant will come take your stuff (if not outright enslave you). That is why I think you are being shortsighted.

    P.S. our poor here in the US are currently dying of obesity-related maladies, not starving.

  535. @Winter

    You’re drifting so far from the point that you don’t even regard slavery as forced labour, or extraction of earned value, or something like that, you just regard it as A Bad Thing:

    “And this obligation for everyone to contribute to the community is not related to slavery. Slavery is where you and your loved ones can be tortured, abused, and killed with impunity.”

    In the vast majority of slave systems you could not be tortured or killed with impunity. Both the Roman Empire and the CSA had such prohibitions, just as in the US tax system (but not, say, the Corleone family’s tax system) you cannot be convicted of evasion in absentia and sentenced to death. And plenty of regimes have existed in which people can be tortured or killed without being forced to work. Slavery is being forced to work for someone else’s goals rather than your own; tax is a hybrid system, where you can work for some of the time on your projects, and the rest you must work on the government’s. Simply a more fungible form of serfdom, that therefore fits better with complex division of labour.

    Your posting has for some time been little more than argument from incredulity, and it still is, so I think I’ve said all that needs to be said. I get that tax is something that was normal at the time you were born, and still is, whereas slavery is not. You are naturally more comfortable with things with which you are familiar and less with things that alien. That does not however make them morally distinct; there is no constraint on the status quo or its supporters, enforcers, and apologists to be morally consistent. Others can judge which of us was the most persuasive at this point.

  536. > I disagree but this is an empirical and not normative question and I am therefore persuadable. By a good enough argument very quickly and easily. Please show me the data.

    You don’t think it’s self-evident that economic inequality (including that which is caused by being forced into slavery) persists for multiple generations (someone with no inherited wealth has a much more difficult time e.g. starting a business than someone who does have some wealth at the start) after the root causes are gone?

  537. The post-scarcity society debate is nonsense on stilts. In a true post-scarcity society, the cost of all things is zero. That includes the magic matter combobulators that can produce any known object in arbitrary quantity instantly for free. Any combobulator worth its salt can produce more combobulators just as easily as it can produce anything else. So there is no problem: no one needs to work because everything is free, either because combobulator owners operate them for nothing, or because anyone who wants one can buy or make their own combobulator for nothing and run it for free. The free market results in the exact outcome you want.

    Of course you have a hidden premise: everything is free /except the matter combobulators on which the system is based/. They, of course, require a lot of effort and expertise to create and maintain. Your real objection, then, is to the owners of these magical devices being allowed to operate them at a profit. The exact same objection can of course be made to operating a semiconductor fab, chemical plant, or spinning jenny at a profit. Your talk about future trends and unprecedented developments and hitherto unconsidered problems is really nothing more than a moth-eaten rag disguising an a leftist hobbyhorse as old as the hills: the idea that earning interest on capital investments should be banned.

    The correct response to this nonsense is: bo-oooring.

  538. And that’s even putting aside that so much other inequality still exists. There are still people who are openly racist, sexist, etc, in a way that does not even purport to have anything to do with beliefs about differing aptitudes.

  539. @Random832
    “You don’t think it’s self-evident that…”

    Err, no, hang on.

    This is what you said:

    “Even if the aptitude differences you are referring to are real, the inequality that exists today is far beyond what can be accounted for by those aptitude differences alone.”

    The word “accounted” comes from “accountant” which is French for “anally-retentive pedant”. I am not an accountant but I do read from this statement that you accounted for something; that is, you compared the relative strength of two effects with reference to quantitative data and rigorously demonstrated that one of them is much larger than the other.

    Are you now telling me that your actual methodology was to think to yourself for a few minutes and decide that it just MUST be this or that way? Just because, you know, because.

  540. > either because combobulator owners operate them for nothing, or because anyone who wants one can buy or make their own combobulator for nothing and run it for free.

    How are they going to make them? By using an existing one, owned by someone who will not let them do that?

    And my objection wasn’t limited to “mater combobulators”, that was just an example to make an obvious extreme where it would definitely apply. My point is regarding any technological base that is sufficient to allow for everyone to have an acceptable standard of living while not requiring any more labor than can be provided by those who freely choose to work. Whether such a technological base exists now or in the near future is yet to be determined. But the argument that it is morally right, for all time, for people to be forced to work even though their labor is not needed, is crap.

  541. Combombulators operate in the market just like any other type of machine tool, so two combobulator owners will compete one another down to the minimum price at which it is worth the owner’s while to operate the machine. However, because combobulators are magic, the owner does not need to do anything to operate the machine, so that price is zero.

  542. > The word “accounted” comes from “accountant” which is French for “anally-retentive pedant”.

    You’re wrong. Even considering that you’re joking, your underlying assumption (that “accounting for” something implies a full analysis of concrete data has been done) is also wrong.

  543. You might notice the much closer (and real) resemblance to the word “count”.

    Regardless, it doesn’t matter if your statement was just a really poorly drafted way of writing “I thought about it for a bit and decided that this is probably the right answer, because I felt in my bones that it must be so.”, the statement is by far not the key issue. You have no grounds whatsoever for believing that real aptitude differences don’t largely explain the patterns in achievement in tech and other fields. Given that open source is about as physically non-threatening, structurally open, and (if desired) anonymous as any major technical endeavour can be or in history has been, presence of these patterns in open source discredits discrimination theories elsewhere, rather than reinforcing them. That’s without even considering the massive quantities of detailed, quantitative evidence that such aptitude differences exist, which is certainly unjustifiable.

  544. @Random832: if the existing designs are capable of providing an acceptable standard of living for everyone in the world, then no-one needs to design new ones.

    Even if that were true at one point, it wouldn’t stay true. Things change.

    Also, you’re ignoring maintenance. Nothing works perfectly forever.

  545. @Winter: Before that these are simply machines owned by humans.

    In which case you’ve picked option #2 of my dichotomy, rather than option #1. Which is fine, but then you have to actually address it.

    Hence, my analysis still stands.

    What analysis? You haven’t responded to my option #2 at all.

  546. Random832 on 2015-11-21 at 14:29:00 said:
    > And that’s even putting aside that so much other inequality still exists. There are still people who are openly racist, sexist, etc, in a way that does not even purport to have anything to do with beliefs about differing aptitudes.

    Like who? I am the only openly “racist” and “sexist” person on this blog, and my “sexism” and “racism” has everything to do with differing aptitudes and differing propensities for bad behavior.

    Of my positions, the one that gives esr a heart attack is “blacks can only flourish in a society with simpler and harsher laws, more swiftly and brutally enforced, than those laws and enforcement that are appropriate for whites” When we integrated blacks we were not doing them a favor. Blacks perform worse and behave worse in mixed race suburbs than they do in all black suburbs.

    Or maybe the position that gives him the most severe heart attack is not racial at all: People who are incapable of looking after themselves without returning to the primitive behavior of gathering other people’s crops and hunting other people’s cattle (“no visible means of support”, “able bodied beggars”) need to be enslaved. Some people are no good at making their own decisions, and need to subjected to the authority of someone who can make competent decisions. And then I go on to say that most black slaves, not all of them, but most of them, were enslaved for ïn their native societies for crimes analogous to “no visible means of support” and petty theft and then sold to foreigners – and were a lot better off for being sold.

    None of which sounds anything like the stupid position you ignorantly attribute to those you hate.

  547. >Of my positions, the one that gives esr a heart attack is “blacks can only flourish in a society with simpler and harsher laws, more swiftly and brutally enforced, than those laws and enforcement that are appropriate for whites”

    Let’s compare this with a similar claim:

    “People of significantly subnormal intelligence (1 SD below mean) can only flourish in a society with simpler and harsher laws, more swiftly and brutally enforced, than those laws and enforcement that are appropriate for people of average intelligence or above”

    This claim is, if not true, at least defensible and not morally repugnant.

    It remains defensible and not morally repugnant even if we conjoin it with the observation that blacks average SD lower in IQ, leading to the conclusion at least half of the black population is in the category that needs simpler and harsher laws.

    (Whether such a split strategy could be implemented in any way that preserves equality before the law is a different question.)

    But jumping straight to “all blacks are in that group” remains indefensible and morally repugnant. It mistakes accident (race) for essence (limited cognitive ability), and in doing so insults and oppresses intelligent blacks.

  548. @Random832: My point is regarding any technological base that is sufficient to allow for everyone to have an acceptable standard of living while not requiring any more labor than can be provided by those who freely choose to work.

    And the response to that point is that, in such a state of affairs, the cost of an acceptable standard of living will be zero, so nobody will have to pay anyone else for it. At least, that is what will happen in a free market. So the only thing that could screw it up is not having a free market–i.e., forcing people to engage in transactions they would not otherwise choose to engage it

    Whether such a technological base exists now or in the near future is yet to be determined. But the argument that it is morally right, for all time, for people to be forced to work even though their labor is not needed, is crap.

    Nobody has made any such argument. The argument being made is that it is morally wrong to involuntarily take away the products of some people’s labor and give it to other people. In fact, even a weaker argument is sufficient: it is counterproductive to involuntarily take away the products of some people’s labor and give it to other people. Counterproductive in the sense that it prevents the free market from driving the price of an acceptable standard of living down, ultimately to zero, by making the means of having an acceptable standard of living cheaper and cheaper.

  549. @esr: I agree. However IQ is only one trait. It is possible that there are a number of traits that contribute to criminality, such as impulsiveness, and it may be that a combination of such bad traits really is unique to the black population. It may also be that some of those other traits are difficult to measure, so that assigning individuals to different groups would not be possible. There is some circumstantial evidence for this: Mexicans do not have much higher IQ than blacks but do not seem to commit more crime than whites. It might be that blacks are not just more prone to crime than whites, but more prone to crime than other races of the same IQ level.

    Perhaps like you, I am not sure I regard the moral harm of a different law for blacks, legally enforced segregation, and the rest as worth the reward of reduced crime or even improved general black welfare, even assuming those things would result. But after seeing the evidence on genetic influence on personality traits and social outcomes, I no longer regard racial segregation as inherently stupid and unreasonable. It was a simple, perhaps too blunt and indiscriminate, but probably effective response to a real problem.

    Unexpectedly I also find myself more strongly in agreement with black radicals like Malcolm X than with the moderates. A black state in North America would be better for both populations, without destroying the self-respect of blacks; segregation with honour, as against Donald’s neo-serfdóm. Something like this happens already as non-blacks flee black-dominated localities, but the constant movement of such localities causes a lot of unnecessary damage.


  550. The post-scarcity society debate is nonsense on stilts. In a true post-scarcity society, the cost of all things is zero. That includes the magic matter combobulators that can produce any known object in arbitrary quantity instantly for free. Any combobulator worth its salt can produce more combobulators just as easily as it can produce anything else. So there is no problem: no one needs to work because everything is free, either because combobulator owners operate them for nothing, or because anyone who wants one can buy or make their own combobulator for nothing and run it for free. The free market results in the exact outcome you want.

    YES! I’m not the only one that finds this post-scarcity stuff loony.

    1st: All the hand-wringing about post scarcity whenever someone brings up how utterly screwed our economies have become is a complete distraction from how utterly screwed our economies have become. An economy that even approaches post-scarcity at a tentative limit looks absolutely nothing like what the world today looks like. The reason why Detroit is a hollowed out ruin is not because we’ve suddenly become amazingly more productive and have some nascent automation utopia brewing. It’s because the capitol has eaten the industrial midwest, ruined it’s rich political enemies (who made their fortunes in different ways than our political overclass has made its fortune) and left a rusting scrapheap in it’s place. Declaring this to be “progress” is delusional.

    2nd Even in the most irrationally dystopian post-scarcity system, where some bizarre cabal owns do-anything-factories that make them arbitrarily more productive than anyone else in the economy, and keeps all such do-anything-factories to themselves, it still doesn’t explain why everyone else is any worse off than they were before these guys show up on the scene. To people without do-anything factories, how is a world where the cabal can produce goods and services to sate all their own needs, and refuses to trade with or provide handouts to the people without any different from a situation where they don’t exist in the first place?

    In reality, I expect a situation with do-anything factories/matter combobulators/von Neumann machines to look a lot like the world of software: A post scarcity society is one where no one will want or need handouts from some central “income provider” anymore than people today want or need central terminal services from a centralized government computer provider.

    You’ve broken the real industrial economy that produced the real middle class. You aren’t going to get the sci-fi industrial economy that lets anyone make anything in their garage if you don’t address how you broke the real economy. (Or at least, if it happens, it will be in spite of the drain on the system, not because of it.)

  551. @ mdc

    Lyndon Johnson’s 1960s era Great Society legislation wrought institutional destruction of black family life and crushed this already disadvantaged minority society. Not everything can be blamed on genetics.

  552. This claim is, if not true, at least defensible and not morally repugnant.

    It becomes morally repugnant very quickly. Why is anyone justified, from a libertarian perspective, in enforcing any law on anyone? The only excuse that has any real justification is in reprisal or reparation for harm done to someone else.

    Also, no community is going to decide to enforce harsher punishments on themselves than on some outgroup. You know that the impulse to inflict harsh punishment is one that one group of people will want to inflict on a different group of people that they want to dominate. That’s the only way this has ever worked in the real world.

    The idea that someone will “thrive” in a society where someone else harshly punishes them/coerces them into doing things for their own good is almost a contradiction in terms. It’s like the Communists insisting that their coercive management of your economic choices can somehow leave you better off than if you are left to your own devices. This has absolutely nothing to do with your intelligence or your facility for making decisions. If you don’t choose it, it isn’t doing you a favor to force you into it, by definition.

    Likewise, if you are going to lump someone into a class of people and enforce some standard of “justice” on them that they wouldn’t choose of their own accord, it isn’t because you really have any concern for their welfare or their idea of justice!

  553. > Like who? I am the only openly “racist” and “sexist” person on this blog,

    There are far worse positions than your own in the world outside this blog.

    @mdc – “account for” is a set phrase which is a synonym for “explain”, and, as actually used in modern language, has nothing to do with accounting, or counting of any kind. Etymology is a game of trivia, not meaning.

  554. esr:
    > “People of significantly subnormal intelligence (1 SD below mean) can only flourish in a society with simpler and harsher laws, more swiftly and brutally enforced, than those laws and enforcement that are appropriate for people of average intelligence or above”

    Blacks are not just one SD lower than whites in IQ.

    They are also about 2SD lower than whites of comparable IQ in time preference.

    They are also much more criminally inclined than whites, though the variance in criminality is much lower among blacks than whites, and criminality among whites and caucasoid populations has a fat tail compared to criminality in pretty much any other population, making it inappropriate to use the language of the normal distribution.

    Between two populations that vary in IQ by one SD, there is a lot of overlap.

    Between blacks and whites, very little overlap, because they differ in many qualities other than IQ.

  555. > Why is anyone justified, from a libertarian perspective, in enforcing any law on anyone? The only excuse that has any real justification is in reprisal or reparation for harm done to someone else.

    Obvious counterexample. Drugs.

    If everyone was like white software engineers, it would be absurd to outlaw drugs. And if everyone was white, the case for banning drugs would not be very convincing. Observe, however, what happens when progressives encounter a racial group that has not previously been exposed to alcohol. They have no alternative but to perform whatever ingenious mental gymnastics are necessarily to rationalize banning alcohol for that group but not for whites, because the effect of alcohol on that group is apt to be intolerable for the group, and even worse for anyone who lives near them.

  556. An example more relevant than alcohol: Cough syrup. Cough syrup is a disaster for blacks. It should be over the counter for whites, prescription only for blacks.

  557. Random832 on 2015-11-21 at 14:29:00 said:
    > > > And that’s even putting aside that so much other inequality still exists. There are still people who are openly racist, sexist, etc, in a way that does not even purport to have anything to do with beliefs about differing aptitudes.

    > > Like who? I am the only openly “racist” and “sexist” person on this blog,

    > There are far worse positions than your own in the world outside this blog.

    Like who?

    Everyone who claims that state and society should treat different people unequally claims that different people are in fact unequal.

    Are you perhaps referring to Trump’s position that we should discriminate in favor of adherents to religions which command their believers not to kill us and against adherents to religions that command their believers to kill us?

  558. @mdc
    “In the vast majority of slave systems you could not be tortured or killed with impunity. Both the Roman Empire and the CSA had such prohibitions, ”

    Yeah yeah. And how were those laws enforced? Less than modern laws against animal cruelty.

    You consistently conflate servitude, which is more about forcing people to work for the master, with slavery, where the slave belongs to the master, body and soul.

    And modern taxes have nothing to do with forcing you to work.

  559. @James
    “Like who?”

    I have a vague recolection that you support South Africa style appartheid, putting blacks in special camps, and were supporting slavery as practiced before the civil war.

    But my memory could deceive me.

  560. @TomA
    “The evolutionary mechanisms that have guided life on this planet for billions of years were not influenced by morality; which is a recent invention of our unique sentient species. I am making an argument founded in rationality.”

    What you write is not connected to natural selection and evolution. For that you would need to apply knowledge of selection pressures and population genetics. Your arguments are devoid of both. But you do get the Libertarian lore about how the world should look as a social darwinistic rabit out of your hat.

    You applied the fallacy that what is (nature) is what should be defended (morals). You apply social darwinism and that is a moral standpoint.

  561. @Winter:

    You consistently conflate servitude, which is more about forcing people to work for the master, with slavery, where the slave belongs to the master, body and soul.

    If this conflation is wrong, then even the US State Department must change their definitions. Their page on “What is Modern Slavery?” does not reference ownership once in describing places they are fighting modern slavery practices.

    Put another way, what is the practical, observable difference between your definition of “slavery” and mere involuntary labor? It seems to me you are arguing for a difference only in justification, not in practical outcome or application of the two systems.

  562. Perhaps, Winter. you should look up “Corvée” Wikipedia has an excellent article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corv%C3%A9e) If the Median Federal tax rate in the US is %15, does it follows that you think working nearly two months out of the year, at the point of a sword, is not a form of slavery? Or just a form you find acceptable?

  563. @Alex K
    “If this conflation is wrong, then even the US State Department must change their definitions. Their page on “What is Modern Slavery?” does not reference ownership once in describing places they are fighting modern slavery practices.”

    So I was wrong and I did not understand the commenters on this blog use the definitions of the US state department. They were talking about modern slavery (the illegal kind).

    So, the actual statement made here is that having to pay taxes is like being an exploited illegal immigrant? Are there many exploited illegal immigrants who think that way?

    Still, reading the examples on the link, I do not think I know of any women who think that paying taxes is just as bad as being forced to work in a brothel, or have your children forced into prostitution. And this also holds for all the other examples given. And in the link they did not even include the examples of “modern slaves” sold for body parts.

    So even if you use the definitions of “modern slavery” from the UN and US state department, the comparison of “paying taxes is like slavery” is silly.

  564. @Alex K.
    “If this conflation is wrong, then even the US State Department must change their definitions. Their page on “What is Modern Slavery?” does not reference ownership once in describing places they are fighting modern slavery practices.”

    I don’t think it is important because the state does assert a claim of ownership over its population. There is no limit in principle to what the state can do with you (including kill, torture, whatever) which is the substantive definition of ownership. There is even a phrase for the state being permitted to do this in contravention of its own promulgated laws: sovereign immunity.

  565. @daemon
    “If the Median Federal tax rate in the US is %15, does it follows that you think working nearly two months out of the year, at the point of a sword, is not a form of slavery? Or just a form you find acceptable?”

    Sorry, my compassion is limited as my marginal tax rate is over 50%. And I never complain. That money keeps my feet dry, feeds, cares, and educates many of my relatives. In general it pays for all the things that make my country a very good place to live.

    And at the point of the sword? If I do not want to work, I just stop. No one will come to force me into a job. And if I do not want to pay taxes anymore no one will stop me emigrating to a place where I do not have to pay taxes. I cannot just think of such place, but I am sure you can help me vinding such a place.

  566. @Jeff Read says “Civil rights and leftism are ideologically conjoined; most of the credit for securing for blacks and other minorities treatment as full human beings belongs with the left.”

    Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Would this be the same leftism that created minimum wage laws PRECISELY because they would push blacks out of the workplace??

    You. Fucking. Moron.

  567. @Jeff Read “Even libertarian economists are starting to advocate guaranteed basic income as the solution to the labor crisis that looms as ever smarter machines automate away more and more jobs.”

    Are you just plain fucking stupid? Or are you fancy fucking stupid?? Libertarian economists are advocating a guaranteed basic income as a way to 1) help the poor by 2) eliminating all the current public assistance bullshit they have to go through that 3) reduces freedom and wastes taxpayer money.

    In economics, all the interesting things happen at the margin. If you can make an unfree world more free, even if you can’t make it completely free, you should do so.

  568. @Russ Nelson
    “Are you just plain fucking stupid? Or are you fancy fucking stupid??”

    Maybe the difference between Jeff and you is that Jeff informs himself and thinks before posting?

    But that would make him less stupid.

  569. @Winter:

    So even if you use the definitions of “modern slavery” from the UN and US state department, the comparison of “paying taxes is like slavery” is silly.

    Saying that light is simultaneously a wave and a particle is silly; calling some numbers “imaginary” and some “natural” is silly. Just because the argument is “silly” doesn’t make it invalid or untrue.

    @mdc:

    I don’t think it is important because the state does assert a claim of ownership over its population. …. There is even a phrase for the state being permitted to do this in contravention of its own promulgated laws: sovereign immunity.

    Hence why I’d argued when this particular topic was introduced: the government’s status regarding taxation is a “special pleading”, and never applied to any other organization.

  570. @ Winter – “What you write is not connected to natural selection and evolution.”

    Cultural evolution (and morality) are endemic to our unique sentient species. They derive from our ability to use complex language for postpartum memetic reprogramming, and consequently are an application of artificial selection.

    Domestication of farm animals/agricultural plants is an example of artificial selection as applied to the lifeforms outside our species. Religious practice is an example of artificial selection applied within our species. The former relies on DNA as the mechanism of manipulation and the latter relies on rewiring neural networks in real time.

    Over the past few millennia, these mechanisms were relatively slow and tended to be self-correcting in an overall sense. However, during the past few decades, memetic manipulation has exploded in terms of reach and influence such that system dynamics are now swinging wildly (and chaotically) toward extremes that may defy historical self-correction feedback mechanisms. Modeling suggests that the current push for maximum parasitism is a dangerous outlier mechanism, not a Utopian social panacea.

  571. @AlexK
    “Just because the argument is “silly” doesn’t make it invalid or untrue.”

    Ok, there is a simple test you can do. Ask some women around you whether they think having to pay taxes is just as bad as being raped and forced into prostitution. That would easily show whether it is felt to be true. If the women say they disagree, you can also ask whether it is a matter of degree.

  572. @TomA
    “Cultural evolution (and morality) are endemic to our unique sentient species. They derive from our ability to use complex language for postpartum memetic reprogramming, and consequently are an application of artificial selection.”

    Here, natural selection and evolution are metaphors for cultural phenomenons. You cannot use them to give predictions of experimental outcomes. Which brings us back to the fact that your original objections were moral, not “scientific” or based on “science”. There is no science of cultural evolution.

  573. @ Winter – “There is no science of cultural evolution.”

    Yes there is. You’re just ignorant of it.

    Perhaps you need to explore why it is that you are so passionate in defense of parasitism.

  574. winter on 2015-11-22 at 04:19:04 said:
    > I have a vague recolection that you support South Africa style appartheid, putting blacks in special camps, and were supporting slavery as practiced before the civil war.

    Most blacks were enslaved in their home countries because of disinclination to work for a living and a propensity to hunt other people’s cattle and gather other people’s crops. Absent a welfare state, they needed slavery in order that someone competent would look after them. Observe the very high death rate among blacks that followed the abolition of slavery.

    Similarly, compare South Africa after apartheid, with South Africa during apartheid. The upper stories of tall buildings and the lower depths of deep mines have become uninhabitable, and goats scrounge for garbage to eat on the marble floors of what once were high status office buildings. Rape has risen to levels that would have been unthinkable in the apartheid error. Genocide against whites has afflicted large parts of the country.

  575. >>”And at the point of the sword? If I do not want to work, I just stop. No one will come to force me into a job.”

    For the vast majority of the population who lacks the opportunity to just stop working, what happens to them if they decide not to pay taxes?

    Or do you just have trouble with the sword metaphor?

  576. >>”If the amount of income from taxation were ever shown not to exceed the interest on the loans, the system would rapidly fall apart.”

    Which does nothing to change the fact that the US pays interest out of new loans. Municipalities and states also do this quite frequently, but not in such a perverse manner as the Treasury-Fed scheme does it.

  577. @James
    “> I have a vague recolection that you support South Africa style appartheid, putting blacks in special camps, and were supporting slavery as practiced before the civil war.”

    I see my recollections were right on all accounts.

    About the situation in West Africa wrt slave hunting, read the analysis in
    Debt: The First 5,000 Years Debt
    David Graeber
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt:_The_First_5000_Years

  578. @TomA
    @ Winter – “There is no science of cultural evolution.””
    Yes there is. You’re just ignorant of it.”

    That is good news. Please, could you give us some links to the underlying studies. I am very much interested in this matter. But I was never able to find any sane studies.

    The only thing I ever found were sociological and anthropological studies that remained necessarily vague. Such studies also showed that what you call “parasitism”, relying on the support of your neighbors, is a fundamental property of human social life (see the book I linked to above, “Debt, the first 5000 years”). And now you tell us that there are scientific studies telling us how bad this behavior is for the evolution of culture.

    So, please, give us some links to better information.

  579. @winter
    “Sorry, my compassion is limited as my marginal tax rate is over 50%. And I never complain. That money keeps my feet dry, feeds, cares, and educates many of my relatives. In general it pays for all the things that make my country a very good place to live.”

    You choose not to address my point, so you concede that taxation isn’t conceptually different a period of forced servitude and that your original outrage about such a characterization was just overwrought theater?

    By that same reasoning, I suppose since YOU think YOUR chains aren’t too heavy, no one else has grounds to complain? Perhaps I can find someone who enjoyed their serfdom or slavery more (there must have been some happy communists SOMEWHERE, I imagine), and use their acceptance as an argument to oppress you to a degree you would otherwise not accept?

    Obviously this is nonsense, and your point seems to come down to being that, properly diluted, working for someone else at gunpoint for two, or three, or six months out of a year isn’t too bad, because the ‘trains-run-on-time’ or some your slavery is reasonably comfortable, and you just don’t like to have it pointed out to you in such stark terms.

    Further, your position leaves totally unaddressed any questions that an existing tax scheme can be improved, or that government services can be funded in a way that may be a lesser imposition on individual freedom, that there are things the state should not do or cannot do better than the private sector, or that individual liberty has any moral value beyond your personal comfort.

    But since your taxes pay for “all the things that make my country a very good place to live.” why pay only 50%? Surely you are missing out on 50% more of education, housing, and whatever else you think makes your country “a good place to live”, and that these things, by extrapolating your reasoning, could easily be achieved by your year-round serfdom. You would even benefit by being relieved of the hardships of defending your submissive opinions, I’m sure your master would be happy to do it on your behalf.

  580. @daemon
    “You choose not to address my point, so you concede that taxation isn’t conceptually different a period of forced servitude and that your original outrage about such a characterization was just overwrought theater? ”

    I have made that point many times during this thread, so I do not see any point in repeating it yet another time again. I focused on your “at the point of a sword” analogy.

    You obviously have only a vague idea what “Servitude” actually means. One hint, as a serve you are not allowed to chose your profession or job, nor your place of residence.

    Anyhow, we were not talking about being taxed equals “Servitude”, but about being taxed equaling slavery. And that is simply silly if you have any realistic concept of what “slavery” means.

    @daemon
    “But since your taxes pay for “all the things that make my country a very good place to live.” why pay only 50%?”

    There is an optimum rate. Increasing tax rates more would make life worse again. You know, there is a constant debate about how to structure taxes and expenditures and what the best levels are. These 50% (marginal rate, not overall rate) are not something that falls down the heavens or is imposed by some dictator. These are hotly debated with around half the people for less taxes and half for more expenditures. The tax rates tend to settle at a rate where people keep each other in balance.

    And contrary to Libertarian lore, taxes are pretty stable here (except for times of severe crises)
    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/netherlands/tax-revenue-percent-of-gdp-wb-data.html

    Also, government debts are pretty “solid”. They were going down until some people and banks in the USA started to default on their loans.
    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/netherlands/government-debt-to-gdp

  581. @daemon
    “Further, your position leaves totally unaddressed any questions that an existing tax scheme can be improved, or that government services can be funded in a way that may be a lesser imposition on individual freedom, that there are things the state should not do or cannot do better than the private sector, or that individual liberty has any moral value beyond your personal comfort. ”

    Our “state” has existed for four centuries now. In this time, we have experimented with a lot of systems to pay for government services. We settled on the current one as it was felt to be the most effective and efficient. I am sure my compatriots would be thrilled if you could explain to us a better system than we have. Please, include real evidence that it works.

    But I will give you a simple example that we would like to solve in a better way.

    I live on reclaimed land. That means, the foundations of my house are a few meters below sea level. We have dikes that have to be serviced and kept in shape. But dikes cannot keep out ground water. So we need to pump out water to the sea, constantly. If the pumps stop, even the upper floors of our houses get flooded. For maintenance of the infrastructure and running of the pumps, we levy a tax on anyone who lives here. If you do not want to pay the tax, you would have to leave.

    So, you have a better way to solve the problem of paying for maintenance of the water works and running of the pumps? Please enlighten us. Note, it must be a solution where we are “more free” than we are now.

  582. > For the vast majority of the population who lacks the opportunity to just stop working,

    They lack the opportunity to stop working yet somehow it’s the taxes that make them slaves.

  583. @Winter

    The Netherlands will be broken by immigration, not taxes. The point is, a small-ish community with high civic spirit and ethnic uniformity is able to function on a somewhat socialistic level. The problem is when it becomes big and multicultural.

    Interestingly, the New England subset of the USA have always had a certain leaning for socialism. Check Bellamy one day. The reason libertarianism grow strong in the USA is that the USA became fairly early multicultural and geographically diverse and just too bi and basically a Scots-Irish guy from Texas just doesn’t feel the same level of in-groupness with Italians in NY as a guy from Apeldoorn with someone from Rotterdam.

    This is the origin of the whole difference. It really depends on what level in-groupness one understands under the term “nation”. If you consider NL, 1900 as a nation, then the USA consists of multiple nations and generally this is all about not wanting to have redistribution etc. along these lines as the levels of trust are not very high along these lines.

    Beyond the level of trust issue is the incentive issue. Basically if you pay people for being disabled, instead of being productive, you generate an incentive for being disabled, instead of being productive. Now, this can work only so far as there are OTHER ways to disincentivize bad behavior like social shaming and ostracism. But social shaming and ostracism works only if people are members of a close community which usually means: of one ethnic group.

    I have been approaching the problem from a different angle: I was asking Americans why do they take laws so literally, why not have this kind unspoken understanding when to break laws in a socially acceptable way? And the answer I received was that because when you see a religious Hindu living next door to a gay Japanese guy, which is common enough in SF, the only thing that connects them really is laws, they don’t have so much of a common understanding.

    In short, you can have a small monocultural socialism or a large multicultural libertarianism, in which later case you will probably have some form of voluntary redistribution inside the individual cultural ghettoes inside the large multicultural state, and it will be enforced by social pressure not laws. But if you try to enforce a large multicultural socialism by law, it fails.

    To give you a good example close to home: many Flemish people don’t like being socialist with Walloon people. They simply lack that level of in-group trust. They can do two things: secede and be socialist only with folks they trust, their own blood, or stay together and be libertarian and set up the lower level support networks of their own counties/provinces. Of course they tend to focus on the first, as it is more common in this culture, but it is essentially the same logic as the guy from Alabama who doesn’t want to pay taxes to support people of a different background in Baltimore. The reason is the lack of informal tools to enforce it is actually a mutual and non-exploitative, non-parasitical deal. These only tend to work inside fairly small and monoethnic communities.

  584. >They lack the opportunity to stop working yet somehow it’s the taxes that make them slaves.

    If you don’t understand the difference between working where you get the money, and working where someone else with a gun pointed at you gets the money, I’m not sure there are any grounds for communication.