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Re: assessment of the GNU Assembly project

From: Taylan Kammer
Subject: Re: assessment of the GNU Assembly project
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2021 18:33:09 +0200
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On 28.04.2021 22:12, Kaz Kylheku (gnu-misc-discuss) wrote:
> On 2021-04-22 06:13, shulie wrote:
>> Codes of Conduct are just Facist manifestos
> Part of it is this:
> In the past few decades, free software has made unprecedented
> inroads into the world of corporations, governments and
> institutions.
> Those goons are not comfortable with external players who have
> not signed off on their HR policies.
> (What they are extremely comfortable with is---doh!---using the
> work without paying anyone.)
> A code of conduct document is little more than a condensed set
> of corporate or governmental HR policies, disguised as some
> sort of "organically grown" community document.

Personally I think this is nonsense, and I'm saying that as someone who
doesn't necessarily like CoCs.  (I'm kind of on the fence and have been
changing my mind back and forth.)

While some might be familiar with similar constructs from corporate
life, and while some people coming from a corporate background may be
contributing to this CoC current, it seems very obvious to me that CoCs
are mainly a manifestation of the contemporary "political correctness"
wave, which IMO has more to do with social activism than corporations.


I think corporations are often happy to play along with such currents,
as it allows them to appear friendly through mainly superficial policy
and language changes.  See also the constant Pride Month social media
gimmicks, the recent BLM support banners on websites, and so on.  Though
to be fair, even then, I believe that at least some of the people behind
such corporate gimmicks are actually genuine in their feelings and hope
that they're doing a little bit of good.

End of digression.

The underlying question would be where this strong current of "political
correctness" comes from, and what its good and bad sides are.  I think
it's rather silly to think that it's some coordinated, conspiratorial
movement.  Even if there are some bogus aspects to it, I think it's
undeniable that genuine concerns about bias and discrimination in
mainstream culture form at least part of the backbone.  And those
concerns, in my opinion, should be taken seriously.

Everyone can decide for themselves whether they care about social
justice, equal opportunity, equity, actively working to fix imbalances
caused by past injustices, and so on and so forth.  If you don't care
about such things, or disagree that such problems even exist in the
first place, you're entitled to that belief.  State so openly if you
feel the need to, but why create drama?  Isn't it usually the "anti-PC"
people who are all about "we're here to write free software, not do
politics"?  In that case, how about you accept that some projects use
CoCs or whatever, and just focus on the software development?  People
have to adjust to different cultures, languages, and personalities all
the time when working on international projects; how is this different?
 Perhaps the only difference is that this time, the group of people who
are required to adjust are a group that isn't used to having to adjust
to others, as they've so far generally been the dominant group.

And if you do care about social justice, and just think that CoC are a
bad way of supporting it, you should be able to make a case for that
directly, without invoking conspiratorial theories.  (This is roughly
where I stand; I agree with core principles of "social justice" but can
have pretty stark disagreements with others on what actually constitutes
social justice and whether particular policies are more helpful or more
harmful to attain justice.)

Also, apart from the clearly political aspects, there is also the aspect
of simply creating a welcoming environment.  Just look at how some of
the people on this very mailing list speak.  It's absolutely awful.
Many of them I wouldn't really want to work together on a project, let
alone be friends with.  I might force myself to work together with them
to achieve a common goal, but they do make the prospect less attractive.
 For more sensitive people, their language or behavior might be a no-go.
 Objectively, it's better for the members of a project to stick to a
somewhat sterile language and behavior so as not to push away possible
valuable contributors.  CoCs *could* try to achieve just that, though
I'm not sure if they practically do.

All in all, I think a lot of "anti-PC" people need a good old dose of
chill the hell out!  If there really are bad actors trying to split the
community through overly aggressive pushing of certain political topics,
those who go ape-shit at "political correctness" are definitely helping
them a great deal. ;-)

Just my semi-humble two cents.

- Taylan

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