[linux-elitists] SJW FTW

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Dec 5 07:26:26 PST 2015

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> Ever notice how some of the most meritorious hackers are also some of
> the biggest SJWs?  (check it out, this is email, I can wait.)
> Does this make sense?
> Of course it does. And you don't need boring academic postmodern this
> or identity that to explain it.  Mainstream open source SJWism is
> clearly the winning strategy from a behavioral economics and
> evolutionary psychology point of view.
> Supporting the expansion of the demographic pool that the Free
> Software scene can draw from is a hell of a signal.
Listening to what the world's population wants is just common sense.
Speaking and acting in a way that reflects awareness of cultural
difference is also just common sense.

There appears to be some difference of view about some episodes of
online vigilantism carried out in the name of inclusiveness, most often
alleging that open source projects and their leaders have been guilty of
racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQIAism, and other things (viz., Sarah Sharp's
recent odd allegations on LKML followed by high-profile flouncing off).
Sundry remedies are then requested by the critics:  removal of coders
from their own projects, codes of conduct with (often) very odd
provisions -- see GitHub CoC debacle -- and so on.

Your posting might be an oblique way of asking 'Is Eric Raymond just
being a jackass?'  Or perhaps not.  FWIW, I advised Eric that his
then-draft broadside against 'SJWs' would be counterproductive, that he
should tone his editorial way down, and that while discussing specifics
of incidents such as the 'djangoconcardiff' vigilante might be useful,
railing against ideology was not.  Eric accepted all of my other
corrections and suggestions, but rejected that one utterly.

Meanwhile, your point is of course well taken, that outreach and an
inclusive emphasis yield great benefits.  Equally, naturally there are
conduct problems within various open source projects, because... humans.
IMO, project leaders already had what they needed to deal with that:
being project leaders, e.g. 'You're in charge; act that way'.  And if
outside critics (or anyone else) are still dissatisifed with how open
source leaders have processed their complaints, their ultimate remedy is
always available:  the right to fork.

E.g., critic 'djangoconcardiff' avers that a Puerto Rican coder who runs
a Django project had declined to merge several patches the critic
asserts were from trans or gay code contributors, and feels social
justice concerns obliged the coder to both accept those patches and sign
a Code of Conduct requiring Right Thinking[tm] henceforth.[1]  The coder
says no.  Quelle horreur!  Has injustice been committed?  No,
pseudonymous complainer 'djangoconcardiff' is utterly free to relieve
dissatisfaction by forking his/her git repo and then running his/her
fork any way at all.  

All such dissatisifed critics need is willingness to do the work.  If
unwilling, they evidently weren't serious.  Fin.  Roll credits.

Eric railing against 'SJWs' was a sideshow and waste of time.  However,
Don, your equating said epithet with 'supporting the expansion of the
demographic pool that the Free Software scene can draw from' also seems

There _is_ a recent pattern of destructive conduct some call 'SJW'
activism:  rage-mobbing, doxxing, trying to get people fired from their
jobs, and outright character assassination of anyone deemed an obstacle.
I don't think it's a conspiracy, just a sabotage playbook and meme
complex making the rounds.

My acquaintance Will Shetterly, longtime science fiction writer, wrote a
history of these tactics' development over the last decade within SF
publishing and fandom on the Internet, and wrote (in 2014) an
interesting free epub on the subject:

[1] Characterisation is from memory as I'm off-Net at the moment, and
not guaranteed.  I'm also seriously jet-lagged.  Greetings from Sint
Maarten / Saint Martin.

Cheers,                     "Two things programmers tend to underestimate:
Rick Moen                   1.  How long things take.
rick at linuxmafia.com         2.  How long our code will be around.
McQ! (4x80)                 3.  How many things we underestimate." @jasongorman

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