[linux-elitists] SJW FTW

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Sat Dec 5 21:52:21 PST 2015

begin Rick Moen quotation of Sat, Dec 05, 2015 at 07:26:26AM -0800:
> 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.

Both the SJW side and the anti-SJW side have
their A-listers and their net negative contribution
participants.  In the case of SJWs, it's mostly people
who produce no code or user support, just code of
conduct pull requests.  In the case of anti-SJWs, it's
mostly people who produce no code or user support,
just threats of violence.

> 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.

This is not about Eric -- I did go back and check his
recent blog posts, though. Eric is, as far as I can
tell, a relatively rare prominent A-list contributor
on the anti-SJW side (who actually works on code
of value to other developers such as GPS support,
NTP implementation, and tools to convert projects
between version control systems.)

Meanwhile, other key developers are prominent SJWs.
My main point is that SJW activity tends to reflect
well enough on the person doing it that it's a
worthwhile signal to invest time and resources in.

> 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.

Sure. Another factor is that online "identity" is
cheap. (Reddit threads have comments where the joke
is in the throwaway username.)

Making a GitHub account is a five-minute task.
Making an "open source project" account just to convey
a message is a little more work, but not much.


The only way to have the argument in a reasonable
amount of time is to pay attention to real
contributors on both sides. Twitter users have to
block the anti-SJWs and fake anti-SJWs who set up new
Twitter accounts just to troll and spew, and project
hosting site users have to ignore SJWs and fake SJWs
who set up just to make a point.  GitHub doesn't seem
to make this easy.

(Yes, I'm both an elitist and an SJW sympathizer.)

> 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
> problematic.
> 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:
> http://sjwar.blogspot.com/2014/03/my-book-is-done-and-so-am-ion-how-to.html

Whatever problem the Free Software scene has, the
Science Fiction scene seems to have it worse.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this whole
argument is flaring up as development conversations
have shifted from mailing lists (where nobody
can hear you *plonk*) to Twitter and GitHub, where
rage-clicking is "engagement" and throwaway accounts
are monetizable users until proven otherwise.

We're facing a real productivity cost of relying
on platforms that win by drawing more people in to
arguments, not on platforms that focus on working
better for users who are willing to make a time

(Not as bad as the productivity costs of this stuff:
https://tommorris.org/posts/9403 but still.)

Don Marti <dmarti at zgp.org>                   
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