[linux-elitists] SJW FTW

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Dec 6 00:34:40 PST 2015

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> Both the SJW side and the anti-SJW side have their A-listers and their
> net negative contribution participants.

Here I see a possible definitional swamp needing draining.  What
_specifically_ are you deeming to define/delineate these two camps, in
the context of open source?  I encounter this term primarily as an
epithet football, and ill-defined.

Shetterly, in science fiction publishing context, cites a specific set
of tenets shared by the specific people whose doings he discusses:  that
what matters most is social identity, and that privilege and oppression
must be fiercely combated through radical reform at every level of
thought, speech, and action, because they are institutionalised in
everything we say and do, and so must restructure everything in life to
nullify the effect of unearned advantages and raise up the marginalised.
Shetterly's opinion is that 'identarian' is a better name, but 'SJW' is
prevalent in online polemics and elsewhere.

He also tends to identify them by the tactical toolkit a loose gang in
the SF world have used, this past decade:  rage-mobbing, doxxing, trying
to get people fired from their jobs, and outright character
assassination of anyone deemed an obstacle.  Which he then details.

But that raises the question of what in Gehenna _you_ mean when you use
the terms 'SJW' and 'anti-SJW', Don.

You could mean 'SJw' to mean 'looks fondly on expanding the demographic
pool that the Free Software scene can draw from'.  in which case, I'm
certainly an SJW, you're one, Eric Raymond is one (even as he rants
against 'SJWs'), etc.  But that would utterly miss about three sigma of
what this slightly fuzzy polemical term means when used by practically
everyone else.  Most people mean approximately what Shetterly does in
his epub -- more often the sabotage tactical toolkit, as the boring
academic postmodern this or identity that, that Shetterly also
discusses, that lies behind it, is less well known.

So, having secured my wallet in the vicinity of flying abstractions,
I'll ask:  What specific A-lister 'SJWs' are you contemplating, and
wherein lies that quality, in your view?  This will let readers make
sure you and they are talking about the same thing, or alternatively
identify what different things you and they are calling by that name.

> The only way to have the argument in a reasonable amount of time is to
> pay attention to real contributors on both sides.

You bet.

> 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.

FWIW, I'll agree with that even _without_ clarity on definitions, and
likewise about its origin in the rise of cheap throwaway 'nyms that get
taken seriously by people who really ought to know better.

I suspect the threats of violence pretty much all emanate from wandering
Gamergaters who have exactly zero actual interest in open source / free
software, but just relish another battlefield.  And maybe the same is
true of the likes of 'djangoconcardiff'.  After all, who can tell?

> Meanwhile, other key developers are prominent SJWs.

Am holding that thought, as I'd like to know what this means in the real

> 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.

Hold on, what?  Maybe I'm just still acclimating to Atlantic Standard
Time, but this reads like unalloyed handwavium to me.  Would you please
indulge a poor confused sysadmin by being a good bit more specific?
What 'activity'?  In what regard does said activity reflect well on that
person?  And why does asserted-meritorious activity merit involvement in
that person's open source project?

Are you saying, to invent a hypothetical, that if both Firefox and
Chromium are interesting codebases, but one is run by a leader making
vague noises about a meaningless Code of Conduct and the other isn't, I
would be wiser to invest time and resources in the one that is?

I suspect that you are doing what in rhetoric is called the fallacy of
affirming the consequent or perhaps petitio principii (assuming the
initial point), something like 'SJWs want outreach.  We want 
outreach.  Therefore, we should like SJWs.'

Sorry, that's more than a bit tail-chase-y.  Being strongly for
expansion of the open source / free software demographic doesn't
necessitate a specific ideological mindset, let alone one best known for
attacks on open source projects and their leaders.

Most particularly, I suspect you are asserting without discussion or
evidence that some unspecified 'activity' expands the demographic pool
that the Free Software scene can draw from, and is therefore clearly the
winning strategy from a behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology
point of view.  Neat trick, but _what is_ this activity, what beyond
thick coatings of handwavium demonstrates it to be expanding the
demographic pool that the Free Software scene can draw from, where can
we see this going on, and what about it makes you call it 'SJWism'?

Perhaps you might be willing to back up and talk specifics.  I find the
air a bit thin, here in abstraction-land.

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