[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Results for General Resolution: Lenny and resolving DFSG violations

Romain Beauxis <toots@rastageeks.org> writes:
> Le Monday 29 December 2008 17:21:16 Theodore Tso, vous avez écrit :

>> I do feel quite strongly, that aspirational goals, if they are going to
>> be in Foundation Documents, must be clearly *labelled* as aspirational
>> goals, and not as inflexible mandates that _MUST_ be kept.  In
>> politics, can have aspirational ideals such as "a chicken in every pot
>> and two cars in every garage" which get used in campaign slogans, but
>> you don't put such things as a MUST in a country's constitution.

> Freedom of speech is a constitutional disposition, and I don't think it
> is something that could be acheive. It really is a constitutional act.

Which constitution?  I don't see any reference to it in Debian's
constitution, and the constitution of the country in which I live doesn't
guarantee anything at all about someone's ability to use project mailing
lists.  It only constrains the actions of the *government*, not private
projects and their use of their own resources.

I've stopped working on other projects in the past because this idea that
anyone can and should be able to say anything that enters their head at
any time, no matter how uncomfortable or miserable they made it for other
people working on the same project, became so prevelant that the
atmosphere became so hostile that it became impossible to have a
reasonable conversation about any even mildly controversial topic.  Debian
isn't there now, and maybe it's not in imminent danger of degrading to
that point, but I've watched it happen and know that it *can* happen.
It's not a theoretical scenario.

People like to advocate the merits of personal filtering as if it solves
all of these problems.  I used to do that myself before I lived through
one of those collapses of good will.  Personal filtering is not a bad
answer to individual people who are widely ignored.  It does nothing when
the tone of conversation degrades to the point where polite conversation
is drowned out by multiple people yelling at each other.  It's also rather
hard to just ignore people when they start calling you things like
pedophile out of the blue (yes, this actually happened).

I'm not, at present, wholly convinced that a Code of Conduct would help or
how it would work.  But this dedication to free speech inside a working
project is, in my opinion, a nasty bit of blindness.  I've seen that ideal
rip people to shreds and tear apart previously working communities.  I
think one can possibly make an argument that Debian is unlikely to be
susceptible to that, but I think that argument has to be made.  The
problem can't be casually dismissed -- it's happened elsewhere.

> It is also why I am against the Code of Conduct. Freedom of speech is an
> utopism that I support for Debian, and a Code of Conduct, or whatever
> you call it, is a way to shut those who do abid to the
> politically-correctness way of expressing oneself.

> As Orwell noticed it 50 years ago, restricting expressiveness is also 
> restricting though.

I'm in the middle of a study of Orwell's fiction and non-fiction writing
and therefore can say with quite a bit of confidence that Orwell would not
have supported the position that you're taking.

Political correctness is apparently what people now call basic human
politeness when they want to ridicule it.  *There's* your Orwellian

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

Reply to: