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

Re: Should the weboob package stay in Debian?

Marc Dequènes (duck) writes ("Should the weboob package stay in Debian?"):
> It has been brought to my attention that this package, its name and the 
> name of the binaries and further content was deemed offensive. This was 
> already raised in the past (~2012 IIRC) but the package was reintroduced 
> and has been in the archive since then.

Thanks for your attention to this issue.

I think this naming, and the iconography, is all very unfortunate.
IMO it is not compatible with Debian's Diversity Statement (which as
ou know was ratified by an overwhelming majority of DDs).

This issue is a shame because it sounds like this software is very
useful, and certainly can be a freedom-enhancing tool for those users
who can get past the puerile humour.  So ideally things would be
renamed etc. (upstream if possible, in Debian otherwise).

If renaming it causes compatibility problems for existing users then I
guess we might need a compatibility package (maybe called
oobweb-offensive or something - see Policy 3.1.1).

But, in the end, I'm afraid that right now IMO this is a
release-critical bug for this package.  So - in my view - if renaming
is not practical for any reason, it should be removed from Debian.
This softare, while valuable, is not important enough to compromise on
what I see as an important principle: to maintain a welcoming
environment for everyone within the Debian ecosystem.

> I hope this would help draft proper policy criteria about what we
> consider not acceptable.

We do have the Diversity Statement.  We also have the statement in
Policy 3.1.1:

  As a maintainer you should make a judgement about whether the
  contents of a package is appropriate to include, whether it needs
  any kind of content warning, and whether some parts should be split
  out into a separate package (so that users who want to avoid certain
  parts can do so).  In making these decisions you should take into
  account the project's views as expressed in our Diversity Statement.

I doubt that any useful detailed policy criteria are likely to emerge.
Firstly, generally, it is very difficult to make hard-and-fast rules
for this kind of thing.  Secondly, discussions over rules inevitably
involve considering lots of hypothetical examples, including many
difficult edge cases.  Such discussions can be valuable for technical
rules.  But for social rules it just generates an awful lot of heat
and no light.

Everyone will have their own ideas about what factors are relevant
when making these decisions.  For me, important questions include: how
troublesome the content is; the overall context; whether troublesome
content is or can be appropriately flagged, so that people won't
encounter it unexpectedly and can choose to avoid it; how often people
working cross-distro in Debian may need to interact with the
troublesome material (for example, when doing QA work); to what degree
someone who is trying to get something else useful done is likely to
find a conflict between choosing the most powerful tools and choosing
tools that do not insult them or whatever; etc.  This is hardly an
exhaustive list and everyone will have their own.

One useful guideline to look at by analogy might be the Debconf Code
of Conduct.  It is not perfect of course - nothing like that is.  And
some parts of it are not easily applicable to distro contents rather
than to a conference.  But: it would be impossible to give a sensible
presentation about this package, in its current state, at Debconf.
That's a big red flag.

I want to emphasise that my problem with this package is not based on
some kind of idea of a list of forbidden words, or that I have some
kind of principled objection against specifically and only the use of
body parts as names, or something.

IMO the right way to look at this is to think whether there are people
who are going to be put off, discouraged, insulted, feel like they are
made fun of, etc. - and how badly so.  What matters is not the intent,
or the specific words, but the effect of everything together, in

Looking at the situation with the package, from that perspective:

Humans sadly have a long history of sexual violence by men against
women; that is the culmination of unwanted sexual attention, which is
often framed as "jokes".  And many of the cultures of Debian
contributors and users have a long history of seeing women as good
mainly for sex.  So we should keep the sexual references to
appropriate contexts, such as (for example) situations in our personal
lives which are already sexual or intimate, or (in Debian) the
"offensive fortunes" database.

I'm sure you will get a lot of opinions.  It's probably more valuable
to you to get individual opinions than a lot of to-and-fro, so even
though I feel very strongly about this I will try to avoid replying to
others' opinions unless absolutely necessary.

You should also be aware that the number of opinions you get on one
side or the other, here on this list, will not be representative of
the feelings of the body of DDs as a whole, let alone of the project's
contributosrs, downstreams, users, etc.  This is because debian-devel
is itself quite a formidable place (even though it's less hostile than
it used to be).

Also, the people who are most negatively affected by this kind of
thing are, when they speak up, often subjected to horrific harassment
- threats of violence and death, doxxing, smear campaigns, etc.
Some of the most powerful voices you might hear have already been
silenced or driven away.  Don't be fooled by their absence.

Please let us know when you have formed your own opinion about how
best to discharge your responsibility according to Policy 3.1.1.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

Reply to: