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Re: Should the weboob package stay in Debian?


It seems the project is leaving the decision about Weboob onto me, so I'll try to address it.

The diversity statement tells me we should welcome others even if they are very different and with conflicting opinions but nothing beyond that. There is no policy part that I found helpful. I discarded heated reaction from the thread of discussion to isolate the most constructive remarks.

We've been able to draft guidelines about what we consider not acceptable at events and called this "code of conduct". This does not need to be universal but in our community we were able to agree on some criteria and I think this is making our world better. I don't think we should write an infinite list of rules but guidelines based on non-emotional objective points to consider.

There was part of the discussion about the intent of these upstream authors, but we're not mind reader and in the end the impact on people, and solving this if we can, is more important than judging people.

I've also excluded any consideration about the usefulness of this software. As long as one single DD is willing to maintain a software it is fine being in according to the policy. Also being very useful does not grant any special allowance to be nasty.

So I've considered these criteria:

1) is it insulting?
There was an insult targeting homosexuals, but a contributor proposed a fix and upstream accepted it without discussion. It should not have been there in the first place though. As for the "boob" part, it is puerile, very bad taste, disturbing that people could be so obsessed as to name their software like this, but there's no message at all so it cannot be insulting.

2) is it stripping people of their dignity?
According to Wikipedia there are four main categories of problems:

- is it humiliating?
« It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status, either by force or willingly, has just decreased.[1] It can be brought about through intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment » In our case there is no misrepresentation of persons or anything implied from the focus on this specific anatomic part.

- is it an instrumentalization or objectification?
it is clearly objectifying women as a source of sexual attraction. There is no message, so no one is trying to sell you cars or manipulate you in any way with it though. Interestingly the allegory of dignity by Cesare Ripa is quite evocative. and a huge amount of what we consider art is often emphasizing on the woman's beauty in more or less suggestive ways. Weboob is clearly not very subtle about it, but I'm pretty sure other representations also make some of us feel uncomfortable. Also this representation does not target specific persons and is not representing women as weak or submissive.

- is it degrading?
« These are acts that, even if done by consent, convey a message that diminishes the importance or value of all human beings. » This does no apply here as there is no depiction of act or even any message.

- is it dehumanizing?
« These are acts that strip a person or a group of their human characteristics. It may involve describing or treating them as animals or as a lower type of human beings. » Apart from objectification already discussed, there is no implication that woman are only good for sex or any such message. Maybe some of the Weboob authors do not think highly of woman but we're discussing the package content and not judging people's thoughts (which we cannot be sure to know anyway).

So apart from objectification of women, but without instrumentalization or degrading message, I was not able to find serious consequences. As much as I would prefer things to be different (I already told upstream in the past) I don't feel I have any right or special wisdom allowing me to dictate people to act and think differently. Banning content because it displease me and make people uncomfortable while no direct harm has been found is unlikely to have a positive effect. Consequently unless harmful content I'm not aware of is discovered in this package I am not going to remove it from the archive. I would consider adding a neutral warning message in the package description though, so people can individually decide for themselves if this is acceptable from their own point of view.

I'll be coming at DebConf this year. Feel free to come and discuss it with me.

Marc Dequènes

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