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Re: [OT] replacement for SystemRescueCD

Hi tomas,

Thanks for your message, I understand your points.

I am reluctant to add another message to this thread. It's not my
style, and it's not the kind of content that I want or need this list
to contain [1][2]. I've no desire for activism. I'm just an ordinary
and busy person who'd rather be doing something else than writing this

But I'd feel rude to ignore direct responses, from others here that I
respect. And it might appear cowardly or troll-like to remain silent.
So here's one more message. I apologise for extending the thread and I
will be as succinct as I can.

This message is a general response to the overall discussion, not to
any individual message.

First, the temperature of the reactions to what I wrote earlier has taken
me *completely* by surprise.

In my world, what I wrote has *exactly* the same moderate tone and
negligible controversy as, for example: "Please do not top post, that
is not the way we do things here".

Asking people to not top post is based on published Debian guidelines [3].
It's not controversial.

I believe that what I wrote is exactly comparable.

Asking people to not speak in way that excludes others is based on
published Debian guidelines [4]: "The Debian Project welcomes and
encourages participation by everyone." Note: "everyone". It's not

"Guys" is not everyone. If you take a large random sample and ask "are
you a guy?", not everyone will respond "yes". Significantly, some
respondents might even be offended at the suggestion that they could
be a guy. It is clearly an exclusive term, provable by experiment.

One-off casual use doesn't matter so much. But Debian clearly doesn't
want a culture of exclusion, so *repeated* or habitual use does
matter. That's why I responded to this instance of minor, repeated
use, with what I thought to be a minor, short, uncontroversial

The subtleties of language are hard, especially for non-native
speakers. I attempt to be sensitive to language and cultural
differences. So I tried to use short, direct, translatable language
that neither criticised nor upset the poster. It's not easy, because
what's ok in one culture can be rude in another. Also, I probably lack
the tact and motivation and live in the wrong culture to achieve that
perfectly. Even so, I tried. Let's carefully examine the actual words
I wrote. There are 3 sentences.

Sentence 1:
> I'm sure you don't intend to offend, but in future please try
> to choose words that cannot accidentally be understood
> as excluding valued members of this community.

I state that I am *sure* the poster didn't intend anything undesirable
and that it occurred *accidentally*. I am aware that some cultures
place high importance on saving face. I do not live in such a culture,
so I'm pretty ignorant, but I tried. There's no blame, no criticism of
the person, of course it was an accident, they didn't realise.

I didn't say that offence was caused. Only that accidental (ie mis-)
understandings can occur.

Sentence 2:
> Even though in some situations "guys" is claimed to be a
> gender-neutral word, I doubt that everyone thinks of themselves
> as a "guy".

As elaborated above.

Sentence 3:
> And it will be polite to those people to not make them
> choose between doing that or feeling excluded.

This is the core of the issue and I've seen no disagreement.

This was my attempt to expain to the poor surprised, confused,
whatever person receiving my message WTF I was talking about. It was
an attempt to give a short, clear explanation of the consequences of
their words from the listeners' perspective.

To briefly respond to other points:

> flame war

I'm a pacifist.

> consider responding off-list to be less offending

It's public business about our community. Better to do that in the
sunlight than in the shadows IMHO.

It's neither off-topic nor confidential. Nor controversial.

I see nothing offensive in my original message. If anyone's opinion
differs, help me learn to do better. I hope to not send any additional
messages myself, but I will carefully read any feedback here or in
private email if you prefer.

If all you have to say is "this doesn't affect me, so shut up" that
won't achieve anything.


[1] Message ping-pong to prove that someone is more correct than someone else.
[2] https://people.debian.org/~enrico/dcg/index.html
[3] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMailingLists#Posting_Rules.2C_Guidelines.2C_and_Tips
[4] https://www.debian.org/intro/diversity

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