Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Jacob Bachmeyer

Adam Spiers wrote:

On Mon, 28 Aug 2023 at 05:40, Jacob Bachmeyer  wrote:
The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC 
documents are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and 
inappropriate in a software development context.  Sexism, racism, 
whatever-ism-of-the-day are all irrelevant because discussions are 
supposed to focus on the /software/ instead of on the /people/ 
writing the software.  Yes, your patch proposing to add "sex" to 
Guix's CoC was wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the same way as 
your patch:  none of those issues are relevant.
Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a 
person, you are a stream of messages.  More idealistically, on the 
Internet, /you/ /are/ /your/ /ideas/. 


There is something wonderfully aspirational about this utopian and 
well-intentioned approach.


Thank you.

[...]  In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that moving 
communication online tends to /increase/ unkind behaviour and 
therefore the need for kindness and communication guidelines.


Ah yes, the G.I.F.T. problem.

[...]  Communication guidelines can help prevent unnecessary 
fragmentation.


This is exactly why "stay on topic" solves so many of these problems.  
The topic is the software we are developing, not each other, and not 
what so-and-so did last summer.


Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the 
Internet space, are, put simply, /wrong/ 


Maybe that is true for deliberate efforts, but given that it is 
impossible for human beings to entirely divorce themselves from their 
baggage in the Internet space, realistically we need systems for 
dealing with it.
The crux of this particular debate seems to be whether it is possible 
to support one group of people without discriminating against another.


The solution here is /neutrality/---we are not here to support or harm 
anyone (granted, we work to erode the immorally-acquired power bases of 
software hoarders) but to develop Free Software.


Personally I think it /should/ be, /regardless/ of the group(s) in 
question, and that doing that should obviate or at least minimise any 
conflict.  Indeed, that is why I like the neutral words "any other 
demographic characteristics" in the first sentence of the GNU Kind 
Communications Guidelines:

   "The GNU Project encourages contributions from anyone who wishes
   to advance the development of the GNU system, regardless of [...]
   any other demographic characteristics"

Perhaps it would have been better if the "[...]" words I trimmed were 
not present and it just read "regardless of any demographic 
characteristics", because there is an argument that mentioning certain 
demographic distinctions may introduce biases against other 
distinctions not mentioned.


I think that the examples given help to clarify "demographic 
characteristics", which is a very vague term on its own.



[...] Please let's all just be kind to each other and assume good faith?


While assuming good faith is certainly helpful, sometimes that 
assumption is contradicted by evidence.  (An example comes to mind that 
occurred on this list a few years ago.)



-- Jacob




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Taylan Kammer
Thank you, I pretty much agree with all you've said.

The GNU KCG seems to side-step the whole "sex vs. gender identity"
debacle by just saying "gender" which can be interpreted to mean
either.  (Whether that was intentional, I don't know.)  It could be
left the way it is if everyone's fine with that, or the explicit
listing of characteristics could be preemptively removed to avoid
similar issues to this one; I think either way is fine.


If anyone who's accused me of "trying to push my world view on others"
or such in the past is reading this: If that were the case, I would be
lobbying to have the word "gender" replaced with "sex" because the two
aren't synonyms in my world view.  I'm perfectly fine with the text
saying "gender" and leaving the interpretation up to the reader, and
wouldn't dare to suggest that it should say "sex" while leaving out
"gender identity", precisely because I don't want such documents to
put one world-view over another.


I've also come to think it's fine to not have a CoC at all beyond a
simple statement like "treat others kindly."  That, coupled with the
rule "no politics or religion," is all we've been using for a while in
a community of a few dozen members that formed around a project I've
started a while ago (bg3.wiki) and we seem to be doing perfectly fine.

I wish Guix used the GNU KCG instead of the Contributor Covenant, or
ditched the CoC altogether.  But I have no hope of convincing them.
I hope this discussion will, at minimum, serve to put it on record
that the CoC used by Guix and many others, the Contributor Covenant,
is controversial and arguably better to avoid.

- Taylan


On 28.08.2023 17:24, Adam Spiers wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Aug 2023 at 05:40, Jacob Bachmeyer  wrote:
>> The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC documents 
>> are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and inappropriate in a 
>> software development context.  Sexism, racism, whatever-ism-of-the-day are 
>> all irrelevant because discussions are supposed to focus on the /software/ 
>> instead of on the /people/ writing the software.  Yes, your patch proposing 
>> to add "sex" to Guix's CoC was wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the 
>> same way as your patch:  none of those issues are relevant.
>> Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a person, you 
>> are a stream of messages.  More idealistically, on the Internet, /you/ /are/ 
>> /your/ /ideas/. 
> 
> There is something wonderfully aspirational about this utopian and 
> well-intentioned approach.  Unfortunately however, personally I don't see how 
> it can ever work, because we don't cease to be human beings or lose all human 
> context when we move our communication and collaboration online.  In fact, 
> there is overwhelming evidence that moving communication online tends to 
> /increase/ unkind behaviour and therefore the need for kindness and 
> communication guidelines.
> Some may agree with this but still contend that it is outside the scope of 
> Free Software or GNU.  However there seem to be counter-arguments, e.g.
> - If it was out of scope, the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines would
>   not have been written.
> 
> - Whilst Free Software can exist as a pure, abstract concept, GNU and
>   other Free Software communities consist of people, all of whom have
>   our own biases and communication styles.
> 
> - Copyleft and other Free Software licenses do not and cannot exist in
>   a vacuum, and indeed are built on and enforced by the socio-legal
>   construct of copyright.
> 
> Similarly, whilst arguments along the lines of "if you don't like the 
> community, you are free to fork the software and/or build your own community" 
> are (marvellously) true, they ignore the pragmatic reality that as a movement 
> we are generally stronger together through economies of scale, rather than 
> fragmented into siloes.  The freedoms granted by Free Software are a 
> wonderful baseline, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim higher.  
> Communication guidelines can help prevent unnecessary fragmentation.
>> Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the 
>> Internet space, are, put simply, /wrong/ 
> 
> Maybe that is true for deliberate efforts, but given that it is impossible 
> for human beings to entirely divorce themselves from their baggage in the 
> Internet space, realistically we need systems for dealing with it.
> The crux of this particular debate seems to be whether it is possible to 
> support one group of people without discriminating against another. 
> Personally I think it /should/ be, /regardless/ of the group(s) in question, 
> and that doing that should obviate or at least minimise any conflict.  
> Indeed, that is why I like the neutral words "any other demographic 
> characteristics" in the first sentence of the GNU Kind Communications 
> Guidelines:
>    "The GNU Project encourages contributions from anyone who wishes
>    to advance the development of 

Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Adam Spiers
On Mon, 28 Aug 2023 at 05:40, Jacob Bachmeyer  wrote: 
The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC 
documents are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and 
inappropriate in a software development context.  Sexism, racism, 
whatever-ism-of-the-day are all irrelevant because discussions are 
supposed to focus on the /software/ instead of on the /people/ writing 
the software.  Yes, your patch proposing to add "sex" to Guix's CoC was 
wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the same way as your patch:  none 
of those issues are relevant. 

Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a person, 
you are a stream of messages.  More idealistically, on the Internet, 
/you/ /are/ /your/ /ideas/. 


There is something wonderfully aspirational about this utopian and 
well-intentioned approach.  Unfortunately however, personally I don't 
see how it can ever work, because we don't cease to be human beings or 
lose all human context when we move our communication and 
collaboration online.  In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that 
moving communication online tends to /increase/ unkind behaviour and 
therefore the need for kindness and communication guidelines. 

Some may agree with this but still contend that it is outside the 
scope of Free Software or GNU.  However there seem to be 
counter-arguments, e.g. 


- If it was out of scope, the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines would
  not have been written.

- Whilst Free Software can exist as a pure, abstract concept, GNU and
  other Free Software communities consist of people, all of whom have
  our own biases and communication styles.

- Copyleft and other Free Software licenses do not and cannot exist in
  a vacuum, and indeed are built on and enforced by the socio-legal
  construct of copyright.

Similarly, whilst arguments along the lines of "if you don't like the 
community, you are free to fork the software and/or build your own 
community" are (marvellously) true, they ignore the pragmatic reality 
that as a movement we are generally stronger together through 
economies of scale, rather than fragmented into siloes.  The freedoms 
granted by Free Software are a wonderful baseline, but that doesn't 
mean we shouldn't aim higher.  Communication guidelines can help 
prevent unnecessary fragmentation. 

Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the 
Internet space, are, put simply, /wrong/ 


Maybe that is true for deliberate efforts, but given that it is 
impossible for human beings to entirely divorce themselves from their 
baggage in the Internet space, realistically we need systems for 
dealing with it. 

The crux of this particular debate seems to be whether it is possible 
to support one group of people without discriminating against another. 
Personally I think it /should/ be, /regardless/ of the group(s) in 
question, and that doing that should obviate or at least minimise any 
conflict.  Indeed, that is why I like the neutral words "any other 
demographic characteristics" in the first sentence of the GNU Kind 
Communications Guidelines: 


   "The GNU Project encourages contributions from anyone who wishes
   to advance the development of the GNU system, regardless of [...]
   any other demographic characteristics"

Perhaps it would have been better if the "[...]" words I trimmed were 
not present and it just read "regardless of any demographic 
characteristics", because there is an argument that mentioning certain 
demographic distinctions may introduce biases against other 
distinctions not mentioned. 

That said, this last point is much more philosophical in nature, 
possibly getting off-topic for this list, and certainly a rabbit-hole, 
so I won't continue down that avenue here.  Please let's all just be 
kind to each other and assume good faith? 



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Alfred M. Szmidt
This is off-topic, unkind and beyond unsuitable for this list.  Please
drop it, all of you.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Parodper

O 27/08/23 ás 11:54, Taylan Kammer escribiu:

I genuinely care about sexism.  The commonly recognized kind, that targets 
women.
For nearly 10 years now I've also been following very closely the conflict 
between
feminists and the transgender movement, mostly siding with the feminists.


The only conflict comes from TERFs, and it's one sided hate.


The most popular CoC, now adopted even by Linux (the kernel), is written by a 
male
person who identifies as a woman.


No surprise you are transphobic.


This leads to a situation where certain feminist positions are immediately 
branded as
"transphobic" and censored. 


Because they are transphobic. See the previous quote.


(It doesn't help that many women, as in female humans,
join in on the knee-jerk reaction, and say that any feminism not 100% 
supportive of
the transgender movement must be "fake,"


Yes. Real feminist don't want anyone to suffer discrimination.


As an example of such knee-jerk reactions and consequent censorship, please 
look into
the Guix mailing list archives from 2022 February and March and make up your 
own mind
on whether I deserved to be hounded out of that community after I've suggested 
the
CoC should include the word "sex" (as in whether a person is female or male) in 
the
long list of characteristics based on which a person could be facing 
discrimination.
It's quite astonishing to me that this was omitted in the first place.


Because it isn't. See line 11 on 
https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/guix.git/tree/CODE-OF-CONDUCT



I suspect I will be chased off from many more places where I share this, 
because of
this illogical conflation of ideological criticism with "hateful" views.


Nah, it's because no one wants to hear another rambling about CoCs which 
amount to «I've said bad things and they expel^W cancelled me for no 
reason».


As for this poster, it violates the last post of the Kind Communication 
Guidelines, so this thread should be closed.




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 28.08.2023 06:40, Jacob Bachmeyer wrote:
> Taylan Kammer wrote:
>> I genuinely care about sexism.  The commonly recognized kind, that targets 
>> women.
>>   
> 
> The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC documents 
> are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and inappropriate in a 
> software development context.  Sexism, racism, whatever-ism-of-the-day are 
> all irrelevant because discussions are supposed to focus on the /software/ 
> instead of on the /people/ writing the software.  Yes, your patch proposing 
> to add "sex" to Guix's CoC was wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the same 
> way as your patch:  none of those issues are relevant.
> 
> Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a person, you 
> are a stream of messages.  More idealistically, on the Internet, /you/ /are/ 
> /your/ /ideas/.
> 
> Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the Internet 
> space, are, put simply, /wrong/, not that this seems to stop much of anyone 
> anymore.  We are now beginning to reap the consequences of this bad behavior.
> 
> 
> -- Jacob

I think the way you've put it is a bit extreme, because not everyone
is able to get into the mindset that other people are just streams of
text.  After all, they also meet in real life conferences and whatnot.

But that's an aside.

I think it would be fine if projects like Guix didn't have any CoC at
all.  It would be a vast improvement over the current situation, which
is having a CoC that takes a side on contentious political conflicts
that are not directly relevant to free software.

-- 
Taylan




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 27.08.2023 23:02, indieterminacy wrote:
> I was in that thread, you should get the motte out of your eye before you 
> repeatedly run through peoples patience here.
> 
> Stop wallowing in your own self pity and move on with your life.

If you're going to throw around insults and not contribute anything
to the discussion, why reply at all?  Just move away if you can't
deal with the criticism.

-- 
Taylan




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-28 Thread Alfred M. Szmidt
You are working from the point of view that the maintainers must under
any circumstance accept your patch, that is not how things work.

Maintainers are allowed to pick any thing they want, or not.  This is
irrespective if the patch is of a purley technical nature, or not.

If you feel that this patch is so important, the best thing you can do
is make your own version of the program and maintain it to your own
standards.  You can remove, or add anything you want then.  

That is what free software means.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Jacob Bachmeyer

Taylan Kammer wrote:

I genuinely care about sexism.  The commonly recognized kind, that targets 
women.
  


The fundamental problem here is that all of the issues these CoC 
documents are supposed to address are entirely off-topic and 
inappropriate in a software development context.  Sexism, racism, 
whatever-ism-of-the-day are all irrelevant because discussions are 
supposed to focus on the /software/ instead of on the /people/ writing 
the software.  Yes, your patch proposing to add "sex" to Guix's CoC was 
wrong, but the CoC itself is wrong in the same way as your patch:  none 
of those issues are relevant.


Put another way, on the Internet, to other users, you are not a person, 
you are a stream of messages.  More idealistically, on the Internet, 
/you/ /are/ /your/ /ideas/.


Efforts to thwart that, efforts to carry real-world baggage into the 
Internet space, are, put simply, /wrong/, not that this seems to stop 
much of anyone anymore.  We are now beginning to reap the consequences 
of this bad behavior.



-- Jacob



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 27.08.2023 19:31, DJ Delorie wrote:

> I'm going to agree with Alfred on this one.  Free Software is about
> making software free for *everyone*, and that includes all the
> "evil" people in the world.  FS is not about making you friends.

That makes three of us.  My pledge is for free software projects to be
neutral on this issue, rather than following misguided CoCs which take
a stance that discriminates against one group to appease another.

-- 
Taylan



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 27.08.2023 19:24, indieterminacy wrote:
> Pffft,
>
> The Guix ML discussion involved programmers explaining that they
> were downstream of a third party definition and that it was beyond
> their competence to wade into it further.
>
> They did engage you and you werent shut down or mistreated.
>
> From my perspective you could have ended the conversation having
> heard different viewpoints.  But you wouldnt let it lie.

You seem to have a very biased perception of what happened.

I've written explicitly in my last post during that discussion that I
wouldn't be engaging any further, because someone started using a slur
that I'm all too used to hearing right before people start verbally
abusing me.

The maintainers then made a point of removing me from the trusted
member list.  Clearly, this was meant as punishment, not deterrence,
since I already said I wouldn't be engaging further.

Which raises the question: punishment for what?  Given that I remained
polite throughout the whole ordeal, the only explanations I see are:

1. They wanted to appease people's hostility towards me, which I would
consider bullying / giving in to bullies.

Or:

2. They decided that the project would take a stance on the conflicts
between feminists and the transgender movement, banning people who
fall on the wrong side.

I'm not sure which it was, but both are equally foolish.

-- 
Taylan



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread DJ Delorie
"Alfred M. Szmidt"  writes:
> Free software as such cannot be sexist, but that you do not wish to
> partake in communities where who you are is imaterial, to the point
> where you do not wish to spread the message that computer rights
> matters is sad.  Hopefully you will reconsider, and fight for both
> your right and other peoples rights to use a computer -- irrespective
> of what other values or opinions you hold.

I'm going to agree with Alfred on this one.  Free Software is about
making software free for *everyone*, and that includes all the "evil"
people in the world.  FS is not about making you friends.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 27.08.2023 13:45, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>> Free Software does not care who you are, it is about the rights of the
>> individual to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve
>> software.  Nothing else, nothing more.
> 
>I wish this abstract ideal was reflected in actual reality!
> 
> But it does, the GNU project and the Free Software movement does not
> care who you are.
> 
>It would be irresponsible to recommend someone to get involved with
>a group of people who may harass, bully, or verbally abuse them.
> 
> Something the GNU project does not do and has never done -- we wish to
> include everyone, and trying to get rid of people isn't something that
> is beneficial to our cuase -- but just like the above -- it would be
> equally irresponsible, and possibly worsem to subjguate someones right.
> Whom you hang around with is up to you, but you cannot change the
> situation of a non-free program.
> 
> But lets keep this list on-topic, which means discussing the
> development of the GNU projecs, its software, and free software in
> general.

I wonder if our definitions of "Free Software" (as a community) might
be different?

Do you perhaps not consider GNU Guix to be a legitimate GNU project?
They're hosted under gnu.org and have GNU in their name.  Although I
wasn't outright verbally abused, I would describe the treatment I've
received on the Guix ML to be bullying.  They've pretty much hounded
me out of the project after I've had many past contributions to it.

Sure, it wasn't based directly on any aspect of my identity, but it
was due to me pointing out that the CoC they're using intentionally
omits any mention of sex discrimination while mentioning pretty much
every other type of discrimination there may be.  This is a fairly
clear way to signal that women (or men, for that matter) who care
about sex-based discrimination aren't welcome in the project.

Note that this issue wouldn't exist if that CoC were not in place at
all; the problem is that they use a CoC which mentions other types of
discrimination directly and explicitly, while intentionally leaving
out mention of sex discrimination.

If they said, "this project doesn't take any position at all on issues
pertaining to sex and gender identity" that would be perfectly fine.

But, unfortunately, this isn't the case.  They make a point out of
validating the world-view of transgender activists who have often been
criticized for sexism, while showing overt hostility to critics who
point this out.

I'm aware, of course, that Guix doesn't represent all of GNU.  I could
go around looking for GNU projects that are "safe" and limit myself to
contributing to those, I suppose, but Guix was one of those I cared
for the most, and it feels like this problem is spreading to more and
more projects.

And if we leave aside GNU and look at all of Free Software as a
movement (not just the FSF as an entity, which, as far as I can tell,
is so far indeed not affected by the issue I'm complaining about),
then you also have the vast number of free software projects which
decided to adopt the same CoC as Guix, and that list includes Linux,
Golang, Rails, and many others.

(That being said, the CoC in question did since add the euphemism "sex
characteristics" in lieu of "sex" to the list of characteristics based
on which one could be discriminated against.  In the case of Guix, I
don't see this as solving the matter, based on the treatment I've
received.  In case of all those other projects, I suspect that similar
problems exist, since it's in the spirit of said CoC to deny sex
discrimination, as was made clear by its author on GitHub.)


Sorry for being long-winded.  Always had this bad habit.

TL;DR: Contributor Covenant Considered Corrosive


-- 
Taylan




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread dick
A true believer and sage once wrote, "we wish to include everyone, and trying 
to get
rid of people isn't something that is beneficial to our cuase [sic]."



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Alfred M. Szmidt
Apolgize that this message got through.

Can the gnu-misc-disucss admin take a note of this thread, and filter
out anything by dick (he is a known troublemaker, and troll).



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread dick
TK> I guess this is a final attempt

I've noticed you suck at guessing.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Alfred M. Szmidt
   > Free Software does not care who you are, it is about the rights of the
   > individual to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve
   > software.  Nothing else, nothing more.

   I wish this abstract ideal was reflected in actual reality!

But it does, the GNU project and the Free Software movement does not
care who you are.

   > Free software as such cannot be sexist, but that you do not wish to
   > partake in communities where who you are is imaterial, to the point
   > where you do not wish to spread the message that computer rights
   > matters is sad.  Hopefully you will reconsider, and fight for both
   > your right and other peoples rights to use a computer -- irrespective
   > of what other values or opinions you hold.

   It would be irresponsible to recommend someone to get involved with
   a group of people who may harass, bully, or verbally abuse them.

Something the GNU project does not do and has never done -- we wish to
include everyone, and trying to get rid of people isn't something that
is beneficial to our cuase -- but just like the above -- it would be
equally irresponsible, and possibly worsem to subjguate someones right.
Whom you hang around with is up to you, but you cannot change the
situation of a non-free program.

But lets keep this list on-topic, which means discussing the
development of the GNU projecs, its software, and free software in
general.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Taylan Kammer
On 27.08.2023 12:44, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
> Free Software does not care who you are, it is about the rights of the
> individual to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve
> software.  Nothing else, nothing more.

I wish this abstract ideal was reflected in actual reality!

> Free software as such cannot be sexist, but that you do not wish to
> partake in communities where who you are is imaterial, to the point
> where you do not wish to spread the message that computer rights
> matters is sad.  Hopefully you will reconsider, and fight for both
> your right and other peoples rights to use a computer -- irrespective
> of what other values or opinions you hold.

It would be irresponsible to recommend someone to get involved with
a group of people who may harass, bully, or verbally abuse them.

-- 
Taylan




Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Alfred M. Szmidt
Free Software does not care who you are, it is about the rights of the
individual to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve
software.  Nothing else, nothing more.

Free software as such cannot be sexist, but that you do not wish to
partake in communities where who you are is imaterial, to the point
where you do not wish to spread the message that computer rights
matters is sad.  Hopefully you will reconsider, and fight for both
your right and other peoples rights to use a computer -- irrespective
of what other values or opinions you hold.



Re: Free Software and the New Sexism

2023-08-27 Thread Taylan Kammer
[[[ Sorry about the butchered formatting on the last post.  At least,
it looks butchered in the web archive.  Here's a copy with hopefully
better formatting if the first was really received with that terrible
formatting by other clients. ]]]


This list sadly seems to be used for little more than the occasional
troll post every now and then nowadays, but I have an actually serious
article to share.

It is, nevertheless, about controversial topics that are a favorite of
some trolls.


Free Software and the New Sexism

or

Why Codes of Conduct are a total failure in addressing misogyny

https://blogs.feministwiki.org/taylan/2023/08/26/free-software-and-the-new-sexism/


No, this is not a:

- Cliche-filled "political correctness gone too far" rant

- Conspiracy theory about Evil Feminists doing "misandry"

- A call for free speech absolutism

- etc.

(Sorry to disappoint if you expected something along those lines!)


I genuinely care about sexism.  The commonly recognized kind, that
targets women.  For nearly 10 years now I've also been following very
closely the conflict between feminists and the transgender movement,
mostly siding with the feminists.

Free Software is, as we all know, very male and white.  Sometimes this
apparently led to communities becoming less-than-ideal in climate for
people who are not male and/or white.  In recent years, some have
tried to curb bad behavior in various communities by deploying "Code
of Conduct" documents with good intentions at heart.

These codes of conduct, too, were written by people who are male and
white for the most part.  And it really shows itself in the way
they're written and enforced.

The most popular CoC, now adopted even by Linux (the kernel), is
written by a male person who identifies as a woman.  They have
correspondingly strong opinions on the aforementioned conflict between
feminist and transgender views.

Further, many free software projects are so extremely male-dominant
that you actually have more active contributors who are transwomen
than who are women as in born female.  (I don't have actual statistics
to prove this, but I'm pretty sure it's accurate.)

This leads to a situation where certain feminist positions are
immediately branded as "transphobic" and censored.  (It doesn't help
that many women, as in female humans, join in on the knee-jerk
reaction, and say that any feminism not 100% supportive of the
transgender movement must be "fake," when in fact some of the most
renowned life- long feminist activists like Germaine Greer, Julie
Bindel, or Alice Schwarzer to name only a few, agree with these
criticisms of the transgender movement.)

As an example of such knee-jerk reactions and consequent censorship,
please look into the Guix mailing list archives from 2022 February and
March and make up your own mind on whether I deserved to be hounded
out of that community after I've suggested the CoC should include the
word "sex" (as in whether a person is female or male) in the long list
of characteristics based on which a person could be facing
discrimination.  It's quite astonishing to me that this was omitted in
the first place.

I've also just been suspended from the Fosstodon fediverse server for
sharing this article.  I also posted it on HackerNews, where it was
soon "flagged."  (I'm not a regular there and don't know what exactly
this "flagging" entails.)

I suspect I will be chased off from many more places where I share
this, because of this illogical conflation of ideological criticism
with "hateful" views.

As a result of all this, I cannot in good faith recommend Free
Software to most people anymore, especially if they're feminists and
don't limit their views to a narrow interpretation of feminism that's
pre-approved by liberal men.  They'll be chased off the moment a male
member of the community (whether trans or considering themselves a
"trans ally") brands them as "transphobic" for caring about women's
rights in a world that mistreats people solely for being born with a
female body.

When I say "recommend Free Software" (capitalized), I mean actually
getting involved in the communities, instead of just using the
software like a consumer product.  That may still be better than using
proprietary software, but it's gravely limiting and, in my opinion,
not what Free Software should strive to be.

It's quite tragic, and I'm not very optimistic anymore.  I guess this
is a final attempt to pledge for more common sense before I completely
give up on most Free Software projects and just confine myself to my
own hobby projects (that will, of course, still be free software).


--
Taylan