On inclusive speech and environment-frendly garbage collectors (for Java)
About a month ago, I was involved in a little conflict with a group promoting inclusive speech and so on. They were less tolerable to different opinion than Russian nazis some 20 years ago, but that’s not the problem after all.
They’ve distributed in their google group a link to their meeting notes — with edit permission for everyone.
So I’ve decided to write several words for them and ended up in some 6000 characters.
Maybe someone else will be interested in my thoughts.
Sorry for maybe not too coherent text below, but I’ve off my antidepressant course, just caught something (not sure yet if it’s a common cold or COVID) and my sleep reminds 74 Rifle Division on 11.09.1941 (being 12–15 thousand of men at full staff strength, with appropriate number of machine-guns, mortars, AT-guns, field guns and so forth, 74 RD escaped attempt to surround it, but being in strength of 12 officers, 383 men, 8 MGs, 1 AT and 1 field guns — about 5% of the staff strength).
I’m a sysadmin and a programmer with 25+ years of experience, so regardless of our relation I’m pointing you to a hole (sorry if this word offends anyone) in your security
I’m old. I do recall USSR and “national quotes” and “Party members are preferable”. And language being under heavy control. This does not work, just does not.
I remember not the beginning of The Internet at all, but the beginning of the publicly available one. In those days we used to use IETF principles: be liberal in what you receive, and strict in what you produce. You seem to promote just the opposite.
You cannot force garbage collector for Java to be environmentally friendly. But you seem to try it again and again.
Every joke may be offensive. Well, every joke IS offensive, or else it’s not a joke. So ban all jokes and ban all humour and ban all laugh?
Every word can be offensive. Just every. So in a world playing a global game “who gets offended first, wins” every word will be offensive. Of course, except by words said by chosen activists of anti-offensive movements.
You should have a goal to destroy the Internet at all. Both as a last place with free speech (well, it’s nearly destroyed already) and as a stable software ecosystem.
Several days ago, I wrote:
Interesting solution, but not radical enough. All software in the world should be rewritten from scratch, without using any languages, algorithms, programming languages, theories etc. not developed by sufficiently tolerant, multi-gender, minority friendly and so on community.
Everything reminding of the pre-tolerant world should be abandoned immediately.
Of course, abandoning physics and mathematics (developed mostly by white, heterosexual males) will be a tough task, but I do believe in you.
But there is simply no other way to the New Order of the world, and you can do even it!
Stephen@agst.us reacted as swiftly, as incompetent.
Banned, reported for abuse, and removed the message from the list.
There are some fine points in this situation.
- He left all my text in quote of the message. Actually, he did NOT remove it and did NOT even mention it!
- I asked him about the formal cause of abuse, no reply
- He seems to be a technical officer over there and makes security errors hardly tolerable for a junior in his first week.
- He positions himself as a “black engineer”. This could explain many things.
Don’t make me wrong. Over there in USA, say, there were official racial segregation until 1961. In the USSR, national segregation was abandoned in 1917. My grandfather could recall the time of the segregation, not even my father, who was born in an internationalist country.
And here I’ll tell you one story. Not sure if it is fiction, but it’s quite possible.
Some year about 1946. New-York, and several Soviet Navy officers on an official mission over there. They were young, they were proud, you can guess.
They gets a car with a black sergeant driver. One morning, they drove out for some business, and suddenly saw the bar. They ordered the driver to stop and asked him (mostly with gestures, their English was just marginally better than his Russian) to come with them, drink a bit.
The sergeant utterly refused to go, but was just dragged by officers into a bar.
Inside, some civilian in a plaid suit shouts something to them and suddenly hits the sergeant in the face.
Officers did not understand at all what’s happening, but they did understand what to do when someone hit their brother in arms. Second later, the plaid suit is sent flying into the far wall, with its owner still inside, and let’s the fight begin!
There were many more civilians in the bar, but 3 or 4 officers were fighting for the right cause, being in better physical condition and not drunk, so the strengths of the sides were about equal.
Police arrived, saw foreign military uniforms, said “Not of our business, call the MP”.
MP arrived, very politely took the officers out and brought them to Soviet military attaché.
Attaché reads the papers and said:
- Comrades, I’m in trouble. You’ve provoked a fight in a “white only” bar, violating US laws, and I have to prosecute you. But, being a communist, I cannot prosecute you for internationalism. So try not to visit white only bars with your driver next time. Dismissed.
When the plaid suited man’s grandson tries to teach me how not to offend someone by my speech, I only can ask: man, didn’t your grandfather get enough?
So, returning to the black engineer.
I don’t object that he’s black, white, green in pink straps or just a sequence of bytes. Every person is, in general, not a function, but sometimes is.
It is totally intolerable for software engineer to make such dumb (sorry for offensive word) mistakes. But since he positioned himself as “black”, not “software”, everything seems right!
You may tell me something about black (sorry for offensive word) doctors 100 years ago — but 100 years ago it was a feat to achieve a doctor degree without being a white man. There’s nothing to be especially proud of being non-white with higher education, for colored student does not have to be guarded by armed FBI agents, instead, he/she/it/whatever gender is prefered can benefit from positive discrimination.
Okay, let’s look at positive dicrimination. There were quotes for ethnic minorities for higher education in the USSR, and they did not work at all. Since a student eligible for a quote could not be expelled from the institute, and being a specialist could not be fired — most of the eligible students became the worse students and later the worse possible specialists, without the slightest knowledge on their subjects.
So I don’t want to use, especially in any life-critical situation, any software developed by “black engineer”. Nor “white”, “male”, “female”, or any other one who is not a software engineer in the first place. Really, I don’t care about anything else. Just be a good software engineer, and you may position yourself as a pink flying frog.
But I cannot tolerate human positioning as a pink flying frog and requesting to be in staff regardless of his qualification, just because of the self-identification.
Well, returning to the topic.
Attempting to make speech 101% safe by removing everything that can offend anyone will inevitably result in total silence. Not even a censorship.