[Osmf-talk] [HOT] [hotosm-membership] Re: Code of Conduct Reminder

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Sun Dec 17 02:52:31 UTC 2017

> > It is doubtful that there ever was a SotM visitor under this CoC who has
> > not violated it during the conference
> This is a really extraordinary claim you are making. You're basically
> saying that *every* SotM conference visitor has engaged in harassing
> behavior.

I believe what he is saying is that "harassing behavior" is so vaguely
defined in the CoC that indeed every visitor could be deemed to have
engaged in it.

I think this "speech code" stuff has gone way too far.

It's verging on the kind of "trigger warning" and "microaggression"
coddling that universities are doing to muzzle students and professors
from stating actual opinions (like "I believe the most qualified
person should get the job.") or asking challenging questions.

If you can't stand hearing questions about your sexual orientation,
maybe you shouldn't have one.  (Just kidding, I know everybody has
one.  Oops, was that a "sexist joke"?  Can I get banned now?  Or was
that merely offensive to asexual people, who actually don't have one
and don't like to be reminded of it?)  I'm not saying anyone has to
*answer* questions you don't like, but I do not support outlawing the
*asking* of questions merely because they make the listener uncomfortable.

We would do far better by teaching our community members how to deal
with hecklers, than by trying to ban them.

Don't assume hatred when ordinary conversation or curiosity suffices.
For example, I don't believe that asking someone if they've had
genital reassignment surgery is always transphobic.  If you're going
to be an "out" tranny, you'd better expect a few questions from the
hoi polloi.  Is asking them whether they've had their tonsils out
germophobic?  Does asking them whether they go to church show a hatred
of religion?  Or is it instead anti-atheist?  Maybe it's anti-Jewish,
because you didn't call it a "synagogue"?  It may be impolite to ask
whether you've had your face lifted, but it's not uglyphobic.  But is
impoliteness a violation of the CoC?  It's impossible to know, since
the key term "harassment" is never defined.

I'm a supporter of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
(thefire.org) which is actively eliminating this kind of insane
political correctness on steroids (oops, prejudicial to athletes!) on
campuses all over the country:


As the article points out, if someone actually does have an emotional
illness or condition (like PTSD) that can be triggered merely by
hearing about a topic, avoiding innocuous triggers is exactly the
*wrong* thing to help them recover.  The road to recovery is paved
with getting triggered over and over, in ordinary, safe circumstances,
and eventually noticing that you don't have to overreact whenever a
trigger event happens.

And does the CoC still contain "swift punishment without due process"
for those who violate this code?  Yep; "the conference organizer may
take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender
or expulsion from the conference with no refund."  The prohibited
activities are not specified, and the range of possible punishments
aren't defined either; they can take ANY ACTION THEY DEEM APPROPRIATE.
And "Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to
comply immediately."  So we're all agreeing that our community will
tolerate unlimited amounts of censorship and impunity, at least if
preceded by a claim that "somebody said or did or failed to say or do
something that made someone else feel harassed"!

No thanks.

I'm a big believer in diversity -- but I think we lose most of the
benefits of diversity if we are afraid to talk about what makes us
diverse.  The cure for bad speech is more speech - not bans.


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