FreeBSD has a politics problem

Mike Oliver, KT2T m at
Thu Mar 8 17:07:13 UTC 2018

On 2018-03-08T17:49:53+0200, Sander Vesik wrote:
>> Jesus Christ, can you stop being such a complete faggot. People like you
>> are causing a mockery of FreeBSD, which is now getting called "CuckBSD" by
>> the very people you want to be using this OS
> Well, no, I am fairly certain you are wrong on this part.

Surely, there is overlap among those who want to use FreeBSD and those
who are embarrassed for the project given how the CoC has been received,
and in that overlap group I can see how some would perceive the CoC as
unnecessary, unnecessarily specific, or insulting.

When I read it, I wondered if this is now KinderBSD (kinder as in
kindergarten, to be clear), because just about everything in the
finger-wagging don't-do-this list are things that most would have
learned as children. What many also learned as children, which would
obviate the need for this grotesquely specific CoC, is a thick skin.

In my years, I've tried to be as kind as possible while accepting all
variations of behavior. Certainly, there are those who would perceive me
as kind, and others would perceive me as caustic, but I can only be me.
I accept kindness and bitterness from others in a Postel-like mindset of
being conservative in what I transmit and liberal in what I accept, but
that appears to be a dying concept if we truly need documents like this
new CoC. As I said, I can only be me, and I have good days and bad.
Others are no different, and I am inclined to absorb those barbs and
move on.

I haven't been involved much in FreeBSD, other than many years of
persistent advocacy, lately due to other priorities in my life, and to
come back into this and see how things have changed is depressing and
disheartening. You are all good people, you do good work, and you mostly
treat each other with respect and dignity (CoC disputes and occasional
rants notwithstanding). It makes me sad to see you at each others
throats over this.

There was a sentiment I read that the new CoC was needed because core@
didn't act upon previous perceived egregious behavior, and that this new
CoC would address that. It seems to me that if rules against bad
behavior weren't enforced, the way to address that is not to make new
rules but to replace the (un)enforcers. How, exactly, does a new and
arguably pedantic set of rules fix weak enforcement? It doesn't add up
to me.

One individual that has, and continues to, garner my respect is phk@,
and I've learned much from his writings over the years. I even
contributed to his experiment of taking time off of $DAYJOB to work on
FreeBSD *way* back in the day. Another is DES, who could be the most
caustic of anyone if you were lazy and didn't read before asking. Both
of these guys, and Warner, and Brooks, and Robert N. M. Watson, and more
that I can't recall so easily, are titans. That deep respect I have for
them is what makes flippant invectives like "what behavior in the CoC do
you want in the project" so deflating. Nobody on either side wants to
see or experience harassment, and you're smart enough to know it. The
phrasing of the argument where you want your opponent to enumerate what
abhorrent behavior should be allowed, knowing that your opponent wants
no such thing, is a disingenuous tactic used purely to stifle the
dialog, and it's working. I am not here to defend a profanity-laced rant
from <anonymous coward>, either. Both cases are disgusting.

I've said enough, I suppose. Yes, I am on the side of rescinding the new
CoC until such time as it has wider acceptance (surely by modification)
by those who must live under it. Either way, I don't have to live under
it and my opinion doesn't matter at all. However, as someone who has
spent near 20 years in persistent advocacy of this project, I am
invested personally and would like to see it gone. Not because I support
any of the behavior condemned by the CoC, which I hope is obvious by
now, but because it unnecessarily codifies ideas which are highly
controversial to the point of being harassment to those who don't
subscribe to those ideas. Yes, the document written to deter harassment
is itself a tool of harassment. You're telling people who may not
subscribe to the contemporary social assertions made in the new CoC that
they must accept those assertions and you have no caring whatsoever how
that imposition affects those who don't believe what you believe. This
is the classic lack of tolerance shown by those who demand tolerance.

I wish you all the best.

Warmest regards,

Mike Oliver, KT2T
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