Thank you ... I'd forgotten why I'd basically stopped reading El Reg. Idly drifted back and ... was forcibly reminded.
A small army of politically correct nerds will gather in London this weekend to launch a mission to "clean up" source code hosted by GitHub. A group calling itself Ethical Code claimed the platform has become a hub for, er, gits who insist on peppering their work with nasty words that have the potential to shock and offend. …
"because we are an enlightened group of super-smart people who see through people’s exterior characteristics and judge them solely on the quality of their mind. Then sling the word “faggot” and “bitch” on the end because it’s hilaaaarious"
Well he does seem to know many in the tech community better than they do. Me? I'm sick of casual homophobia and sexism from people who consider themselves super smart and liberal, yet somehow seem to the right of Ghengis Kahn.
@Destroy All Monsters: actually, the conventional spelling is "Genghis Khan".
It's presumably a transcription to the Latin alphabet of a Chinese transcription of a pair of Mongol words, so you could probably spell it any way you like. The "gh" construct suggests that the transcription was done in a language like Italian, where "gh" and "ch" are required for a hard consonant before "e" or "i".
"How you can be "to the right of" the same is beyond me, "
The anachonism is supportable usage. What irritates me is the implication that if you're right wing == racism | sexism | homophobia.
The Fascists (as in the Italian party that introduced the word to the modern era) were formerly the Italian socialists and their policies were a fusion of left wing and right wing approaches. The Nazis were the 'National Socialists' and their progress was from early socialism to a kind of state corporatism and massive state control over business. "Right Wing" is not a synonym for everything evil in the world, even if the media and many left wing types like to present it as such. Sadly racism, sexism, et al. are traits of _humans_ first and foremost.
Do I like seeing those sorts of words in code? Not particularly. Do I dislike seeing those sorts of words in code? Not particularly. I know I definitely cannot speak for everyone or even for all gay people, but I'm not particularly affected by those words in any way.
Sure, words such as those may offend some people and would probably be more socially polite to be excluded from usage, but in most Western societies, you (supposedly) have the freedom of speech, NOT the freedom of not being offended. That said, GitHub is a privately operated entity who tries not to meddle, so freedoms are rather moot anyway.
It's my opinion that society as a whole really needs to learn to be more accepting of others (even those who are hateful or who may share a different outlook) rather than spreading more hate, for example by trying to shame the ones who are believed to be wronging others. No matter what form it takes, hate is hate, be it calling a homosexual person a "faggot" or persecuting the person who thinks such terminology is acceptable. If we want to change the world for the better, we should lead by example, not by persecution.
The bigger question is, why are such comments in the code at all?
Are we talking about a "gaydar" app, to allow people to steer away from what they consider an unwanted element?
If not, then such wording has no place in the comments. The comments should be there to describe how the code works, not to set a personal agenda! If it isn't describing the function / method and its parameters / properties, then it is superflous and has no place in code.
I remember getting banned from a forum once for saying I was having faggots for dinner. Faggots being the following
Completely unrelated topic I know, but still. Also, from reading the brief description of ovo lacto vegetarian. Isn't that just like... regular vegetarian? I mean if you remove eggs and milk that's the general shift from vegetarian to vegan right? Or am I missing something here.
> I remember getting banned from a forum once for saying I was having faggots for dinner.
Doesn't matter how many different definitions or cultural/colloquial terms there might be for any particular word - once someone is offended by seeing a word you wrote, there is only one definition: the one they found offensive. Once you've bashed your way into someone else's conversation, even if you later realise the context they were talking in wasn't offensive at all, when was the last time you saw someone have the guts to say "sorry, I misunderstood, apologies for interrupting" and get on with their life?
I remember drawing the ire of a north american lady when I greeted a (male) friend as "you fat twat" in the typically vitriolic camaraderie we're used to, because it's apparently a word that means I hate women and can't possibly have any other connotations.
>>Completely unrelated topic I know, but still. Also, from reading the brief description of ovo lacto vegetarian. Isn't that just like... regular vegetarian? I mean if you remove eggs and milk that's the general shift from vegetarian to vegan right? Or am I missing something here.
It's just specific hypocrisy, he says "I avoid the whole question of the morality of meat-eating much as, say, a celibate person doesn't have to worry about the ethics of polygamous relationships" yea, because battery chickens and continued impregnation of cows and having their calves taken and eaten has no moral aspect, don't get me wrong, I'm a omnivore, at least I don't pretend there's no moral issues.
> The comments should be there to describe how the code works, not to set a personal agenda! If it isn't describing the function / method and its parameters / properties, then it is superflous and has no place in code.
If I had lost a penny for each time I type stuff like "why doesn't this fucking thing work anyway" or "why do we even need that shit?" in comments -purely to vent out- I'd be considerably poorer. Now culturally "faggot" is not in my vocabulary, but I'm pretty sure I left a couple "bitch" here and there, even if I try to clean up my comments when making my code public. Some just slip through.
I up-voted you. But then you would be poorer as I would fire you for putting such comments in a public code base: public in the sense that any other person / developer uses the code base. Even if it is the case that those comments you present as examples are the effect of code you have written yourself.
If you have the urge to 'vent out' then summon up some professional pride and integrity and do it in private.
"If we want to change the world for the better, we should lead by example, not by persecution."
Wrong, unless you stand up and tell some people are wrong, then they will carry on, regardless if you are leading by example. If someone had the balls to stand up to Hitler and (more importantly) his cronies early on, WW2 may not of happened. However people were so desperate for reform, they turned a blind eye to his nasty side (yes even Hitler had a good side) and willingly went along with his policies.
So no, sometimes you have to "slap" people down, the trick is to know when that "slapping" has to stop, before you become the aggressor.
"If someone had the balls to stand up to Hitler and (more importantly) his cronies early on, WW2 may not of happened."
I could really see this happening.
Imagine Neville Chamberlain asking Hitler to be more "inclusive". "Why yes, Prime Minister Neville" Hitler replies,"You are so correct. And just to show my good faith in the matter, I've just included the Sudetenland...."
Those that do not learn by past mistakes are doomed to repeat them?
I have been in the software dev business for a few decades and seen major changes. One quite significant change was effected by women who had been sexually assaulted at tech 'cons and found the organisers ignored attacks and blacklisted the victims! The same attitude was taken regarding online abuse in technical mailing lists and forums.
Putting it bluntly, it took concerted effort and shaming of various communities before action to stop abuse was taken. Today, abuse is generally no longer considered acceptable or cool. Some communities and IT sectors still have issues such as a few UK network operators and some brogrammer companies and groups.
As a woman with a trans childhood, I have seen a lot of abuse - in business both large and small and in some that have policies excluding such abuse - and not all is in the past!
The sad truth is that in the current job climate and recent changes in employment law, many businesses feel they can discriminate with impunity and do so.
Putting our foot down, naming and shaming businesses and groups has been proven to be effective at instigating change - ignoring abuse never works.
Some people just need educating - others are just plain outright malicious. I think the objective here is to educate but I suspect there will be a minority that are plain malicious.
Or as Gunny Hartman so eloquently put it
"You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless."
Bitches and faggots the best GitHub can do? - they don't make abuse like they used to.
I'll get my (Full Metal) jacket
This post has been deleted by its author
> It's not PC gone mad. It's PC gone mentally challenged. Thanks
Actually I was hoping for a variant on EFAULT¹ (bad address) when you get a pointer wrong - or in this case the PC (Program Counter) as a play on
words acronyms. Looks like I didn't set the gag up well enough.
 man errno
For me it's not about being PC, it's just my default pedantry that if I insult someone on the internet I don't want to use a gendered insult, because I might get their gender wrong, and they might be insufficiently insulted.
Instead I try and insult people with words like "Arsehole", which is an equal opportunities insult.
The real question here is if he's a "non-moral" vegetarian, why does he spend so much of his time preaching and bragging about it?
I doubt people take issue with his dietary choices - what he eats or doesn't eat is of little consequence to me - but if he doesn't shut up about it I can see how that would get annoying.
HAR HAR HAR - He said faggot, but he was talking about a food. It's funny because he is really saying a homophobic insult and getting away with it because he's pretending it's about food.
As someone who has had to deal with people screaming that word at me in the street through my teenaged years (only while I was alone and they were in groups, of course) I would just like to say to you in as clear a manner as possible:
Grow The Fuck Up.
and many many more.....
If you ask a neutral question in the Midlands like "What do you think of faggots?" I would bet that the majority answer would be "lovely with mash, peas and a bit of gravy" and at most 1 in every 100 might even consider it to be a question about homosexuals. Like many words that have been hi-jacked over the years (Hacking for example) some people believe that the new, agenda led meaning is the only meaning and anybody who happens to use the word in it's older (or normal for many people) context is all of a sudden sexist, racist, homophobic, whatever.
However don't worry that your not being marginalised enough because not enough Midland people understand your narrow meaning of a self perceived insult, Midlanders have plenty of terms of abuse and ridicule that can and are used to insult uphill gardeners who pay with nine bob notes to travel on the other bus, just not the word "faggot".
Really? That's just mental.
I used to have a boss who liked to call any messed up situation or really bad code a whore's abortion. After working with him for 8 years I had to make a concerted effort to stop using the term myself because some people find it offensive.
As for this whiney little bitch and his code cleanup campaign, I'm tempted to spend the weekend peppering code with profanities on GitHub just to annoy him. Well I would be but I have a life.
> If you actually search github for "faggot" you get precisely 7 hits back.
Having said that, many of them are in word blacklists (twatter and IRC clients and the like), others seem to act as sentinels by using a word which is easy to remember and stands out yet unlikely to be found elsewhere in the code. The last group, quite a significant one, seem to be test commits of nonsense files, perhaps by people who no longer monitor their Github account--in those cases, it would be up to Github to monitor for and remove unmaintained stuff that is taking up space unnecessarily.
Having browsed through a couple of pages of hits, I haven't really found one which I would consider insulting towards another person or group of persons. Of course, just the mere appearance of an expletive or vulgar language does not count as offensive to me, although I am aware that Teutonic and Low Countries' sensibilities are different in this respect.
I do hope this group are not trying to ride on the wave of publicity generated by the case of the female developer who quit GitHub (the company, not the code repository) last week-ish, as that would risk adding--in the eyes of the public--frivolous undertones to a very serious matter.
"because we are an enlightened group of super-smart people who see through people’s exterior characteristics and judge them solely on the quality of their mind. "
Oh. Come. On. If he actually believes that, he probably believes that removing the word "faggot" from a code comment will make its original author less homophobic. Personally, I don't believe that any word is in itself offensive, and I have a strong opposition to such blunt "thought police" tactics as a result. But: you lose nuance and tone when you write, so you have to know your reader very, very well before you can confidently use words that are considered to be insults.
Unfortunately, for "enligtened groups of super-smart people", being unable to place oneself mentally in the mindset of another person is a classic failing of such people, no matter how good they might be at writing code.
But, as observed above, lazy insulting language in code comments is a bad code smell in the first place. If this guy has a problem with "bad" language in code, he should remind the coders that if they put projects on github, potential hiring managers can see that code very easily. Something peppered with non-descriptive and (to some) offensive words like "bitch" or "faggot" isn't really going to make you look like a good hire.
... unless you're going for a job in Github, of course.
"In the spirit of positive action....</snip>"
Aaaaand.... that's quite enough to get me running for the hills.
It's in the same league as positive discrimination (race / gender / whatever-is-current) in job recruitment. Just hire on merit and be done with it.
This whole thing reads like some Daily Mail piece - OMG someone said something I find offensive, we should so introduce a new law to make that a criminal offence, no-one should ever be allowed to say anything that might possibly offend anyone else ever. The end game there of course is that no-one can ever say or express anything other than the societal norm. Is that really what we want?
> Is this gonna be like feminists storming Wikipedia to purge it of masculine bias?
Ah yes. It's unfortunate that those groups somehow seem more interested on banging their own drums and generating self-publicity at any price than in actually advancing their causes or, for that matter, listening to the difference between marked and unmarked genders in Indo-European languages.
I'm not going to say that I think this is a waste of time. But isn't there something more societally worthwhile that these people could be doing? Like rebuilding a community space, or planting some allotments, or doing a bake sale for charity?
This exercise seems like a self-righteous back-slapping party.
This really pisses me off...
I may hate people who are sexist, homophobic, racist, feminist, religious zealots, and anyone who tried to preach to me without invitation.
But I accept their freedom to be arses...
I judge people on who they are and what they do, not just because of genetic traits or because you happen to believe in a specific deity.
Aren't they a cesspool of female exploitation or something? I'm sure I read that recently.
As for comments in code, we sweep ours for swearies and remove them (corporate standards) but some do remain as they are "in context". Mostly these are mini-rants about the design of C#, Java or whatever and a warning that the code which follows is as ugly as an ugly thing from planet Ugly; but that's the way it has to be.
Some are also just plain funny. Once you get down to a few well-known cases, it's easy to filter them out.
I thought it was meant to be a Go Go Bar.
I have come across code at work that referred to the overseeing analyst by the nickname 'winkle', though never given offical sanction, it was allowed to be kept in as it was 'funny'.
This all sounds like a 'cub scout' attempt to claw back some P.C. credentials after the recent news. Honestly, there's a difference between cleaning house and sanitizing it until it has all the warmth and humanity of an operating theatre.
"A group calling itself Ethical Code claimed the platform has become a hub for, er, gits who insist on peppering their work with nasty words that have the potential to shock and offend."
Trolls and 'tards have no ability to shock offend.
Kids hid behind a screen being themselves is not shocking and you can't be offended by retards. You have to pity them and diss their mothers, like they do, for dragging them up and not raising them properly to function as part of a society.
Daft kids need a good smacking.
This isn't political correctness. It just people trying to be kind. The article makes it sound like a joke and the majority of responses make me disappointed in the lack of thought or care for others here.
If the words were antisemitic or against black people would that be ok? I'm pretty sure that if it code was found saying "n**ger" and the code was by Apple or Microsoft then there would be major storm and lots of apologies..and rightly so.
I'm white, male and heterosexual. There are pretty much no offensive words for any of those groupings that mean anything because I've never been and probably never will be stigmatized, harassed, miss opportunities because of my skin, gender or sexual orientation. I will never truly understand how it feels to be nervous of people and their reactions because of my DNA (rather than because of who I am as an individual). In fact I can believe that it's 2014 and people still don't get that this is just fuc*ing offensive shit. Bo ho. I can't just call people whatever I want cause I don't think they should be offended by it. Grow the fu*k up.
In a world where people get killed for being gay in some countries or just insulted (and occasionally beaten up) in more civilized lands I'm well chuffed that some people are putting the effort in to show that they give a shit. Whilst people have the right to be arseholes and say offensive things other people have the right to kick against the pricks.
If this is the biggest issue that freedom of speech has in the west then we are screwed.
Not sure if you are aware of this or not but being a white male, at least in 'merica, means you have been discriminated against based on your race and gender. Assuming you've ever applied for a job. It's federally mandated and called "Equal Opportunity". You might want to look that up.
I have, university work. Writing a 2d platformer, the day before it was due my project got corrupted. Had to pull another all nighter (pulled an all nighter finishing it the day before). Got to the end of it, and I'd gotten everything working again, gravity, jumping, blocks that crumbled, variable frame rate, but for some reason I couldn't die in it. I wound up leaving a comment in there around my "death" code along the lines of
// oh dear god why the fuck aren't I dying. I have a fucking if statement checking my fucking lives against fucking 0 and the piece of shit character still keeps coming back for more the stupid bastage WHY WONT YOU DIE!!!
I was so tired I forgot to remove said comment. Turns out in my sleep deprived state I'd gone
if ( lives <= 0 );
that semi-colon lost me marks, but the comment apparently gave my lecturer a chuckle.
Had someone is sales get all bent about male/female cable connectors. Said I made it up even after I said it was industry standard from before I was born. Showed her a catalog, web sites, then sent her across the street to Best Buy. She got kicked out of Best Buy.
Good thing I didn't show her a gender changer.
I hate fags. Fags are an annoying, unsightly blight upon the world. They just lie there, ruining an otherwise quaint city street view with their hideous appearance. I would approve of ridding the world of fags, but the huge amount of fags would require incinerators running day and night, to rid the world of all of them. Yes - fags ( the unused end of a cigarette or cigar) are disgusting.
See - I could not have wrote this completely inoffensive paragraph with groups line "Ethical Conduct" running the grammar police. My policy is - "If anything I say or do offends you, please don't hesitate - be offended. Just don't unload your emotional baggage on me".
And what is "being offended"? It means you get to try to dictate the speech or actions of another person, based on your emotional sensitivities. Look, if I get the facts wrong, like spelling a certain metal used in soda cans as "alumimen", I will apologize. As for matters of my opinion, it's MY opinion, and my opinion doesn't change because your itty-bitty hurt feelings were hurt. That's YOUR problem. not mine. Have a nice day.
I think the core issue is the way these things are handled. Isn't abuse a criminal offence in the UK and elsewhere in Europe? whereas it usually leads to civil suits in the USA?
When abuse is illegal then it's a cut and dried affair and you don't need code of conducts and workshops to enforce it; of course, you'll still have to work hard in general to get it accepted. When it's only a civil matter it leads to them and people treading on egg shells trying not to offend anyone and still likely to be sued for harassment. As usual, only the lawyers win.
PyCon has had a fairly meaningless (no legal relevance) code of conduct the last few years. Of possibly greater import will be the decision to have approximately 50 % of the talks being given by women in Montreal next month and the chairman is woman. In general, I'm not a fan of positive discrimination but it will be interesting to see how it works out: they'll ructions if the quality suffers but otherwise I expect it to be welcomed. From admittedly limited experience I'd say that women worry more about things like childcare and being able to combine family and work than the amount of swearing. Not sure how much "ethical code" is going to help there.
Truly, the shoreditch fashionistas have outdone themselves this time! Ethical code? Christ, comments are ignored by compilers and interpreters for a reason! Comments are just that - subjective annotation.
I won't defend genuine discrimination - ever. Julie Ann Horvath's treatment at GitHub, from what has been reported, sounds atrocious and only serves to reinforce the 'bro-grammer' stereotype that cheapens those of us who are professional.
However... This group in London sounds like another bunch of bored silicon roundabout types crying out for attention. Perhaps these guys should stop drinking over-priced coffee and spend their time working on business plans instead of bothering those of us who actually ship software...
The real world is a mean spirited and sometimes hateful place. Full of people with nothing better to do than tell others what they can think and say.
Fuck the censors. If you have a problem with something someone else wrote then move on. Don't like how git allows such comments, then tell them and stop using it. If enough people think the same way then git will change. If not, then you just need to git over your lame ass.
If you are posting code to a public repository, it strikes me as plain common sense to present it as professionally as possible.
If someone is looking for evidence to make a case for harassment in the workplace, anything in print is far game.
Comments that read as black flags to employers or prospective employers are going to come back to haunt you.