back to article Perl changes dev's permaban for 'unacceptable' behaviour to a year-long lockout after community response

A permaban from Perl events over "unacceptable" behaviour has been reduced to a year for the developer concerned, named by several separate Perl sources as Matt Trout. The first iteration of a Transparency Report by the computer language's Community Affairs Team (CAT) was published a week after the Perl Core developer known as …

  1. Korev Silver badge

    I'm confused, can someone explain what "philosemitic antisemitism" means?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Wondering about that as well. Wikipedia explains that philo-semitism is basically "an interest in, respect for and an appreciation of Jewish people, their history and the influence of Judaism".

      Of course, associating that with antisemitism makes me think that whoever it was was dishing out racial hatred under the guise of good words.

      I guess that's possible.

      1. FeepingCreature

        Keep in mind that somebody calling something by a word doesn't necessarily mean that there's any sensible meaning there.

        If it doesn't make sense, consider the possibility that it's nonsense.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          If it doesn't make sense,

          Pfft. Mere crypto-clarification.

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: If it doesn't make sense,

            Do you mean obfuscsplaining?

      2. EarthDog

        don't forget Jewsare not the only Semites

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      See the twitter link titled "lengthy thread" in the article. Not that I am much wiser after reading.

    3. DarkwavePunk

      Given I read "philosemitic" as having interest of or like of Semitic people (usually Jews although that's kind of wrong) and "antisemitism" as hating Jews - I can conclude that I have absolutely no fucking idea what they're on about.

      EDIT: Guess it could mean they're obsessed with hating Jews. Bugger knows.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        I can conclude that I have absolutely no fucking idea what they're on about.

        I get that feeling sometimes when I read (perl) code

    4. jake Silver badge

      I have a friend who describes philosemitic antisemitism as a Semite who dislikes the existence of the newly invented state of Israel.

      Said friend is not only a Jew, he is a Rabbi ... and calls it "the terrorist state of Israel", and "one of the worst things that Europe has ever done to the Middle East".

      Just reporting what I've heard, don't shoot the messenger.

      1. boblongii

        Would that not be philosemitic antizionism?

        1. jake Silver badge

          I asked that very question. The same friend answered "Quite possibly, in some cases and circumstances, but which ones exactly is angels on the head of a pin territory".

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            He's a rabbi alright.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There are 'liberal' Jews who feel bad that Judaism is associated with a country that they see as a cross between apartheid-era ZA and US military outpost, and also ultra-orthodox who don't think that Israel should exist until there is a messiah.

          You thought open source guys can fight over minor points of license terms ...

          1. the hatter

            Well perl's only had 4 decades to form factions and interpretations of rules, the jews obvious have much more time to finesse this inevitability of human nature.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So I guess being critical of treatment of palistine by isreal makes you one, or generally holding them to account like any other country would be leads to cries of antisemitism, let alone comparing modern history of land grabs to their behaviour, or suggesting that the bullied became bullies

        AC cus well its a hornets nest to kick

      3. Shalghar

        That seems to be on the line of the Neturai Karta organisation/sect/group (i am frankly quite unclear about the exact classification as political and religious agendas seem to be inseperably intertwined as far as i remember). Some years ago i had a brief but astonishingly enlightening and civil contact with them, going even so far as they asked me to discuss my questions with a rabbi who spoke my maternal language. To be blunt: if every religious being was as polite and civil as them, we would have quite a lot less problems in this world.

        Quite frankly (and much more so after programming language "hygiene" efforts to eliminate things like "master" and slave") i believe this seems to be more of another incident of those of the permanently offended ideology running loose than a real incident.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is like how some people have a sexual fetish for Asians - so they like them but are objectifying them at the same time. Same thing but with a different race.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Jews are not a race. They are an ethnoreligious group.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          In the UK they are (or were) explicitly recognised as a race, along with Sikhs, in the context of race relations acts.

          1. jake Silver badge

            And as we all know, the Law is an ass.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That's the same UK that recognises Irish travellers as an "ethnicity", when in fact they're a social group.

    6. peterprl

      See the complainant's expanation

      "What was said was philosemitic antisemitism; in practice, philosemitism is a particular variety of antisemitism, with both depending on casting Jewish people as the Other, marginalised and excluded from the society of the speaker"

      "It also purported to be an attack on white nationalists, but to the extent that it achieved that, it both adopted white nationalist talking points as its premises, and used Jewish people as weapons"

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

    I hadn't previously envisaged a world in which that might be considered a punishment. I clearly need some sort of training.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

      Yes, you need training. Learn perl and you will understand.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

        Learn perl and you will understand

        I have sufficient experience of perl to disregard any such simultaneous possibility.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

          Many would say your experience is evidently insufficient.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

            [weasel words]

          2. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

            Many would say your experience is evidently insufficient

            I admit the evidence is rather inconclusive: on the one hand the earliest Perl reference book on my shelf is 22 years old, but on the other I mostly use it these days for swatting wasps. I'm happy to be judged and found wanting. Except by the wasps, obviously.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

              We can agree on wasps.

              It's Friday ... Have a beer.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Banned from attending any Perl conferences or events

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    use strict;

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    potentially unacceptable behavior over IRC and Twitter

    So, "unacceptable", a highly subjective word, with the potentially modifier. Something was said that might be unacceptable. No wonder it deserves a year-long ban.

    1. jake Silver badge

      People have been gunning for mst for years. He's used to it (speaks his mind, and can back up his words with facts ... some people hate that), and has probably already forgiven the folks who have handed him a forced vacation.

      I seriously doubt the other folks will ever forgive him. Sad, that, living with such a capacity for hate.

    2. Jenny with the Axe

      I parsed that quite differently than it would appear you did.

      The CAT wrote that they "investigated two individuals for potentially unacceptable behavior over IRC and Twitter."

      My reading of that is that the CAT were informed of behaviour which may or may not have been unacceptable, and that they investigated whether it was, in fact, unacceptable. As they found it to be so, they instituted a ban.

      Your reading seems to be that after investigation they found that it was "potentially unacceptable".

      I call that a radical interpretation of the text.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Life time bans....

    Not what is says on the tin...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Life time bans....

      Except that the so-called "oversight board" doesn't actually have the power to make decisions that affect anything at all at Facebook.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Life time bans....

        The "oversight board" membership is currently at 20 - the intention is to increase it to 40. And with that many, coming up with a decision in a timely manner would be a feat in itself

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Life time bans....

          "And with that many, coming up with a decision would be a feat in itself"


          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Life time bans....

            it's still Friday for you -->

            1. Precordial thump

              Re: Life time bans....

              Before sunset

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Life time bans....

                The sun's always just past the yardarm somewhere.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Life time bans....

          I work in HE and the place is run by committees. Decisions that should take a few hours take years as they grind through committee after committee.

          Slowly loosing the will to live.

    2. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: Life time bans....

      A life time ban (or prison sentence) is only appropriate if [$JUDGES] don't think that that person will ever change their ways and can't become a valuable member of society again.

      Of course it's Perls/Twitters/Facebooks playground, and they don't have to invite anyone they dislike in.

  6. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge


    To me this is further evidence that my favourite language is breathing its last. (Apart from the scarcity of jobs, and the frequent need to deny that it's dying.)

    Faced with our frustration at our diminishing relevance, we can think of nothing better to do about it than fight among ourselves.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Very.Big.Sigh

      Cheer up, they've been saying the same thing about COBOL for half a century, and Fortran nearly as long.

      perl is dead! Long live perl!

      This round's on me.

      1. Gaius

        Re: Very.Big.Sigh

        There is none of this constant infighting and factionalism in the FORTRAN community. I don’t know about COBOL but I suspect not there either.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Very.Big.Sigh

          Actually, there was ... on a percentage of active participants level. But back then, the total number of participants was a couple of orders of magnitude smaller than the numbers for languages today.

          I suspect there is a critical mass of participants which, when reached, guarantees that personnel issues eclipse the issue of the language itself. This is part of the reason we can't have nice things.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Very.Big.Sigh

          infighting and factionalism

          *THEREIN* lies the problem. That, and what appears to be a too-willing desire to wield "power"

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Very.Big.Sigh

      What happened to Perl?

      Recently, I had a desire to pull in lots of data in different formats - json, xml, scraping numbers off websites, and excel spreadsheets(vomit emoji), convert it into a consistent format, save it in a database, and then use the numbers in the database to generate lots of pretty charts and html tables.

      20 years ago, I would have done this in Perl, but I looked, and it didn't really have what I needed to do this task. Python did, and I managed to get it working, having never written even a "Hello World" in Python before. It is very slow, about 5 seconds per chart on an i7 3770 running FreeBSD, and I need to do 625 charts per day. I broke up the script so that I can run 12 of them simultaneously on two 3770s. That gets processing time down to about 10 minutes, and then I run different batches at different times of the day, as the data gets updated, which gets the longest batch down to about 5 minutes. My iPad Air 4 does it way faster, but not really suited to running cron jobs.

      1. boblongii

        Re: Very.Big.Sigh

        I don't know why you had any trouble doing that (although I confess I don't know about the Excel bit). Perl is very stable and what you would have done 20 years ago should still work today.

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: Very.Big.Sigh

          I assume that "Excel" == "CSV". (Not that I haven't fiddled with Excel through Python--but not on BSD.) Most of this sounds quite doable in Perl, though I haven't written much Perl since JSON became a thing. Certainly Perl easily handles web-scraping, XML parsing, and database stuff.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Very.Big.Sigh

            No, actual .xlsx spreadsheets with multiple tabs and everything. Pandas handles them pretty effectively provided the author doesn't change the layout too much.

            I did have to install the latest version of Pandas using pip rather than use the version in the ports collection.

            1. tonique

              Re: Very.Big.Sigh

              In my rather narrow experience, handling largish (30,000 rows) xlsx files is somewhat slower in Perl using Spreadsheet::Read (which uses Spreadsheet::ParseXLSX) than in Python using Pandas. I really haven't done many small files though.

          2. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Very.Big.Sigh

            By the way, differences between running Python scripts on FreeBSD vs Linux:

            There's really not much.

            If your script starts with #!/usr/bin/python3, you will want to change that to #!/usr/local/bin/python3

            #!/usr/bin/env python3 will work on both.

            You have much more of a separation between the base system and any ports / packages you install, and the base system is a complete, usable, bare bones operating system rather than just a kernel. So binaries are in /usr/local/bin rather than /usr/bin, libraries are in /usr/local/lib rather than /usr/lib, configuration files are in /usr/local/etc/ rather than /etc, stuff that you are serving on a web page will be in /usr/local/www rather than /var/www. Database files are in /var/db though.

            If you are writing a service, your Python code will likely be exactly the same on both systems, but the way you install it on BSD Init will be different to systemd. Same if you are installing and configuring a database server or web server.

            It takes me about 10 minutes to set up a FreeBSD system ready for production use vs about an hour for Linux, or about 2 days for Windows. That's probably because I'm much more familiar with how FreeBSD works.

    3. hoagy_ytfc

      Re: Very.Big.Sigh

      Not only a scarcity of jobs - but we have vacancies for Perl devs and can't fill them.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Very.Big.Sigh

        "Not only a scarcity of jobs - but we have vacancies for Perl devs and can't fill them."

        So what you are saying is that there is a scarcity of jobs, and a scarcity of perl monks? That's more than a trifle contradictory. Care to explain?

        I think I know what you mean ... just making sure.

      2. Irony Deficient Bronze badge

        we have vacancies for Perl devs and can’t fill them.

        What restrictions does your company place on its potential Perl developer pool? (For example, are the developers required to work onsite once COVID-19 fades away, or to live in a particular geographic region, or a specific timezone? Do the positions require a fixed daily schedule of working hours, or travel, or domain-specific knowledge? How do the pay and benefits compare to similar positions in which other languages are used? &c.)

      3. Twilight

        Re: Very.Big.Sigh

        More details please. I'm surprised unless you have very specific requirements that you are having trouble filling vacancies (and I'd potentially be happy to take one of said vacancies).

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Very.Big.Sigh

          didn't I see some articles on El Reg over the last year when they basically asked people to post available jobs? OK I could go searching, but this discussion triggered my memory...

  7. FeepingCreature

    I read the first few tweets of the Aaron Crane thread and holy hell, if the way he talks is indicative of a general pattern of behavior, I do not feel safe around this person.

    Good thing I'm not in Perl.

    edit: I think this deserves some expansion. There is a personality type that assumes that first they are in the right and that second they have the right to mete out punishments on those who are in the wrong. The way he wrote "I later learnt that the person did not learn his lesson" gives me the impression that he just believes he has the innate right to enforce his personal standard of behavior on his environment through whatever lever he can find. With most people I can get along by being nice and accommodating. The sense I get is that I could only get along with this person through displays of submission.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Minister of Word and Sacrament

      The way he wrote "I later learnt that the person did not learn his lesson" ...


      The Meenister speaks... Shades of the weeist of iron Presbyterian Calvinist cults.

  8. boblongii

    Aaron Crane does seem to be a bit of a dick

    Looking at his Twitter thread

    "At the event in question, someone said something antisemitic to me, apparently thinking I’d be amused by it"

    OK, so a joke in bad taste? These things happen, and not everyone judges tone correctly. The issue is intent, surely?

    "I explained that to the person who’d said it; they said that “other Jewish people” had found it funny, which wasn't and isn't relevant"

    Wasn't it? It seems pretty relevant to me. It shows that the intent was to amuse, not to insult.

    "I’ve been accused of lying about something that happened at a Perl event in 2019. These accusations rely on using my relative silence on the matter to convince others I'm lying, which is why I'm being explicit now"

    By "explicit" apparently he means talking constantly about how offended he was by a joke without telling us what the joke was.

    Aaron seems to be a very self-entitled individual with a martyr complex.

    I'm not convinced that the acceptability of a joke is based on the teller's ability to prove that not a single person in the world would be offended by it.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Aaron Crane does seem to be a bit of a dick

      If someone makes a joke about women, and a woman's object is met with "other women found it funny", would you really claim that this means that the joke was okay?

      Yeah, tone matters a lot, but the response it clearly undermining the legitimacy of the complaint. Yes, good intent should be assumed on all sides, but if someone is bringing up a joke that demeans an identifiable group in 2019 without ensuring in advance that they have a receptive audience, they are at best being arrogant. And if your joke offends? Apologize, state that it was not your intention to be actually demeaning & move on. "Others of your group found it funny." Fails. Hard.

      Which is not to say that it's okay to demand that the person being an ass should be banned. That's a disproportionate response.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Aaron Crane does seem to be a bit of a dick

        Very disproportionate.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Aaron Crane does seem to be a bit of a dick

      He also goes on the state "I would stand in solidarity with someone describing private events of this sort, and I would expect other people to do likewise for me"

      In other words, in his mind the mere accusation is enough to convict. There is a lot of that going around these days, not sure how it entered into the public mind-set ... but it's dangerous as hell, and needs to be pointed out and stomped on wherever it rears its ugly head.

  9. Julz Silver badge


    coming around to thinking that all this obsessive attention given to the minutia of someones words. There possible meanings. The judgment of there appropriateness, and therefor the speakers worthiness. The sole searching about implied hurt and harm. The righteous denouncing of the utterer. The storm of pious outrage. Is all some twisted unintended consequence of the textually obsessive (anti) social media users and their collective inability to be aware of stuff outside of their self imposed, straight jacketed filters that fills their bubble.

    For deities sake, chill out.

    Anyway, who judges the judges?

    1. jgard

      Re: I'm

      Absolutely.... I got as far as "cis white man... privilege.. marginalized group". Why, why, why does everything have to come back to identity politics and the resulting hierarchy of oppression we are always being bombarded with? In the real world, 95% of decent, caring, empathic adults will roll their eyes when that sort of thing is said. It's not because they are bigots, they're not, it's because they do not need to be force-fed with prescriptive, identitarian politics and associated Orwellian phrases. They (I, we) understand the world and its dynamics, there's no need for the newspeak.

      Then he grumbles about the thing he was told that he didn't like but won't quote. He thinks HE is the arbiter of reasonableness, so automatically assumes that role. Because HE found it unacceptable it must be deemed to BE unacceptable. It doesn't matter if 90% of people think it's fine or hilarious, or if the speaker means well, what matters is that HE as a listener thinks it IS offensive.

      The problem with discourse these days is that so many people think that they can justify their claim by using politics of identity or oppression, and/or sincerely felt offense. And because of the hallowed sanctity of those concepts, they trump everything and cannot reasonably be countered or questioned. Anyone who does might handily be labeled a bigot / Trump supporter / alt-right something or other.

      When everything is about identity, oppression, and offense, NOTHING is. They are huge factors in many social issues but lose all significance when used to justify absolutely everything.

      I like to think of myself as caring, empathic, considerate, in fact, I am. I fucking despise Trump, BoJo Brexit, bigots, racists, homophobes. But I'm also an adult, and along with many other decent adults, I'm sick of identity-obsessed political rhetoric and people thinking their offense matters more than absolutely anything else. I realize other people think differently and they don't want my politics shoved down their throat. I don't want theirs down mine, but even if I am offended by a statement of theirs, that is MY reaction, it says nothing of the truth, intention, kindness, or otherwise of it. I'm a grown-up and I can cope with people I don't like, with politics or ideas I find wrong.

      Kindness, compassion, a sense of humor, personal resilience, acceptance of differences. Giving people the benefit of doubt. These are what we need more of.

      The act of feeling offense does not have celestial significance, it does not speak divine truth about what was said. So let's stop treating it as if it does. And also, can't we just stop taking ourselves so fucking seriously? Please?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds familiar

    My experiences with the Perl Code of Conduct committee meeting before (2016 listening to them argue a case at a conference) is that they make concessions based on the popularity of the aggressor.

    In a few minutes, the conversation wasn't about if the person did the accused action, as it was irrefutable they did. The rest of the hour long argument was, of we get rid of him, he's popular and we might lose his set of followers. In the end, the people arguing for keeping a Peterson who clearly harassed a person over their sex won.

    Of course, this didn't work out well in the long run, and now I'm happy to keep that group at arms length. The moderates keep leaving in frustration, and the "colorful" / problematic people keep gaining a stronger foothold.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021