Erlang forums (was Re: PING TEST)

Loïc Hoguin essen@REDACTED
Tue Dec 7 10:56:28 CET 2021

Nobody is arguing against rules, just against bad rules. Rules that are 
selectively enforced or subjective are bad. One good rule is that the 
topics posted must be related to Erlang and the replies to the topic.

On 06/12/2021 22:47, Fred Hebert wrote:
> The list of forbidden actions on the erlang forums (abusive, obscene, 
> slanderous, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory based on 
> race/sex/orientation/gender/nationality/disability/age/religion/affiliation, 
> unlawful or fraudulent content, harassment or bullying, spam, doxing, 
> etc.) is something I'd consider reasonable.

Leaving the ideology problems aside, these rules are never enforced 
equally. For example there is a members-only topic about nominating a 
woman for some kind of award. According to the rules this is 
discrimination based on sex or gender.

Another example would be if the BEAM conferences were posting about 
their diversity tickets, which discriminate based on most of the 
characteristics you quoted. "if" because there hasn't been a new 
conference yet, but you know it will happen.

Another example would be a small company posting looking to hire people 
locally. Depending on where they are located they would definitely need 
to discriminate based on nationality.

I can go on all day. I don't think all of these examples are bad, for 
what it's worth.

If the intent is to avoid clashes between people, then you'd expect a 
simple rule such as "using these forums, do not attack other users or 
any other individual". Not an ever expanding accumulation of protected 
categories that are selectively enforced.

>   * If you can't bring up a topic about programming Erlang without
>     breaking the rules above, then your topic wouldn't have been about
>     programming Erlang in the first place

And therefore it would break the first rule I mentioned which is that 
the content must be on topic, or the second rule which is that you 
shouldn't attack people. The only other rules needed on top of that are 
more technical in nature, such as spam, phishing and so on.

>   * if you don't want rules and there are no rules, then you can't ask
>     to be pointed to which rules you were breaking when you are excluded
>     because you asked for there to be none, or otherwise you have to
>     accept the deep subjectivism of whoever being a mod may believe you
>     to be an asshole and that's it.

Rules do not get rid of subjectivism. *Good* rules, universally 
enforced, do.

> I tend to prefer a set of basic rules protecting basic communication 
> mechanisms, both as a participant and when I happen to be a moderator. 
> Some people may feel they can't openly be themselves if they can't also 
> be racist or sexist or discriminatory. If that feeling is strong to the 
> point they would rather self-exclude themselves from such communities, 
> then that is a feature, not a bug.

Unfortunately the people that setup these kinds of rules tend to not 
believe in them and they enforce them selectively. The rules end up 
having the opposite effect as a result.

You don't need to look far to see this happening, it's everywhere these 
days. The only way to avoid this is to not divide people into 
categories, and not let anyone divide people into categories.


Loïc Hoguin

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