[erlang-questions] Announcing Erlang.org Code of Conduct

Ulf Wiger ulf@REDACTED
Wed Mar 18 09:28:20 CET 2015

> On 17 Mar 2015, at 14:52, Miles Fidelman <mfidelman@REDACTED> wrote:
> That which is hateful to you, do not unto another

This is great advice.

Some time ago, I watched a lecture by Greg Lukianoff [1] on the defense of 
Free Speech on American campuses.

Apparently, it has become common practice to have Free Speech Zones [2],
where you are *allowed* to exercise your 1st Amendmend Rights.
Normally, you need to book a slot in the zone in advance.

I think many of us have been taken aback by this apparent clash of principles:
The Right to Express your Opinion vs. The Right Not to be Offended.

Disregarding political/religious convictions, I think we can agree as engineers
that these two principles are incompatible. However, the conflict is not
apparent as long as people do what most do: strive not to deliberately offend.

One can at least say that the former principle is more in line with the Erlang
philosophy of asynchronous communication, where no guarantees are offered
regarding whether the message will be received at all, or what will happen upon
reception. Because of this, Erlang processes must be prepared to receive
messages they don’t understand or want, and good style suggests that you should
strive to communicate responsibly and use asynchronous messaging with care.

There are very solid reasons for this.

Needless to say, there are some aspects of Erlang communication that don’t 
transfer well onto communication between humans, but this only shows that 
the relationship is not commutable. Principles that are clearly untenable in 
software design, are likely problematic in human activities as well.

Ulf W

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Autfo3H6Dss
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone

Ulf Wiger, Co-founder & Developer Advocate, Feuerlabs Inc.

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