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

Loïc Hoguin essen@REDACTED
Wed Mar 18 14:21:43 CET 2015

On 03/18/2015 01:53 PM, Jesper Louis Andersen wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 9:28 AM, Ulf Wiger <ulf@REDACTED
> <mailto:ulf@REDACTED>> wrote:
>     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.
> I had a longish mail that I did not post. It discusses exactly this
> point, rumaging around John Stuart Mill's work from 1859, "On Liberty".
> The crux is that freedom of expression[0] doesn't mean you are free to
> say anything. In particular, you are not allowed to say something which
> ultimately causes harm to someone else. But you *are* allowed to say
> things which are deeply offensive to other people, if that is necessary
> to argue your idea.
> Universities have a long tradition of following this concept of freedom.
> In some circumstances, the truth of the matter, the data which has
> statistical and scientific support, is deeply offensive to the current
> status quo. Which begs the question of "how university-like do we want
> the mailing lists to be?". Now, we are lucky in the sense we don't have
> to directly discuss the harder issues of society very often of this
> mailing list, but I'm not sure we can claim to be innocent as a group.
> Some times, we mock other programming language communities (and they
> mock us, so I guess it is simply fair payback). Some times, we post
> highly provocative mails that make people rethink their stance on
> programming (I hope). I'd like to see at least the latter still being a
> possibility.
> In addition to Miles and Ulf, I also think Joe has a point by
> questioning the concept of "being nice". It ties well into the right to
> express ideas which may be offensive to some.

Be nice to people, not to ideas.

To give an example:

Good: Javascript sucks because A B C.
Bad: You suck because you like Javascript.
Better: Erlang has improvements D E F over Javascript which allow you to 
G H I.

Not only will you not convince someone to stop using Javascript if you 
use the Bad form, but they will most likely ignore you or leave and 
never come back again.

The Good form can still offend some people (inventors of Javascript for 
example), but most will just shrug it off and move on.

The Better form is strictly positive and will most likely not offend 
anyone. And you get to teach that person good things about Erlang too.

Another example:

Good: Your idea is bad because A B C.
Bad: Your idea is moronic.
Better: Your idea could be improved by D E F. / Have you looked at G?

Most people I know in the Erlang community use the Better form most of 
the time, and the Good form on occasion, which is why the CoC feels so 
unnecessary to me.

Though if there had to be a CoC, I would really prefer one that includes 
what I mention here, as the CoC would encourage people to use the Better 
form rather than discourage people from using the Bad form.

Loïc Hoguin

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