I really, really don’t want to start one of those threads, but I just gave this template a try and feel compelled to say something. I’m doing it here and not in an issue or pull request to limit, as far as I can, the exposure these words will get. This is also the first time I’ve used a throwaway to discuss software development, which is kinda sad.
I was surprised, and a little shocked, to find that
code_of_conduct.md is distributed as part of the template. Respectfully, I don’t think it should be there. I have two primary justifications for this.
First, a CoC is for the community, and mere consumption of this template is not tantamount to being active in the community. Chestnut can be consumed by an automated script, for instance, and a computer has no notion of morality. It is completely redundant, and adds zero value to the consuming project. It’s a social/political statement…which brings me to my second point.
There is a reason the phrase “no politics at the dinner table” exists. It polarises people, and creates a potential for discord where previously none existed. It may be the case that no discord will arise, and everyone will agree, but it may also spark a ‘civil war’, as evidenced by countless high-profile Github issues where these things get fought out. Baiting these wars is the antithesis of fostering inclusion. I see this latter case so often it makes my heart sink, and seeing
code_of_conduct.md in my new project directory made me angry - not because I disagree with equality and being a nice person, but because it seemed so naive and provocative. Whatever the reason, it made me, a user, angry. I don’t see how that can be defended.
I believe strongly in equality and being nice, but I also believe that, however good natured the motivations, things like this do more harm than good. Rules are only as good as their enforcement, and the mere existence of a CoC isn’t going to change anyone’s opinions on a matter that people seem, almost universally, to take very personally. I posit that nobody like me has read a CoC and changed how they feel about the issues dealt with, at best they will feel marginalised and maybe a bit angry. They’re divisive, we see that, we know that. The only difference is that it draws the lines in a different place than the discriminatory attitudes of yore. At the end of the day we’re still segmenting people into good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, and that’s a failure for inclusion. Despite the fact that I believe in the sentiment of the CoC, my disdain for the existence of CoC’s in general makes me feel like the Chestnut community categorizes me as a bad/unacceptable person, without even the slightest opportunity to defend myself. tl;dr chestnut made me feel shitty.
If I ever contribute to Chestnut I will comply with the CoC, that’s a given, and I’ll be nice and respectful as I hope I have been in this post. But I ask you respectfully, please don’t spam my file system with moral propaganda.
For those who may be wondering, or perhaps demonising some mental caricature of me - yes I’m white, male, and well-educated, but to see relevance in that is racism. I’m also disabled in a way that makes CoC’s relevant to me, but to see relevance in that is, by definition, discriminatory. At the end of the day we all want a world where none of this stuff matters, and I think the way to get there is just to start treating it that way, not to make a massive song-and-dance about it in these moral documents that divide people further. But I’m not asking you to abandon your CoC, I’m just asking you not to pollute my computer with something that serves no function and actively makes me upset.