Patchwork [rain1@airmail.cc] Delete abortion joke

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Submitter Carlos O'Donell
Date May 3, 2018, 4:36 a.m.
Message ID <d9bc7b6b-bf98-f726-ae95-40cbaf687d08@redhat.com>
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Permalink /patch/27075/
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Carlos O'Donell - May 3, 2018, 4:36 a.m.
On 05/01/2018 11:11 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> 
>   >   However, the GNU C Library Manual is an actively
>   > inappropriate place to discuss it,
> 
> A serious discussion of an unrelated political issue would be a
> strange digression.  The joke is appropriate precisely because it is a
> joke, and very short.
> 
> Since you understand it wasn't right to delete this without my
> approval, would you please undo that mistake?
 
As a GNU Developer for the community I OK'd the patch.

As a GNU Developer I answer to the GNU Project.

I also apologize for not contacting you directly.

This does not change my position on the joke and it's relation to
abortion and censorship.

A large group of developers, serious senior developers, at least 3
project stewards (GNU Developers for the project), are indicating
that they do not share your same view on the joke. Please consider
their input and work with me to reach a consensus position.

The underlying notions that the joke tries to express are important
and I am more than willing to engage with you and Alex to write
new text and put it back into the manual to meet our needs to
express a viewpoint on censorship.

Let me propose another the following patch for discussion. It is
*not* a @cartouche, and will therefore be visible in all of our
info and html files (which is better IMO).

2018-05-03  Carlos O'Donell  <carlos@systemhalted.org>

	* manual/intro.texi (Government Censorship): New node.

---
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 3, 2018, 7:01 a.m.
On 05/03/2018 10:06 AM, Carlos O'Donell wrote:
> As a GNU Developer for the community I OK'd the patch.
> 
> As a GNU Developer I answer to the GNU Project.
> 
> I also apologize for not contacting you directly.
> 
> This does not change my position on the joke and it's relation to
> abortion and censorship.
> 
> A large group of developers, serious senior developers, at least 3
> project stewards (GNU Developers for the project), are indicating
> that they do not share your same view on the joke. Please consider
> their input and work with me to reach a consensus position.
> 
> The underlying notions that the joke tries to express are important
> and I am more than willing to engage with you and Alex to write
> new text and put it back into the manual to meet our needs to
> express a viewpoint on censorship.
> 
> Let me propose another the following patch for discussion. It is
> *not* a @cartouche, and will therefore be visible in all of our
> info and html files (which is better IMO).
> 
> 2018-05-03  Carlos O'Donell  <carlos@systemhalted.org>
> 
> 	* manual/intro.texi (Government Censorship): New node.

That still doesn't make it any more relevant to the GNU project, let 
alone glibc.  I agree that it may be relevant to the FSF, but does that 
mean that I can submit patches to add snippets about privacy invasions 
and/or human rights violations in India given that I am an active GNU 
contributor?

We probably agree on a lot of political and social issues (not that it 
is even necessary), but the manual is just not the forum for it.

Siddhesh
Adhemerval Zanella Netto - May 3, 2018, 11:07 a.m.
On 03/05/2018 04:01, Siddhesh Poyarekar wrote:
> On 05/03/2018 10:06 AM, Carlos O'Donell wrote:
>> As a GNU Developer for the community I OK'd the patch.
>>
>> As a GNU Developer I answer to the GNU Project.
>>
>> I also apologize for not contacting you directly.
>>
>> This does not change my position on the joke and it's relation to
>> abortion and censorship.
>>
>> A large group of developers, serious senior developers, at least 3
>> project stewards (GNU Developers for the project), are indicating
>> that they do not share your same view on the joke. Please consider
>> their input and work with me to reach a consensus position.
>>
>> The underlying notions that the joke tries to express are important
>> and I am more than willing to engage with you and Alex to write
>> new text and put it back into the manual to meet our needs to
>> express a viewpoint on censorship.
>>
>> Let me propose another the following patch for discussion. It is
>> *not* a @cartouche, and will therefore be visible in all of our
>> info and html files (which is better IMO).
>>
>> 2018-05-03  Carlos O'Donell  <carlos@systemhalted.org>
>>
>>     * manual/intro.texi (Government Censorship): New node.
> 
> That still doesn't make it any more relevant to the GNU project, let alone glibc.  I agree that it may be relevant to the FSF, but does that mean that I can submit patches to add snippets about privacy invasions and/or human rights violations in India given that I am an active GNU contributor?
> 
> We probably agree on a lot of political and social issues (not that it is even necessary), but the manual is just not the forum for it.
> 
> Siddhesh

I agree with Siddhesh, as we are seeing politics is a quite touchy subject
specially with a forum with participants with different nationalities and
political views.  The current subject of abortion is *much* more complex
than discussion so far, can be viewed from multiples political and 
philosophical ways than mere 'government censorship', and I really think
glibc documentation is not the place to engage in such discussion. 

I see it is wiser to try to be more strictly formal and technical on a 
glibc documentation.

We currently have many other places were one can express his political
views and if you are not heard as you expect it is something you need to
deal it.
Florian Weimer - May 3, 2018, 12:27 p.m.
* Carlos O'Donell:

> +@node Government Censorship, Standards and Portability, Getting Started, Introduction
> +@section Government Censorship
> +@cindex censorship
> +
> +@string{Trigger warning: Talk of abortion.}
> +
> +The GNU project takes the position that government censorship should
> +not be supported.  Censorship threatens the distribution of information
> +in ways that restricts the freedoms of our users and harms the creativity
> +of the project.
> +
> +Censorship of technical information, cultural information, and even
> +information related to human abortion (regardless of your position on
> +the topic), should not be supported. Such censorship restricts the
> +freedoms of all users.

In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list abortion in
this context without taking sides.
Jeff Law - May 3, 2018, 1:53 p.m.
On 05/03/2018 01:01 AM, Siddhesh Poyarekar wrote:
> On 05/03/2018 10:06 AM, Carlos O'Donell wrote:
>> As a GNU Developer for the community I OK'd the patch.
>>
>> As a GNU Developer I answer to the GNU Project.
>>
>> I also apologize for not contacting you directly.
>>
>> This does not change my position on the joke and it's relation to
>> abortion and censorship.
>>
>> A large group of developers, serious senior developers, at least 3
>> project stewards (GNU Developers for the project), are indicating
>> that they do not share your same view on the joke. Please consider
>> their input and work with me to reach a consensus position.
>>
>> The underlying notions that the joke tries to express are important
>> and I am more than willing to engage with you and Alex to write
>> new text and put it back into the manual to meet our needs to
>> express a viewpoint on censorship.
>>
>> Let me propose another the following patch for discussion. It is
>> *not* a @cartouche, and will therefore be visible in all of our
>> info and html files (which is better IMO).
>>
>> 2018-05-03  Carlos O'Donell  <carlos@systemhalted.org>
>>
>>     * manual/intro.texi (Government Censorship): New node.
> 
> That still doesn't make it any more relevant to the GNU project, let
> alone glibc.  I agree that it may be relevant to the FSF, but does that
> mean that I can submit patches to add snippets about privacy invasions
> and/or human rights violations in India given that I am an active GNU
> contributor?
> 
> We probably agree on a lot of political and social issues (not that it
> is even necessary), but the manual is just not the forum for it.
Agreed 100%.

jeff
Alexandre Oliva - May 3, 2018, 8:11 p.m.
On May  3, 2018, Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:

> In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
> which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
> are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list abortion in
> this context without taking sides.

There's law in the US that makes it a crime to publish information on
how to circumvent digital handcuffs, you know.  Even if you rationalize
it and frame it with another term to make it more palatable, it's still
censorship of information for practical use.

GNU is the software development branch of the Free Software social and
political movement.  We don't mind taking sides; in fact, if we didn't,
it wouldn't be a social and political movement.  Our raison d'être are
the essential freedoms over information for practical use.

The law criticized in the snippet under dispute is one that denies
people the essential freedom to share information for practical use.  It
is fundamentally at odds with the most essential core value of our
movement.

I'm very disappointed and baffled that an allusion to a taboo topic
that's two-levels removed, in a context in which the taboo topic is
already established and unavoidable, is enough for people to gang up
against not only the founder and leader of the movement, but also its
most fundamental value, and to take the opposite side, practicing
censorship and, by removing the criticism, taking the side of the
censors that established the denounced censorship law.

I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should stand
for, so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely technical
documentation that won't bring anyone any moral discomfort.  Way to go
to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!
Zach van Rijn - May 3, 2018, 11:58 p.m.
On Thu, 2018-05-03 at 17:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  3, 2018, Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:
> 
> > In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
> > which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal
> > acts are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list
> > abortion in this context without taking sides.
> 
> There's law in the US that makes it a crime to publish information on
> how to circumvent digital handcuffs, you know.  Even if you rationalize
> it and frame it with another term to make it more palatable, it's still
> censorship of information for practical use.
> 
> GNU is the software development branch of the Free Software social and
> political movement.  We don't mind taking sides; in fact, if we didn't,
> it wouldn't be a social and political movement.  Our raison d'être are
> the essential freedoms over information for practical use.
> 

I agree with Florian's latter point: "I don't think you can list abortion
in this context without taking sides."

If it is appropriate for a "freedom fighter" to demand that a joke
supporting abortion be included in the manual, then it is appropriate for
a "freedom fighter" on the other "side" to demand that SIGCHLD be
relabeled "terminate an unwanted child process ignoring its silent
scream" --

Or perhaps, as I've stated previously, and numerous others have
expressed: the glibc manual is not the appropriate forum for a public
statement by either side of [the topic of human abortion]. Humor in
general? Censorship? As appropriate.

One proposed solution was to move specifically any discussion of
censorship to the Introductory section, as censorship appears to be the
core issue.

Your response was [00061]:
> Moving it elsewhere, where it's less effective, and removing the humor,
> that's one of the most effective ways to convey criticism and bypass
> learned rejections to such criticism, is just a softer form of
> censorship.  To me it comes across as "ok, you want to speak, go ahead
> and do so, but speak from this corner where pretty much nobody can see
> you, without a microphone, and don't make any effective criticism."
...
> A vague statement against censorship in general is nowhere as
> effective, and I don't assume you or anyone else here to be naîve
> enough to think it is.

I'll agree with you that this is absolutely true. So, as Zack [Weinberg]
proposed [00048]:

> Perhaps those that feel strongly that the FSF should be taking a
> position on this -- which I can sympathize with -- should write up an
> editorial to be published on fsf.org or gnu.org, instead.

It's clear, I feel, that if a polarizing "joke" is to be included, then
the organization must either:

(a) Permit such jokes on both "sides"; such as SIGCHLD 
    being redocumented to mention silent screams, or

(b) The organization as a whole needs to take a position on specific
    issues, and should do so definitively on their official website

> 
> I'm very disappointed and baffled that an allusion to a taboo topic
> that's two-levels removed, in a context in which the taboo topic is
> already established and unavoidable, is enough for people to gang up
> against not only the founder and leader of the movement, but also its
> most fundamental value, and to take the opposite side, practicing
> censorship and, by removing the criticism, taking the side of the
> censors that established the denounced censorship law.

Alexandre, you're minimizing the concerns of those who have already
clearly expressed dislike for the joke's existence, and conflating the
two issues that are (1) abortion and (2) censorship.

When you use the term "gang up" what you're saying is, that you notice
how (many) others have been vocal about keeping this particular joke out
of the documentation, a viewpoint you seem to oppose.

If I may quote RMS directly [00017]:
> A GNU manual, like a course in history, is not meant to be a "safe
> space".  It is meant to address a subject.  It must cover the function
> "abort", just as a course in Renaissance history must cover witch
> trials and the inquisition.

Perhaps the commit history of the manual would be a more instructive
course in history. No one has suggested removal of the library function
'abort()' as far as I'm aware. If a statement is to be made about this
particular law, a clear and direct statement in a more prominent location
(e.g., FSF or GNU main site). The joke is, again, unnecessarily confusing
and the manual is not an appropriate venue for it.

Quoting RMS directly again [00014]:
> We would not want to make a statement in a manual that would drive away
> a large fraction of our community.  However, we know from observation
> that it doesn't do that.  You're worried about hypothetical people
> that seem to be very rare.

Which is precisely your own argument for its inclusion (that only a small
fraction of the community seems to mind). This is a two-way street. I
would argue that only a small fraction of the community opposes its
removal, and that the overwhelming majority would not miss it.

Quoting you again [00052]:
> Please stop pretending the subject of the snippet is abortion.  The
> topic is censorship, and the irony of a group censoring a denouncement
> of censorship would be delicious if it weren't so tragic.

Likewise, please stop pretending it's not a sensitive topic and that
nobody cares about whether it's a direct joke or a "two-levels removed"
allusion. Your point is clear. If it weren't a tool to further your
political movement, you wouldn't be "freedom fighting" those who wish it
removed.

> 
> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
> project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
> betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should
> stand for, so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely
> technical documentation that won't bring anyone any moral
> discomfort.  Way to go to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone,
> standing for nothing, giving up and betraying the essential 
> freedoms.  What a shame!
> 

Now, as far as FSF vs. GNU is concerned, if GNU is going to "take a side"
which "side" will it be? What gives you the right to assume that it won't
be the other wide which also views itself as "freedom fighter"?

I look forward to reading an official statement or editorial on the
matter.

Respectfully,

ZV
Zack Weinberg - May 4, 2018, 1:09 a.m.
On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 4:11 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
>
> I'm very disappointed and baffled that an allusion to a taboo topic
> that's two-levels removed, in a context in which the taboo topic is
> already established and unavoidable, is enough for people to gang up
> against not only the founder and leader of the movement, but also its
> most fundamental value, and to take the opposite side, practicing
> censorship and, by removing the criticism, taking the side of the
> censors that established the denounced censorship law.

My day job is all about monitoring, researching, and engaging in
advocacy against online censorship.  As such I take exception to
cheapening the word "censorship" by applying it to the present
argument.

The "gag rule" which the original passage was intended to comment on
is indeed an act of censorship.  It was imposed by a sovereign state,
on ordinary citizens and organizations, restricting them from saying
certain things, without exception or recourse, backed up by an
explicit threat of withdrawal of funding, and an implicit threat of
violence (as all state acts are).  That's the central meaning of the
word.

It is legitimate to expand the definition to non-state actors who are
also in a position of significant power, capable of imposing similar
bans on entire types of content, groups of people, or subjects of
discussion, without recourse.  Facebook, for instance, is in a
position to act as a censor, and arguably does censor with its "real
names" policy which excludes entire groups of people from a public
forum because either they wish to remain anonymous, or their actual
names don't look sufficiently "real" to whoever is making the call
today.  Another historical example is the Comics Code Authority, a
cartel of comic-book publishers who, for several decades collectively
refused to print anything that didn't fit a narrow, socially normative
ideal.

But what's happening here and now is not censorship.  I committed a
patch which I believed to have consensus of the active maintainers.
The original author of the text removed by the patch objected to the
change, and we are now discussing whether the text should be
reinstated or replaced with something new.  Nobody in the conversation
has any particular power over anyone else, and no decisions are being
taken in secret or without recourse.  I still won't back the patch out
myself, but if you or anyone else does, I can't stop you.

----

> that the patch was rushed in after less than 48 hours of debate when
> most of us know his email cycles are often longer than that, and that
> the person who installed the patch, in spite of expressing regret for
> not contacting RMS first, does not offer to correct the mistake and
> allow for consensus to be built, insisting on the fait accompli until
> someone else offers to revert the change.

It's fair to ask why I didn't consult RMS.  First off, I honestly did
not know that he reads and replies to email in batches with a day or
more of lag.  I cannot remember the last time I had any reason to
communicate with him about _anything_, and my current email archive
(which goes back to 2005ish) contains only a handful of messages from
him prior to this conversation, all of which were addressed to mailing
list threads that I wasn't involved with.

The passage that was removed did have an annotation in the Texinfo
source specifically saying that it was written by RMS and was not to
be removed.  However, that annotation (and the passage itself) is so
old that the git history does not record when it was added; it has
been untouched since before 1995.  I assumed that he would not care
any more, perhaps not even remember, and it did not seem important
enough to bother him about.  Again, I regret this incorrect assumption.

Despite that, I don't think I did anything wrong procedurally.  RMS
may be the project leader, but he is not a glibc maintainer.  His
wishes regarding glibc are perhaps to be given _some_ more weight than
those of any other individual, particularly when he is also the author
of text under dispute, but we have never, to my knowledge, treated
them as mandates.

----

> most of the appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to
> disregard it, to betray the core values, to practice the opposite of
> what we should stand for, so that we can have bland, pasteurized,
> neutral purely technical documentation that won't bring anyone any
> moral discomfort.

Speaking only for myself, it is not moral discomfort that I am
concerned with when I say that the manual should avoid the topics of
abortion and abortion-related censorship.  I am concerned with
personal trauma.  I know people who have actually had abortions.  I
also know people who _didn't_ have abortions despite significant
family pressure to do so.  For all of them, the incident is long in
the past, but the nerves are still raw enough that it is not something
casually discussed, certainly not joked about.

But this is just another anecdote, similar to those several other
people have offered.  And to be frank, I _don't_ know what they would
think of either RMS's original joke or any of the suggested
replacements.  This brings me to an important meta-point.  Almost
everyone involved in this thread uses a stereotypically male name.  It
seems likely that most, if not all, of us can at best claim to _know_
people who have been directly affected by either the gag rule, or the
restrictions and controversy over access to abortion, birth control,
etc. more generally.

I have been taking a hard line here -- these are not appropriate
topics for the manual _at all_ -- because I don't think any of us is
qualified to write a _good_ joke on this topic, one that would
actually be cathartic for the people most directly affected by either
abortion- or censorship-related trauma, when they happen upon it
unexpectedly in a document that isn't about that. I suppose we could
hire Leslie Jones to write one for us.

zw
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 4, 2018, 2:55 a.m.
On 05/04/2018 01:41 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the

The reason for me is not aesthetic, nor are the topics taboo. Your 
extension of the definition of core values of the GNU project is a 
feature creep that risks diluting the original message that the GNU 
project holds up for the Free software movement, which is software 
freedom.  It is a message that gets continually eroded as corporations 
try and find ways to be compliant by giving away as less of the freedoms 
as they can or diluting them as much as they can.

 > project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of
 > the
 > appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
 > betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should
 > stand
 > for, so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely technical
 > documentation that won't bring anyone any moral discomfort.  Way to go

The point is not to make the manual bland and neutral, it is to avoid 
giving an excuse to take focus away from the core idea of software 
freedom.  It is not the opposite of what we stand for, it is a clear 
separation so that we don't end up confusing all of the things we stand for.

> to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
> giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!

Alex please think about what you're working so hard to defend and 
reinstate here.

It is a joke.
That is not even that funny.
That is not even that effective in communicating its purpose clearly.
That is barely read by anyone given its place in the manual.
That not relevant to the manual
That risks diluting our core message of the GNU project

Please think about whether this is worth accusing well meaning friends 
of losing their moral compass.

Siddhesh
Richard Stallman - May 4, 2018, 4:19 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
  > which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
  > are not considered censorship.

Abortion is not illegal in the US.  It is also not illegal where women's health
organizations give information about it (and thus lose US aid funds).

However, I don't think that the reasons for including the joke
depend on that point.
Florian Weimer - May 4, 2018, 9:24 a.m.
* Richard Stallman:

>   > In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
>   > which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
>   > are not considered censorship.
>
> Abortion is not illegal in the US.

This wasn't my point.  And I really do not want to discuss the
semantics associated with the word here.

I would be very disappointed if the GNU project promotes extreme views
on censorship (that is, only governments can do it, and that any
restriction on free speech is harmful) because I believe that
censorship is always a possibility when there is a power differential,
that you need a regulated environment to have truly open debate, and
that some speech is directly harmful and governments can legitimately
choose to ban it.

Furthermore, views on censorship (or abortion) should not matter at
all to users and contributors of the GNU C Library.  We want to be
open to all kinds of people who support the free software movement, or
maybe are just interested in maintaining a C library.
Rich Felker - May 4, 2018, 4:31 p.m.
On Fri, May 04, 2018 at 08:25:58AM +0530, Siddhesh Poyarekar wrote:
> On 05/04/2018 01:41 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> >would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> >discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
> 
> The reason for me is not aesthetic, nor are the topics taboo. Your
> extension of the definition of core values of the GNU project is a
> feature creep that risks diluting the original message that the GNU
> project holds up for the Free software movement, which is software
> freedom.  It is a message that gets continually eroded as
> corporations try and find ways to be compliant by giving away as
> less of the freedoms as they can or diluting them as much as they
> can.
> 
> > project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of
> > the
> > appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
> > betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should
> > stand
> > for, so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely technical
> > documentation that won't bring anyone any moral discomfort.  Way to go
> 
> The point is not to make the manual bland and neutral, it is to
> avoid giving an excuse to take focus away from the core idea of
> software freedom.  It is not the opposite of what we stand for, it
> is a clear separation so that we don't end up confusing all of the
> things we stand for.
> 
> >to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
> >giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!
> 
> Alex please think about what you're working so hard to defend and
> reinstate here.
> 
> It is a joke.
> That is not even that funny.
> That is not even that effective in communicating its purpose clearly.
> That is barely read by anyone given its place in the manual.
> That not relevant to the manual
> That risks diluting our core message of the GNU project
> 
> Please think about whether this is worth accusing well meaning
> friends of losing their moral compass.

This. It's not funny. It's not effective. As someone who supports the
intended message behind it, it's distasteful to me.

Perhaps a useful way forward would be for RMS to contact several
prominent groups doing pro-choice advocacy and specifically advocacy
against gag rules, and ask for relevant expert opinions on whether
this kind of "joke" is beneficial to their work or hostile and
offensive, rather than relying on a bunch of guys with opinions on the
internet...

Rich
Richard Stallman - May 5, 2018, 4:05 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > I would be very disappointed if the GNU project promotes extreme views
  > on censorship (that is, only governments can do it, and that any
  > restriction on free speech is harmful)

The GNU Project doesn't state any views about those specific questions.

The joke in the libc manual doesn't, either.  It mocks a specific US
government censorship program -- it doesn't present a philosophical
treatise on censorship.
Alexandre Oliva - May 5, 2018, 4:06 a.m.
On May  3, 2018, Siddhesh Poyarekar <siddhesh@gotplt.org> wrote:

> Your extension of the definition of core values of the GNU project is
> a feature creep that risks diluting the original message that the GNU
> project holds up for the Free software movement, which is software
> freedom.

I spoke of core values of the Free Software movement, of which GNU is a
very significant part.  I did not extend them: the same ethical
imperatives that require software to respect users' four essential
freedoms apply equally to documentation and all other sorts of
information for practical use, and the Free Software movement has very
long stood for them applied to all sorts of information for practical
use, despite the more widely known focus on software.


>> to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
>> giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!

> Alex please think about what you're working so hard to defend and
> reinstate here.

> It is a joke.
> That is not even that funny.
> That is not even that effective in communicating its purpose clearly.
> That is barely read by anyone given its place in the manual.
> That not relevant to the manual
> That risks diluting our core message of the GNU project

I agree it's not that funny.  I agree it might not be that effective, if
it triggers such fierce emotional reactions on GNU libc developers.  I
agree it is probably hardly ever read, considering it only goes in
printed versions of the manual.  I don't agree it dilutes our core
message, in that it opposes censorship of information for practical use;
if anything, it reinforces or informs that our goal is not as narrow as
you purport it to be.  That, in turn, makes it relevant to the manual.
I don't think it needs to be a great joke for it to be effective in
bypassing learned mind paths.  Perhaps that's exactly what makes it so
disturbing?

All of these arguments can be easily turned around: why do people care
so much about removing it, and claiming the joke is about abortion, or
that the issue is about taking a stance about abortion, in spite of the
self-evident fact that it's just taking a stand about censorship?  Such
fierce reaction cannot be explained by rational thought alone.  It's so
loaded of emotion, of passion, that there is something else going on
behind the scenes, even if individuals that value rationality so highly
won't admit to it, and might not even be aware of it.

I acknowledge that my reaction to what I'm seeing is visceral.  I
respond very passionately to what smells and tastes and walks and quacks
like censorship to me.

Why are others responding with such passion for the removal of a passage
that is as unimportant as you describe it?  I struggle to understand it.
Can you offer any theory to explain it?

I do know that a few ill-intentioned individuals are occasionally enough
to induce a flash mob and get otherwise well-meaning people to behave in
very disturbing ways.  I don't know that we have that, and I don't want
to assume that we do.  The taboo theory suggested by my wife was not
just the one that made the most sense to me, but also that did not
require assuming bad faith on any of the participants, just a
not-entirely-unusual too-strong emotional reaction to a stimulus that is
in some way related with some taboo or an otherwise very emotionally
loaded subject.

The fierce emotional reactions displayed here might suggest that the
presence of the snippet is harmful, if the target audience could be
assumed to react in the same way the developers have.  But there is a
non-negligible possibility that developers just fear certain undesirable
reactions from the target audience, and pursue the removal out of that
fear.  Some might even advise that certain topics are better left out
from humor, based on such fears.

I ask you all to contrast that, however, with RMS's display of masterful
use of humor to promote Free Software values, while performing Saint
Ignucius and joking about religion, probably the one topic that would be
most strongly advised against in manuals on politically correct humor,
and even humor in general.


> Please think about whether this is worth accusing well meaning friends
> of losing their moral compass.

I hope I didn't get that far; temporary disorientation might be a better
description of the theory that's in my mind, which is supported by the
cognitive dissonance between the fact that nobody claimed to support
censorship (several claimed to oppose it), and the contradictory fact
that this is precisely what's going on with the attempt to mob-impose
the removal of a snippet that the project leader wishes to keep
exclusively in manuals to be printed by the foundation he presides.

If I did get that far, I apologize for not expressing my thoughts and
theories clearly enough, and for the distress my failure to do so may
have caused on any of you.
Richard Stallman - May 5, 2018, 4:07 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > Perhaps a useful way forward would be for RMS to contact several
  > prominent groups doing pro-choice advocacy

I don't entirely agree with their stated views, so I wouldn't want
to follow all of their advice.

Anyway, what they do (campaigning) is very different from
what I've done in the GNU Libc manual.  Experience about the former
is not particularly pertinent to the latter.

					       and specifically advocacy
  > against gag rules, and ask for relevant expert opinions on whether

If you find a couple of people who want to talk with me about this, I
will write to them and C what they say.  I don't promise to do what
they say, but I will think about what they say.
Alexandre Oliva - May 5, 2018, 4:18 a.m.
On May  3, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:

> But what's happening here and now is not censorship.  I committed a
> patch which I believed to have consensus of the active maintainers.
> The original author of the text removed by the patch objected to the
> change, and we are now discussing whether the text should be
> reinstated or replaced with something new.  Nobody in the conversation
> has any particular power over anyone else, and no decisions are being
> taken in secret or without recourse.  I still won't back the patch out
> myself, but if you or anyone else does, I can't stop you.

I respectfully disagree.  The group does have that power, and it is
wielding that power against its leader, while the leader attempts to
resist with minimal support.  That's the struggle underway.

Would you agree to name it an attempt at censorship?

> It's fair to ask why I didn't consult RMS.  First off, I honestly did
> not know that he reads and replies to email in batches with a day or
> more of lag.

Thanks for the clarification.  I hereby acknowledge that neither your
general stance nor your description seem to support the notion that you
behaved with an intent to deny RMS a chance to oppose the removal, or
that you deviated from the community procedures.  This is quite a
relief.

> Speaking only for myself, it is not moral discomfort that I am
> concerned with when I say that the manual should avoid the topics of
> abortion and abortion-related censorship.  I am concerned with
> personal trauma.  I know people who have actually had abortions.  I
> also know people who _didn't_ have abortions despite significant
> family pressure to do so.  For all of them, the incident is long in
> the past, but the nerves are still raw enough that it is not something
> casually discussed, certainly not joked about.

Given your accumulated experience at your day job, could you offer
insights on personal trauma of people who suffered censorship, and how
they might react to humor denouncing censorship?  That would probably be
a far more valuable insight for the conversation at hand.

Thanks,
Alexandre Oliva - May 5, 2018, 4:48 a.m.
On May  3, 2018, Zach van Rijn <me@zv.io> wrote:

> On Thu, 2018-05-03 at 17:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> On May  3, 2018, Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:
>> 
>> > In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
>> > which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal
>> > acts are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list
>> > abortion in this context without taking sides.

> I agree with Florian's latter point: "I don't think you can list abortion
> in this context without taking sides."

Contrast with the famous quote "I don't agree with what you say, but
I'll defend to death your right to say it."

> If it is appropriate for a "freedom fighter" to demand that a joke
> supporting abortion be included in the manual

That's a straw man.  The joke under discussion does not support (human)
abortion in any way; it doesn't even support the abortion of programs!
Please read it again, below, and point out where or explain why you
believe it does.

@strong{Future Change Warning:} Proposed Federal censorship regulations
may prohibit us from giving you information about the possibility of
calling this function.  We would be required to say that this is not an
acceptable way of terminating a program.


> a "freedom fighter" on the other "side" to demand that SIGCHLD be
> relabeled "terminate an unwanted child process ignoring its silent
> scream" --

That would be technically inaccurate (SIGCHLD is delivered to the parent
process when a child process dies), but it could be adjusted to make for
technically accurate criticism of abortion, if we set out to do so.
Nobody has suggested us to take a stand for or against abortion, though,
so that's a non-issue.


> Or perhaps, as I've stated previously, and numerous others have
> expressed: the glibc manual is not the appropriate forum for a public
> statement by either side of [the topic of human abortion].

Nobody has expressed disagreement with that.

The core of the misunderstanding seems to be the unwarranted assumption
that the joke does so.

> When you use the term "gang up" what you're saying is, that you notice
> how (many) others have been vocal about keeping this particular joke out
> of the documentation, a viewpoint you seem to oppose.

That term also highlights the highly emotional mob behavior that I
observe.

> I would argue that only a small fraction of the community opposes its
> removal, and that the overwhelming majority would not miss it.

That is quite an understatement.  The reaction is a lot more than "would
not miss it".  It comes across as Dr Who's Daleks' "EX TERMINATE!  EX
TERMINATE!"  Excuse me if that reeks of censorship to the point of
turning me into a fierce opponent of the removal of a snippet that I
formerly didn't care so much about.

> Now, as far as FSF vs. GNU is concerned, if GNU is going to "take a side"
> which "side" will it be?

For the freedom to distribute unmodified copies of the information for
practical use, and the freedom to distribute improved copies of the
information for practical use.  It's hardly news that the Free Software
movement takes that stance.

That such freedom is denied by the censorship law on information for
practical use about human abortion seems to be surprising news.  How
come?
Javier Serrano Polo - May 5, 2018, 7:40 a.m.
El ds 05 de 05 de 2018 a les 01:06 -0300, Alexandre Oliva va escriure:
> it is probably hardly ever read, considering it only goes in
> printed versions of the manual.

http://www.gnu.org/software/libc/manual/html_node/Aborting-a-Program.html
https://packages.debian.org/sid/glibc-doc-reference

> Why are others responding with such passion for the removal of a
> passage
> that is as unimportant as you describe it?  I struggle to understand
> it.
> Can you offer any theory to explain it?

Humor issues in collaborative projects are nothing new. Some users do
not understand jokes, no matter how intelligent they are. Other people
are significantly happier with funny environments. Both groups deserve
respect; when you realize this, you are able to find solutions.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 5, 2018, 12:19 p.m.
On 05/05/2018 09:36 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I spoke of core values of the Free Software movement, of which GNU is a
> very significant part.  I did not extend them: the same ethical
> imperatives that require software to respect users' four essential
> freedoms apply equally to documentation and all other sorts of
> information for practical use, and the Free Software movement has very
> long stood for them applied to all sorts of information for practical
> use, despite the more widely known focus on software.

I know you spoke of the core values of the FSF, I'm making a case for 
making a distinction because they're not the same thing, which makes the 
case for a dodgy joke even weaker.

> I agree it's not that funny.  I agree it might not be that effective, if
> it triggers such fierce emotional reactions on GNU libc developers.  I
> agree it is probably hardly ever read, considering it only goes in
> printed versions of the manual.  I don't agree it dilutes our core
> message, in that it opposes censorship of information for practical use;
> if anything, it reinforces or informs that our goal is not as narrow as
> you purport it to be.  That, in turn, makes it relevant to the manual.
> I don't think it needs to be a great joke for it to be effective in
> bypassing learned mind paths.  Perhaps that's exactly what makes it so
> disturbing?

My argument is that the joke is vague enough that it can be interpreted 
by reasonable people in different enough ways to cause more confusion 
than information.  The fact that we are having this conversation should 
be sufficient evidence.  In fact I'm sure that even after all of these 
emails there would be many still left with the wrong idea of what that 
snippet meant.

> All of these arguments can be easily turned around: why do people care
> so much about removing it, and claiming the joke is about abortion, or
> that the issue is about taking a stance about abortion, in spite of the
> self-evident fact that it's just taking a stand about censorship?  Such
> fierce reaction cannot be explained by rational thought alone.  It's so
> loaded of emotion, of passion, that there is something else going on
> behind the scenes, even if individuals that value rationality so highly
> won't admit to it, and might not even be aware of it.

I wasn't one of those offended so I can't explain what they're going 
through, but I definitely am one of those confused; it took me a couple 
of readings and some US history/current affairs lessons to actually 
understand what is being talked about.

> I acknowledge that my reaction to what I'm seeing is visceral.  I
> respond very passionately to what smells and tastes and walks and quacks
> like censorship to me.
 >
> Why are others responding with such passion for the removal of a passage
> that is as unimportant as you describe it?  I struggle to understand it.
> Can you offer any theory to explain it?
> 
> I do know that a few ill-intentioned individuals are occasionally enough
> to induce a flash mob and get otherwise well-meaning people to behave in
> very disturbing ways.  I don't know that we have that, and I don't want
> to assume that we do.  The taboo theory suggested by my wife was not
> just the one that made the most sense to me, but also that did not
> require assuming bad faith on any of the participants, just a
> not-entirely-unusual too-strong emotional reaction to a stimulus that is
> in some way related with some taboo or an otherwise very emotionally
> loaded subject.
> 
> The fierce emotional reactions displayed here might suggest that the
> presence of the snippet is harmful, if the target audience could be
> assumed to react in the same way the developers have.  But there is a
> non-negligible possibility that developers just fear certain undesirable
> reactions from the target audience, and pursue the removal out of that
> fear.  Some might even advise that certain topics are better left out
> from humor, based on such fears.

Maybe the fear stems from the fact that the joke is vague and needs very 
specific information to get its intended meaning.  Most people in this 
thread who read it the first time got the meaning wrong from the looks 
of it and that should be reason enough to realize that it has potential 
to do more harm than good.  The case against that snippet becomes even 
weaker if you don't perceive a direct connection with the intended 
message and the GNU projects core values and I know we differ there.

> I ask you all to contrast that, however, with RMS's display of masterful
> use of humor to promote Free Software values, while performing Saint
> Ignucius and joking about religion, probably the one topic that would be
> most strongly advised against in manuals on politically correct humor,
> and even humor in general.

I have seen videos of it and they're kinda funny in an 80's sense but I 
wouldn't really call them masterful :)  In any case, that bit seems to 
come off more as self-deprecating than joking about religion since that 
sounds more like he is making fun of himself and his position in the 
FSF, more so because he is not that masterful at delivering those lines, 
which is fine since he is not a standup comedian.

> I hope I didn't get that far; temporary disorientation might be a better
> description of the theory that's in my mind, which is supported by the
> cognitive dissonance between the fact that nobody claimed to support
> censorship (several claimed to oppose it), and the contradictory fact
> that this is precisely what's going on with the attempt to mob-impose
> the removal of a snippet that the project leader wishes to keep
> exclusively in manuals to be printed by the foundation he presides.
> 
> If I did get that far, I apologize for not expressing my thoughts and
> theories clearly enough, and for the distress my failure to do so may
> have caused on any of you.

Having met you in person many times, I know how passionate you can be in 
your arguments and also know that there's no malice in there.  However 
we are currently talking over email (which often loses so much of that 
context) so I want to be sure you realize that we are on the same side :)

Siddhesh
Richard Stallman - May 6, 2018, 3:16 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > My argument is that the joke is vague enough that it can be interpreted 
  > by reasonable people in different enough ways to cause more confusion 
  > than information.

That argument is rather strained and flimsy -- it can't demonstrate
much.

However, I would not mind adding a brief footnote to explain the joke.
Richard Stallman - May 6, 2018, 3:17 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  >   I assumed that he would not care
  > any more, perhaps not even remember, and it did not seem important
  > enough to bother him about.  Again, I regret this incorrect assumption.

Everyone makes mistakes, and that's not a big deal.  But since you
know it was a mistake, please undo it.
Richard Stallman - May 6, 2018, 3:17 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > The reason for me is not aesthetic, nor are the topics taboo. Your 
  > extension of the definition of core values of the GNU project is a 
  > feature creep that risks diluting the original message that the GNU 
  > project holds up for the Free software movement, which is software 
  > freedom.

The FSF defends basic human rights on the internet, and has said
so for decades.

  > The point is not to make the manual bland and neutral, it is to avoid 
  > giving an excuse to take focus away from the core idea of software 
  > freedom.

In theory, I agree with you, but in practice it is not a significant
problem in this case.
Alexandre Oliva - May 6, 2018, 5:02 a.m.
On May  5, 2018, Siddhesh Poyarekar <siddhesh@gotplt.org> wrote:

> On 05/05/2018 09:36 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> I spoke of core values of the Free Software movement, of which GNU is a
>> very significant part.  I did not extend them: the same ethical
>> imperatives that require software to respect users' four essential
>> freedoms apply equally to documentation and all other sorts of
>> information for practical use, and the Free Software movement has very
>> long stood for them applied to all sorts of information for practical
>> use, despite the more widely known focus on software.

> I know you spoke of the core values of the FSF

Again, I spoke of the core values of the Free Software movement, not
quite the same thing as the organization founded at first to support,
legal and financially, the development of GNU.


> I have seen videos of it and they're kinda funny in an 80's sense but
> I wouldn't really call them masterful :)

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I've been present at many
of RMS's speeches, and when Saint Ignucius speaks, it's almost like
those shows on TV that have recorded laughter at punchlines.  Except
that there's no recording there, the audience really does explode in
laugther several times.

I had the occasion to be unable to get into the classroom in which
Richard was speaking recently.  From outside, I couldn't hear what he
said, but I could hear the laughter explosions several times throughout
the speech, and more so close to the end, during what was evidently
Saint Ignucius's speech.

But this just tells us it's funny, not that it's an effective use of
humor as a tool to convey deeper messages.  I don't know how to assess
the latter; what I do know is that nobody walked out of the classroom at
that time, which would have to be expected if one assumed that a lot of
people would feel offended, disgusted or even outraged by such humor.


> Having met you in person many times, I know how passionate you can be
> in your arguments and also know that there's no malice in there.

Thanks

> However we are currently talking over email (which often loses so much
> of that context) so I want to be sure you realize that we are on the
> same side :)

:-)
Zack Weinberg - May 6, 2018, 6 p.m.
On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 11:17 PM, Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> wrote:
> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
>
>   >   I assumed that he would not care
>   > any more, perhaps not even remember, and it did not seem important
>   > enough to bother him about.  Again, I regret this incorrect assumption.
>
> Everyone makes mistakes, and that's not a big deal.  But since you
> know it was a mistake, please undo it.

I only said that not consulting you in advance was a mistake.

Removing the joke from the manual was not a mistake, and I will not
undo that change myself, nor will I commit any patch that introduces a
replacement.

zw
Zack Weinberg - May 6, 2018, 7:01 p.m.
On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 12:18 AM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
> On May  3, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:
>> Nobody in the conversation has any particular power over anyone
>> else, and no decisions are being taken in secret or without
>> recourse.  I still won't back the patch out myself, but if you or
>> anyone else does, I can't stop you.
>
> I respectfully disagree.  The group does have that power, and it is
> wielding that power against its leader, while the leader attempts to
> resist with minimal support.  That's the struggle underway.
>
> Would you agree to name it an attempt at censorship?

No.  This is not any kind of censorship or attempted censorship.
This is an editorial disagreement among the coauthors of a document.

Again: to be censorship someone in the discussion would have to have
the power to force others to go along with their unilateral decision
or else suffer personal consequences, such as inability to speak one's
mind _anywhere_ that it might be heard, loss of employment, loss of
funding, or physical violence.  Nobody involved can do anything of the
sort.

(Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader _shouldn't_ have
ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
maintainers of a specific piece of software.  He should have to
persuade us to change our minds, instead.)

> Given your accumulated experience at your day job, could you offer
> insights on personal trauma of people who suffered censorship, and
> how they might react to humor denouncing censorship?  That would
> probably be a far more valuable insight for the conversation at
> hand.

That's a big topic.  I will try to answer briefly.

Censorship is most likely to be personally traumatic when it directly
affects people trying to _publish_ material.  It doesn't have to lead
to jailtime or other such extreme sanctions to do that.  In fact, it
doesn't even have to be happening at all!  People can get very, very
upset just because they _think_ their website is being deprioritized
by a search engine for political reasons, or their social media
presence is "shadowbanned", or similar, even if what's really going on
is that nobody links to them because nobody wants to hear about how
the earth is flat.

In countries where there's been a lot of censorship for a long time,
we see "chilling effects" where people have an internal model of what
the censors don't want you to talk about, and they avoid those topics
themselves.  We also see this contributing to radicalization.  When
people are frustrated that they can't speak their minds to a general
audience, they will find quiet corners where they _can_ speak their
minds, and when the other people in those quiet corners tell them that
there is a government conspiracy manipulating everything, they'll be
receptive.

Humor denouncing censorship is common, enthusiastically received, and
often deliberately allowed to stand by the censors, because they know
that it serves as a release valve for tension that might otherwise
feed more effective modes of protest.  They also know that it is
relatively easy for humor that was _intended_ to denounce censorship
to instead read as if it is mocking the people who are getting
censored, which both plays into the censors' hands, and contributes to
the trauma of the censorship itself.

Let me give an example that isn't related to the argument we're having
right now.  A few months ago, the CDN company CloudFlare decided that
they no longer wanted to do business with the people responsible for a
major neofascist website (IIRC it was Stormfront, but don't quote me
on that).  A couple weeks ago, probably as a consequence of the SESTA
legislation in the USA, they decided that they also didn't want to do
business with the people responsible for an important advertising
venue for sex work (don't remember which one and can't look it up at
the moment).  Both of these are indeed acts of censorship in a broad
sense.  I've seen several attempts at mockery go by, in which the
authors attempt to make fun of CloudFlare for treating sex-work ads as
just as problematic as neofascism.  Some of them were actually funny.
Others wound up reading like "if only those sex workers were
neofascists then the company would have worried more about dumping
them", which is technically still criticism of CloudFlare, but imagine
yourself reading it from the shoes of the sex worker who's now in
significantly more personal danger: it comes across as blaming _them_
for not being neofascists, which is extra awful in this case because
they may well be in significantly more personal danger _from_ the
neofascists.

Now let's go back to the joke that we're arguing about.  In the
description of the C library function named "abort," the manual has a
box in which it warns that "proposed censorship regulations may
prohibit us from giving you information about the possibility of
calling this function."  Put yourself in the shoes of someone who
doesn't know about the USA's "gag rule", but does know that the
English word for intentionally terminating a pregnancy is "abort", and
that this is controversial in many places, and, perhaps, has had to
struggle with a decision to do this or not do this herself.

Do you see that it can be read as _trivializing_ that decision, by
comparing it to the actually-trivial decision that a programmer makes
when they write code that calls abort()?

Do you see how _merely bringing the topic up at all_ could be an
unwelcome reminder for someone who had had a bad abortion-related
experience in the past, whatever that was?

zw
Zack Weinberg - May 6, 2018, 7:17 p.m.
On Sun, May 6, 2018 at 3:01 PM, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:
> Now let's go back to the joke that we're arguing about.  In the
> description of the C library function named "abort," the manual has a
> box in which it warns that "proposed censorship regulations may
> prohibit us from giving you information about the possibility of
> calling this function."  Put yourself in the shoes of someone who
> doesn't know about the USA's "gag rule", but does know that the
> English word for intentionally terminating a pregnancy is "abort", and
> that this is controversial in many places, and, perhaps, has had to
> struggle with a decision to do this or not do this herself.
>
> Do you see that it can be read as _trivializing_ that decision, by
> comparing it to the actually-trivial decision that a programmer makes
> when they write code that calls abort()?

Maybe even more importantly, do you see how this trivializes _the
censorship_, by virtue of that same implicit comparison?

zw
Alexandre Oliva - May 6, 2018, 8:18 p.m.
On May  6, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:

> (Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
> stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader _shouldn't_ have
> ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
> maintainers of a specific piece of software.  He should have to
> persuade us to change our minds, instead.)

Do you agree, however, that the consensus was only apparent, because
nobody else thought of asking him, and I, who was uncomfortable with the
change, decided to only speak up after consulting him?

> That's a big topic.  I will try to answer briefly.

Thanks for taking the time to put together all that information!  That's
appreciated.


> Now let's go back to the joke that we're arguing about.  In the
> description of the C library function named "abort," the manual has a
> box in which it warns that "proposed censorship regulations may
> prohibit us from giving you information about the possibility of
> calling this function."  Put yourself in the shoes of someone who
> doesn't know about the USA's "gag rule", but does know that the
> English word for intentionally terminating a pregnancy is "abort",
> and that this is controversial in many places, and, perhaps, has had
> to struggle with a decision to do this or not do this herself.

Wait, is it only for intentional termination?  I was thinking
miscarriage throughout most of the entire conversation, and missed some
of the possibilities of trauma for that.

As for not knowing about the law, that's a shortcoming that's easy to
fix with more speech, not less.

We could have a note along these lines, sidestepping the humor, giving
more information and still clearly taking the anti-censorship stand:

  It is our belief that our providing information on how to call this
  function, or what it does, does not run afoul of the unjust US gag
  rule that punishes with financial strangling organizations that offer
  medical advice or information about the possibility of interrupting
  pregnancies.  If our understanding is found to be incorrect, we may be
  forced to remove this piece of documentation.  That would be
  unfortunate, but not as bad as being forced to withhold from patients
  information that could enable them to decide more intelligently about
  their own health and lives.


> Do you see that it can be read as _trivializing_ that decision, by
> comparing it to the actually-trivial decision that a programmer makes
> when they write code that calls abort()?

> Maybe even more importantly, do you see how this trivializes _the
> censorship_, by virtue of that same implicit comparison?

I think I do, and I hope the suggestion above addresses both points.


> Do you see how _merely bringing the topic up at all_ could be an
> unwelcome reminder for someone who had had a bad abortion-related
> experience in the past, whatever that was?

I do, but I also realize that the alternative would be to remove the
documentation for abort altogether.  Since nobody suggested us to do
that, I assume we're in consensus about documenting it regardless of the
fact that it is a reminder of such traumatic experiences.  Hopefully the
suggestion above will put it under an adequate light.
Zack Weinberg - May 6, 2018, 10:56 p.m.
On Sun, May 6, 2018 at 4:18 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
> On May  6, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:
>
>> (Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
>> stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader _shouldn't_ have
>> ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
>> maintainers of a specific piece of software.  He should have to
>> persuade us to change our minds, instead.)
>
> Do you agree, however, that the consensus was only apparent, because
> nobody else thought of asking him, and I, who was uncomfortable with the
> change, decided to only speak up after consulting him?

I am not sure if I understand this question.  If the following
hypothetical scenario doesn't answer it, please let me know what you
still want to know.

Suppose that last week, at the point when I committed the patch, I had
instead contacted RMS directly to inform him that we were considering
the removal of his joke and we wanted to know if he still felt it
should stay there.  Suppose also that he had replied more or less as
he actually did, saying only that he did want it to stay there,
without offering any more compelling of an argument for its presence
than what he has so far posted, and suppose that all the other people
involved took the same positions they actually did.

In that case, I would have given the discussion a few more days to
settle, but after getting to where we are today -- everyone's position
seems to have hardened and nobody is offering new arguments for or
against -- it would still have been my assessment that the consensus
of the active maintainers of glibc was to remove the joke.  I might
have left the final call to someone more centrally involved than
myself, though.

> Wait, is [abort] only for intentional termination?  I was thinking
> miscarriage throughout most of the entire conversation, and missed some
> of the possibilities of trauma for that.

In modern American English, yes, "abort[ion]" is applied only to
intentional termination of a human pregnancy.  I think I have read
older, possibly British, texts where it was used for miscarriage
caused by a bacterial infection...but that was in farm animals (cows,
sheep).

> We could have a note along these lines, sidestepping the humor, giving
> more information and still clearly taking the anti-censorship stand:
>
>   It is our belief that our providing information on how to call this
>   function, or what it does, does not run afoul of the unjust US gag
>   rule that punishes with financial strangling organizations that offer
>   medical advice or information about the possibility of interrupting
>   pregnancies.  If our understanding is found to be incorrect, we may be
>   forced to remove this piece of documentation.  That would be
>   unfortunate, but not as bad as being forced to withhold from patients
>   information that could enable them to decide more intelligently about
>   their own health and lives.

This seems plausible as a starting point for an editorial article
about the gag rule posted on the FSF's website, but it is still
inappropriate for the glibc manual, IMHO.

A trivializing comparison is inherent in bringing up abortion in the
medical sense in the context of a C library function.  I do not see
any way to avoid this with clever words; the only solution that
presently seems acceptable to me is for the manual to leave the topic
strictly untouched.

>> Do you see how _merely bringing the topic up at all_ could be an
>> unwelcome reminder for someone who had had a bad abortion-related
>> experience in the past, whatever that was?
>
> I do, but I also realize that the alternative would be to remove the
> documentation for abort altogether.

I don't see how that follows.  The problem is not with the _word_
'abort'; it has several senses and the manual _would_ be clearly using
it in the sense of "stop a mechanical process that has malfunctioned",
like you abort a rocket launch when it goes off course; that doesn't
have negative associations...as long as we don't bring up the
"intentional termination of pregnancy" sense.

(There _are_ words that are problematic in themselves to the point
where I would support eradicating them from the manual, e.g. 'slave',
but this is not one of them.)

zw
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 12:06 a.m.
On May  6, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:

> On Sun, May 6, 2018 at 4:18 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
>> On May  6, 2018, Zack Weinberg <zackw@panix.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> (Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
>>> stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader _shouldn't_ have
>>> ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
>>> maintainers of a specific piece of software.  He should have to
>>> persuade us to change our minds, instead.)
>> 
>> Do you agree, however, that the consensus was only apparent, because
>> nobody else thought of asking him, and I, who was uncomfortable with the
>> change, decided to only speak up after consulting him?

> I am not sure if I understand this question.  If the following
> hypothetical scenario doesn't answer it, please let me know what you
> still want to know.

Your hypothetical scenario seems to have been carefully crafted so as to
discount my opinion.  I may not have been an active GNU libc developer,
but I'm still appointed by the GNU project as one of the maintainers,
and part of the job is precisely to stand for GNU's values and try to
steer the community when it diverges from that.

>> Wait, is [abort] only for intentional termination?  I was thinking
>> miscarriage throughout most of the entire conversation, and missed some
>> of the possibilities of trauma for that.

> In modern American English, yes, "abort[ion]" is applied only to
> intentional termination of a human pregnancy.

Interesting.  I believe this is not the case in Latin-based languages;
at least it isn't in those I speak.

>>> Do you see how _merely bringing the topic up at all_ could be an
>>> unwelcome reminder for someone who had had a bad abortion-related
>>> experience in the past, whatever that was?

>> I do, but I also realize that the alternative would be to remove the
>> documentation for abort altogether.

> I don't see how that follows.

The first point I brought into this conversation was that, possibly
because of my language background, the very definition of the function,
because of its name (and most often uses thereof) bring me memories of a
very traumatic miscarriage my wife and I had many years ago.  That was
one of the triggers that led me into depression for several years.

> (There _are_ words that are problematic in themselves to the point
> where I would support eradicating them from the manual, e.g. 'slave',
> but this is not one of them.)

For someone who appears to be so concerned about people's traumatic
experiences regarding intentional termination of pregnancies, you seem
to be far too unconcerned about those who underwent unintentional ones
but have different language backgrounds.

There are a lot more people around the world with a different language
background from yours, than people with a similar one, and that
nevertheless are able to communicate in English to the point of being
able to read the manual.  Our ability to do so does not disconnect us
from our native languages and connotations that words bring about.  The
false authority with which you state that this word is not one of them
is not just offensive to me, because it suggests you don't accept my
earlier report, and disrespectful to others like me who have suffered
such traumatic experiences, and whose memories are brought back by the
term despite your denial.


I haven't double-checked, but I guess you'll see that all of the people
who brought in opinions in support of keeping the joke, and even
suggesting other jokes along the same lines, have Latin surnames.  I
guess that's because, for us, the topics of abortion and miscarriages
are already a given within the definition of 'abort', so the humor about
the unrelated topic of censorship helps release the tension.


See, what was just a matter of censorship and pregnancy termination is
now also a matter of racial/linguistic discrimination :-(
Carlos O'Donell - May 7, 2018, 12:50 a.m.
On 05/06/2018 08:06 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> See, what was just a matter of censorship and pregnancy termination is
> now also a matter of racial/linguistic discrimination :-(
 
This is a distinct issue from the deletion of the text in question.

We can absolutely start a project to evaluate the manual and all of it's
context across those languages for which people are willing to help review.

That doesn't detract from Zack's main points about the joke.
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 1:06 a.m.
On May  6, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:

> On 05/06/2018 08:06 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> See, what was just a matter of censorship and pregnancy termination is
>> now also a matter of racial/linguistic discrimination :-(
 
> That doesn't detract from Zack's main points about the joke.

Come again?

We're oh so concerned about the poor people who experience distress by a
joke that does not even mention abortion, so we must EX TERMINATE!! it,

but if some people experience unavoidable distress by that portion of
the manual, and the humor next to it helps relieve and soothe it, then
that's of no concern.


Does this show that all of the rigmarole about people's traumas is an
excuse for something else, or what?  You're freaking talking to someone
who experience such trauma and are so looking forward to dismissing this
opinion that you don't even see how it relates with the point at hand?!?
Carlos O'Donell - May 7, 2018, 2:03 a.m.
On 05/06/2018 09:06 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  6, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
>> On 05/06/2018 08:06 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> See, what was just a matter of censorship and pregnancy termination is
>>> now also a matter of racial/linguistic discrimination :-(
>  
>> That doesn't detract from Zack's main points about the joke.
> 
> Come again?
> 
> We're oh so concerned about the poor people who experience distress by a
> joke that does not even mention abortion, so we must EX TERMINATE!! it,
> 
> but if some people experience unavoidable distress by that portion of
> the manual, and the humor next to it helps relieve and soothe it, then
> that's of no concern.
>  
> Does this show that all of the rigmarole about people's traumas is an
> excuse for something else, or what?  You're freaking talking to someone
> who experience such trauma and are so looking forward to dismissing this
> opinion that you don't even see how it relates with the point at hand?!?
 
Not at all.

I am splitting it into two discussions:

(1) Discuss the deletion of the abortion/censorship joke.

(2) Discuss trauma caused by function names and their associations to other
    languages.

If your issue is with (2), then I'm suggesting we have another discussion
about this particular topic.
Richard Stallman - May 7, 2018, 2:03 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > I only said that not consulting you in advance was a mistake.

What do you think it means to "consult" someone?  Merely stating
your intentions is not consultation.  If you had consulted me,
I would have said no.
Richard Stallman - May 7, 2018, 2:03 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > We could have a note along these lines, sidestepping the humor, giving
  > more information and still clearly taking the anti-censorship stand:

I expect that readers who don't know about the gag rule mostly will not
relate the joke to abortion -- that they will be puzzled by the joke.

There are people in this discussion who did not know about the gag
rule but do know that the joke relates to abortion.  My theory is that
others told them it relates to abortion, and that's how they know.

Is that correct?

Did any of you figure out _on your own_ that the joke had to do with
abortion, despite not knowing about the gag rule?
Richard Stallman - May 7, 2018, 2:04 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

I would like to find out what Leslie Jones thinks of the gag rule
joke, but I expect that asking her will be easier said than done.
People that famous generally make it hard for strangers to reach them.

Any suggestions?
Carlos O'Donell - May 7, 2018, 2:22 a.m.
On 05/06/2018 10:03 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> 
>   > I only said that not consulting you in advance was a mistake.
> 
> What do you think it means to "consult" someone?  Merely stating
> your intentions is not consultation.  If you had consulted me,
> I would have said no.
 
And we would have taken that into consideration.

Consensus need not imply unanimity.

If you asked the community to add technical feature X, you would also
need to clearly articulate the need for that feature or it would not
be accepted.
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 4:41 a.m.
On May  6, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:

> I am splitting it into two discussions:

> (1) Discuss the deletion of the abortion/censorship joke.

> (2) Discuss trauma caused by function names and their associations to other
>     languages.

The issues are one and the same.

The deletion of the censorship joke is (allegedly) justified by
undesirable emotions that might allegedly be brought about by the joke,
but its effect on at least one of the persons who shared information
about their own trauma points at the opposite effect: the joke brings
relief, which the deletion would take away.  That's the *opposite* of
the allegedly intended effect of the deletion.  By dismissing that and
pretending it to be a separate discussion you're just making it plain
that you don't really care about the excuses for the deletion.

Since it all seems to be a sham, I'm about to comply with the decision
of the project leader and primary and ultimate maintainer, who partially
delegated maintainership to myself and others under certain constraints,
and proceed to reverse the deletion.

This is also in line with the community-agreed procedures.

It is obvious that we didn't have consensus on a decision to install
that patch, since both sides are still arguing over it.

As for the decision to reverse the deletion, if we even need one to
counter a move that did not have consensus, although nobody else offered
to install the reversal and restore the status prior to the fait
accompli, and some explicitly refused to do so themselves, nobody
objected when I offered to do so.  Therefore, by the same reasoning that
led to the mistaken installation of the patch, and after a much longer
wait for objections, I understand there is consensus on my reverting it.
Paul Eggert - May 7, 2018, 6:54 a.m.
Zack Weinberg wrote:
> Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
> stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader_shouldn't_  have
> ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
> maintainers of a specific piece of software.

RMS could un-appoint current maintainers, and appoint new maintainers who agree 
with him on this particular issue. So the principle you're standing for differs 
from what could in principle occur. I doubt whether it'll come to that, though.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 7, 2018, 7:45 a.m.
On 05/06/2018 08:47 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
>    > The point is not to make the manual bland and neutral, it is to avoid
>    > giving an excuse to take focus away from the core idea of software
>    > freedom.
> 
> In theory, I agree with you, but in practice it is not a significant
> problem in this case.

Well this thread ought to be sufficient evidence that it is perceived as 
a significant problem.

Siddhesh
Carlos O'Donell - May 7, 2018, 1:07 p.m.
On 05/07/2018 12:41 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  6, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
>> I am splitting it into two discussions:
> 
>> (1) Discuss the deletion of the abortion/censorship joke.
> 
>> (2) Discuss trauma caused by function names and their associations to other
>>     languages.
> 
> The issues are one and the same.
> 
> The deletion of the censorship joke is (allegedly) justified by
> undesirable emotions that might allegedly be brought about by the joke,
> but its effect on at least one of the persons who shared information
> about their own trauma points at the opposite effect: the joke brings
> relief, which the deletion would take away.  That's the *opposite* of
> the allegedly intended effect of the deletion.  By dismissing that and
> pretending it to be a separate discussion you're just making it plain
> that you don't really care about the excuses for the deletion.

I care deeply, but in order to make progress issues need to be dealt
with individually in order for differing groups to make progress.

It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.

> Since it all seems to be a sham, I'm about to comply with the decision
> of the project leader and primary and ultimate maintainer, who partially
> delegated maintainership to myself and others under certain constraints,
> and proceed to reverse the deletion.

Correct. However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
GNU project maintainers. Consider that please.

> This is also in line with the community-agreed procedures.

No. Is not in line. You have ignored the community principles and checked
in the patch against the objections of fellow GNU package maintainers.
 
> It is obvious that we didn't have consensus on a decision to install
> that patch, since both sides are still arguing over it.

No. At the time the patch had consensus. The reversal does not. It's OK
though as a GNU package maintainer you do not need to follow any of these
rules.

> As for the decision to reverse the deletion, if we even need one to
> counter a move that did not have consensus, although nobody else offered
> to install the reversal and restore the status prior to the fait
> accompli, and some explicitly refused to do so themselves, nobody
> objected when I offered to do so.  Therefore, by the same reasoning that
> led to the mistaken installation of the patch, and after a much longer
> wait for objections, I understand there is consensus on my reverting it.

No. You do not have consensus, but that's OK, *you* alone are putting the
patch back in and the rest of us will have nothing to do with it.
Torvald Riegel - May 7, 2018, 7:17 p.m.
On Sun, 2018-05-06 at 23:54 -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Zack Weinberg wrote:
> > Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to
> > stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader_shouldn't_  have
> > ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the active
> > maintainers of a specific piece of software.
> 
> RMS could un-appoint current maintainers, and appoint new maintainers who agree 
> with him on this particular issue.

Possible.  And, IMHO, it would be kind of funny when this would -- most
likely -- lead to a fork, with the new project thriving and the old one
becoming less important (just look at how much work the people do that
opposed adding the "joke" back in...).

What a joke...
Carlos O'Donell - May 7, 2018, 7:57 p.m.
On 05/07/2018 02:54 AM, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Zack Weinberg wrote:
>> Part of why I have repeatedly refused to back my patch out is to 
>> stand for the principle that the GNU Project Leader_shouldn't_
>> have ex officio power to override a consensus decision of the
>> active maintainers of a specific piece of software.
> 
> RMS could un-appoint current maintainers, and appoint new maintainers
> who agree with him on this particular issue. So the principle you're
> standing for differs from what could in principle occur. I doubt
> whether it'll come to that, though.

... and if two GNU package maintainers, for the same package, disagree?
Torvald Riegel - May 7, 2018, 8:55 p.m.
On Thu, 2018-05-03 at 17:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
> project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, [...]

How did we end up in a place where you consider follow-the-leader to
simply override strong community consensus?  There is no (successful)
glibc without the community.

(Yes, we could argue what the community is considered to be; IMO, the
glibc community is the obvious choice here, not the FSF as a whole.
Nobody in this thread has suggested that the FSF should not publish
something elsewhere.)
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 9:07 p.m.
On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:

> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.

It's not multiple issues.

> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
> GNU project maintainers.

Show me where they objected to MY proposal.

I don't care if they objected to something else in the larger debate.
The larger debate isn't over yet, so whatever their opinion is matters
once consensus is reached for the larger debate.  People's opinions
regarding a debate are supposed to affect the state *after* the debate,
not *during* it.  Right?  Or are you suggesting we should change the
rules so as to say that, if enough people shout loud enough or sneak the
patch in early enough, they get to change the initial conditions of the
debated issue in their favor?

>> This is also in line with the community-agreed procedures.

> No. Is not in line. You have ignored the community principles and checked
> in the patch against the objections of fellow GNU package maintainers.
 
I have not.  Again, show me ANY objections to MY proposal, posted before
I pushed the reversal, or before the email in which I said I was doing
so.

>> It is obvious that we didn't have consensus on a decision to install
>> that patch, since both sides are still arguing over it.

> No. At the time the patch had consensus.

No, it only seemed to have consensus, because of a regrettable mistake
on the committer's part, and another of mine (I decided to ask RMS
*before* raising my objection).  I objected, and RMS objected.  He
hadn't been given a chance to speak yet.  That's not consensus, that's
sneaking stuff in.

> The reversal does not.

The restoration of the initial status quo to unbias the discussion was
not opposed by anyone, if it was even read.

> It's OK though as a GNU package maintainer you do not need to follow
> any of these rules.

Thank you for that concession, but it's not necessary.  I'm perfectly in
line with the consensus rules, regardless of how others might prefer to
confess to cheating in the consensus rules than to admitting that they
did not respond to my proposal.
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 9:18 p.m.
I fixed the subject for you.

The joke is about abort, the function.

I read in the dictionary that the noun form for abort, in the computing
sense, is also abort, not abortion.

With that fix, the subject won't be as misleading in the framing of the
debate.
Federico Leva (Nemo) - May 7, 2018, 9:29 p.m.
Torvald Riegel, 07/05/2018 23:55:
> Yes, we could argue what the community is considered to be; IMO, the
> glibc community is the obvious choice here, not the FSF as a whole.

There's also the community which the existing contributors want to 
include. I understand there is a willingness to be more inclusive 
towards women, for instance. I suppose more people from all countries 
and cultures are also welcome, although I don't know how diverse the 
current contributors are.

So in this discussion we should watch for any bias. How many women have 
spoken up? When the actual experience of a woman has been brought up, 
have we paid all due attention? Etc.

Federico
William Pitcock - May 7, 2018, 10:08 p.m.
Hello,

On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 3:11 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
> On May  3, 2018, Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:
>
>> In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
>> which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
>> are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list abortion in
>> this context without taking sides.
>
> There's law in the US that makes it a crime to publish information on
> how to circumvent digital handcuffs, you know.  Even if you rationalize
> it and frame it with another term to make it more palatable, it's still
> censorship of information for practical use.
>
> GNU is the software development branch of the Free Software social and
> political movement.  We don't mind taking sides; in fact, if we didn't,
> it wouldn't be a social and political movement.  Our raison d'être are
> the essential freedoms over information for practical use.

Yes, and we should fight the DMCA, the Berne convention and all the rest.

> The law criticized in the snippet under dispute is one that denies
> people the essential freedom to share information for practical use.  It
> is fundamentally at odds with the most essential core value of our
> movement.

Technically, there is no such law that is being criticized.  It is an
executive order.  Either way, actual organization and activism is
necessary to defeat this executive order: Congress must implement
legislation that counteracts the executive order.  A joke in a
technical manual will not serve as the catalyst to organize the
activism required to secure that legislation.

> I'm very disappointed and baffled that an allusion to a taboo topic
> that's two-levels removed, in a context in which the taboo topic is
> already established and unavoidable, is enough for people to gang up
> against not only the founder and leader of the movement, but also its
> most fundamental value, and to take the opposite side, practicing
> censorship and, by removing the criticism, taking the side of the
> censors that established the denounced censorship law.

I am not taking the side of the censors who established the executive
order that RMS is denouncing.  I am taking the side of people who feel
that the specific content and it's defense are inappropriate.  I am
taking the side of women who say that stuff like this is the reason
why they do not take the software freedom movement seriously.  I don't
have problems with women contributing to my projects, almost all of
them say that working with me is really nice and pleasant -- I suspect
my lack of using jokes like these to highlight issues critical to
women has a lot to do with that.

You all can say you want more women to contribute to free software,
but to do it, you have to walk the walk, not only talk the talk.  For
every step forward that we make with initiatives such as Outreachy, at
least one step is erased with stuff like this.  Which is more
important?  The joke or fixing the actual diversity gap?

> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.

Making the free software social movement more friendly towards all
helps to advance the movement.  By unnecessarily using discussion
concerning policy around a controversial subject (abortion), the
content can be interpreted as misogynistic.  Content which can be
interpreted as misogynistic, from somebody who has had a rocky, at
best, relationship with women in general (the St. Ignutius routine,
the EMACS virgins incident, the "pleasure cards", the claim that
"voluntary pedophilia doesn't harm children", etc) appearing in
official documentation, is something that is actually extremely
harmful to the mission of advancing software freedom.

> But no, the project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
> betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should stand
> for,

We should, as stewards of the free software movement stand for
advancing software freedom and open access to information.  This joke
accomplishes neither and is, instead, actively harmful toward those
goals.

And, if dear Leader cannot accept that he is wrong, then he should be
thrown out too: the FSF is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, such
organizations by definition do not have owners but do have a board.
Therefore the FSF and GNU projects are not the exclusive property of
RMS.

> so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely technical
> documentation that won't bring anyone any moral discomfort.  Way to go
> to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
> giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!

I have seen the BSD community stand up for plenty of things, including
the right for people to use their software and the right for women,
LGBT spectrum people and other minorities to be comfortable in their
projects.  This is something where the FSF should be showing
leadership.  Instead, on this side, we not only fail to deliver, but
proceed to defend the asinine behavior of it's present leader.  It is
time for the free software movement to do soul searching.  Otherwise
the diversity effort is for nothing.

William
Alexandre Oliva - May 7, 2018, 11:25 p.m.
On May  7, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:

> On Thu, 2018-05-03 at 17:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
>> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
>> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
>> project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
>> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, [...]

> How did we end up in a place where you consider follow-the-leader to
> simply override strong community consensus?

I don't.  I just restored the initial conditions until the debate about
whether or not to remove the snippet reached consensus, otherwise it
would have been distorted.

If there's such a strong consensus as those berating me wish to imply,
it shouldn't be a problem to reach it and have the change reinstated,
all within the community rules.

Now, I suspect some will argue for changing the consensus rules or even
fork if the current community-adopted rules get in the way of what they
want.
Rafal Luzynski - May 7, 2018, 11:43 p.m.
3.05.2018 13:07 Adhemerval Zanella <adhemerval.zanella@linaro.org> wrote:
> On 03/05/2018 04:01, Siddhesh Poyarekar wrote:
> > [...] I agree that it may be relevant to the FSF, but does that mean that I
> > can submit patches to add snippets about privacy invasions and/or human
> > rights violations in India given that I am an active GNU contributor?
> >
> > We probably agree on a lot of political and social issues (not that it is
> > even necessary), but the manual is just not the forum for it.
> >
> > Siddhesh
>
> I agree with Siddhesh, as we are seeing politics is a quite touchy subject
> specially with a forum with participants with different nationalities and
> political views. The current subject of abortion is *much* more complex
> than discussion so far, can be viewed from multiples political and
> philosophical ways than mere 'government censorship', and I really think
> glibc documentation is not the place to engage in such discussion.
>
> I see it is wiser to try to be more strictly formal and technical on a
> glibc documentation.
>
> We currently have many other places were one can express his political
> views and if you are not heard as you expect it is something you need to
> deal it.

I agree with these arguments.  It seems to me that the joke is impossible
to understand without a deep knowledge of internal affairs of the USA
(I hope I guessed correctly which country is this about), also it is not
clear if it refers to the current events or to some in the past.  Even
if understood it is not necessarily agreed by the readers, even if agreed
it is not relevant for those of us who are not US citizens, same as
our knowledge and opinion is not relevant to the US lawmakers.  IMHO this
makes the manual not appropriate to publish political messages applying to
a single country, no matter which country it is.  Should we all write about
the internal issues of our respective countries?  Thank you for removing
this part from the manual.  As the removal has now been reverted - well,
I have no power to object this.

Also, some of the posts here make me wonder if I have joined the right
project.  It definitely was not my intention to join any political or social
organization.  My motivation has always been exclusively technical.
Fortunately I am too young to actually have experienced this but I've heard
enough stories about scientific or industrial projects led by politicians
and persecution of scientists, engineers, and other employees who refused
to follow the core values of their leaders.

Regards,

Rafal
Carlos O'Donell - May 8, 2018, 1 a.m.
On 05/07/2018 07:43 PM, Rafal Luzynski wrote:
> Also, some of the posts here make me wonder if I have joined the right
> project.  It definitely was not my intention to join any political or social
> organization.  My motivation has always been exclusively technical.
> Fortunately I am too young to actually have experienced this but I've heard
> enough stories about scientific or industrial projects led by politicians
> and persecution of scientists, engineers, and other employees who refused
> to follow the core values of their leaders.

Thank you for your post Rafal. I hope that we will continue to receive your
contributions in the future and I will do everything I possibly can to make
that easier for you.

The GNU C Library project is a GNU Project, and that means that we do have
a mission, particularly aligned with the GNU project [1]. These discussions
have roots in the structure of our societies, and thus touch upon subjects
like laws, censorship, etc. Therefore we do talk about these things, but in
this case there is a deep disagreement over how and where the discussion
should be had.

Thank you again for providing your input.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Richard Stallman - May 8, 2018, 1:53 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > Well this thread ought to be sufficient evidence that it is perceived as 
  > a significant problem.

That doesn't mean it really is a significant problem.
Richard Stallman - May 8, 2018, 1:56 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > We should, as stewards of the free software movement stand for
  > advancing software freedom and open access to information.  This joke
  > accomplishes neither and is, instead, actively harmful toward those
  > goals.

I don't believe women will tend to take offense at this joke.  I don't
believe this joke will offend anyone, except for those who approach it
with a predisposition to take offense, and that predisposition is not
the jokes fault.

However, there is something in GNU libc development that is likely to
drive women away: a climate of verbal aggression.

Women are as capable of appreciating humor as men.  However, I've read
plenty of articles where women talk about receiving verbal aggression
from a mob of men.  I am sure many women will stay away from a place
where such a mob is to be seen.  Today the mob's target is me;
tomorrow, it could be anyone.

It is supremely ironic that people are criticizing me for --
supposedly -- offending people with an impersonal joke, while pouring
out gross personal insults and attacks.

I ask the GNU libc maintainers to throw water on these flames.  Let's
make libc development a safe space, a space where verbal aggression is
not deployed against those that many disagree with.
Carlos O'Donell - May 8, 2018, 2:04 a.m.
On 05/07/2018 05:07 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
>> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.
> 
> It's not multiple issues.
> 
>> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
>> GNU project maintainers.
> 
> Show me where they objected to MY proposal.

https://www.sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00055.html

"I also object to ANY replacement of the original joke."

The problem is that you didn't care to reach consensus, so you didn't
summarize the opposing points, did not tally who was for or against,
and just did whatever you wanted to do.

> I don't care if they objected to something else in the larger debate.
> The larger debate isn't over yet, so whatever their opinion is matters
> once consensus is reached for the larger debate.  People's opinions
> regarding a debate are supposed to affect the state *after* the debate,
> not *during* it.  Right?  Or are you suggesting we should change the
> rules so as to say that, if enough people shout loud enough or sneak the
> patch in early enough, they get to change the initial conditions of the
> debated issue in their favor?

There was no sneaking of any patch.

The patch was accepted by 2 GNU package maintainers (Paul and myself),
appointed by Richard, and you just undid that, because you wanted to.

That's fine. You didn't break any GNU policy. But you did willfully
ignore the objections of other GNU package maintainers and did what
you wanted.

The discussion is ongoing, and I will do my usual due diligence as arbiter
in complex discussions, and try to understand both sides of the debate,
and reach some consensus.

>>> This is also in line with the community-agreed procedures.
> 
>> No. Is not in line. You have ignored the community principles and checked
>> in the patch against the objections of fellow GNU package maintainers.
>  
> I have not.  Again, show me ANY objections to MY proposal, posted before
> I pushed the reversal, or before the email in which I said I was doing
> so.

I did. Above.

>>> It is obvious that we didn't have consensus on a decision to install
>>> that patch, since both sides are still arguing over it.
> 
>> No. At the time the patch had consensus.
> 
> No, it only seemed to have consensus, because of a regrettable mistake
> on the committer's part, and another of mine (I decided to ask RMS
> *before* raising my objection).  I objected, and RMS objected.  He
> hadn't been given a chance to speak yet.  That's not consensus, that's
> sneaking stuff in.

It is not sneaking stuff in.

I was appointed as a GNU package maintainer, and I used my judgement to 
agree with the removal of the joke.

We have other better venues to discuss these issues and to reach broader
audiences, without doing harm to those that come to read our manual. That
is my opinion though, and I will have to understand your own opinions,
and that of Richard to reach consensus.

>> The reversal does not.
> 
> The restoration of the initial status quo to unbias the discussion was
> not opposed by anyone, if it was even read.

Your read was incorrect. That's OK.

>> It's OK though as a GNU package maintainer you do not need to follow
>> any of these rules.
> 
> Thank you for that concession, but it's not necessary.  I'm perfectly in
> line with the consensus rules, regardless of how others might prefer to
> confess to cheating in the consensus rules than to admitting that they
> did not respond to my proposal.
 
The harder question I have to answer is:

What happens if two GNU package maintainers for glibc disagree?
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 8, 2018, 3:26 a.m.
On 05/08/2018 07:26 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> I don't believe women will tend to take offense at this joke.  I don't
> believe this joke will offend anyone, except for those who approach it
> with a predisposition to take offense, and that predisposition is not
> the jokes fault.

You're not in a position to claim that, being a not-woman.  Besides, 
it's possible for abortions to be traumatic for non-women too, they're 
are not as manly as they make themselves out to be.

The point in the end is not about *how many* people get offended by the 
joke or find it in bad taste; the point is that the joke is vague and 
doesn't really serve any purpose than possibly offending someone.

All this for a topic that is not directly relevant to the GNU project. 
This is so irrelevant that we shouldn't even be having this 
conversation, let alone arguments over governance.

> However, there is something in GNU libc development that is likely to
> drive women away: a climate of verbal aggression.
> 
> Women are as capable of appreciating humor as men.  However, I've read
> plenty of articles where women talk about receiving verbal aggression
> from a mob of men.  I am sure many women will stay away from a place
> where such a mob is to be seen.  Today the mob's target is me;
> tomorrow, it could be anyone.

Please show me a libc-alpha thread other than this one that demonstrates 
your point.  This is the most aggressive (by far!) I have seen most of 
the maintainers become in an email discussion and most of it has been 
reactions to doubts on our good faith or to your assertion of ultimate 
authority regardless of our near-unanimous opinion.

I would argue that you and Alex have managed something really special 
here; I haven't managed to get Carlos this annoyed despite working with 
him for so many years!

> It is supremely ironic that people are criticizing me for --
> supposedly -- offending people with an impersonal joke, while pouring
> out gross personal insults and attacks.

You're being disingenuous by framing us as aggressive when you've only 
been invoking personal authority all through the thread.

Siddhesh
Alexandre Oliva - May 8, 2018, 5:11 a.m.
On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:

> On 05/07/2018 05:07 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.
>> 
>> It's not multiple issues.
>> 
>>> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
>>> GNU project maintainers.
>> 
>> Show me where they objected to MY proposal.

> https://www.sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00055.html

> "I also object to ANY replacement of the original joke."

Again, that's part of the larger discussion, not a response to my
proposal to restore the initial conditions.

Even after you claim it to be an objection, I still fail to find
relationship between proposal and alleged objection.  Nothing replaced
the original joke.  It's still there.  Which is just as it should be in
the absence of consensus about the larger issue, both before and after
the removal patch was installed.

>> The restoration of the initial status quo to unbias the discussion was
>> not opposed by anyone, if it was even read.

> Your read was incorrect. That's OK.

Err..., in "if it was even read", it's not my read, I'm wondering if
anyone else actually read it.

> What happens if two GNU package maintainers for glibc disagree?

I've just posted a suggestion in another email.
Matt Turner - May 8, 2018, 5:18 a.m.
On Mon, May 7, 2018 at 10:11 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
>
>> On 05/07/2018 05:07 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.
>>>
>>> It's not multiple issues.
>>>
>>>> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
>>>> GNU project maintainers.
>>>
>>> Show me where they objected to MY proposal.
>
>> https://www.sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00055.html
>
>> "I also object to ANY replacement of the original joke."
>
> Again, that's part of the larger discussion, not a response to my
> proposal to restore the initial conditions.
>
> Even after you claim it to be an objection, I still fail to find
> relationship between proposal and alleged objection.  Nothing replaced
> the original joke.  It's still there.  Which is just as it should be in
> the absence of consensus about the larger issue, both before and after
> the removal patch was installed.

Are you claiming that you weren't aware of Carlos' objection, or that
it wasn't valid since it wasn't directly in reply to your proposal? Or
did you ignore it because you decided a straight revert wasn't a
"replacement of the original joke"?

I find the suggestion that people should reply directly to your
proposal to be somewhat disingenuous given that you didn't submit the
patch to the mailing list before committing it.
Alexandre Oliva - May 8, 2018, 5:57 a.m.
On May  8, 2018, Matt Turner <mattst88@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, May 7, 2018 at 10:11 PM, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> wrote:
>> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> On 05/07/2018 05:07 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>>> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.
>>>> 
>>>> It's not multiple issues.
>>>> 
>>>>> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
>>>>> GNU project maintainers.
>>>> 
>>>> Show me where they objected to MY proposal.
>> 
>>> https://www.sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00055.html
>> 
>>> "I also object to ANY replacement of the original joke."
>> 
>> Again, that's part of the larger discussion, not a response to my
>> proposal to restore the initial conditions.
>> 
>> Even after you claim it to be an objection, I still fail to find
>> relationship between proposal and alleged objection.  Nothing replaced
>> the original joke.  It's still there.  Which is just as it should be in
>> the absence of consensus about the larger issue, both before and after
>> the removal patch was installed.

> Are you claiming that you weren't aware of Carlos' objection, or that
> it wasn't valid since it wasn't directly in reply to your proposal?

I was aware of his objection to put something else where the joke was.
I also understood that as support for the removal of the joke, which is
to larger and still ongoing discussion.  This has to do with what the
manual should look like after consensus in this larger issue is reached.

I do not see that it is related in any way with the issue of what the
initial conditions should be, *while* the larger discussion is ongoing.

> Or did you ignore it because you decided a straight revert wasn't a
> "replacement of the original joke"?

I did not ignore it, I just understood it in the context it was meant
for.  The initial conditions for the discussion did not involve
replacing the joke, but rather having it there, as it was initially, or
not having it there, as it was after the patch was mistakenly installed.

> I find the suggestion that people should reply directly to your
> proposal to be somewhat disingenuous given that you didn't submit the
> patch to the mailing list before committing it.

I did submit the proposal to revert, for at least the duration of the
debate.  Although that can be represented as a patch, a reversal is
hardly worthy of posting as a patch.  In my mind, it hardly qualifies as
a patch: it's a (temporary) reversal.

Replying directly to me is certainly not a strict requirement, as long
as the responses clearly specified that they referred to a separate
discussion subthread from that in which they appeared, although this
could certainly increase the risk of confusion.

I guess I could have started a separate thread, to draw more attention
to the unrelated proposal, but...  I didn't think of it.  Another
suggestion for the consensus-building rules?
Torvald Riegel - May 8, 2018, 8:44 a.m.
On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 02:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
> > On 05/07/2018 05:07 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >> On May  7, 2018, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos@redhat.com> wrote:
> >> 
> >>> It will be hard to make progress with multiple issues at the same time.
> >> 
> >> It's not multiple issues.
> >> 
> >>> However, you go against the objections of at least 3 of your fellow
> >>> GNU project maintainers.
> >> 
> >> Show me where they objected to MY proposal.
> 
> > https://www.sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00055.html
> 
> > "I also object to ANY replacement of the original joke."
> 
> Again, that's part of the larger discussion, not a response to my
> proposal to restore the initial conditions.

Sorry Alex, but you make distorting statements such as that, and then
you accuse DJ of trolling when he takes (extreme) counter-measures to
prevent that you ignore clearly stated objections?

Carlos and others judged that there was initial consensus to remove the
thing; it wasn't unanimous but that's fine, because it wouldn't have
changed consensus.  We had further discussions, but consensus to remove
it got only stronger over time when more developers stated their opinion
and were in favor of the removal.  That was the status quo.  Carlos
clearly objected to any replacement, which includes replacing it with
the same thing (ie, reverting the commit). 

> Even after you claim it to be an objection, I still fail to find
> relationship between proposal and alleged objection.  Nothing replaced
> the original joke.  It's still there.

It was gone, you replaced it with the same thing.
Torvald Riegel - May 8, 2018, 9:26 a.m.
On Mon, 2018-05-07 at 20:25 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  7, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
> > On Thu, 2018-05-03 at 17:11 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> >> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> >> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.  But no, the
> >> project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
> >> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, [...]
> 
> > How did we end up in a place where you consider follow-the-leader to
> > simply override strong community consensus?
> 
> I don't.  I just restored the initial conditions until the debate about
> whether or not to remove the snippet reached consensus, otherwise it
> would have been distorted.

It had consensus (not unanimous though) all the time.  Do you actually
think there's no consensus now?  I've said elsewhere in this thread that
quickly counting, I end up at 11 active or recently active developers
being in favor of the removal, many of them strongly in favor.

And look at what you wrote above: "the project has been taken out of the
hands of its founder, and most of the appointed stewards seem to think
it's reasonable to disregard it".  How is that not about valuing
follow-the-leader higher than community consensus?
You're essentially saying that 11 is less than 1 here.

> If there's such a strong consensus as those berating me wish to imply,
> it shouldn't be a problem to reach it and have the change reinstated,
> all within the community rules.

It had consensus initially.  You then ignored that (see Carlos
comments), and reverted the removal.

> Now, I suspect some will argue for changing the consensus rules or even
> fork if the current community-adopted rules get in the way of what they
> want.

Elsewhere in the thread, I stated my opinion that your behavior in
discussions can be toxic.  This statement here is another fresh example
of that.  You imply that there is reason to believe that others would do
certain things, but there's actually no reason for any of that:
* Nobody (but you) actually argued for changing the consensus rules.
Instead, RMS and you argued that the consensus rules don't really apply
because they can always be overriden by RMS.
* I suggested a fork as a last resolve, but only if it is ignored that
glibc is a consensus-based, community-driven project -- IOW, if the
community-adopted rules are tried to be ignored.  That's the opposite of
"get[ting] in the way of what they want".

IOW, you suggest that others made different statements than they
actually did, and you add some "perhaps" and "maybe" to avoid a direct
accusation.
Torvald Riegel - May 8, 2018, 9:43 a.m.
On Mon, 2018-05-07 at 21:56 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Today the mob's target is me;
> tomorrow, it could be anyone.

Where's "the mob" please?  A large group of glibc developers has been
disagreeing with you in a professional manner -- does that justify it
for you to call them "the mob"?  Really?

> It is supremely ironic that people are criticizing me for --
> supposedly -- offending people with an impersonal joke, while pouring
> out gross personal insults and attacks.

I've seen no "gross personal insults" by anyone disagreeing with your
opinion in this thread.  Where's the proof for your accusations?

> I ask the GNU libc maintainers to throw water on these flames.  Let's
> make libc development a safe space, a space where verbal aggression is
> not deployed against those that many disagree with.

Please stop trying to frame this as you being the victim, and the glibc
community being the offender.  All that the glibc developer community
did was to remove one of your "jokes", using the community's consensus
process, and insist that glibc is a consensus-based, community-driven
project.  There was no verbal aggression or anything like that.

Some argued that your opinion counts as much as any other opinion in the
consensus process, and that you don't (or shouldn't) have a special role
with more weight in the consensus process.  Do you characterize that as
"verbal aggression" and "the mob"?
Christian Brauner - May 8, 2018, 10:55 a.m.
On Thu, May 03, 2018 at 12:36:42AM -0400, Carlos O'Donell wrote:
> On 05/01/2018 11:11 PM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> > [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> > [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> > [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> > 
> >   >   However, the GNU C Library Manual is an actively
> >   > inappropriate place to discuss it,
> > 
> > A serious discussion of an unrelated political issue would be a
> > strange digression.  The joke is appropriate precisely because it is a
> > joke, and very short.
> > 
> > Since you understand it wasn't right to delete this without my
> > approval, would you please undo that mistake?
>  
> As a GNU Developer for the community I OK'd the patch.
> 
> As a GNU Developer I answer to the GNU Project.
> 
> I also apologize for not contacting you directly.
> 
> This does not change my position on the joke and it's relation to
> abortion and censorship.
> 
> A large group of developers, serious senior developers, at least 3
> project stewards (GNU Developers for the project), are indicating
> that they do not share your same view on the joke. Please consider
> their input and work with me to reach a consensus position.

After having read the LVM article and following the thread here I feel
the need to voice my opinion: I'm in favor of removing this joke and
reverting the revert.
The comments on the LWN article and the wider discussion seem to
indicate that some question whether there is sufficient consensus among
maintainers. Even though I'm neither a senior developer nor steward, but
a simple maintainer I feel it's important to explicitly voice my opinion
to help build consensus.

Christian

> 
> The underlying notions that the joke tries to express are important
> and I am more than willing to engage with you and Alex to write
> new text and put it back into the manual to meet our needs to
> express a viewpoint on censorship.
> 
> Let me propose another the following patch for discussion. It is
> *not* a @cartouche, and will therefore be visible in all of our
> info and html files (which is better IMO).
> 
> 2018-05-03  Carlos O'Donell  <carlos@systemhalted.org>
> 
> 	* manual/intro.texi (Government Censorship): New node.
> 
> diff --git a/manual/intro.texi b/manual/intro.texi
> index cc9c99f543..b413652194 100644
> --- a/manual/intro.texi
> +++ b/manual/intro.texi
> @@ -22,6 +22,7 @@ portability.
>  
>  @menu
>  * Getting Started::             What this manual is for and how to use it.
> +* Government Censorship::       Government censorship.
>  * Standards and Portability::   Standards and sources upon which the GNU
>                                   C library is based.
>  * Using the Library::           Some practical uses for the library.
> @@ -29,7 +30,7 @@ portability.
>                                   this manual.
>  @end menu
>  
> -@node Getting Started, Standards and Portability,  , Introduction
> +@node Getting Started, Government Censorship,  , Introduction
>  @section Getting Started
>  
>  This manual is written with the assumption that you are at least
> @@ -56,6 +57,21 @@ are writing your programs you can recognize @emph{when} to make use of
>  library functions, and @emph{where} in this manual you can find more
>  specific information about them.
>  
> +@node Government Censorship, Standards and Portability, Getting Started, Introduction
> +@section Government Censorship
> +@cindex censorship
> +
> +@string{Trigger warning: Talk of abortion.}
> +
> +The GNU project takes the position that government censorship should
> +not be supported.  Censorship threatens the distribution of information
> +in ways that restricts the freedoms of our users and harms the creativity
> +of the project.
> +
> +Censorship of technical information, cultural information, and even
> +information related to human abortion (regardless of your position on
> +the topic), should not be supported. Such censorship restricts the
> +freedoms of all users.
>  
>  @node Standards and Portability, Using the Library, Getting Started, Introduction
>  @section Standards and Portability
> ---
> 
> -- 
> Cheers,
> Carlos.
Joseph Myers - May 8, 2018, 3:54 p.m.
On Sun, 6 May 2018, Richard Stallman wrote:

> I expect that readers who don't know about the gag rule mostly will not
> relate the joke to abortion -- that they will be puzzled by the joke.
> 
> There are people in this discussion who did not know about the gag
> rule but do know that the joke relates to abortion.  My theory is that
> others told them it relates to abortion, and that's how they know.
> 
> Is that correct?
> 
> Did any of you figure out _on your own_ that the joke had to do with
> abortion, despite not knowing about the gag rule?

That would need to be asked of people who had read that part of the manual 
without first seeing this thread.

I think it's much more obvious from being in documentation for "abort" 
that it's about abortion, than that it's about a US-specific gag rule 
("Federal" is the only cue I see there to it being something US-specific, 
but is hardly unique to one country and certainly doesn't identify the 
particular rule, or that it's referring to a specific real rule at all).

I think being so US-specific - and, beyond that, relying on knowledge of a 
particular US rule - is by itself sufficient justification for not having 
this joke in the manual; that would apply equally to a joke that didn't 
involve a controversial topic such as abortion at all, but still depended 
on some very country-specific background not widely understood by people 
outside a particular country or group of countries.  Carlos has found 
evidence 
<https://stackoverflow.com/questions/48445031/why-would-it-be-illegal-to-inform-about-abort> 
<https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/d4783/federal_censorship_regulations_may_restrict/> 
that this joke does confuse readers in practice.

I do not have figures, but I think it very likely that the free software 
community is much more diverse than when this joke was added in 1992.  The 
manual should be written for the users we have now, not the users we had 
in 1992.  Even if in 1992 the expected readers of the manual were a small, 
culturally homogeneous group of free software hackers, with a common 
background that included an understanding of the gag rule, and a common 
understanding of what humour is appropriate in what contexts that 
indicated that joke to be appropriate in the manual, it is for today's 
readers that we must now maintain the manual.

*Even if we were all agreed* that the joke was appropriate, even if we all 
disagreed with the attitudes in certain communities disapproving of 
certain subjects of humour in certain contexts and considered the 1992 
sense of humour objectively better, it would *still* be our duty to our 
users to put aside our own personal preferences and judge what is best 
given the users we actually have and the background knowledge and 
attitudes to subjects and context of humour that they have.  This is just 
the same as the need to keep the technical content of the manual up to 
date with the context of today (for example, the correct emphasis for 
portability information and for information on where functions came from 
is very different for readers now than it is for readers in 1992; even if 
we think some part of the manual is clear with our backgrounds, if we find 
users misunderstanding it, that justifies changes to make it clearer for 
the people actually reading the manual).

As a development community we should judge a comment from 1992 saying some 
text should stay in the manual much the same as a comment from 1992 saying 
some code is needed - by considering the reasons behind it in today's 
context (if the code from 1992 was to do with K&R C, it isn't applicable 
any more).

Of course, as a part of a project with explicit goals for society, we 
cannot always give users what they want now - for example, we must not 
promote proprietary software even if sometimes users might find a 
recommendation to use some piece of proprietary software helpful; in such 
cases, we must work for the longer-term goals of building a free software 
world that ends up better for users even if less helpful to them now.  But 
I don't think that has any bearing on a culturally-specific joke about a 
non-software sensitive subject.  Similarly, when making technical 
decisions we need to use our technical expertise to judge what works best 
long term even if a user would prefer an interface specific to their 
problem right now - but again that has no bearing on this joke.

We as maintainers and developers have responsibilities to both the GNU 
Project and our users.  And the GNU Project has moral responsibilities to 
both the maintainers and developers and the users as well.  The 
responsibilities of all relevant people to the users include putting aside 
our own preferences when ensuring the content of the manual works best for 
the users we have now.

Now, if there are still serious doubts about the effects, interpretation 
and appropriateness of the joke in question, we could see if it's possible 
to survey an uninvolved, gender-balanced group of users to find their 
views (on the basis that the effects on users outweigh our personal 
preferences).
Alexandre Oliva - May 8, 2018, 4:16 p.m.
On May  8, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:

> It had consensus (not unanimous though) all the time.  Do you actually
> think there's no consensus now?

Per the consensus rules spelled out in the wiki, there isn't, for the
simple reason that there is "sustained opposition to substantial issues
by an important part of the concerned interests."

As for unanimity...  That's applied quite unevenly.

Consider the initial patch.

There was Richard's initial objection to removal present in the patch
itself.

There was Ondřej's objection posted the day before the patch went in.

There was my objection, that I hadn't posted because, well, there were
other objections already, so there was going to be a debate and
consensus-building process, so I might as well wait for RMS's feedback
before chiming in.  Maybe he would say he didn't care any more, that the
issue was no longer relevant, and then why would I?

Except that there was't.  The patch went in anyway, completely
disregarding even the visible objections.


Now let's look at what happened when I reverted the patch that should
never have been rushed/sneaked in.

One person claimed he had objected to the temporary reversal proposal by
responding to a different subthread about a different issue without any
mention of the reversal and without even responding questions about
whether he even read the proposal.

Three others jumped on the bandwagon and claimed they hadn't further
voiced their objections because they saw his.

Now, let's assume, for the sake of the argument, that I had
misunderstood his unrelated response as an objection to my proposal, and
had decided to proceed anyway, because his opinion was that of a valued
contributor, but there were opinion in favor of the temporary reversal
by an officially-appointed maintainer and by the ultimate maintainer.

Would it be wrong to disregard his objection in this hypothetical
situation, because consensus needs not be unanimous and other objections
hadn't been voiced, or are we supposed to assume that there might be
other unvoiced objections hiding behind a voiced one?

How about unvoiced support?  Should that even be relevant, considering
the wording of the definition?  Does it matter how many voices are in
support, if the only written criterion for consensus is the absence of
sustained opposition?

See?, this is road to madness.  It might seem to work just fine as long
as there aren't significantly controversial issues, but the moment there
are...  We've all just seen how it plays out.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 8, 2018, 5:40 p.m.
On 05/08/2018 09:46 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> There was Ondřej's objection posted the day before the patch went in.

I will admit that I thought Ondrej was joking with his objection.

Siddhesh
Alexandre Oliva - May 8, 2018, 6:54 p.m.
On May  8, 2018, Siddhesh Poyarekar <siddhesh@gotplt.org> wrote:

> On 05/08/2018 09:46 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> There was Ondřej's objection posted the day before the patch went in.

> I will admit that I thought Ondrej was joking with his objection.

He could be, but in the absence of clarification on the record, could
one just proceed and run him over?  Or is arbitrary interpretation of
objectors' intentions part of the rules too?

How does that compare with my allegedly breaking the rules for
interpreting others' objections in narrower ways they claim they meant
them?


In the presence of one unwithdrawn apparent objection (let's dismiss
RMS's in-comments objection for the sake of the argument), raised over
a period of 48 hours, what do the rules state?  Do we have consensus, or
do we not?

In my understanding of the rules, there should have been continued
conversation to at least attempt to converge the result into consensus
so that pending objections were withdrawn.  I don't see any evidence
of that in the records.

Could it have still taken place, with or without visible evidence
elsewhere?  Sure.  I hope it did.

But still, given the common community behavior of not raising or
supporting objections when one is already in effect, other objections,
like mind, might exist that found no need to be voiced right away.  The
existence of an apparent objection on the record, even if withdrawn
elsewhere, hid other objections.

So even if one admitted to dismissing it as a single objection, under
the non-unanimity motto, I don't think we can conclude that there was
consensus.  At best there may have seemed to be consensus.

Now, given your apparent surprise, and that of others, when facing the
statement that there were objections on the record, how could there be
such adamant statements that there was consensus?  I wouldn't assume the
earlier statements were meant as lies, because they'd be too easy to
catch, nor as evidence of off-the-record withdrawing of the objections,
for there'd be no surprise then, but they're now looking very much like
uninformed statements.

I guess now would be good opportunity to correct them and apologize, no?

Or do you still sustain that there was consensus for the removal at the
time the patch went in?
Torvald Riegel - May 8, 2018, 8:41 p.m.
On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 13:16 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  8, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
> > It had consensus (not unanimous though) all the time.  Do you actually
> > think there's no consensus now?
> 
> Per the consensus rules spelled out in the wiki, there isn't, for the
> simple reason that there is "sustained opposition to substantial issues
> by an important part of the concerned interests."

Look at the numbers we have at the moment.
Alexandre Oliva - May 9, 2018, 2:37 a.m.
On May  8, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:

> Look at the numbers we have at the moment.

Those "numbers" have very little to do with the advertised
"consensus-building community".

That attitude is even more authoritarian than Richard's.

For an individual abusive authority, there's often the possibility of
defense in numbers.

But when the abusive authority is also a majority, it's absolute power.

Democracies usually have fundamental rights and contra-majoritarian
powers to keep even the power of majorities in check.

There doesn't seem to be anything like that in our rules, is there?

Like, when objections are unreasonably dismissed by a majority, what
recourse is there?

The purpose/goal of the project is not set in stone, so if it could be
changed by a simple majority, or deviated from by a simple majority,
what recourse would GNU and the original project participants have?
Richard Stallman - May 9, 2018, 3:33 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

When you summarize the discussion based on the substantial points, you
filter out the verbal aggressions.  But there are plenty of them there
in messages sent to me.

Not everyone engaged in aggression, but it is an important part of the
nature of this situation.
Richard Stallman - May 9, 2018, 3:39 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

Siddhesh Poyarekar wrote:

  > You're not in a position to claim that, being a not-woman.

Just as women are entitled to make statements about what men
often do and think, men are likewise entitled to make statements
about what women often do and think.  We all do know something
about various kinds of other people.

Based on the name "Siddhesh", and your way of writing, I have the
impression you are male.  But you too make claims about what
women will think.

Everyone who has posted here is male, it seems.  I have started asking
some women their impressions about the joke.

  > The point in the end is not about *how many* people get offended by the 
  > joke or find it in bad taste; the point is that the joke is vague and 
  > doesn't really serve any purpose than possibly offending someone.

It serves the purpose of humor, and the purpose of reminding people
about an censorship law which attacks the rights of women (especially
poor women) in many countries.

I don't expect the joke to offend people, so if my purpose had been to
offend, I would have written something else.

  >   This is the most aggressive (by far!) I have seen most of 
  > the maintainers become in an email discussion and most of it has been 
  > reactions to...

I think that validates my point about aggression.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 9, 2018, 5:29 a.m.
[I am pleasantly surprised that you've chosen to continue the 
conversation, so I want to apologize for assuming that you'll walk away 
now that the commit is reverted.]

On 05/09/2018 09:09 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Just as women are entitled to make statements about what men
> often do and think, men are likewise entitled to make statements
> about what women often do and think.  We all do know something
> about various kinds of other people.

No, the gender power imbalance means that we are not entitled enough to 
do that.

> Based on the name "Siddhesh", and your way of writing, I have the
> impression you are male.  But you too make claims about what
> women will think.
> 
> Everyone who has posted here is male, it seems.  I have started asking
> some women their impressions about the joke.

Nowhere have I referred to women or argued of what women specifically 
might make of the joke, although if you do a quick search on twitter 
(and a few women who cared to respond on libc-alpha) on various opinions 
women have written about you'll see that none find abortion to be a 
suitable subject for a joke.

While the possibility of someone hurt by jokes about abortion being a 
woman is higher, it is by no means a gender-specific thing.  My argument 
is not gender-specific either, I have reiterated/re-explained it below.

>    > The point in the end is not about *how many* people get offended by the
>    > joke or find it in bad taste; the point is that the joke is vague and
>    > doesn't really serve any purpose than possibly offending someone.
> 
> It serves the purpose of humor, and the purpose of reminding people
> about an censorship law which attacks the rights of women (especially
> poor women) in many countries.

The message does not translate correctly to anyone other than American, 
politically aware individuals and is very likely to be misunderstood, as 
is evident.  Just look at the reactions all over, there's very little 
understanding outside of the American people about what the joke 
actually means.

> I don't expect the joke to offend people, so if my purpose had been to
> offend, I would have written something else.

You wrote that 26 years ago, almost two generations ago and 
sensitivities and social norms have changed greatly since then.  The 
audience of the manual has also changed greatly from the initial 
predominantly North American white male one.

I don't believe you wish to offend and I never even gave that impression 
in any of my responses.  However you may be, because of the fact that 
the joke you wrote 26 years ago has not aged very well.

Siddhesh
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 9, 2018, 5:50 a.m.
On 05/09/2018 12:24 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> He could be, but in the absence of clarification on the record, could
> one just proceed and run him over?  Or is arbitrary interpretation of
> objectors' intentions part of the rules too?
> 
> How does that compare with my allegedly breaking the rules for
> interpreting others' objections in narrower ways they claim they meant
> them?
> 
> In the presence of one unwithdrawn apparent objection (let's dismiss
> RMS's in-comments objection for the sake of the argument), raised over
> a period of 48 hours, what do the rules state?  Do we have consensus, or
> do we not?

No you cannot compare DJ's unambiguous objection to the joke to Ondrej's 
most likely tongue in cheek remark (Trump == joke, etc.).  In any case I 
already agreed that in hindsight RMS should have been looped into the 
conversation before pushing the change.

Siddhesh
Torvald Riegel - May 9, 2018, 8:34 a.m.
On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 23:33 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> 
> When you summarize the discussion based on the substantial points, you
> filter out the verbal aggressions.  But there are plenty of them there
> in messages sent to me.

Where have there been "verbal aggressions" or "gross personal insults
and attacks" (quoting your earlier email) *on this list*?  Conversations
on this lists were the context for your earlier claims, so the
libc-alpha archive should be sufficient for you to refer to the
instances you thought were "verbal aggression".

I don't know what emails were sent off-list, in private to you, but it
obviously doesn't relate to your earlier claim that there would be
publicly visible verbal aggression that would scare of others from being
a part of the community.
And unless those emails have been from people deeply involved in the
glibc community, you can't blame the community for what people outside
of the community do.  People in the community also didn't tell others to
send you email or stuff like that, all they did was disagree with you,
and in a professional manner.

> Not everyone engaged in aggression, but it is an important part of the
> nature of this situation.

Please be specific.  What's the situation, what's the context?  In the
absence of examples of "verbal aggression" on this list, you can't be
talking about the "situation" in the meaning of the actual discussion
we're having on this list.
If the "situation" is your personal situation (eg, including mail sent
by others not in the glibc community), then I think you need to resolve
it in some other way; the glibc community didn't ask others outside of
the community to become engaged, so it seems unlikely it would have
success asking them to not be engaged.

FWIW, to everyone reading this: This is a glibc-community discussion.
Please do your best to focus on the glibc-related points, and keep it
civilized.
Torvald Riegel - May 9, 2018, 8:42 a.m.
On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 23:39 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Everyone who has posted here is male, it seems.

No.  Consider Patsy's opinion, for example.
Chester Gregg - May 9, 2018, 9 a.m.
> > Everyone who has posted here is male, it seems.

> No.  Consider Patsy's opinion, for example.


Rey Tucker's opinion as well.

https://sourceware.org/ml/libc-alpha/2018-05/msg00291.html
Torvald Riegel - May 9, 2018, 9:28 a.m.
On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 23:37 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  8, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
> > Look at the numbers we have at the moment.
> 
> Those "numbers" have very little to do with the advertised
> "consensus-building community".

For example, they show that many of our developers spoke out.  This
isn't a 2 vs. 1 argument or anything like that.  People have voiced
their opinion.

We had plenty of discussion, see the number of messages in the thread.
People tried to find common ground, offered compromises (eg, see Carlos'
suggestion of a more thorough discussion of censorship elsewhere in the
manual).

Among the opinions voiced, we have something like 12 to 3 in favor of
removing the "joke" (and I'm counting optimistically on the side of the
3).

So, together, (1) everyone was able to voice their opinion, (2) there
was plenty of debate and looking for consensus, and (3) we have a very
clear majority for one of the options.
That's very much a consensus-based decision process.

> That attitude is even more authoritarian than Richard's.

No, it's not.
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/authoritarian
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism

You did have your say, people listened to your arguments, but they
didn't end up being convinced by your arguments.  You had the same
opportunities to try to convince others as everyone else.  There is no
single person that starts with more power than others.

It's not authoritarian if the majority simply disagrees with you and
doesn't follow your will instead of theirs.  They also don't have power
over you: You're free to participate or not, and you can fork the code
and go build the glibc variant you want together with all those that
were convinced by your arguments.  And so can the majority.

Contrast that with the super powers you have associated with RMS: that's
about a specific person having more power than others.  As described by
him, he would reserve the right to overrule any majority if he thinks
it's important.

> For an individual abusive authority, there's often the possibility of
> defense in numbers.

Please, don't imply there's any abuse unless you have proof.

> But when the abusive authority is also a majority, it's absolute power.
> 
> Democracies usually have fundamental rights and contra-majoritarian
> powers to keep even the power of majorities in check.
> 
> There doesn't seem to be anything like that in our rules, is there?

Do you remember this copyleft thing?

The community is not forcing you to do anything.  And you can't compare
this to government structures BTW, given that that's a completely
different setting (eg, people live in a country and can't just beam
themselves to Mars).

(I hope we don't need to discuss power over trademarks, the official git
repo, etc., here.)

> Like, when objections are unreasonably dismissed by a majority, what
> recourse is there?

Your assumption of what is "unreasonable" differs wildly from what the
majority thinks is unreasonable.  Please see that this is your opinion,
not some objective fact we all agree to.

The problem you have is that the majority does not agree with you.  It's
not forcing you to do anything, and you can't force it to do anything
either.  The question that remains is whether you and the majority can
keep working together.

Working together requires the ability to make progress, even when
opinions are not unanimous.  Otherwise, there is "deadlock", and there's
no community effectivly because it stops producing outcomes.

In our consensus-based process, the majority is used as a "deadlock"
breaker, after we tried our best to build consensus (see (1)-(3) above).
In this case, it's even a vast majority.  If you don't accept that, this
community may not be a good fit for you.

You can of course always propose different deadlock breakers, and see
whether you can convince others.

> The purpose/goal of the project is not set in stone, so if it could be
> changed by a simple majority, or deviated from by a simple majority,
> what recourse would GNU and the original project participants have?

12 to 3 (or sth like that) is not a simple majority, BTW.

So, you do want to give more power to the "original project
participants" than to everyone else?  You're of course free to propose
that, but I wouldn't bet that you can convince enough people to follow
that scheme.
Javier Serrano Polo - May 9, 2018, 10:59 a.m.
El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 10:34 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
> Where have there been "verbal aggressions" or "gross personal insults
> and attacks" (quoting your earlier email) *on this list*?

El dl 07 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:08 -0500, William Pitcock va escriure:
> asinine behavior of it's present leader.
Javier Serrano Polo - May 9, 2018, 11:06 a.m.
El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 10:42 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
> No.  Consider Patsy's opinion, for example.

I thought Patsy made a joke, like "apt-get moo".
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 9, 2018, 12:05 p.m.
On 05/09/2018 04:29 PM, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 10:34 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
>> Where have there been "verbal aggressions" or "gross personal insults
>> and attacks" (quoting your earlier email) *on this list*?
> 
> El dl 07 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:08 -0500, William Pitcock va escriure:
>> asinine behavior of it's present leader.

He is not a glibc contributor.

Siddhesh
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 9, 2018, 12:09 p.m.
On 05/09/2018 04:36 PM, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 10:42 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
>> No.  Consider Patsy's opinion, for example.
> 
> I thought Patsy made a joke, like "apt-get moo".

That's mockery and it's really not funny.  Please stop.

Siddhesh
Torvald Riegel - May 9, 2018, 12:33 p.m.
On Wed, 2018-05-09 at 12:59 +0200, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 10:34 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
> > Where have there been "verbal aggressions" or "gross personal insults
> > and attacks" (quoting your earlier email) *on this list*?
> 
> El dl 07 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:08 -0500, William Pitcock va escriure:
> > asinine behavior of it's present leader.

I suppose you assume this is verbal aggression (and I'd agree it's
inappropriate).  But that's one example, and not by a glibc contributor,
as Siddhesh already said.  Let's ignoring whether it's a "gross personal
insult" or not.
But where are the other examples?  The quote claimed that there was more
than one.  Where's the claimed mob attack?
Javier Serrano Polo - May 9, 2018, 1:55 p.m.
El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:39 +0530, Siddhesh Poyarekar va
escriure:
> That's mockery

Whatever you say.

Also, please stop trying to defend PGF, I'm sure she is capable of
doing that for herself.
Torvald Riegel - May 9, 2018, 2:48 p.m.
On Wed, 2018-05-09 at 15:55 +0200, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:39 +0530, Siddhesh Poyarekar va
> escriure:
> > That's mockery
> 
> Whatever you say.

Come on, it's not that hard to discuss in a professional manner, or is
it?

If you think it wasn't mockery, do you care to explain how your comment
was supposed to help make progress with the topic of the current
discussion?

> Also, please stop trying to defend PGF, I'm sure she is capable of
> doing that for herself.

Siddhesh is not defending her specifically, he is ensuring that glibc
can stay a healthy community by speaking out against behavior we
consider toxic -- behavior such as yours in this and your previous
message.
Alexandre Oliva - May 9, 2018, 4:27 p.m.
On May  9, 2018, Siddhesh Poyarekar <siddhesh@gotplt.org> wrote:

> On 05/09/2018 12:24 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> In the presence of one unwithdrawn apparent objection (let's dismiss
>> RMS's in-comments objection for the sake of the argument), raised over
>> a period of 48 hours, what do the rules state?  Do we have consensus, or
>> do we not?

> No you cannot compare DJ's unambiguous objection to the joke to
> Ondrej's most likely tongue in cheek remark (Trump == joke, etc.).  In
> any case I already agreed that in hindsight RMS should have been
> looped into the conversation before pushing the change.

I'll just note you didn't answer the questions, so I'll restate them:
per the rules, would a standing objection suggest we don't have
consensus and should at least check whether the objection was serious,
or is there any justification for outright dismissing it as if it wasn't
even there?
Alexandre Oliva - May 9, 2018, 5:06 p.m.
On May  9, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:

> On Tue, 2018-05-08 at 23:37 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> On May  8, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:
>> 
>> > Look at the numbers we have at the moment.
>> 
>> Those "numbers" have very little to do with the advertised
>> "consensus-building community".

> For example, they show that many of our developers spoke out.  This
> isn't a 2 vs. 1 argument or anything like that.

Well, you counted 12 for removal, I count 6 against, so maybe it is?

But, really, this makes it sound as if this entire process was just a
vote, rather than the consensus building our community values so much.
Do you disagree with this assessment?

I appreciate that Carlos tried to do that and ran into walls, some of
which I built myself.  Perhaps he gave up, perhaps he just realized
there was too much heat at the moment for attempts at consensus building
to stand a chance to work and lead to some positive outcome.  I hope
it's the latter, and that, after some cooling off, the consensus
building attempt can be restarted, by him or by any other proponents of
the change.

Now that the initial conditions are restored, which was one of the
triggers for me to perceive the entire process as stacked and unjust,
I'm probably going to be able to look more a lot more cooly into
alternatives and accept compromises myself.  Earlier, I was fighting
(collective) intransigence (despite Carlos' efforts) with intransigence.
Once I perceive flexibility, I will likely respond in kind as well.  I
believe that's the way to build consensus.


>> The purpose/goal of the project is not set in stone, so if it could be
>> changed by a simple majority, or deviated from by a simple majority,
>> what recourse would GNU and the original project participants have?

> So, you do want to give more power to the "original project
> participants" than to everyone else?

Not quite.  I just wish it was clear that this is already the case, in a
way, so that people aren't so surprised and react so negatively in the
rare cases in which GNU libc is asked to take a certain step by the GNU
project.

See, throughout the discussion, you and others have often made
statements to the effect that, in the project, some are more equal than
others, to borrow Orwell's phrase.  Arguments were presented to weaken
Richard's opinions on the grounds that he's not an active developer,
that he's not a maintainer, etc.  Mine, too.  Other arguments along the
same lines were made to distinguish the weight of opinions from
occasional contributors from that of active developers and that of
official maintainers.  That's fine, but we shouldn't pretend or give
anyone the illusion that we're a community of equals.

Particularly more equal than others are GNU-appointed maintainers.  I'm
not just talking about the power to "do anything", that I've been
accused of wielding despite having strived to abide by the community
rules, but also about the commitment to represent and carry out the
interests of the GNU project.

Had Richard asked me, on behalf of the GNU project, to install a change,
I am bound by that commitment to do so, and I would have done so.

However, there's more than one way to go about it.

One is to bring the change in through the community process, seek
consensus, get it, and it's there.  It's the best possible outcome.

Another is to state "GNU demands this change, we must all obey" and put
it in.  That backfires, as we all know, and it's not the first time it
has, so this is best avoided.

Yet another is for the collective influence of the official maintainers
to softly lead the community towards the consensus desired by the GNU
project.  That's how companies control "community" projects they support
without seeming oppressive (I think that's the word I wanted when I
wrote authoritarian in my previous message in this thread), and that's a
model that works reasonably well.

The exception is when the community is so unhappy with a move that even
the collective, coordinated soft influence of the maintainers cannot
achieve the consensus desired by the project as a whole.  Uprise ensues,
and pretty much everyone loses, some more than others.

Another aspect that I feel I have to bring to the table is the fact that
GNU specifically, and the Free Software movement at large, have enemies,
and Richard's behavior is so coherent and consistent as to be easily
predictable.  It's not entirely unreasonable or far-fetched to imagine a
scenario in which one of these enemies, with perfect foresight of how
each of the players is likely to behave, proposes a change that will
lead to just the sort of tension we're going through now.

The best defense to that, IMHO, is not for us to part ways, but rather
to have a lot more clarity about the power structures that are in
effect.  It's not that they've ever been intentionally hidden, but that
they haven't been explicit in the project governance documentation may
have given people distorted ideas that are now playing against us all.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 9, 2018, 5:50 p.m.
On 05/09/2018 09:57 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I'll just note you didn't answer the questions, so I'll restate them:
> per the rules, would a standing objection suggest we don't have
> consensus and should at least check whether the objection was serious,
> or is there any justification for outright dismissing it as if it wasn't
> even there?

It is a judgment call and absent Ondrej's insistence, I still see no 
reason to revisit it especially since the commit has been reverted for 
now.  If Ondrej responds saying that his objection was a sustained one, 
I'll be happy to change my opinion on it.

Siddhesh
Rafal Luzynski - May 9, 2018, 7:56 p.m.
8.05.2018 17:54 Joseph Myers <joseph@codesourcery.com> wrote:
> [...]
> I think it's much more obvious from being in documentation for "abort"
> that it's about abortion, than that it's about a US-specific gag rule

True, I confirm this.

> ("Federal" is the only cue I see there to it being something US-specific,
> but is hardly unique to one country [...]

"Federal" may also apply to Germany and Russia, probably also to more
countries which I can't remember now.  It's easy to guess this is about
USA but there is always an uncertainty like "wait, maybe it's not about
USA?"

> I think being so US-specific - and, beyond that, relying on knowledge of a
> particular US rule - is by itself sufficient justification for not having
> this joke in the manual; [...]

This is similar to what I wrote previously.  Thank you for writing this
in a more comprehensible way.

Regards,

Rafal
Alexandre Oliva - May 9, 2018, 11:09 p.m.
On May  9, 2018, Siddhesh Poyarekar <siddhesh@gotplt.org> wrote:

> On 05/09/2018 09:57 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> I'll just note you didn't answer the questions, so I'll restate them:
>> per the rules, would a standing objection suggest we don't have
>> consensus and should at least check whether the objection was serious,
>> or is there any justification for outright dismissing it as if it wasn't
>> even there?

> It is a judgment call and absent Ondrej's insistence, I still see no
> reason to revisit it especially since the commit has been reverted for
> now.  If Ondrej responds saying that his objection was a sustained
> one, I'll be happy to change my opinion on it.

So let me see if I understand correctly.

DJ's objection to the joke counts as objection to the proposal restoring
the initial conditions because, after the fact, he says it meant it to
be despite not having confirmed even reading the proposal.

Other's claims, also after the fact, that they just refrained from
voicing their positions because DJ's had already stated his also count.

Ondrej's objection to removing the joke, however, doesn't count unless
he restates it, because it might have been meant just as a joke, and
nobody thought of asking him to confirm *before* going ahead and running
over it.

RMS's objection to removing the joke, written down next to the joke,
doesn't count, because, well <insert hand-wavy note> and, yeah, we
it should have, but, but, we didn't, and sorry, it's too late now.

My and anyone else's unstated objection to removing the joke, that was
not posted in a hurry because Ondrej's objection already was in effect,
no, sorry, that doesn't count, because...  we don't want it to either.

Are you not even just a little bit ashamed of displaying such a blatant
bias?
Alexandre Oliva - May 9, 2018, 11:57 p.m.
On May  9, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:

> On Wed, 2018-05-09 at 15:55 +0200, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
>> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:39 +0530, Siddhesh Poyarekar va
>> escriure:
>> > That's mockery

> Come on, it's not that hard to discuss in a professional manner, or is
> it?

>> Also, please stop trying to defend PGF, I'm sure she is capable of
>> doing that for herself.

> he is ensuring that glibc can stay a healthy community by speaking out
> against behavior we consider toxic -- behavior such as yours in this
> and your previous message.


Is it ok when e.g. Siddhesh uses that argument, but unprofessional and
toxic when others use them against the position he and you share?

Both arguments had just been used by Siddhesh elsewhere in the debate.

Your toxicity and professionalism detectors seem to be in need of
adjustment.
Richard Stallman - May 9, 2018, 11:58 p.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > Rey Tucker's opinion as well.

I have not received any mail from Rey Tucker.
Perhaps person sent mail to the list and not to me.

I take it that Rey Tucker is a woman.  If I had seen that message, I
would necessarily have known that -- at least, not from the name.

I did see a receive message from Patsy.  It stated agreement with
another message, but it didn't say how she herself felt.

One message from a woman doesn't invalidate the point that this is
mainly a matter of some people (mostly men) saying what they think
other people (nmostly women) will feel.

I am starting to talk with women I know.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 10, 2018, 2:57 a.m.
On 05/10/2018 04:39 AM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> So let me see if I understand correctly.

You haven't understood it correctly and I am now convinced that it is 
because you don't want to.

> Other's claims, also after the fact, that they just refrained from
> voicing their positions because DJ's had already stated his also count.
> 
> Ondrej's objection to removing the joke, however, doesn't count unless
> he restates it, because it might have been meant just as a joke, and
> nobody thought of asking him to confirm *before* going ahead and running
> over it.

There is a significant difference in the tones of DJ's email and Ondrej's.

> RMS's objection to removing the joke, written down next to the joke,
> doesn't count, because, well <insert hand-wavy note> and, yeah, we
> it should have, but, but, we didn't, and sorry, it's too late now.

I (and others) already agreed that in hindsight RMS should have been 
brought into the loop but you're bringing it up repeatedly giving the 
impression that this is still an open issue.

> My and anyone else's unstated objection to removing the joke, that was
> not posted in a hurry because Ondrej's objection already was in effect,
> no, sorry, that doesn't count, because...  we don't want it to either.
> 
> Are you not even just a little bit ashamed of displaying such a blatant
> bias?

It does count for a discussion and we can reasonably differ on 
interpreting Ondrej's response but it does not give an excuse for that 
personal attack.

I have had enough of your repeated slurs.  This is the end of discussion 
with you for me.

Siddhesh
Torvald Riegel - May 10, 2018, 11:33 a.m.
On Wed, 2018-05-09 at 20:57 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On May  9, 2018, Torvald Riegel <triegel@redhat.com> wrote:
> 
> > On Wed, 2018-05-09 at 15:55 +0200, Javiera Serrano Polo wrote:
> >> El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 17:39 +0530, Siddhesh Poyarekar va
> >> escriure:
> >> > That's mockery
> 
> > Come on, it's not that hard to discuss in a professional manner, or is
> > it?
> 
> >> Also, please stop trying to defend PGF, I'm sure she is capable of
> >> doing that for herself.
> 
> > he is ensuring that glibc can stay a healthy community by speaking out
> > against behavior we consider toxic -- behavior such as yours in this
> > and your previous message.
> 
> 
> Is it ok when e.g. Siddhesh uses that argument,

The two comments he made to you and to Javiera were not the same.  He
suggested that your comments about what RMS might think or feel and why
he might have decided in a certain way may not have been helpful from
RMS' position.
In contrast, he told Javiera to please stop what Siddhesh though was
mockery.
Thus, your comments where specific to a person, but Siddhesh's remarks
to Javeria were about the style of communication on this list.

> but unprofessional and
> toxic when others use them against the position he and you share?

You're mixing things up here.

Siddhesh made a suggestion to you, which I think was in line because his
intent was positive towards RMS; he didn't want to silence you, but said
that maybe you wouldn't perfectly represent RMS.  (I've seen your
comment that you think it was about silencing.)

In contrast, Javiera's second to last comment (the apt-get thing) was
clearly inappropriate.  His last comment just tried to distort Siddhesh'
statements and derail the discussion.  I didn't contribute to any of the
topics we're discussing.
Chester Gregg - May 10, 2018, 11:43 a.m.
Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> DJ's objection to the joke counts as objection to the proposal restoring the initial conditions because, after the fact, he says it meant it to be despite not having confirmed even reading the proposal.
> Other's claims, also after the fact, that they just refrained from voicing their positions because DJ's had already stated his also count.
> Ondrej's objection to removing the joke, however, doesn't count unless he restates it, because it might have been meant just as a joke, and nobody thought of asking him to confirm *before* going ahead and running over it.
> RMS's objection to removing the joke, written down next to the joke, doesn't count, because, well <insert hand-wavy note> and, yeah, we it should have, but, but, we didn't, and sorry, it's too late now.
> My and anyone else's unstated objection to removing the joke, that was not posted in a hurry because Ondrej's objection already was in effect, no, sorry, that doesn't count, because...  we don't want it to either.
> Are you not even just a little bit ashamed of displaying such a blatant bias?

The initial patch had a consensus. You're the only person I've seen propose
that Ondřej's remark may have actually been serious. It read as a joke to
everyone at the time of the patch, and nearly everyone since. I admit, based on
my life experiences and culture, I don't understand why you would think that it
was a serious objection. I'm trying, but your view of this as a serious comment
and RMS's joke as funny is not shared with the community at large. That's fine,
but does serve to underline the central point being made by many others: humor
is usually not an effective means of communicating seriously. Especially on the
internet, devoid of body language and vocal tone, with people from many diffent
life experiences and cultures.

I don't want to stifle humor in every context; it's generally fine in a small
community such as this mailing list, where people get to know each other, and
where dialogue can commence when there's confusion. It's just not appropriate
in a user-facing technical manual. Not everyone is going to parse it the same
way. Even with the added benefit of knowing it was supposed to be a joke, being
an American, and having heard of the rule being criticized, it still took time
to dissect the joke and understand what it was haphazardly trying to say. As
E.B. White famously observed, this kills the joke.

If Ondřej's remark was serious, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, and I hope
he corrects the record. It doesn't change the community understanding at the
time of the patch.

RMS's objection, in comment form, predates the Pentium. His last commit to
glibc is nearly as old (1996). His last involvement on this mailing list is
over 2 years old. He's simply not involved in the project's development, as far
as I can see. It would have been a courtesy to seek his opinion, but so was the
perceived courtesy of not wasting his time asking him about it. It's also not a
requirement, wouldn't have changed the consensus, and that's why he's on the
mailing list.

If objections aren't on the record, they don't exist. Given that consensus does
not require unanimity, every objection needs to be stated. Even if it was just
a notice that you were reaching out to RMS for his opinion, and requesting that
the community wait. If objections are raised later, a patch should be submitted
and the consensus process will bear it out if that's actually the consensus.

---

In regards to your previous description of the patch as being "sneaky", that's
uncalled-for. This was the removal of a few lines of a non-technical, outdated
joke comment that hasn't been touched in 26 years. It hasn't even been
discussed in 19 years, as far as I can tell [1]. 2 days passed between when the
patch was submitted and when it was installed, with no serious objections. That
was plenty of time for a change of this narrow magnitude to reach a reasonable
consensus. There was no reason for Zach to believe that this seemingly
innocuous removal would cause such a schism.

On the contrary, when the patch was reverted, that violated the community
principles. You should have understood that it would be controversial, as
lively debate was still ongoing. Every change should follow the same procedure.
According to those community principles:

    Cases likely to need more review and a longer period before pushing a
    commit include: changes that have previously been controversial.

[1] https://sourceware.org/ml/glibc-linux/1999-q3/msg00012.html
Richard Stallman - May 11, 2018, 1:32 a.m.
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

[After spending an hour to write this, I saw a proposal for
an 11-week cooling off period.  That might be a good idea.
However, I think this message is important and shouldn't wait 11 weeks.]

  >   This is the most aggressive (by far!) I have seen most of 
  > the maintainers become in an email discussion and most of it has been 
  > reactions to doubts on our good faith or to your assertion of ultimate 
  > authority regardless of our near-unanimous opinion.

I think you are saying that all of you were taken aback that I did not
recognize your complete authority, which you considered indisputable.
Some of you were incensed that I didn't accept that.

I think I can understand what that felt like, because I felt something
along the same lines.  I was taken aback that you claimed total
authority over GNU libc, since I never agreed to that.  I was not
incensed, but I was shocked and alarmed.

The specific joke was the immediate practical disagreement that made
us aware of the deeper disagreement.  But that joke was not terribly
important in itself.  At least, not to me.  Arguments might convince
me it is better to delete one particular joke, if I think they are
valid.

However, some went far beyond criticizing one joke.  Some advocated a
radical opposition to any and all jokes, citing a principle they call
"professionalism" (which seems to mean, "be humorless and
businesslike, certainly not a hacker").  One person even expressed
disgust for my humorous title, the Chief GNUisance.  I think he would
prefer that I called myself something with no playfulness in it, such
as "Boss of the GNU Project".  Would that be better?

Humor pervades the GNU Project, because I am in favor of humor.  The
name "GNU" is itself a joke -- a recursive acronym.  If you want to
work on the GNU Project, you'll have to tolerate various kinds of
humor.

That we have a serious purpose is not a reason to aim for
humorlessness: "Ha Ha Only Serious" is a hacker tradition.  See
https://stallman.org/articles/on-hacking.html.

To advocate a ban on jokes is to oppose a principle I hold dear.  I
hesitate to delete any joke, if that would be appear to be an advance
for a campaign to delete all jokes.

However, if is clear that the matter at hand is only one specific
joke, arguments based on the specifics of the joke could convince me.
Jonathan Nieder - May 11, 2018, 1:58 a.m.
Hi,

Richard Stallman wrote:

> [After spending an hour to write this, I saw a proposal for
> an 11-week cooling off period.  That might be a good idea.
> However, I think this message is important and shouldn't wait 11 weeks.]

In the spirit of that cooling off period, I won't respond to the
substance of your email.  But:

[...]
> I think you are saying that all of you were taken aback that I did not
> recognize your complete authority, which you considered indisputable.
> Some of you were incensed that I didn't accept that.
>
> I think I can understand what that felt like, because I felt something
> along the same lines.  I was taken aback that you claimed total
> authority over GNU libc, since I never agreed to that.  I was not
> incensed, but I was shocked and alarmed.
>
> The specific joke was the immediate practical disagreement that made
> us aware of the deeper disagreement.  But that joke was not terribly
> important in itself.  At least, not to me.

Thanks much for this context.  Providing context for one's reactions,
after reflecting on them, is a powerful tool for deescalating a
conflict.  I hope others on this list can learn from this experience
and keep the example in mind the next time they're in an argument
where the other side doesn't seem to be listening.

[...]
> To advocate a ban on jokes is to oppose a principle I hold dear.  I
> hesitate to delete any joke, if that would be appear to be an advance
> for a campaign to delete all jokes.
>
> However, if is clear that the matter at hand is only one specific
> joke, arguments based on the specifics of the joke could convince me.

Thanks as well for providing this basis for moving toward agreement,
once the time comes to resume the discussion.

Sincerely,
Jonathan
Javier Serrano Polo - May 11, 2018, 2:34 a.m.
El dj 10 de 05 de 2018 a les 13:33 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
> You're mixing things up here.

I was worried you forgot Siddhesh's comment; I am glad you do not
suffer from memory issues.

El dc 09 de 05 de 2018 a les 16:48 +0200, Torvald Riegel va escriure:
> toxic -- behavior such as yours

Whatever you say, doc.
Siddhesh Poyarekar - May 11, 2018, 3:57 a.m.
On 05/11/2018 07:02 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> I think you are saying that all of you were taken aback that I did not
> recognize your complete authority, which you considered indisputable.
> Some of you were incensed that I didn't accept that.
> 
> I think I can understand what that felt like, because I felt something
> along the same lines.  I was taken aback that you claimed total
> authority over GNU libc, since I never agreed to that.  I was not
> incensed, but I was shocked and alarmed.
> 
> The specific joke was the immediate practical disagreement that made
> us aware of the deeper disagreement.  But that joke was not terribly
> important in itself.  At least, not to me.  Arguments might convince
> me it is better to delete one particular joke, if I think they are
> valid.

Thank you, I think this is a good summary and basis to start off from 
when we resume discussions after the release.

> Humor pervades the GNU Project, because I am in favor of humor.  The
> name "GNU" is itself a joke -- a recursive acronym.  If you want to
> work on the GNU Project, you'll have to tolerate various kinds of
> humor.
> 
> That we have a serious purpose is not a reason to aim for
> humorlessness: "Ha Ha Only Serious" is a hacker tradition.  See
> https://stallman.org/articles/on-hacking.html.
> 
> To advocate a ban on jokes is to oppose a principle I hold dear.  I
> hesitate to delete any joke, if that would be appear to be an advance
> for a campaign to delete all jokes.
> 
> However, if is clear that the matter at hand is only one specific
> joke, arguments based on the specifics of the joke could convince me.

Without elaborating on this too much (since we are in a cooling off 
period) this is good to hear too and a very good basis to resume 
discussion after the release.

I think I'll have coffee for breakfast today instead of the mojito ;)

Thanks,
Siddhesh

Patch

diff --git a/manual/intro.texi b/manual/intro.texi
index cc9c99f543..b413652194 100644
--- a/manual/intro.texi
+++ b/manual/intro.texi
@@ -22,6 +22,7 @@  portability.
 
 @menu
 * Getting Started::             What this manual is for and how to use it.
+* Government Censorship::       Government censorship.
 * Standards and Portability::   Standards and sources upon which the GNU
                                  C library is based.
 * Using the Library::           Some practical uses for the library.
@@ -29,7 +30,7 @@  portability.
                                  this manual.
 @end menu
 
-@node Getting Started, Standards and Portability,  , Introduction
+@node Getting Started, Government Censorship,  , Introduction
 @section Getting Started
 
 This manual is written with the assumption that you are at least
@@ -56,6 +57,21 @@  are writing your programs you can recognize @emph{when} to make use of
 library functions, and @emph{where} in this manual you can find more
 specific information about them.
 
+@node Government Censorship, Standards and Portability, Getting Started, Introduction
+@section Government Censorship
+@cindex censorship
+
+@string{Trigger warning: Talk of abortion.}
+
+The GNU project takes the position that government censorship should
+not be supported.  Censorship threatens the distribution of information
+in ways that restricts the freedoms of our users and harms the creativity
+of the project.
+
+Censorship of technical information, cultural information, and even
+information related to human abortion (regardless of your position on
+the topic), should not be supported. Such censorship restricts the
+freedoms of all users.
 
 @node Standards and Portability, Using the Library, Getting Started, Introduction
 @section Standards and Portability