Re: FreeBSD has a politics problem

From: Conrad Meyer <>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2018 15:25:43 -0800

A good portion of your original email happens to be inaccurate or
misleading.  In the spirit of good faith discussion, I'm going to
assume you're just accidentally misinformed, and not willfully
misrepresenting things.  So, some corrections and clarifications

If you have further questions about the code of conduct, I suggest
reaching out to the drafting committee or core directly.  They're nice
people, they don't bite, and they're happy to help clarify intent and


On Sat, Mar 3, 2018 at 2:30 PM, John Darrah <> wrote:
> FreeBSD recently introduced an updated Code of Conduct that developers and
> members must adhere to. There has been much backlash online about it and
> about introducing identity politics into a technical OS project in general.
> The Code of Conduct was adopted

In part, with editorial review and modification by a committee of
conscientious project members.

> from the "Geek Feminism" wiki's version,
> which claims (among other things) that racism against whites doesn't exist,

This claim is factually erroneous.  The Geek Feminism example
anti-harassment policy simply makes no such claim.

(Furthermore, criticizing the Geek Feminism document is wholly
off-topic for FreeBSD.  Our code of conduct is not identical to GF's
example policy.  The only conduct document relevant to FreeBSD is the
one at .)

> sexism against men doesn't exist,

This claim is also objectively absent from the plain language of
either document.

> and that certain protected classes of
> people should not be criticised.

Again, this hysterical claim comes from blue sky.

> A number of developers, particularly benno_at_, phk_at_ and des_at_, have used racist
> and sexist remarks

Again, this is a claim made without any evidence.  I've briefly
re-skimmed the developers discussion on this topic and don't see any
examples.  (And, this accusation is so far outside of Benno's demeanor
as to be completely laughable.)  phk_at_ and des_at_ have used less
conciliatory language but I still do not see any sexist or racist

> against those criticising the far-reaching project policy
> change, saying that the concerns about the policy essentially boil down to
> "white male privilege" and being "on the wrong side of history".

They're entitled to their opinions, as you are.  Note that neither
des_at_ nor phk_at_ sit on or represent the Core team.

> Other developers expressed concern about the policy being thrown upon them
> with no discussion or debate, as well as The FreeBSD Foundation's choice
> to pay an outside person (with donations from the users) to work on the
> Code of Conduct's enforcement.

The Foundation chooses how to spend donation dollars at its sole
discretion.  That's the deal with 501(c)(3) charities.  If you want to
pick and choose how your donated dollars are spent, Linux Foundation
is a 501(c)(6).

> Said person identifies as a feminist.

We don't object to contribution from people who identify as
Republican, Catholic, or Pastafarian.  Why do you think someone who
identifies as a feminist is incapable of doing a good job advising the
drafting committee?

> Mods on BSD and FreeBSD-related subreddits are censoring posts, removing
> threads, and banning users for posting the link.

This is a misleading oversimplification.  FreeBSD-the-project doesn't
control or have any moderation privileges on BSD-topic subreddits.
The only active moderator on one of the subreddits (freebsd) isn't
even a developer, just some random reddit user who happened to
register long ago.  Colin Percival happens to have moderation
privileges on the other subreddit (BSD), but again, is acting on his
personal volition.  He does not sit on nor represent the Core team.

Most discussions on the code of conduct in both locations have been
left in place, despite fairly low quality discussion.  (The usual
name-calling, spreading of outright FUD, othering, etc etc.)

The few posts that have been removed were outright, low-effort
trolling.  Not any kind of nuanced criticism of the actual code of

Note that links to discussion on the BSD subreddits have been shared
in high drama, non-technical subreddits like r/Drama,
r/KotakuInAction, and r/SJWHate, likely leading to an influx of users
from those other spaces.

> Colin Percival is among the mods doing the removal.

Colin can speak to what has been moderated.  Removed subjects and
comments are still easily discovered on reddit archive sites, e.g., .  You can judge whether anything of value
was lost.  (I think not, but that's just my opinion.)

Clearly, discussion has not been eliminated.  There's tons of active
"discussion" going on.  I don't think it's particularly valuable
discourse because the same misrepresentations and outright falsehoods
are repeated over and over again, but it certainly hasn't been
scrubbed clean by moderators (who are mostly not under control of the
project anyway).  What has been moderated is largely duplicate threads
trying to game reddit's post ordering system to get repeated
visibility, or low-effort trolling.

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Please do not leak internal, private project emails.

Received on Sat Mar 03 2018 - 22:32:11 UTC

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