Those responsible for the Ruby programming language revised the project code of conduct on GitHub to remove tolerance of opposing views as a prerequisite.
The move comes after a member of the community was seen posting a joke that many considered sexist and ageist.
Tolerance for opposing views is no longer applied
Ruby’s Code of Conduct has historically stated that community members maintain respect and tolerance for each other’s views, even though they may not always agree:
But, on September 29, in a fetch request titled “Remove Abuse Activation Language”, the software engineer Jake herrington proposed that Ruby’s code of conduct be reviewed to ensure everyone in the community feels safe.
The change Herrington originally proposed to the code was minimal: changing the fact that participants should “always assume good intentions” when interpreting the words and actions of others to “participants should speak and act with good intentions, but understand that intention and impact are not the same.“
But, a pseudonymous member of GitHub requested that the document be further revised to remove the line of opposing views.
“Some people may have opinions which, when expressed, may harm the interests of particular groups of people like large corporations. This needs to be taken into account,” the user suggested.
The next day, Ruby’s documentation was updated to convey the suggested language, as confirmed by TechToSee:
The change is now live on Ruby’s website.
Herrington reasoning behind the rapid movement is based on recent action by a community member. In the Ruby mailing list, the member is seen posting a note about how Ruby The date today the method behaves, accompanied by a sexist remark.
Twitter thread by Ruby Lead and Square’s Global Neurodiversity Chair Brandon Weaver explains what caused these changes.
Ruby’s decision attracts polarized opinions
Many asked the mailing list moderators to step in and find a solution to prevent such behavior in the future:
“Who is responsible for this mailing list? If not moderated appropriately, I will suggest removing references to this list from [the Ruby Mailing Lists page] today, “said the developer Olivier Lacan.
And, to a large extent, most of the Ruby community have welcomed the subtle but remarkable revisions to the code of conduct.
“I just want to say thank you for publicly speaking out against this behavior. What’s going on in there right now is absolutely disgusting and shameful,” the Ruby developer tweeted. Jemma Issroff.
But, not everyone is happy with this approach, as seen in different places:
In the GitHub thread started by Herrington, user Brian Spilner argued that as a result there may not be room for all kinds of jokes, because someone is doomed to be offended:
“As a result, there will be no room for any kind of humor (because someone might feel shocked)… no more general criticism (because some might feel too offended) unless we use the perfect job for that… but wait: what if some still feel offended even IF we use the right words? [sic] the right to feel offended in this case? “
Later, a debate emerged on Y Combinator’s Hacker News, leaving netizens divided:
“So in the name of inclusion they are bullying someone who is not an English speaker for not knowing the nuances of political correctness in a foreign culture? Cool cool,” posted a pseudonymous user.
But, the Ruby community is pretty clear on what constitutes acceptable behavior, and this advanced technical knowledge is no excuse for misconduct.
Ruby’s mailing list guidelines also advise you to always be friendly, caring, tactful, and in good taste, in order to keep the environment hospitable and safe for everyone.
“To be honest, I think responding to ‘fire-breathing’ wizards is bad policy. I don’t care what technical knowledge or background someone brings to a conversation, it shouldn’t be codified in the documents. conduct that Ruby “speaks to assholes,” said Herrington.
“This behavior certainly does not reflect the values that attracted me to the Ruby community in the first place.”
“For clarity, it’s the community that keeps me in the Ruby space. If these values are not being lived, then why would I choose Ruby over other technically viable tools in the same space? Herrington continues.
Whatever changes are ultimately included in the new code of conduct, the debate on the issue has become so polarized that there will always be someone who will be upset by the outcome.