[personal profile] mjg59
The Fantasyland Institute of Learning is the organisation behind Lambdaconf, a functional programming conference perhaps best known for standing behind a racist they had invited as a speaker. The fallout of that has resulted in them trying to band together events in order to reduce disruption caused by sponsors or speakers declining to be associated with conferences that think inviting racists is more important than the comfort of non-racists, which is weird in all sorts of ways but not what I'm talking about here because they've also written a "Code of Professionalism" which is like a Code of Conduct except it protects abusers rather than minorities and no really it is genuinely as bad as it sounds.

The first thing you need to know is that the document uses its own jargon. Important here are the concepts of active and inactive participation - active participation is anything that you do within the community covered by a specific instance of the Code, inactive participation is anything that happens anywhere ever (ie, active participation is a subset of inactive participation). The restrictions based around active participation are broadly those that you'd expect in a very weak code of conduct - it's basically "Don't be mean", but with some quirks. The most significant is that there's a "Don't moralise" provision, which as written means saying "I think people who support slavery are bad" in a community setting is a violation of the code, but the description of discrimination means saying "I volunteer to mentor anybody from a minority background" could also result in any community member not from a minority background complaining that you've discriminated against them. It's just not very good.

Inactive participation is where things go badly wrong. If you engage in community or professional sabotage, or if you shame a member based on their behaviour inside the community, that's a violation. Community sabotage isn't defined and so basically allows a community to throw out whoever they want to. Professional sabotage means doing anything that can hurt a member's professional career. Shaming is saying anything negative about a member to a non-member if that information was obtained from within the community.

So, what does that mean? Here are some things that you are forbidden from doing:
  • If a member says something racist at a conference, you are not permitted to tell anyone who is not a community member that this happened (shaming)
  • If a member tries to assault you, you are not allowed to tell the police (shaming)
  • If a member gives a horribly racist speech at another conference, you are not allowed to suggest that they shouldn't be allowed to speak at your event (professional sabotage)
  • If a member of your community reports a violation and no action is taken, you are not allowed to warn other people outside the community that this is considered acceptable behaviour (community sabotage)

Now, clearly, some of these are unintentional - I don't think the authors of this policy would want to defend the idea that you can't report something to the police, and I'm sure they'd be willing to modify the document to permit this. But it's indicative of the mindset behind it. This policy has been written to protect people who are accused of doing something bad, not to protect people who have something bad done to them.

There are other examples of this. For instance, violations are not publicised unless the verdict is that they deserve banishment. If a member harasses another member but is merely given a warning, the victim is still not permitted to tell anyone else that this happened. The perpetrator is then free to repeat their behaviour in other communities, and the victim has to choose between either staying silent or warning them and risk being banished from the community for shaming.

If you're an abuser then this is perfect. You're in a position where your victims have to choose between their career (which will be harmed if they're unable to function in the community) and preventing the same thing from happening to others. Many will choose the former, which gives you far more freedom to continue abusing others. Which means that communities adopting the Fantasyland code will be more attractive to abusers, and become disproportionately populated by them.

I don't believe this is the intent, but it's an inevitable consequence of the priorities inherent in this code. No matter how many corner cases are cleaned up, if a code prevents you from saying bad things about people or communities it prevents people from being able to make informed choices about whether that community and its members are people they wish to associate with. When there are greater consequences to saying someone's racist than them being racist, you're fucking up badly.


Date: 2017-02-27 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This article is a piece of fucking shit. It stabs wildly at conclusions which are 100% incorrect or misinterpreted. Deliberately trying to malign a conference trying to do the right thing. His little bullet points are shit, there's nothing in the coc that prevents people who've been victims of racism from reporting it to the police or anyone. In fact, if I read it right, they're welcome to report it and they'll be banned from the conference. Stop projecting your own biased feelings onto other people.


Date: 2017-02-28 01:34 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is more SJW bullshit. People who don't like that LambdaCon didn't bow to the almighty SJW and ban someone based on the Twitter Mob. And so you go off and write some blog post pretending to care about bias and other people. What about all the SHIT threats and lies that have been spread about the organizers. Your own Bias speaks more loudly than than Moldbug ever did and with more hate. The fact that you dislike mold bugs racist views and then go publish shit biased articles like this one. If you were interested in fixing the problem you might talk to those lambdacon people and contribute to the COc. Instead you'd rather pound your chest and hate on others, damaging their careers because like a 5 year old you didn't get your way. And as your SJW fellows like to say to anyone who disagrees with them Fuck Off.


Date: 2017-02-28 04:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Yea Yea, I'm sure you did. You're like the other self-righteous pricks you "dialogue" pointing fingers and seeing things from only your own point of view. And then because they wouldn't bow to your intellectual superiority decided to spew your lies and assertions across the internet. You shoot shit through your mouth all day. And disagreeing it is fine, but saying it promotes abuse is retarded. All your self-righteousness is bullshit. I see through your shit, and anyone who looks at your filled Github issues recognizes the pattern. Your what's commonly known as a Bully and a Greifer. Someone who enjoys trying to hurt other people and puff yourself up. So again, fuck OFF.


Date: 2017-02-28 07:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
> it's attractive to abusers

[Citation needed]


Date: 2017-02-28 06:12 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well said. The internet outrage each year over this conference is already tired. The organizers are clearly interested in making the conference a positive and safe experience for all attendees, and they're trying something different than most other conferences. They should be applauded and given constructive feedback on how to improve.

Sponsors haven't pulled out because they disagree with the approach, they've pulled out because the vitriol surrounding this trumped up outrage is way, way over the top.

Look, I'm a life-long social progressive but the conservatives are right that this PC culture has gone off the rails.


Date: 2017-02-28 06:57 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Is it less safe? Is there a problem? You say there is and everyone is getting whipped up into a frenzy just like last year, but all the accounts I read of the conference sound like it went off without a hitch.


Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Google. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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