[License-discuss] Language, appropriateness, and ideas

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Thu Feb 27 14:35:52 UTC 2020

On Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 8:21 PM VanL <van.lindberg at gmail.com> wrote:

> Further, if we really believe in the importance of ideas, and the
> importance of speech to express those ideas, even ones we disagree with, we
> should act in a fashion that allows us the broadest exposure to those
> different ideas. Sharp language results in "de-platforming" of those who
> would express an otherwise radical idea.

I'm trying to understand the logic behind this discussion.

The context was in discussing the concept of a "Persona Non Grata" clause
in licenses, the purpose of which is to name, shame and discriminate
against individuals and groups.   Not only should this concept be
immediately understood as incompatible with the non-discriminatory aspects
of the OSD, but the suggestion that we as a community should be accepting
naming-and-shaming should be rejected by a code of conduct.

Lets look at the recent activity.   ESR tried to post a message where he
named and shamed some individuals and activities which he considers to be
seriously problematic not only in society as a whole, but software
communities as well.  The moderators rejected his email to this list.

Some might even suggest he is being de-platformed by being blocked from
expressing personal political views.  I'm not suggesting this, as I'm
advocating strongly that those who wish to use software and software
licenses to discriminate be invited (strongly if required) to go elsewhere
than the OSI mailing lists.  I don't consider it de-platforming to ask
people (and enforce is necessary) to leave the list who want to
continuously try to get permission to route-around the non-discriminatory
goals of the OSD so that they can discriminate.

Had ESR's naming-and-shaming been included in the preamble of a license
agreement being discussed as to whether it conformed to the OSD, would the
moderators have been forced to accept it into this list, and would those
who support the "Persona Non Grata" concept insisted that this license be
considered Open Source even though it clearly contained discriminatory
language and concepts?

In short, being kind doesn't require agreement. But it does encourage more
> ideas and better debate.

I would agree with the inclusion of this statement if it were not for the
fact that it was in the context of people wanting to (ab)use software and
software licenses to be unkind (to publicly claim others are "unethical",
and to try to declare them "Persona Non Grata").
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