The Code Stands Alone

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I’m not sure how much of a post this will turn into but I do want to link to ESR discussing how the code is all that matters. This is in response to the (now regularly occurring) attempt to ostracize someone over something in their personal life or belief system. The gist, for those of you who don’t want to click over: a developer turns out to have some “weird” and apparently “problematic” kinks, though he never brought that into the project. Now the community is shunning him.

Which is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t use (and now never will use) Drupal, so I haven’t followed this in any detail. But earlier I saw this post on Reason, and then Eric’s post tonight, and I just feel a rant coming. Here’s a quote from reason:

According to Executive Director Megan Sanicki, the association began looking into Garfield last October at the behest of another member of the Drupal community. That person had discovered Garfield’s profiles on membership kink and dating websites and shared some screenshots with Drupal leadership.

First of all, nobody likes a rat: it’s probably good for the snitch that the management isn’t exposing the community member who sniffed out and exposed a man’s private life, bringing it into the group. That behavior, to me, is more disruptive and definitely “creepy.” Second, I am reminded of a joke from Rodney Carrington. Carrington is a comedian who sings “vulgar” joke songs — about his dick, about wanting to see boobs, and so on. Carrington tells one story about being in church with his wife one day, and a fellow church-goer sees him, and pulls a double take.

At some point the man leans over to him and whispers, “What are you doing here?”

Carrington says, “If you recognize me, what are you doing here?”

So just how did this person find out about Garfield’s profiles on these sites? Somehow the person must have been at the site. Does this person just scour the internet for fetish sites and cross-check against a list of colleagues?

I mean, what in the name of fuck is going on here?

Also, clearly the management of the community is straight up bonkers. What should have happened is this:

Snitch: This Garfield guy is into some kink. See all these profiles?
Management: Why in the name of hell are you stalking one of our developers on kink websites? Knock it off.

What someone wants to do with their consenting, adult genitals is none of my business, or anyone else not involved in their sexual down-time. It’s just not. And if a coworker came to me to express concern because he or she found the profile of another coworker — and there are a few who I wouldn’t put anything past — I would not think less of the exposed, but the exposer. Because why in the hell is something from outside work being brought in to work?

It’d be different if this guy was showing up to meetings or conventions dressed like a character from Gor. It’d be different if he signed his posts on community forums with random kink related to his fetish. It’d be different if he was in any way conflating the professional and the perverse.

This is how you can tell where someone’s passion and drive aims, because I don’t care what anyone I collaborate with gets up to at any moment they aren’t working on the project. You do you, freaks and perverts. But when it’s game time, when the project is due, when we have milestones? I don’t care about anything other than your ability to produce. Sometimes coding is difficult, and stuff goes haywire. Sometimes customer needs and wants change. Sometimes the feces impacts the rotary cooling device. It just happens.

And when that happens, I don’t care if the person contributing likes to dress like Jessica Rabbit and sing on his off-days. I just care about his contributions.

Short of illegal or reprehensible behavior, nothing will dissuade me from working with someone. I define reprehensible behavior as fairly narrow circumstances that would make me question their general mental well-being: mostly, something that involves hurting or taking advantage of people at a disadvantage (ie, children, the mentally disabled, etc); cruelty; exceptionally bad behavior that would possibly spill over. Basically, behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes that might damage the mission (whatever that mission may be); things that will lessen my ability to trust them not to disrupt the mission.

That’s it. Leave people the hell alone, no matter what their private kink is (and even being on the web, if they keep their lives separate, leave them alone), no matter what their religion is, no matter what their sexuality, or anything else. Unless and until it interferes in the mission, you should probably just fuck off.