That the idea of COCs provokes discussion and dispute is hardly remarkable.
To characterize it as "poison" is simply not accurate. People will
disagree. Discussion is how positions are clarified and conflicts are
resolved. This is just ordinary social process, and it's healthy.
I'm glad you find in my response something of merit. But please consider:
All persisting social groups develop cultures, part of which is a body of
thought about what is and is not appropriate behavior. This fact as long
ago established by academic cultural anthropology and sociology. If
sufficient internal awareness of the culture evolves, formal statements of
what is and is not appropriate behavior may be made. They may even be
codified in some sort of legal framework. Add clear statements about
constitutes crossing an expectational boundary, and an enforcement
mechanism, and you have a legal codification. My point is that codification
may or may not come with sanctions.
A codification of what is usual is different from one about what is
expected. The latter is more of a values statement. In a subculture, such
as computer programming, where the ability and contributions of all sorts
of people, especially women, are a documented fact, but which is also known
currently to consist predominantly of white males (in the USA and Europe),
there would appear to be a cultural problem. To make an overt statement
about valuing diversity is one (and just one) tactic in pursuit of the goal
of increased diversity. That's why such a statement is a good idea.
Why overtly promote diversity? There is a clear reason for this, which you
appear not to understand. Systems (including but not limited to social
systems) which embody diversity of knowledge and skill have a known
propensity for responding adaptively to challenge far better than those
which do not. This is well known in biology, and in agriculture (ever heard
of the mono-cropping problem?), to take just two from among many. In
biology, we simpy say "diversity promotes survival", and so it is.
In groups and organizations, one promotes diversity because it CAUSES
increased quality in the group product. Good managers of all sorts know
this. Diversity is valued primarily because of what it causes.
So, when you state that diversity is "...a terrible goal in of itself for
people to pursue", you simply don't understand why diversity matters. You
say "I'm all for removing friction towards diversity". There may or may not
be resistance to diversity, but the problem is more fundamentally LACK of
diversity, for whatever reason. It's not about "enforcing" anything. It's
about clarifying group values and goals, specifically so that some brown or
black skinned female, or someone with an ethnic background quite divergent
from the European background most all of here have will anticipate being
welcomed here, and so will invite themselves into the group. We should
(logically) WANT this to happen because it makes the group stronger, and so
say that we value that which causes this increase in strength: diversity.
You and a few others seem quite anxious about all this. I am not sure why.
No one is proposing the formation of a secret police corps to enforce
anything. I perceive a fundamental ignorance: people of liberal persuasion
are simply NOT inclined to tolerate autocracy or extremism of any kind,
much less dogma about much of anything. In general, education liberalises,
humanizes, makes gentle. It's not about conformity or enforcement - those
concepts are just alien. I am deeply puzzled that there are people who do
not grasp this.
Many computer languages have formal specifications. Those are technical
values statements - a code of conduct for code itself. No problem there,
right? Over time, most such specifications seem to tend toward inclusion of
additional functionality, not to rigid limitations. My metaphor may be a
bit strained, but surely you see the point. Having a bit of formal
structure creates increases functionality, basically in all things. This
the way of things. Why would this group be any different?
I think you would profit from looking more deeply at your anxiety about all
this. I truly don't think it's justified.
On 04/21/2016 01:07 PM, Cezary Baginski wrote:
I like your response very much, Tom.
I just have one distinction to suggest: "diversity" is a good indicator of
a healthy system. However, it's a terrible goal in of itself for people to
pursue. I'm all for removing friction towards diversity. But artificially
"enforcing" it will just breed abuse.
Also, "leadership" means: "by example". So it's less about "getting others
to comply", but promoting the behavior by DISPLAYING it's values by example.
With so much knowledge in psychology, I'm sure you're aware of how eagerly
people emulate those they look up to.
So the best way to promote diversity is: to show how being different
*doesn't* prevent yourself from being active.
E.g. I am different. And mentioned as "courageous". I have a reputation on
the line. If I'm frustrated and I have an opinion counter to everyone else
here (to the extent people want to admit), then I'm "leading" by showing
Compliance is not sign of leadership. Neither is "enforcing".
If diversity is beneficial, it needs no "rules". Just leaders. A true
leader will attempt transformation to create consensus. An evil cult leader
will remove everyone who isn't a blind follower.
Sometimes the very diversity in one area is causing a lack of diversity in
E.g. diversity of culture means e.g. Asians aren't force to abandon their
culture and embrace the American culture. "Unfortunately" that means
statistically more Asians will excel at maths.
So cultural diversity limits the diversity in a given area of skill.
Therefore, it's a fallacy to assume diversity has any inherent benefit in
of itself. Without a specific context, it's just a platitude at best.
Post by Tom Cloyd
I very rarely participate here, in good part because my fundamental work
in life is treating those who've been seriously abused by other people (or
less often just by disasters, personal and otherwise, of different sorts).
I'm a psychotherapist who specializes in PTSD and dissociative identity
disorder. I code because I love doing it and because it solves certain
practical problems for me, but I actually have very little time for it.
I much appreciate Matt's statement about the commitment of "the senior
members of this group" and their commitment to "providing leadership"
relative to the issue of diversity. Those are well-chosen words. I am
convinced that not only is this the only ethically defensible position we
can take, but that it's also functionally the most intelligent. Any
well-educated systems-oriented biologist, social psychologist, or cultural
anthropologist (my other professional commitment) will tell you that
diverse groups are stronger, more adaptive, and more likely to be here 500
(or even 100) years from now. Why would NOT want to visibly and actively
promote diversity in ANY group they care about? It is the most rationally
justifiable position to take.
Socio-cultural diversity is not a fringe issue. How can you be alive and
breathing in the 21st century and not know that? And if you don't care
about those "other people", well, you are part of the problem we're trying
to eliminate. Not-caring has huge human costs over the long run. Every
study history, for Pete's sake? Intolerance and indifference kills people.
I run a large group on Google Plus, and we definitely have a COC
("Behavioral Guidelines") for this very reason. Every newcomer is expected
to read it, and I remind people of it periodically. We have members from
every corner of the earth, and disruptive behavior is essentially
I'm pleased to see this leadership in the Cucumber community - out front
and visible. And a COC that makes a clear statement about welcoming
diversity, while only a piece of the solution, DOES make a clear statement
about values. That harms no one and is likely helpful.
It seems that this community is just as vulnerable as many others to the
poison that COC's seem to be producing all around the internet. Whilst
their intent is honourable, their effect seems to be mostly
counter-productive. I've read every post on this thread. The main emootion
I feel having done that is dispair. At the moment I just want to withdraw
from the community for a while. All the content of this thread whilst
eloquent, thoughtful, polite and considered has (IMO) no place on this
mailing list. Its a Cucumber mailing list where we should be talking about
Cucumber, BDD, how nested steps are evil (or even sh*t), how big tables
stink and why little tables are at least smelly. I shall say no more
"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now,
changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make
contribution toward introducing justice straightaway... And you can always,
give something, even if it is only kindness!" ~ Anne Frank
Tom Cloyd, MS MA LMHC (WA)
Psychotherapist (psychological trauma, dissociative disorders)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.A: (435) 272-3332
<< ***@tomcloyd.com >> (email)
<< TomCloyd.com >> (website)
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