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CODE4LIB  November 2016

CODE4LIB November 2016

Subject:

Re: Post-election statement draft - also waiting for merge

From:

"Fitchett, Deborah" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 20:26:14 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1 lines)

Replying to a semi-arbitrary email with a couple of thoughts:

* There are times when reasoned debate is good, eg when discussing what restrictions there should be on fireworks, or I don't know, emacs vs vi. However there are times when reasoned debate is actively harmful and itself contributes to a highly toxic environment: eg when a swastika gets painted up somewhere you don't stand around and hold a reasoned debate about it, you paint the hell over it. Immediately. Because by leaving it up there, by debating it, you're saying to people hurt by it, "Well, actually they may have a point." And that just magnifies the hurt and harm. And yeah, painting over it silences someone. Good. They should be silenced. Silencing them sends a message: this is not acceptable. Not silencing sends a message: this is acceptable. (This is exactly how we got to this point!) If you want to try and convince them in a reasoned manner to change their mind then go ahead, try that off-list and good luck to you; but don't subject the people who've been hurt by it to even more of it.

* Yes, in a sense "this year's contentious election season" excludes international members. As a New Zealander I'd be quite happy for it to read instead "the contentious election season this year in the USA". But referring to the events themselves doesn't exclude international members in any way shape or form. We are *very* aware that if/when the US goes to hell in a handbasket, the rest of us will be pulled along shortly after for the ride.
	
*  That said, it could also be rewritten: "The racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism, religious intolerance and other bigotry stirred up by the election season this year in the USA, followed by many appalling acts of hate around the country along with the incoming administration's threats against freedom of expression and appointment of white supremacists to positions of power, has left us with no choice..."

Because again, a lot of what's happening is not "contentious" and to call it that is to give it a legitimacy which supports it and hurts people.

Deborah


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michelle Lubatti
Sent: Saturday, 19 November 2016 5:48 a.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Post-election statement draft - also waiting for merge

Thanks, Matt.

I'll venture to answer these, too.

- Have there been recent incidents of "... bigotry, intolerance, hatred, harassment, and violence in Code4Lib" that warrant a re-iterated statement?

Kate answered this one for us earlier when she announced that she had been a victim of harassment on this list.  I did not think any incidents had happened, since I had not received any emails with inappropriate discourse.  Kate did not divulge details in her response to the list, and I did not see the email interaction myself, so it's possible the interaction was off the list by a fellow member of the list (or it just got lost in my inbox).

- What are C4L's desired outcomes of "diversity, equity, and inclusion", and will such a statement improve the attainment of such ends? Is the goal of C4L to promote "diversity, equity, and inclusion" within C4L, the software technology community at large, or beyond?

My impression is that this statement is meant to reiterate that the incident is not supported by list members, and that all members should feel safe to interact on this list.

- What constitutes "bigotry, intolerance, hatred, harassment, and violence"
is not always obvious, and often needs to be teased out through reasoned dialogue.

Very true.  Even Tim Kaine (the vice presidential candidate for one of the political parties) commented recently that hate speech may be considered opinions, and that opinions require no apology.  Unless this new diversity statement will change it, the Code of Conduct lists the following as a definition of harassment:

"Harassment is understood as any behavior that threatens another person or group, or produces an unsafe environment. It includes offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religious beliefs, sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online), deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention."

An openness to reasoned dialogue is ideal, and I think the code of conduct allows for this to a point.  If one or both parties of a discussion is being (or perceived as) offensive, and the interaction ends immediately after the (real or perceived) offense is pointed out, then no further action is taken against the individual(s). At least, this is how I understand it.

For Code4Lib email lists purposes, I don't think reasoned (or unreasonable) dialogue is part of the email list's purpose.  I admit I have seen some, and the inclusion of "this year's contentious election season" in the draft statement is already excluding our international members.

- If inclusion spans "all technologists", then excluding those who dissent or present points of view bordering on "bigotry, intolerance, hatred, harassment, and violence" will be silenced, and likely to (further) develop resentment and anger, leading to further division. Is it better to exclude such people through language as forcefully as possible, or promote an environment of reasoned dialogue and relating to the "other"? When people are silenced they may go underground, and is it better to be underground or in the open?

I think this is part of the problem in the U.S. right now.  So many people have been silenced and mocked, that when they finally began to speak they came on stronger than they should have and in surprise the "status quo"
voices retaliated, which incited disrespectful speech to continue and worsen on both sides.  I know many good librarians, who said some very cruel things immediately after the election.  Maybe if we hadn't silenced so many voices, if we had encouraged them to speak and to have a safe place to work through their ideas and dialogue with others, we may not have witnessed the shock and cruelty we have witnessed.

- Will this re-iterated statement promote self-monitoring and self-censorship and thereby decrease diversity, one of the primary values of C4L?

I hope not, but that was my first thought, too.  Of all times, this is when affirmation, unity, and dialogue are needed.  I think how we word the statement will do a lot to either 1) promote self-monitoring & self-censorship, or 2) promote unity and respect for everyone.

I agree with Christina & Kyle that a shorter statement will have more force and that removing time-sensitive elements will make our statement appear stronger and not just a knee-jerk reaction to political events.

I recommend considering 1) use the second paragraph (which explains why we as technologists value respect & empathy toward all people) and the last paragraph, without the final sentence; or 2) just use the last paragraph, without the final sentence.

Either of these would give a concise, forceful statement.  Removing the election references will make it clear the statement includes everyone, and not just certain voters or supporters of a political candidate.  The history paragraph seems to celebrate Code4Lib, rather than emphasize the statement of what we value.

The second to last sentence of the last paragraph ("There is no place for bigotry, intolerance, hatred, harassment, or violence in Code4Lib.") should be either 1) defined, 2) simplified, or 3) removed.  The Code of Conduct defines harassment, so maybe just include the word "harassment" if the other terms aren't defined?

Thank you for all the work and thought everyone has put into this, especially Bohyun!

Michelle

On Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 9:03 AM, Matthew Mikitka <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hello Bohun and others,
>
> I am writing this from north of the border, and although I am not a US 
> citizen, the political activities of the US are certainly relevant to 
> Canada. I believe that our social groups, including C4L, are forums 
> through which we think through and enact political activity. I wish to 
> articulate some of my thoughts in point-form to promote dialogue on a 
> diverse perspective to the problems addressed in the re-iterated statement.
>
> - Have there been recent incidents of "... bigotry, intolerance, 
> hatred, harassment, and violence in Code4Lib" that warrant a re-iterated statement?
>
> - What are C4L's desired outcomes of "diversity, equity, and 
> inclusion", and will such a statement improve the attainment of such 
> ends? Is the goal of C4L to promote "diversity, equity, and inclusion" 
> within C4L, the software technology community at large, or beyond?
>
> - What constitutes "bigotry, intolerance, hatred, harassment, and 
> violence" is not always obvious, and often needs to be teased out 
> through reasoned dialogue.
>
> - If inclusion spans "all technologists", then excluding those who 
> dissent or present points of view bordering on "bigotry, intolerance, 
> hatred, harassment, and violence" will be silenced, and likely to 
> (further) develop resentment and anger, leading to further division. 
> Is it better to exclude such people through language as forcefully as 
> possible, or promote an environment of reasoned dialogue and relating 
> to the "other"? When people are silenced they may go underground, and 
> is it better to be underground or in the open?
>
> - Will this re-iterated statement promote self-monitoring and 
> self-censorship and thereby decrease diversity, one of the primary 
> values of C4L?
>
> With regards,
> matt
> ________________________________________
> From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Kim, 
> Bohyun <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:59
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Post-election statement draft - also waiting 
> for merge
>
> Apologies for forgetting the spell-check! I was typing too fast. Here 
> is a version with less typos! : )
>
> Under ordinary circumstances, there shouldn't be a great need for 
> Code4Lib to reiterate our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
> However, this year's contentious election season followed by many 
> appalling acts of hate around the country has left us with no choice 
> but to re-affirm our unfaltering support and strong commitment to these fundamental values.
>
> As technologists, we always look for ways to make things work better. 
> We love efficiency; we love elegance; we aspire to be free of any pain 
> point or bug in everything we design and build. But we do this not for 
> the sake of efficiency, elegance, and our deeply-rooted desire to 
> improve things. We do this for the sake of people. Our ultimate 
> aspiration is to help people get things done with the tools we create 
> with delight. For this, we try to understand our users with all their 
> differences in race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, 
> religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, 
> ancestry, national or ethnic origin, language, socio-economic 
> background, citizenship status, and more. This is why we rely on 
> empathy as one of the most important guiding principles in all we do 
> as technologists. Without our caring, our work as a developer, designer, information specialist, and IT professional would be missing its heart.
>
> Code4Lib has a proud history of recognizing the lack of diversity in 
> the technology sector as a serious problem and acting to address it 
> head-on. In the Code4Lib community, diversity, equity, and inclusion 
> are not mere words. They underpin all we do from Diversity 
> Scholarships, Newcomer Dinner, Code of Conduct, to our decision 
> regarding where to host our next Code4Lib conference. They represent 
> and reflect our shared and cherished understanding that we always solve difficult problems better together.
>
> As a community that deeply values diversity, equity, and inclusion, 
> Code4Lib will always be a welcoming and safe community for all who are 
> passionate about information and technology. Everyone in our community 
> is valued and respected regardless of what they look like, what their 
> faiths are, what disabilities they may have, how they identify their 
> gender, who they love, where they come from, what language they speak, 
> or where they live. There is no place for bigotry, intolerance, 
> hatred, harassment, and violence in Code4Lib. Today, we stand together 
> in our most forceful support for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
>
>
>
> Thanks,
> Bohyun
>
>
> From: "Kim, Bohyun" <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 12:40 PM
> To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Post-election statement draft - also waiting for merge
>
> Hi all,
>
> As promised, I issued a pull request with 5 files which includes my 
> draft for the post-election statement from Code4Lib.
>
> Someone who has the write access to the C4L repo in Github, please merge.
> You can see the files here.
> https://github.com/code4lib/antiharassment-policy/pull/56/commits/
> 452570ec38b7becafc766c57b8916fa0f9981803
>
> My draft statement also below. You should be able to edit once merged.
> Thanks everyone for standing behind this idea!
>
> Under ordinary circumstances, there shouldn't be a great need for 
> Code4Lib to reiterate our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
> However, this year's contentious election season followed by many 
> appaling acts of hate around the country has left us with no choice 
> but to re-affirm our unfaltering support and strong committment to these fundamental values.
>
> As technologists, we always look for ways to make things work better. 
> We love efficiency; we love elegance; we aspire to be free of any pain 
> point or bug in everything we design and build. But we do this not for 
> the sake of efficiency, elegance, and our deeeply-rooted desire to improve things.
> We do this for the sake of people. Our ultimate aspiration is to help 
> people get things done with the tools we create with delight. For 
> this, we try to understand our users with all their differences in 
> race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, 
> age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic 
> origin, launguage, socio-economic background, citizenship status, and 
> more. This is why we rely on emphathy as one of the most important 
> guiding principles in all we do as technologists. Wihtout our caring, 
> our work as a developer, designer, information specialist, and IT 
> professional would be missing its heart.
>
> Code4Lib has a proud history of recognizing the lack of diversity in 
> the technology sector as a serious problem and acting to address it 
> head-on. In the Code4Lib community, diversity, equity, and inclusion 
> are not mere words. They underpin all we do from Diversity 
> Scholarships, Newcomer Dinner, Code of Conduct, to our decision 
> regarding where to host our next Code4Lib conference. They represent 
> and reflect our shared and cherished understanding that we always solve difficult problems better together.
>
> As a community that deeply values diviersity, equity, and inclusion, 
> Code4Lib will always be a welcoming and safe community for all who are 
> passionate about infromation and technology. Everyone in our community 
> is valued and respected regardless of what they look like, what their 
> faiths are, what disabilities they may have, how they identify their 
> gender, who they love, where they come from, what language they speak, 
> or where they live. There is no place for bigotry, intolerance, 
> hatred, harrassment, and violence in Code4Lib. Today, we stand 
> together in our most forceful support for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
>
> Thanks,
> Bohyun
>
> --
> Bohyun Kim, MA, MSLIS
> Associate Director for Library Applications and Knowledge Systems 
> University of Maryland, Baltimore | Health Sciences and Human Services 
> Library [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | 
> 410-706-0405
>
>

________________________________
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