On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:49 AM, Andrew Vit <andrew / avit.ca> wrote:

> On 2016-01-26 7:39 AM, Austin Ziegler wrote:
>
>> Ideas [are] considered equally and must stand on [their] own merit and
>> not the reputation of the proponent
>>
>
> I just can't see what is wrong with this important principle. This is the
> ideal, even when you think it's not always the reality.
>

I take the stance of the sociologist who coined the term: it is not only
*never* the reality, it is impossible for it to *ever* be the reality. A
meritocracy eventually becomes an oligarchy with a permanent underclass. In
my experience, unless you make outreach efforts, you will miss out on
contributions by people who are not as comfortable with making public
contributions (for reasons of shyness, language issues, uncertainty,
because they know they will be targeted by harassers just because they are
*different*, etc.). With outreach, you can *increase* contribution at all
levels and get *better* results than you would just from the people who
feel comfortable.

The °»meritocratic ideal°… is lazy. It assumes that everyone is extroverted
somehow or somewhere. It selects for people *like you* when *diversity* is
more likely to give a better result overall.

At the same time, when it comes to Ruby, I would *definitely* expect Matz°«s
(or ko1°«s or nobu°«s or Eric Wong°«s or°ń) contributions to be taken over my
own because they have *earned* some level of trust and respect. I would
still reach out to encourage others to participate, and I truly believe
that positive outreach°Ĺincluding indicating that we are a Safe Space That
Does Not Tolerate Harassment (which, based on some contributions here, is
sadly not true)°Ĺwill net us increased participation and better *overall*
contributions.

Some folks have claimed that Ruby is a °»technical community°… (implying by
the same phrase that Ruby is a meritocracy where the best idea wins). This
isn°«t always true, and even in °»technical communities°… (e.g.,
°»meritocracies°…) or scientific communities, women have a *much* harder
time. See the Twitter tag #astroSH (
http://mashable.com/2016/01/15/harassment-astronomy-social-media) for
examples of just how *not true* this is.

In 2016, CoCs are *table stakes*. Not having one, or having something
derailing like the Code of Merit or the Pragmatist°«s Code of Conduct (which
*enshrine* the status quo of elitism in the name of meritocracy), is
indicative that you are not interested in minority contributions.


> I don't think you understand what we mean by "meritocracy":
>

I do understand. I°«m saying something different.


> * If the proponent is a high-status maintainer, their idea SHOULD NOT
> carry any MORE weight.
> * If the proponent has low status, their idea SHOULD NOT carry any LESS
> weight.
>

What I°«m saying different is:

1. In reality, high-status maintainers *already* have ideas that carry more
weight (there are plenty of examples of this in Linux kernel development,
and what is systemd except this run amok?).
2. In reality, low status proponents are mostly ignored. Even in our wider
community, we have had beginners mocked for the quality of their code (for
which the people who mocked the offender later apologized, but it
*happened* nonetheless).
3. Simply saying °»submit good ideas°… is insufficient when there may be
people in your community whose behaviour may be actively driving out women
or ethnic minorities or people of differing religions or differing
sexuality or differing gender identities. If I were a woman watching this
thread, I would be nervous about the threat °»ph ph°… made toCoraline
upthread. There is *already* an ideological purity test at work, even if it
is something that Matz disavows.

Isn't this what everyone is asking for? To leave social status outside and
> treat everyone equally?


It isn°«t that simple. I used to believe that being colourblind/genderblind
was the correct thing to fight racism/sexism. When I was 25. In the last
fifteen years, I have learned that leads to *erasure*, which results in no
real change at all in the status of those who are systematically
disadvantaged by society and/or the communities in which they operate.

Judging ideas on merit can°«t even *start* to happen until you know that you
have solicited ideas from people who wouldn°«t normally provide those ideas
in the first place. We can°«t just be a place of excellence°ĹI don°«t *want*
Ruby to just be a place of excellence. I call Ruby *home* because it is the
language I program in that makes me happiest. I want to help *other* people
find their happiness in Ruby. I want outreach.

-a
-- 
Austin Ziegler  halostatue / gmail.com  austin / halostatue.ca
http://www.halostatue.ca/  http://twitter.com/halostatue
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