Rust says tech will* always be political

I resent the argument that somehow racial justice is an US issue. As if most country's histories aren't marred with racial violence and injustice, and that somehow racism doesn't continue to be a problem in those countries today.

I did not argue that racism is an US issue only. But this particular action was taken when a serious tension arose in the US. Hence I asked if Rust is for the US citizens only. I also mentioned a couple of brutal racial genocides taking place in other countries. So my obvious question is, why is it that the Rust organization never reacted the same way. They are committed to provide a friendly and welcoming community for all, right? Why are the Muslim people in Myanmar, India left out when they were being hunted down, chased, tortured and slaughtered en-masse? Didn't Rust choose to stay silent? I personally infer that the organization is far too focused on the US? As a former Muslim, I do feel kindof "left-out" by this. Personally I don't mind, but I can't speak of the others.

Note that I did not complain then because I really appreciate the idea of being and staying apolitical but as your reply suggests the Rust organization clearly is not.

I don't think the agency or language of what to post on social media should be decided by the community. If you don't want to see it, you can always just unfollow them.

Is there a ground to cover between the Rust organization and the community? Rust is a community driven project, isn't it?

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I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree (and had to create account here :slight_smile: ) The CoC statement

We are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all

is not a political one. It only says to me - "you're welcome, all of you" which is something every person would agree with.

we live in a world where there has been significant systemic injustice against people of colour and queer folk, both in tech and in the world at large. Working towards providing a welcoming environment for all requires an active voice to push back.

That's a political statement and some people may agree with it, but some may not. The problem I see here is over politicizing every aspect of human life and it's something quite difficult to accept.
I'd expect community to discuss language, tools, ecosystem, libraries and not exactly political issues (regardless of one's personal political sympathies)

If you don't want to see it, you can always just unfollow them

It's political who is welcome on the team and who isn't

So yeah you're welcome, but nah ... not really

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Rust isn't just about some syntax and hash table algorithms. It's an organization with people,

Maybe it's just me but when I see the word Rust I think of a programming language, probably that's just me being an ESL person.

Even the fact that we're discussing this in English (and not Mandarin or French) is not politically neutral.

In an utilitarian perspective, it is not possible to pick a language and not be political. This is something we can't do anything about, can we? I do smell a hint of strawman (with all due respect) here.

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I think you are being a little optimistic. I believe there are people that disagree with that statement. It is kind of the foundation of the current US political issue.

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Moderation note: Folks, I've asked you all to be your best selves here. The topic of this thread is obviously very contentious, and it's too easy for discussions like this to devolve into a dumpster fire. This is why we are moderating this thread more strictly than usual.

Please consider some of the following things:

  1. We will not settle the debate over what's "political" and what isn't in this thread. Consider that people will come at this from different perspectives, and that more than one of them may be reasonable.
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I took issue with this line, because I think my situation is unusual in that I do a lot of Rust programming as a hobby, but my full-time commitment is medical school, after which I'll become a doctor in the UK.

Being a medical professional is political. We have a large amount of content in medical school about differences in the access to healthcare people get because of their race, sex, gender, and socioeconomic situation, and we are fully expected to continue thinking about all of it when we start practice. We are even professionally bound by our regulator in ways that I think a lot of people complaining about stuff like this would have issue with.

To get back to the point, programmers are pretty unique in thinking that their work can avoid politics. Tech has always been, and will always be political. Rust is not just a programming language - it's a community and a name that people collect under, and the idea that those spaces are going to be devoid of politics is not productive.

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I don't think that whoever @rustlang is should be speaking on political maters on be half of the entire Rust community.

There is no way that @rustlang has a mandate to do so. It presumes everyone has the same views about everything, which seems very unlikely to me.

As far as I know there have not been any debates or voting on any political issues within the Rust community. Unless it goes on behind closed doors somewhere.

I don't recall any RFC's proposing the stance the Rust community should take on any political issue.

Further, if all that was in place then the Rust language community would have morphed into a political party. Is that what is wanted here?

Correct me if I am wrong.

By all means individual developers and users can say whatever they like and support whatever cause they like in their own name.

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I don't want to prolong on the topic of doctors because this is not constructive for the thread but politics is a double edged sword. A doctor must not decide whether to provide pregnancy termination because of the laws implemented by the politicians of the state/country of the ruling adminstration. Politics is not "only right" or "only left". One cannot exist without the other (except for tyranny). The doctor's personal political stance on this should not matter as well.

Regarding who posted the tweets: while the @rustlang Twitter account is usually managed by a single member of the project, these tweets were a decision of the whole Rust Core Team.

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I also think that the code of conduct is not political. Saying "everyone is welcome, including PoC and other minorities" is not a political statement, it's what I naturally expect from any organization. Saying "only people are welcome here who share our values" would be a political statement, and would be inappropriate in a welcoming tech community like Rust.

Don't get me wrong; I do think that it's sometimes important to discuss politics in tech communities. Good places for such discussions are Reddit, Discord and of course this forum. But I don't think that the Rust core team should endorse certain political views on Twitter.

The statement that "taking a stand against police brutality is more important than sharing tech knowledge" is quite controversial, for several reasons:

  1. For many people, it's not more or less important now than it was one or two years ago, especially if they, like me, don't live in the US.
  2. For some people it might not be important because they don't want to be political, and you can't force them to.
  3. "taking a stand against police brutality" and "sharing tech knowledge" is not mutually exclusive, many people might want to do both. The tweet seems to imply that you have to stop sharing tech knowledge in order to take a stand against police brutality.
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Another aspect, which is peculiar to languages made in the post-internet world, is that Rust isn't just a language.

It's also crates.io, the default code-sharing platform. It is always the Rust team's call what they allow there, who is allowed as an account holder, and, most importantly*, having a specific "Rust library sharing platform" makes Rust a lot more inward-facing by further compounding the already existing impedence mismatch of integrating "Rust" with "non-Rust" (even if it technically contains code in non-Rust languages, packaging it as a Crate allows us to appropriate the code as if it were ours; I'm looking at you, *ring*).

Which shows, very clearly, the implicit political viewpoint of in- and out-groups, realized in the software.

* while the core team has the authority to do almost anything they like with crates.io, they pretty much only exercise it as an emergency measure. Which, now that I think about it, is a very different attitude than what they hold towards this forum, which is much more proactively managed. I get it: one is seen as a "community", while the other is more of a "public utility", but still, it's the places where people put their focus that tell you what they really care about.

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Would it help if @ Rust would be apolitical but @ RustCoreTeam (new twitter account) would not?

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The Rust community is inherently moral.

Because of that, on some topics at least, there is no way to avoid taking a political stance.

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I have some minor quibbles about how US-centric it is, and how political it is (being political is not a yes/no choice like is being suggested...)

But more than anything else I'm struck by how stunningly pointless this tweet is? If you really want to bring politics into it maybe do something useful... Like give people information about what they can do if they want to change things, how to get in touch with their representatives, things like that. And if you don't have anything useful to say then don't say anything...

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I see two different core questions discussed above:

  • Is tech, and Rust in particular, political?
  • Should the Rust twitter persona engage in political affairs, and if so, which ones?

In the context of the discussion above and taking the Rust community into account, I would say the answer is "yes" to the first one. But whatever is the right answer, the question is not concrete enough and we may still disagree what it would imply, so I would suggest to focus on the second one. (In moderation - not to blow it out of proportion and make it overly ... political.)

While I sympathize with the Rust core team in this case and believe they only meant well, I would personally prefer if Rust mostly refrained from engaging in similar affairs, in US or elsewhere.

My main worry is that that setting the boundary of which affairs to engage with is a difficult and tricky task (a minefield, even) and every choice is inherently divisive (geographically or by implicitly comparing diverse issues).
While the police brutality issue is consensual enough as morally bad, it opens doors for debates of more borderline and flammable issues within our forums (e.g. should Rust support Taiwan in WHO?) which we may prefer to keep from taking too much space in the Rust community discussions. (Not by rules and strictly but by steering our attention to whatever we want to have more of here.)

I would personally hope that with a morally clear issue (such as this one) the default stance of every community would be to support the moral side, and it is not morally required to voice the support. An exception would be if it actually improved the cause (but I would not expect this to be the case here).

Weak uncertainty: Would not sending such supportive messages hurt the Rust public image in the US? (I would hope not but the social/signalling situation in the US is rater complex.)

To sum it up, I would say that voicing support for moral public issues as the Rust project is more trouble and risk than it's worth over the long term.

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This is no basis for any argument. "Moral" is no absolute indication of "good' or even "not harmful". What is moral is ill defined and different people can have polar opposite views on what is moral.

Historically many terrible things have been done in the name of "morality". Even today there are those that posit that one cannot even have any moral judgement if one does not believe in their God.

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As a non-US community member I fully support the Rust team expressing these sentiments in whatever way they choose is best, sentiments which I also fully agree with.

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I just bumped into this thread by chance, I joined the forum today for the first time for purely technical reasons and then this was the first topic, so I thought: Wow, this starts intense :wink: !

And now, getting serious, and with the perspective of a non US-citizen (living in Europe) my personal opinion is that:

  • Maths aren't political, but mathematicians are, or at least they could be
  • For the same reason, programming languages aren't political, but programmers are, or could be

So for me, it's a matter of separating the language itself from its community. Personally, I don't identify a tool with its users, so my opinion of the tool won't change no matter what their users do.

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Valid.

History has plenty of young women killed, mutilated or otherwise harmed for being immoral.

Here I use "moral" in place of "don't hurt other people" and "be kind". Maybe there is a more suitable word but I think most of us will agree that this concept is a core tenet of the Rust community.

I agree in principle, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they should unilaterally release position statements in the name of the very community it's trying to make inclusive and diverse, my reasoning being as follows:

You can either have an inclusive, welcoming and diverse community that is inherently composed of a wide variety of views that you cannot uniformly represent (beyond stating support for the pro-diversity policy itself), OR you can have an exclusive community of like-minded people that you can easily represent along the lines that define the community, but you cannot have both.

More to the point, the community leadership can choose to either prioritize issues like police brutality over technology as an official part of the community agenda and openly come to terms with the fact that this is going to exclude some people, or it can accept that members may disagree with their stance and thus only speak on their own behalf. The problem is, it's not clear which option they're going for, because sometimes they're leaning one way, sometimes the other.

Indeed, I think a bigger effort should be made to avoid misinterpretation.

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