Rust says tech will* always be political

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.


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.


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.

Another aspect, which is peculiar to languages made in the post-internet world, is that Rust isn't just a language.

It's also, 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, 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.


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...


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


This argument comes up all the time, but I am still not buying it.

When CoC's say "no homophobia" some people say we're excluding the homophobes and are thus not inclusive. When they say "no transphobia" some people say we're excluding the transphobes. When they say "no racism" some people say we're excluding the racists and aren't really inclusive. When people run programs to help disadvantaged people enter the field, we're somehow excluding all those that are already in it. Police brutality falls into exactly the same pattern.

To me, inclusiveness can manifest in many ways. But one thing it certainly doesn't mean is looking away. The Rust community is inclusive because they don't turn away from these issues.

These issues are universal. They affect software authors and maintainers, software consumers, people helping out the newcomers. They affect their friends and family. With Rust being an open community following an open source spirit, I regard these humanitarian issues as directly relevant to our community as well.

They might not come into play when you invoke cargo or rustc, but they do become relevant once you consider the people making it all possible, actively and passively.

As such, the Rust leadership deciding to acknowledge these issues and not turn away, individually or as a group, is a direct act of inclusion.


I believe this is a misrepresentation of @bogmihdav's argument. (If you were not responding to their post, my apologies.)

As others have noted, opposition to police brutality is one thing, but making public comments opposed to police brutality at this point in history, and particularly in the context of the United States, is more than simply opposition to police brutality. We do not speak perfect universal truths into an uncaring void; our statements will be interpreted in the context of current events and living political narratives that sometimes change even from day to day. Taking a break from one's regular routine in order to raise awareness of police brutality is aligning oneself, even if in a small way, with the political movement currently most strongly associated with that issue.

Suppose the tweet had said, "In acknowledgement of the fact that taking a stand against disorderly protest, looting, and rioting is more important than sharing technical knowledge, this account will pause tweeting until further notice." On the face of it this is an uncontroversial opinion, much the same as what was actually tweeted. But it plays into a completely different political narrative, and aligns the speaker with a different political movement. Furthermore, making any statement at all about current events in the US, while not commenting on other events going on elsewhere in the world, sends a message that the Rust team cares more about American politics than stuff going on elsewhere. The Rust team clearly knows this, and made the tweet anyway, apparently deeming the issue at hand more important than any bad outcome of being aligned with this movement or with US politics in general.

For someone reading the tweet, which intentionally aligns the Rust core team (and, possibly unintentionally, the Rust community) with a particular political movement in a particular part of the world, feeling excluded does not mean you support police brutality.


I'm responding to the general sentiment that I have encountered many, many times in the past.

I assume the post was made now because it is currently the issue in focus that is receiving a global response.

If, in a time of global awareness, and increasing crisis, they chose to not acknowledge the issue at all, it could also be interpreted as a statement. So it's a statement either way. And given that that was the choice that was before them, I applaud them for using their voice to speak out against police brutality.

That's what "everything is political" means (among other things). Speaking out and staying silent are both political, with consequences to the community. From a high up perspective, it is really that simple to me. The existence of a code of conduct in the Rust community already shows an awareness of societal issues. I see this just as a (good) continuation of the same community spirit.

After all, isn't this attempt to keep the Rust leadership from speaking out collectively political as well?


Not. I see it as a protest against a few people in Rust leadership roles presuming that they have the right to represent the larger community as a whole.


The issue here, as I gather from many, is not that the Rust leadership speaks out collectively.

I imagine that many Rust users consider themselves part of the Rust community. That is to say the people who invest time into learning Rust, using Rust, promoting Rust, getting Rust into their companies developments, perhaps reporting bugs in Rust or even contributing to Rust development directly.

The issue then is: Is it right for a few at the top of the Rust tree to make pronouncements on issues that are nothing to do with the technology we have signed up for on behalf of everyone in that Rust community?

As it happens I don't want police to be brutal and I don't want looters to loot.

The worry is where does it end? Hypothetically, what happens when the Rust leadership decide that it's wrong to eat meat and therefore carnivores are not welcome to publish crates?


Isn't that literally what they do all the time?

I've already talked about the political implications of, but that's not the only long, long established choice that the core team made with obvious political implications.

  • The Discord channels (both of them) have been redecorated for Pride Month for years. The arguments made there are pretty much identical to the ones being made in this topic.

  • The Rust SDK is dual-licensed under two permissive licenses. It is also subject to trademark. Not only are these political choices in the most literal sense of the word, they're actually pretty controversial, but too niche to really trend on social media.

  • They officially endorse, a pretty good case of "put your money where your mouth is" as far as outreach to underprivileged groups is concerned.

  • We've already discussed the code of conduct to death.

  • The Rust home page is translated into multiple languages. The compiler is not. Both calls were made for understandable reasons, even if it looks weird when you look at it from orbit.

This "we oppose police brutality" post is not out-of-character for Rust venues. They take political stances all the time. This isn't even the first time they've pushed a progressive cause like this.

You always have the option to vote with your feet, and so does everyone else here. It's hard, I get it, but big FOSS projects have been forked before.

The officially endorsed causes have never been outside the Overton Window. This is the sort of stuff Wal-Mart feels safe posting. Do you really think the core team would post something that would actually undermine Rust's ability to function as a project?