Objection to minority representation by a single class in NixOS sponsorship policy

The gender-minority group could be provided with one seat, because they bring a unique pov to the table

Personally, I don’t think trying to reflect the real-world in a technology-centric community will have many long term benefits. Ideally, everyone is given an equal opportunity to participate and collaborate with others.

Why are there minority groups that are “more equal” than other minorities? Why are we discriminating against people?

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I singled out the quote, because there was a long line of “this subset of the community, not based on stake in the community or prudent role, but rather by their gender minority status alone, are given additional representation”.

I would say the portions about having different organizations within the NixOS Ecosystem having representation makes sense, as they are either NixOS or event related. I’m less convinced that having seats for groups that are not “first priority is the success of Nix”, but rather “first priority is the success of your faction” is a mis-aligned incentive model for a software project. We are not a national government trying to give voices to every constituent, we are the Nix community. There will always be a revolving door of people increasing their activity with Nix and others who are decreasing their participation with Nix. In theory, most demographics should have representation assuming equal opportunity.

For people about to say, “there’s likely to be no representation of a minority group”, let’s do some math. Assuming equal distribution of individuals (yes, this doesn’t reflect reality, please just entertain me) there’s a minority group that represents 10% of the Nix community. In the “5 seat proposal”, there’s currently at least 17 people being represented: 4 board members, 2+ PLs, 5 moderation members, 6 marketing memebers. 1-(1-.1)^17 is a 83.3% chance that there will be 1 or more of those members on any of the teams. For a 20% minority, that’s a 97.7% likelihood that there will be 1 or more members involved.

What I’m trying to say is, people should be encouraged to participate. If we provide the structure for equality of opportunity, then the demographics within the community should be reflected in who fills a given position across time. We shouldn’t be going out of our way to discriminate based on age, sex, race, sexual identity, or disability. This growing factionalism within the community causes me a lot anxiety.

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Ah yes, following the well known mathematical theorem which proves that minorities are always represented fairly in positions of power and in decision making roles. A widely documented phenomenon.

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That phrase is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

And basically arguing “we shouldn’t proactively support those who are currently and systemically disadvantaged in many mostly-invisible ways, they’ll just have to make their own way there” is a very good way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

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In practice, this is not working out. Take the past NixCon as an indicator of our diversity. I hope I do not need to explain why. If so, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the work of other technology-centric community: Diversity — Unofficial Python Development (Victor's notes) documentation. I also recommend taking the time to review https://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/967981/a96c9841a062e869/ in the context of Debian.

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Ah yes, following the well known mathematical theorem which proves that minorities are always represented fairly in positions of power and in decision making roles. A widely documented phenomenon.

“fair” outcomes for some may be “unfair” for others, I don’t think we should be fixating on equality-of-outcomes.

But I will agree that people should be treated fairly, and their word should be given weight proportional to their contributions, role, and expertise. Do you not agree?

And basically arguing “we shouldn’t proactively support those who are currently and systemically disadvantaged in many mostly-invisible ways, they’ll just have to make their own way there” is a very good way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

I am advocating to be as inclusive and supportive of contributors as we humanly can. What are you advocating?

In practice, this is not working out. Take the past NixCon as an indicator of our diversity. I hope I do not need to explain why.

I was still dealing with mental depression around the time of NixCon Darmstadt. Please (sincerely) explain why it was an indicator of our diversity.

If so, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the work of other technology-centric community: Diversity — Unofficial Python Development (Victor’s notes) documentation. I also recommend taking the time to review https://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/967981/a96c9841a062e869/ in the context of Debian.

Yea, those are areas in which the community can do better. Much like I think the Nix community can do better as well.

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Marginalized folks have repeatedly tried to explain to you what they need for this to be an inclusive and safe environment for them. Why do you continue insisting that you are more qualified to opine on this than the people it actually concerns?

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I’m not more qualified. But “asking to be more inclusive” isn’t an actionable item. In what ways is the Nix community failing to be to be inclusive? We should fix that.

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Speakers at NixCon are a simple proxy for our diversity. Count how many BIPOC folks we had as speakers, for example.

Just for information, I’m not interested into debating proxies for diversity or hearing about how they are not representative and the story could be different, please refer to the links I already provided.

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Then you should actually listen to the people this affects, who have been explaining for a long time how to fix that. Which is by proactively making space for support and representation of marginalized folks. Which is the thing you are arguing against.

There is really nothing unclear about how to fix this, or what the actionable items are. These items have been brought up many, many, many times over the years. They are not open questions. But somehow you are always one of the people arguing against their implementation.

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Agreed, it’s a shame we don’t have more racial diversity.

Just for information, I’m not interested into debating proxies for diversity or hearing about how they are not representative and the story could be different, please refer to the links I already provided.

Okay, well, I’m not really interested in debating either. Let’s just fix the problem. What’s our solution?

Then you should actually listen to the people this affects, who have been explaining for a long time how to fix that.

I do listen.

Which is by proactively making space for support and representation of marginalized folks. Which is the thing you are arguing against.

There is representation in many vertical slices of the Nix ecosystem: release managers, infra, moderation team, committers, contributors, etc. I’m really grateful for their contributions, and hope to see more contributions from anyone and everyone.

There is really nothing unclear about how to fix this, or what the actionable items are.

What are the actionable items?

These items have been brought up many, many, many times over the years.

Many things have been brought up over the past 5 years I’ve been involved with Nix. What are you suggesting?

They are not open questions.

Stating that something is or isn’t something doesn’t make it true.

But somehow you are always one of the people arguing against their implementation.

Maybe because we are addressing symptoms, and not the cause. (e.g. taking pain meds can help, but not slamming your head against a wall would probably be more effective to prevent the issue altogether).

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I don’t know what the “right” solution is to make Nix (and tech in general) more diverse. I think it’s a tragedy that a lot of bright and potentially successful software engineers are pushed away. All I know is that I can try and be inclusive as much as I personally can.

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I thought you weren’t more qualified to opine on this than marginalized folks? But now you are suddenly qualified to say that the solutions marginalized folks are asking for, are just “treating symptoms” and “not real solutions”? Which is it?

Let’s start with the one in this thread: having a seat of specifically GM representation on the sponsor selection committee. If you’re open to listening to marginalized folks, and following their suggestions as long as they are “actionable”, then you would agree that “assign a selection committee seat to GM members” is an appropriate actionable item, right?

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These are not competing factions, where the inclusion and acceptance of one is to the detriment of another. There are no single-issue candidates or parties, such that any of your maths about 83.3% chances of representation makes any sense whatsoever.

Enforced structures about explicit representation are a consequence of failure. Ideally, they should not be necessary, but there are mistakes and gaps that require correction. Recent events have demonstrated directly the impact of poorly-considered decisions, and wider perspectives are needed to inform future decisions and (hopefully) reduce further damage.

Others have made clear why these decisions and developments have caused anxiety. Perhaps you might consider why a more welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment makes you feel like there is something for you to lose.

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I’m having a human experience, they’re having a human experience. Why seek division? The Nix community (in context of the Nix community) is bigger than anyone individual.

But now you are suddenly qualified

Not sure what the obsession over qualifications, is this an ad-hominen attack or trying to downplay my points through personal attacks?

to say that the solutions marginalized folks are asking for, are just “treating symptoms” and “not real solutions”? Which is it?

False dichotomy.

If you have weeds in your lawn. You can either apply herbicide each year, and treat the symptom. Or you can replace the lawn with things that are more appropriate for your context (bushes, flowers, clover, etc).

Instead of making a “this group” or “that group” factionalism in Nix. I would like to see all the diversity within Nix across the ecosystem.

Take a step back, and adjust the perspective.

Let’s start with the one in this thread: having a seat of specifically GM representation on the sponsor selection committee.

No, this allows for a “representative” of a community to have a seat. Whether or not that individual is a good representation of that group is a different question entirely.

Assuming that the representatives are excellent representations of the group they champion, why only this single group? If we were truly seeking representation for marginalized folks, we should represent ALL marginalized folks.

I’m trying to be inclusive of everyone, not discriminate against those who belong to a single group.

If you’re open to listening to marginalized folks, and following their suggestions as long as they are “actionable”, then you would agree that “assign a selection committee seat to GM members” is an appropriate actionable item, right?

Open to listening to their viewpoints is very reasonable. I would only follow their suggestions if I agreed with it’s implications, reasoning, and my own ability to enact that change.

Granting special power, privilege, and authority to a non-strictly-nix related group seems counter productive to the well-being of Nix. There’s no alignment on what is “best for Nix, the community”. Instead there’s dimensionality to “what is agree-able with all the stakeholders of the power structure”.

Agreed.

I think those decisions were carefully considered. But there’s a large gap in perspective between the people that made decisions and a vocal subset of the community.

Also, if you’re referring to the Anduril sponsorship (which this thread is related), I’m still not sure what gender minorities have to do with military-industrial-complex issues.

Perhaps you might consider why a more welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment makes you feel like there is something for you to lose.

I’m not sure how power structures at the NixOS Foundation decision making level correlates to nurturing a welcoming, safe, or inclusive community.

“Cultural alignment” is what I think you’re trying to seek to create a welcoming, safe, or inclusive community. That’s exactly what I want to foster. I want anyone regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation to feel like they can be a productive, valued, and cherished member of the community.

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All of this doesn’t address my question. Are you more qualified to speak on this than marginalized folks, or are you not? If you are, then I would like to understand why you feel that is the case. If you are not, then why do you continue to try and argue what’s appropriate or not when you have already been told what the desired solution from marginalized folks is, as if you are qualified to be arguing it?

It’s one or the other. You cannot both say you are not qualified, and then act as if you are. If you’re not qualified, then you should be leaving these considerations to the people who are, instead of trying to inject yourself or your opinions into them.

Okay, so in other words, you want the final authority over the changes that are made, even though you are not the affected party nor qualified to speak on the matter, and this is somehow supposed to constitute “advocating for inclusivity”?

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Ask me questions which don’t try to paint/label me, and I’ll give you an honest response. I’m speaking as a member of the Nix community. Assume I’m your peer, that’s all I want to be.

Why say such things? It’s not productive for the discussion. If you’re just going to disparage a peer and try to shutdown discussion, why are you here?

Even the US military has a notion of “unlawful orders”. Just because you were given a command doesn’t mean you have to carry it out.

Okay, so in other words, you want the final authority over the changes that are made

Nope, please don’t put words in my mouth. I think your conflating “suggestions” with “commands”. You take suggestions into considerations, but you’re free to disregard it if it’s unreasonable.

In what world you just blindly obey the will of someone else? Are you a pawn in your own story?

even though you are not the affected party

I am indirectly effected. The ramifications are upon the entire NixOS community, and I would consider myself a part that.

Are you not part of the Nix community?

nor qualified to speak on the matter

Again, personal/ad-hominen attack. I would advise to not use disparaging language, it’s against the CoC, and in general unwelcoming behavior.

By listening, understanding to the best of my abilities, and reacting accordingly? (Essentially what I said earlier). Seems like the only realistic way to advocate for inclusivity.

How would you advocate inclusivity? Discrimination seems antithetical to the goal.

Since a refresher on the CoC seems in order:

Examples of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment include:

  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Focusing on what is best for the community
  • Showing empathy towards other community members

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

  • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
  • Public or private harassment
  • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission
  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting
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I take that you still didn’t read any of the links I provided you, and you are still analyzing things with your own biases and opinions.

I will give you concrete examples.

Women are underrepresented in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development, even as compared with the number of women studying Computer Science in colleges around the world and with the number of women employed in proprietary software development. While the 2017 GitHub survey showed that participation of women in FOSS is still extremely low at 3%, Outreachy has been a major factor in increasing participation of women in communities that participate. For example, the percentage of women Linux kernel authors rose from 5% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2016, with a marked increase in 2013 when the kernel joined Outreachy. Outreachy also encourages women who are students interested in coding projects to apply for Google Summer of Code, and it played a role in increasing participation of women in Google Summer of Code from 7.1% in 2011 to 11.6% in 2018.

The diversity data for the U.S. released by many tech companies shows that many of them only have 1-3% Black and 2-4% Hispanic employees in technical roles, while the population of the U.S. is 13% Black and 17% Hispanic. We don’t have any data like this for free software participation, but we can tell there is a lack of racial and ethnic diversity at conferences we attend. Addionally, we are aware of bias and discrimination against other groups not connected to race or gender.

It’s important that we reach more people with the information that the FOSS community is (by and large) mature and friendly, and that contributing to FOSS is valuable for both social and professional reasons. In this way, we are growing the community and improving our ability to reach even more people.

We know from the 2017 GitHub survey that “women are also more likely than men to seek out help directly (29% vs 13%) from people they already know well (22% vs 6%), rather than ask for help from strangers in a public forum or channel.” It can be intimidating to submit contributions and get feedback on public forums. Outreachy provides a gentle introduction to FOSS by providing mentors who can guide applicants through making their first public contributions during the application period. Then selected interns work remotely with the same mentor during the three month internship.

By participating in the program, applicants and interns develop a good understanding of the power of FOSS and skills necessary to continue contributing to it. Outreachy provides a collaborative environment in which newcomers from underrepresented backgrounds can get help working on their first contributions and a focused opportunity for them to dedicate a full-time effort to learning and contributing to FOSS.

If this is not sufficient to explain to you why “positive” (it’s a complicated term, so I will use a proxy) discrimination (which I’m not saying is a panacea) can be worthwhile to explore. I would like you to be very precise in how you deny those evidences. Otherwise, I think you should not take this personally, but your interactions so far have been quite low quality when it comes to respecting our time and our expertise when it comes to the matter. I would recommend you to document yourself on the matter before launching yourself in forums to explain your viewpoint which seems to be ignorant of various science (in the economics field) and actual practical experiences (in the IT ecosystem).

Note that the same CoC you cite, you removed something from it:

  • Wasting other people’s time with low quality contributions, including but not limited to LLM and bot spam
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There is no discussion “with peers” to be had here. You are trying to argue a point you are not qualified on, with people who are qualified. It really is that simple, and makes the details of your argument moot - you do not have the lived experience needed to productively argue this topic, and so your arguments are based on misconceptions and wrong assumptions (which, I would add, people have repeatedly tried to correct you on, to no avail).

And so what is “not productive” is you continuing to insist that your opinion should be heard and considered in a process where you do not have the expertise necessary, particularly because that opinion boils down to “you should not be doing this”, ie. attempting to block what would otherwise be a productive process carried out by others. This is interfering, not contributing.

If you simply wish to understand why these measures are proposed, then that is a valid question to ask - however, it is not relevant to the purpose of this meeting, nor to the introduction of the measures. The introduction of these measures is not predicated upon your understanding of them. A request for explanation of the ‘why’ should also probably be in the form of a question, not the form of a disagreement (and people are likewise not under an obligation to explain it either).

In what way are you affected, specifically?

I have already answered this - advocating for inclusivity is done by listening to those whom it concerns, and following their recommendations. Without trying to inject your own opinion. Listen and implement instead of speaking.

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Honestly man, this thread and your other comments during the Anduril fiasco have done more to push me away than any other person or force in the community ever has.

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