December 16th, 2019

(no subject)

Saw, via a link, an article in Novaya Gazeta, commenting on a Russian online hackathon against political repressions.

I don't have an opinion about the hackathon itself, but I am appalled by the article (the newspaper, amusingly, distanced itself from the author). It reads as a text where the author doesn’t have much to say, but still feels obliged to say something, perhaps to meet the requested word count. As a result, his position is barely coherent. He argues, inconceivably, that Github is not a proper place to hold such hackathons, as if code repositories care what the code is for. Were he to develop the argument in the direction that events of such sort might jeopardize access to Github in Russia, I would have understood and probably agreed with him; but that's not where he is going. He is suggesting that Github is a platform a) exclusively for professional collaboration of developers, who b) are fairly asocial creatures, and thus can’t be bothered by politics. This grotesquely ignores both that Github is entirely agnostic to who and for what purpose (as long as it's not illegal) uses the platform, and that modern developer communities (at least in the anglo-american sector of the internet) are largely driven by leftist social agenda, as evidenced by spats on social media, Google walkouts, talks on social justice popping up at different conferences, obsession with codes of conduct, etc. His final point is about the pointlessness of it all, which may be completely correct, if one assumes that the goal is to bring down the regime; but then again may be entirely wrong if the goal is to nerd out in a good company, and to virtue-signal a bit. In any case, this conclusion is so trite and so unrelated to the bulk of the article that the article itself is entirely unnecessary.