We don’t need SJWs in Open Source

Dec 27, 2018 · 5 min read
Picture by Kaleidico on Unsplash. Big ups fam!

Note: Just a quick reminder, opinions are my own, does not reflect my projects — so if you come here nagging about my article and try to evict me from doing Open Source work, then you’re an a**hole.

I respect people, especially when they do amazing things, but that doesn’t mean we should need some white knights to guard us to be good boys and gals. In the open source world, we don’t need too much governing hands because most communities are self-governing.

This is why, when these Social Justice Warriors, or in short: SJWs, came along, It caused radical changes in the open source world, some in a good way, some in a bad way. Here’s some I found while being a active participant in some communities.

A Code of Conduct is Fine, Limiting us to do contributions isn’t

A code of conduct is essential in some communities because it determines the ethical boundaries the developers should consider during professional and casual conversation inside the project. It is effective in the sense if people read it and have common sense, they will abide and try to have everyone follow it as well.

This, however, must be regulated as well as having guidelines that limits some freedom of speech to the members of the community can raise eyebrows.

Now, of course, with that in mind — let’s get over to the conduct’s purpose: it should and should only be enforced within the project. Personal opnions of the members should be left behind and out of scope for the conduct — as this was not done in-communication with the rest of the community.

However, some SJWs take these conduct too much as a governing law, and even “enforce” it on project leaders. Sad to say, there was this issue about that on a GitHub project named Opal, because the maintainer had a personal opinion, and someone decided to open an issue to evict him of the maintainer role.

Good to say, the issue was closed, but raised too much outcry from people who were backing the issue’s connoisseur. But the specific maintainer handling the issue specifically stated:

“Also to elaborate more on that, Opal is a technology, technology is moral-less, if a transgender contributor appeared @elia’s views wouldn’t even appear in here, because why would anyone care, bring contributions, they will be accepted with open arms, bring morals and politics in here, and you will be shown the metaphorical door.”

The said maintainer is right, as we should always leave the personal opinion of a person — which is outside of the project, out of the context of the conduct, because it wasn’t the project community’s opinion as a whole, rather it was his own. It’s rather clear that if you stalk someone who is in the higher ranks in a project and found him saying something offensive, leave that out of the community matters, unless he specifically targets the community itself.

This and some other cases clearly states that they are suppressing how we express ourselves once we have been a part of a community they are involved in. This isn’t right, and limiting them to contribute is not okay as well.

To quote one statement I gave someone:

“Even if you were a murderer, or a pedophile, if you make good code, we call it a collaboration, and it’s accepted.”

Open Source is collaboration, not a society

Reminder that open source is about bringing along developers who has a specific use case for a project, they want to improve it, from all walks of life, from different perspectives and opinions, and races — color too.

Imagine, a convict who has finished serving his sentence after finding him of selling drugs, finds his penchant in programming because of the workshop inside the correctional facility, and decided to help in open source development. He can’t — because he is a drug seller, and he is to be shunned.

This is what I’m seeing, a future of the open source world to be limited to what these SJWs thinks are “worthy” to contribute to the code base. Equally this also means:

“His/her existence offends me, can we ban him from doing anything?”

This, is not what is open source. This is gatekeeping. Open source is open in nature, does not look on the contributor’s past, and always looks on how he/she made the code, and is open for professional talk. We should never make things too political nor take things too personal, after all, this is a conglomerate of knowledge, not a club or a society.

People are fine with their treatment — with or without them

To prove this, I had a transgender friend who is a contributor to a project, which I won’t name. She’s accepted wholly in the community she’s involved with — professionally and outside the project. She gets along with them, and even though there’s so much sexual remarks going on, she’s not offended at all. This proves we don’t need people to represent the “opressed” — because they aren’t. They’re widely accepted in this part of the world, and you should be off protecting those who are more opressed in the society, not here.

Needless to say, our general rule of thumb in community interactions in such open communities is:

“You might not agree with who they are or in their views, but respect each other".


Open source is freedom, and collaboration, and we should not lose that kind of philosophy.


Written by


Slant.co Community Leader. || SkySilk.com guest writer. || I make stuff and it works. Opinions in my personal blog are my own.