Bigotry and hate speech on the python mailing list

Rurpy rurpy at
Sun Apr 16 18:49:50 EDT 2017

A couple weeks ago a frequent poster here (Steve D'Aprano <steve+python at>) called another participant an "ugly american" [*1].  This was followed just a couple weeks later with another post from Mr. D'Aprano attacking a participant as "an old man" who can't understand new technology, a blatant example of ageism [*2].

The PSF's Diversity statement [*3] explicitly calls out "age" and "national origin" as examples of personal attributes NOT to be used as verbal weapons.  It is also neither "considerate" or "respectful" as described in the PSF Code of Conduct [*4] to use national origin or age to attack someone.  In both cases it is reasonable to believe that some Americans or older people will, after reading Mr. D'Aprano's posts, feel uncomfortable posting to this list or responding to Mr. D'Aprano specifically on other issues, because they might well be attacked on the same grounds.  Further, failure to censure Mr. D'Apano's comments communicates that bigotry is acceptable here which understandably would give pause to members of other groups often subject to bigotry.

I posted a message in objection [*5] that got no response, I would like to think because it got lost in a long thread, not because bigotry is acceptable here and the CoC is just window dressing.

I also believe the PSF is registered in the US as a tax exempt organization which means it has a legal obligation not to permit discrimination against people based on national origin or age (and other distinctions).

Would someone from the PSF please publicly clarify exactly why the two cases cited are being treated as acceptable discourse in this list?

I am not trying to create a controversy for its own sake; when I first started reading this list many years ago I was appalled by rudeness displayed to newcomers coupled with instant anger by the regulars towards non-regulars at the slightest hint of rudeness (even imagined) towards them.  A decade later things have not changed much.  If I posted a remark about "dirty Chinese" (c.f. "ugly American") I would be (justifiably) slammed and likely ejected from the list.  Or if claims that not understanding new tech is a product of age are ok, then why can't I say disparagingly that someone "programs like a girl"?  When a popular poster here says such things, it is not only given a pass, it is actually defended!  

I am not personally in favor of censorship; the best response to hate speech is a reasoned counter argument IMO.  But if you are going to have a CoC, it must be applied even-handedly.  You cannot apply it when you want to unpopular posters and ignore it when it comes to a one of the clique of regulars.


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