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GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language 575

Posted by timothy
from the questions-and-meta-questions dept.
FooAtWFU writes "Some clowns and jokers over at 4chan thought it would be a funny idea to put together a web page for a programming language named 'C Plus Equality' as a parody of feminism, dismissing OOP as 'objectifying' and inheritance as "a tool of the patriarchy". But this parody was apparently too hot to host at Github, which took down the original Github repository after receiving criticism on Twitter, prompting a backlash and inquiry into the role of free speech and censorship on Github's platform. The project has since found a new home on BitBucket, at least for the time being." Comments on an article describing the research which sparked the parody call the parody's language "fake," and compare it to the 1996 Sokal affair. (It also reminds me a bit of Jesux.)
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GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language

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  • The worst thing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:26AM (#45689355)

    Is that Github also killed off all the forked versions of the repo as well, not just the main one.

    I'm a little bit annoyed that they both have this power and used it in this wya.

    • by svanheulen (901014) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:41AM (#45689421)
      Why wouldn't they have that power? I have that power on websites that I own and operate. I never understand why people feel that owners don't have the right to manage their own website as they see fit. If you don't like the way they operate use someone else or, better yet, make your own website and host it on your own hardware.
      • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @08:46PM (#45692325)
        Every time a website censors users, someone trots this out on slashdot. Maybe some of us believe corporations shouldn't have the right to deny services based on political, religious, etc beliefs? Not saying I agree with the software project at all, or github's handling of it. Simply saying "they own it so they can do what they want" is a dangerous argument, especially when so much of the web is managed by private companies.
    • As a matter of being polite, free hosting services like GitHub should have a "standard practice" of providing an "easy download of all data" for discontinued accounts.

      For collaborative projects, this might be either putting the thing in "read only" mode for several weeks or bundling up the whole thing in a tarball-like dataset (in a non-proprietary format of course) and letting anyone who previously contributed download the thing for a reasonable period of time.

      This would be "standard practice." There would

  • While we're at it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:29AM (#45689363) Homepage

    It seems it was also too hot for Hacker News to discuss [twitter.com].

  • Popcorn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:30AM (#45689371) Journal

    Oh this thread should be good, combining programming, version control, feminism and censorship in one delicious gooey filling. Making popcorn. BRB.

    • Re:Popcorn! (Score:5, Funny)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:47PM (#45689833)

      I have much experience in dealing with the topic at hand, and feel obliged to warn you of the inherent danger of your snack selection preference in this instance.

      The social justice warrior will insist you be eating all the popcorn whether it pops or not. After all: Should not all the kernels be treated equally? You're not a popist cornsagonist furthering strict kernel roles, are you?

      Others observant of finer detail than applying the label popist or not based on eating preference will note that all the kernels were treated equally: They were given a chance to pop, but some did not choose to be popped and digested by the system. Indeed there could be physiological predeterminations for the unpopped vs popped variety of kernel, and it would be equally wrong to pressure the eater to consume those that are incompatible with digestion as it's wrong to shame the unpopped kernels for not entering the food cycle; Certainly it would be moronic to claim the plight of the popped ones is a privilege.

      The social justice warrior will then declare that the popped or not state can't be determined at kernel creation, it's the environment that has a bias for exactly what types of corn are suitable for popping and creates repressive constraints on which kernels are allowed to pop. They'll demand a more fair popping system be devised, but not actually outline any exact plans for such a system so you'll know when it has been achieved, and they'll ignore how the popping system may affect the popped corn itself.

      Others with a knowledge of botany and thermodynamics will point out that kernels of certain genetic predispositions have known traits, and that there are many systems for popping, which all yield different types of popped corn and unpopped kernels. Air popping gives kernels more time to pop, but creates a drier popcorn that's not suitable for everyone's tastes. Kettle popping creates a more traditional flavour, and yields more unpopped kernels. The most unpopped kernels are produced via microwave environment due to the heat being applied to already popped kernels which limits the duration of popping time and kernel batch size, it's also more likely to produce artificial flavors; However, nuked kernels have utility in being compact and accessible to more eaters. It's too simplistic to blame the eater for the kernels or popping environment available, or the environment for the consumer's preference, or either of these for the physical properties of individual kernels or how the laws of thermodynamics and genetics work. Neither the eater nor the popper are being cornsagonist against kernels; To them all the kernels are given equal opportunity to pop and enter the digestive system.

      At which point the social justice warrior will leverage a collection of statistics on the types of popping and evidence of past abuse of corn, burning, neglect, being feed to lesser animals, etc. They'll point to select occurrences of popping gone horribly wrong. If one's not careful to interject quickly it will turn into a gish gallop. [rationalwiki.org]

      While admittedly the tragic popping can't be ignored, one must examine the frequency of such occurrence and the attention that society does give -- A slew of firemen may arrive to deal with a single bag of over nuked corn; It's clearly not cornsagony. The scientific minded observer will point out that past abuses do not reflect current corn popping culture and that anecdotal evidence is not really evidence; They'll note that the statistics only show a trend, not a causal link to cornsagony, and that sections of the studies have gone ignored: The uneaten popped kernels. If the study was performed by the social justice alliance you'll likely find a bias in the selection criteria (went looking for evidence for a preconceived kernel popping opinion) and there'll be no testing of the null hypothesis, or unequivocal evidence that the conclusion is correct, or that popping trends could not instead be formed by

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I prefer popcorn apartheid. When you buy movie popcorn, they "fluff" it to get the seeds to fall out the bottom (into a seed-catch built into the machines). Thus, the number of unpopped kernels in a bag/box/tub should be minimal, and possibly zero. They can be discarded without me having to see the violence and oppression.
  • by fisted (2295862) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:45AM (#45689445)
    She wasn't aware of C Plus Equality until now
    • GitHub aren't trying to stop people finding out about it. They just don't want to host it. The Streisand Effect isn't relevant.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:47AM (#45689469) Homepage

    Specifically it looks like it might be a satire of the entirely serious Feminist programming Language discussion (http://m.hastac.org/blogs/ari-schlesinger/2013/11/26/feminism-and-programming-languages).

    "The idea came about while discussing normative and feminist subject object theory. I realized that object oriented programmed reifies normative subject object theory. This led me to wonder what a feminist programming language would look like, one that might allow you to create entanglements (Karen Barad Posthumanist Performativity)."

    • by BenJeremy (181303)

      Ludicrous rantings that apply sexism to tools deserve scorn, satire and parody.

      Are there "Feminist" wheels?

      A better (but still stupid) question might be: Are languages Anglo-centric? At least we could make some sort of case and fluff up enough flowery academic language and references to make it stick - and yet it would also be pointless.

      Programming languages only deserve to be criticized in terms of their ability to produce usable software, measured by productivity, ease of learning, flexibility, and robust

    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:27PM (#45689705)

      > This led me to wonder what a feminist programming language would look like,
      > one that might allow you to create entanglements

      Ah... in other words... a language based upon dependency-injection for non-deterministic multithreaded runtime environments with planned monthly maintenance cycles. It's mostly interrupt based and requires extensive exception-handling. :-D

    • by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @02:04PM (#45690267) Homepage Journal

      What makes you think this 'research' isn't a prank?

      This Arielle Schlesinger person doesn't appear to have any social media or web presence prior to a few months ago. There is no link to published articles on or related to the actual "research", either in peer-reviewed journals or on-line forums. There's only a couple of brief blog posts in what looks like a deliberate parody of critical studies jargon ("reifies normative subject-object theory" and "non-normative paradigm").

      It sounds like a parody to me. Granted, it's often hard to tell the difference, but one thing that strikes me that the example is rather puny. Yes, it is dense and incomprehensible, but real examples academic writing in the critical theory style go on at great length and detail. The Frankfurt School of neomarxism is very influential in this kind of academic writing, so what you're aiming for is a kind of faux teutonic grandeur.

      There's no evidence that the purported research has taken place; nor is there evidence that this person is actually preparing to do research. The very first thing you'd do in this kind of academic research is to assemble a bibliography, yet the post doesn't even bother to drop names (e.g. Michel Foucault, Andrea Dworkin). It strikes me that the post displays little actual knowledge of the field it is supposedly discussing, other than a superficial familiarity with the jargon.

      So -- yes. The entire thing appears to be hoax.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      This led me to wonder what a feminist programming language would look like,

      IF it's anything like the feminists I know, it would consist of a "garbage collection" routine that promised to take out the trash if you do the laundry, then when the laundry is done, cries about the trash, complaining how she always does everything and you never help. The garbage is taken out manually, and the garbage collection can be called at any time, but results in an "oppressive misogynist" error.

    • by rmstar (114746)

      "[...]I realized that object oriented programmed reifies normative subject object theory."

      You know, while I find that funny too (on first, and second readings), once you look at it with an open mind you realize that she might be onto something.

      For starters, there is a lot of evidence that OOP reflects how people think the world should be organized, and not how it actually is organized. No idea if this is what is meant with "reifies normative subject object theory", but it sounds as if that might be the idea

  • by sneezinglion (771733) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:48AM (#45689481)

    https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/pull/8253 [github.com]

    I am sorry, but C+= is not the first parody language.....

  • by jopet (538074) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @11:57AM (#45689513) Journal

    they are totally within their rights of being that lame, of course, but they chose to be totally lame here.
    Ah well, good for BitBucket.

  • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:03PM (#45689553) Homepage

    Imperative languages are patriarchal - some privileged brogrammer barking orders - so surely a declarative language is the way to go?

    In fact, the only feminist program you ever need to write goes:

    RADICAL NOTION: women==people

    ...and then any non-patriarchal machine knows what you want done.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @02:37PM (#45690453) Journal

      women==people

      This seems to be an exceptionally hard concept for many people to grasp.

      • No it isn't. The vast majority of people agree with it. The problem is that feminists make a number of ideological propositions that they (rather poorly) infer from this concept, and then decide that anybody who doesn't make the same dodgy inferences doesn't agree with the concept. This, amongst other reasons, is why feminism has a credibility problem.
      • by marcello_dl (667940) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @04:09PM (#45690979) Homepage Journal

        So, women==people, but also soylent_green==people.
        Therefore women==soylent_green.

    • by brit74 (831798)
      I wish feminism was restricted to "women==people" (or "women=people"). Saying it is a "radical notion" seems rather hyperbolic. (Case in point: lookup the death rates for men, women, and children on the Titianic. Even back in the early 1900s, women and children were far more likely to live than men were because women and children were given priority access to the life boats. I guess when threatened with death, you save your "possessions" rather than people. [/sarcasm].) http://optional.is/required/2012/ [optional.is]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:05PM (#45689575)

    Given this community's gender troubles (e.g. http://www.livescience.com/9772-geeks-drive-girls-computer-science.html), does mocking feminists do anything other than confirm the boy's club. Yes, misapplying feminist critiques of male dominated society to programming languages is amusing, but really lads, time to clean up the house.

    • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @01:42PM (#45690139) Homepage
      The problem isn't women in the community (they have been here all along...) its feminists. As with other niche communities, feminists have invaded the programming community, and then demanded that the community change its character and become a 'safe space'. In this context, 'safe' means that feminists must be able to unilaterally dictate social norms, and that criticism of feminism is pushed out. You'll forgive me - and many others - for not wanting feminism in programming. Women, as I said, are welcome and have been for a long time.
      • The problem isn't women in the community (they have been here all along...) its feminists. As with other niche communities, feminists have invaded the programming community, and then demanded that the community change its character and become a 'safe space'.

        Actually, I think they just wanted people to stop mocking women and discriminating against them.

        • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @03:04PM (#45690631) Homepage
          Nobody here is mocking women. They are mocking feminists. That kind of argument is exactly why.
    • by Jody Bruchon (3404363) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @06:29PM (#45691719)
      There is no "boys' club." That's a deliberate misdirection propagated by those who demand that social groups drastically change behavior to suit their own interests simply because they want to join the group. Feminists are not welcome in any place that ability to reason is important. Feminism today is an elaborate system of pseudo-intellectual bullshit that excuses women from all responsibilities while labeling any and all male actions evil. No thanks. I'll live under a bridge with the rest of the trolls before tolerating such irrational nonsense.
    • by russotto (537200) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @06:59PM (#45691883) Journal

      The feminists being mocked are part of the problem, not part of the solution. A few here have claimed that the brand of feminism being mocked is no longer in vogue, in which case it's merely a parody which misses the target. But if so, why are so many offended by it?

      As for the article you cited:

      The stereotype of computer scientists as geeks who memorize Star Trek lines and never leave the lab may be driving women away from the field, a new study suggests.

      And women can be turned off by just the physical environment, say, of a computer-science classroom or office that's strewn with objects considered "masculine geeky," such as video games and science-fiction stuff.

      Guess what: tough shit. This stuff is part of geek culture. And it's not inherently anti-female or offensive to women (the article itself admits this). Video games, science fiction, and related paraphenalia are not in themselves any way conducive to a hostile workplace environment to women. And if a "feminist" comes in and under the banner of gender equality demands these things be eliminated, she's just given a bunch of geeks reason to be hostile to feminism... and, unfortunately, perhaps to women as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:24PM (#45689699)

    Threads on /g/ rarely last more than a day (just due to how fast the board is) and that thread especially will hit the culling limit soon. You should replace the link with this one: http://archive.rebeccablacktech.com/g/thread/38739122 or any other reputable 4chan archive site

  • by x0ra (1249540) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:29PM (#45689717)
    The real question is: on which ground, that is, on what T.O.S. did the GitHub team acts upon to disable this repository ?
  • by anvilmark (259376) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @12:34PM (#45689767)

    THAT'S NOT FUNNY!

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Three? Two to argue about how inserting something into a socket is required for it to work is misogynist, and one to call a man.
  • This would not be the first time. Earlier this year, the Extremely Vocal Minority had Locus Online take down my April Fools piece [battleswarmblog.com].

    Original feminists had real complaints. Third Wave/Race Critical Theory/Victimhood Identity Politics feminists seem to believe that they have a right not to be offended.

  • by J. J. Ramsey (658) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @01:39PM (#45690121) Homepage

    Feminism, in just about all its various forms, is about relationships among human beings, especially where those relationships concern women and girls. Programming, on the other hand, is about human-machine relationships, in particular about how humans -- who tend to think in very fuzzy ways -- can control and manipulate computing devices that "think" in very exacting ways are are very good at doing what they are told rather than what we want them to do. Feminism is certainly relevant to how programmers interact with one another, but not so much with the programming itself.

    • by allo (1728082)

      there was one coder, who really blogged, that github is racist for not allowing chinese characters in project names.
      What. The. Fuck.

      The Projectname is the folder name, and normal special chars like german umlauts are bad enough, but you cannot even type chinese chars without being chinese (while the german umlauts work very well with a compose key).

      And on the other hand, coding in another language than english excludes many many people. So somebody who wants to do something only chinese people can use claim

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Saturday December 14, 2013 @07:43PM (#45692081)

    I take pity on anyone who takes anything that comes out of 4chan seriously.

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