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> That's only the case because the guidelines and moderation practices are set up to keep political flamewars off the site.

I agree. But it's not the political topics that are the problem, it's the incivility.

Keeping incivility out of political discussions is more difficult than keeping politics out of technical discussions.

However, there are discussions that we should be having, around professional ethics, data privacy, censorship, advertising, etc, that are inseparably both political and technical.

I do think plenty of people are high achievers as engineers but want to regard their work as apolitical.

While we should not tolerate incivility, we should also be willing to face political issues and differences with consideration and respect. If the people on HN can't do that, who can?




>However, there are discussions that we should be having, around professional ethics, data privacy, censorship, advertising, etc,

Those tech topics intertwined with politics wasn't what I was talking about. (That is why I used the more purely political example of "Trump denies climate change" instead of a tech story like "Facebook attacks data privacy.")

And that example is the same theme dang was explaining in a previous comment[1]:

2016-12-06 -- "We can clarify, though. The main concern here is pure politics: the conflicts around party, ideology, nation, race, gender, class, and religion that get people hot and turn into flamewars on the internet. We're not so concerned about stories on other things that happen to have political aspects—like, say, software patents. Those stories aren't going to be evicted from HN or anything like that."

dang's examples are very different from your political topics such as "professional ethics, data privacy, censorship, advertising". You'll notice that your examples are the type of topics that virtually all of HN readers will pile on the comments in violent agreement. Those topics don't create incivility. In fact, (modulo a few contrarians) they tend to foster a lovefest instead of flamewars!

Unfortunately, dang buried the "politics" clarification deep in that thread instead of spelling it out at the very top of the detox announcement so a lot of people got confused into thinking that political topics like "data privacy" and "software patents" was being censored.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13108614


I'm actually talking about the conversations we don't have here about those same issues, because many people's salaries depend on them not understanding them.

(I'm stating that in general terms because any specific example would be subjective and would tend to sidetrack the discussion.)

I'm not taking issue with the way HN is moderated. What I do want to point out is that there is a tendency in this community (and among engineers) to avoid political ramifications and pretend that technical work exists in a vacuum.

It's this problem that I believe Mr. Mattheij is also getting at, and the idea of HN as a politics-free zone is just one of many manifestations.




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