I have worked in jobs where there have been very strange creepy people, both women and men. Some are angry and tense. Some are odd and talk restless or slightly disturbing stuff that make everyone uncomfortable. But if they do their work well they can stay. Others give them some room. It's called tolerance.
If RMS was just random superhacker doing his thing. I would defend him. His boss should find a position for him where he can contribute and other people should feel free to feel uncomfortable and avoid him.
But RMS is de facto leader and public figure in movement that is also political. He does not deserve the same level of consideration as normal HR headache would. Even if everything against him would be completely unjust, there is no requirement for just treatment for top leaders. They can be sacked for any reason whatsoever.
We don't have to tolerate people who make women feel unsafe and unwelcome in our (or any) industry.
You seem to be arguing the usual tired old thing: "but he's a genius and does such great work that we should tolerate the bad things he does". I really thought we'd started to move past that over the last few years.
Also, you're doing a bait and switch, neuro-atypical covers a large swathe of people including autistic people. May be you're using it here as a mere synonym for "autistic" for lingual flare, but it includes people who are generally typical in social settings.
It's absolutely true that neuro-atypical people can learn from others, even if they can't pick up on social cues the way neurotypical people can. I'm guessing stallman just goes unchallenged on much of this stuff because of the lingering effects of the rockstar syndrome in tech, where "great men," geniuses, whatever, get cut a lot of slack because of their position in the industry.
It's only recently that I've seen a shift away from prizing our jerk 10x rockstars ("hey, he's so smart he can keep the whole codebase in his head!") to valuing better-behaved people. stallman seems like he'd be even more isolated than the typical one of those, with less chance to have the rough edges smoothed off in the rock tumbler of social interaction.
Again, not an excuse, but I'm more interested in, "how did we get here?" (where "here" is a decades-long public figure questioning the wrongness of pedophilia and making jokes like the "emacs virgin" thing well into the 2000s).
Stallman's job as head of FSF wasn't just to be technically competent, which he has in spades, but to forward the mission of the foundation and a certain level of social acuity is a necessary part of that.
It has quotes you might be able to follow up on.
No it's not an insult to anyone. It's an attemoted explanation of why some neuro-atypical people behave in atypical fashion.
The original claim was that saying that someone's anti-social behaviour was due to being neurological atypical, was an insult to everyone who is neurological atypical. This is clearly nonsense.
If we're just going to throw around absolutist statements: No, it's not.
I certainly would not excuse him! Nor should anybody else!
But given his stature, it's surely worth discussing and understanding him. And any attempt to do that would certainly have to include his famously black-and-white and self-described borderline autistic thinking.
Pointing out that somebody is austistic (or left-handed, or that they have psoriasis, or dyslexic, or seven feet tall, or...) and thinking about how that may affect their actions isn't excuse-making. It is empathy. It is critical thinking.
I did. To me, it says "I've known a lot of creepy people; as long as they get their work done, it's ok". And I don't agree with that.
> self-described borderline autistic thinking.
That's another thing: has he actually been diagnosed? If not, well, he may still be autistic, but that just sounds like RMS himself hiding behind a shield of autism that he's crafted himself, which is pretty low.
> Pointing out that somebody is austistic and thinking about how that may affect their actions isn't excuse-making. It is empathy. It is critical thinking.
Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what was written. The parent even said "if RMS was some random superhacker doing his thing" he'd defend him. To me, that's excuse-making, not empathy or critical thinking.
But I do agree that autism can certainly explain some behaviors, and it's worth trying to understand people, even though the explanations may not excuse the behavior. The parent's post just did not strike me as that.
Nobody thinks this of RMS. He's a competent developer who was in the right place at the right time to found a new ideology: The idea that software should work for the user, the only way for software to do so is to empower the user to also be a developer themselves. That's all.
Being competent himself wasn't a sufficient condition for anyone to listen to him, but it was necessary.
Promoting intolerance of people we disagree with, even if we vigorously disagree with them, is perhaps not the best response.
If we want to talk about disagreement...
He only recently recanted (with quite suspicious timing) his view that pedophilia is fine if the child gives consent. No, I'm not going to tolerate that view. I wouldn't want to work for someone that had that view.
In the email thread under discussion, he wanted to redefine "sexual assault" and "child rape" to something that agrees more with his sense of linguistic purity. No, that's not ok.
At some point, when people keep having disgusting views, and won't change them, you give up on them entirely. It's just not worth the effort anymore.
Hand waving and quietly ignoring is the mark of tolerance. But one wonders exactly how polite society is. One certainly presumes the existence of both knights for justice and hot ladies in a nation of millions. What society are we talking about?
I don't expect MIT to be any more representative of society than the NFL. It is a magnet for extreme people who defer common sense and common acceptance in search of very particular goals. I wonder if we were to get rid of Stallman and replace him, deserving as he must be, for a bust in our Hall of Fame if our society could resist defaming his very image and existence.
A lot of people (mostly men) hugely overestimate just how fragile and vulnerable women are.
The semi-autistic are a lot more likely to be made unwelcome than women.
And yes, celebrities will get more of a pass than others. Which isn't ideal.
> Gano also posted a photo of Stallman's office door, which has a sign on it reading: "Knight for Justice (Also hot ladies)."
Gano posted a photo of the sign, not the sign itself.
What does this mean ? He is a leader of an organisation related to software freedom (or more pedantically, the choice of licences used for software). How is it relevant ? All you are saying is, "Famous people can't talk like that".
* General principle that people in influential positions have less protections and should have more scrutiny than average John Doe. Celebrities and influential people have less legal privacy protections.
* People are free to speak as individuals, but they may not be free to speak while they have public position in the organization. Elected members of the organization like FSF don't have the same protections as employers have. They represent the organization even outside the work. Their public position gives them a platform where what they say goes trough bullhorn and private becomes public and reflects the organization. If something they say harms the organization they should go even if they are right.
If your leader appears to advocate pedophilia, then your organisation no longer becomes "that organisation that advocates for free software", but "that organisation run by a pedophile apologist".
He doesn't advocate pedophilia. Nothing has changed for years. Are you advocating it?
He has just been completely misrepresented by some popular media as supporting statutory rape, and you are fueling the fire.
It is pure bullshit - the journalists that write (or publications that publish) headlines that completely reverse meaning should be held accountable for their lies.
It is libel: make it appear Richard said she was willing when he definitely said she was coerced (within the exact same paragraph as the "quote"). Seems she was 18 too - any organisation publishing clearly slanderous headings designed for sensation and payment for eyeballs should be punished.
Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization.
[Reference updated on 2018-04-25 because the old link was broken.]
I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children
You've described basically every single human being in tech I've ever met, they just don't have as big a platform. See: Musk's twitter feed, for instance.
There are only a handful of case studies of really bad cases I'm aware of. And they're not that exacting in follow-up.
Note research, not opinion pieces.
Good quality papers. I found just a handful. I'm having trouble fishing then out from the thousands of opinion pieces.
Edit: I found one credible meta-analysis so far, and the results are not good. Most of abuse is not reported. Impact is not known, how handling of it is done is unknown to affect severity.
Because people believing in that wrong thing will point to you as a figure of authority.
Not fair, but life's not fair.
If he said this anonymously or in private it would've been fine. The problem is him using his platform for stuff that it's not meant to be used for. So now they're taking away his platform. Seems fair to me.
Everyone bar nobody has formed an opinion on an important topic that is completely wrong at some point in their life. To correct their opinion, they will need to talk to somebody who will explain why it is wrong.
This wasn't Stallman trying to use his position on the FSF to spread his opinions, he was using his position at MIT to try and defend a colleague to other academics. And what you are describing is an unreasonable standard to hold anyone to if a topic isn't supposed to be their central area of expertise.
It does matter what he advocates and it does matter whether his opinions are technically correct and incorrect. The 5-days-comment-to-resignation mob are doing damage here; and setting up terrifying dynamics. They aren't going to stop at Stallman.
Truth doesn't count if the thing hurts someone. Intent doesn't count if harm was caused. This is a view that many here would seem absurd but which many here would also agree with.
Does this still seem fair? Is truth and intent not that important when it comes to tricky issues?
"The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution, "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia" also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally--but that is unfortunate. All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness."
RMS on June 28th, 2003 https://stallman.org/archives/2003-mar-jun.html
"I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing. "
RMS on June 5th, 2006) https://stallman.org/archives/2006-mar-jun.html#05%20June%202006%20(Dutch%20paedophiles%20form%20political%20party
" There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.
Granted, children may not dare say no to an older relative, or may not realize they could say no; in that case, even if they do not overtly object, the relationship may still feel imposed to them. That's not willing participation, it's imposed participation, a different issue. "
RMS on Jan 4th, 2013) https://stallman.org/archives/2013-jan-apr.html#04_January_2013_(Pedophilia
But, he resigned himself. This is moot.
FSF was pressured. RMS did not decide this all on his own of his free will.
It's just reasonable to remove him from those positions.
Independly I find it very weird what he was saying nonetheless and for this he falls under a category of humans which I don't think are worth it to give such amount of support.
There are other people out there which are worth it more.
I stopped working with people who might be technical good or very good but dicks. I hate working with dicks. There is no amount of brilliance which justifice being a dick.
But sure, he is probably a dick so let us remove them...
You know what? He actually probably isn't the easiest person to be around. Just saw him once and he certainly isn't the guy to move crowds.
But let us be certain that we have very distinct definitions of what constitutes "being a dick".
There would have been someone else to create something like the FSF.
Wouldn't you think so?
Linux foundation and FSF have small staff and budget but the total economic value of the projects they steer is in tens of billions.
Rather than, you know, finding some humane, compassionate approach to dealing with the personal shortcomings of someone who has done so very much for the world.
I would agree that the severity of RMS's remarks regarding Epstein/Minsky is lower than the press is making it out to be. But Stallman's bad behavior stretches back decades, and this oddly-shaped, not-entirely-correct straw happened to finally break the camel's back. Good riddance.
I'm talking about there being options other than either "giving him a pass" or "off with his head."
After almost 30 years of people giving him a pass and trying to make him understand, I am glad that he is getting some reckoning. His views are abhorrent and he gives no indication he is willing to change them.
 - https://fossforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/RMSleisure....
The text is:
sharing good books, good food and exotic music and dance
unusual sense of humor
There is perfectly benign interpretation of this expressing the things from which he derives pleasure. The most plausible and available interpretation of "pleasure card" is a dad joke level word play on "business card", especially when considering his role in de-commercializing software.
Talking to women isn't a crime. If he didn't take no for an answer or asked women out in inappropriate circumstances, that's a problem; but we have no accounts of him doing that. All we have here is an Nth hand story  in which he supposedly left a conference with a woman (singular, you made it plural.) and then gave her his card. If we choose to imagine there was romantic intent, a) there's no suggestion he coerced her into leaving and b) he took pains to respect the conference's CoC. Even this extremely reaching accusation has zero implication that he disrespected an individual's volition. Sage Sharp's indictment that he "skirted around the conference's CoC" is bizarre unless the real intent is that men like Stallman should be closeted heterosexuals.
There are numerous aspects to all this hand wringing about his cards and interest in meeting women that one has to choose to view through a prurient lens to make it sexual. Even then, it's only problematic to a puritanical world view in which it's wrong for people to be sexual beings and individuals are dispossessed of their self-determination.
This just happened. Let's check in with him in six months, and see if he's still breathing. If his experience is like many of the shitty men whose misbehavior has been unmasked as part of the MeToo movement, I'm sure he'll end up back on his feet at some point, whether he deserves to or not.
Is it OK to treat men poorly?
Why single out women for special treatment?
Because college is where women are driven out of computer science, by behavior from professors and peers. If you want to talk about fields where men are driven out (and they do exist: primary school teaching and nursing come to mind) go to a thread about those. But either way, derailing this discussion doesn't help.
A lot of people take that for granted based on anecdotes, but actual data is elusive.
Some things we should expect to see if this theory is correct:
* CS student gender ratios close to 50:50 at admission
* A relatively large change in CS student gender ratios between admission and graduation, compared to other majors
* A relatively high rate of "misbehavior" (e.g. sexual harassment) in CS programs and/or the tech industry, compared to other fields
From what I can tell, though, we don't observe any of those.
> If you want to talk about fields where men are driven out (and they do exist: primary school teaching and nursing come to mind)
The same questions could be raised about those: why are we so sure they're being "driven out" at the college level?
Here's a paper investigating the causes of gender imbalance among primary school teachers: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=ysu1515846...
The men interviewed for the paper disagreed that discrimination, social barriers, stereotypes, or other forms of injustice play a role. ("I don’t feel that there is any injustice… men who want to teach, are able to. It’s not like we’re being held down.")
It also points out that a greater number of men than women choose to go into primary education during college, which is the opposite of what we'd expect if they were being driven out by professors and peers.
Citation needed. What kind of behavior? What exactly did he do?
"The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution,
"prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest
and pedophilia" also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally--but that is unfortunate. All of these
acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness."
RMS on June 28th, 2003 https://stallman.org/archives/2003-mar-jun.html
"I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm
seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by
the idea that their little baby is maturing. "
RMS on June 5th, 2006) https://stallman.org/archives/2006-mar-jun.html#05%20June%202006%20(Dutch%20paedophiles%20form%20political%20party
" There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.
Granted, children may not dare say no to an older relative, or may not realize they could say no; in that case, even if they do
not overtly object, the relationship may still feel imposed to them. That's not willing participation, it's imposed participation, a different issue. "
RMS on Jan 4th, 2013) https://stallman.org/archives/2013-jan-apr.html#04_January_2013_(Pedophilia
I'll just leave this here
I wonder how that is supposed to work. How would one acquire consent from a corpse?
And no I won't link. You defamed someone. Where I come from it is up to you to prove your defamation is justified.
My point is that public leadership position is not related to humane retirement of people individuals. Leadership is never entitlement.
If RMS was just random superhacker doing his thing. I would defend him.
That's a testament to his vision and leadership.
I agree that there's a current climate that's even less amenable to open discussion than at other times. However, I disagree that words carrying perceived intent is something new. Any time you make an assertion about individual facts of a particular situation, people's first assumption is going to be that you're pushing the narrative best supported by that assertion. Telling people what you're not saying will continue to be important even if the current climate improves.
EDIT: To clarify, I'm stating a general principle, not saying anything about what RMS did or didn't say, or did or didn't intend to say. I don't have time to dig into all that.
If his past behavior was sufficient justification for his sacking, then that should be enough. However, that is not why he was sacked. He was sacked on the basis of false allegations, and as an attempt by MIT to deflect from their own complicity in the Epstein scandal.
This is not (only) about finding a place for weirdo super-hackers to contribute to society (without bothering people too much) but about the truth dammit.
The only people who deserve less consideration are those that pick and choose who to treat justly.
As someone actually autistic, he doesn't get to blame being a douchecanoe on being autistic.
> His socially clueless black and white thinking makes it look like he is far in the spectrum.
Then _learn_. Also, we're not talking about not getting social cues about when it's okay to start talking, we're talking his considered and repeated position on issues such as sexual assault, and his _actual actions_ towards teenagers.
> But if they do their work well they can stay. Others give them some room. It's called tolerance.
Great tolerance for the people your creeps chase out or abuse, thanks. You actually do have to pick, and if you pick people like RMS, you pick against all the people that can't - and shouldn't have to - deal with an environment people like RMS create.
I was trying to give explanation, not excuse.
I was trying to communicate understanding, not acceptance.
Was he a douchecanoe? Is that even a helpful label for you to apply to him? Was he claiming he behaved / behaves the way you think he does solely because he's borderline autistic, or are you extrapolating?
That’s the standard for being “canceled” now? An accusation? Anybody can accuse people of things. We have courts and the presumption of innocence for a reason.
The courts are for determining whether someone should go to jail. But anyone can draw conclusions about whether or not they want to deal with someone who is accused of a crime.
Someone might be accused of child molestation, but never stood trial. Would a parent then be obligated to be ok with the accused being alone with their children since 'hey he's innocent until proven guilty'? Should someone who had been credibly accused of many instances of sexual misconduct be trusted as if they are a model citizen?
The presumption of innocence is there to ensure someone gets a fair trial in court. It doesn't mean everyone else has to ignore evidence of criminal conduct until a conviction comes down. It also doesn't always mean that someone who was found not guilty by a criminal court, didn't actually do what they were accused of. It just means the court didn't find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Who can say what would have been in place if a particular leader hadn't? They take oxygen. Some would even say we should move away from the model of a few leaders representing many.
This culture voted overwhelmingly for the other option.
Normally, when someone engages in behavior seen as offensive, the procedure is to pressure the person to apologize and mend his ways, and only get rid of him if he refuses to do so.
But when a "scarlet letter" offence is involved, we jump straight to the punishment phase, removing the person outright with no judicial process. This is completely backwards, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom. It brings a chilling effect on everyone, because suddenly people start to realize that they're living under the Sword of Damocles, which could destroy them at any moment without warning. You can never be sure if something you say or do is going to get you publicly pilloried in future, and destroy your career, friendships, and reputation in the blink of an eye. Far better to just sit quiet and never say anything that might offend someone. Far better not to participate at all.
Mob justice always turns ugly in the end. That's why we have courts.
He has a long history of using forums meant for technology discussion to promote borderline (and that's generous) social opinions, and of being openly hostile to people who don't tow his line. In this instance he ridiculously downplayed the most egregious instances of sex trafficking of minors, by a horridly evil individual... who happened to donate almost a million dollars to him!
His previous comments about minors on his personal blog, which I don't even want to dignify with a description (you can do your own search), leads me to wonder what other connections than money he had with Epstein.
For all of us that don't worship Stallman - I consider him a net negative to the FOSS movement - this has been a long time coming. It would have been a deserved resignation in a normal social environment.
Speculation, which would not be allowed in a court of law, is unfortunately a perfectly acceptable character assassination methodology.
And this kind of tar-and-feathering is precisely why we need official processes for this sort of thing. Official reprimands leading to termination if unfixed, like all civilized peoples do. This ensures that it's made crystal clear what's acceptable and what's not, with time to mend one's ways. The alternative is arbitrary terminations, which makes everyone insecure.
Why are so many people obsessed with applying the same standards used in a court to real life?
If someone is a jerk, I don't have to maintain a chain-of-custody for the evidence I use to determine that person is a jerk, and I don't have to have sworn testimony from reliable witnesses to apply the jerk label, and I certainly don't need the opinions of a jury of said jerk's peers.
Here's a job-keeping pro-tip, free of charge, for everyone: Especially if you are a public figure, don't talk about child sex trafficking unless it is to criticize it or else you may be fired.
> Especially if you are a public figure, don't talk about child sex trafficking unless it is to criticize it or else you may be fired.
Great. That's the kind of society I want to live in, one where I can't say anything for fear of a mob lynching me.
I'm sure that's hyperbole because comparing being asked (I assume) to resign after downplaying child sex trafficking is not functionally or morally equivalent to lynching.
As far as watching what you say, that is the world:
1. As it has always existed.
2. It exists today.
3. Will always exist until the end of time itself.
And that will never, ever, change.
Don't conflate raging anonymously online with being able to say whatever you want in public.
To take one of the more innocuous examples from the past consider the Red Scares. It was fundamentally driven by people believing that they have the moral high ground against a certain view. Communism is bad and therefore it was okay to do bad things to people who held positive views of such. And it was simply 'common sense' that supporting communism in any way, shape, or form was an absolutely abhorrent thing to do. And I use that as an example only to avoid any rousing of emotion but the exact same logic drove the KKK, Nazis, and nearly every group, sinner and saint alike, throughout time. Moral authoritarianism is again, a very dangerous thing.
And I certainly do not agree with you on this was or will be the way of society. Words and actions are distinct. I think an ideal society would have no tolerance for intolerant actions but an unlimited tolerance of words. Indeed this is even what the actual quote, often egregiously bastardized and misused by the most intolerant of today's society, on the 'paradox of tolerance' fundamentally suggests. Even looking back now at the Red Scare we can generally see how quaint our intolerance was. There's no need to name and shame communists - the view itself is simply not supported by enough of society to matter. And if it does become supported by enough of society? Then we try it, almost certainly fail, and continue on our disjointed path "forwards" as always.
I think you've hit the nail on the head here.
As Scott points out in https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/04/02/social-censorship-the-... censorship is mostly used against groups we think are dangerous (mostly because they actually have a fairly large amount of support). Someone advocating that going to church should be mandatory and divorce and blasphemy should be illegal will get eye rolls, not anger.
I guess some things never change, including that people think such behavior is a perfectly good way to conduct a society.
Many people seem to be complaining about this.
As far as I can tell, very few people are filming and posting publicly a video saying:
"My real name is $myActualName, I work at $employer, and I think it is acceptable for Richard Stallman to have said “I think it is morally absurd to define “rape” in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.”and he should face no consequences."
"My real name is $myActualName, I work at $employer, and I think it is acceptable for Richard Stallman to have said “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.” and he should face no consequences."
Instead they wave their hands and mutter about "free speech".
The question is--should being a jerk be a fireable offense?
On its face... yes???
Because IRL there's no attorney of defense.
You can just throw accusation in the air and somebody else get hurt.
Prosecution: "We think he knew this person was subject to coercion and we say this because X, Y, Z".
Defence: "We think he did not know this person was subject to coercion and we say this because we interpret X, Y, and Z differently."
These involve speculation about the mental state of the accused.
Is there any evidence of this? There is a big difference between the place he works at taking money and him taking money.
I don't think its right to hold an employee responsible for their employers actions.
How often does he bring it up and how often is it in response to someone else saying something that is technically wrong?
RMS chose to step down himself. That was his decision. Even if you think MIT told him to, that would ultimately be MIT's decision, not the work of some "mob".
Furthermore, stepping down from MIT is not destruction you're playing it up as being. People have done similar (and of course, worse!) things and, after being the subject of some number of embarrassing articles on the web and some larger number of angry tweets, are currently living their lives with new jobs just fine. RMS doesn't need us to feel bad for him. He's still free & healthy.
If you're worried about kangaroo courts and injustice, there's plenty to focus on somewhere where people's lives and livelihoods are actually at stake, like the US-Mexico border or Hong Kong.
The mob pressured MIT and the FSF to remove him from his positions. It's ultimately their decision, sure, in the same way that it's ultimately up to a local business owner whether they purchase a "protection plan" from the nice salesmen with the baseball bats.
>RMS doesn't need us to feel bad for him. He's still free & healthy. If you're worried about kangaroo courts and injustice, there's plenty to focus on somewhere where people's lives and livelihoods are actually at stake...
You could just easily say "Hong Kong doesn't have it that bad, they have food and shelter. Focus on conditions that are actually bad, like starving child soldiers in Africa."
This just seems like deflection. Conditions being worse elsewhere doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss the issues that are more local to us.
If you think the brass at MIT are in any physical danger from a bunch of angry tweeters, I don't know what to tell you.
No, that's a deflection. Someone choosing to step down from their job is not an issue that can, as the parent post puts it, "destroy them at any moment without warning". Being a starving child soldier in Africa is, being locked in a cage in a foreign land is.
> When a person tells someone else "I'm sorry that you feel that way", they are not acknowledging the potential role they might have played in making them feel this way. Instead, it is more like they are absolving themselves of responsibility, and are showing apparent sympathy that the person who is complaining might be upset for some abstract, and potentially irrational reason. It not only fails to acknowledge the potential role played by the speaker (or who they might represent), but this phrase is actually used to position the speaker as an innocent actor who has had little or no influence over the current situation.
> feel a real hurt because of what they believe I said. I'm sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the misunderstanding.
The statement that RMS did not attempt to make an apology even one that is a false apology is 100% made up, he did in fact make a false apology.
My point is that like many people on here the person making the argument believes RMS did wrong and they are now inventing reasons to justify their belief, its not an honest argument.
You are ignoring or not reading the argument I was responding to which establishes the honesty of an apology as irrelevant. This is another example of a dishonest argument because it is moving the goal posts of the argument again to justify your prior beliefs.
No he didn't. Making a false apology requires some form of deception or misdirection whereby it isn't obvious that you are denying any responsibility.
For example "I'm sorry you feel that way - but I'm not at fault!" Is not a false apology, since it is very clear that you are denying responsibility, despite that fact that it contains the triggering substring "I'm sorry you feel that way".
Stallman had no control over being misquoted.
He also didn't say "I'm sorry that you feel that way" - He specifically mentions he was misquoted, leaving no doubt that he is not apologizing for the cause of the offense - People were offended by the misquotes, not the original statements.
Stallman decided it was a great idea to, in the wrong place at the wrong time and in response to a protest regarding someone he knew (Minsky, not Epstein), construct a hypothetical that exonerated Minsky and then judge that protest, again publicly, through that hypothetical. That's not a "believe he said" thing. That's what he did. He got tossed out on his ear for that and that's a thing he did.
Now, RMS then did construct a hypothetical based on his knowledge of Minsky's character. Note that nowhere in his hypothetical did he either defend Epstein or assert that the victim was in fact willing - both of which were things that he was accused of doing. He then insisted that people be more precise in their speech, which is exactly what you should do if you want actual justice.
Had he just apologized when the academy first brought up the issue, he could have gone right on with hosting. As it was, he pulled out of the deal because he didn't want to be a distraction.
It seems like you're gravely overestimating how much power angry people on Twitter have.
As it stands now outcomes vary wildly. Some people like Kevin Spacey were literally erased from movies that were already filmed; some others have just claimed back their place (maybe not their peak fame) on their own like Louis CK. And then there are neutral outcomes like the one you mention.
And then there's Jussie Smollett who isn't a sex situation but was caught in, uh, something that's not a good look.
He was caught framing innocent white men for hate crimes. He was going to send people to prison to boost his 'clout'. It's not just 'something'. It was a vile crime
> "got cancelled"
> Jumanji sequel
A part on the sequel to a reboot of a mediocre 90s movie? WOOO living the dream!
—Adding this to expound on what DanBC writes.
 Goes on to explain that this varies by jurisdiction and many have passed laws protecting apologizers.
I don't know how other jurisdictions handle this.
> Apologies, offers of treatment or other redress
> An apology, an offer of treatment or other redress, shall not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or breach of statutory duty.
This is especially true if you're a healthcare professional or work in a healthcare organisation. Your professional registration tells you to apologise; your organisations registration body tells them and you to apologise; your medical defence body tells you to apologise; a bunch of arms-length bodies are clear that you need to apologise if you do something wrong.
mc32 wasn't saying an apology will increase damages, just that it is often seen as an admission of guilt. In some places (e.g. Canada) an apology is not a sign of guilt. But you seem to be saying something different?
He has nothing to apologise for in this respect, but he does say:
> I'm sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the misunderstanding.
This could be seen as an apology, "I'm sorry" often is; but in context you can see it is not. It is literally "I'm sorry I could not prevent this hurt" without any sense that He is responsible.
Ironically, this sentiment only brought on more criticism: The claim that this was a "false apology", i.e. something masquerading as an apology despite not being one - but that was Stallmans intention, it is thwarted by all the other sentences in the same paragraph that make it clear he is being misquoted.
So he's being punished for thinking out loud and not apoligising for thinking out loud?
While redemption is one of the themes in the book sadly the internet has not quite developed that level of sophistication so we are stuck with denouncement/punishment.
The point of the Scarlet Letter is that its victims are forever oppressed by the masses, and those near to the victim are made guilty by association.
It doesn't matter what the crime is; forever punishments are unjust, and prone to abuse.
He is merely encountering actual consequences for saying absurd, indefensible things -- and, likely, also finally encountering consequences for being a well-known source of creepy behavior towards women for a very long time. People lose jobs all the time for less.
Yeah, he's done some good things. And maybe (MAYBE) he's actually not neurotypical. But that doesn't mean he gets a pass on being a creep forever.
This isn't a one off and he's one of the least likely people to mend his ways.
This is one of the reasons it took so long for homosexuality to become accepted.
Free speech is a right, but it's not a shield. He can continue to express his opinions, and the public will continue to have the right to object to them. If public opinion on a person is negative, companies will not want to associate with that person. That's the way society has been and will continue to be. This isn't inherently good, as seen with things like race/sexuality--but conflating the long struggle of the LGBT community with one man's archaic thoughts on pedophilia is frankly disgusting.
Censorship can be done by governments, institutions, individuals or society as a whole.
I'm not really conflating the LGBT history with RMS views, merely noting that attempting to surpress non-majority views can be bad by using them as an example.
How many years and incidents is enough to move to removal?
But what we've seen instead is cowardly throwing someone to the baying crowd.
> The guy has a long history endorsing pedophillia.
This is a big accusation, do you have source to back this up?
I agree with the principle of people being able to change their minds and we should accommodate that, but I also have a hard time giving a huge credit when a 66 year old man says that contrary to everything he's written on the subject, he has recently learned that having sex with children is wrong.
If changing doesn't have any benefits, would anyone change?
I'm not saying there should be no lasting repurcussions for such behavior, but when someone admits they are wrong, it should matter.
If admitting they were wrong doesn't matter, then it doesn't make any sense for them to do it.
I don’t know the guy but that’s a big accusation.
For the other statements, I dont think he's "endorsing" it, he's raising questions. I'm not AT ALL on the same boat as him wrt this topic, but I dont mind a discussion on this topic. I consider that the basis of democracy.
Also, from this recent interview on the register it shows he changed his mind on this topic: "Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it. Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why."
I respect that people openly change their views.
But when a 66 year old man says that he has now learned that sex with children is wrong, do you just wipe the past clean and forget that anything ever happened? Would it be wrong for those past views to have any effect, now that he's changed his mind?
And yes, I think we should not dig up old statements once he has announced he has changed his views: that's why I commented.
I understand those past views will linger on, I just dont think they are protayed fairly, nor that it is adequately considered that he has changed.
He probably means hebephilia (11-14) or ephebophilia (14-19). In some countries (Italy, Germany) or cultures the age of consent is as low as 14. Some are perhaps lower. The strict liability concerning statutory rape may also be different, which is likely what he wanted to bring into question.
There are currently people serving sentences for sexual crimes they "committed" after being lied to by their partner.
Among the many things one can say about RMS, this is not one of them.
This is just slander.
he's saying that it should be legal at the very least.
For example, i think that drinking alcohol and smoking pot should be legal, but also think it is stupid thing to do and definitely would not endorse that.
Having the wrong opinion about certain topics is getting more expensive. Stay away from taboos or else... never mind the fact that what we regard as wrong changes across different societies over time.
Weirdly all the information technology is steering towards being more similar in our opinions and in what we can say without facing consequences.
Recently I started to thing about how in spite of having the ability to share, and change, and store information better and with more ease than ever, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.
Instead of having more transparent institutions, everything is getting more "opaque" (so to speak) towards the public (even it this is happening due to overload).
does anyone remember "information wants to be free"? I don't think anybody says that anymore, but I remember reading that a bunch on slashdot in the early 00s
I don't really see how this is so hard. Don't treat women poorly, in person or online. Don't talk authoritatively about subjects you don't understand, especially when those subjects (like rape and human trafficking) cause people intense pain.
If you really do want to act this way, then you probably should exercise some self-censorship, and rethink your views, perhaps.
> ...in what we can say without facing consequences.
What you say should have consequences. No one should censor you (what you say should be up to you), but you don't live in a vacuum. What you say has a real effect on others, and if that effect is bad, you should be held accountable.
Morality is constantly changing and what is considered treating someone poorly changes too. More recently it appears to be changing faster than ever. That can make it hard to remain with the bounds of what is in the current instance of time considered socially acceptable by the majority. There is no absolute morality even though it may seem like it if you are thinking with the span of an hour or a day. Stretch it out and it's a constant shifting. In any case, I don't think anyone should be silenced. If they say something that the majority feels is foolish, they can be considered a fool, or a debate can be had to convince them of why they may be wrong, but to silence externally, or increasingly, self silencing with self censorship, in my opinion is dangerous as that means ideas cannot be discussed openly.
Then it's time to just shut down HN in general, eh?
Speech is just a tool to share a thought, if a thought effects some one it is for them to bare alone.
The idea that sharing thoughts should have consequences upsets me greatly, maybe it shouldn't but it does. Your speech has filled me with bad feelings and troubling thoughts is that burden mine to bare alone or should I hold you responsible?
The sword you are flailing is sharp at both ends.
Thus you probably want to avoid growing in the only global circle we have. With smaller circles, getting cut off (as always has happened) is less of big deal.
In a similar vein, I'm fine with scientists exploring "IQ of the races" in their work. But going on a podcast and sharing that with a more general audience while not understanding its role in broader society while washing concerns away with "this just facts" is fine to have consequences.
Do you think having norms that advocate hiding knowledge that someone could argue is dangerous from the public will do more good than harm and won't backfire in the form of public distrust of experts?
I think as well that we as a society should learn to be more empathic, more tolerant, to learn how to forgive, and to avoid mob judgements.
Both, are my opinions. I don't know if there are any studies or references to this.
I would advise not speaking authoritatively even if you are an authority. People are less likely to offer suggestions and ideas you didn't consider if you act like you know what you're talking about. I learn all kinds of things by not sounding as certain as I usually am.
...they said, authoritatively. I'm a work in progress.
No one is allowed to have an opinion unless they're an "expert"
Maybe we should start an experts registry, so there is no confusion about who can speak.
I think the trend's moving more quickly towards self-censorship than anyone realizes. How can we even quantify that? Those who censor just disappear?
What stands out for me is the obvious monoculture we're developing.
I miss custom PHPBB boards for every little interest and opinion.
The phpbb forums tend to be a lot more ruthless in self-moderation and probably a fair amount of gatekeeping too. But the content is significantly better than reddit, which I believe is a source of pride for many of the participants. I also get the impression that there is a growing sense of “coolness” using a crappy outdated UX. I predict the return and rise of the niche community sites will happen before its total disappearance.
some did close but the reason is facebook sucked people in its time consuming spiral of irrelevant noise.
I really wish you'd have to write a reason when downvoting.
If you won't have one-on-ones over issues that are personal and sensitive, and force them to be dealt with “in an open office with plenty of witnesses”, then, yeah, there will probably be things you can be accused of on that basis alone.
What sort of problems? I don't hear about many cases of women accusing other women of using their status as manager for sexual harassment.
There is also a history of controversial stuff related to his time at the FSF which meant that probably wouldn't settle for a simple apology either (not that RMS seemed willing to give one).
As organisations change over time, what they need in leadership also changes. In this case, they didn't need an ideologue with a history of generating controversy, they needed someone who can keep the ship going forward so that the projects they are overseeing don't lose enough talent that they become irrelevant.
Calling him an ideologue in contrast to current pioneers in the software industry is a bit much, maybe he just had some hard principles.
> wouldn't settle for a simple apology
To whom? To those that endorsed questionable business relations that drew attention in the first place that still are in leading positions at the MIT?
> need in leadership also changes
Visionaries and thought leaders can probably have a positive influence. I doubt we will get a adequate replacement. There also is no strong leader/mentor that can make you magically smart. He would need to inspire you to learn yourself which I would argue Stallman did pretty well.
"Controversies" are seldom intellectually engaging and if you look at the core of his statements, the subject and reactions become quite ridiculous.
You probably have been in a bubble all this time. I grew up in former Soviet Union without an internet connection with whatever software I was able to buy around the corner. It wasn't Linux and GCC, it was Windows 9x, Delphi, then MSVC, and so on.
I think the first time I've used (any) FOSS application was after 4 or 5 years of using computers. I had the fundamentals more or less covered by then.
This only strengthens your point though.
Side note: Ito, at least, is out at MIT. Others may be as well.
As far as to whom, it would have been to "anyone who was harmed by his statements". This could include those at the FSF who he represented, the students and researchers at MIT, who also were associated with the statements, and to people victimised by Epstein and others like him.
It's not as hard to find someone to apologise too, as it would be for the guy to actually admit he's wrong in the first place.
FSF entire purpose is to push for the adoption of Free Software licensing (in opposition to Both "Open Source" and Commercial licensing)
If you or I said what Stallman said, but to a coworker or to the boss, we would get fired - justifiably. This is not a new concept unique to the digital age, nor is it a concept that should be done away with. The popularity of your comment depresses me deeply.
Suppose there's a boxer, "Joe", and he has a scheduled fight against a named opponent. It's set in a legitimate venue, is freely advertised as if the promoters have nothing to hide, includes a normal ref & audience, and then proceeds like any other boxing match, including the traditional cordialities between opponents before and after. To "Joe", nothing's wrong. But then, years later, it's discovered that the opposing boxer was coerced into fighting, perhaps with threats of violence or blackmail.
Is "Joe" now guilty of physical assault, for repeatedly punching the other boxer, even if to "Joe" at the time it seemed like a normal voluntary encounter, no seedier than any other boxing match?
Maybe RMS's take was dumb. Maybe my analogy is dumb! But it's not "shameful" to try to work out the reasonable characterizations, given Minksy's possible mental state, the law, or common-sense. It might even be possible, under formal legal definitions, for Giuffre to have been "assaulted" while at the same time Minsky's actions don't rise to the level of "assault".
(Of course, there's also reasonable debate as to whether or not Minsky actually had sex with her. One person who was present at the gathering claims Minsky didn't.)
But how do you know Minsky didn't "ask some very hard questions"?
At the time of the alleged sex, 2001-2002, Epstein's cover as an investment billionaire who threw money around to win the attention/affection of young-but-legal women was still secure. He'd been a recent repeat visitor to the Clinton White House, and President Bill Clinton's multiple trips in Epstein's plane were contemporaneous or followed soon after.
The thinking at the time would have been: "If an ex-President (and husband of sitting Senator Hillary Clinton) can hobnob in public with this guy Epstein, he can't be into anything too shady, can he?"
Legitimate question, I haven't been following this closely enough to know. If it was reasonable to assume she was an adult I don't see an issue with it, but I don't have a moral objection to prostitution
> The word "assaulting" presumes he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way.
And then Stallman goes on to point out there is no evidence to suggest that Minksy acted violently toward the victim, and may have been unaware that the victim had been coerced by Epstein.
Given that the definition of "assault" is "a physical attack", I can't really disagree with him from a purely semantic perspective. And I would agree that there are other terms terms such as "statutory rape" and "soliciting prostitution" that may better describe what Minsky is accused of.
Is it "shameful" for me to see some merit in his argument?
And to make matters worse, he tried to quibble about the definitions of "sexual assault" and "statutory rape", which is pretty insulting and hurtful to people who have been victims of those situations.
Now, I don't necessarily see that this should definitively add up to RMS being forced out of MIT and the FSF, but this, combined with decades of awful behavior around women and some pretty messed up attitudes around what he called "voluntary pedophilia", is an understandable camel's-back-breaking straw.
It also confuses me to see people talk about stallman's language tricks as pedantry when he spends a lot of energy redefining terms or trying to pull out alternate meanings -- kind of the opposite of pedantry. Or a pedantry against his private dictionary.
Laws are notoriously complex (it’s why we have lawyers), and if you are going cite “a legal definition” that conflicts with the common definition of a word (e.g. assault), I think that carries a burden of actually citing the applicable law that was violated. But that’s simply not possible with in Minsky’s case as there are just not enough details in the deposition where he is named, and he was never formally charged with any crimes.
In none of them does the law say "let's break the phrase up into two words, sexual and assault, now, assault implies violence, and was this violent?"
That's not pedantry, that's playing word games.
I’m not playing word games here, this is just how I understand the English language to work and sexual assault to be defined.
I understand that in certain legal settings, any sexual interaction with a minor is deemed a sexual assault due to the fact that a minor cannot legally give consent. But as mentioned above, the laws in the US dealing with sex crimes are actually quite complicated, and details of what actually occurred between Minsky and the victim are few and far between, so I don’t know if that term would apply in Minsky’s situation.
Maybe I am wrong or maybe we just have different understandings of the phrase (possible given the vagaries of the language). But I think accusing people of “playing word games” and trying to “move the goal posts” is not constructive. You’re assuming bad intent where it could just be something as simple as a difference in understanding.
I do not believe the same is true of stallman, after having watched him redefine terms for decades, offer his own set of meaning for jargon in common use elsewhere, and so on. I think his frequent stance of "we must examine what this means" is more often than not a distraction, because sometimes he takes a technical meaning, sometimes he substitutes his own, and it never seems like his goal is a shared understanding; just that we should accept his.
I greatly dislike the new emphasis on feelings and image over accuracy and truth that has entered the tech sector in the last decade or so.
^ not particularly directed at your comment, it just inspired the thought
(Check your local statutes!)
I mean, given everything in the news these days, this is blatantly untrue. I suspect it wasn't ever quite that true before either. Maybe it should be but I don't think it's quite that easy.
> The wrong opinion? Stallman questions whether the victim, who he admits was coerced into sex, was actually sexually assaulted. This is an incredibly shameful take on the situation. [...] There are people trying to downplay sexual assault.
I'm hesitating to respond to this (self-censorship and all) but I'm not a public figure so I can risk being wrong, right? Right?!?
This isn't exactly what RMS was getting it and you're kinda missing the point in the same way RMS kinda missed the point. He didn't get why we use the term "sexual assault" as broadly (and reasonably so) as we do, and it doesn't sound like you get why he decided to argue the semantics of it.
His point was that he felt calling what Misnky had done "sexual assault" seemed to imply that Misky hadviolently attacked and raped her in a physically restraining sorta way instead of, to his best knowledge, in a "she was coerced by a third party without his knowledge" sort of way.
He missed the point that regardless of those details she was sexual assaulted. Further, he seems oblivious to the fact that splitting hairs defending his friend distracts from the real issue: that this isn't about any of them, it's about what happened to the victims. I think that take is fair enough but I agree making that case is bone headed. Not because he shouldn't speak his mind, but that it's just besides the point.
I think you're missing the fact that at all RMS was about was just clearing up the record of what Minsky did and didn't do. Not even that he was fully innocent. I agree it was in poor taste but I think if he was any less a public figure it would have been read more charitably with an awkward sigh instead.
I don't know... to me it seems totally understandable (even somewhat admirable) that Stallman would stand up for a deceased friend/colleague and try to set the record straight.
The fact that he thinks people don't have issues with that, but with the fact that he may have forced himself on her, is what makes him a piece of shit.
To be clear, I think Epstein committed some terrible crimes and I am glad he was eventually brought to justice. And based on the limited details available surrounding Minsky’s involvement, it certainly looks bad for him as well. And my heart goes out to the victims for the terrible exploitation they were subjected to... I literally can’t even imagine what that must have been like as I have never experienced anything even remotely comparable in my life.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I think some acts of sexual misconduct are worse than others. That I think details and precision matter when accusing someone of a crime. Or that I think the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Does that make me a “piece of shit” too?
Sure, but no permutation of details could make an actual sexual encounter, which is the hypothetical RMS is talking about (what really happened isn't even relevant when assessing what RMS said), benign or okay. It could be even worse, sure, but not really good.
> whether he knew she was under age
The only way to not know that would be to not care.
Saying that one crime is less severe than another does not imply that the lesser crime is “benign”.
Stallman takes issue with the word “assault” because he doesn’t think it likely that Minsky forcibly assaulted the victim. That doesn’t mean he is saying Minsky is without guilt, or that the whole Epstein ordeal is somehow “benign or ok”.
> The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as "any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.
Saying Minsky might not have realized she was coerced, in context of a 17 year old on a private island having sex with a 73 year old, is just nonsense. If (!) he did anything at all (and so far, there's only a claim that Minsky turned her down, plus no claim he had sex with her, AFAIK), that'd be sexual assault just by merit of the power differential.
If RMS doesn't understand that at age 66, that's tough luck, and splitting hairs about the arbitraryness of the age of consent or territorial jurisdictions, then talking about how it was all misunderstood and mischaracterized, because he was also, additionally falsely accused of defending Epstein, doesn't make it seem like he learned anything, at all.
Last, but not least: Not knowing someone's age because one didn't ask for ID isn't ignorance, it's not wanting to know. Likewise, a highly intelligent man thinking "oh my, this young lady who also happens to vacation here is really into me, what a lucky bastard I am" and any variation thereof doesn't pass the smell test. Even having attempted that argument was insulting to anyone's intelligence, and it's insulting to victims of such things.
I didn’t interpret Stallman’s comment to mean this at all. But rather that Minsky assumed that the victim was engaging in prostitution and willfully engaging in sexual acts in exchange for money.
With regards to not knowing someone’s age, there are a few plausible scenarios that come to mind. The victim could have lied to Minsky. Epstein could have lied to Minsky. She could have presented a fake ID, etc.
I think you making a lot of assumptions here that just aren’t borne out by the evidence available. Assumptions about what Stallman thinks or has implied, and assumptions about the nature of the accusations against Minsky. As far as I am aware we don’t know where or when it allegedly happened, the victim’s age at the time, or the details of how it was initiated. Some of the details you are assuming about the victim being 17 or the encounter having occurred on a private island seem to have been pieced together in a highly speculative verge article or from internet commentators (if you have quality sources of information that report otherwise please share). Stallman may not have had these details in mind or may have had a different set of assumptions when he wrote what he did.
I for one would like to see Stallman elaborate on some of his positions to better answer these questions. Not silenced.
It does though, just by leaving room for Minsky just thinking she might be "willing", "not coerced".
> As far as I am aware we don’t know where or when it allegedly happened
On that private island during an AI conference held by Epstein when Minsky was 73 and the girl 17.
Though AFAIK there isn't a claim Minsky did anything, just that the girl was "directed to have sex" with VIP, including Minsky. One person stated Minsky turned her down, and she AFAIK didn't claim Minsky even touched her.
But that "something happened" is the hypothetical scenario within which Stallman argued on that mailing list. It's not my "assumption" at all.
> Some of the details you are assuming about the victim being 17 or the encounter having occurred on a private island seem to have been pieced together in a highly speculative verge article or from internet commentators (if you have quality sources of information that report otherwise please share)
Why not just ask right away, instead of after me telling me about my assumptions and sources. The first thing I heard about this was a link to the mailing list, the rest from searches. I never even read the Verge article, no need. I know some articles falsely claim RMS defended Epstein, but that's also not from reading them.
> In 2016, Virginia Giuffre named Minsky as one of the people she was "directed to have sex" with on Jeffrey Epstein's private island while she was 17 years old [5 sources]. It is alleged to have happened in 2002, during an AI conference hosted by Epstein at his compound in the US Virgin Islands. [1 source]
See the sources in the footnotes of that article. If you disagree, don't just do it here, correct the WP article. I for one made sure I know what I'm talking about before I even started to do so. And Stallman isn't being silenced, either, he simply doesn't have a leg to stand on here.
When asked when it happened, she answers “I don’t know”. This is why I question whether she was really 17 at the time.
There is a flight record that shows Minsky and the victim were together on the same flight, when the victim was 17 years old. But there is nothing that links that flight as occurring at the same time that the victim was directed to have sex with Minksy. Given that the victim was employed by Epstein for years, and reports that she basically traveled everywhere with him at the time, it's entirely plausible that they were two separate events. The reporting that links that flight with the victim's deposition is entirely speculative.
This is my understanding of the available evidence. But it is entirely possible I am missing something. If you think so, please share.
On a partially related note, the abuse of language that has lead to the current definitions of "rape" and "sexual assault" is distressing. :(
Stallman was not saying that Minsky should not be absolved of responsibility. He was just saying that the term "sexual assault" is inaccurate in that it implies violence.
> I think Minsky was smart enough to know what was happening.
That's a fairly large assumption. Minsky's name shows up twice in hundreds of pages of deposition. Once is in a statement by the victim when she is asked to name names:
> They instructed me to go to George Mitchell, Jean Luc Brunel, Bill Richardson, another prince that I don't know his name. A guy that owns a hotel, a really large hotel chain, I can't remember which hotel it was. Marvin Minsky.
And the only other reference (that I am aware of) is in reference to being on a private flight with a bunch of other people.
How are you able to infer so much from so litte information?
Which is also incorrect. Sexual assault encompasses coercion without physical violence.
It is accurate to say that the girl was sexually assaulted; whether or not Minsky sexually assaulted her is up for debate.
I agree with the parent that it seems sketchy that Minsky (and the others present) didn't have at least some idea what was going on. At best, these girls could be prostitutes, but just assuming everything about the situation was completely legit is in my mind morally questionable.
Then there wass also a person present at the gathering who says Minsky turned the girl down. If she says that she had sex with him, I would tend to believe her, though.
I was actually reading Stallman's site last night, after seeing the article about him leaving CSAIL. I noticed he had a "glossary" section where he basically rejected the use of many common words and phrases, because their literal meaning did not match the colloquial or modern use (for example, he rejected the word homophobia, being pedantic about the phobia part). I'd bet this whole thing about "sexual assault" is along the same line.
In that case think its important for thinking clearly to develop your own definitions that group things together into categories where all members share important traits.
When he uses the tools of pedantry, he does so to try and change the goalposts of the conversation, not to provide greater clarity.
“whether or not Minsky sexually assaulted her” is precisely the thing that Stallman was debating, and got into trouble for.
Having a a factually or morally incorrect viewpoint on a public happening isn't an assault on a victim. Its an opportunity to help that person learn better and even more importantly to help the many more who believe the same as the speaker but who wont speak up learn as well.
Silence dissent and you lose that opportunity and everyone is poorer for it.
Sadly this is not true; it's been routine for all kinds of authority figures to blame the victim and excuse the perpetrator in cases of sexual assault and rape. Including police and judges.
The only way we've moved forward is the public making very clear that that is not acceptable, but this actually has a low hit rate. For every Stallman there is a Kavanagh, and a hundred rape apologists to back then up.
"I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. [...] Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
A child who had been captured by Epstein and coerced into sex with a bunch of people said that Minsky was one of those people.
RMS said let's assume it did happen, and then started defending Minsky by quibbling about the definition of assault.
RMS said that minsky having sex with a coerced child shouldn't be called assault because assault requires force or violence.
He's wrong. Assault has an every day English definition and it doesn't require violence or force. Assault has legal definitions and they don't require force.
His position on the word "assault" makes no sense.
This follows on from earlier comments where he said that children can be willing participants in incestual abuse, or that he thinks it's unlikely that children who are abused are harmed by that abuse. He retracted some of those after people told him that yes, in fact, children who are abused are often harmed by that abuse.
Not sure where you live but in my subculture it does. It's quite possible it also does in RMS's social environment.
Do you have a source on his retraction? I would have thought Rind et al (and a bit of first principles thinking) would have been his main source.
This is an excellent point. More and more, there is no middle ground in consequences. Nothing like a suspension? or leave of absence etc. I don't recall how things used to be but I really lament the lack of some sort of gradient scale for punishment.
Then you should be way more careful, sir. Lost metaphors are seldom returned, in these uncivilized times.
The general over-reaction and constant jousting at windmills seems like a net loss to me.
I am forced to exercise self-censorship.
I've found that a net good thing at least for myself. I used to be the dude who would blurt out whatever popped into my head and not care too much how it would be received by my audience, and sometimes even relish the fact that it was badly received.
By self-censoring and thinking through what I'm about to say and thinking about my audience before I open my mouth I find not only are social interactions easier and more pleasant, but I actually get my points across more consistently and clearly. People are then also more open to listening and don't always automatically get defensive. So ironically applying self-censorship has made it easier to make the points I actually want to make.
It's not the 99 times when your parachute opens that you stress about. It's the other 1%.
(Mis)interpretation reduces to choice, as does the principle of charity. With a large enough audience fallout is a statistical certainty.
Arguably the (male) head of the Free Software movement has no place debating the definition of "sexual assault" or "statutory rape" in a conversation about a human trafficker and child abuser. His opinions there have zero value (not to mention that a debate over such definitions is missing the point entirely), and engaging in that conversation -- even to come to the defense of his tangentially-related dead friend -- was a very poor choice, even for someone known to be contentious and often misunderstood.
And they could self-organize into self-selected groups. Then each type could best thrive in their own self-constructed communities.
And they could practice other-tolerance for the other sort of folks. Because tolerance.
Not only getting one's point across better, but actually getting a better point across.
On the whole, definitely a net positive.
You call your solution self-censorship, but I just kinda think it's general common sense: why do you feel the need to broadcast your views to a large, unknown audience on controversial subjects where misunderstandings cause a lot of trouble for you? There are plenty of other real-world places to discuss things that don't carry that risk, and likely some more-private places on the internet where you can join an actual community of people who will get to know you over time and understand what you say in context.
Put another way: most people wouldn't randomly walk up to a group of 10 strangers on the street and immediately bring up a controversial topic. Why do we think that's a good move on the internet?
I think we're starting to see the social limits of instant around-the-world communication. It just doesn't work as well as we want it to. The internet is still ridiculously new to the world, and our understanding of its social nuances is still in its infancy.
I do that a lot.
You could trivially interpret that as "exercising judgment", but it's not that. I am exercising caution and self-preservation.
It's akin to the onset of apathy.
However, that would categorize Stallman's gaffe here as bad judgment and not self-censorship. Seeing as what he said was definitely not appropriate to say in those circumstances.
Many angry down-voters bashing that [-] button only making my point.
- How someone is treated depends heavily on whether they're perceived as being part of the right clique. For example, a few years ago Nintendo sacked someone who thought it was a great tragedy that owning photos and videos of kids being raped was illegal and bloviated about this on social media. (Probably not for that reason as it turns out, although her job did involve interacting with kids.) She was in the clique and the people who drew attention to this weren't, so all the right-thinking folks and publications rewrote her views into something much less objectionable, then insisted that repeating what she actually said was a bigoted lie and the whole thing was a misogynistic attack against her. I'm pretty sure there's a heavy overlap between those people and the ones going after Stallman by rewriting what he said in the opposite direction now.
- The views you have to hold in order not to be a bigot aren't consistent from year to year. For instance, there's a faction of self-proclaimed feminists who're really hateful to trans people and have successfully lobbied for some rather bigoted laws. A few years ago any trans woman who merely pointed out the harm they'd done was labelled as a terrible misogynist. Sometime around 2016 this flipped and all the same people who'd been demanding everyone shut up decided those views were now so evil that they justified beating up elderly women merely for holding them, and that the people who were uncomfortable with this violence were the bigots. There was zero overlap between the views that were acceptable before and after the flip, and no room for a more moderate position. That faction has become increasingly irrelevant over the years, so fighting them is actually less important than it used to be.
I hate how diluted the word "rape" has become. I can't tell if you mean some perfectly willing petting between a 17 year and and a 20 year old.
Are there perhaps some views that you think are not quite hateful or bigoted, but aren't totally fine to state? Maybe, "err on the side of caution" type views?
I wonder what Zeno would think on moving your views from completely hateful to completely fine: first you must go halfway-hateful, then half of that, and so on. Perhaps one will never find a completely fine view to state!
The fun is always in defining what exactly should be in the category "hateful"/"undermining stability of our country".
As a side note, I've advocated for chattel slavery in the past, it actually didn't go too badly.
Moral outrage as a language game, especially where certain hot button issues are concerned, like anything involving sexuality, bears a striking resemblance with the language game that unfolds umong children when it is alleged that someone has the cooties.
When such an allegation is made there are three possible plays. Agree, disagree, or stay quiet. In my opinion, the best play is to vocally agree with the allegation when it is made by at least one popular kid or when a critical mass of kids agreeing with the allegation has already been reached. When a critical mass has not yet been reached and the allegation is backed by only a small number of kids and kids who are unpopular or of undetermined popularity status, the best play is to stay quiet while waiting to see if a popular kid joins the allegation or if a critical mass is reached, at which point you should start to also voice your agreement. Something you never ever want to do is to speak up to disagree.
This is because the claim "you've got the cooties", despite being by definition false, draws credibility from how many people agree with it. If someone finds themselves on the receiving end of the allegation, the only possible response is to go "no you've got the cooties" and try to build consensus around that.
So, Kid A goes "Kid B's got the cooties", Kid C goes "No he doesn't". That would be a very stupid play if Kid C is an unpopular Kid, because it would be likely to make Kid A pivot into expressing the view "Kid C's got the cooties", putting Kid C into a strategically worse position than he started out in.
Now, choosing between the vocally-agree versus stay-quiet plays: Vocally-agree is usually a better play. Because Kid B could respond by turning around and saying "no, Kid C's got the cooties!" That is unlikely, but the probability is greater than zero.
If, on the other hand, Kid C goes "Haha! It's true! Kid B's got the cooties" that makes Kids A and C allies, so it advances Kid C's position by getting it into the safety of the herd, so to speak. Because now, if Kid B goes "no, Kid C's got the cooties" you will find that Kid A will voice disagreement. So between Kid B having the cooties and Kid C having the cooties, the greater consensus is around Kid B having the cooties.
It quickly becomes apparent that the game unfolds around popularity and conformism as a self-fulfilling prophecy and that, at the end of the day, popular kid always wins, unpopular kid always loses.
So, about Stallman. Popular kids win. Yet again. Who would have thought that. Stallman's got the cooties.
From what I’ve read about the Cultural Revolution and Jaquereies, what’s going on looks pretty much the same mob pattern.
Stallman is a legend, which means he has a great distance to fall. His point was lost in the fray. I wish he could’ve just kept it to a private conversation with a friend.
Obviously no child can consent to being pimped, for money or otherwise.
It was actually a private conversation.
I get being mad he wasn't helping but thats a looooong way from supporting the human trafficking.
If you control money that goes to Fred who employs Bob and tell Fred fire Bob or I fire you then while your actions may be verbal they aren't merely communicative. Clearly you are acting to censor Bob. You may well simultaneously be within your rights to do so and also wrong to do it. If I tell you so I'm not controlling you I'm just trying to persuade you.
Many fewer of my current associates hear any real thoughts of mine compared to 20 years ago. I used to get into all kinds of arguments like Stallman’s, on public email lists, which thankfully haven’t surfaced online (yet).
Patently that is false.
Given the sheer amount of ad revenue that youtube, twitter et al get from hosting stuff that if printed or broadcast, would be liable to fines. (at least in the UK)
Self censorship is what defines empathy. When your child has done something hilariously stupid and hurt themselves, you comfort them, you don't stand back and tell them how incredibly stupid they are.
99.999% of people would never Mock a grieving spouse in person, why should you be enabled to broadcast that to millions of people on the internet?
It's not. Take it from me, a guy who predates social media by decades.
If you go back and look at what Gary Hart dropped out of the 1988 presidential race for, and compare it to what Donald Trump said on social media before, during, and after being elected President, there's just no comparison.
Racial, misogynistic, derogatory, offensive sentiments you can easily find being published on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or most other social media platforms would not have passed muster in any mass-media channel or public conversation 30 or even 20 years ago.
On the positive side, social media has been a tremendous boon to marginalized communities like gay/lesbian/bisexual, transgender, heck, even furries. It has allowed like minds to find and support each other, and allowed the rest of us normies to see these communities for the constructive, positive forces so many of them are. I am convinced that social media aided in their growing public acceptance.
In fact, I'd say that social media has opened up the discourse so much that even the resignation of a powerful figure over controversial remarks about pedophilia--an outcome which would have been expected and commonplace for at least the past 70 years of U.S. society--are taken as somehow problematic.
In other words, things are so de-censored now that even the most anodyne and obvious objections to gross statements by powerful figures is taken as censorship. The Overton Window has moved way over to one side, but people still complain when they hit the edge of it.
This extremely perverse situation tells us a good bit about a lot of our fellow citizens but nothing about what the rest of us can get away with nor the constraints placed upon us.
If I said something that was misconstrued sufficiently enough for thousands of people to hear about it and hate me even wrongly I wouldn't be giving up my position at MIT I would probably end up homeless until lack of Asthma medication caused me to suffocate.
Part of that not having billions of dollars to fall back on thing.
If you or I said something stupid, it'd either not be noticed much at all, or get 15 minutes of fame and then fade into obscurity. In reality, our lives wouldn't change all that much. Yes, there's an outside chance that we could do something so dumb that we'd lose our jobs, but that's vanishingly unlikely, and still, I'd expect the effect to be temporary.
>By Joel Stein
>I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.
>How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.
>The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)
>The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.
>As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.
The community has brought attention to this account multiple times with no actual action on your part.
I guess you might be too busy tone policing, as per usual: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20993139
As the site guidelines explain, the way to react to a bad comment on HN is not to feed it by replying, but rather to flag it and (in egregious cases) to email us at email@example.com. Posting more comments complaining about lack of moderation doesn't help, for the same reason: we might not see it. In fact we probably won't, if we didn't see the original post in the first place. Making your complaint as sarcastic and cruel as you can doesn't add to its visibility.
Would you please review the site guidelines and follow them? They're written the way they are because, to avoid HN deteriorating further, users need to help preserve the site. Letting moderators know about egregious comments (in ways that work—flagging or emailing) is one way the guidelines ask you to do that. Not being snarky or calling names is another.
You and your alt account do not make up "the community". Since I make comments related to the articles and discussions then I am way more a part of the HN community than you are. Anyway, I invite you and your alt account to respond to the content of what I write in order to have a constructive conversation.
However, it seems that the political division is greater than ever. It is almost as if there are two Overton windows now, one for liberals and one for republicans (roughly).
The republican one shifted to much less self-censorship, while the liberal one shifted very slightly to more self-censorship.
And RMS seems to be caught in the liberal one. He has held his opinions for a long time, and nobody really cared that much.
He is also not a particularly powerful figure. If anything, FSF is weaker than it has been in the 90s. That's also an interesting change in dynamics, the shifting of both windows now affects powerful and powerless alike, where in the past, it was I believe considered less decent to have "wrong opinions" if you were powerful, and the wrong opinions of the powerless were tolerated much more. (Basically, the difference between elites and proletes, and agreement who is what, is now morphing into a difference between liberals and republicans.)
People can say that these platforms are privately-owned and freedom of speech is only about government censorship, but where do you speak when these platform are well established and chances of dethroning them with a decentralized and open alternative are slim to none?
Social media is not social, it's corporate.
You’re free to say what you want and I’m free to not want to associate with your or not want to do business with you and encourage others to do the same.
I don’t see how you have one without the other.
This Stallman case is edge-case fallout from a massive political movement. He could have probably discussed the age of consent in public pre-2013 and maybe get a few disgusted reactions but generally be fine. The political control of internet arguments is more obvious than ever, and the quest for advertising money.. but I'm fairly sure I can start and run a website/subreddit/blog for whatever niche idea and be left alone.
He did. People don't remember, but his home page used to have articles regarding age of consent, which he later took down.
So? Don't make these clicks and you'd never see them.
> The political control of internet arguments is more obvious than ever, and the quest for advertising money
Advertising money has nothing to do with it - FSF doesn't need advertising money. They're just live in deathly fear of the woke Red Guards, as many before them (e.g. Mozilla) - and that fear may be very well justified.
> but I'm fairly sure I can start and run a website/subreddit/blog for whatever niche idea and be left alone.
Sure you can. If you can do without: hosting, DDoS protection, DNS, advertising, search engines, social media, payment processing, etc. All those have recently been engaged in deplatforming people for political considerations. But yes, you are free to lay your own cable infrastructure, set up your own data centers, build out your own internet, and there have you own website about whatever you want, completely free.
Advertising money has something to do with YouTube deplatforming people which is part of evaluating the idea that we are becoming a monoculture.
I think only the daily stormer is an example if you go anywhere you will be pulled down, including for. Controlling that stuff is the government's job, I would expect radical political sects to lose the fight to host a website. But if your idea is non political you're basically in the clear.
> P]rostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia ... should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.
Here, June 28th 2003: http://stallman.org/archives/2003-may-aug.html
Or do you believe someone planted it on his website and it went unnoticed for 16 years? How about this:
> Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it.
> Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why.
Posted 3 days ago: https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...
Does that confirm that he indeed said it?
What Stallman has said on his personal website, and what his personal views are at large, is definitely outside the realm of what I'm prepared to dive into.
Well, no? Surely the coercion bit is the important bit? It's a bit odd that he had to "learn" that sex could bring psychological harm to children, but he's basically saying that adults should not have sex with children.
Absolutely not. The entire point why paedophilia is considered an awful act is because a child is not mature enough to give consent for such action.
Since children (and I repeat, CHILDREN) are unable to give a proper consent, any sort of a sexual action with them is considered as rape.
> ...but he's basically saying that adults should not have sex with children.
No, he specifically disagrees with the age of consent:
> I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.
In case you're curious, age of consent is mostly 14 to 18 around the world (with some exceptions), and 16 to 18 in the US, depending on the state. He does not provide us with a number, but if you ask me, it's a really weird hill to die on.
So, as of May 2019, in the 34 states that have set a marriage age by statute, the lower minimum marriage age when all exceptions are taken into account, are:
2 states have a minimum age of 14: Alaska and North Carolina.
4 states have a minimum age of 15.
20 states have a minimum age of 16.
8 states have a minimum age of 17.
-- End of quotation --
I'm not an American, so I don't understand why you have not fixed this obvious problem.
So, for example, in a place where the age of consent is at 18, an 18 year old could have sex with a 16 year old without being considered a paedophile, while a 25 year old could not have sex with anyone below 18.
There's nothing about those exceptions that's US-specific. The number I've posted are the official ones if the other person is above 20-something, while the numbers that you've posted are applicable when both parties are similar in age.
That doesn't sound correct to me. As I understand it, an adult (18 and above in the US) cannot legally have sex with someone under the age of consent. So if the age of consent is 18, and an 18 year old has sex with a 16 year old, that is considered statutory rape or child sexual abuse. A quick Wikipedia skim seems to agree with me.
Perhaps you meant to say "if the age of consent is 16"? Even then, that doesn't sound right. In that case, both an 18 year old and 25 year old could legally have sex with a 16 year old.
There do appear to be some exceptions in some parts of the world where, as you say, there are exceptions for people of similar age. So in some places, an 18 year old might not be prosecuted for having sex with a 16 or 17 year old if the age of consent is 18. But these seem to be few and far between.
That's a pretty common mistake to make. There's two different sets of rules that kinda blend together when you try to reduce age of consent to a single digit. Wikipedia indeed agrees with me:
> In most states there is not a single age in which a person may consent, but rather consent varies depending upon the minimum age of the younger party, the minimum age of the older party, or the differences in age. Some states have a single age of consent. Thirty U.S. states have age gap laws which make sexual activity legal if the ages of both participants are close to one another, and these laws are often referred to as "Romeo and Juliet laws". Other states have measures which reduce penalties if the two parties are close in age, and others provide an affirmative defense if the two parties are close in age. Even though state laws regarding the general age of consent and age gap laws differ, it is common for people in the United States to assume that sexual activity with someone under 18 is statutory rape.
Paragraph taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_the_United_...
In any case, we've deviated from the topic far enough. I'd argue that it's a weird thing to advocate for lowering of the age of consent. At best, I'm willing to agree that RMS uses terms like an edgy teen. Minors sext each other, therefore, we should make child pornography legal (seriously, I'm not making this up: https://stallman.org/archives/2012-jul-oct.html#15_September...). Age of consent needs to be lowered, therefore paedophilia should become legal. He talks about the edge cases to argue for the whole thing, completely ignoring that those edge cases are not what most people think about when using those terms.
It is quite possible that in our times and current society the same does not apply but let's keep in mind that our current society is sick and wrong in many ways, rotten to the core to the point it is self-destructive.
"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
What time is this referring to?
If you start expressing opinions about how sex with a sex-trafficked child should be legal, won't your friends and family raise some questions about your character?
Unless we're talking of morally flexible individuals. And at least parents should raise an eyebrow, since we have this natural reaction to protect our children.
> information wants to be free
Whomever said that was probably thinking of facts, of knowledge, s/he was probably not thinking of having opinions about pedophiles.
EDIT: don't get me wrong, I think there's a time and place to argue that consensual sex with teenagers might be ok and I think people should be free to make that argument, the problem in this case is that the sex couldn't have been consensual, in which case age becomes relevant, as that teenager isn't fully developed, therefore the harm done is amplified.
And also these opinions have been delivered by a very public figure, with a history of harassing women.
Words matter so the lesson here is don't be a jerk, as technology won't save you from that.
That is not what Stallman said, wrote or advocates so that's kind of a strawman hypothetical that continues to pedal a false narrative.
> Whomever said that was probably thinking of facts, of knowledge, s/he was probably not thinking of having opinions about pedophiles.
John Stuart Mill is probably rolling over in his grave from this conversation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Liberty#Of_the_liberty_of_t...
Edit: Particularly relevant to the topic of self-censorship: "unmeasured vituperation, enforced on the side of prevailing opinion, deters people from expressing contrary opinion, and from listening to those who express them."
Good thing RMS never did that then.
And your comment is a good representative of the modern debate climate: People will exaggerate whatever their opponent said, and they will assume no good faith in their opponents what so ever. They will not consider an argument something to be learned from, but rather something to be "won".
Getting someone fired over having the "wrong" view is merely a bonus, but a bonus the SJW-crowd loves aiming for none the less.
No wonder we're all getting dumber, when merely trying to have a discussion can get you fired. Of course people will stop debating, and stop gaining insights from that debate.
These kind of comments are clumsy claims to moral authority, useless flame fodder.
What? 17-year-olds are still in high school. They probably just barely got a driver’s license. They can just barely see an R-rated movie without a guardian. They can’t even sign waivers to give themselves permission for field trips in my state. How on Earth is it fair to consider them adults and fit to give consent for sex with older men while employed for sex services?
In Germany a 17yo cannot drive, CAN drink and can have (I'm old and it doesn't apply to me, so this might be only somewhat accurate) sex with other people (but cannot be a prostitute), might marry (needs parents approval I believe). Age of consent is 14 (but .. not for sex with adults as far as I'm aware).
I know that German law has nothing to do with this. But please stop and reflect for a second: The US allows 17yo to steer 2+ tons of steel at high velocities, Germany (as the one example I'm familiar with) lets them have consensual sex or drink beer. The same way you say 'How can they agree to sex' one might ask 'How can they be responsible enough to drive'.
It's cultural, not absolute. I understand the outrage, I am in no way defending Epstein, Stallman or anyone here - but please don't present your moral position/your upbringing as absolute truth. See it as something that you were raised to believe and that A LOT of people disagree with on this globe.
(It's obviously not helping the fact that the girls got paid, it's a completely disgusting, sad and shameful story with no recourse - but don't claim 17yo can't have sex with someone older, ... just because)
In the era of mechanization adult men were replaced in factories by children as young as 6 years old and it was considered a great progress because they could be paid much less and do the same job. Is that fair ?
Before school was made mandatory at 17 you had been an active part of the work force for 10-12 years. was that fair ?
At 17 you can be drafted and sent to war to be killed, fair ?
A couple generation ago at 17 you had been working to bring money to the family for several years.
Problem is that fairness is a human made artificial concept, looking at the human societies almost nothing is fair in them, it's mostly about perpetuating hierarchical structure of power and domination, exploitation and competition. The few examples of success through fairness and cooperation comes from the wild that we collectively work so hard to eradicate.
A 17 year old is not a child, but also not an adult.
-He argued that rape is no the same as having sex with a minor. He is right, that's not the definition of rape.
-A minor is not necessarily a child. You can be a minor and the next day be 18 in a porno movie.
-Never did Stallman said it was ok, He just raised the question whether Minsky knew She was being coerced by Epstein. Clearly not the same.
(it would be funny if you did; it would also be equally funny if you didn't, and are surprised that children didn't express said argument, even though you didn't give them the chance)
Jeffrey Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution. He plead guilty and was convicted. How much more clear does this have to get? He is a pedophile. How could he not be? He straight up solicited children for sex and has had dozens of credible accusations by women stating that he sexually assaulted them while they were underage. In what planet does this kind of behavior count as okay, even if only a single accusation was true? He solicited a child for sex!
No matter what fucked up views of what is/isn’t pedophilia you have, surely you see how employing underage girls and encouraging them to have sex with adult guests is objectively bad and so justifiably illegal? I mean these are children. Them getting paid makes it no better. Would you be ok with your child being employed by an older man to have sex with rich friends of his? I wouldn’t. Am I just too “self-righteous” to see such employment as exploitive and inherently immoral/fucked up?
It doesn’t matter if it was consensual. It is statutory rape, and 16 year olds are not emotionally and mentally as developed as 22 year olds - no matter what you claim. Ask any 22-year-old woman if she is the same person emotionally/intellectually as when she was 16. How many would say yes? Not many.
If saying, “Hey, Epstein built a secret harem of underage girls and solicited them to adult men - regardless of the children’s consent to be solicited - is a bad thing” is considered a “self-righteous political agenda”, then I guess I’m a full-on self-righteous prick.
The fact that I’m arguing that systematic, coerced sex between rich adult men and underage girls is bad and condemnable and that a lot of people in this comment section would disagree with me makes me lose hope for this world. It should be obvious that statutory rape laws protect minors and are a good thing. But here we are. Something truly is rotten in the state of Denmark.
You are also appealing to emotion by using 'children' and 'pedophile' in inaccurate ways. If you are going to strictly interpret 'statutory rape' as being morally reprehensible regardless of the circumstances, then I would ask that you stop using peodphile unless you can show me one of his victims that was pre-pubescent. I didn't define that word, it has a dictionary and wikipedia entry that you are welcome to read.
And regarding your claim about emotional and mental development, I would agree that it IS true what you say. However, there are plenty of people who've made it to older age who lack the maturity of their juniors (Stallman apparently being an example!). Age should NEVER be a surrogate marker of capacity... we define ages of legal consent arbitrarily, agreed? There are plenty of 22 year olds making bad decisions...
And the self-righteous political agenda was referring to this legislation:
Plenty of groups including the EFF think this went too far and the way that people throw around 'sex trafficking' and 'raping children' and 'pedophile' are emotional appeals that do a disservice to the actual victims of these crimes.
Of course all of these things are bad, but was Hugh Hefner a sex trafficker because he kept a well-paid harem of women at his mansion? If age is the only discriminator, then why is the US your moral compass when clearly age of consent differs throughout the world? What about Romeo and Juliet laws? States like Hawaii where age of consent is lower?.
Because the question is not “is it moral”, because the answer is obviously no to any decent person, regardless of age of consent. He used women to gift sex to his friends in an exploitive manner; find me an ethical theorist who supports that. You said yourself in the earlier post that his actions put “his morals/character...in question” and I agree. I also agree that his actions are illegal. As he was convicted and sentenced to a U.S. prison in 2008 and charged this last time and put into a federal jail, I’d say the U.S.’s laws are fairly relevant. No man-made law is identical to a divine law, this is true, but I think the man upstairs would be disgusted by nations allowing child marriages or ages of consent under or at 16. Hell, Satan probably feels uncomfortable, or the Flying Burrito, or just your conscience. But going from the sentiments on this thread, though, I’m sure you could start a group of like-minded people to campaign to lower the age of consent. I can think of a senatorial candidate or two who’d back you all up. The fact remains though, he committed a crime, and I’m sure a majority of Americans (the country in which he was prosecuted) would agree that he is morally reprehensible as well. But hey, it’s hard to decide on ethical question like: “should adults be allowed to sexually use children”. I’ll give you that one.
> was Hugh Hefner a sex trafficker
If he transported underage girls for purposes of sex to a private island, then yes. Oh wait, that’s what Epstein did. The women Hefner kept, as far as I know, were not underage, but if they were and if they were treated as products to be used and sold/gifted for sex, then yes, he would be, as is Epstein.
> You are also appealing to emotion by using ‘pedophile’
Pedophilia has formal and colloquial definitions. While yes, you are correct, many dictionaries do qualify with pre-pubescence, but one of the most popular online dictionaries, dictionary.com, states  ‘sexual desire in an adult for a child’. I would argue that the real, not formal usage of pedophile is not so restrictive on the question of puberty. Since English has no standard bodies and words’ meaning is determined by usage, I would consider my use of ‘pedophilia’ semantically correct. But hey, substitute every instance of ‘pedophilia’ with ‘Ephebophilia’ if you want; most Americans would still be disgusted by it under this name, too. Even wikipedia  says, though, that pedophilia is commonly used to refer to interest in teens past puberty, so I stand by my apparently loaded vocabulary (is teen-sex-connesieur better?)
 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephebophilia see bottom of paragraph 2
You talk about colloquial definitions, but colloquial definitions vary. When you say "pedophile", I indeed think of sexual desire in an adult for a child (usually preferential desire, but I suppose it doesn't have to be such). However, "child" in this context (as well as most others) refers to a pre-pubescent minor. So, when you say "pedophile", it conjures up imagery of some middle-aged adult and some 10-year old (or perhaps younger!). Same goes for terms like "child sex-trafficking" and "child pornography" --- these all conjure up images of pre-pubescent children for me. Given the reactions by various people on HN (and indeed my perception of the views of people in my bubble of the world), I don't seem to be alone in this.
Teen-sex-connesieur is ridiculous; I don't think anyone would actually suggest that. But the words you are using carry connotations for many, that you don't seem to be expecting. If these connotations do not match what you are trying to communicate, you might consider some adjustment to your language. Perhaps "teen" "underage" or "minor" would be more suitable words here (I would lean towards the first or second, personally).
P.S. And yes, while I do see a difference between a 25 year old and a 16 year old in terms of sexual maturity, I also see a dramatic difference between adult interest in a 16 year old and adult interest in an 8 year old. So I don't think "pedophilia" is a good blanket term to describe adult sexual interest in individuals below the age of 18.
Judging by the amount of ahem, activity, between high-schoolers, we are literally surrounded by the immoral. /s
Many 'developed' countries had age of consent set at 12 until recently (for example Spain raised it to 13 in 1999 then to 16 in 2015).
By your comment all societies before the late 19th were just a bunch of rapists and pedophiles, when it's actually a matter of the legal and moral compass and context evolving with time.
I'd argue that we should have a look at what happened in the last 2 centuries in our societies because caring for our children is clearly not the reason here or else we would have done something 40 years ago about the climate, pollution, smoking, fast food, access to water and food, lack of sustainable way of life, teaching them skills we collectively had 100-150 years ago and countless others things that are making sure they will have no future and suffer horribly in the process of experiencing the global collapse.
I mean, yes? Not sure what you’re getting at. I understand that social norms change over time and remain relative, but if a man in a society of any time period married 7-year-olds or barely teens, then they were morally wrong, even if they were clueless as to the wrongness. I’d hoped this was obvious, but apparently many people on HN have no concept of ethics and see absolutely (ironically) everything as relative.
Think about what you are saying - that given the correct historical context, you would have no qualms with child marriage? That’s not just a lack of a moral compass, that’s a psychopathic perspective.
But, fine, let us suppose that morality is objective --- we can even go so far as to say that it is entirely so, and not at all a moving target. That doesn't necessarily mean that your moral compass, or even the compass of society at any given time, is correct --- even if you strongly feel that it should be. Ethics involves the careful and systematic study and consideration of morality. Words like "obvious" don't really have a place in ethics.
So while coerced sex, or prostitution, remains illegal there no matter the age, mere consensual sex with a 16-17 year-old is NOT "statutory rape" in Massachusetts. Not in that "blue" state, nor the 30 other U.S. states with the same age-of-consent, nor in Canada. Sleazy for those much older, sure, but not the "statutory rape" you're claiming.
But the specific allegation against Massachusetts-based Minsky involved a woman who 1st met Epstein at age 16, and may not have met Minsky until she was 17.
I believe the confusion is that you're using "pedophile" to mean "attracted to anyone below the age of consent" while pedophile originally means "attracted to prepubescent children". In that regard, you're most certainly not a pedophile if you're attracted to a 17 year old that has gone through puberty. That's also what RMS was referring to if I recall his email correctly.
Ask any 35 year old the same question. You'll get the same answer. There is no bright line where people are mature.
You never stop maturing, not at 40, not at 75 either.
You just have to pick a number, but don't pretend there is any scientific basis to it.
In a society which on one hand is prudish and on the other oversexualizing everything as a marketing plot including young children, it seems logical and expected to have this kind of issues.
Indeed, which is why we are discussing them. The resolution? Stop sexualizing teenage girls and pretending that they are anything other than children. That is my argument; call it prudish if you want.