Re: [Last-Call] Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Sun, 02 October 2022 19:38 UTC

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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Date: Sun, 02 Oct 2022 15:38:41 -0400
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To: Tim Bray <>
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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins
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On Sun, Oct 2, 2022 at 2:55 PM Tim Bray <> wrote:

> In many of these communities, there has been vigorous resistance to the
> cleanup efforts, with people making (to me, tired old) arguments about how
> their right to be rude is sacred, and that their input is being suppressed
> because of technical prejudice against their opinions from Those In Power.
> To all of them I say: You all have a right to free speech, but no
> particular right to anyone's attention.

While there have been a few folk who were forced out of leadership
positions in open source on account of their behavior, I don't think any
that left are exactly missed. I am not counting here the folk who realized
they had created a toxic environment and walked it back.

Toxic behavior isn't just a problem in the standards world, it is a wider
problem in the tech industry. Thing is, what is fashionable isn't always
right. Ideas that go against established wisdom are sometimes the ideas we
need. Remember that Tim's paper on the World Wide Web was rejected as
'uninteresting' by the conference who invited him to be the keynote the
next year.

It is unfortunately rather easy to make it in tech by simply following
whatever happens to be fashionable without questioning it and joining in
the chorus of ridicule targeting anyone who points out the problems. The
extreme version of this being the Crypto-Ponzi scheme which has absorbed
roughly $2 trillion in VC investment of which investors can expect to see a
return of $0. Anyone pointing out that 'decentralized finance' is actually
a cartel run by a handful of insiders was shut down with ridicule and 'have
fun being poor'.