[gmx-developers] FW: Gromacs quotes

ms devicerandom at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 16:02:21 CET 2012

On 19/12/12 15:04, Shirts, Michael (mrs5pt) wrote:
> Just because one should be allowed to say something doesn't mean its a wise
> thing to say it.  To take it to the extreme, if the quotes consisted of a
> string of expletives-laden insults, then one could understand how users
> might feel uncomfortable,

There is an env variable to turn quotes off. They aren't forced to see 
them if they don't want to. If they want, they can also change the 
source code to get rid of them -that's the beauty of open source.

> and it would drive users away for no realistic
> purpose (at least, no purpose related to science).

Do we need scientists that are put off of a software tool because of 
something that developers put for fun in a software -a software, let's 
remember, they develop and distribute *for free*, and as such they 
should be allowed to have lighthearted fun with?

Even more deeply, can we call someone like that a scientist? Choosing a 
tool on the basis of some text, instead than on what it actually does?

> Self-censorship CAN be the worst kind of censorship, but filtering out what
> speech has the desired result and what speech is counterproductive is what
> allows people to actually interact with each other in a civil manner. It's a
> matter of whether one chooses not to say something out of fear, or because
> it's a counterproductive thing to say.

One also can ask however if it's counterproductive because of somewhat 
objective reasons or only because of people being prudish/thin-skinned.

> Best,
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Michael Shirts
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Chemical Engineering
> University of Virginia
> michael.shirts at virginia.edu
> (434)-243-1821
>> From: ms <devicerandom at gmail.com>
>> Reply-To: Discussion list for GROMACS development <gmx-developers at gromacs.org>
>> Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:04:19 +0100
>> To: <gmx-developers at gromacs.org>
>> Subject: Re: [gmx-developers] FW: Gromacs quotes
>> FWIW, I think no self censorship is in order, at all, and I'd be
>> seriously disappointed if these suggestions are accepted.
>> Quotes can be disabled by an environment variable, so it's not like
>> they're forced down people's throat. If people *still* get offended at
>> the quotes, they are welcome to use some other software. Self censorship
>> is the worst kind of censorship, and everytime we abide to
>> "sensitivity", we are disintegrating the right for freedom of speech.
>> Everything is potentially offensive for someone. Given this logic, one
>> day will we stop using evolutionary algorithms, for example, to avoid
>> offending creationists? This may seem silly, but I'm sure it could happen.
>> Since we talk of quotes, here's one by John Stuart Mill:
>> "Strange it is that men should admit the validity of the arguments for
>> free speech but object to their being "pushed to an extreme", not seeing
>> that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good
>> for any case."
>> On 14/12/12 21:55, Shirts, Michael (mrs5pt) wrote:
>>> FYI, from my student.  We also have to turn these off in F at H to avoid
>>> complaints.
>>> Might it be time to retire the quotes? Do we feel it has that much of a
>>> purpose?  I wonder if it's causing more trouble than it's worth . . .
>>> Best,
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>> Michael Shirts
>>> Assistant Professor
>>> Department of Chemical Engineering
>>> University of Virginia
>>> michael.shirts at virginia.edu
>>> (434)-243-1821
>>> ------ Forwarded Message
>>>> From: Joe Basconi <jbasconi at gmail.com>
>>>> Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:52:04 -0500
>>>> To: <michael.shirts at virginia.edu>
>>>> Subject: Gromacs quotes
>>>> Prof. Shirts,
>>>> Just wondering, what's the control process for the little gcq quotes
>>>> Gromacs prints when you run a binary?
>>>> Most are amusing but some seem to be in poor taste, especially on a day
>>>> like today getting #239, "killing children... " by some software company.
>>>> Not sure how these are chosen, but would you feel comfortable putting in a
>>>> word to get things like that out of there? I could email if that would be
>>>> better.
>>>> Thanks!
>>>> Joe
>>> ------ End of Forwarded Message
>> --
>> Massimo Sandal, Ph.D.
>> http://devicerandom.org
>> --
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Massimo Sandal, Ph.D.

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