[gmx-developers] FW: Gromacs quotes

Justin Lemkul jalemkul at vt.edu
Thu Dec 20 02:02:26 CET 2012

If anything I have posted today has caused tension, conflict, anger/flaming or 
has detracted in any way from a constructive discourse, I apologize.  I hope 
nothing I have said crosses any professional lines, but we did discuss a very 
personal topic for me.  If the post(s) in question led to anyone having a 
"facepalm" moment or wanting to give the "gmx-dev finger," then so be it.

I am not someone who is easily offended, but there is one topic that strikes a 
nerve with me, and it was raised earlier today.  I do not consciously choose to 
misinterpret anything; one cannot necessarily control a powerful emotion when 
triggered.  That said, the quote in question does not reduce me to a blubbering, 
nonfunctional state; I just think it is in poor taste in general and serves no 
productive purpose.  I will note that I was not the first to raise the issue, so 
I suspect that this may be a problem for others.

I will respect whatever decision is made by the developers and will recuse 
myself from any voting on Gerrit should anything be changed.  Apparently my 
personal feelings on this particular issue may be seen as an impediment to 
otherwise objective judgment.  I've said what I think to be true and will say 
nothing more unless directly asked, and I agree with Szilard - this is an 
important topic, needs to be discussed, then left in the dust so we can move on 
to more significant and productive matters, of which I am glad to be a part.


On 12/19/12 5:49 PM, Szilárd Páll wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 7:58 PM, Mark Abraham <mark.j.abraham at gmail.com
> <mailto:mark.j.abraham at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Thanks for the discussion - let's close the topic and keep the list focussed
>     on GROMACS development :-)
> While I respect your call for no flaming, I personally don't feel that the
> discussion is closed and I think that this is a topic that, although it's
> neither about science nor about GROMACS development strictly speaking, it *does
>   matter* and is very relevant to GROMACS.
> Honestly, I would love to have the gmx-dev finger shown (why not in a "Linusian"
> manner) to all users bothered by the mere existence of some sentence in the gcq
> DB that they might find offensive and I'd be tempted to take the time to tell
> them to mind the science and use the env. var. if a quote with obviously no
> harmful intentions bothers them so much. As I said before I am *strongly*
> opposing self-censorship driven by nothing else but a way to adhere to the
> cultural, ideological, or emotional state (all in all the "world view") of some
> user(s). In fact, I'd rather spend time with removing some boring quotes than
> arguing about this, there have been way to many of them showing up lately :) !
> However, this seems to be a real concern for some, including developers, so in
> order to avoid tension and internal conflicts, I think it's better to take all
> the anger and frustration out here and now, decide something, and *then* move on.
> This might sounds harsh, but let' be honest, "killing children" "irrespective of
> context" -- (*facepalm*) which shows that it's a purely personal and emotionally
> driven opinion  -- is only disturbing if actively misinterpreted. On the other
> hand, picking special interpretations is easy, for instance: the quotes
> mentioning God or Jesus can be disturbing to some sensitive believers, and the
> ones mentioning "strike" or "torture" (both from Pulp Fiction quotes) could
> easily upset sensitive people who've had enough of both, possibly not so long
> ago -- and they would have all the right to request removal of Pulp Fiction
> quotes, after all few orders of magnitude more of their children have been
> killed (it's just that their stories are not turned into tv shows -- sorry
> slightly offtopic).
> Although I'd be angered and supportive of removal if any of the quotes would
> turn out to have an obvious agenda of spreading hate or clearly and
> intentionally disturbing some people, I have to agree with Christoph that as a
> community respecting everyone draw their own lines and adhering to it is silly.
> I hope at this point we can agree that unless we have a consensus that something
> is not appropriate (and such a consensus can be simply driven by gmx-devs
> community's own peculiar world view), blindly accepting personal requests for
> removal is a questionable practice.
> And as any rules, this one also has a potential exception: if some user would
> start spamming or systematically annoying people because of a quote, in the lack
> of simple and effective defense I'd personally approve the removal just to save
> our time.
> Cheers,
> Szilárd
>     --
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Justin A. Lemkul, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department of Biochemistry
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
jalemkul[at]vt.edu | (540) 231-9080


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