[gmx-developers] Ideologically biased quotes

Justin Lemkul jalemkul at vt.edu
Wed Dec 7 15:58:32 CET 2016

On 12/7/16 9:44 AM, Vedran Miletić wrote:
> On 12/07/2016 01:43 PM, Justin Lemkul wrote:
>> On 12/7/16 7:40 AM, Berk Hess wrote:
>>> On 12/07/2016 01:27 PM, David van der Spoel wrote:
>>>> On 07/12/16 13:19, Erik Lindahl wrote:
>>>>> ... and a couple of other things I've thought about, but not acted
>>>>> on yet:
>>>>> 1) Should we remove all non-English quotes (Maybe German/French is OK
>>>>> too)? Gromacs has become a large and international project, and since I
>>>>> don't think it would be very productive to add quotes in another ~20
>>>>> small languages, maybe we shouldn't have any Swedish ones either.
>>>>> 2)  Avoid jokes that depend too much on context (i.e., having been at
>>>>> the talk) such as dropping a letter. While it might be fun to remember
>>>>> for the few who were there, most other users probably won't understand
>>>>> why it's fun.
>>>>> 3) We have some historical quotes from rock music that I think we
>>>>> should
>>>>> keep, but for new ones I'd suggest we hold them to the same standard as
>>>>> other quotes - i.e., they should be related to
>>>>> science/engineering/programming.
> 1) I don't have any strong feelings either way. Google Translate works well.
> 2) I don't have any problems with the jokes. In fact, most of the quotes
> do bring a smile to my face and faces of my colleagues. It would be
> great to keep them.
> 3) Absolutely.
>>>> As said let's not reiterate the whole discussion again. Maybe the
>>>> time for
>>>> quotes is over in the post-factual world and we can just remove them
>>>> altogether.
> I would strongly recommend to keep them.
>>> Isn't the post-factual world all about quotes?
> It is.
>>> I like the quotes, since they often make me laugh, so I (and several
>>> colleagues
>>> I know of) would not like to see them go. I don't know about the
>>> community at
>>> large though.
>>> I don't have strong opinions on rules, apart from avoiding
>>> self-censorship.
>>> Erik's suggestions sound reasonable to me.
> +1
>> I agree.  I like them, and I know several people that certainly find
>> them funny and make using GROMACS enjoyable and unique.
>> The move from binary to plain text was motivated, in part, due to the
>> previous discussion on charged quotes - people can edit out anything
>> they don't like (yay, flexibility!) and we got rid of a few that
>> consensus dictated were perhaps poorly received.  The fact that the
>> quotes are now in a source file, requiring the user to completely
>> re-compile the code rather than edit a simple text file has somewhat
>> raised that barrier.  Obviously good from a software perspective,
>> perhaps not so good from a user perspective.
> People can edit the quotes, sure, as they can fork the project and
> change all of the quotes and distribute their fork. That is not the
> point; the point is avoiding picking a side in any ideological debate
> unrelated to science and/or software. If we start adding quotes about
> unrelated stuff, we can compete ad infinitum among us who can quote more
> authors/politicians/pop culture in favor of their side. I would much
> prefer to avoid that.

Trust me, I agree.  As someone who has (so far) survived the political climate 
in this country, I want to keep my scientific software as non-controversial as 
possible (it's the one thing that will be that way in my day...)



Justin A. Lemkul, Ph.D.
Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Pharmacy
Health Sciences Facility II, Room 629
University of Maryland, Baltimore
20 Penn St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

jalemkul at outerbanks.umaryland.edu | (410) 706-7441


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