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From: David B. Held (dheld_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-10-04 17:59:57

Peter Dimov wrote:
> Jeff Garland wrote:
>> [...]
>> The review manager decides on the library. Nothing, in the process
>> says the review manager must go by 'majority' rule -- it just needs
>> to be based on the opinions of the reviewers.
> Interesting. I have always thought that the review manager summarizes
> the review comments and decides on the library based on them. If that's
> not the case, why have a review?

My understanding is similar to Jeff's. I was surprised when I first
read that the review manager has the prerogative to reject a library
against the majority vote (or include it likewise), but seem to
remember that this point has been stated explicitly in the past. If it
is true, the reason for having a review is to publicly document various
analyses of the library. Presumably, a review manager would only
contradict the majority because he/she has a compelling case against it.
Anyway, Boost is not bound by any explicitly written charter or bylaws
that I know of, so if a particular review decision proved to be unwise,
I'm sure it could be challenged.

> The review manager can, of course, review the library himself. He is
> also given sufficient power to decide on issues where reviewers haven't
> been able to reach consensus, and he can tilt the tables slightly to
> overturn a 4-6 vote (or similar).
> That's how it happened in the past. Review managers that have posted
> review comments have usually been careful to mark them as such.
> Never so far has a review manager decided against the majority.

Does any of that prove that, in fact, the review manager does not have
the power to decide against the majority? When was the last time that
the National Security Advisor became President?

>> As for me injecting my political point of viewpoint (which you know
>> absolutely nothing about), that just isn't the case. I would have
>> the same issue if the example was the 'Presidential Contender Filter'
>> or 'President of France Filter'.
> That's why I've been careful to not imply anything about what - if any -
> political viewpoint you might have. But maybe not careful enough.

I'm not sure how you can say that when you had already said this:

> [...]
>>> It's different. It was fairly obvious that you decided that the
>>> example was unacceptable for political reasons, and then tried to
>>> justify you decision using additional non-political arguments (none
>>> of which, in my opinion, hold water).

What political viewpoint would one expect Jeff to have in order to
deem the example "unacceptable for political reasons"?

> [...]
> By the same logic, Boost doesn't have to apologize to or accommodate
> people that are overly sensitive to president speech disorder jokes.
> No?

Boost also don't have to apologize to or accomodate people that are
overly sensitive to sexism, racism, homophobia, or any other special
interest group. There is no law preventing Boost or any academic
institution from using racial slurs, sexual innuendo or any other
controversial language except possibly where it constitutes hate speech
in its communication. Nonetheless, academia holds itself to a standard
higher than the law, and higher than perhaps it absolutely needs to.
Why do you suppose that is? Why shouldn't Boost use the same rationale?

> [...]
> Apparently, you think that in this case the majority is wrong.
> Therefore, we need procedures.

In this case, the majority haven't voted. I take that to indicate that
most people either don't feel strongly either way or don't want to
embroil themselves in a political discussion. If Boost were a forum
for the communication of social and political ideas, then I would
certainly agree that censorship is manifestly evil. However, I don't
see how asking a library author to change an example that might be
contentious and not entirely necessary is any different than asking a
library author to change an example that is off-topic. Suppose that
someone injected in the middle of some library documentation a
discussion on auto racing that was not at all essential to documenting
the library in question. Would it or would it not be appropriate for
a review manager to ask the author to remove or change that passage?
Would it or would it not constitute censorship? What if a library
author included some mildly juvenile scatalogical humor in some
documentation? Perhaps it would be fairly entertaining to a large
number of programmers, but would it be appropriate? Would it be in
good taste? Should the review manager ask that it be removed or not?
Where do you draw the line?

My personal view is that since a programming library does not have as
its primary function the dissemination of political ideas (at least
none of the libraries of which I am aware), there is nothing wrong with
asking that library documentation be professionally apolitical. If we
were a bunch of hackers in a college CS department, probably nobody
would care. But since Boost has a vested interest in maintaining a
high profile, I think it stands to reason that it should not risk its
reputation on potentially controversial political language.


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