Moral indulgence

In the last few days people seemingly implying a descent from superiority of moral highground to me, have called upon me (in private conversations) to decide for my readers if the content that I write is morally acceptable for planet.gnome.org. Their reasoning is that I should feel an implied responsibility for the content of that website.

If I don’t take the responsibility that readers have themselves already, I’m to be considered a coward. That’s because, according to these people, I avoid the moral responsibility to uphold an imaginary highground reputation of the organization behind said website.

It needs no illustration that this is just the opinion of a group within the GNOME community. Not the entire community. Nonetheless this seemingly moral superiority is not to be mistaken with a condescending circus show.

The moral of respect for other opinions is a meme that for the last decades (and I hope in future too) has been a very successful one. I consider this meme to be the most important one humanity ever got convinced of.

Moral superiors do not need to present empirical proof of correctness in their Sophia. The truth of their moral values are unquestionable.

Let’s assume this to be the case: it’s immoral to only assume that your readers will make up their own minds about ideas that appear on websites like planet.gnome.org. Instead, it’s a necessity that each and every author of a blog, from which planet.gnome.org pulls content, is required to have a “responsibility of content”.

I conclude that it isn’t necessary that the audience of that website gets an honest illustration of who we are: human beings who are sometimes geniuses and sometimes idiots.

Instead it’s necessary that we are portrayed as good role models. Concepts such as good and bad are of course defined by the superiors. Those concepts are unquestionable.

Let me be clear that I disagree with this.

I questioned whether only intent can either be good or bad, but that question was refuted as irrelevant. For it’s the beholder who matters. Not the producer.

The reason for this irrelevance being that an audience doesn’t take the responsibility of trying to understand intent. I disagree with this conclusion. I think the audience does understand intent.

I have decided to tag my future posts as “condescending” in case I feel the content might be interpreted as showing superiority. Don’t be surprised if the majority of posts will be tagged as such.

The freedom to choose is morally more important to me than the necessity to mark responsible content. Therefore I ask my audience, and planet maintainers, to decide for themselves.

7 thoughts on “Moral indulgence

  1. Ian

    Most of the time “x is not appropriate for Planet y” really means “I don’t want to have to read things I disagree with on Planet y”. I think, anyway.

    Whereas I’m fine with disagreeable x, as long as the author is making a good case for it. Once their case becomes idiotic, I start thinking “get off my Planet!”

  2. bart

    I had to read this post 3 times and I still don’t understand it. But let me assure you : you have every right to be condescending and your readers have every right to call you condescending. Don’t let any of the free-speech haters tell you otherwise!

  3. Paul Cooper

    You used a lot of words there, many of which I don’t understand – are you saying that you are not responsible for the content of your blog? In which case who is?

  4. pvanhoof

    Hey Paul,

    I am saying that although I do I feel responsible for my own blog’s content, I don’t feel responsible for GNOME’s reputation through its planet’s content. For that, the planet has a maintainer instead.

    I trust this person’s capacity to be responsible. I don’t need to babysit this individual, at all. In fact would it be condescending to babysit this person.

    I said audience has a responsibility to decide for themselves whether or not the ideas that appear on a website (like my blog) are either true, false, idiot, genius, acceptable, immoral, etc. I said that planet maintainers are themselves responsible for deciding what type of content is and what type of content isn’t acceptable for the website which they maintain.

    I say that audience has the capacity to understand intent and that audience, if it wants to be relevant audience, needs to utilize this capacity.

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