I wrote, a couple of years ago, about the fact that you can’t ignore ethics in software engineering. Your software is built for a reason, it’s used for a reason, you need to be aware of those reasons and whether you’re supporting or enabling them.
That goes for politics too. That hacker news declared this week to be politics-free week shows an immaturity and unprofessionalism that makes it a dangerous place to learn about making software from. Making software is the act of some people producing things for other people, it is inherently a political act. Choosing a framework or programming language is political. Attending a meet-up is political. Being paid is oh-so-political. Publishing your side project under an OSI-approved licence? The OSI is a political organisation, the courts that will determine whether the terms of your licence are binding are political, the officials of those courts are selected by a political process.
And, anyway, let’s have a look at the front page of hacker news now, roughly five days into their politics-free week.
- Why we chose VueJS over React Ooh, influencing technology choices? Sounds political.
- German judges explain why adblock plus is illegal the law? Isn’t that a politics thing?
- One huge reason why your contract agreement shouldn’t be “work for hire” Hmm, contracts, sounds like negotiations with employers or customers…that’s political in nature.
- Blockchain technology and the law are allies, not enemies More law, discussion of alliances…politics maybe?
What they probably mean is not “political stories are off-topic”, but that political stories that stray from the default politics are off-topic. Anything that doesn’t sound like I agree with it must be subjective, whereas things I agree with are objective. Just as the default narrative in society is often white, male and affluent, so it is those things in the Valley and neolibertarian. Anything else is just politics.