1998-08-26 - Re: LACC: Re: Is hate code speech?

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From: Mike Scher <strange@tezcat.com>
To: lacc@suburbia.net
Message Hash: 78e4dc13d87dcb910d8c0c9f4f89d48d638898a70ec29bf32b46ba809e093d57
Message ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980826072937.21224B-100000@huitzilo.tezcat.com>
Reply To: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980825155854.3483A-100000@baker>
UTC Datetime: 1998-08-26 12:33:20 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 05:33:20 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: Mike Scher <strange@tezcat.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 05:33:20 -0700 (PDT)
To: lacc@suburbia.net
Subject: Re: LACC: Re: Is hate code speech?
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980825155854.3483A-100000@baker>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980826072937.21224B-100000@huitzilo.tezcat.com>
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On Tue, 25 Aug 1998, Xcott Craver wrote:
> On Tue, 25 Aug 1998, William H. Geiger III wrote:
> > <sigh> Now we have to worry about PC variable and function names. What a
> > crock. 

Um, er, I think, though I am not sure, that the issue in question is
either a hypothetical (judging from the article disclaimer), or that if
not, it just about ought to be.  It is the precise set of facts to lean
for the opinion that program code is meaningful speech or activity due
the full protection of the First Amendment.  I.e., a case with these facts
> 	Oh, yeah, you really have to worry about *accidentally*
> 	calling your variables getwatermelons and somefriedchicken.
> 	Reminds me of this one guy in our neighborhood who was just
> 	jogging by our house, bent down to tie a shoelace, lost 
> 	his balance and accidentally planted a huge burning cross
> 	in our front lawn.  Woops!  Those damn PC-mongers are 
> 	making it a crime to jog!
> 	One note:  I don't see why this lawsuit would be hard to win
> 	on the grounds that source code isn't necessarily "speech."
> 	If co-workers left a big wooden swastika on her desk it 
> 	wouldn't be speech either, but I'd call that actionable.	
> 	Another note:  frivolous naming conventions are dangerous
> 	for more than one reason.  Some Y2K firms scan COBOL code
> 	for variables which are likely to be dates, using the actual
> 	variable names for clues; this is much less likely to work if 
> 	you name your field BLOW-JOB instead of ESTIMATED-START-DATE.
> 							-Scott

Michael Brian Scher   (MS683)  | Anthropologist, Attorney, Policy Analyst
     strange@cultural.com      |     http://www.tezcat.com/~strange/
     strange@uchicago.edu      |           strange@tezcat.com
   Give me a compiler and a box to run it, and I can move the mail.