Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams
notebuyer

Another Reason to Distrusts Ethicists or Accusations of Bad Ethics

This time, a study from the Wharton School which points out that people who accuse others of being unethical get points from people who see them do this because they assume that the accusation is correct ("no smoke without fire") and that the accuser has a high standard of ethics ("they must know what is ethical to accuse others").

Neither of these assumptions are correct in my experience. The first is notorious among those who have experience in seeing others accused: the facts tend to be exaggerated or falsified in a way ordinarily requiring a journalist. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect applies in spades.

The second has a fun example from my experience: the mayor of Las Vegas in 2004 was accused of violating the ethics laws of his office by the state commission in charge of its enforcement. He won the court battle on the subject in 2006, since he had actually read the law applicable, and the accusers had not. Self-righteousness is, as it turns out, not the law.

The new strategy, pointed out by Vox Day, is to urge the adoption of an ethics code sufficiently vague to condemn anything you want to condemn. The result? A number of coders will not contribute to projects with a code of conduct, simply to avoid the people who want one.

Actually resisting the code of conduct has occurred, but it caused a lot of trouble for its valiant proponent from the dust bunny involved, to the point he had to protect his Twitter feed from SJW interference. Replacements designed to avoid the problem, like the "code of merit" or the "no code", have not gained a wide following simply because of the flood of "but can we amend this" responses from non-contributors.
Tags: ethics
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