Bob Jonkman

Elmira, Canada

Computer consultant who occasionally participates in Real Life… ⁂Lather ⁙Rinse ♻Repeat

  • Fighting For Social Justice Is a Major Contribution to Society

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2015-12-03T03:35:07Z


    I have something to say that I'm sure everyone is going to consider controversial. I've been meaning to say it for some time, and I realize that it's going to get some annoyance from all sides of this debate. Conservancy may lose Supporters over this, even though this is my personal blog and my personal opinion, and views expressed here aren't necessarily Conservancy's views. I've actually been meaning to write this publicly for a year. I just have to say it now, because there's yet another event on this issue caused yet another a war of words in our community.

    If you follow the types of Free Software politics and issues that I do (which you probably do if you read my blog) you have heard the phrase — which has become globally common in general politics — “Social Justice Warrior”, often abbreviated SJW. As anyone who reads my blog probably already knows, SJW is used as a derogatory catch-all phrase referring to anyone who speaks up to on any cause, but particularly on racial or gender inequality. While the derogatory part seems superficially to refer to tactics rather than strategic positions, nevertheless many critics who use the phrase conflate (either purposely or not) some specific, poorly-chosen tactic (perhaps from long ago) of the few with the strategic goals of an entire movement.

    Anyway, my argument in this post, which is why I expect it to annoy everyone equally, is not about some specific issue in any cause, but on a meta-issue. The meta-issue is the term “SJW” itself. The first time I heard the phrase (which, given my age, feels recent, even though it was probably four years ago), I actually thought it was something good; I first thought that SJW was a compliment. In fact, I've more-or-less spent my entire adult life wanting to be a social justice warrior, although I typically called it being a “social justice activist”.

    First of all, I believe deeply in social justice causes. I care about equality, fairness, and justice for everyone. I believe software freedom is a social justice cause, and I personally have proudly called software freedom a social justice cause for more than a decade.

    Second, I also believe in the zealous pursuit of causes that matter. I've believed fully and completely in non-violence since the mid-1980s, but I nevertheless believe there is a constant war of words in the politics surrounding any cause or issue, including software freedom. I am, therefore — for lack of a better word — a warrior, in those politics.

    So, when I look at the three words on their face: Social. Justice. Warrior. Well, denotively, it describes my lifelong work exactly.

    Connotatively, a warped and twisted manipulation of words has occurred. Those who want to discredit the validity that various social justice causes have bestowed a negative connotation on the phrase to create a social environment that makes anyone who wants to speak out about a cause automatically wrong and easily branded.

    I've suggested to various colleagues privately over the last two years that we should coopt the phrase back to mean something good. Most have said that's a waste of time and beside the point. I still wonder whether they're right.

    By communicating an idea that these social justice people are fighting against me and oppressing me, the messenger accusing a so-called SJW has a politically powerful, well-coopted message, carefully constructed for concision and confirmation bias. While I don't believe all that cooptive and manipulative power is wielded solely in the one three-word phrase, I do believe that the rhetorical trick that allows “SJW” to have a negative connotation is the same rhetorical power that has for centuries allowed the incumbent power structures to keep their control of those many social institutions that are governed chiefly by rhetoric.

    And this is precisely why I just had to finally post something about this. I won a cultural power jackpot, merely by being born a middle-class Caucasian boy in the USA. Having faced some adversity in my life despite that luck, and then seeing how easy I had it compared to the adversity that others have faced, I become furious at how the existing power structures can brand people with — let's call it what is — a sophisticated form of name-calling that coopts a phrase like “social justice”, which until that time had a history of describing some of the greatest, most selfless, and most important acts of human history.

    Yes, I know there are bigger issues at stake than just the words people use. But words matter. No matter how many people use the phrase negatively, I continue to strive to be a social justice warrior. I believe that's a good thing, in the tradition of all those who have fought for a cause they believed was right, even when it wasn't popular.

    Bård Aase, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Dionisio Martínez Soler, Elena ``of Valhalla'' and 14 others likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), mnd, Sarah Elkins and 6 others shared this.

    Show all 9 replies
    Beta white knight checking in, apparently you can't be an SJW if you are a straight, cis, white, non-Muslim male. You're just deluded because you want to get laid.

    Dylan at 2015-12-04T13:22:50Z

    @mray, I supposed I'd like it if everybody was, in fact, Kuhn-fu-fighting, but I admit I'm biased. Also, that would be a little bit frightening, wouldn't it?

    I'm actually glad some of you haven't heard of SJW; it means that the politics of internet troll attacks are not as widespread as they seem.

    And, to @Dylan, it shows the example that mentioning the phrase brings trolls from the woodwork. For the record, I'm happily accepted by others who have been "accused" of SJW-ness. :)

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2015-12-04T19:18:56Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    It had not occurred to me before, but the pejorative aspect of 'SJW' might be somewhat amplified by the (most likely unintentional) reference to the 'Warrior of the Light' stuff from Paulo Coelho (which I've only ever read excerpts of but, having tried to go through The Alchemist once, they were enough).

    More to the point, my guess is that its effectiveness mainly stems from the use of 'warrior' as the defining feature of an individual (almost elevated to a profession). I.e. implying the person is someone who fights because... it's what they do.

    Simultaneously, to some it may evoke the image of the romantic (here refering to the chivalric ideals) knight and the associated naivety world view and crudeness of method. Possibly further reinforced by the ineffectiveness of action at the knight-level to further causes of social justice.

    All in all it seems a subtle and well-thought out invention. With hindsight, I can see why it would catch on and I'm not sure I'd want to reclaim it. Though if it becomes dominant, then it /has/ to be reclaimed one way or the other. Hopefully we're not there yet and some better term can be pushed in its place :)

    Apry at 2015-12-04T20:57:17Z

  • Mike Linksvayer at 2015-08-21T03:07:51Z

    Backed @singpolyma's children's book based on #bigbuckbunny

    NB cc-by -> cc-by-sa

    Bob Jonkman likes this.

    Charles Stanhope shared this.

  • laurelrusswurm at 2015-08-08T19:16:06Z

    Dear Identicats:

    Over the past year I've has less and less time to do my own things as political issues in Canada have been heating up.  Since still doesn't federate with GNUsocial and I've not had time to set up shop on Friendica, yrs been hard finding time to make the trip here to post stuff (especially since it always takes me multiple tries to get the password to open the lock). 

    Canadian Politics 101
    Canada uses a Westminsyer based winner-take-all "First Past The Post" electoral system, and over the years any checks and balances have been eroded to the point where we have next to none.  When there is a majority government, as we have currently with the Harper Government, it's effectively a dictatorship. Because we have a multi-party winner-take-all system, its possible to win 100% of the poswer with less than 40% of the vote. 

    Our current majority has passed many dreadful laws, often bundled together in multi-hundred page omnibus bills that are rushed through parliament with little or no scrutiny.  What little oversight the Office of the Inspector general applied to CSIS (our Five-Eyes partner) was dismantled via a single line in the 2011 omni-budget that had so many other dreadful things in it, no one really seems to have twigged to this, until after Mr. Snowden stepped up. 

    Most recently, in spite of masses of protests and petitions, both online and off, by Canadians from across the political spectrum-- including former Prime Ministers, the science community, the legal community and supreme court justices-- it passed Bill C-51, which effectively eviscerates our constitutionally protected civil rights found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  

    We need to make our supposed representative democracy actually representative, which we might manage by adopting one of the proportional systems that have been recommended over and over again for Canada. [Ten Canadian Commissions, Assemblies and Reports that have recommended proportional representation ]

    We do have two political parties -- both the Green Party AND our Official Opposition NDP  -- pushing for this, and chances are good we will get it (unless of course the Harper Government manages a return engagement).  I had intended to blog etc. in tandem with launching a #Pubslush crowdfunding campaign for my tantalizingly nearly finished second novel, but instead I will be marshalling what time and energy I have supporting my husband's campaign as the Green Party candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga.  If you're interested in following Bob Jonkman's campaign:
    Jonkman Microblogs:
    and even *gasp*

    Anyway, we're both still figuring out how to do this, so it's probable it may be a while before you see either of us in these parts.


    Christopher Allan Webber, Evan Prodromou, Stephen Michael Kellat, William L. Anderson and 2 others likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.

    Thanks for the update. Good luck in your campaign! #sendingGoodvibrations from the pumpiverse :)

    Laura Arjona Reina at 2015-08-08T19:59:48Z

    laurelrusswurm, Christopher Allan Webber, Bob Jonkman likes this.

    God luck, Laurel ... as a New Democrat I am committed to work for Noah Richler here in Toronto - St Paul's, and on more grounds than just PR. But Mr Albrecht is as vulnerable as any Conjob.

    B. Ross Ashley at 2015-08-08T20:52:25Z

    laurelrusswurm likes this.

    This will be interesting. Good luck to Bob.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2015-08-09T01:47:23Z

    laurelrusswurm likes this.

    Good luck to you, too, Ross.  Although I've supported all the major parties at one time or another, the NDP is the one I've supported most.  (The one time I argued in favor of strategic voting was when we lived in a place where the NDP actually had a shot and I discovered Bob was going to vote Green.  That year we had both signs on our lawn :)

    Although Bob is the smartest guy I know, it wasn't he who convinced me of the error of strategic voting, or even Scott Piatkowski's well made arguements... it was the time we were walking home from voting, complaining that neither of our votes would count, when our youngster (maybe in first grade) told us that since the people we vote for never get elected, maybe we would do better by voting for people we don't want, and then the people we do want might have a chance.

    laurelrusswurm at 2015-08-09T19:34:24Z

  • Laura Arjona Reina at 2015-08-08T19:59:48Z

    Thanks for the update. Good luck in your campaign! #sendingGoodvibrations from the pumpiverse :)

    laurelrusswurm, Christopher Allan Webber, Bob Jonkman likes this.

  • Freemor at 2014-04-18T00:30:56Z

    It's not about phone theft. It's about control of information. Imagine the ability to kill switch all protesters phones at the next G20 or occupy before sending in the police. Remember it's not the user who will have control of the switch.

    Bob Jonkman, Stephen Michael Kellat, aether likes this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2013-08-17T14:19:55Z

    Paul, I'll put your account on my list of accounts to delete. Just to be clear: there are going to be no new accounts, so once you're gone, you're gone. Let me know if you do want to stay.

    I have put some time and effort into preserving important URLs on the site. In particular, notices URLs, conversation URLs, and user profile URLs. However, when you transfer to a new piece of software, a lot of stuff doesn't stay. So things like the search results page, or the user replies page, are somewhere else.

    This is new software, though, and sometimes I get it wrong. If you see particular URLs not working, let me know. If you see a class of content URLs that you think can and should be redirecting, let me know that, too.

    Not all user accounts were converted to the new platform. The ones that weren't will have downloads available on, and I'll try to redirect URLs there if possible.

    My priorities for development are to keep this a living, active platform.  But I also want to preserve the past and keep us part of the fabric of the web. So: no intention to throw things aside.

    Bob Jonkman, William L. Anderson, Steven Rosenberg, Stephen Sekula and 3 others likes this.

  • and privacy

    Evan Prodromou at 2013-06-07T14:12:15+00:00

    Anarchy-X, daebb, Bersam Bandari, axel668 (inactive) and 15 others likes this.

    Arthur Lutz, Gabe, The Root's Updates, axel668 (inactive) and 11 others shared this.

    Show all 5 replies
    Thank you @evan for providing clarification on that. We appreciate your respect for the userbase!

    ZettaGeek at 2013-06-07T20:18:52+00:00

    another one reason why !identica will be better than twitter (forever and ever)

    Demuxer at 2013-06-07T23:22:13+00:00

    @evan But what about "direct access"? You didn't deny that! Didn't you get the memo?

    Mike Linksvayer at 2013-06-08T00:33:48+00:00

    privacy is evil anyway

    Marcio B. Jr. at 2013-06-08T02:17:07+00:00

  • Evan Prodromou at 2013-05-27T16:28:33+00:00

    Mail server software is unfair to people who want to play Tetris.

    Bob Jonkman likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman shared this.

    @evan you realize your dream of federated social networks depends a lot of people with 1 IP only VPSs, right?

    Rui Seabra at 2013-05-27T20:06:55+00:00

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2013-05-22T17:11:15+00:00

    The Web UI is really a sample client. I think it would be interesting for someone to build a no-JavaScript Web client.

    Bob Jonkman, Hilton Garcia Fernandes likes this.,, Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman shared this.

  • Jim Hughes at 2013-05-10T16:42:39+00:00

    contrary to some here, I'm looking forward to the transition, wish I had time to play pre-move, I trust @evan to do the right thing

    Christopher Allan Webber, Bob Jonkman likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman, Evan Prodromou, Evan Prodromou shared this.

    @jimh I really am in two minds about this at present and am primarily thinking in terms of keeping my options open

    Paul Pritchard at 2013-05-10T16:50:40+00:00

    Erkan Yılmaz likes this.

    Thanks for your vote of faith.

    Evan Prodromou at 2013-05-10T17:04:29+00:00

  • Indi in the Wired at 2013-04-15T03:13:26+00:00

    When the !NDP dropped "#", they dropped socialists. I want to move on, but there's no left left. !canada !cdnpoli

    Bob Jonkman likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman shared this.

  • X11R5 at 2013-01-08T20:20:04+00:00

    bigger lies, bigger bonuses! #

    Dvd Mrsdn, Daniel E. Renfer, X11R5, Sander and 6 others likes this.

    Greylin A., Greylin A., Sander, Sander and 10 others shared this.

  • Simon Phipps at 2012-11-18T17:35:26+00:00

    I agree. "Free" is the ethical construct; "Open" is the practical method; "liberty" is the shared objective.

    Bob Jonkman, ghostdancer likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman, Wouter Tebbens, Wouter Tebbens shared this.

  • Michał Andrzej Woźniak at 2012-11-01T21:48:13+00:00

    @glynmoody @bkuhn # are *crucial* also in all-FaiF world! otherwise how will people know how to write interoperable software.

    Bob Jonkman likes this.

  • Mario López at 2012-08-29T05:45:33+00:00

    It's not just about how many followers you have, it's about how many of them are worth having as followers. !identica #

    Hilton Garcia Fernandes, Bob Jonkman likes this.

    Hilton Garcia Fernandes, Hilton Garcia Fernandes shared this.

    Some people like to collect followers, like stamps. It inflates their ego

    Seamus Boyer at 2012-08-29T18:33:53+00:00

    Mario López likes this.

    @mariolopezt klout appreciates your endorsement of their metric. ;-)

    Mike Linksvayer at 2012-08-30T00:21:00+00:00

    Mario López likes this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2012-08-23T19:32:43+00:00

    Yes, once we get the absolutely perfect best brand name ever, and force everyone to use it, people will finally love us. #

    Bob Jonkman, Mike Linksvayer, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    @evan bickering over terminology is what got us this far... right? (right????)

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2012-08-23T21:46:18+00:00

    Evan Prodromou likes this.

    Make sure it is easily explainable using a culturally specific negative example.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2012-08-23T22:19:47+00:00

  • dno at 2012-08-22T04:39:23+00:00

    So: Apple Appstore and Google Play store: F you and your creepy, privacy-violating bullshit.

    Bob Jonkman likes this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2012-08-01T17:28:40+00:00

    I intend to make you so free you'll be eternally grateful.

    Bob Jonkman, Marcio B. Jr. likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman shared this.

  • Rob Myers at 2012-07-07T15:05:18+00:00

    @cwebber App stores are just broken package managers with the cracks plastered over with "cool"

    Bob Jonkman, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    Bob Jonkman, Bob Jonkman shared this.

    Dismissing something because it's "cool" is a "cool" way to admit your own lack of ability to create something non-geeks like

    jewelfox at 2012-07-08T08:34:25+00:00

    Correction, make that "your subculture's lack of ability"

    jewelfox at 2012-07-08T08:35:02+00:00