Voat.co servers shut down because of politically incorrect content

In today's open source roundup: Voat.co servers were shut down because of politically incorrect content. Plus: Transphobia controversy engulfs Opal project on GitHub. And is the Dark Web mostly a myth?

Voat.co servers shut down due to politically incorrect content

Voat.co has been in the news a lot lately thanks to a huge exodus of redditors that swamped the site in response to censorship on Reddit. Now Voat.co itself has been hit with an unexpected server shutdown because of content on the site that was deemed politically incorrect by the site's hosting company.

The site is up and running though thanks to a fortuitous move to a cloud platform hours before the shutdown happened.

Atko reports in an announcement thread on Voat.co:

Our hosting provider, hosteurope.de has terminated all our contracts and shut down all our servers without issuing a warning or trying to talk to us. This includes my private server which was only used to host my girlfriends blog. She is a scientist. She published her research papers on that blog (pre-formatted papers to which she owns the copyright). That server contained no other data whatsoever.

The reason they gave us when they notified us that they have cancelled our contract is "...we have received significant information that the content on your server includes political incorrect parts that are unacceptable for us." and "Due to the fact that we cannot keep bond of trust to you as our customer...".

Luckily, we have managed to move our databases to a cloud platform mere hours before they shut down our servers. Ladies and gentlemen, my eyes have been opened by this. I don't know about you, but we are living in a weird world. We will have to carefully evaluate our long term options of providing a platform of free speech if we are to stay online.

Your donations are what keeps us afloat. Our paypal account has been un-suspended, so you can still donate to hello@voat.co, or via bitcoin to wallet address 1C4Q1RvUb3bzk4aaLVgGccnSnaHYFdESzY.

...just to clarify, I have been a hosteurope.de customer for well over 5 years, always paying my bills and never hosting any illegal content.

More at Voat.co

Voat.co users responded to the news of the server shutdown:

Penguinman: "Welcome to outrage and censorship culture. Remember this the next time someone says "It's not censorship because you can make your own site."

Webdev: "Hosteuropr is a German company. And we have only very limited freedom of speech here. Extreme political views? Banned by law. Calling somebody an "asshole" publically? They can take you to court for that. Many...rules. Not a good place to host a website for open discussion."

Gurlat: "So what should we expect next?"

Amarok: Not necessarily in this order...

- continued ddos attacks of varying strength / frequency
- attempts to seize the Voat.co domain name (likely next, and soonish)
- constant attempts to get whatever ISP hosts Voat to terminate all services and shut it down
- attempts to seize the servers from their datacenters if the ISP won't go along with a shutdown
- legal actions covered by gag orders that will force any US-based services to comply silently (hi cloudflare)
- focused hacking attempts to breach the website security, likely covered by a ddos attack
- attempts to block donation / revenue streams, freezing of all accounts (bitcoin is the solution here)
- semi-coordinated media campaigns to paint Voat as something worse than the Silk Road - legal actions with bullshit justifications targeted at all site owners, including attempts to freeze their assets
- surveillance (internet and real life) of all people associated with Voat (developers, admins, owners, not users)
- astroturfing and a rise in paid forum operatives attempting to control speech on Voat

Ellimist: "The "social justice" cult. "Social Justice Warriors" (SJW) can't tolerate the fact that some people disagree with them. They go out of their way to silence people who don't submit to their worldview.

They'vs infested reddit on the subreddit and admin level and they absolutely will not let us leave without a fight."

D: "Terribly sorry to hear this. I really admire what you're doing and will be donating what I can by PayPal... while it's still open.

I'm really worried your PayPal account will be the next thing to go since they have disabled the accounts of many people with a similar cause. Please make sure you are cashing it out regularly. It would be terrible if some of the donations were lost due to spineless corporate BS."

Genocide: "Those that would shut down open dialogue and free spread of information without censorship are very powerful and will stop at nothing to quiet those that do not follow their agenda. This is going to be a long and difficult road. For the sake of everything that used to proliferate on the web - true freedom - I hope you are up to the task. I, (and I'm sure, thousands of others) are at your back."

Patchface: "It's a private company who can deny service to anyone they choose to (as long as the reasons aren't race, sex, age, etc.). They disagree with what voat brings to the table, but voat is more than welcome to move to a competitor. This is the free market. Not censorship."

Zoechan: "It is censorship, by that cowardly company.

Censorship is defined as: the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.

...this company is suppressing what deems unacceptable. However they have the right to do so. Censorship is not illegal when done by private companies on their private products. But by definition, it is most certainly censorship."

Johnnyboy1: "That's a rather strange thing to do. Especially also regarding the server not containing any data of this site. As far as I know this is not a legal thing to do, check should check your contract with the provider."

More at Voat.co

Transphobia controversy engulfs Opal project on GitHub

Speaking of political correctness, the Opal project on GitHub was recently aflame with a passionate discussion of transphobia. Opal is a Ruby to Javascript compiler.

CoralineAda launched the discussion by mentioning a tweet by one of the Opal contributors about transgender people:

Elia Schito is publicly calling trans people out for "not accepting reality" on Twitter. His Twitter profile mentions that he is a core contributor to opal. Is this what the other maintainers want to be reflected in the project? Will any transgender developers feel comfortable contributing?


More at GitHub

CoralineAda's post drew some heated responses from folks involved with the Opal project:

Meh: "If you want him removed, start working on Opal and contributing as much as him to everything he did for Opal so we have a replacement that's more in orientation with your morals and views. Protip: you won't because you can't."

Opal is a technology, technology is moral-less, if a transgender contributor appeared @elia's views wouldn't even appear in here, because why would anyone care, bring contributions, they will be accepted with open arms, bring morals and politics in here, and you will be shown the metaphorical door.

Strand: "As a queer person this sort of argument from a maintainer makes me feel unwelcome. The ignorance which @elia shows by claiming that transfolk are "not accepting reality" is actively harmful. I will not contribute to this project or any other project which @elia maintains."

Jared: "The personal views of a maintainer, as long as they are not influencing in a discriminatory way the contributions accepted in a project, should be off-limits for discussion IMHO. It pains me to see this even be an issue here. Thanks @meh for stating what should be obvious."

Fivetanley: "Being this dismissive of someone is not really a great way to run an OSS project. You will lose out as people feel less welcome. Also Coraline has been in the industry for many years, and is one of the most seasoned developers I know. This was not a fair stab."

Ipsumx: "Statistically speaking, by anonymously working with a lot people on OSS projects you would be collaborating with a wide variety of people having wildly differing opinions*. They would surely include molesters, neo-nazis, rapists and all sorts of scum. Are we to vet all of these people as to ensure harmony within the group, or just accept their good code as is, morals notwithstanding?"

More at GitHub

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