Comment 2T4C Re: What?


Github staff Jake Boxer disables #GamerGate operation disrespectful nod repository


What? (Score: 1, Interesting)

by on 2014-10-05 07:12 (#2T3S)

Last night (October 3) Github developer Jake Boxer disabled the GamerGate github repository containing documents for "Operation Disrespectful Nod". Which contained documents for a letter writing campaign to advertisers for the publishers of the game media articles declaring gamers dead just over a month ago. Here's a link to an image of the removal request for if/when the original tweet is eventually removed.

OK, there is someone named Jake. There was a github repo. There were documents? There is something called "Operation Disrespectful Nod"?

"Which contained documents for a letter writing campaign to advertisers for the publishers of the game media articles declaring gamers dead just over a month ago." is not a sentence. Or at least is a horrible one. But specifically:

documents for a letter writing campaign (what does that mean?)
to advertisers (so - letters to advertisers?)
for the publishers of game media articles (so... uh... game mags and/or review websites?)
declaring gamers dead (nope - you lost me. are all gamers dead? I'm not dead, so I don't think that's what you mean.)
just over a month ago. (uh... something happened just over a month ago. No link. Did gamers die? Or was the repo deleted? Or was that when the repo was created? Huh?)

After clicking a few links, none of this is much clearer - except there is lots of drama. Most of it sounds mostly imagined.

GitHub was hosting a public repo that they didn't want to host, so they nuked it. So... "free service refuses service to someone." News at 11?

Re: What? (Score: 3, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-05 12:57 (#2T3X)

This is very important news for anyone and everyone in the software industry. That includes a lot of the readers here at Pipedot.

Maybe you've never done software development. If you haven't, you may not realize just how important source code, asset, and documentation management is. Well, it's very important.

GitHub claims to provide a solution to these sorts of problems. But one of the most critical features of any such solution is the safety of the data involved. It can't just disappear overnight, whether by accident, by incident, or by manual deletion by an employee of the company tasked with storing the data.

We need to know which solutions we can trust with our data, and which we cannot.

If a public repo can be removed in such a manner, apparently without any sort of due process, then it could very well happen to a private one.

Organizations just can't take that kind of a risk with critical data, or with systems that are important to their everyday software development practices.

We need to know when our critical data may be lost without warning. This incident is thus something we need to know about.

Re: What? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-05 18:05 (#2T43)

I am a developer. I use github. So I know that if they were to pull my public repos without warning that I could petition them to get the data back and they would be totally reasonable about it. I know that because I have actually come very close to having that discussion with them for a private repo that was unexpectedly nuked (my fault).

What's more, I know that my local git repo had everything that got nuked, so it was a non issue.

I think that covers it.

Re: What? (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-10-05 18:27 (#2T46)

Getting the data back isn't the point and even less the problem. GitHub comes from 'git', which is a a distributed revision control and source code management system. So if you are a developer and use git, chances are high, that you have the complete source tree on your local machine anyways. But for a single developer using GitHub is almost a bit overkill. Its real value comes as central repository for developer teams. Especially in self organized open source teams. Being forced to move somewhere else can cost money, e.g. if a website has to be adjusted to point to the new repository. I might break 3rd party links, which makes documents harder to find. The larger the team, the higher the logistic efforts till normal work can continue as usual.

Definitely not a non issue.

Re: What? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-05 23:35 (#2T4B)

Yes, exactly, so again, why in the world would you trust something important to a 'free' service that has zero contractual obligation to you? I hope everyone is over the silly concept that a web site ToS means more than a plate containing a bean.

I use GitHub so rarely (yes I have an account) that I didn't even realize they had paid plans. At least then you'd have a legal leg to stand on. But as with any business, if you think they're bad then by all means move on. What is a "larger team" doing putting all its eggs in the good graces of someone else's free basket? It's unwise. Sure, use it as a backup methodology if you like (some people treat GMail / GApps that way) but don't rely on the thing.

Re: What? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-10-06 00:37 (#2T4C)

Yes, exactly, so again, why in the world would you trust something important to a 'free' service that has zero contractual obligation to you?
Something important? Who said something about something important? When you say 'important' or 'all its eggs in one basket' again a notion of data loss sneaks in. I tried to explain already, that this is the least concern. And if it is really important in terms of valuable trade secrets a service like GitHub, regardless if free or with a paid plan, is out of the question anyways. Services like GitHub are convenient, if they are reliable. An example use case? For instance to fulfill GPL or LGPL obligations. There are plenty of non-profit projects, some quite large, which are required to release source code, because they build upon the GPL software. I have a such a project on Gitorious. It is a hobby project. I don't make money with it. I am happy to share the code. Open source projects helped me tremendously to improve my coding skills. If I can give back to the open source community, I gladly do so. But I certainly don't want to pay for this privilege.

For uses like that you don't need "a legal leg to stand on". And: "don't rely on the thing". If you mean with "rely" something like a guaranteed availability, you are right. But I doubt anyone does this. Even GamerGate apparently was able to move their project in a very short time to Gitorious. Does not sound like they put all their eggs in one basket and everything was lost when GitHub closed their gates for them.

So, for the users of the free service, stunts like that are only inconvenient. They may lose a backup. They might to have to change their websites. READMEs in downloaded code might suddenly point to dead repositories. There will be support requests of users, who are not experienced enough to switch from one git repo to another. Nothing of this is really a disaster. It is mostly annoying.

The question is, what is it for GitHub? Why do you think they offer the free service? Out of the goodness of their hearts? Hardly. So, how do they make money with it? Could it be that they speculate that groups, which are used to use free GitHub hosting, might change someday to a paid plan? That maybe someone who had a good experience with free GitHub might propose to use GitHub when his company evaluates possible hosting solutions?
This certainly will not happen when someone got burned by purely political decisions like in this GamerGate case. Maybe they have shot themselves in the foot with it. And to be honest... I really hope so.


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2014-10-06 10:46 Interesting +1

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