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is it ethical ?



  • is it ethical for "for profit " organization to ask for any form of contribution ?
    As included on "on line Qt installer ".

    Especially when it is out of the "for profit" organization job description to read users comments in forums - like it has been mentioned few times on this one.

    Or when "contribution" as a bug - AKA "search" "feature" is really ignored ?
    ( I know it is third party software running this forum...)


  • Moderators

    @AnneRanch said in is it ethical ?:

    is it ethical for "for profit " organization to ask for any form of contribution ?

    That's an interesting question ... this epicness has been unfolding on another channel, and the answer isn't truly clear cut. Although, in fairness, nobody "asked" me, i.e. nobody contacted me as I was lugging around doing nothing and coerced me to start writing in this forum.

    Especially when it is out of the "for profit" organization job description to read users comments in forums - like it has been mentioned few times on this one.

    That's simply incorrect. Were you ever promised that QtC engineers are going to review your questions/complaints when you signed up for the forum? I wasn't, nor did I expect it, nor did I seek it. Also where does it say that it's the organization's job description to do that? I haven't been able to identify a source for such a claim.



  • @kshegunov ...how typical reply
    I ask if it is ethical and I get a lecture about "promises" and " prove it ".
    Why is that ?

    I bet if I post
    "how much is one and one" I will get

    " depends on your numbering system..."

    In another forum I asked for recommendation , resource book
    and excluded / added "no utube"
    and guess what one of the technies replay was

    ...utube is not a book...
    and of course no recommendation.
    No I didn't post the request in "lounge" to expect funny replies.

    In older days people said to would be comedians " don't quit your day job "...


  • Moderators

    @AnneRanch said in is it ethical ?:

    @kshegunov ...how typical reply

    How come? Typical of what?

    I ask if it is ethical and I get a lecture about "promises" and " prove it ".
    Why is that ?

    I did answer what I think, but you chose to not read it, or at least not include it in your comment. Plus, I gave no lecture, nor was I sarcastic.

    You made a claim, I challenged that claim, but instead of defending it you decided it's a good idea to argue about my personality/behaviour, which was neither detracting nor impolite. This is not how you present and/or win arguments.

    In another forum I asked for recommendation , resource book
    and excluded / added "no utube"
    and guess what one of the technies replay was

    ...utube is not a book...
    and of course no recommendation.

    What you say matter, but how you say it matters as well. He may've not liked your tone, I can't know.

    No I didn't post the request in "lounge" to expect funny replies.

    There was nothing funny (or comic) in my reply, neither in shape, nor in form, nor was its intent to be perceived as funny.



  • @kshegunov said in is it ethical ?:

    You made a claim, I challenged that claim,

    and that is where / why I am not so sure about your "challenge".
    I fully expect differences of opinions , however ,from past experience and you have just provided another similar experience - why is it always "my style / tone / position etc. " which gets criticized ?
    And I leave it alone - it makes no difference defending my style...

    It is peculiar that it is happening in "lounge" . I would expect the environment be more tolerable , something I call "beer talk - where all world's problems get solved ... "

    Ok. if you want to get serious - about being asked to contribute -
    if the solicitor is receiving a paycheck it is not ethical to solicit free contributions.

    ...let's have another round of good brew... cheers


  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    well when the said "for-profit" company, also allows free use of their products
    i have no ethical concerns.
    If was 100% closed source i would find it distasteful, men in the current setup, it seem pretty fair.


  • Moderators

    @mrjj said in is it ethical ?:

    well when the said "for-profit" company, also allows free use of their products
    i have no ethical concerns.

    Well, there are ethical concerns, proven by your own signature. But as I said, it's not clear cut either way.

    @AnneRanch said in is it ethical ?:

    and that is where / why I am not so sure about your "challenge".
    I fully expect differences of opinions , however ,from past experience and you have just provided another similar experience - why is it always "my style / tone / position etc. " which gets criticized ?

    I didn't criticize anything about you, only an assertion you'd made. But I wonder, why do you take that personally? Are you under the impression that the universe is out to get you for some reason?

    It is peculiar that it is happening in "lounge" . I would expect the environment be more tolerable , something I call "beer talk - where all world's problems get solved ... "

    What is the intolerable part? We're just chatting, so what is wrong with that environment?

    Ok. if you want to get serious - about being asked to contribute -
    if the solicitor is receiving a paycheck it is not ethical to solicit free contributions.

    Yes, this is true somewhat. But then again we do get stuff back from the entity that gets the paycheck as well, so it isn't a one-sided deal so to say. Unfortunately it's a very gray area where they get and we get, and they make money and we (may) make money, so inevitably there's going to be some conflict of interest. At least to me it isn't quite clear where you make the cut between ethical and unethical.



  • @mrjj I will NEVER deny to anybody to feed himself no matter how.
    Something about making personal choices irregardless how it looks to the outside world.

    Your comment reminds me about one I heard few years ago.
    About "what do you expect for free?"

    But this recent encounter , asking for contribution, reminds me of an era when "beta testes wanted" was not that uncommon and sometime included "free" product.


  • Moderators

    @AnneRanch said in is it ethical ?:

    is it ethical for "for profit " organization to ask for any form of contribution ?

    Sure, why not? You are using their product for free, after all.

    why is it always "my style / tone / position etc. " which gets criticized ?

    Style/tone/position etc. get criticized when they are abrasive, toxic, excessively-demanding, and/or self-entitled. They don't get criticized when they are civil, respectful, and/or constructive


  • Moderators

    @JKSH said in is it ethical ?:

    You are using their product for free, after all.

    Are you? I mean, is it this one sided? And you follow the list, you know what I mean ...


  • Moderators

    @kshegunov said in is it ethical ?:

    Are you? I mean, is it this one sided? And you follow the list, you know what I mean ...

    I know what you mean and I read the list, but I don't think that's relevant to this thread. @AnneRanch's core logic is, "Company XYZ makes profit, therefore it is unethical for Company XYZ to ask me to submit bug reports" -- I disagree with this logic.

    • There is nothing unethical about Microsoft asking me to submit bug reports for Windows or Microsoft Word.
    • There is nothing unethical about Apple asking me to submit bug reports for macOS or iPhone.
    • There is nothing unethical about The Qt Company asking me to submit bug reports for Qt or Qt Creator.

    This holds, even if there are ethical concerns about Company XYZ's business practices.


  • Moderators

    @JKSH said in is it ethical ?:

    @AnneRanch's core logic is, "Company XYZ makes profit, therefore it is unethical for Company XYZ to ask me to submit bug reports"

    <facepalm>
    That's what this thread's about?
    LOL, don't I feel silly now ...

    I disagree with this logic.

    So do I.


  • Banned

    It is absolutely ethical for a "for profit" organization to ask for any form of contribution.



  • there is an old saying: "business ethics is an oxy-moron"...The function of business is to maximimize profit while minimizing output/work. Anyone who thinks ethics and business are compatible is quite naive.


  • Moderators

    @Kent-Dorfman said in is it ethical ?:

    The function of business is to maximimize profit while minimizing output/work.

    That's quite an unsustainable way to run a business. Think of the triple bottom line instead.


  • Moderators

    @JKSH said in is it ethical ?:

    @Kent-Dorfman said in is it ethical ?:

    The function of business is to maximimize profit while minimizing output/work.

    That's quite an unsustainable way to run a business. Think of the triple bottom line instead.

    This wasn't the original point. Some animals, just as some companies, have/are/will eat themselves out of existence. It isn't about sustainability to begin with.


  • Moderators

    @kshegunov said in is it ethical ?:

    This wasn't the original point. Some animals, just as some companies, have/are/will eat themselves out of existence. It isn't about sustainability to begin with.

    I consider "sustainable" a superset of "ethical". @Kent-Dorfman claims that businesses cannot be ethical because of the bottom line; I say that shifting focus from the economic bottom line to the triple bottom line is a good way to start doing ethical business. Even though the original proponent sees problems with current implementations, business systems are changing.


  • Moderators

    @JKSH said in is it ethical ?:

    I consider "sustainable" a superset of "ethical".

    I don't. You could sustain a business for a long time/forever without being ethical.

    @Kent-Dorfman claims that businesses cannot be ethical because of the bottom line

    They could be, although as far as I understand the claim, they need not be, nor are they required to to exist and grow, which I agree with. The two things are independent. Also putting the label "ethical" to a mechanical entity is rather dubious. It's like saying that your factory robot should be more kind, or more ethical. It simply isn't applicable.


  • Moderators

    @kshegunov said in is it ethical ?:

    They could be, although as far as I understand the claim, they need not be, nor are they required to to exist and grow

    Nope. "Anyone who thinks ethics and business are compatible is quite naive" does not say that "a business can be -- but doesn't need to be -- run ethically". It clearly says that "businesses can never be run ethically".

    To reiterate and rephrase my answer to that claim: Running a business in a manner that is economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable is one way to start running a business ethically. (This is my ∃ counterexample to @Kent-Dorfman's ∀)

    It's like saying that your factory robot should be more kind, or more ethical.

    I'm not asking the robot to be kinder. I'm asking the robot's owner/programmer/operator to take additional steps to ensure that the robot doesn't rip off someone's limb (or form Skynet), even if taking those steps increases the costs of implementing/running the robot and cuts into profits.

    Also putting the label "ethical" to a mechanical entity is rather dubious.

    The decisions made by a business' directors can certainly be ethical, unethical, or various shades of gray.

    I consider "sustainable" a superset of "ethical".

    I don't. You could sustain a business for a long time/forever without being ethical.... The two things are independent.

    We're using different meanings of the term "sustainable" here. I'm talking about the business sustaining itself, and the land/air/sea that hosts the business, and guarding the interests of multitudes of stakeholders (not just the shareholders), all at the same time. You're talking about the business sustaining itself in isolation.

    But anyway, that's beside the point, like you said. Even if "sustainable" is independent of "ethical", that still doesn't invalidate my answer to the claim that "businesses can never be run ethically".


  • Moderators

    @JKSH said in is it ethical ?:

    Nope. "Anyone who thinks ethics and business are compatible is quite naive" does not say that "a business can be -- but doesn't need to be -- run ethically". It clearly says that "businesses can never be run ethically".

    To reiterate and rephrase my answer to that claim: Running a business in a manner that is economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable is one way to start running a business ethically. (This is my ∃ counterexample to @Kent-Dorfman's ∀)

    Fair point. Although I don't consider a business to be a cohesive single-minded entity, nor that you could assign social attributes to it. At least to me, which I believe is @Kent-Dorfman's point too, a business has one purpose to exist (one purpose to rule them all, if you will) - to make money for its owner.

    I'm not asking the robot to be kinder. I'm asking the robot's owner/programmer/operator to take additional steps to ensure that the robot doesn't rip off someone's limb (or form Skynet), even if taking those steps increases the costs of implementing/running the robot and cuts into profits.

    Businesses already do consider not killing people, mostly. Elsewise they run the risk of getting forcefully prosecuted and terminated.

    The decisions made by a business' directors can certainly be ethical, unethical, or various shades of gray.

    Various shades of gray it is. However consider something terrible, like a coal mining company, shall they run their operations for free as coal is the terrible industry killing thousands of people worldwide (mostly indirectly)? So is it ethical to have a mining company to begin with? It ain't sustainable by your definition, shall we close all of them, or condemn them somehow from our warm(-ish) coal-powered homes?

    We're using different meanings of the term "sustainable" here. I'm talking about the business sustaining itself, and the land/air/sea that hosts the business, and guarding the interests of multitudes of stakeholders (not just the shareholders), all at the same time. You're talking about the business sustaining itself in isolation.

    ^ See above argument.
    Also consider a company that makes/sells explosives, weapons, digs for anything basically (same concerns as with coal), sells medical equipment (imagine you need it, but you don't have enough money to pay); the list goes on forever.

    But anyway, that's beside the point, like you said. Even if "sustainable" is independent of "ethical", that still doesn't invalidate my answer to the claim that "businesses can never be run ethically".

    I guess, if you consider ethics a category applicable to legal entities, which I (still) don't.


  • Moderators

    @kshegunov said in is it ethical ?:

    At least to me, which I believe is @Kent-Dorfman's point too, a business has one purpose to exist (one purpose to rule them all, if you will) - to make money for its owner.

    I agree that a business' primary purpose is to make profit too. I don't agree that this primary purpose should be pursued at all costs.

    @Kent-Dorfman's argument is "Behaving ethically reduces profit, therefore ethics has no place in business." This is quite different to your argument that "Ethics does not apply to entities that are not natural persons".

    Businesses already do consider not killing people, mostly. Elsewise they run the risk of getting forcefully prosecuted and terminated.

    Precisely. This shows that ethical considerations are codified in law and applied to businesses, no? (I'm presuming that you agree that "Avoid injuring or killing people" is ethical. Same goes for "Always use accurate scales for your customers, never rig scales" and even "Don't pressure your staff into begrudgingly working unpaid overtime".)

    Anyway, the key phrase in my robot example was "even if taking those steps increases the costs... and cuts into profits". In other words, the primary purpose of making money can and should be guided by other (ethical) considerations.

    I don't consider a business to be a cohesive single-minded entity, nor that you could assign social attributes to it.

    ...

    I guess, if you consider ethics a category applicable to legal entities, which I (still) don't.

    That's OK. Regardless of our difference in opinion there, can you accept the following?

    1. A business can be run in an ethical or unethical manner (Example: using rigged scales to unethically increase profits vs. using accurate scales always).
    2. A business should be run in an ethical manner even if it means less money is then made as a result.

    'Cos I don't care whether or not it makes sense to stick a label on a business/company. I care about the side-effects of the business' money-making process.

    consider something terrible, like a coal mining company, shall they run their operations for free as coal is the terrible industry killing thousands of people worldwide (mostly indirectly)?

    If a business is proven to contribute to deaths, then how much it charges for its services is irrelevant. At the very least, it needs to take steps to reduce those deaths, pronto. If it won't do that voluntarily, then it is continuing to operate unethically so the law and/or society needs to ensure that continuing as-is leads to the business "getting forcefully prosecuted and terminated" (Shegunov, 2021).

    It ain't sustainable by your definition, shall we close all of them, or condemn them somehow from our warm(-ish) coal-powered homes?

    Short answer: If an action reduces those deaths, then let's pursue that.

    Long answer: Coal dependence and its effects is a wicked problem that can't be solved in a forum post. When I mentioned the "interests of a multitude of stakeholders" before, that list here includes the towns/communities whose existence currently depends on the operation of the coal mine, the people who currently depend on burning coal to avoid freezing in winter, the people who are currently losing their homes/livelihoods/lives to the changing climate that coal extraction+use is contributing to, among countless others.

    So is it ethical to have a mining company to begin with?

    I don't understand this question. Care to clarify your underlying question?

    Also consider a company that makes/sells explosives, weapons, digs for anything basically (same concerns as with coal), sells medical equipment (imagine you need it, but you don't have enough money to pay); the list goes on forever.

    "the list goes on forever" -- This has no bearing on whether or not ethics apply. "Ridiculously difficult" != "Shouldn't do".


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