The progressive speaking stack, in Python

30 January 2013, 22:27

In the free software activism BoF at LCA this evening, Sky raised the idea of using a progressive speaking stack. This is something that came out of Occupy Wall Street:

Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly operates under a revolutionary “progressive stack.” A normal “stack” means those who wish to speak get in line. A progressive stack encourages women and traditionally marginalized groups speak before men, especially white men. This is something that has been in place since the beginning, it is necessary, and it is important.

(I can’t help noting that this is a queue rather than a stack.) Anyway for lulz I decided to implement it in Python.

>>> from progressive import Speaker, ProgressiveStack
>>> sortMethod = lambda speaker: speaker.privilege()
>>> s = ProgressiveStack(sortMethod)
>>> A = Speaker('A')
>>> B = Speaker('B')
>>> C = Speaker('C')
>>> D = Speaker('D')
>>> s.add(A)
>>> s.add(B)
>>> print s
ProgressiveStack<[Speaker<A>,Speaker<B>]>
>>> speaker = s.next()
>>> speaker.speak()
'AAA!'
>>> print s
ProgressiveStack<[Speaker<B>]>
>>> s.add(C)
>>> speaker = s.next()
>>> speaker.speak()
'BBB!'
>>> s.add(A)  # this person obviously has a lot to say...
>>> print s
ProgressiveStack<[Speaker<C>,Speaker<A>]>
>>> s.add(D)
>>> print s
ProgressiveStack<[Speaker<C>,Speaker<D>,Speaker<A>]>

Note D has moved ahead of A, because A has already spoken.

Enjoy. :)

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  1. The progressive speaking stack as described in your two references is quite different to what was implemented last night. The procedure last night was that whoever had spoken recently went to the back of the stack – this is a good thing and does help other people get heard. But it’s quite different from giving people from marginalised groups an opportunity to speak first.

    I think that a progressive speaking stack would be a good thing for LCA in general (not just BoFs like the one last night).

    Russell Coker · Jan 31, 08:27 AM · #

  2. Yes, but I think Sky’s simplified suggestion last night was smart to avoid derailing the entire discussion into a debate about privilege.

    pfctdayelise · Jan 31, 11:50 AM · #

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