40 votes

RMS addresses the free software community

66 comments

  1. [35]
    DanBC
    Link
    This is pretty terrible. He starts by taking responsibility for his behaviours. He then says that other people need to tell him when he's doing something wrong -- but shouldn't he take some...

    This is pretty terrible.

    He starts by taking responsibility for his behaviours. He then says that other people need to tell him when he's doing something wrong -- but shouldn't he take some responsibility here? He knows he upsets people. He should get some help with his comms to avoid causing the hurt. He finishes by pretty much saying he was right anyway and that people just misunderstood him, which is frankly infuriating.

    People were not saying Minsky was as bad as Epstein. They were saying there were problems that MIT needed to avoid in future. RMS jumped into the thread and started by saying [let's assume these things are true - that Minksy had sex with a coerced, trafficked, 17 year old]. He then went on to defend Minsky, and he based his defence on his flawed understanding of sexual assault and the English language.

    26 votes
    1. [3]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      This is the key here. Even if he didn't know before, he knows now and hasn't changed.

      He knows he upsets people.

      This is the key here. Even if he didn't know before, he knows now and hasn't changed.

      21 votes
      1. [2]
        Odysseus
        Link Parent
        Maybe I'm being too charitable, I haven't followed RMS nor any of the scandals around him very closely beyond what I've seen on tildes, but based off this kinda shitty apology, I don't think he...

        Maybe I'm being too charitable, I haven't followed RMS nor any of the scandals around him very closely beyond what I've seen on tildes, but based off this kinda shitty apology, I don't think he really grasps why he offends people. Writing a good apology in itself requires knowing what you did wrong, but also why what he did was wrong. He seems to have gotten the what, but it doesn't seem like he gets the why beyond "these actions upset people".

        18 votes
        1. lionirdeadman
          Link Parent
          As evidence that he does not get the why (and arguably doesn't believe the what), he currently still has this on his website's frontpage : I really can't read this and think he has learned or...

          As evidence that he does not get the why (and arguably doesn't believe the what), he currently still has this on his website's frontpage :

          I continue to be the Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project.
          This is my long-term commitment and I plan to continue.
          Supporting me against a campaign of hatred

          I really can't read this and think he has learned or acknowledged his wrongs at all.

          12 votes
    2. [30]
      knocklessmonster
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I legitimately doubt he can unless somebody specifically spells out the offense and the resulting harm, which seems to be his response here. He seems to have an unlucky combination of issues: Lack...

      shouldn't he take some responsibility here?

      I legitimately doubt he can unless somebody specifically spells out the offense and the resulting harm, which seems to be his response here. He seems to have an unlucky combination of issues: Lack of social ability for whatever reason, and obliviousness to the harm he can cause unless it is directly brought to his attention.

      I have no doubt that at any point he has meant well, but his incapacities alone present significant issues for GNU and FSF if they go unchecked, which they have, unfortunately. He needs something in the way of a narrative caretaker to bounce his ideas off of so he can focus on the stuff he excels at.

      These incapacities also equate to his seeming lack of learning about the social harms he has committed, and I'd imagine they come from the same place, whatever that place is.

      I'm not interested in discussing his specific points, as anybody following this knows what they are. I just think he more has an inability to not enter the discussion, rather than a decided interest in chiming in.

      EDIT: After I got a vote, I realized I wanted to clarify my point. For the organizations he purports to represent as a person (but not with his opinions), this poses a problem to solve, even if it means his removal from official capacities at his affiliated organizations.

      19 votes
      1. [29]
        whbboyd
        Link Parent
        …And the technical skills and having been in the right place at the right time to have been thrust into the spotlight of an international social movement. If he had just been another ESR...

        He seems to have an unlucky combination of issues: Lack of social ability for whatever reason, and obliviousness to the harm he can cause unless it is directly brought to his attention.

        …And the technical skills and having been in the right place at the right time to have been thrust into the spotlight of an international social movement. If he had just been another ESR (hopefully less wingnutty…), I don't think we'd give him any more notice than we do ESR; he'd just be another of those kind of weird progenitors of techie culture.

        (He might have been happier in that alternate universe than he is in this one, too.)

        13 votes
        1. [28]
          keb
          Link Parent
          Which makes me wonder -- can the socially incompetent simply not be in leadership positions in the modern age? Even if you founded your own organization from the ground up, a Twitter mob can...

          Which makes me wonder -- can the socially incompetent simply not be in leadership positions in the modern age? Even if you founded your own organization from the ground up, a Twitter mob can swiftly gather disapproval for you and pressure those in your organization to oust you. It is now completely reasonable to fear being unpopular. Reminds me of the Black Mirror episode, "Nosedive."

          8 votes
          1. [5]
            lionirdeadman
            Link Parent
            I just want to remind that this is not a Twitter mob. The people who signed the letter have worked on Free Software for a long time and have suffered from RMS and the FSF's failures.

            a Twitter mob can swiftly gather disapproval for you and pressure those in your organization to oust you.

            I just want to remind that this is not a Twitter mob. The people who signed the letter have worked on Free Software for a long time and have suffered from RMS and the FSF's failures.

            13 votes
            1. [4]
              keb
              Link Parent
              This is not entirely true. Most people who signed the letter are under the "Individuals" section and are not necessarily associated with FSF or RMS. I know of some people in my tech circle who...

              This is not entirely true. Most people who signed the letter are under the "Individuals" section and are not necessarily associated with FSF or RMS. I know of some people in my tech circle who have signed the letter who are certainly not associated with FSF.

              4 votes
              1. [3]
                lionirdeadman
                Link Parent
                You don't need to be associated with the FSF to suffer from RMS and the FSF's failures. Anyone working on Free Software has been affected due to GNU's continued presence in the Linux space, the...

                You don't need to be associated with the FSF to suffer from RMS and the FSF's failures. Anyone working on Free Software has been affected due to GNU's continued presence in the Linux space, the FSF's lack of leadership when it comes to important issues and its acceptance of toxic behaviour at its conference (without mentioning that it tries to represent the movement).

                I believe that most people have some relationship with Free Software and that's plainly evident from the list of organizations who have signed it and the sheer amount of individuals who are affiliated with projects. There are also some who have decided not to show affiliations because they didn't want to give a position to the projects they're affiliated with and some have not signed it to give their own statement on the situation.

                From what I've seen also, certain GNU maintainers say they can't sign it because they'd need to leave their projects but they stand by the idea. There's been a lot of talk about removing RMS and the FSF board on the GNU mailing lists.

                10 votes
                1. [2]
                  keb
                  Link Parent
                  I understand what you're saying, but your original comment was misleading. For a period, anyone was able to fork and sign the open letter on Github.

                  I understand what you're saying, but your original comment was misleading. For a period, anyone was able to fork and sign the open letter on Github.

                  4 votes
                  1. lionirdeadman
                    Link Parent
                    I don't see anything wrong with letting anyone sign it as long as they are not trolls or bigots. It doesn't change who most of the signatures are from which is what my original comment was...

                    I don't see anything wrong with letting anyone sign it as long as they are not trolls or bigots. It doesn't change who most of the signatures are from which is what my original comment was insinuating.

                    The point I was making is more so that most people are not just an angry mob unrelated to Free Software but rather, mostly people who are related to Free Software. I guess it wasn't clear that I wasn't talking in absolutes though.

                    8 votes
          2. [8]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            It's not like they were ever particularly good as leaders; leading people is a social skill. Many people can be geniuses and found important movements, but that doesn't mean they're appropriate to...

            It's not like they were ever particularly good as leaders; leading people is a social skill. Many people can be geniuses and found important movements, but that doesn't mean they're appropriate to actually handle people.

            8 votes
            1. [6]
              Micycle_the_Bichael
              Link Parent
              This feels like something I've heard a lot in tech. People who are really good at programming get promotions because they're good at programming. However, the skill set needed to manage is very...

              This feels like something I've heard a lot in tech. People who are really good at programming get promotions because they're good at programming. However, the skill set needed to manage is very different than the one needed to program/architect. So you end up with people who don't have leadership skills in positions of power because they were good at a different job that required different skills.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                DataWraith
                Link Parent
                The general case of this is called the Peter principle:

                The general case of this is called the Peter principle:

                people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence": employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent

                8 votes
                1. Micycle_the_Bichael
                  Link Parent
                  Thank you for a term for this :) Will make reading about it and discussing it a lot easier

                  Thank you for a term for this :) Will make reading about it and discussing it a lot easier

              2. [3]
                bloup
                Link Parent
                This is also how college education works, where you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn from people who have no qualification to be an educator (and don't even want to actually be...

                This is also how college education works, where you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn from people who have no qualification to be an educator (and don't even want to actually be teaching you, while they are at it, too).

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  streblo
                  Link Parent
                  This is certainly aggravating in undergrad but if you're getting a doctorate the most desirable trait in a professor is related to the level and status of their area of research and their ability...

                  This is certainly aggravating in undergrad but if you're getting a doctorate the most desirable trait in a professor is related to the level and status of their area of research and their ability to convey that information is secondary. Unfortunately this trickles down to undergrad degrees which certainly don't need professors who skew so deeply into their research vs teaching.

                  1 vote
                  1. bloup
                    Link Parent
                    Oh yeah, I understand all that, I actually wanted to be a college professor for a while. But it's stuff like this that made me realize that universities don't actually care about undergrads beyond...

                    Oh yeah, I understand all that, I actually wanted to be a college professor for a while. But it's stuff like this that made me realize that universities don't actually care about undergrads beyond the amount of tuition money they can scare out of them through 12 years of marketing. So I decided I did not want to be part of it.

                    I mean, here's an easy solution: don't make undergraduate education a chore for researchers. Instead, give researchers who are willing to educate undergraduates esteem, recognition, and maybe even additional compensation. But like, nobody will even try it because there is no point. it's not like people will stop signing up for school as long as they think that there is no way to participate in society in a meaningful way without a college degree (and who is cultivating this attitude and who is it really benefiting?).

                    2 votes
            2. keb
              Link Parent
              Good point, this is what I'm beginning to believe.

              Good point, this is what I'm beginning to believe.

              1 vote
          3. [2]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            It's not just social incompetence. It's the combination of social incompetence with a refusal to put in place any kind of protection, and with the addition of an attitude that really the problem...

            It's not just social incompetence. It's the combination of social incompetence with a refusal to put in place any kind of protection, and with the addition of an attitude that really the problem is with other people's lack of understanding.

            7 votes
            1. keb
              Link Parent
              What you described can be a direct result of someone's social incompetence though. It's generally a lack of normal human empathy.

              What you described can be a direct result of someone's social incompetence though. It's generally a lack of normal human empathy.

              2 votes
          4. [12]
            bloup
            Link Parent
            Social skills can be taught to children, and we just don't really do that, especially not for men. Men who have social disabilities get left in the dust only to be constantly shoving their foot in...

            Social skills can be taught to children, and we just don't really do that, especially not for men. Men who have social disabilities get left in the dust only to be constantly shoving their foot in their mouth as an adult because personal growth and admitting you might be wrong is "anti-masculine". But, with therapy and compassion these sorts of things can easily be nurtured, yet everyone acts like "you have it or you don't" as if it's different from literally any other skill.

            7 votes
            1. [11]
              vektor
              Link Parent
              TBF, learning social skills outside of therapy can be a horrible endeavor. You can only learn if you're getting feedback about what you're doing wrong. And in online spaces or with a language...

              TBF, learning social skills outside of therapy can be a horrible endeavor. You can only learn if you're getting feedback about what you're doing wrong. And in online spaces or with a language barrier or if you're interacting with people who communicate their discomfort through subtle cues only (or possibly other hindrances), you're kinda shit outta luck, even if you desperately want to improve. Guidance is essential here and imo, hard to come by.

              4 votes
              1. [10]
                bloup
                Link Parent
                It's because we don't even try to teach it. Part of teaching good social skills should include teaching those with "good" social skills how to interact with those that don't, in a way that helps...

                learning social skills outside of therapy can be a horrible endeavor.

                It's because we don't even try to teach it. Part of teaching good social skills should include teaching those with "good" social skills how to interact with those that don't, in a way that helps them learn and not feel isolated. But we definitely don't do that, either...

                6 votes
                1. [8]
                  Amarok
                  Link Parent
                  We have a solution for this, it's called tabletop gaming. Educators are waaaaay behind the curve on using tabletop as a treatment for underdeveloped or maladjusted social behaviors, but it's been...

                  We have a solution for this, it's called tabletop gaming.

                  Educators are waaaaay behind the curve on using tabletop as a treatment for underdeveloped or maladjusted social behaviors, but it's been catching on slowly in the last couple of years, mostly thanks to the massive boost in visibility of tabletop gaming provided by social media. That attack on gaming thanks to certain religious groups did it no favors, or this might have happened during the 80s.

                  RMS's problem, in a nutshell, is that he didn't get enough Dungeons and Dragons in his diet. :P

                  So far I haven't seen anyone ask the question: What does a tabletop game designed specifically for teaching social interaction look like? The long history of these games shows they were certainly not designed for that specific purpose from the ground up, so they aren't optimized for it by a long shot - and yet they are highly effective. You'd think Hasbro would get in on this and start selling game packs to educators aimed specifically at teaching social skills through the game mechanics. I guess they haven't had that idea yet.

                  12 votes
                  1. [5]
                    kfwyre
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Can confirm. Not D&D specifically, but the social skills groups at my school have structured gameplay as part of their curriculum, which helps with a whole host of social skills including...

                    Can confirm.

                    Not D&D specifically, but the social skills groups at my school have structured gameplay as part of their curriculum, which helps with a whole host of social skills including turn-taking, social negotiation, and perspective taking.

                    7 votes
                    1. [4]
                      vektor
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      Huh. Was about to page you. Well, no need. You have social skills groups? As in, an actual class? Mandatory? ETA: I think such a thing better be mandatory, at least for enough time to allow people...

                      Huh. Was about to page you. Well, no need.

                      You have social skills groups? As in, an actual class? Mandatory?

                      ETA: I think such a thing better be mandatory, at least for enough time to allow people who need it to warm up to it. If we assume that D&D is basically improv theatre for nerds, then I would expect the same crowd volunteering for such a social skills class: Those who already have a fair bit of social skills and don't really need it; extroverts, social people. But the people who would profit off it will be too afraid to be embarrassed in front of the popular crowd. You'll have to force those guys in, and hopefully that breaks the ice enough for them to eventually enjoy the class.

                      Or maybe D&D attracts the unsociable nerds because there's that layer of "protection" and abstraction of playing a character. What do you think?

                      5 votes
                      1. kfwyre
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        Thanks for thinking of me! They are not mandatory, and there are a couple of different implementations of social skills groups. The most intensive one is run via our speech pathologist. This one...

                        Thanks for thinking of me!

                        They are not mandatory, and there are a couple of different implementations of social skills groups.

                        The most intensive one is run via our speech pathologist. This one is considered a special education service for students with significant social needs. Many of our students on the autism spectrum qualify for this one, though they are not the only ones it in. The class is designed around helping students understand and engage in “social pragmatics”, which is essentially a foundational set of social skills that will help them understand and interface with the wider world in more normative ways.

                        Less intensive groups are run by our counselors. These tend to be more focused on students that are socially “at risk” — the students who don’t talk to peers at all or could use a friend or in-crowd for their social and emotional health. These are less structured and are more student-driven, as the goal of these is often to get the students initiate and sustain conversation on their own. The counselor is often there to get the ball rolling, guide conversation, or even teach specific social skills if there’s a need for it.

                        Above this we even have less formal ones run by teachers/staff, most often during lunch. These are more freeform and are pretty much up to that individual staff member. A lot of these exist for students for whom social anxiety, especially in the cafeteria, is particularly rough. The same goes for some students with autism, for whom the cafeteria can a sensory nightmare. These give a separate, smaller, safer space to students who need that.

                        There are also extra-curriculars, and people here will be glad to know that the past two schools I’ve worked in have had official tabletop gaming after-school clubs! I’ve even covered for the teachers who have run them a few times when they needed a sub.

                        With regards to your question, I actually think “mandatory social skills class” is actually just school in general. There is a lot of explicit social skill instruction embedded into our practices, especially at lower levels. Teachers at younger grades do a lot with things like taking turns in conversations and introducing yourself to others, for example. The level I work at has the separate social skills groups as interventions because our students are old enough that it has become clear who has not picked up the requisite skills from the wider school environment and needs more explicit or individualized help.

                        It’s also worth noting that this isn’t all one-directional. There has been a big push for greater understanding, inclusion, and appreciation for differences with students, to the point that many students with atypical behaviors or social skills are more broadly accepted by their peers. Students that would have been mercilessly bullied when I was a kid (which was not that long ago) are often accepted or, at the very least, ignored rather than made fun of. We still have a long way to go on increasing wider support and understanding of people with atypical behaviors, but we’re moving in the right direction on this IMO. I have taught classes where nobody bats an eye at a student who is stimming, for example, because they understand it’s just a way that student needs to process things. It’s the kind of inclusion that honestly warms my heart and that I find beautiful.

                        I do think D&D is a great socialization tool, as is really any group activity with a common goal. Get people to work towards something fun, together, and you pretty much lay the groundwork for positive interaction (as long as it’s low stakes). It’s the idea behind “icebreaker” or “team building” activities at the professional level, for example. These are commonly disliked at a surface level but when engaged in with fidelity they often genuinely do create a positive social cohesion and affinity, which is a solid ground on which to build skills.

                        9 votes
                      2. [2]
                        Amarok
                        (edited )
                        Link Parent
                        I think the numbers aspect attracts a fair bit on its own - these games have rules that are more complicated than you'll find in any other class of games by orders of magnitude. Literally several...

                        I think the numbers aspect attracts a fair bit on its own - these games have rules that are more complicated than you'll find in any other class of games by orders of magnitude. Literally several hundred pages of rules. That's why they sell 'starter' kits with simpler rules to take the sting out of it.

                        The game master has to know most of the rules and be able to look up the others on the fly. The players only have to worry about the stuff that applies to their character, which is like 1/20th of the gestalt. There are classes that are dirt simple to play (warriors) and classes that are fiendishly complicated (wizard) so you can pick your poison. This is why GMing takes more practice until you've got the rules at the level of instinct and don't have to think about them.

                        You'd want the highly social people as the game masters for sure. They have to play every NPC/creature in the game world that isn't the players, after all - having the ability to improv story, think for the bad guys to keep them challenging, and put on a handful of voices or accents is a huge bonus.

                        Being a good GM is ego food, so while you might have to do some talking to get them into the chair, once they get a taste for it (just one session) they'll want to come back and play some more.

                        The most challenging thing about tabletop is something educators can help with: finding a group. Time was we had local gaming stores for that, but covid took care of the few that still existed for the most part.

                        6 votes
                        1. Micycle_the_Bichael
                          Link Parent
                          ^^ my introduction to MtG and D&D was at a gaming club in middle school run by one of the teachers who would DM/co-DM games for new members and help train interested players in how to be a good...

                          The most challenging thing about tabletop is something educators can help with: finding a group.

                          ^^ my introduction to MtG and D&D was at a gaming club in middle school run by one of the teachers who would DM/co-DM games for new members and help train interested players in how to be a good DM, and then let people run wild and write their own campaigns or borrow his books to use premade campaigns. Only rule was you had to stay in the same room so he could watch to make sure his expensive books didn't get lost and that no bullying was happening. It did wonders for a lot of us in terms of getting comfortable meeting new people, being imaginative, and not being embarrassed for just having ideas or being a bit weird. I think clubs like this are critical for schools.

                          4 votes
                  2. [2]
                    Micycle_the_Bichael
                    Link Parent
                    well if you're ever interested in making a startup you've got at least one interested backer/helper :) I think that's a really interesting and great idea.

                    well if you're ever interested in making a startup you've got at least one interested backer/helper :) I think that's a really interesting and great idea.

                    1 vote
                    1. Amarok
                      Link Parent
                      I've thought about it, but frankly my own social skills aren't exemplary. It's better handled by a team of number-obsessed geeks like me paired with psychologists that have deep understanding of...

                      I've thought about it, but frankly my own social skills aren't exemplary. It's better handled by a team of number-obsessed geeks like me paired with psychologists that have deep understanding of game theory and educators that have a wealth of experience dealing with those particular developmental issues.

                      It will also help immensely if the educators themselves have experience being dungeon masters and running these sorts of games. That's a learned skill and it takes some serious time doing it to become good at it. One can't pick it up in a week or even a year. In a game aimed at social skills in particular, the educator in the game master role is going to have even more responsibility, as it'll come down to them to keep the sessions productive and engaging while focused on learning.

                      I can promise you this much: Any child who plays one of these games, even badly, is going to leave the room thinking 'that's the best game ever!' and come back again the next day. They simply have no defense against a game that is designed to fire the imagination like that.

                      7 votes
                2. vektor
                  Link Parent
                  Good point. I think social skills are normative rather than positive, in a way. If everyone had social skills like RMS, his behavior wouldn't cause hurt and the world would keep on turning....

                  Good point. I think social skills are normative rather than positive, in a way. If everyone had social skills like RMS, his behavior wouldn't cause hurt and the world would keep on turning. Everything would be just fine. If everyone (including RMS) would follow the more conscientious, indirect method, RMS wouldn't hurt anyone either. It's when these different norms clash that trouble begins. E.g. people complaining about indirect communication, passive aggressiveness, etc; or people being offended by hearing someone's opinion unfiltered and directly. It's not as easy as to say "everyone go right" and it's done, because that puts the people on the right at an advantage because they're on home turf, and people on the left have to adapt.

                  I dunno. I think the problem I see is this push towards one style of communication that really doesn't work for a lot of people or cultures. And if I think about it in terms of differing norms, it seems... unjust to enforce one set of norms over another similarly viable set of norms. Add in that I can perfectly understand RMS' controversial statements as (I think) they were meant by him. I don't think they're hurtful. (Intuitively) I think you have to contort yourself a fair bit to find malice or even offensiveness there. But I can also - on a rather intellectual level, mind you - see how what he said offends, but to me that entails assuming he meant things he clearly didn't say. I can also accept that -using other norms- assuming those implicit statements could be expected, hence if you subscribe to the other norms, you would assume he willfully implied these statements. But I don't think he did.

                  And at that point, my train of thought completely spirals out of control into a mess of who gets interpretative authority and who gets responsibility in case of a communication failure. And preventing communication failure is what social skills are all about. But I don't think I'll go there today.

                  7 votes
    3. pallas
      Link Parent
      RMS' attempted argument, which he thought was defending Minsky, was bizarre, and the choices he made in it are unsettling. As far as I have been able to tell, Giuffre stated that Epstein...

      RMS jumped into the thread and started by saying [let's assume these things are true - that Minksy had sex with a coerced, trafficked, 17 year old]

      RMS' attempted argument, which he thought was defending Minsky, was bizarre, and the choices he made in it are unsettling.

      As far as I have been able to tell, Giuffre stated that Epstein instructed her to have sex with certain people (eg, Prince Andrew and Dershowitz), that she did, and that they were involved in the abuse, but for other people, stated only that Epstein instructed her to, but did not state that she did or that she knew whether they were involved. To me, it seemed like the obvious defence, which I think Minsky's wife expressed, would be to argue that whatever Epstein's actions and intentions were, Minsky wasn't aware of them, wasn't involved, didn't do anything, and hadn't even been accused of doing anything.

      Yet instead, RMS constructed a set of assumptions in order to create a scenario where a prominent elderly man has sex with a teenager and, he argues, is blameless for doing so, because of the circumstances. In doing so, I think he significantly harmed Minsky's image, because the ensuing reporting on the scandal surrounding the argument reported on the imagined scenario, which, even if one accepts it, still casts him as being creepy and oblivious.

      Certainly, you can come up with sufficiently contrived and improbable fantasies where you can argue that a person is actually not at fault for doing something that would normally be abhorrent. While RMS didn't make his quite contrived enough to achieve this, in my view, and explained it ineptly, it could be done. But why leap immediately to such fantasies, when there doesn't seem to be any need to in the first place? Is it out of a culture of pseudorationalist edginess? Is it just out of complete bumbling cluelessness? Or does it come out of some desire, whether or not conscious, to be in that situation, where something forbidden but desirable to the person in some way is, through bizarre circumstances, made acceptable? I'm reminded of the sorts of people who, in conversations about security, immediately leap to fantasies where they would be justified in shooting someone.

      12 votes
  2. [2]
    JXM
    Link
    He is acknowledging the behavior and seems to be learning from it. Or at least realizing the impact his actions have had on others. But he doesn't address the larger issue, which is that his...

    He is acknowledging the behavior and seems to be learning from it. Or at least realizing the impact his actions have had on others. But he doesn't address the larger issue, which is that his behavior over the past decades has made the free software community seem like a less welcoming space to people, just as Linus Torvalds' behavior has put others off from the Linux community.

    As to whether he should have been re-instated in the first place, I don't know. And his line about directing comments to him personally and not the FSF seems boneheaded. He wields a significant influence over the FSF and they are the ones who re-instated him in the first place, so they should be getting flak for their decision.

    24 votes
    1. petrichor
      Link Parent
      For those interested: From the statement of the FSF board on the election of Richard Stallman.

      For those interested:

      We decided to bring RMS back because we missed his wisdom. His historical, legal and technical acumen on free software is unrivaled. He has a deep sensitivity to the ways that technologies can contribute to both the enhancement and the diminution of basic human rights. His global network of connections is invaluable. He remains the most articulate philosopher and an unquestionably dedicated advocate of freedom in computing.

      RMS acknowledges that he has made mistakes. He has sincere regrets, especially at how anger toward him personally has negatively impacted the reputation and mission of FSF. While his personal style remains troubling for some, a majority of the board feel his behavior has moderated and believe that his thinking strengthens the work of the FSF in pursuit of its mission.

      From the statement of the FSF board on the election of Richard Stallman.

      9 votes
  3. [2]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Many, many years ago, I was in a car accident on my way to work on Christmas Eve morning. As a result of that accident, I was several hours late to work and unable to call in (this was long before...

    Many, many years ago, I was in a car accident on my way to work on Christmas Eve morning. As a result of that accident, I was several hours late to work and unable to call in (this was long before cell phones). I was immediately fired from my job for being late.

    At the time, and for many years after, I was outraged, full of righteous indignation. You can't fire someone for something like that! Have you ever heard of extenuating circumstances?

    It took a long time for me to get to the point where I could remember and acknowledge that I had been late and/or entirely AWOL from the same job at least a half-dozen times before, over the course of only 6 or 8 months. It was frankly a minor miracle they hadn't fired me long before that.

    I really feel the same way about this whole RMS debacle. In my mind, RMS did little or nothing wrong in this specific incident ... but has built up a 30+ year history of -- at best -- misogynistic, insulting, hurtful behavior, that has earned him this global ostracization, even if this "final straw" might be imaginary.

    The woman that started this whole teacup tempest, Selam Gano, says something very similar in her latest update to the original article she posted about RMS, encouraging people to instead/additionally read her follow-up post documenting his 30-year history of annoyance and abuse at MIT.

    Unfortunately, I think that RMS is still (and may always remain) stuck in the "righteous indignation" phase.

    18 votes
    1. eladnarra
      Link Parent
      Thank you for posting that link - I'm not involved in any of these communities, so the Appendix outlining historical issues at MIT helped me understand the wider context.

      Thank you for posting that link - I'm not involved in any of these communities, so the Appendix outlining historical issues at MIT helped me understand the wider context.

      7 votes
  4. [16]
    vord
    Link
    One thing that immediately jumps out at me is that everything he states about himself and his life experience does fall in line with Aspergers. The sentiment feels honest, but still tone-deaf as...

    One thing that immediately jumps out at me is that everything he states about himself and his life experience does fall in line with Aspergers. The sentiment feels honest, but still tone-deaf as someone with Asperers would write it.

    It would not surprise me one bit if RMS has undiagnosed Aspergers. He was already a successful adult by the time the modern conception of it came about. It certainly makes a lot of his oddities make a lot more sense in retrospect.

    I would inquire to the others who posted here (and the other various heated discussions about RMS) how this impacts how you feel about what transpired.

    17 votes
    1. [7]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      It is inappropriate for us to diagnose someone on the internet, especially with the explicit intention of using that unprofessional diagnosis to then forgive his behaviors' impact on other people.
      • Exemplary

      It is inappropriate for us to diagnose someone on the internet, especially with the explicit intention of using that unprofessional diagnosis to then forgive his behaviors' impact on other people.

      21 votes
      1. [2]
        vord
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's no secret I'm partial to RMS. I don't think he did a single thing wrong from the outset, at least with respect to the main issue of Minsky. If that's grounds for instant dismissal of my...
        • Exemplary

        It's no secret I'm partial to RMS. I don't think he did a single thing wrong from the outset, at least with respect to the main issue of Minsky. If that's grounds for instant dismissal of my thoughts, so be it. But I've also more or less resolved that his public life is over, and the reactions I've seen so far confirm this. The only reason I posted in this thread at all is because there's a huge human element to this that seems to be ignored.

        I've read many half-assed non-apologies before. Many from my own family. This statement does not read like one. He offers, as best I can tell, a genuine apology for losing his temper at and hurting people, with a resolve to do better. He asks you to blame him, and not the broader FSF.

        He does go on to explain his thought process as to why it was so, but this didn't give the same vibes as the typical "I'm sorry you feel that way." The whole statement is consistent in tone and layout with what he's written before, but with a very atypical personal reveal.

        And I think that's what made this stick out for me. It injected a particularily human element to it, one that resonated for me. Because RMS values his privacy, to the point of tremendous inconvinence. It got me thinking about all sorts of issues, whatabouts, and philosophical questions. I'm not trying to exonerate him, I gave up that fight. But making that connection to mental health for the first time sent me down a rabbithole thinking about the ramifications for myself and others, so I abstracted it a bit.

        Is it ok to bully the socially inept nerd because he said things some people find offensive? What if that social ineptness is due to a medical condition, possibly undiagnosed? What if it is diagnosed, but not disclosed? Do public figures waive their right to privacy of their medical records?

        I know I'm also incredibly socially inept. Would I be villified in much the same way if I became a public figure? If someone took offense to a recent statement and dug up every bit of dirt they could on me in the past, is there any apology I could give that anybody would actually listen to it?

        I've done some shitty stuff when manic. Lots I don't even remember. If I was a public figure, could I even write an genuine apology without disclosing my medical history? What if I didn't want every future statement I made to be punctuated with "but he's just some rando from the psych ward?"

        I don't like the witch hunts. The trawling through people's ancient history to find wrongs to justify burning them. Specifically when the wrongs are "this person offended me" and not "this person abused me." I certainly woulda been burned long ago if the entirety of my past were made fully public. Maybe there should be a statute of limitations on non-criminal offenses.

        I dunno exactly where I was going with all this, but in the end I guess it doesn't really matter.

        30 votes
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          Literally to the point where he won't use a web browser, and instead has his own scripts to grab and archive the page for offline reading. He was doing that when Mosaic was in alpha. I have him to...

          Because RMS values his privacy, to the point of tremendous inconvinence.

          Literally to the point where he won't use a web browser, and instead has his own scripts to grab and archive the page for offline reading. He was doing that when Mosaic was in alpha.

          I have him to thank for not falling down the social media rabbit hole, due to rants of his I read that were dead on point twenty years before social media really took off. He instilled in me a much more privacy conscious mindset and it served me well. 'RMS was right' is a meme for a reason. He predicted our modern computing morass with foresight prophets can only envy.

          Imagine how much more effective he would have been if he wasn't held back by his lack of social development. I think if we want to convince RMS to do better we need to get it into his head that he'll be much more capable of accomplishing his mission if he works on that.

          7 votes
      2. [4]
        ShroudedMouse
        Link Parent
        If it's inappropriate for us to diagnose someone on the internet, why are so many here ready to diagnose him morally? We condemn yet somehow we don't understand enough to forgive?

        If it's inappropriate for us to diagnose someone on the internet, why are so many here ready to diagnose him morally? We condemn yet somehow we don't understand enough to forgive?

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          Those seem like very different things to me. None of us know RMS, we aren't his doctor or psychologist to make pronouncements about his mental health. However, we can make statements about the...

          Those seem like very different things to me. None of us know RMS, we aren't his doctor or psychologist to make pronouncements about his mental health. However, we can make statements about the appropriateness of his actions. I think that there's plenty of additional people who would be willing to forgive, if there was indication that he understood what the issue was and apologized for it. I'm always fond of referring back to this article talking about how to make a proper apology.

          1. Briefly, specifically and factually recount the action you’re apologizing for. You’ve done something wrong. Say what it is. Don’t try to mitigate or defend, just get it out there.
          2. Acknowledge that you wronged others. Again, don’t mitigate or defend. Acknowledge it and say it.
          3. Apologize unreservedly. Don’t drag it out. Don’t qualify it. Say it, own it. Let it be there.

          This statement we're discussing really doesn't hit any of those points. It's a defense of what he said, with minimal indication that the problem is even understood. We can only understand him to the degree he displays himself, and what he displays isn't someone who has remorse. Absent understanding and remorse, what forgiveness is possible?

          13 votes
          1. ShroudedMouse
            Link Parent
            You have me questioning the nature of his offense. If you see no indication he understood the issue, then I don't think I understand either. I don't think my point necessitates detailing that...

            You have me questioning the nature of his offense. If you see no indication he understood the issue, then I don't think I understand either. I don't think my point necessitates detailing that minefield.

            You ask 'absent understand and remorse, what forgiveness is possible?' Consider if RMS made a similar statement about those who've hurt him over this issue. By that same reasoning, he could condemn his accusers. They don't understand him and show no remorse for their unjust accusations. He didn't of course because, like many people on the spectrum, I believe he really is trying to understand and operate in a world that is openly hostile towards him.

            I don't need to be a psychologist to empathise with RMS. I've spent most of my life dealing with similar issues. It's why I responded and I don't mean to pile on you MimicSquid. I clearly see things in RMS' statement that many don't and I want them to think again before judging him. Or, if your moral framework is purely based on 'actions', go blame the big bang and forget about humans and their fuzzy intentionality.

            Absent understanding and remorse, yeah the world would be pretty fucked. Why do we so often assume it's the other person lacking it though? For example, I suspect following a guide on how to apologise would strike RMS as extremely insincere - as it does to me. I also recognise that's exactly what many people want. A polished bit of prose that soothes the emotional hurt.

            7 votes
        2. Diff
          Link Parent
          Previous related discussion on the matter. My main takeaway was something along the lines of "it's still not an excuse for bad behavior," although it's put much better past the link than I can...

          Previous related discussion on the matter. My main takeaway was something along the lines of "it's still not an excuse for bad behavior," although it's put much better past the link than I can summarize here.

          My own thoughts are that if you're not capable of not hurting those around you, you need to make adjustments to your situation to repair past damage and prevent future damage. The problem with Stallman is that he seems to have little interest in changing to be able to interact better with people, even if that's just bouncing thoughts off a friend.

          7 votes
    2. pallas
      Link Parent
      I started writing a rather long and detailed story about an experience with a clearer example of such a problem, but decided that the details were too specific, so I'll try instead to write a more...

      I started writing a rather long and detailed story about an experience with a clearer example of such a problem, but decided that the details were too specific, so I'll try instead to write a more general summary.

      I was once in a group where someone who had significant Asperger's or something similar (circumstances made clear to us that it was a diagnosed disorder, though that diagnosis was rightly not available to us) regularly made a number of people, especially women, feel very uncomfortable, to the point that they were not comfortable participating in the group when he was present, or if there was the risk of him being present. The problems did not involve malicious or threatening behaviour, and even many of those who felt too uncomfortable to participate would say that the problems were not the person's fault. While the person couldn't recognize when or how they were making others uncomfortable, they were genuinely distressed about doing so when it was discussed, and they were clearly not ill-intentioned. But the problems were real and substantial, and it was clear that, while they might improve with effort, they would not improve enough to make people comfortable. The problems involved things that a reasonable person would see as unpleasant, and, because of coordination problems, involved some safety risk to others. Essentially all of us were at least somewhat uncomfortable: some of us were just more willing to accept that discomfort.

      It would have been wrong to exclude the person from the group. Yet at the same time, letting them participate normally would have been unfair to the people they made uncomfortable: it would not have been right to ask that all of them simply put up with legitimate discomfort because it was the result of the person's disorder, or stop participating.

      To address the problem, we largely mediated the person's participation through a subset of people who were willing to volunteer to interact with them and to accept the discomfort involved, and who were experienced enough to mitigate the safety problems. This arrangement, while it didn't let the person participate in quite the same way others did, was a reasonable compromise to allow both them and others to participate comfortably. They accepted this, because, even if they couldn't understand how they made people uncomfortable, they wanted to try to avoid doing so.

      With the FSF: I could accept that RMS, as he points out, has difficulty interacting with people, and understanding what he does that makes them feel uncomfortable. And he may well not be at fault in that. But if that's the case, and he cares about these problems, then he needs to accept he has these difficulties, and act to mitigate them. That may mean accepting that, even if he can't understand why he shouldn't do some things socially, he should accept that he shouldn't, even if he thinks they are right, or unproblematic. That may mean that he should try to make arrangements that will limit his potential to make others uncomfortable. Yet all accounts of him suggests that he doesn't do this. His own response, here, never really acknowledges it, instead describing the problems as him simply being too honest and forthright, or not understanding social cues.

      And for the FSF board, as they have now made a statement too: if RMS has these difficulties, then they need to work to mitigate their impact on the organization and its mission, not just ask everyone to accept them, and suggest that the problem can be dealt with simply by policy, or by RMS trying to be better.

      15 votes
    3. onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      I think it’s pretty clear that RMS has some sort of autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s or something else). I would have thought that was clear to anyone who has followed him in his public life,...

      I think it’s pretty clear that RMS has some sort of autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s or something else). I would have thought that was clear to anyone who has followed him in his public life, and anyone who is aware of autism spectrum disorders. I guess if you had no context, and are totally unaware of autism spectrum disorders, and the Minsky commentary was your only exposure, it might be hard to make that determination. Autism disorders and personality disorders are probably indiscernible without sufficient context, and are also not mutually exclusive.

      I think his condition (regardless of specific labels) means that it is rational to expect that RMS’s actions and words may not always fall within normative expectations. That does not mean that he is not responsible for his words or actions when they are wrong. I think he should avoid being a public figure and should avoid commenting on social issues or other domains that he admittedly struggles with understanding.

      12 votes
    4. Micycle_the_Bichael
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It really only widens the scope of people who (potentially) failed IMO. RMS, neurodivergent or not, hurt a lot of people. Based on that, he should not be in a leadership position at this time....

      It really only widens the scope of people who (potentially) failed IMO.

      RMS, neurodivergent or not, hurt a lot of people. Based on that, he should not be in a leadership position at this time. There is potentially a world where he changes and is forgiven by those he hurt and proves he is capable of being a leader and then I'd be fine with him being back on the board of the FSF, but I would find that to be incredibly unlikely. Right now, Stallman should step back from the FSF. If he wants to take part in it, it should be in a capacity where he has no power over others. Given how much some people in the community idolize him, I think this is fundamentally impossible, but that is my personal view. If members of the FSF, particularly those who would have been harmed by his previous actions, are fine with him contributing to FSF and working with him, then so be it. I have no place to speak over victims to say what they should or shouldn't feel or be ok with.

      Him being neurodivergent changes this from being an issue of RMS to being an issue of RMS and those close to him. Over the course of the 30+ years he's been around, someone should have explained the harm he was doing and how to mitigate it. I cannot believe that there is no one close to him in his life that understands social cues enough to recognize the ways he was creating uncomfortable, alienating, or hostile environments for others. They should have tried to help him. I have gone back and added a couple potentiallys because here I am assuming that RMS would have been open to criticism and attempted to change. If people tried to explain the harm he was doing and he ignored them, then they didn't fail him.

      Edit: I'm leaving the above paragraph unedited but I actually want to disagree with part of it. I think regardless of if he is neurodivergent or not, those close to him failed him. It shouldn't matter if he has Aspergers or not, if he was causing harm to those around him, those close to him should have pulled him aside and discussed this with him. NOTE: WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY IS A METAPHOR, I AM NOT TRYING TO IMPLY THAT RMS IS A RAPIST AT ALL it reminds me of the "men need to talk to their friends about sexual assault" topic where men are willing to say they think sexual assault is bad (and may believe it) but will not stop their friend/peer from questionable statements/actions. People close to RMS should have discussed his harmful behaviors with him. They failed him by not doing so. Any neurodivergnce he has impacts his ability to pick up on these issues himself, it does not stop those around him from noticing. If those around him had intervened earlier, we might be seeing a different world (again, this operates under the assumption that RMS would have been open to these conversations and made an effort to change, and that these conversations did not happen, none of which I have any way of knowing so these are at best just thought experiments). I also want to note that I don't think these failures of others absolves RMS of the consequences of his actions.

      10 votes
    5. DanBC
      Link Parent
      It makes no difference. Comms is hard, which is why most large orgs have specialist comms teams to protect against reputational damage. One of the things comms teams have to do is to see things...

      It makes no difference.

      Comms is hard, which is why most large orgs have specialist comms teams to protect against reputational damage. One of the things comms teams have to do is to see things from other people's points of view, to "read their minds". It's this theory of mind that appears to be missing for RMS. It might be fixable if he put in place two things: a minder for any event where he appears in person, and a comms team that fix any written communications. But he's not going to do that, is he? Even in his apology where it's really important to get it right he finishes by misrepresenting other people's comments and then blaming other people for not understanding him well enough.

      His positions all require a lot of comms and a lot of meeting other people at conferences and events. These are intrinsic parts of his work, and he's unable to perfom these and unwilling to put in place accommodations, which means he's not able to do his work.

      5 votes
    6. [4]
      Eric_the_Cerise
      Link Parent
      The Aspergers theory rings true for me, as well. One of my closest friends has Aspergers, and the way we each tend to annoy each other, talk past each other, etc, feels a lot like how RMS relates...

      The Aspergers theory rings true for me, as well. One of my closest friends has Aspergers, and the way we each tend to annoy each other, talk past each other, etc, feels a lot like how RMS relates to others, and how others respond.

      I also think that humans are obsessed with Labels ... and being able to say, "oh, it's Aspergers" somehow makes it different for people. It doesn't matter why he is the way he is. He has trouble relating to people, and routinely offends and upsets them, probably w/o intending to ... but no matter what, he must learn how to behave properly around people, or eventually, people stop dealing with him ... which, you know, is what's happening.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        vord
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm no stranger to removing people from my own life (family in this case) based on bad behavior, mental diagnosis or not. I touched on in another post how I feel RMS's fate has already been...

        I'm no stranger to removing people from my own life (family in this case) based on bad behavior, mental diagnosis or not. I touched on in another post how I feel RMS's fate has already been sealed, so my thoughts are thinking more about the kind of precedent this sets.

        I'm not saying people with mental deficiencies (whether intellectual or social) should be immune from criticism about being abrasive and rude. But I am wondering if it is reasonable to vilify/punish/shun them to the same degree as someone who doesn't suffer from those mental disorders. There's an entire segment of criminal law about prosecuting people based on competence. We don't send children to trial or punish them the same way we do adults, ditto for those with mental disorders.

        How does all this fit in with the court of public opinion, where it is increasingly obvious that people can be effectively removed from the public influence on a whim... regardless of legality, context, truthfulness, or severity of the claims? Especially when, as far as I've noticed, even if genuine apologies are issued, the vast majority has already come to their conclusion regardless of the sincerity or even acceptance of an apology.

        The tale of Al Franken comes to mind as possibly the most egregious case in our time. These precedents being set, while useful in some contexts, are also incredibly dangerous when wielded for the wrong reasons.

        Edit: Tail end of that link, because I think it sums up the entirety of my worries.

        The lawyer Debra Katz, who has represented Christine Blasey Ford and other sexual-harassment victims, remains troubled by Franken’s case. She contends, “The allegations levelled against Senator Franken did not warrant his forced expulsion from the Senate, particularly given the context in which most of the behavior occurred, which was in his capacity as a comedian.” She adds, “All offensive behavior should be addressed, but not all offensive behavior warrants the most severe sanction.” Katz sees Franken as a cautionary tale for the #MeToo movement. “To treat all allegations the same is not only inappropriate,” she warns. “It feeds into a backlash narrative that men are vulnerable to even frivolous allegations by women.”

        Emphasis mine.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          DanBC
          Link Parent
          If this had been one or two events you might have a point about trivial complaints. It isn't. It's a pattern of behaviour that spans decades and has affected hundreds, maybe thousands, of people....

          If this had been one or two events you might have a point about trivial complaints. It isn't. It's a pattern of behaviour that spans decades and has affected hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. He has been told countless times that his behaviours are not acceptable, and he's made no meaningful effort to change.

          People are not complaining about socially awkward behaviour. They're complaining about sexually harassing behaviours.

          There's an entire segment of criminal law about prosecuting people based on competence. We don't send children to trial or punish them the same way we do adults, ditto for those with mental disorders.

          Ages of criminal responsibility vary across the world. In England it's 10. In Massachusetts it's 12. The test for mentally disordered also varies, but it tends to mean that the person is -at the time of their offence- acutely unwell with a psychotic illness. So, not just "has schizophrenia" but "has schizophrenia which is actively causing symptoms at the time of the offence". And even then that doesn't mean there are no consequences. Someone found guilty of murder goes to prison to serve a sentence. Someone found not guilty by reason of insanity goes to a secure hospital and receives treatment until it is safe to release them - this is almost always a longer length of time than a prison sentence. And, at least in England, not guilty because insane is very rare. It would be more common to have a murder charge dropped

          And I don't understand how this is any kind of defence of RMS. You're saying that RMS is operating at the level of a 12 year old child, or someone with an IQ less than 70 (the common definition of learning disability) or someone who is currently going through a psychotic episode.

          8 votes
          1. vord
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Honestly, because it's not. My discussion thus far was more about the implications going forward, in the abstract. I'll toss forward my general thoughts about RMS and the whole drama (on top of...

            And I don't understand how this is any kind of defence of RMS.

            Honestly, because it's not. My discussion thus far was more about the implications going forward, in the abstract. I'll toss forward my general thoughts about RMS and the whole drama (on top of the generalities I've spoken about about in this chain and others).

            I don't know RMS. I relate to him, at least as well as anybody can relate to a famous public figure they don't know. I don't know the severity of his conditions (or even if it is a condition), or just how bad/offensive anything he did was, particularly for the topics that were in the forefront of the recent discussion. Nothing there seemed that bad. The worst, by far, was the "Emacs Virgin" joke. That wasn't really in any of the forefront of the reporting or even the majority of the discussion I saw. The joke itself doesn't seem so bad (comedians have certainly done far worse), but the targeting of that joke specifically at someone was certainly rude and anyone whom he directed it at deserves an apology. Perhaps the offense wouldn't have been as bad if he was more adept at picking up social cues, but as many have said, that is not an excuse on its own.

            The man obviously needs help with direct social interaction, but that's hardly the same as demanding removal and ousting from his life's work. I'm not sure how those things would best be reconciled, but I'm fairly certain it's not by sending an outrage mob at him, running poorly-researched hit pieces, and threatening to do the same to anybody who dare support him.

            I've posted this before, but Cancel We The Web? is the defense of RMS that I most agree with.

            4 votes
  5. ainar-g
    Link
    A classic example of an Influencer Apology, if I've seen one. He still doesn't seem to realise just how poisonous he has become and doesn't seem to express a desire to distance the FSF from...

    A classic example of an Influencer Apology, if I've seen one. He still doesn't seem to realise just how poisonous he has become and doesn't seem to express a desire to distance the FSF from himself. It's honestly rather sad.

    15 votes
  6. [2]
    RNG
    Link
    Does the FSF not have a comms office he could've run this by? They'd have likely advised him not to release anything at all. If he wants a separation between himself and the FSF, then he probably...

    Does the FSF not have a comms office he could've run this by? They'd have likely advised him not to release anything at all. If he wants a separation between himself and the FSF, then he probably would've had more success releasing this as a blog or a social media post rather than posting this on the FSF site.

    13 votes
    1. streblo
      Link Parent
      They probably will soon at least.

      Does the FSF not have a comms office he could've run this by?

      They probably will soon at least.

      9 votes
  7. [2]
    Octofox
    Link
    Hopefully we can get over all this drama, get stallman back, and carry on the good fight against proprietary software which has been thriving recently.

    Hopefully we can get over all this drama, get stallman back, and carry on the good fight against proprietary software which has been thriving recently.

    6 votes
    1. Thra11
      Link Parent
      Or we could get over all the drama, leave stallman behind, and carry on the good fight against proprietary software.

      Or we could get over all the drama, leave stallman behind, and carry on the good fight against proprietary software.

      18 votes
  8. [3]
    callmedante
    Link
    Am I understanding this correctly? Is he saying that the greater offense is not the brutality itself, but the besmirching of character?

    Police brutality makes me angry, but when the cops lie about their victims afterwards, that false accusation is the ultimate outrage for me.

    Am I understanding this correctly? Is he saying that the greater offense is not the brutality itself, but the besmirching of character?

    6 votes
    1. wervenyt
      Link Parent
      In a principle-oriented mind, it makes a hint of sense. The idea that someone would be a bigot or generally wrathful piece of shit, as long as they acknowledge that's what they are, is much less...

      In a principle-oriented mind, it makes a hint of sense. The idea that someone would be a bigot or generally wrathful piece of shit, as long as they acknowledge that's what they are, is much less infuriating than someone who makes up excuses in order to blame the victim. I don't know if he was trying to say that the brutality is whatever, and the besmirching is the real offense, but that if you're going to assault someone, you need to be willing to accept the blame for it.

      6 votes
    2. Diff
      Link Parent
      I think that's correct, the besmirching of the character to justify the brutality or to shift the blame onto the person for the violence they suffered.

      I think that's correct, the besmirching of the character to justify the brutality or to shift the blame onto the person for the violence they suffered.

      2 votes
  9. [3]
    Cycloneblaze
    Link
    Personally, I'm much more interested in the FSF board's statement on why they elected Stallman than this. I wonder why I haven't seen it posted yet.

    Personally, I'm much more interested in the FSF board's statement on why they elected Stallman than this. I wonder why I haven't seen it posted yet.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      Is this post on the same blog related: management team members resigning, or just coincidental?

      Is this post on the same blog related: management team members resigning, or just coincidental?

      3 votes
      1. Cycloneblaze
        Link Parent
        I don't know, actually. I heard a board member resigned a little while ago, I believe, but hadn't read about this yet.

        I don't know, actually. I heard a board member resigned a little while ago, I believe, but hadn't read about this yet.

        1 vote