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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute

From: Martin Coxall
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Just a Minute
Date: 15 Apr 2002 15:46:04 +0100

> I tried to draw what was rapidly becoming a tit-for-tat shouting match
> (like this one) to a close so that we could move on to other issues. It
> was not the discussion I found distasteful but the lack of common manners
> and decency by the side that opted for the "shout them down, we know best,
> don't listen to their points" approach.

Nope. The discussion was progressing appropriately towards some kind of
conclusion. It was clear that certain people feel threatened by this
sort of dialect (it's a very middle class British way to behave), and
since your exalted position of "power" was threatened by an interesting
discussion you hadn't sanctioned, you try to pretend it never happened.

> That's right, I was due to meet friends elsewhere. Apologies that I wasn't
> able to stay and minute the rest of the meeting, but it's an open forum so
> others are obviously welcome to add their own minutes to the ones I
> posted.

Indeed. And I'm at liberty to point out that your minutes are a gross
misrepresentation of what actually took place. If minutes are
inaccurate, then what is the point of minutes?

> > I just did. I told you to stop writing the most significant discussions
> > of the day out of the minutes.
> Thank you. Now I know what you're on about, we can make sure everyone can
> be made aware of it. As I missed the conclusion of the debate, could you
> summarise it for us, and outline any decisions that were made?
> > > * Otherwise, STFU.
> >
> > Nope. And if you pull this sort of nonsense again, I will pick you up on
> > it again. There are more important things than meetings, committee,
> > minutes, working, groups, liaisons, mailing list outreaches and
> > teacher-geek free software interfaces.
> Yes, but given the remit of the meeting (the agenda is available here:

Of course the discussion wasn't on the agenda. The agenda was
meaningless. Given that the AFFS meeting never even achieved agreement
on what the *point* of the organisation is, in part because a majority
seemed more interested in talking about what our mailing lists should be
called and other trivia, agenda items about who we are going to spread
our as yet undecided message to are utterly pointless.

> http://mail.gnu.org/pipermail/fsfe-uk/2002-April/000846.html in case you
> haven't read it), these were all things that were due to be covered before
> getting on to wider debates.

The wider debates have to happen before anything on that agenda has
meaning. Do you not see that until we agree on the point of the AFFS,
then having publicity and talking to people is going to be a futile

Don't let the inner bureaucrat in you win. Forget the agenda, it is a
meaningless piece of paperwork. Repeat after me: The Agenda Is

> Is there any chance at all that you could keep positive, and instead of
> throwing accusations around, try actually contributing useful stuff? 

It's such a lame attitude to assume that because I am making negative
claims about your actions, that they cannot be useful. On the contrary.

You don't think my accusations against you are useful? AFAICS, pointing
out how useless both the agenda and the minutes are as instruments for
an organisation that doesn't even have a purpose, is a valid complaint.

Complaining that a wodge of people at Saturday's meeting seem to be
exhibiting a classic case of being concerned more with the bureacracy of
committee life rather than actually having a discussion about the
reasons why the AFFS exists is also a valid complaint.

> If
> you don't like it, change it. 

Erm, what do you think I'm doing? One of the ways of changing things is
surely to point out the problems with the status quo?

It is difficult to sum up the debate that took place on Saturday because
a number of the more sensitive souls wouldn't let it finish, eventually
upping to a new pub to avoid having to discuss the unpleasant issue of
why the AFFS exists.

The debate needs to continue properly then reach its conclusion. When it
does, maybe then we can start having agendas when we work out who we are
going to talk to, and what publicity we need. But not until.

> Don't just moan and gripe. 

I don't intend to. But I will *also* moan and gripe where necessary.
Like now.

My suggestion: Forget the minutes, and mark most of table 2's discussion
as "irrelevant". We can revisit it when we have decided what the point
of the AFFS is.

I believe the Linux Format journalist was taking notes for table 1. It
will form a useful basis for continuing the debate about the AFFS's
reasons to exist.

> You've got a
> reputation for starting flame wars on lists. Please don't do that here.

Do heated discussions really threaten you that much? If they do, you
really shouldn't being getting involved with a political organisation,
should you? If the AFFS organisation can't decide why it exists, then
why not let it be forged in flame and disagreement? In my experience, in
the long term it will likely produce a more robust,
philosophically-sound organisation than the AFFS we have at present.


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