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Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)

From: Kaz Kylheku (gnu-misc-discuss)
Subject: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2019 20:51:08 -0800
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/0.9.2

In light of the changing shape of the list's moderation,
the following is a re-post of a message that was previously
rejected as being flamey or whatever.

Well, is it?

There is no hot temper behind it; I had it in draft form
overnight, mulled over and reworded some things the next day.

If anyone thinks it should have been rejected, I welcome any
comment to that effect and am grateful for any justifications
and explanations.

Text in sequare brackets is an annotation I'm adding now.

On 2019-10-30 16:22, Sandra Loosemore wrote:
IMO, to regain control of our public image, I think we have to take
some explicit and public steps to disassociate the GNU project from
RMS's comments.

Hi Sandra,

Outside observer here.

I'm afraid I don't agree. Firstly, anyone who is grown up and halfway
intelligent already knows that those comments don't have anything
to do with the GNU project; and that there is a lot more to
GNU than just one person.

  [Hopefully is it clear here that I'm not saying anything like
   that the person I'm replying to herself isn't halfway intelligent
   or grown up, which would be nonsensical to say the least.
   I agree with the basic need for organizations to be dissociated
   from the personal views of individual members. But such legal
   disclaimers are mainly for the dimwitted.]

In other words, GNU and the FSF are not currently "associated" with
those comments in any way (not in any way that is fair and reasonable),
so there is nothing to undo.

So that is to say, "dissociate from the comments" is a phrase that
doesn't refer to any concrete action in the world, just some words
to try to persuade some people who allegedly hold some false belief.

More importantly, *explicit* steps, as you say, to dissociate from
anything involve *mentioning* what you're dissociating from.
That just dredges up the matter and draws attention to it, delaying
it from being laid to rest.

This is closely related to the

The best way is to stop talking about the whole matter, and just
take a reactive strategy toward any loose ends. If some outsider brings
up some views such as that GNU or FSF are tarnished by some past events
involving individual behavior, it may be appropriate to react to that swiftly.

Basically, take an evidence-based, empirical approach: if you see
concrete evidence that someone is harboring or promoting a false view
about the organization, then take some explicit steps. If nobody seems
to be doing that, then there is no actual problem; focus your
attention somewhere else.

It's like bug fixing.

Don't make up some angel-on-pin's-head scenario in your head based on what some ISO or IEEE document says or does not say and go off making changes.
Insist on a repro test case.

And, of course, not bringing up a matter doesn't imply that anyone is
taking a particular side in the matter. Yes, of course someone usually
benefits to some extent when some matter isn't discussed; but that doesn't
mean that the reticence is intended for their benefit.

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