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Re: Is negative publicity always harmful?

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: Re: Is negative publicity always harmful?
Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2019 18:28:43 +0100

Le mercredi 6 novembre 2019, 17:01:50 CET Jean Louis a écrit :
> * Thompson <Thompson> [2019-11-06 15:37]:
> > They have engaged in behavior that ranges from annoying at best to
> > hateful at worst on many GNU lists.

> And I was
> faced with Ludovic's promotion of public shaming on the Guix mailing
> list.
> That was very surprising and disturbing. I could not believe it, as
> that was not the GNU I knew, neither was it Guix that I knew.

Wow, guix continued to attract new people, and I see it does so really 
generally, from all horizons.  Both younger and maybe less-white-male people, 
and detractors.

> > They spammed multiple Guix lists, cross-posting to many at the same
> > time typically, to the point that they were put on moderation there.
> What else do you expect if public shaming is published on the Guix
> website?

Indeed answering to guix messages that were about the topic seems reasonable.  
But then it should not be done here while you can discuss that on guix 
mailing-list (when you cannot, it is different matter).

> > The issue goes beyond poor mailing list etiquette, however.  While
> > they have kept most of the worst of their statements off of GNU
> > lists, they host a web page on the domain that contains
> > hateful comments about a GNU maintainer as well as cherry picked
> > sexist, homophobic, and transphobic comments from other places.  I
> > have also received rude off-list, direct emails from them, and
> > others have as well.  I think it is beyond time that they are placed
> > on moderation here.

> Purpose of the website is not to initiate any hate, but to
> respond with facts and to publish the comments as your public shamings
> page explicitly disallowed comments.

Anybody may say anything on any personal webpage.  Some things are illegal in 
some countries (racism, hate speech, insults, slander, defamation) but short 
time and internationality may make that hard to enforce.

Now he may quote hateful or sexist speech without supporting it.  If you don’t 
want to see it and you see his website doesn’t applies minimal decency 
guidelines according you, stop reading it.  The web is already full of non-
safe and hateful speech, when you know where to find it, as censorship is 
difficult for it.

People have different standards for what is shocking.  You’re not obligated to 
read whatever else concerns the people you are discussing or working with 
within GNU, since it should welcomes everyone.  Kindness standard might apply 
only within GNU.

Posting of links toward such content is a different problem.

As of off-list harassing… this is not really a problem possible to solve.  
Anybody could retrieve mail and harass people… punishing them with measures 
internal to GNU (such as censorship on GNU lists) won’t impede that, hence 
seems to be unrelated :/

Internet harassment is a serious problem, hard to solve, and has currently 
only two solutions: the law (there is international law too, but when it’s 
international it’s harder…) and filtering.

If discussing places you maintain and want kind, become to have their active 
members target of harassment, either you return to not publishing (or even 
relaying) anymore mail address of anybody (sad to become unavoidable 
intermediary :/), either you begin warning everybody transparently and 
publicly with a message such as “WARNING: active members of these lists have 
been victims of unwanted hateful harassment from these persons: [mail adress 
lists, with names].  You’d better filter out these address or even names from 
your mails.  Below instructions to do that with most user-agents used on this 

> Dave, it was not my intention to keep for "cherry picked
> sexist, homophobic, and transphobic comments from other places" -- but
> that type of reaction is what you get when you start with public
> shamings. Deal with it.

Normally you deal with it from the places where these are posted and you 
happen to be too.  That’s a cool feature of internet that makes presence of 
lot of uncontrolable uncomfortable stuff not making it impossible to live.  
Relaying these on your website makes the problem harder to deal with, 

You may keep your effect of showing bad reaction by resuming yourself that 
hateful and sexist/etc. stuff have been said, along with maybe edited/censored 
said statements, and if wanting to put that literally anyway, I might suggest 
to add a modern trending stuff known as “trigger warning” or “content warning” 
that will warn sensitive people (or any snowflake) that the following might 
contain stuff they don’t want to read (hate, insults, sexism… etc. you might 
categorize them explicitly so it’s not an atomic all-in-one and differently 
sensitive people may still be able to read a part of what you want to relay).

> My page is not the only one, there are many pages on Internet, and
> many people inside and outside of GNU who disapproved your public
> shamings page.

Really inside there are fewer.  But your page was linked on all the mailing-
lists you speaked in.

> In the mean time I have made a first step and retracted my statements
> that those signers of the public shamings page should resign, but I
> did not retract my opinion that it is discouraging contributors to
> GNU.


We don’t want anybody to resign.

Here is excerpt of kindness: everybody is doing amazing technical job.  Please 
keep doing that.  Never forget that emotions and personal opinions have little 
impact on how what your software already is work, and that’s an amazing 
property of software and computers!  You will overcome that, time pass, and in 
the end, nobody intelligent really want to be mean in the long term ;)

> I could promise to provide you with at least 3 female members that
> would be translating Guix manual and Guix website into Swahili
> language, which has at least 90 million speakers.

Don’t make that a conditional thing, that might look like chantage.  Rather, 
doing that *now* might already low-tone stuff, and make yourself more 
acceptable, showing you’re of good will and can contribute to change stuff in 
the positive end for the goals of your detractors!

More so, you can still notice if such disliked content is removed, you (and 
others! as shown by you) might be more likely to contribute more longely to 
such issues, as they understood these are a big problem held in deep concern 
by some members of GNU ;)

> Proposal:
> =========
> 1. Remove public shamings page.
> 2. Instead redirect the page to a new Guix based project to attract
>    more women in coding and more women to contribute to Guix or GNU
>    projects. Sample reference:
> 3. I will personally make sure that Guix gets at least 3 female
>    translators to translate Guix website into Swahili and Guix manual
>    into Swahili language which opens the door to 90 millions of
>    people.
> 4. I will remove the page that you complain about.
> Is that a fair proposal?

1+4 maybe, but find some middle-ground for hateful speech.  2-3 could help, and 
would better not been delayed.

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