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Re: feeling intimidated for endorsing the GNU social contract

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: feeling intimidated for endorsing the GNU social contract
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2020 23:47:35 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 14:59:46 +0100, Mark Wielaard wrote:
> I am very sorry for this. And I apologize because I was one of the
> people who suggested people discuss things on this list. And I was one
> of the original moderators of this list till Mike and Brandon decided
> they wanted to do moderation on their own without my and Carlos help
> [*]. In hindsight suggesting this list was a terrible recommendation
> and I realize now that I put some people, who just wanted to discuss
> what they love about being GNU, through a lot of pain. I am very sorry
> for that. I am certainly not recommending people make themselves a
> target by publicly posting to this list anymore.

Firstly, I want to reiterate that the unwelcoming and unkind behavior
on this list is not acceptable.

Many of us within GNU, including myself, strongly recommended against
use of this or any public list for these discussions, which I feel
should be happening internally.  But despite that disagreement, you
should be able to hold these discussions without harassment.

Moderation of this list was taken over because moderators were supposed
to have been appointed by GNU leadership.  That was a procedural error,
which was no fault of your own and I apologize for, and has since been
addressed so that it doesn't happen again.

> I have heard from various people they felt intimidated both by
> reactions on the list, some by fellow GNU participants and from 
> outsiders sending them some of the most offensive email they ever
> received. Some contain direct personal threats, extremely racist or
> sexist language and even antisemitic views (luckily most of the worst
> ones aren't posted to the list, but there have certainly also been
> implicitly/implied threats and racist or sexist views posted on this
> list).

I'm ashamed that GNU lists have been host to such garbage.

> The FSF keeps ignoring our calls for a neutral discussion space.

The FSF is not involved in GNU governance, so why should they provide
such a thing?

GNU has also rejected creating such a list.  If the FSF were to provide
a list for discussing GNU governance, that would not only be
overstepping, but it'd be in defiance of GNU.

> And I think it is unacceptable that people are afraid to publicly
> discuss why they participate in GNU because they feel intimidated and
> fear to get personal threats or have to endure racist or sexist
> language. IMHO the FSF really has a responsibility to the GNU
> volunteers to be able to work and communicate with each other without
> having to feel harassed all the time. And I have recently withdrawn
> most of my funding to them because they are not taking this
> responsibility seriously.

The FSF has no such responsibility.  They provide infastructure.  They
are responsible for _their own_ lists and other forums.

Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker+Activist | GNU Maintainer & Volunteer
GPG: D6E9 B930 028A 6C38 F43B  2388 FEF6 3574 5E6F 6D05

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