Why “fellowship”?

Matthias Kirschner mk at fsfe.org
Thu Jan 5 10:25:08 UTC 2012

hi Tanguy,

* Tanguy Ortolo <tanguy+fsfe at ortolo.eu> [2012-01-05 09:45:41 +0000]:

> My interrogation is quite simple: what is the purpose of the use of the
> word “fellowship”?
> I am a member of several associations, and in all of them, except FSFE,
> I am called a “member” of the “association” itself. On the contrary,
> here in the FSFE, I am called a “fellow”, or perhaps a “member” of the
> “fellowship” of FSFE, I am not sure. Anyway, this is not natural at all,
> and I really do not understand why there seems to be a specific program,
> with a dedicated, separated website for people that want to support the

That is because legally you are not a member of the association when you
are a Fellow of FSFE (see the buttom of
https://fsfe.org/about/members.en.html). FSF calls their supporters
associated members, but FSFE decided in 2004 to call them Fellows.
Actually the name was decided before I joined FSFE, but afaik it was
choosen because it sounds cool. A little bit like the Fellowship of the
ring :)

> The first time I subscribed, I must tell that when I got redirected to
> the “fellowship” website, I really wondered if I that was right and if I
> was not subscribing to something else. Even now, I still do not
> understand what that “fellowship” is about and how it is different from
> the association itself, assuming that there is an actual difference. And
> I also wonder if other people understand: if they do not, then would
> confuse them as it confuses me.

We are improving this at the moment. Currently we move the sites from
the current fellowship.fsfe.org to fsfe.org/fellowship/. So we will
include it better in the general fsfe.org website, and explain it
better. (Now you can reach it under join in the main fsfe.org menu. Not
"Fellowship" anymore, which will be confusing for a lot of people.)

Did that answer you question? 


Matthias Kirschner - FSFE - Fellowship Coordinator, German Coordinator
FSFE, Linienstr. 141, 10115 Berlin, t +49-30-27595290 +49-1577-1780003 
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Weblog (blogs.fsfe.org/mk) - Contact (fsfe.org/about/kirschner)

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