Candidacy FSFE Fellowship Representative

Erik Albers eal at
Mon Apr 18 12:54:25 UTC 2016

Dear Joe,

thank you very much for you lengthy email and your thoughts on FSFE's
Fellowship representative election. Discussions and Feedback like this is
exactly what helps to make any democratic decision more understandable.

Just one question ahead: I replied to your first email on 15/04/16 13:55 to
let you know that the candidacy is over. Did you receive that mail?

Am 16/04/16 um 13:15 schrieb Joe Awni:
> I write to notify you of my candidacy for fellowship representative. 

As already said in my other mail, I am sorry but the time to announce a
candidacy is over and was from

   January 11, 2016 - February 1, 2016
   (see here:

To make sure that everyone knows about it, every Fellow with an active account
did receive an email from the Fellowship system on 11/01/16 18:09 with the
subject "Call for Candidates - Announcement of the Fellowship Elections 2016"
including all the background information.

> I had
> some messages blocked and delayed so there is a kind-of lengthy
> meta-discussion [...] 

> In my personal opinion, the Free Software community has not been so much
> about maintaining strict community management practices and governance
> models based on large corporate structures, but more about promoting
> Software. I would not otherwise tarnish a valiant effort in the name of
> Free Software, but i think the FSFE can lead the way on this.

Thank you very much for this, I agree and I hope most of the people on the
list agree as well.

> If elected, i would not be afraid to make exception to a rule where the
> intent of rule is preserved. In the case where only one person is on the
> ballot, write-ins may be allowed in the interest of a meaningful "election."
> Additionally, regarding the rule that "To be a candidate, you need to have
> been an active Fellow for at least a year before the election (so April
> 4th, 2015). This helps to make sure that the people elected into the GA are
> familiar with the organization and its work."
> And, the selection of the Schulze Voting System "For the voting process we
> will use the Schulze method, a popular voting system used by Debian,
> Wikimedia and others. It is a well tested method and has proven to be
> resistant to voting anomalies. "
> Don't you think it anomalous to have an election with only one candidate?

Look, there have been three weeks of time, announced in an email to every
Fellow - but there was only one person who used that momentum to apply as a

Of course, we would love to see more candidates and I hope we will be better
next year. And although I agree, that now changing the rules to see them fit
sounds like an attractive solution but there are at least two problems we
would face:

1. It is not legal. The FSFE as a legal entity is an association registered
in Hamburg and as an association we are bound to a constitution.
Unfortunately, our constitution knows a lot of details to tell about under
"Fellowship seats" in It
clearly says: "Candidates are all Fellows elegible for election who have
informed the Fellowship coordinator of their intention to stand for office
at least two months before the election date;"
And if we would not keep to the rules of our constitution, we could lose
the right to be an association and therewith the status of a chariable NGO.
That means that these are decision out of our scope. We first need to
change the constitution for this, but cannot change the rules adhoc. Else we
couldfear to further exist.

2. The general problem when you try to fix a rule with exceptions ... -> when
will you do the next exception? Imagine we would say now: Ok, you are
allowed to be a candidate. Then the next one will come and say: me too!
And the next one and so on....
We would need to make a new deadline. Just to see someone else is coming
after that deadline to say: "last deadline you already made exceptions, so
please do so again" ...
And then someone would suggests to change the time of the voting ....

> Finally, It has come to my attention by means of blocked messages and
> delayed communications that those running the election would prevent you
> from voting for me (even as a write-in candidate) out of some misguided
> sense that they are "helping to make sure the people elected into the GA..."

I do not understand exactly how you think that I should prevent people from
voting you (I run the elections in all conscience)? I think you are doing me
wrong here, I answered your last mail about your candidacy in no later than
one hour. And I did not block any message or was trying to delay communications.

> Although it is my opinion that the FSFE risks it's relevance by using their
> technology as a door to exclude people from this election. 

I do not see the how we use technology in that sense? We simply follow our
legal rules.

> However, weather
> or not you are allowed to vote for me in this election is not my decision.
> As i said, if elected i would not be afraid to make an obvious exception in
> the interest of a meaningful election.
> Ultimately, this election is not vital to the continued development of Free
> Software, but your continued support and encouragement is. I am here to let
> you know that the choice is yours!
> If you feel strongly about my candidacy or anything i have written i ask
> you to please make a vote with your personal
> engorgement/discouragement/feedback/etc! Write to me! Your message could
> mean i decide to make the GNUBurgers regardless of the outcome of this
> election.

Joe, I am really happy about your will for candidacy and we know each other
from 32C3 and I highly appreciated your GNUBurgers at our assembly. Believe
me, there is nothing I would do to prevent you from being a candidate as a
Fellowship representative.

This is also true for everyone else here on the list. The more candidates we
have, the more exciting it is for everyone involved. All of you are welcome to
run for office as a Fellowship representative.

And if you agree with Joe that we should change the rules, I am also happy to
see  proposals so we can change our constitution on that base.

Thanks again for the discussion and the feedback,

No one shall ever be forced to use non-free software
Erik Albers | Free Software Foundation Europe
OpenPGP Key-ID: 0x8639DC81 on

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