Is it acceptable to use proprietary software (platforms) to promote software freedom?

Mat Witts admin at
Mon Aug 14 14:44:08 UTC 2017

> I completely disagree.

Okay. That sounds emphatic. I don't want to cut in on how you feel Bastien but simply to point out the confusing motivations at play here.

> Knowing that FSFE is using Facebook provokes two reactions in me: one is my "gut feeling" ("guys??"), another one is the one I’ve already presented ("FSFE should play a role model").

Okay. The logical conclusion to those reactions are a) not strictly logical b) Contingent on agreeing what that role model ought to be (either to use FB to further it's aims or not)

You may think the Dalia Lama is a role model on World Peace, but it hardly qualifies him as a role model expert for encrypting an email client - and my point is the reverse is also true... the FSFE have a lot to contribute to society and provide they do it within the law and don't set out to harm anyone, it should get on with it in whatever way it thinks is the most efficient? 

> Saying that "politics is not logical at all" does not make sense to me.

Yes, that's the point I am making too.

> And discarding a logical argument because I *also* presented my gut feeling does not make sense either.

Yes, and that's because you haven't presented a logical argument, you have presented a politics of affect, which I think is the way to go too.

It is precisely because you have a gut reaction to FSFE being on FB that is interesting - that is why this is a legitimate topic of discussion, because people are reacting emotionally to an issue that is not at all logical, but an emotional one. The reason why it is emotional is because peoples lives are involved, much less is it about machine learning.

> I urge everyone to simply acknowledge the fact that it is difficult not to be on Facebook and, consequently, anyone can very much be tempted to craft justifications on why an organization like FSFE
should be on FB.  But I still consider all these justifications to be wrong.

You are demanding people participate based on your feelings about Facebook. Many people will agree with you, and that's fine but it's not a 'fact' in the same way a pebble on a beach exists whether we 'like' it or not. Your argument is subjective (again this is okay) but recognizing the subjective nature of your argument is important to both your point and mine.

If we accept that people are responding to the issue in an emotional rather than an objective mode (and there is plenty of evidence of this in this discussion) then that strongly suggests to me the FSFE needs to make an emotional call for people to change, rational choice theory when it comes to software was abandoned I think in the seventies?

If there was a natural science model for why people use FB I would love to have it, but the only appropriate methodology in social science and political science seems to be one of 'story telling' to me, and we ignore that reality at our own cost I think.

My view is that folk on FB clearly are not calculating according to rational criteria, because they are sharing way too much and demanding very little from their captors. Their "feel for the game" is that FB is good for them but that is based on what FB are telling them and all their friends - and the FSFE I would say needs to be part of those conversations people are having about privacy and data protection where people can hear us.

So, again we seem to agree on this tactic of using emotion to make our points effectively is okay?

All that's left then is to consider if an emotional plea for people to switch to FS can be articulated on FB.

We both think it can, but the point you want to make is that it is not consistent in FS use - again I agree - but I would rather tweet someone about the harms of twitter than not tweet them at all - perhaps this is where we disagree? You think it is better for people to find out about FS in a FS environment - which I happen to think is idealistic and not practical (and there are plenty of reasons to reject pragmatics of course).

I also agree that a pragmatic approach can be confusing for people, but here I think it also misses where FS is at right now. Sometimes activists end up having to continue to argue for change in sub-optimal settings because society doesn't like what they say. This doesn't mean the activists are supporting refugee camps or locking up dissenting voices in prisons - far from it.

Mandela was not a fan of the South African judicial system or Robben Island, but he was a trained lawyer and I am sure FS advocates are not fans of FB (I'm not) but sometimes we have to be prepared to use the system to bring attention to the harms the system is producing, it's not logical and it's not ideal - but then logic and ideals are not what the FSFE are about... if logic and ideals are what you prefer... I would recommend studying a higher level qualification in philosophy maybe (despite the fact I think the system of Universities is harmful too! right?)    

/ m

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