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

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Sat Jul 22 20:10:04 UTC 2017

Sorry to rehash an "old" thread. I didn't see any conclusion posted, so I thought I'd just send a +1 to bzg 

El Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 09:47:02PM +0200, Bastien Guerry deia:
> (I'm just a member of this list, not a member of the FSFE, which goals
> I strongly support though.)

+1 (and not very active even reading, it seems). 

> I think FSFE should play a role model in not using proprietary
> platforms at all.  Let supporters or other people relay the messages
> there if they are there, but don't step there.

+1. For me messages are difficult to understand if people don't do what 
they say. So if part of the message is not to use software X I think it's 
easier when those saying it don't use it.

Also one volunteer may already be using some service and not minding
doing some outreach there, but what happens if the volunteer moves on
?  Do you want your organization to have a requirement for volunteers
to do stuff you preach not to do ? The moment an organization opens an
account in one of those not recommended services you are assuming
there will always be one or other (sufficiently trusted) member
willing to do work that the ideology of the organization recommends
not doing. For this reason alone I'd consider easier to just post
elsewhere and have any volunteers willing to do that (why?) to repost
on unrecommended services from their personal accounts.

Also I don't understand how can you use those services only a little.
How do you stop discussions developing there, from something you posted
meaning to direct people out of them ? What if the content other users
post there have more value than what you posted ? Of course you can't
stop people using whatever they want, but posting to a service is
contributing to it, giving value to it, and so helping it. If your
identity has any value at all (as in somebody may ever want to get in
touch with you), being reachable in a service is also contributing
value to that service. I don't see how it can be avoided while using
it at all. Yes, I understand it would be worse if no content would 
ever be posted outside that service, but that sounds extreme (even if
some organizations may do it). 

Also in theory if part of your message is against some centralized
service, it is the nature of the centralized service to be easily able
to stop any of your activities in their service because it is
centrally controlled by them. So your campaign should always be
switched off by the very social network management in a more or less
obvious way before it has any chance of reaching your goal. It should
stay there only as long as it's irrelevant. At least I wouldn't assume
social network managers don't know about their social network. They
likely know the most effective censorship, tuning down or
depriorisation to apply in any situation so that the impact in their
service is as small as desirable (to them). Of course being irrelevant
is already likely simply because of the amount of messages you'll be
able to post in comparison with the total number of messages moving
through such huge networks, before you start considering whether the
infrastructure owner will decide anything on what opinions to favour
on their service.

And yes, whether or not you post to proprietary services somebody may
post something there and give you a lot of traffic/sales/whatever, but
counting on that when deciding where to spend effort sounds to me like
buying lottery tickets with the organization budget.

But of course if the real ideology was something like it is fine to 
use Facebook as long as you browse it with a free browser, then nothing
of what I said makes sense. So it might have to do with how much important
you think the stance against those services is compared with the rest of
ideology you want to preach. I happen to think it is quite central and
hard to achieve coherency without it, but there might be other views. 

On the argument that that's where people are, well, I don't know, but
I think each online community creates its group identity or ends up
being follwed by some kind of people, just like every pub attracts
different people and people is more likely to go there because of the
people they find there than maybe the music or drinks (I don't mean
these are independent things). So pretending outreach should happen
where there is more people sounds to me like pretending missionaries
should go preach in some sex&drugs&Rock&roll festival because that's
where people most need them to explain where the nearest church
is... Maybe there's some strategy between that and preaching to the
choir ?  (but hey, if they like the music they may want to go to
festivals anyway...).

In other words maybe people go to Twitter, Facebook and so on to learn
about cute cats, gossip and friends holidays and simply don't want to
listen to philosophical arguments there.  Some may be just
philosophically/socially/politically/intellectually inclined and just
ignorant that there is internet outside social networks, but maybe
there are so few of them as festival goers wishing to start a monacal
life if they just found a helpful missionaire, after being turned down
by someone they just fell in love with. I mean I wouldn't go looking
for advice on regaining control of my computing in a centralized
social network, but maybe that's just me... (in fact I've been asked
once by someone whether she could trust a web on free software because
she saw centralized social service icons there and thought it might
taint its credibility).
Sorry for the length, I honestly meant to send a +1 only... :(

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