negative campaigning?

Florian Snow floriansnow at
Thu Jul 27 05:58:55 UTC 2017


"J.B. Nicholson" <jbn at> writes:
> Trying to manage other people's feelings, or framing issues in terms
> of "negative" (and presumably "positive") language is a wasteful
> distraction that doesn't address substantive issues we can solve with
> software freedom.

I think figuring out how people might react to our message is an
integral part of what we do.  Software freedom is the goal of course,
not framing the message, but if we cannot get the message across, we
will not reach our goal.  While we cannot "manage" someone's feelings,
we may be able to anticipate them.  Essentially, that's what
PR/marketing is about.

> I have to wonder: if FSFE is seriously getting caught up in framing
> debates like this, is FSFE an open source advocacy group or a free
> software advocacy group?

I think this is going a bit too far.  This discussion is run on a list
maintained by the FSFE, but the discussion itself does not necessarily
represent all members of the FSFE GA.  It is a community discussion
about a topic that Daniel thought was interesting and I agree with him.
That does not mean it is the main thing the FSFE is involved in.

> We can explain that this muddles multiple separate issues
> together.

I agree.  Separating issues is immensely important in discussions and we
should do that when explaining issues involving software freedom.

> You give them the facts, you denounce the attempt at distraction from
> "being negative" and you proceed with intelligent, adult, fact-based
> assertions and clearly conveying consequences. Nobody solves ugly
> problems like those you mention by prioritizing 'avoiding negative
> discussion'.

There are people who respond well to arguments based on logic and people
who respond better to more emotional arguments.  For the latter group,
it might work better to point out issues of fairness for example
(perhaps not the best example because I belong to the former group).
Shouldn't we make an effort to address both groups?

Happy hacking!

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