negative campaigning?

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Thu Jul 27 07:17:25 UTC 2017

On 27/07/17 00:36, Federico Bruni wrote:

> It looks like your opinion is the opposite of Daniel's opinion.
> He's saying that we, as free software activists, should do _more_
> negative campaigning. Why? Because a positive attitude, like caring for
> the privacy of the users, may be perceived as more valuable if people
> knew that proprietary software/services behave very bad in this regard.

Not quite - my email was intended as a question to start debate rather
than a strict opinion.

However, I would like to bring up a concept from the world of sales:
people don't do something unless they have a problem to solve.

Example: you don't take a morning off work every week to take your car
to the garage for a service if the car appears to be running well.  You
do take it for a service at the recommended interval because of fear that:
a) you will void the warranty if the service is missed, or
b) it will break down far away from home in the middle of the night, or
c) it will break badly and require repairs more expensive than the service

I made far more money in the year 1999 than in the year 2000 because
businesses perceived a problem occurring on 31.12.1999 and they brought
forward many IT upgrades.

Reminding customers about Y2K was not seen as negative campaigning, it
was seen as being helpful and protecting them from disaster.

Rather than calling it "negative campaigning", maybe we need to talk
about what problems people have today, do they know about those problems
and only after we've made the problem as big in their mind as the Y2K
bug can we position free software as the solution.

I would agree with the point about avoiding personal attacks and
excessively inaccurate campaigns.  That is one particular type of
negative campaigning that sometimes works in the short term (election
campaigns) but not in the long term as people find out they've been fooled.

Here is one famous example, you can't get much more negative than nuking
a little girl but it was effective:



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