negative campaigning?

Federico Bruni fede at
Sun Jul 30 10:22:04 UTC 2017

I guess that everybody has a different idea of what "negative 
campaigning" may be.
I like how Daniel tried to frame the discussion below.

Il giorno gio 27 lug 2017 alle 9:17, Daniel Pocock <daniel at> 
ha scritto:
> 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 agree.

The most difficult part is "make the problem as big in their mind as..".

Take online privacy or security in general (against viruses and 
malware). Recent history should have taught something to the masses, 
but did they change their behaviour? Probably just a very tiny tiny 
When I happen to talk about these issues to friends, because something 
gives me the chance to, I find a wall of
indifference most of the times.

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