"Joining" vs "becoming a supporter"

Jonas Oberg jonas at fsfe.org
Thu Nov 30 15:55:49 UTC 2017

As has been pointed out before, the FSF doesn't have this problem with "Join" implying equal status. So I'd trust them on this, as native speakers :-)


On November 30, 2017 4:43:23 PM GMT+01:00, Daniel Pocock <daniel at pocock.pro> wrote:
>On 30/11/17 16:26, Gergely Székely wrote:
>> Hi!
>> I think it was not a good idea at all to change the "Join the ..." to
>> "Become a supporter".
>Asking people to join means they should have an equal status.  The
>current constitution doesn't treat all members equally (a GA member has
>a different legal status than a fellowship member, supporter or
>Using the word "Join", therefore, is unhelpful and some people may even
>feel deceived.
>> My point is that "being a member" of something (even if just an
>> associate one) suggests a much stronger bound than being just a
>> "supporter".  So I think using phrases as "Join the FSFE", "become
>> associate) member" etc is way more compelling for most of the people.
>> In my view "supporter" is someone outside of the circle while
>> "any-kind-of member" is someone who is inside of the circle. So I do
>> believe demoting "fellowship members" to mere "supporters" made this
>> status too cold and less compelling.
>> I think FSF is doing this much better. If you visit fsf.org this time
>> the year you immediately run into a very encouraging and inviting
>> about joining them.
>What is the legal status of joining FSF?  Is every member equal, every
>member can vote at the annual meeting?
>> I really miss this inviting spirit from fsfe.org.
>> (Also, why is no similar banner on fsfe.org in the last two months of
>> every year?)
>Facebook invites people to join.  Is it good for them?  Of course not.
>Appearing friendly while having no integrity is a common business model
>> I think recruiting members and encouraging people to donate is
>> So it worth making extra efforts to doing it right.
>> What do you think?
>A motion passed at the recent GA meeting aims to change the way people
>can become members in future:
>15. Proposal to reform FSFE's governance structure
> FSFE will reform it’s organisational structure to accommodate a wider
>base of membership, and separate between membership and the governing
>organs. To achieve that, FSFE will prepare and propose the necessary
>changes to the bylaws for adoption at the 2018 general assembly. FSFE
>will prepare and implement the vetting and acceptance of the existing
>contributor base into the organisation as members. FSFE will prepare
>implement the first board elections to be held at the 2018 or a later
>general assembly. These tasks will be carried out by the executive
>director and president in cooperation with the current GA.
>Result: 10 for, 5 against, 8 abstentions
>After that is completed it will hopefully be safe to use the word
>again without any ambiguity.
>Discussion mailing list
>Discussion at lists.fsfe.org

Jonas Öberg
Free Software Foundation Europe | jonas at fsfe.org
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