"joining" the FSFE

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.pro
Mon Oct 2 08:13:24 UTC 2017

Hi all,

Whenever I'm discussing FSFE with people at an event, somebody
inevitably asks me about the joining process or what it means to be an
FSFE member.

There has actually been some ambiguity about this.  The main page of the
web site has a "Join the FSFE" button, it is very prominent.

It links to a page where "join" is in the URL:


and the title says "Join the FSFE"

Anybody who has ever joined any other organization before is going to
assume that after following these links and completing the form they are
an equal member of the organization.

In practice, the organization has different groups:

- the GA members (the first group) being the only members of the legal
body, the "Join" page doesn't give any instructions for people to pursue
this type of membership nor does it tell people that they are not
becoming voting members

- The "Join" links on the web site should probably say "Become a donor"
because that is what they are about, asking people to become regular
donors (this is the second group)

- people can also be a volunteer (the third group), without being either
a legal (voting) member or a donor, the join link doesn't actually give
people any information about how to do this

I've tried to raise this in the GA a few times but the "Join the FSFE"
button remains prominent on the web site and I feel this undermines the
organization in the eyes of the wider community and also challenges the
relationship between the organization and those people who have already
engaged with us.

I proposed a motion for the GA meeting to finally resolve this, give us
clarity in the future and hopefully putting the issue behind us in a way
that will gain respect and confidence from anybody who "joined" and
subsequently became disillusioned about it.

Would anybody like to comment on this topic, share their experience with
the joining process or comment on your impression of the buttons and
text currently in use?

Proposed motion:
The GA recognizes that the widespread use of the word "Join" on the FSFE
web site may have caused many fellows and volunteers to believe their
payment made them a member of the incorporated association.  The GA
resolves that a notice should be published on the web site clarifying
the situation, the notice should be sent to everybody who completed the
form to "Join the FSFE" and any future communication, through the web
site or other marketing materials should make it unambiguous whether
people are being solicited to join the incorporated association,
volunteer their time or become a financial supporter and also making
them aware of the alternative roles they can have in the organization.



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