please be excellent to each other (Re: application for FSFE e.V. membership and resignation)

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Tue Aug 28 07:25:08 UTC 2018

On 27/08/18 16:02, Erik Albers wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> I like to believe that your activities and communication are with good
> intention and you like to change things for the good. However, you should keep
> in mind that we are a organically grown organization with an established
> communication and community culture. And although we are in a process of
> change, the methods you use are currently maybe not the best approach to
> achieve your goals.
> In any case it would be helpful if you could to stick to our rules of
> communication and try to be excellent to each other.

When council included a motion in the agenda of the extraordinary
general meeting calling for the immediate termination of my membership,
that was not "being excellent to each other".

Council has unleashed this poison into the community and only the
president can drag us out of that by resigning.  Trying to shift the
blame onto me won't make any difference.  I have felt bad about this
organization ever since I saw that motion in the notice of meeting.  Any
way you look at it, it is bullying and abusive behaviour.

> On 27.08.2018 13:19, Daniel Pocock wrote:
>> The notice of meeting for 2018 (attached)
> This message was sent internally to all (temporary) members of FSFE. It is not
> allowed on FSFE mailing lists to forward private notes without prior consent
> of the original author.

This looks like another attempt at censorship

How am I to communicate with the people who voted for me to represent
them?  Do I have to send documents through wikileaks instead of using
the mailing list?  Wouldn't that be absurd for an organization like FSFE?

The document in question is simply the invitation to our annual general
meeting and I would encourage everybody to attend a meeting like that. 
I'm a member of many other groups and they all gain legitimacy by
engaging as many people as possible in their annual meetings.  What has
FSFE got to hide and why?

> If you like to make a point about something having been discussed in a private
> channel, you can paraphrase the content but you are not allowed to forward it
> to one of FSFE's public mailing lists that is even publicly archived [1] and
> therewith available for everyone with an Internet access.
> Such an activity, I guess, is illegal in many jurisdictions as a potential
> invasion of privacy. Definitely it is forbidden on our lists.

Where is the private content in the notice of the meeting?  Everything
in the notice of meeting eventually appears in the minutes which are
published on the FSFE web site.

Please stop trying to scare people with censorship, the FSFE community
is not that gullible.

>> For example, you previously wrote in a private GA discussion that my
>> communications to fellows should be censored to ensure that
>> communications maximize donations (your comment in February: "people
>> might even stop to support us financially" if I write emails to the the
>> people who I am mandated to represent).  But that is nonsense: the role
>> of a representative is not to maximize donations, my role is to ensure
>> the money already given to you is being spent as well as possible.  For
>> trying to fulfil that role, you immediately set up an illegal conspiracy
>> to stab me in the back, publishing an internal censorship policy for
>> future communications and calling an extraordinary general meeting[4] on
>> a Saturday while I was out in Kosovo doing real free software activities
>> and voting on a motion tacked onto the end of the agenda to immediately
>> terminate my membership without cause.  It is never nice to write such
>> strong words, but in a case like this, fellows deserve to know the ugly
>> truth about FSFE Council's behaviour and as the elected representative I
>> would be negligent if I didn't blow the lid on this.  As the #MeToo
>> movement has demonstrated, sometimes it is necessary to call out
>> obnoxious behaviour to begin a process of reform.
> You are using very offensive language here that is against our code of conduct:
> 	"To foster tolerance, respect and hospitality in our community, we
> 	agree not to engage in discriminatory, disparaging or offensive speech
> 	or actions"
> Please refrain from doing so.

This looks like another attempt at censorship, this time trying to use
the code of conduct as justification.

>> Personally, I feel that my highest responsibility is to those who
>> elected me and gave me a mandate and I do not wish to be in a position
>> that puts me above the rest of the wider FSFE community 
> Then please consider your audience and as a representative of our community, I
> kindly ask you to help establish a friendly and peaceful environment for every
> participant.
> Personally, in times of fake-news, populism and attention economy, this is
> something that I would love to see the Free Software community to excel:
> transparent, fact-based discussions with respect towards each other.

Fact: 265 members voted[1] in the fellowship election last year

Fact: 9 people meeting in the office in Berlin, including a significant
number of staff, abolished the elections for this year

Fact: there were 1532 registered fellows[2] at the time of the election

Fact: I feel betrayed, both as the representative and also as an
ordinary fellow who didn't get to vote again this year.

Fact: you can't tell me and other fellows how to feel

But facts aren't everything.  The book Animal Farm is a work of fiction
but I think it would make great reading for anybody who wants to
understand why an organization with 1532 members/fellows only sends the
notice of annual general meeting to 29 people.




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