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

Bernhard E. Reiter bernhard at
Tue Aug 28 08:27:51 UTC 2018

Hi Daniel,

Am Dienstag 28 August 2018 09:25:08 schrieb Daniel Pocock:
> 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".

any organisation(+) reserves the right to exclude members that heavily 
obstruct the way it works. There is a point where this has to be done just so 
that people can go seperate ways. 

(+) <<A theoretical excursus:
We are talking about a non-governmental organisation (NGO). As opposed to a 
country or a "state" were there are things like citizenship which is a form 
of mandatory "membership". A term like "demos" needs this 
mandatory "membership" and so does a "democracy". In conclusions this also 
means that any NGO cannot be "democratic" in a narrow sense.>>

It seems some people were asking the question if you were obstructing the FSFE
from the inside for example with numerous motions that were hard to understand 
and never had a chance to pass because you were not able to convince others 
about them. Putting this to an explicit vote in May gave you security that 
you could stay in the FSFE for good. Otherwise if it had been time to end the 
relationship, maybe it is better to part ways for both parties. This may hurt 
your feelings, but it may also protect you from getting deeper into a bad 
relationship. The good part about an NGO is: You can leave and join a 
different one.

> Council has unleashed this poison into the community and only the
> president can drag us out of that by resigning. 

It would be unhelpful for a president that is supported by the majority
of e.V. members to resign. Matthias is doing very good work for Free Software 
and FSFE, in my eyes.

> 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?

It is a matter of privacy and about understanding each other.
Without context a statement can be missunderstood easily.
It makes sense that within FSFE we educate each other, so we must be able
to say and write "temporary" opinions just to get them corrected.
Of course our internal invitation to e.V. members is internal, so we can have 
an effective internal meeting. There are many other occasions that are open 
to the public. Maybe it helps if you imagine sending an invitation to three 
friends for a meeting and someone makes this a social media invitation public 
for all. To me it would be rude.

> The document in question is simply the invitation to our annual general
> meeting and I would encourage everybody to attend a meeting like that. 

We don't, it is an internal meeting, we need work to get done.
To participate you need to have a lot of context, something that cannot be 
provided on the spot. We took a great effort to help you have and understand 
this context (as we do with all new members to the e.V.).

> I'm a member of many other groups and they all gain legitimacy by
> engaging as many people as possible in their annual meetings. 

(I doubt it, most organisations have internal meetings, even public political 
parties. But this is beside the point I guess.)

> What has FSFE got to hide and why?

At the core (and simplified):
FSFE has to maintain a way to work constructively.

> 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. 

I do respect your feelings and kindly ask you to respect the feelings
of others in the FSFE. As one of the founding members I feel it to be my duty
to keep FSFE together as an organisation that can do work towards Free 
Software (and a better society as a result).

Unfortunately I feel that many of your inputs over the last months have been 
overly bureaucratic and in cases unrespectful about other people within FSFE 
and their work. So it maybe better if you would leave FSFE.

Best Regards,

FSFE -- Founding Member     Support our work for Free Software: | contribute
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