supporting our fellowship representative

Paul Boddie paul at
Tue Aug 28 14:28:44 UTC 2018

On Tuesday 28. August 2018 15.32.24 Reinhard Müller wrote:
> Am 2018-08-28 um 15:04 schrieb Joe Awni:
> > As far as I'm concerned, with out elections, my impression is it's a
> > staff-office in Berlin that is effectively domain-name-squatting on
> > <>.
> I guess that you know how offending this is to the numerous volunteers
> in FSFE, especially for those not based in Berlin - like, for example,
> myself. It does, however, speak for itself that such statements usually
> origin from people who have never participated in any of FSFE's activities.

I wouldn't phrase my own thoughts in such terms, and I do recognise the effort 
made by both staff and volunteers within the FSFE, but I do also recognise the 
frustration some people have that their involvement with the organisation is 
largely confined to paying their membership dues.

Having begun my involvement with the FSFE in a fairly active way, only for 
that involvement to gradually diminish over the years, I don't consider it 
completely inappropriate for me to point out that the organisation struggles 
to engage and empower its membership.

Some of these struggles are matters of practicality. For instance, which tools 
are available to supporters to amplify their own personal efforts to use, 
develop and advocate Free Software?

(We have, at the moment, an ongoing thread about not using GitHub in the face 
of arguably overstated claims about that platform's "network effects", but 
what kind of network effects does the FSFE offer?)

Other problems arise from the organisation's positioning. While some people 
may like the idea of the FSFE as a kind of "FSF light", others including 
myself expect the organisation to take a principled and effective stand on 
matters of software freedom and associated concerns. To do otherwise is to 
misrepresent an entire family of related organisations.

Luke wrote:
> I want to give my full support to Daniel Pocock and commend him for his
> tenacity in the pursuit of transparency and truth.  It looks like the GA
> is full of yes-men but Pocock is the fiercely independent advocate that us
> fellows need.

As the Fellowship did elect Daniel as representative, with various other 
candidates expressing similar views, I find it disturbing that if these views 
are dissenting then they will no longer find a voice in the leadership of the 
organisation. While it may be claimed that others in the leadership do, in 
fact, share his views on some matters, the rest of us are now obliged to take 
those claims at face value.

I can understand that the elections seemed like a distraction, especially 
given a turnout of 265/1532 in the last one [1]. However, such disengagement 
was probably informed by the fact that the Fellowship representatives are 
vastly outnumbered in the governing body of the organisation, making their 
only effective role as some kind of conscience of the membership.

I don't agree with Daniel on everything, but I can sympathise with him here 
given that his current predicament is practically a consequence of a number of 
factors in the way this organisation is structured and run. And while people 
might not want the obvious to be said out loud, the result will be that people 
end up voting with their money instead.



More information about the Discussion mailing list