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

Bernhard E. Reiter bernhard at fsfe.org
Wed Aug 29 08:15:25 UTC 2018

Hi Daniel,

[while I am quoting from this mail which I understand you have intended
 to be public, I only quote and respond on the points I believe the public 
 can understand. My aim is to protect you, me and others from
 writing something in anger that afterwards cannot be retracted from
 public archives.]

Am Dienstag 28 August 2018 22:05:05 schrieb Daniel Pocock:
> On 28/08/18 09:27, Bernhard E. Reiter wrote:

> > 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.
> I would agree with that, but normally that involves a process of
> mediation and then a specific communication with the member about it. 

What I've noticed in the e.V. interaction were that many people gave you 
feedback and offered help in getting your positions heard and acted upon.
I did so on a number of occasions by mail.

From what came out of if, I can only conclude that I was not good enough in 
helping you personally into the group and understand how it works. I'm sorry 
for this.

> The FSFE constitution requires a member  be given a reason for exclusion
> and an opportunity to appeal. Those processes were not followed. 
> It was attempted in
> an administrative motion tacked onto the last page of a 9 page notice
> (attached), reading "The current Fellowship representatives' membership
> ends immediately after the this extraordinary General Assembly." 

The other interpretation of the May assembly, that we wanted to be extra clear 
what happens to the existing fellowship representatives, so they are treated 
with respect and not having their term terminated by a formal oversight. In 
the end this documented that you and Mirko could stay longer (than some legal 
interpretations implied). 

> If people had differences of opinion with me, there have been many
> opportunities to discuss that with me at events but for the record, I'd
> like to make it clear no other member ever did so.

Unfortunately we did not meet at events, because I rarely make it to events 
these days being a Dad, instead I wrote several emails stating my 
disagreement (or agreement) with your points. 

> However, even though I agree with you for the general case that a member
> may need to be excluded from time to time, in this case we are talking
> about an elected representative.

As you can see from the email of our care team: You are sometimes perceived as 
being offensive and making information public that others trusted you with in 
private without a good reason they can understand. If a large majority of 
e.V. members believe this to be a major problem they could formally exclude 
you, no matter how you have become a member of the e.V. .
So far, they haven't.

> Also, it is not correct to moan about a democratically elected
> representative "obstructing" anything: it is their responsibility to
> speak up.  An elected representative would have no reason to exist
> otherwise, would they?

It is helpful to have a different view on things, but if it is getting highly 
unconstructive I believe that a large majority has to make sure that other 
people's, ways of working and views within the organisation are protected as 
well. Speaking up in itself is not a virtue, bring up important points and 
convincing others to do something about them is.

> So why is FSFE afraid to allow the full community to vote for president
> or allow anybody from the community to nominate for the role of president?

Essentially, because we are not a "state". I've explained this elsewhere.
We cannot say who is part of the "demos". If we are open to everybody, we 
would have the majority opinion which for instance would mean a certain 
proprietary operating system on desktops. And FSFE is about a smaller group 
in society trying to convince others about Free Software, otherwise we would 
be unnecessary.

> I feel a duty to see out the term for the benefit of those people
> who don't have  a voice in our general meetings or don't even get invited.

Are you really helping other fellows by bringing up a number of motions where 
many others signalled you that this is a formal style that would not help the 
intended course? What do the heating and repeating formal discussions like 
this one do to help FSFE get better to help people get educated about Free 

Everybody's opinion is invited in FSFE, and then we need to find a course of 
action making practically the best out of our limited resources. I am human, 
you are human we all are humans, we are making mistakes. Now we are here.
It seems to not work out between you and FSFE, so my suggestion is
let us agree on this and split.

Best Regards,
FSFE -- Founding Member     Support our work for Free Software: 
blogs.fsfe.org/bernhard     https://fsfe.org/donate | contribute
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