application for FSFE e.V. membership and resignation

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Wed Aug 29 21:12:14 UTC 2018

On 28/08/18 09:01, Harald Welte wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> I have been watching your rants on FSFE list and in other places for
> a significant amount of time.  Like others, I do believe your intentions
> are good, but your tone and behaviour is not constructive at all.
> Actually, I think you're damaging/discrediting your own position by
> the agressive tone.

If the abusive termination of somebody's membership by underhanded means
doesn't deserve a firm response, what does?

I would be just as outraged if any other member was subjected to similar
tactics by FSFE's executive and as fellowship representative, I would be
speaking up in their defence.

> What you are conveying with this kind of messages (to me) is that you
> feel personally injured and that you'd like to get as much attention
> to that.

No, it is not about attention.  As somebody else commented, that looks
like another attempt at character assassination.

I simply feel that I have an obligation to the people who I agreed to
represented to tell the truth about the organization, for better or
worse.  If all I wanted was attention I would have sent the email (or a
blog) a lot earlier but I deferred doing so in the hope that there would
be some sign of reform.

How come we never hear anybody suggesting that Tank Man was a selfish
attention seeker?

> I don't have as much insight into the activities of the FSFE e.V. or
> into the fellowship to comment in extensive details on the facts.
> However, I've been involved with Free Software for more than two decades
> now, and consider myself as a friend and supporter of the FSFE without
> ever having had any formal role or title in it, or ever being a member.
> As a side note, to put things into some perspective: To me, from the
> very beginning of the fellowship establishment, it was always *very*
> clear that being a fellow is not equal to being a voting member of the
> legal entity (e.V.).  This model is quite commonly used in German
> e.V.'s, so no surprise at all.

As the "E" in FSFE is for Europe and many members are outside Germany,
that may not be obvious to many of the people who have come into contact
with FSFE.

Original posts about the fellowship do talk about it being a class of
membership and words like "join" have frequently been used.

At least one article[1] in Linux Magazine talks about fellows having a
vote at the GA after 12 months.  It is remarkable to look at the way
fellows are described there and in this post[2] and then read Erik's
recent post[3] suggesting fellows are no more than another corporate
donor who didn't deserve elections any more.

However, that is only one aspect of the issue.

> What I am missing in your communication and related threads is the clear
> evidence that a reasonable number of "fellows" are actually supporting
> your position in these arguments.  Without the clear support from at
> least a number of fellows, I think your argument is moot.

One other fact that is not made public anywhere is that
membership/fellowship numbers started dropping at the end of last year. 
We are talking about hundreds of people who stopped participating in the
program, that is a fact.  I don't know if those people sent a reason and
if they didn't, we can only guess: was it because the change from
"fellow" to "supporter" feels like a downgrade?  Did some of them see
the motion passed at the annual general meeting (October) to begin the
process of removing elections?  I suspect the former has had more impact
than the latter.

Many people agree that there is a lot of good work being done at FSFE
and that is why people are frustrated about the governance issues, every
time there is some change (e.g. renaming fellows to supporters,
cancelling elections, ...) a few more people silently quit.  This is
another reason why it is important for serious public discussion to
start, the previous discussions about these things all happened in a bubble.

Instead of choosing to stop supporting FSFE, I would encourage people to
come to Berlin on 7 October for the annual general meeting[4] and ask to
be accepted as equal members.




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