who is a member?

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Fri Feb 2 23:02:38 UTC 2018

On 02/02/2018 05:52 PM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> On 02/02/18 17:48, Florian Snow wrote:
>> Hi Daniel,
>> As far as I remember, the form said "Join the Fellowship" and explained that this was a financial contribution.
> If you go to https://fsfe.org and click "Become a supporter" it still 
> shows the same form with the title "Join the FSFE"
> The word contribution is very generic.  In my view, the word itself 
> doesn't strongly imply membership, but the act of giving money does 
> give many people the feeling that they are a member.
When I "joined" I did so to join a European Free Software community 
because I wanted to strengthen my own activism in the area.  When I 
blogged about it 
Danish) I did mention my involvement with the FSFE as a "membership", 
and everyone I've talked with here in DK who became a Fellow talk about 
it as being "a member", too. Being already an "associate member" of the 
FSF, IIRC I did understand that I did not become a member with voting 
rights, but honestly I found the construction strange and complicated 
and hence just chose to tell people I had become a "member" and wanted 
to work with the organization.

So, speaking from my own experience,

* I don't feel I was misled, hence I don't think I gained any actual 
legal rights besides those as a "Fellow"
* The situation definitely could be clearer and easier to understand.

I understand the reluctance of opening the membership of FSFE e.V. as, 
in part, coup protection: People (e.g. Google, Microsoft or other 
proprietary software companies) can't do a hostile takeover by joining 
en masse and reducing a clear commitment to free software to something 

But in all cases - a clearer construction would be desirable. The thing 
is, when becoming a supporter (previously Fellow) you *are* invited to 
join in the sense of becoming part of the community and being active - 
up to and including coordinating local groups and applying to the GA.

However, you don't gain legal membership of the Association.  I've 
always experienced this as somewhat mixed signals. Converting all 
Supporters into full members may not be the solution, but it would be 
nice to have a construction that was a) just as inclusive, b) easy to 
understand and hence c) easy to explain to others.


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