improving the tone of discussion in FSFE

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Wed Sep 12 07:42:36 UTC 2018

On 11/09/18 11:04, Bernhard E. Reiter wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> Am Montag 10 September 2018 20:08:23 schrieb Daniel Pocock:
> [..]
>> One of the worst things about leadership mistakes is 
>> that people emulate them.  
> [..]
>> most recently Bernhard, putting my name into the subject line of an email[2]
>> reply.  Everything spiralled downwards from there 
> from my perspective it is fine to put a name in an email subject.

Putting a name in the subject has no relation to the topic under
discussion.  It appears to be personal, it appears to be a reprisal for
expressing an opinion and so it violates the code of conduct.

As I also pointed out, it drew other people into similarly questionable
behaviour, do you really want to trigger such things on the mailing lists?

> to read about it again here. Please respect if others do not share your view 
> on the importance of some of these topics, like if a name on a motion is 
> formatted or spelled correctly.

A single typo is a mistake.

Persistently using somebody's first name in that context is really out
of place and not something that happens by accident.  It appears to be
condescending, disrespectful and personal.

It doesn't matter if some people don't care or if most people don't even
look at the minutes: the people who do care would be easily satisfied by
a quick edit of the document.  I suspect that quick edit of the document
would have consumed far less time and energy than replying to my email.

>> It is essential to show respect for volunteers when something goes wrong 
>> in their life and they have to miss an event.
> I agree about this.
> What we disgree about seems to be 
> if respect has been shown, I think it was and is shown.
> This is why I am writing this email, I'm taking some time to give you my 
> perspective and feelings.
>> Reminding people about such things in such an ugly way is a guaranteed 
>> way to poison relationships. 
> There is a direct relation to your criticim of the structures of FSFE.
> People explained to you how you could have made your voice heard and how to 
> exercise your power in the e.V. . At some occasions you have not done it. If 
> you afterwards in public criticise the people in FSFE for not honoring your 
> input, I believe you leave others no choice than to point out where you have 
> not used some opportunities (that have been there even if you were unable to 
> attend some meetings). This does not speculate about why you were not able to 
> do so. It is not unrespectful in my eyes. Instead it shows what others cannot 
> understand the difference between the missed opportunities and your public 
> demands.

You said you "agree", but then you go on to behave in the same
inappropriate manner.  When you write "not used some opportunities", I
feel you are implying I had a choice to be there.  It was not a choice.
This perception that I chose not to come appears to be fuelling a lot of
the antagonism that arises whenever it is mentioned.  Some comments even
imply that I was negligent or mischievous in not attending.

You simply can't say that to any volunteer, or to an employee, no
matter what the situation.  As soon as you question somebody like that,
they lose respect for you and they lose motivation.  There is no benefit
to be gained by making such allegations either.

> but we can declare us incompatible

When Trump was elected, many people felt incompatible.  People quit jobs
in Washington, some people moved to Canada.  Even his own staff are
quitting, somebody quits almost every week but Trump always stays.  That
is the nature of democracy.  If you don't like the person who is
elected, you can go do other things in FSFE or free software or even go
to Canada for a year but hounding that person to resign is just bullying.

It is incredibly immature.

All serious organizations have elections and the people who get elected,
even if they are from different parties, have to work together.

FSFE's biggest problem right now is the collapse[3] in
Fellowship/supporters, the more time people waste in blame games and
trying to overturn the elections, the more Fellows are gone.  And they
are not just missing a meeting, they are probably gone for good.

You complain to me for raising issues like this, but you should thank me
for having the patience to do so.  Hundreds of people just quit without
saying anything.  Maybe they felt incompatible with FSFE leadership?




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