Kundigung [Legal Team] leaving FSFE's legal team

Florian Snow floriansnow at fsfe.org
Thu Mar 28 16:53:03 UTC 2019

Hi Christian,

First of all, I have to say I am not happy that an email was published
here without the consent of the author.  In addition, the word "fsfegate
2.0" and the fact that this is a completely unknown person, makes me
feel uneasy about this email.

That being said, I would like to answer your email, Christian.
Essentially, I will treat the statements in the quoted mail as questions
from you personally that deserve an answer.  I will answer as many
questions as possible.

I have been a GA member for about a year, but I do not speak for the
GA.  We are individuals with differing opinions and that is what makes
us strong as an organization.  So I will just state my personal opinion
without speaking for anyone else and without claiming that my opinion is
the only possible one.

[Executive engaging the legal team less]

I am not a member of the legal team, so I do not have complete insight
into this.  If the statement is true, I could see multiple reasons for
it.  Perhaps management feels more confident regarding certain issues
due to prior counsel of the legal team.  Just an example, but there
might be a good reason for that.  It is also possible that not everyone
in the legal team would support that statement.

[Less visibility in regards to legal and policy issues]

My impression is very different and in fact, I would say we are gaining
visibility.  But either way, there is no hard data on this issue.

[too strong a focus on campaigns and lack of (long-term) vision]

I feel campaigns are good and important.  The idea here is to deliver
specific goals that can be measured.  I would say they play a very
important part in the question of "What do we want to achieve in the
next 5 years?".  More of the vision part comes in in selecting those
campaigns.  I do see occasional weaknesses here and we deal with them
when they happen, but I see no overarching problem here.

[losing sight of core goals]

I completely disagree with this statement.  Yes, we think about issues
such as gender equality because we think being more inclusive will
strengthen our movement as a whole.  That does not mean we lost sight of
our core goals.  Just look at our website, our mailing lists and check
which things we actually work on.  You will see that it is all about
Free Software and how it is perceived in the world.  Other issues like
inclusiveness is more a matter of how we communicate, thinking about new
channels to use, and so on.

[not institutionalizing knowledge]

I would say there is quite a lot of knowledge that _is_ being
institutionalized and documented, but I agree that this is something we
can probably still improve on.  This is a general issue with growing
communities that a lack of communication might arise.  I think we do
better here than other organizations I have seen, but there is still
room for improvement and I have seen many steps to clarify procedures,
to document information about people and events.

[all staff being on leave after FOSDEM and unanswered requests]

I have seen this in the past, but not this year for example, so the
situation about unanswered requests appears to be improving.

[no information to stakeholders about absent people]

I have not experienced that, but perhaps there is a process here that
needs clarification and documentation.

[emails stuck in mailing list queues; systems (VMs) down due to lack of

The situation with emails has improved somewhat in recent years with the
introduction of a general entry point for inquiries instead of several
different mailing lists.  However, we can still improve on that.  To me,
this is also a question of volunteer engagement and not just about
sponsors.  I would not expect the FSFE employees to deal with all
tickets/emails at all times.  We are an organization that is largely
made up of volunteers and there are many areas where I think more
volunteer engagement could help.  The FSFE is not the office in Berlin
and its employees, the FSFE is a community.  There is simply way more
work than we can handle and certainly way more work than staff can
handle on their own.  So we rely on volunteers to do some of the work
and even then, we could always use more hands.  That means some things
will not get dealt with and what I see is people doing their best to
prioritize well.

[no improvements but personal attacks from the vice president]

I have seen many improvements over the years, but we can always do more,
of course.  As for the personal attacks, I have a really hard time
imagining Heiki (our vice president) making personal attacks.  I have
experienced him as someone with strong integrity and carefully weighed
opinions who handles criticism in an exceptionally constructive way.
His emails are concise (quite the opposite of mine) and perhaps
sometimes a bit direct.  That might perhaps have been perceived as
arrogance, but I am certain if someone pointed out a specific situation
to Heiki that was problematic, he would clarify and, if appropriate,
apologize.  That is the way my interactions with him have always gone
and not once have I seen him come close to a personal attack.

I hope that clarifies some of those things for you, Christian, and
others here on the list.  If you have further questions, feel free to

Happy hacking!

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