How FSFE is organised

Paul Boddie paul at
Tue Oct 22 11:03:43 UTC 2019

On Monday 21. October 2019 07.20.49 Florian Snow wrote:
> Paul Boddie <paul at> writes:
> > I am sorry for the confusion here. In fact, I wasn't referring to the
> > FSFE with my remark, but the following crowdfunding campaign promoted
> > on this mailing list four years ago by a FSFE General Assembly member:
> > 
> >
> I am also very unhappy with how that went.  I backed the campaign as
> well and got nothing out of it.  I need to go back and find the original
> announcement e-mail on this list, but I sincerely hope there was no
> advertising *as* as GA member.  I would expect this to be clearly marked
> as a private opinion.  If it was not, we need to communicate that better
> for the future.

Well, I didn't back it because I felt I had already spent enough time and 
energy on various related projects - with rather little to show for it, 
ultimately - and I therefore felt that people could decide for themselves 
whether it was worth the risk. As the thread at the time can attest, I was 
somewhat irritated by the appeal to community being made, so people probably 
got a bit more information to digest before making a decision.

>From what I understand, the campaign's chief protagonists are doing other 
things now: one is apparently doing something with blockchain, the other was 
last seen working at the Wikimedia Foundation. I can understand that it can be 
awkward to revisit things that did not work out, but as far as I know the 
funds were never spent, so it is not necessarily a failure situation. However, 
it is not really my role to investigate such matters.

> > Although I wasn't referring to the FSFE, I do wonder whether anyone
> > else feels that there are certain common themes involved. For
> > instance, a lack of transparency and a lack of responsiveness to
> > genuine concerns. People can easily perceive these situations as
> > "thanks for the money so that we can do our thing", at which point
> > meaningful engagement ends.


> If someone supports us by dedicating time, they get the same benefits as a
> supporter and I feel that is a meaningful way to engage.

I agree with this approach, in fact. That said, organisations have to be very 
careful not to have people doing an actual job without getting paid for it.

> I know this is all anecdotal, but I very much felt that when I started
> engaging with the FSFE.  I very quickly became part of many teams and my
> opinion is always valued, especially because I tend to disagree.  So
> what I understand from you is that we should do the same for people who
> don't engage with us in our work, but who give us money.  What would you
> feel is a good way to achieve that?

Well, just as with the average crowdfunding campaign, communication is the 
principal remedy for any perceived lack of transparency. It really shouldn't 
be the case of people either giving money or volunteering their time, however. 
The attraction of FSFE, at least for me, was the level of engagement that 
appeared to be possible, where one would be happy donating *and* getting 
involved in activities within a community around the organisation.

But I rather perceive that things seem to happen in a more top-down fashion 
now. Important and strategic things seem to be the preserve of a few, 
admittedly very dedicated, individuals. Eventually, everyone else gets to hear 
about what has been going on, giving feedback about things very late in the 
day (like whether it really is a smart thing to endorse legislative 
concessions that mostly benefit only GitHub).


More information about the Discussion mailing list