I find it incredibly surprising that many or folk take the 0th pillar's "freedom of use" to mistakenly mean "freedom of usage by creating a software feature" instead of the true intended meaning: "freedom of usage under the license conditions".

Because that's what RMS has always been about: the software licenses being symmetrical in power between the distributor of software and receiver of software. It creates a level playing field in terms of what "politics" are contained in the software.

Show thread

Because that is the core of Software Freedom/Liberty: the right for a Person to take a software that expresses a [political] view they disagree with, obtain a copy of that software with equal capability as the distributor, modify that [political] view to be more amenable, and then redistribute it without any additional licensing burdens.

It's never about what specific views or capabilities are in the software itself. Heck, you could fork and purposefully add bugs and it is still no less Freedom respecting.

Β· Web Β· 4 Β· 17 Β· 30

So trying to argue the 0th pillar "freedom of use" is about specific software capabilities is mistaken. It's a gateway to the un-reconcilable "well N users demand my software have feature X, and an equal number also demand an incompatible feature Y." How could one ever satisfy the 0th pillar under this condition, and why would RMS never discuss this situation?

Perhaps because it is the wrong interpretation. :) RMS spends time at the "licensing level", not at the "what does your software do exactly" level.

Show thread

Apparently, these lines of arguments are so convincing that some feel the only proper rebuttal is to remind me that "I am not RMS", which I take to be a compliment. I respect RMS but it would be unfortunate to discover now that we are the same person.

Show thread

@cj while I agree in principle I think it's murky territory to conflate what Tusky did vis-a-vis Gab with implementing a feature or not. If Tusky removed boosts for everyone the freedom of use is respected: anyone can use Tusky to do what Tusky is designed to do. If they removed boosts only for left-handed people then freedom of use is infringed because not everyone can use Tusky the same way.

That said, I use Tusky and I think Gab should be de-federated.

@TheCzar @cj If you do this, and package it, I will recommend your tusky over the other one (and I have set a good couple of people up with tusky, and expect to do more in the future)

@jeffcliff Appreciate the free Tusky publicity, and can only imagine the reasons you'll have to list to folks when you try to convince them not to use upstream.

If the reasoning includes confusing censorship (the tool) with free speech (the multiple principles), "Tusky ain't Libre Software", or something along the lines of "tech shouldn't be political" then I've got Bingo!


@cj @TheCzar tusky is free/libre, and I can choose not to use upstream, because this censorship is a braindead wrong approach to gab. gab shouldn't be silenced, full stop.

@cj @TheCzar Just like I suggest people not use gab's version of mastodon, because gab censors, too.

@jeffcliff I don't see why Gab shouldn't be silenced. I have not been impressed with any of the arguments coming out of that instance. If any arguments come out at all, because a lot of what I have seen is just pure hatred of Jews and blacks with slurs and racial stereotyping.

That's not a productive community. It's not a healthy community.

@jeffcliff Also: censorship is a tool, like a hammer, and it is wielded to further a specific higher purpose. Much like hammers can build houses or flaming crosses, censorship can be used to improve discourse or silence specific ideas. Hating against "censorship" makes about as much sense as hating hammers. It opens one's self to criticism for being anti-higher-purpose for all tool uses. So it's kind of an intellectually lazy stance: more nuance around the tool's use is needed.

@jeffcliff For instance, I think silencing hate speech ("gas all X", "kill all Y", etc) leads to improved discourse. If a person thinks "I know, I'm going to put my well thought out argument in this space full of hate speech instead of an area without it", I don't have sympathy if their speech gets caught up in the hate speech censor. There's just too many options on the Fediverse for self hosting. There's too many options on the internet to run ones own blog.

@jeffcliff There's ways to get a message out there that doesn't involve associating ones opinion with hate speech that has led to actual, real world violence.

Censorship is a tool. We should remain vigilant around its use, but blanket hating censorship as if it were a principle is confusing a tool for it's wielded purpose.

I haven't seen any nuanced opinions around this on the gab issue, only "I don't like censorship so it's bad" which is wholly unconvincing and unprincipled.

No. Censorship is not a tool that you should be using, or recommending, period full stop. I'm going to resist you, any time you use it.

@cj What about it? We're not talking about spam we're talking about the content of spam. That's like asking "what if we have a hurricane" as a justification for not letting a pinprick of water through a dam.

@jeffcliff Yes, we are talking about content that is off topic, in copious volume, and may or may not make sense to the topic at hand. It is a distraction that prevents constructive dialog like we are having.

If your model doesn't allow for censoring spam, that's a huge red flag to me.

@cj It's not off topic to someones' *own personal feed*. You do not get to decide what is and not offtopic to me, and my feed


> For instance, I think silencing hate speech ("gas all X", "kill all Y", etc) leads to improved discourse.

You do not get to decide what 'discourse' gets to come out of my mouth.

@jeffcliff @cj which values of X and Y are you intending to have come out of your mouth here?

@flussence @cj don't worry, both are non-empty sets, but not going to get into who is who here in public. But people who push for censorship hard enough might want to be careful who they piss off, I'll just say that.

@cj > There's just too many options on the Fediverse for self hosting. There's too many options on the internet to run ones own blog.

Also: no there isn't. There isn't *nearly* enough options for either. The internet is closing down rapidly, the freedom it offered rapidly diminishing: and it's in part because of people who are OK with censorship that it's happening.

@jeffcliff This argument is so ridiculous I don't feel the need to address it.

You have tor, Wordpress, hugo, Digital Ocean, traditional social media, bittorrent, so many ways of distributing and getting a message out there. Running your own Mastodon, Pleroma, etc is not a problem.


> Running your own Mastodon, Pleroma, etc is not a problem.

Yeah it is. A big problem. Not a single one is reproducibly building on debian. I've got RFPs for all of them and there's basically no activity on any of them.

@cj oh yeah, 'traditional social media' is definitely a place free from censorship, sure.

@jeffcliff ...and because of that, it seems you overlooked everything else. Don't trip over the canary I threw in there.

@cj I will try the other ones, starting with bittorrent (/tribler) , but that's going to take hundreds of hours to get going again probably

@jeffcliff I'm not asking you to debunk each one, one at a time. I'm not that unreasonable.

My point is that there are so many different technologies attempting to ensure censorship cannot happen. VPNs, heck even FreeNet is still around and just as easy as ever to connect to.

@cj I don't think that's unreasonable. You provided a list of alternatives and I have only debunked one or two. And I've got hundreds of hours of work ahead of me to do so

@jeffcliff But yes, for certain viewpoints traditional social media is an avenue for self-expression.

If we can't even agree with that then its clear we're just talking past each other.

@cj No, it's not a tool - it's damage to the network and I will route around it.

@jeffcliff I've argued about why it is a tool and you have disagreed without presenting a counterargument and without presenting one of your own.

I get you will oppose me, I'm not doubting that. I am doubting your rationale behind your fanatic hatred of a tool.

@cj It's not a tool, it's damage. You're committing a category error comparing the two.

@jeffcliff No, you're the one confusing censorship -- the tool -- with the damage censorship causes (information not flowing) which has no English name.

@cj that's like splitting hairs between "murder" (the person who's dead) and "murder" (the act of killing). It's the same goddamn thing

@jeffcliff It's not splitting hairs, and if you were arguing in good faith you wouldn't dismiss my argument like that.

It's a standard distinction separating a cause (censoring) from the effect (information not travelling).

I get the feeling you are frustrated, perhaps because the position you've taken cannot handle this basic nuance. I understand its frustrating so I'd rather just walk away from this pointless discussion.

@cj I'll argue in good faith that the promotion of censorship isn't *automatically a priori in bad faith*. I'd normally hold that but in this case I'll let that go

you are within your right to do that, but it would also be really stupid. i don't know how to explain that you're not making some epic own here, you're accidentally supporting them @cj

@sylveon Seems whatever comment was left by @TheCzar is gone now. I can't pitch in anything specific.

I can generally say they believe that tech is "just code / no politics" which I've made clear in other comments that this mindset is the basis for a moral framework I find far too limiting for a multitude of reasons.

The latest ex is Kazakhstan's MITM of all HTTPS. It's "just code" working as intended but ignoring the erosion of digital freedoms is awful

Likely instance block/mute, I can see the post by @TheCzar on my self-hosted Pleroma.


@ivan Gotcha, thanks for the clarification!

@TheCzar TBH I am pretty worn thin on the Tusky/Gab debate. I don't care if it's admins determining blocklists for their own communities (freedom of association). I don't care if they use collective power to try to get others to do the same: it can be viewed as bullying or a social movement against hate speech. I'm not going to be the one convincing one side to join the other.


@cj it isn't about what features the software has, but rather if one can get the software binary, then they are entitled to the source as well, per the license. Gab could for Tusky, call it "Gab mobile," then patch out the block mechanism. They could distribute "Gab mobile." That is how the license is supposed to work, right?

@paperdigits Yep. In fact, Gab has already done something like this to Tusky, I think.

@cj Instead of screaming at @Tusky how about you make your own?


...because I use Tusky, support the choice the devs made, want to continue to financially support it, and am happy to not make my own.

It sounds like you're mistaking my position for someone else's, and mistaking verbosity for some sort of internet rage.


@cj I suppose I was not clear. That was directed twords the people yelling at @Tusky, not you.

@cj I think you're straining at the gnat & swallowing the camel. I can accept the arcane points stated here about FOSS, maybe Tusky is still FOSS "free". I think we're missing the big issue: Many saw the toots trying to pressure instances to ban gab, apps to ban gab, egging on monopolists Google & Apple to ban the "bad" apps. People can see that this was an attempt to collude & deny freedom to Gab users. People see through this FOSS side debate to the issue of real freedom

@AndreiRublev1 I disagree. The Freedom and Rights granted to users by FLOSS is just as real as other Freedoms/Rights such as free speech of users, free speech of developers, the right of association, right of privacy, etc.

I think, and maybe you do too, that it is a balance of these rights that are needed. Not demeaning one set (FLOSS) as lesser.

I still think that the FLOSS Freedoms will allow determined hate speechers to circumvent any code bans, preserving their Freedom.

@cj Not demeaining one set as lesser. Think of it like this: Suppose the anti-Gab campaign had been totally successful. The result would have been a complete crippling of Gab (oddly by, in part, partnering with anti-freedom big tech). Can you see that people would think it very hollow and inconsistent to read arguments from groups touting FLOSS freedom, yet many of those same groups had in practice acted to severely deprive those people of their freedom to use Gab?

@cj Had the anti-Gab campaign been a total success, I think ordinary people looking at this would rightly wonder: "What good is FLOSS freedom when many of these same groups colluded to deprive Gab users of their freedom to use Gab? Where is the consistent commitment to freedom? It does not make sense to, under the cover of FLOSS freedom, deprive Gab users of their freedom. Why do some say it is fine to use one freedom to deprive others of another freedom?"

@AndreiRublev1 I don't think your premise is possible: users can still always used forked software. Just means there will be two Fediverse that refuse to communicate with each other, or have sparse bridges. And the cultural/societal force pushes people to the non-hate-speech less-potential-real-world-violence outcome. That's a feature and morally good outcome in my book.

Gab can't ever get kicked off the Fediverse. No deplatforming. They can be isolated to wallow on their own.

@AndreiRublev1 And again you keep using the "FLOSS Freedom" meme that has been repeatedly debunked. Regardless of their isolation, Gab users always have and retain their FLOSS Freedom. It's just other Freedoms like association that let people isolate Gab. No hypocrisy with FLOSS Freedoms just different values for other Freedoms. The balancing act between freedoms and rights of different people.

@cj Sorry, not sure what you mean by the "FLOSS freedom" meme. I only use that term truly and simply because I don't know how else to describe the freedoms inherent in FLOSS as part of a 500 character limit toot! ;)

@cj Well, you are adressing how things would likely play out (I think you're right); my point is about the mindset motivating those who attempted to ban Gab, who touted the FLOSS freedom of apps that were made to ban Gab while hoping thereby to deprive Gab users of their freedom to use Gab.

@AndreiRublev1 Please read my post and my blog post linked from within:


Your usage of the word "usage" in terms of "using Gab" is of the software feature kind, which is not what FLOSS pillars are about. Instead it is about "usage" of the license kind.

@AndreiRublev1 TL;DR: they still have the freedom to use as a software feature Gab, even if the software has a feature to block Gab, because the user has the Freedom (FLOSS) to fork and remove the block without any license restriction.

@cj I understand your distinctions, and think you are correct. But,

1) Had the anti-Gab people met all their goals, I think, practically speaking, Gab would have been unable to widely disseminate a forked app - an attack on the freedom of Gab users (clearly that was part of the ultimate goal).

2) The common guy is going to see talk of FLOSS type freedom as meaningless when he sees people also trying to prevent Gab from getting forked apps into the hands of users.

@AndreiRublev1 I think the "attack on dissemination of a forked app" is hypothetical, right now. There's already plenty of forked apps available for side loading or on proprietary app stores. So no reason to spread FUD.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!