We are calling for RMS to be removed from all leadership positions in the FOSS community, including the FSF and GNU, and for the FSF board to resign. Join us. rms-open-letter.github.io/



People are complex.
People are different.
People are irreducable.
Unknowable, even.

This letter is manipulative.
It reduces a person to a set of labels and calls for action.

Even worse, it implies that differing opinions alone are a valid cause to intrude into his life and to separate a person from his life's work.

And not only him, but other people as well.


@houkimenator @ehashman

My sincere congratulations for summarizing it so well.

@houkimenator man, I was really excited to see your post. I thought that people were shitting an awful lot on RMS and I really liked the man's mythology. But then I looked into it more, and ended up signing the letter you're critiquing. His "life's work" should have been more inclusive. Maybe not at the beginning but by the end. It sucks to lose a hero, but I'm better than him. I hope you're better than him too.

@pants @ehashman

I can understand that.

But even when one thinks that FSF should have been more inclusive, signing this exact letter, with its chosen approach, is how we make the whole opensource community a more coercive, less tolerant and less inclusive place.


@houkimenator has got a point.

> He has shown himself to be misogynist, ableist, and transphobic, among other serious accusations of impropriety

You don't use labels to accuse someone. You use actions they have done. Labels can be dismissed as prejudice, slander or character assassination. Actions are far more solid. "Transphobic" -> "has shown / expressed distain for trans people", or "has made jokes that are offensive to trans people". "Mysogynist" -> "has often relegated women to inferior roles" etc.

All of these must reference known instances (or accusations) of such behavior.

If you're angry and are desperate to do something, it's perfectly understandable, but you don't take a stick to a knife fight. If you're going to fight and mean it, then do it right.


@pants @houkimenator @ehashman
I'm going to link to the FSFE statement on the RMS issue.


> One crucial factor in making our community more inclusive is to recognise and reflect when other people are offended or harmed by our own actions and consider this feedback in future actions. The way Richard Stallman announced his return to the board unfortunately lacks any acknowledgement of this kind of thought process, and we are deeply disappointed that the FSF board did not address these concerns before electing him a board member again. Overall, we feel the current step sends the wrong signal to existing and future community members.

> That is why, ..., we call for his resignation ... The FSF needs to seriously reflect on this decision as well as their decision-making process ... etc.

So they don't mention RMS's actions but already assume they happened in their wording. They emphasize the fact that RMS did not apologize and that the decision was taken unilaterally. With this statement they put not only RMS under the microscope, but the FSF as well, practically saying: "Why weren't we consulted about this?"

@yuki @houkimenator
Perhaps it was bad form to assume that those reading the letter already had a full understanding of the accusations against RMS, but they were nice enough to link to an article that did outline the specific concerns and accusations. And that article linked to others. This stuff is not difficult to find. It's not that people can't be awkward and make mistakes, it's that RMS has been told multiple times that his actions are problematic and he refuses to change.

Oh, there is a link at the end of the letter.

I totally missed it, my bad. 😣
@houkimenator @ehashman

@houkimenator @ehashman The letter points out why one person's actions make his presence at this point more harmful than helpful.

If he loves his life's work and understands the problem, he should voluntarily stay away. But he doesn't understand the problem, and neither does the board that let him back.

The best people to provide moral guidance to the board are no longer on it, they've given up and distanced themselves from the sinking ship.
@houkimenator @ehashman What's worse is that he has publicly stated that he no longer supports some of the opinions that are now being held against him.

This creates a world where nobody is allowed to change their opinion on anything ever and should never deserve a chance to correct themselves.
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