[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Asking DPL to shorten Discussion Period for rms-open-letter

Quoting Wouter Verhelst (2021-03-28 08:17:32)
> On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 11:46:03PM +0100, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > Quoting Wouter Verhelst (2021-03-27 18:19:57)
> > > On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 10:41:57AM +0100, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > > > Thanks for your judgements(!), Luke and Enrico.
> > > > 
> > > > For the record, I do not defend actions of RMS.  I defend his 
> > > > right to a fair trial.
> > > 
> > > Nobody is claiming Richard doesn't have the right for a fair 
> > > trial. He is still a human being, and every human being has such a 
> > > right.
> > > 
> > > However, there is no trial here.
> > 
> > We agree that there is no trial here.
> > 
> > My point is however tied to that of cancel culture a.k.a. group 
> > shaming - specifically that the initial text on the ballot use 
> > judgemental language that I can only read as intended to condemn the 
> > person that we want to distance outselves from.  Maybe I use the 
> > words wrongly or sloppily - what I mean is the difference between 
> > saying "that person allegedly made a crime" and "that person has 
> > made a crime", where the former is an accusation.
> The word "allegedly" is used by the press when reporting on a case, as 
> a shorthand for "we don't want to take a position either way, but this 
> is what the one party in the case is saying".
> Since we *do* want to take a position here, using "allegedly" is not 
> appropriate.
> Having said that, the language of the letter does not say that RMS 
> *is* mysoginistic, transphobic, or ableist; it states that "he has 
> shown himself to be" all these things. The difference here is subtle, 
> but it is a difference of exactly the type you are arguing for.

That (your very last sentence above) helps address my concern.

> > Seems my concern is what in english is called "libel": 
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Libel
> According to that very page, for a statement to be considered libel, 
> it has to be false. Quote:
>    Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander or 
>    traducement) is the oral or written communication of a *false* 
>    statement about another that *unjustly* harms their reputation and 
>    usually constitutes a tort or crime
> (emphasis mine)
> Do you have reason to believe these statements are false, and/or that
> they "unjustly" harm RMS' reputation?

Yes - that is the reason I have invested time on this subthread.

I do not, however, have reason to believe that the statements are 
expressed "with reckless disregard for the truth", which seems an 
important distinction.

> > > There is just the statement that RMS 
> > > has been a very annoying person for the past several decades, and that 
> > > having him in a position of leadership, in the opinion of those people 
> > > that signed the letter, causes more harm than good.
> > > 
> > > *That is not a trial*. That is an opinion on the effects another 
> > > person's behavior has to a community.
> > 
> > You talk about the part of Debian distancing itself from RMS.
> > 
> > I talk about the part of Debian making accusations against RMS.
> > 
> > Imagine someone in Debian blogged about skin colors, super annoyingly 
> > and persistently for many years but always "just talking about stuff" 
> > maybe walking close to but never crossing the line of racism,
> Do you believe that to be the case here? Do you think RMs has "walked 
> close but never crossed the line" of the things he's being accused of?

Yes - that is the reason I have invested time on this subthread.

> If you do, then... well, we'll have to discuss that.

If you mean we have to discuss what RMS has or has not done, then I 
disagree that we have to discuss that.

I believe that we have to discuss if we want on our ballot a text which 
potentially is libel.

My concrete proposal is to remove that one sentence which I can only 
read as a direct accusation.

> For the record, I don't believe so. I do believe he is all the things 
> he is being accused of in that letter.

Right: Your opinion - and I assume the opinion of the proposers of the 
text as well - is that it has (deliberate harmful intent, but) no risk 
of libel in keeping it as-is.

I am open to discuss further but don't know how it at all we can 
continue such discussion.

> > Unless or until a fair trial has ruled that he is guilty of those 
> > horrible crimes, in which case in becomes facts.
> What he is being accused of is not a crime in any jurisdiction that I 
> am aware of. He is not a nice person towards fellow human beings, but 
> most laws don't require you to be.
> You don't need a trial for everything. I don't think what RMS has done 
> requires jail time, or any other punishment a trial could give him. 
> Failing that, there is no reason for a trial.
> Without a trial, it is indeed not possible for the accusations to be 
> proven true or false. However, if someone cared enough, all the 
> evindence is out there and they can try to show why the accusations 
> are false.

For the record, my concern here is Debian, not RMS.

Specifically, my concern is if Debian (through potentially electing text 
#1) is making false accusations which might damage Debian.

My involvement in this subthread was when Molly arguing that the 
accusation was not harmful (using other words, yes, and we can nitpick 
that if really necessary).  You (and others, privately) agree that the 
accusations are deliberately harmful but that the harm cannot backfire 
on Debian.  I have raised my concerns - I rest my case.


 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: signature

Reply to: