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Re: Cancel "culture" is a threat to Debian


On 30.03.21 09:56, Dmitry Smirnov wrote:

Nobody is perfect. Everybody said a foolish thing at least once in a
lifetime. If we cancel those who love what they do, those who are good
with what they do, those who are passionate and caring for what they do
for something they have said somewhere else then eventually there will
be nobody left.

The problem isn't that he said and did a few "foolish" things in the past, but that he continues to insist that these things weren't foolish, and should be accepted as the price of his contributions.

That is not even valid from an utilitarian standpoint, because his behaviour discourages other contributors, whose potential work he'd have to make up for if we were aiming for a net positive.

And, more importantly, we also don't want to look at this in an utilitarian way either, as it reduces people's worth to their measurable contributions.

If I were to follow the argumentation that Stallman's contributions are so immensely important that it excuses everything else, that would be disrespectful both to him and to everyone else in the community at the same time, because it'd treat him like an idiot who we have accepted to be incapable of normal social behaviour but tolerate because he's still useful to us, and it'd send a message to everyone else that unless they reach a similar level of "productivity", they are disposable.

The word "productivity" is in quotes here, because unlike what I wrote earlier, is not even an objective measure here, but an arbitrary one that is defined by the exact same people who score highly on it.

That is why the "meritocracy" is bullshit: it is self-referential. The word "meritocracy" itself is from a satirical text on the inner workings of such a society, and I am still astonished to see people proposing to use a dystopian story as an example of how communities should be organized.

The position of the FSF, as announced, is that contributors outside their inner circle are unimportant. If they weren't also the stewards of the GPL, we could simply denounce them and let them fall into obscurity, but they have an important arbiter function: the ability to release new GPL versions.

There is precedent with the Wikipedia relicensing, where they released a new GFDL version with an annex allowing relicensing of GFDL content under a Creative Commons license if certain criteria were met (that effectively only applied to Wikipedia), which allowed the entirety of the GFDL'd contributions to WP to be relicensed without input from the copyright holders.

This is why we need to make it our business that the FSF remains functional and a part of the free software community at large. To remain a part of the community, they will need to have a minimum of social acceptability, and that cannot be enforced by throwing their weight around.


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