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Re: Amendment to RMS/FSF GR: Option 4, assert the need to learn and grow from recent events

Hi all,

On Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 11:28:47PM +0100, Jonathan Wiltshire wrote:
> This is a late amendment proposal which I hope seconders will feel able to
> support in time for it to make the ballot paper. It is late because I feel
> strongly that events in the past few days [1] [2] [3] [4] risk overtaking
> this GR; Debian already has enough criticism for being slow to respond, and
> I want to head off anything which might reinforce that view.
> 1: https://www.fsf.org/news/preliminary-board-statement-on-fsf-governance
> 2: https://www.fsf.org/news/update-on-work-to-improve-governance-at-the-fsf
> 3: https://www.fsf.org/news/welcoming-ian-kelling-to-staff-seat-on-fsfs-board-of-directors
> 4: https://www.fsf.org/news/statement-from-the-fsf-board-of-directors-meeting-on-march-29-2021
> I acknowledge that this text is not worded so strongly as many people would
> like it to be. However, I don't believe in fueling fires and I would like
> to see Debian calling for overhaul of FSF governance without joining any
> lynch mobs. There are competing extreme opinions at the moment, and I'm
> hoping this is a text on which we can have broader agreement.
> This is a position statement of the Debian Developers in accordance with
> our constitution, section 4.1.5.
> The Developers firmly believe that leaders in any prominent organisation
> are, and should be, held to the highest standards of accountability.
> We are disappointed that issues of transparency and accountability in the
> governance of the Free Software Foundation have led to unresolved and
> serious complaints of impropriety by its founder Richard Stallman over a
> number of years whilst in the position of president and as a member of the
> board. In particular, we are deeply concerned that the board saw fit to
> reinstate him without properly considering the effect of its actions on
> those complainants.
> The Developers acknowledge that people make mistakes but believe that where
> those people are in leadership positions, they must be held accountable for
> their mistakes. We believe that the most important part of making mistakes
> is learning from them and changing behaviour. We are most concerned that
> Richard and the board have not sufficiently acknowledged or learned from
> issues which have affected a large number of people and that Richard
> remains a significant influence on both the FSF board and the GNU project.
> We call upon the Free Software Foundation to further steps it has taken in
> March 2021 to overhaul governance of the organisation, and to work
> tirelessly to ensure its aim is fulfilled. We believe that only through
> properly accountable governance can members of an organisation ensure their
> voice is heard. The Free Software Foundation must do everything in its
> power to protect its staff and members, and the wider community, including
> a robust and transparent process for dealing with complaints.
> We urge Richard Stallman and the remaining members of the board which
> reinstated him, to consider their positions.
> The Developers are proud that contributors to free software come from all
> walks of life and that our diverse experience and opinions are a strength
> of software freedom. But we must never cease in our efforts to ensure that
> all contributors are treated with respect, and that they feel safe and
> secure in our communities - including when we meet in person.



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