Honestly, does anyone else feel grossed out and depressed over the last few weeks?

It feels like it devolved into stanning/dogpiling rms personally, which reduces... the people who were sexually harassed or edged out of FOSS into NPCs and rhetorical talking points.

I don't want to judge or condemn anyone, and have complex personal feels. I just want being femme and a dev to suck less going forward.

· · Web · 4 · 3 · 9

@cidney I think part in this is everyone has their own negative interactions with him, including all the cis het collaborators.

Personally I've had little interactions with him, pushing a couple patches to emacs and some mails on emacs-devel@ and emacs-tangents@, and while I was not abused, it was so painfully obvious how harmful to FOSS and how annoying he was.

So everyone had a say and as usual the most "agreeable" folks got the tallest platform out of which they spoke the loudest...

@cadadr Definitely. By the time I was at MIT, rms had become a bit of a joke ("I invented emacs, will you sleep with me?"). I didn't directly interact with him, but know people he harassed.

I have complex feelings because by then there were lots of people who had... similar egos, but better game, and thought objections to hitting on undergrads half their age was "ageist".

Toxic cultures are hard to unpack.

@cidney That joke is soo telling 😢

These folk adapt to the day and co-opt what's "hip" to legitimise their exploitation..

Tangentially one idea that I keep returning to these days is student's participation in running universities. We have no say in anything. Surely if students and lower rank academics had the power to kick you out, you couldn't go hitting on students, at least as easily. We need a movement to demilitarise and democratise education, just like worker coops.

@cadadr @cidney that galaxy brain meme :ancomheart: :ancomheart:

Democratise the whole of society

@kawaiipunk @cidney Eventually...

Top down revolutions seem to not work. I have more trust in bottom up democratisation of our fundamental institutions, like worker / consumer coops.

This is kinda off topic considering the OP, and I wouldn't want to detract from it, but I'd be happy to join in if someone starts a separate thread on it, feel free to @ me. I don't have a lot of answers but I do have questions that I find interesting.

@cadadr @kawaiipunk @cidney I'd love to have a chat about this at some point; I was listening to a podcast recently that I thought was going to provide an interesting critique of the co-op model but as far as I can tell (I need to listen again, I was having a hard time following it) the critique was "it doesn't fix all the problems, and it doesn't do it instantly so top-down revolutions are better" which seemed to miss the point IMO. But I'd be curious to hear other views on it.

@cidney I suggest filtering "RMS", "Stallman", "FSF", and "GNU" if you're overwhelmed seeing it. I personally have felt quite stressed and let it affect my sleep schedule which got really wonky the last 1.5 weeks. But I'm *so* glad that so many people are discussing how we move forward to build a better movement now that we can stop being held back by Stallman and the toxic fanclub around him.


My reaction was 1) "wow, the FSF deciding to bring him back was a dumb move; why would they do that?" and 2) "does this *really* need to turn into a rehashing of every single problem everyone has had with RMS with clear implication that there isn't room for difference of opinion."

For all I know, RMS might really be as bad as all that, but when I enter a space and every single voice is loudly agreeing with each other about the evils of a person who isn't present, I get uneasy.


There are certain similarities between the way I feel about the public treatment I've seen of RMS and the ways that most of the people I know talk about vaccine-hesitancy/antivaxxers.

In the case of vaccinations, yeah, I agree that all of the science points to vaccines being safe and effective and having a huge role to play in public health.

But I also think there's value in giving people body agency, even if they are going to use it to make bad decisions. And I can understand why someone might not be entirely comfortable accepting pharmaceuticals produced by the same companies that created the opioid crisis and widespread antibiotic resistance.

It doesn't usually feel safe to give this kind of pushback though.


When I hear people loudly agreeing with each other about the evils of a particular person, group, or institution, I think one of my knee-jerk reactions is "who exactly are you all fighting against?"

What I realized during the latest cycle of RMS-related drama is that there are actually several possible answers to that question.

1) Everyone is blowing off steam following engagement on a different forum where ther are people loudly engaging in the opposite (and often more sinister) argument. The situation only looks like bashing and scapegoating because I'm not on the other forum and so don't see the other side.

2) In a context like Mastodon or Twitter, the other side of the argument is actively raging but outside of my social horizons, and I'm literally only seeing one side of an active argument.

3) What I'm seeing really is bashing and scapegoating.

There are probably other possibilities too, and I imagine the most likely answer is really some combination of all of the above.


I also thought it was... kind of weird... that RMS being reinstated seemed to be a prompt to start discussing possible philosophical problems with the free software movement itself. To whatever extent that there are legitimate problems with the free software model, I don't think that tangling those up with individual bad actors (RMS and those who play the same game he does) and tendencies toward nepotism (or whatever bizarre motive drove the decisions by the FSF) doesn't seem likely to make for healthy debate.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
City of Glass Social

Single-user server run by @cidney.