This is cancel culture taken to the extreme. Now that everything is built, the builders are expendable. They're "problematic."
We're facing down a new form of puritanism that is a greater threat to civil rights than the "problematic" individuals they seek to destroy.
No defense for RMS' statement, it's absurd, but if there's no moderation whatsoever in regards to a proportionate response (eg. he's either "clean" or "unclean"), then no one else is safe as the mob ratchets up its criteria for existing as a virtuous person.
You are making a baseless assumption that it hurts the movement and are using it to push a change in leadership to someone, who is ideologically more aligned with your views (presumably, maybe you have hidden agendas, who knows). To me it seems that politically correct leadership afraid to talk about controversial topics and express controversial opinions is going to hurt free software much more by letting "the mobs", corporate PR attacks, etc. influence them and shape the movement.
Because I think there is some basis in that statement, given the many conversations I've had over the last 20 years I've known of free software, and known of people who dealt with Stallman.
Including my own experience.
I’m not sure how valuable these baseless anecdotes are to the conversation and is one of the reasons why I try to argue on principles.
I’m optimistic that you brought up principles as well as I think it’s important to judge developers based on the quality of their code rather than how popular they are.
Good software isn’t a democracy. Democracy is great for things that are arbitrary, but sucks for things where there’s objective value. I don’t want my surgeon taking a vote on how to proceed while I’m on the table.
However, that doesn’t mean democratic principles have no place. Consensus, discussion, collaboration are all important. But not to the exclusion of skill and responsibility. While I don’t want my surgeon taking a vote that includes the orderly and electrician who happen to be in the room, I hope that they solicit input and consider opinions from others before they decide on the course of action.
I also don’t know of a way to compare individuals for their value and think it’s a waste of effort to do so. People who encourage facilitation are awesome and I think frequently projects can do better with a fun person who attracts participation rather than some hard core coder who pisses everyone off. But not as an absolute rule. I’ve worked on projects with wonderful cheerleaders that never produced anything because they were all happiness and tons of people, but no one actually doing work.
I work on some free software projects and most people don't even know who RMS is. There are multiple Free/Open Source software associations, projects and communities to choose, all with different people working on them, some of them don't tolerate such behavior.
If none of those fit, people can just create their own and choose who to associate with.
This is clearly a fabricated justification. But if such people were to actually exist they would not participate in the free software movement either way due to misalignment of values and ideologies.
Bushnell makes the excellent point that he wasn't pushed out for this email alone, but for the pattern of thought the email indicates when aligned with other behaviors in his career.
The movement doesn't grow further as just an old-boys-club, or a tough-emotions-only club. That stuff is, quite frankly, exhausting and detracts from good engineering.
RMS is using his position as a free software spokesman and leader to minimize sex trafficking and defend rapists and you are talking about "cancel culture".
This is a horrific response to this article.
Even though I'm not religiously bound to the GPL, it would be idiotic to refuse props to RMS for having profoundly affected society in a positive way through the FSF.
Are we confident that the FSF doesn't pass on with RMS? How?
What more proportionate response would you suggest?
So far, the only alternative responses I've seen offered are that Stallman is either correct or the true victim, and we should sympathize with him, respect him and let him be.
RMS isn't some random asshole who made a slightly off-color remark, he's a leader whose influence and cult of personality have shaped the culture around F/OSS development and programming for decades, who appears to have troubling issues around the concept of sex and consent with minors. He's also a man known for his intransigence, so the chances of him "learning his lesson" seem low.
To say that he doesn't deserve to be inconvenienced by the social consequences of opinions that would ostracize anyone else isn't proportionate, it's elitist.
I am so disgusted with this community right now.
Wernher von Braun never went to the moon.
The problem is that not getting those people to stop doing that - or, if necessary, excluding them - causes them to exclude other people.
And getting those people to stop excludes people who don't like for anyone to force them to stop and to cave to the mobs.
I have yet to see a mob mentality like that which forms to defend Richard Stallman at all costs.
I think it’s easier to be inclusive by people’s preference to join rather than to try to guess about unknown groups that may be be comfortable enough to participate but since we don’t know them we can’t query them.
I don’t think RMS is scaring off good developers. I also don’t understand what kind of developer would be put off by his statements so much they would not collaborate on a project.
I’ve worked on a lot of projects and software is weird and awesome because the impact of one person is so amazing. Lots of people can come and go without making a difference. So discouraging participation isn’t some absolute evil to be avoided. Sometimes it actually helps cut down on noise per the whole Brooks Law kind of thing.
Does our current handling thereof help or harm?
If those questions are not answered, we're flying blind.
Also there are some stupid things done like putting 18 y.o. boy in jail for sleeping with his 16 y.o. girlfriend, consensually.
Someone should do actual not politically correct and not victim culture motivated research.
It would be hard work, reaching out to the victims and running longitudinal observation.
If there is such research, I'd like to read it.
> Someone should do actual not politically correct and not victim culture motivated research.
Someone should take a few minutes to read the reams of research that has been written about this rather than parotting NAMBLA discussion points.
If someone has sex with a woman in a coma, there's no harm to the woman. There's no need for physical force. It's still sexual assault.
Unconscious people, children, and sex slaves are not able to give meaningful consent.
Stallman doesn't appear to understand the role of consent in these laws.
"The word “assaulting” presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing.Only that they had sex.
We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates."
In Poland, it requires use of force or coercion on part of the person doing the sexual act.
Without it, say drugging and then letting someone else do it, it's "just" assault. (The other person is committing sexual assault.)
What Epstein did is called pimping and also punishable by law.
Potentially also abduction or assault.
Forcing a minor to commence a sexual act is a separate category of pimping (pimping a minor) that's yet more harshly punished.
Sex with minor is also punishable by law separately. (With some exceptions and discretion by the judge.) Now there is a strong association with sexual assault, though circumstances can leave it as just sex with minor. Depends on prosecutor and judge.
So it is likely Epstein would be convicted of multiple crimes and potentially recidivism (repeat offense) and organized crime, while Minsky would be convicted for sex with minor, not any kind of assault.
Note that repeat offense means Epstein would not be offered bail nor allowed a reduced sentence.
No, the everyday English word "assault" doesn't have to include "use of violence". RMS has wrongly said it does.
The context is an underage sex slave. Having sex with her is rape by definition in two different ways.
Stallman emailed a big mailing list for a computer science department the following about a child sex trafficking victim:
"The reference reports the claim that Minsky had sex with one of Epstein’s harem…Let’s presume that was true (I see no reason to disbelieve it).
We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that
she presented herself to him as entirely willing."
Is this acceptable to you?
Epstein liked to film his visitors and use the material to blackmail them. Knowing that, it's not unreasonable to assume that he ordered his slaves to behave nice and inviting.
You should be very careful about drawing lines between what you can and can't think. Once you do that, it doesn't really matter if you call it Religion or Science; you're still hosed.
I didnt read that in the email thread. Human trafficked sex slaves appearing willing to Minsky does not mean everything is totally cool.
It seems to me that Stallman is saying that qualifying language is valuable as statutory rape in USVI (and most other jurisdictions) has a much smaller penalty than other forms of sexual assault. So using the same word for Epstein and Minsky is not fair, I think, to their victims.
But saying “use more accurate language” is not the same as saying what Minsky is accused of is totally cool.
Not to mention that if Minsky did in fact have sex with a slave who was forced to do it, that’s real actual rape, and the best thing you could say there is that Minsky was somehow tricked into committing rape.
I think the risk I run is in characterizing acts incorrectly. I’m not aware of anyone being charged with “actual rape” for having sex with human trafficked prostitutes in USVI. So it depends a lot on the facts of the case, etc etc.
We will have a tough time knowing what Minsky knew and didn’t know. I think it’s reasonable to know if a sex partner is legs age, but it’s much harder to know whether someone was exploiting someone against their will. But legally I’m not sure he would be charged with being “unwilling rape” or whatever crime you think he committed.
What I’m trying to point out is that someone can be against statutory rape, even against rape tricking, and not think it is “totally cool.”
Logically, it is not appropriate to make such leaps unless we have more info.
See for example this from England:
That's probably not the case. At the time, 2001, the age of consent in the US Virgin Islands was 16. Around the middle of that year the legislature said they wanted to raise it to 18, but I don't think they actually accomplished that until the passage of the Child Protection Act of 2002.
(For comparison, it varies from 16 to 18 for US states. 16 in 31 states and DC, 17 in 8 states, and 18 in 11 states).
1. The sex they are talking about was in 2001, which was before there were any criminal cases or charges or civil cases against Epstein. Is there any reason for Minsky to have suspected that the girl he met at Epstein's place then was being coerced?
2. Stallman and Minsky were good friends.
If I buy a car cheaply at auction that was seized as part of a drug-dealing crime and then get busted for having drugs still stashed in the doors, I am now a drug offender. I did not knowingly do it nor did I mean to hurt people with drug trafficking so should I lose my livelihood and reputation?
If buy a unknowingly stolen Gucci handbag on the street for a cheap price (thinking it could be a knockoff).... you get the picture.
I’m not defending drug traffickers, child rapists, or appropriating stolen goods, I am wondering if knowingly participating in the moral violation that defines the crime should make the reputational difference... or should you be persona non grata regardless? Is that Stallman’s question?
Because applying metered justice and preventing ongoing escalating feuds is the entire point of the justice system. We're in this clusterfuck because people don't feel it is working, and they are not wrong. Specifically here, we all expect Epstein's close associates to reliably quash deeper investigation - investigation into their guilt went cold with Epstein's body.
And I'm generally for grassroots direct action, but this frenzy doesn't seem directed towards making up for the failings of the system, but rather scoring points against easy targets for the thrill of it. RMS himself was nowhere near this island, rather he simply had the audacity to question the lynch mob's narrative! With a reaction like this, how can it be said that these pitchforks are in the service of justice?
Yeah, you can't even condone raping children anymore. What has the world come to?
More seriously, the point is that this topic is not enough of a hot potato if RMS is comfortable talking about it in public.
> having sex with a 17 year old girl who is being abused and manipulated by a billionaire pedophile [...] makes you a sleezeball
Not the greatest way to put this, I think.
Programmers I know are frequently doing thought exercises so even something like “what if murder were legal” would need to be taken in the context of the conversation to even understand what the author was advocating.
The context is Epstein and RMS claiming that this woman trafficked by him was willing. We don't need to pontificate about all these hypothetical scenarios; this concrete thing that he's defending is pretty disgusting.
RMS surmised that the woman "presented herself as willing" to Minsky. His point is that Minsky likely (in his estimation) was not aware of the coercion. He did not defend the coercion.
It's no wonder that instead of staying quiet, many wind up at echo chambers like Voat and Gab.
I read this article and my reaction was: damn, I knew RMS was weird and opinionated, but I didn’t know he was evil.
I come here to see how others react to this revelation and what do I find? “By golly, what is the world coming to when you can’t even defend child rape without someone calling for your removal from leadership?”
Y’all motherfuckers need
> The perpetrator is a victim, there's no doubt about that. Psychopaths aren't born, they are created through trauma in a society that doesn't give a crap about humans.
> This is cancel culture taken to the extreme.
> I grow more and more tired of these discussions. Talks of banishing people because they’re ignorant, rude, sexist.
Stallman is, and has, defending child sex trafficking and rape.
It's amazing how much hanging out in the tech world you don't hear anything about this.
Of course, just like he argues that a perpetrators is the real victim. I'm sure I'll read some article about how admirable Stallman's views are.
The thing about RMS is that he prefers to use his own brain and is not afraid to stand up for his views, which is an increasingly rare phenomenon. So rare that its nearly considered a crime these days.
The perpetrator is a victim, there's no doubt about that. Psychopaths aren't born, they are created through trauma in a society that doesn't give a crap about humans.
I think you need to take a chill pill and figure out where all the hate is coming from.
What hate exactly? It seems there's plenty of people even on this site defending him.
Could explain what you're implying that I'm missing?
Also, I think you should have the right to your opinion. But, people who have other opinion also must have right to their opinion, too, rather than only one.
These are just as true with Stallman as with Minsky, and also the other people who complain about it, I think.
I don't like it either that they did that sex, and I fail to see how "the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing", but I think it make sense that you should not "accusation inflation", even though other people might says differently. I do not defend rapists, but also do not accuse them of other stuff too automatically.
Whether or not you use GPL and Emacs and so on are entirely different decisions than those reports they mention, though. It is separate, even if done by the same person.
when a pimp presents an underage woman to a customer, he pedantically says that it wasn't an assault.
I've read the whole email thread and didn't see him defending child rape and sex trafficking. Maybe ones who are quick to condemn him should read something but the medium post
If we really needed to talk about the inception of ReiserFS, should we bail Reiser out of prison for a bit and pay him a speaker's fee? Or can we content ourselves with considering his technology while excluding the man?
It turns out, opinions differ on this. And while I'm not implying that RMS's words are worse than Reiser's actions, I'm noting that the fact some people believe the answer is "Yes, we do bail him out of prison for a bit" is telling on where people in our industry set the bar on dividing a person's works and their other qualities.
Quibbling about whether it's actually sexual assault still leaves RMS using his position, stature, and reputation to defend this still horrible "best" case scenario. He still needs to go even if you believe this is what is going on here.
The biggest problem I can see here is that Stallman should have posted it on his blog if he wrote it at all, not blasted it out to everyone on that mailing list. That was definitely the wrong thing to do as it's basically picking a fight with people who are organizing an event.
But RMS isn’t going with that. He’s going with “not rape.”
For example, consider this hypothetical.
Bob meets Alice at a bar, asks her to have sex with him, she says yes, and they do so. Later, it is discovered that Charles forced Alice to go to the bar, meet Bob, and say yes to whatever he asked. Bob did not know about this. He thought it was just a normal, consensual hook up at a bar.
Bob would probably not be guilty of rape, because a reasonable person in that situation would believe Alice had consented.
Charles, though, would be guilty of rape. (Rape in most jurisdictions isn't just you having sex with someone against your will--it is making someone have sex against their will with you or a third party).
Stallman is not arguing that nobody raped or assaulted the girl. He's just saying that he thinks Minsky is like Bob.
Extending your argument, it is probably not possible to trick someone into murdering someone, because murder requires intent. But it’s definitely possible to trick someone into killing someone.
With rape, we don’t have two different words like that. And Stallman doesn’t seem to be limiting himself to a strictly legalistic interpretation of everything.
Minsky's sex with the Epstein girl was in 2001, several years before Epstein's legal trouble over his sexual practices. She was also over the age of consent at the time in the US Virgin Islands, which was 16 (it did not become 18 until the Child Protection Act of 2002).
So Stallman's argument is that from Minsky's point of view it likely seemed to be a perfectly legal, consensual encounter. Presumably, Epstein was somewhat cautious over letting people know he kept sex slaves, and so would instruct the girls to not go around introducing themselves as his sex slaves to his guests. Thus, Stallman believes that we should not be tossing Minsky in with the people who had sex with Epstein girls knowing it was not consensual.
I've now seen several different places report that Stallman said that the Epstein girls were "entirely willing". What he actually said was
> We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that
she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was
being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her
to conceal that from most of his associates.
He's not saying they were willing. He's saying they probably said they were willing because Epstein would require them to say that. This is an important distinction.
This should not be a controversial statement--if Epstein had sufficient power over someone to force them to have sex with third parties it is very hard to believe that he didn't also have sufficient power over them to tell them to claim they were acting on their own when they did so, or that he was stupid enough not to exercise that power.
One of the common forms of being tricked is when the other person claims to be at least 18 (or rather, at least of the age of consent). Quoting https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/can-i-be-con... :
> Historically, statutory rape was a "strict liability" offense, meaning that it didn't matter whether the actor knew that the other person was too young to consent to sex. Some states now permit a defense of honest mistake. Basically, the actor argues "I honestly thought she was old enough because...." However, other states don't recognize this defense.
As a specific example, in Tiba Francis vs. the Government of Virgin Islands (quoting https://web.archive.org/web/20110928024344/http://www.vid.us... ):
> Appellant Tiba Francis appeals his conviction for aggravated rape. ... At trial, he argued that mistake of fact is a defense to the aggravated rape charge, and moved that the trial court should allow the jury to consider such defense. ... The jury convicted appellant of the Aggravated Rape charge based on the trial judge's instruction that mistake of fact as to the victim's age is not a defense. ... Because the trial court correctly interpreted section 1700(a),this Court will affirm Francis’s conviction.
I see this as clear evidence that rape in the Virgin Islands does not always have a mens rea requirement.
On the general topic of "being tricked", here's some history from the UK, where the mens rea requirement was allowed as a defense (from https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/criminal-law/the-... ):
> Rape and its mental element was considered in the case of DPP v Morgan by the House of Lords, in 1976. The victim, Mrs Morgan’s husband (Morgan) invited three men, who were strangers, to have sex with his wife (Mrs Morgan). Morgan had, allegedly, told the three men that his wife was ‘kinky’ and was likely to resist and say no to sex and that this would mean she was actually saying yes and was only resisting to get ‘turned on’. Morgan denied that he had said this to the three men. All four men had sex with Mrs Morgan by using force and violence against her resistance. The three men claimed that they believed that Mrs Morgan was consenting due to what Morgan had told them prior to inviting them. The jury was directed by the trial Judge who stated that ‘unless their belief was based on reasonable grounds, it could not constitute a defence to rape. The three men were convicted of rape and Morgan was convicted of aiding and abetting. All four men appealed to the Court of Appeal then the House of Lords against their convictions. Here it was held that there could not be a conviction of rape if the man honestly thought that the woman had consented to sexual intercourse with his belief not having to be reasonable. However, the proviso was applied and the convictions were upheld.
However, it is no longer allowed. Continuing to quote from the same source: "There was widespread public disapproval of the decision made by the House of Lords in DPP v Morgan, with the decision being hailed as the ‘rapists’ charter’, which was formally known as the ‘mistaken belief’ because it meant that the victim (woman) could actively not be consenting by resisting with struggle and even shouting ‘no’, but the man’s conviction could still be upheld." ... "One of the major changes in the law of rape brought by the 2003 Act was the abolition of the ‘Morgan Rule/Defence’, which as mentioned earlier, could have been used when a man believed the woman had consented, no matter how unreasonable the belief. The law today to determine a belief to be reasonable or not is done by analysing if any steps were taken by the man to be sure whether or not the women had consented."
This is the "honestly and in good faith" requirement you pointed out was the case for some jurisdictions in the US. I wanted to highlight it as an example of being tricked into having sex that was different than the scenario you presented.
Stallman may be making the argument you say he is. However, the relevant law appears to be one of strict liability, and has been for a long time.
Your statement was "Rape has a mens rea requirement that the defendant intended for the sex to be non-consensual"
I pointed out that it is not a blanket statement, and in the US generally the mens rea defense cannot be used in regards to prohibited sex with a minor, including on the US Virgin Islands.
Different from raping a prostitute, for example. Not rape, not sexual assault, still terrible.
It's still terrible and should be gone, and the likes who do sex trafficking locked up for eternity.
The clients punished, yes, but not with the ultimate extent of sexual assault laws, unless it can be shown they were complicit in the scheme.
He's not stupid. He knows what he's doing.
What a cop out to say "no he was just really hung up about grammar. "
If he is not capable of that, then he’s disastrously unqualified to be leading an advocacy organization.
His job is communication. His eloquence, and the precision of his language have been praised more than once here.
And autism doesn't come with a "get out of social consequences" card. Certainly not for a sixty year old man.
It’s interesting to note the history of the GNU project, which bootstrapped itself by ripping off pre-existing BSD licensed projects and publishing new implementations as GPL. Open source predates “free” software.