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[flagged] Remove Richard Stallman: Appendix A (medium.com)
36 points by MilnerRoute 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

This attack on Richard Stallman feels much like a witch hunt to me; he's being vilified, and what he's actually said and done is being buried under a bunch of mass hysteria. It's sad to see; I have a lot of respect for him and it pains me to see people calling for his head doing what he's always done in questioning the status quo. He just made the mistake of questioning the wrong thing, not of any grand crime, as he seems to be accused of; it seems like he'll be misquoted and raged at until he disappears, and I think in doing so, the world is being done a disservice.

These activists are just power hungry evil people. The amount of work that Stallman has put into helping the world and now a spoiled young brat wants to take it all away because he does not agree 100% with her in everything?

If the allegations that he kept a shag matters in his office are true, i don't think you can actually find a defensible position for this.

I don't like the outrage culture and twitter witchuhnts either but this seems to be more than digging up a bad joke someone said 10 years ago.

RMS made his office his residence for many years, and slept in it. The mattress made sense as it was his home. It was not there for untoward reasons as people seem to be implying.

Exactly this. People don’t understand the amount of dedication RMS put into his work. I’m sick of this shit. I’m so fed up.

Hence I said a shag mattress, and allegations, I don't know how real or not those stories are.

These stories are so opposite of horrifying that I have to honestly question the authors cognition and intent.

> Alumni from as far back as the 1980’s reached out to me and told horrifying stories, such as:

1) An emacs joke.

2) RMS had a mattress and grody friends in his office.

3) RMS is awful at asking women out.

> ...Richard Stallman told me of his misery and that he’d kill himself if I didn’t go out with him.

That's beyond awful at asking women out, especially given that the woman in question was an undergrad at the time.

That would be a disgusting tactic to use even in a long term relationship. Doing this with a person some 10 years younger than you that you just met is indeed beyond awful.

Just to play devil's advocate, if Stallman is genuinely autistic, as many people seem to believe, it's possible that he didn't understand it as a 'tactic'; that he just expressed to this woman how he felt and didn't consider whether it would be manipulative. There's still the problem that he's asking out a woman that much younger than him, but I think genuine obliviousness is a possibility here.

As the father of an autistic son, and having had a very awkward dating life myself, I empathize to some extent.

People on the spectrum tend not to speak emotions and empathy as a native language. But they’re often good learners if properly taught. Never setting boundaries for RMS for decades may have contributed to him never been properly housebroken and ultimately didn’t do him any favors.

"Never setting boundaries for RMS for decades may have contributed to him never been properly housebroken and ultimately didn’t do him any favors."

I don't disagree.

I don't get why people are playing devil's advocate for Stallman so much on this. If it had been anyone else, a famous actor for example, the pitchforks would be out by everyone, but because he is a figure in the computing world people want to make excuses for him. This seems more like people unwilling to accept a revered figured in their community is a bad person.

Honestly, I've never like Stallman. I've long argued that he was a liability. The reason I'm playing devil's advocate here (I can't speak for anyone else) is that this is at least partially in response to a viral media shit-storm which at least partially misrepresented him. I've seen a lot of these happen over the years and I never like it when they happen, whether to an actor, or to tech sector person, or to a journalist, or whomever. At the very least, someone needs to play devil's advocate if only to keep us honest in our accusations. I suspect a lot of people feel this way and you're only seeing on HN because Stallman is HN relevant and most actors aren't.

> RMS is awful at asking women out.

Picture yourself as a freshman in a university where the vast majority of senior academics are gay and keep asking you out on dates. You can always say no, but don’t you think you would perceive this as a rather hostile environment?

Hostile? Hostile was the time I was setting up entertainment equipment in an LGBTQ center in Manhattan and had a rather large fellow harass me. First he was polite and chatted with me, I could tell he was interested in me. He kept asking me if I was attending the party or if I wanted to stay. I was polite, told him I was simply the setup crew and rebuffed. Then out of nowhere he pushes a table against me pinning me to a wall as he jokingly said "now you have no choice but to stay until I take you home tonight" That was physical and sexual harassment which was fucking gross and disgusting. I told him to fuck off and I reported that whack job to the staff. They were just like "oh. thats so-and-so for ya." That is a hostile work environment.

What RMS did in that instance was certainly gross and awkward but in no way hostile. People lack perspective.

>don’t you think you would perceive this as a rather hostile environment?

No, I'd see it as pathetic and desperate. Which is exactly how I felt about the men and women that worked for the university I attended and were known to date students or had hit on me.

Now if we wanted to talk "hostile environment" the uncomfortable situation my gay highschool principal put me in always drops jaws when I tell the story, but I just think it's funny. I shrugged it off in about 30 seconds and doesn't even rate on the list of things I didn't like about highschool.

This is plain disgusting. I've known RMS for years and he clearly doesn't respect social norms in many aspects. It's not a secret, there are also many stories about it on the Internet.

But to paint him as a pedophile and a molester - that's really crossing a line. I disagree with RMS on many topics, but the mass hysteria going on right now is mind boggling.

Yeah, but what is mind-boggling is not so much his comments but the content of the Guardian article itself:

> A Dutch study published in 1987 found that a sample of boys in paedophilic relationships felt positively about them. And a major if still controversial 1998-2000 meta-study suggests – as J Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, Chicago, says – that such relationships, entered into voluntarily, are "nearly uncorrelated with undesirable outcomes".

> Most people find that idea impossible. But writing last year in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Bailey said that while he also found the notion "disturbing", he was forced to recognise that "persuasive evidence for the harmfulness of paedophilic relationships does not yet exist".

I find even thinking about these things disgusting, but if we want to be fair, he just repeated what the article says. If the SWJs feel outraged (why now? his page has been public for decades), they should attack the scientists who presented the findings of these studies.

"What I did not know when I wrote this post (again, being a software-ignorant mechanical engineer) was how it would touch a nerve with women in the free software community and computer science in general."

so if it had not affected women this author wouldn't have given a shit? typical. Everything in this article is just a hatred for not only a great software protagonist but probably a hatred for men everywhere that voice their views out loud.

"In this section, I acknowledge that I do not have as many photos, emails, or written records as evidence. I do, however, have witnesses."

Then the author proceeds to spew out so-called quotes with nobody being held responsible for any of the quotes. And a further bit down, she quotes someones "female" opinion about sexism (with obviously no male voice in it).

"3. Going Forward, be proactive instead of reactive.", seems she didn't think of any of this until she wrote the sexist hate-filled article about Richard Stallman.

referencing the pound-me-too movement shows just how anti-male this woman is. god help whatever man she gets into her trap of faux love.

or perhaps she just hates how "white" Stallman is?

> so if it had not affected women this author wouldn't have given a shit? typical.

The author does not seem to make this assertion, and what you have quoted definitely does not support your claim.

> Then the author proceeds to spew out so-called quotes with nobody being held responsible for any of the quotes.

It's understandable why those people may want to remain anonymous. Are you trying to imply the quotes are faked?

> referencing the pound-me-too movement shows just how anti-male this woman is.

How does it show that?

> or perhaps she just hates how "white" Stallman is?

This is quite a reach.

Interesting to see the top comments in this thread.

* "This attack on Richard Stallman feels much like a witch hunt to me."

The "attack" in question is an appendix to a blog post. The original one said, in substance, "I do not know much about the accused, and he certainly didn't say what many press accounts accuse him of, but his recent words deserve punishment." The appendix blog post says, in brief, "oh my, this is all goes way back."

Does that sound like The Crucible or "she turned me into a newt?" Although the rest of the HN comment is more honest, calling what RMS said "questioning the status quo [about the victim status of, well, child rape victims.]"

* "These activists are just power hungry evil people."

Reacting to a blog post written by a person who is (weakly) hiding her full identity, who works in a tech/robotics company rather than in an activist organization, who recently deactivated her WordPress website, and who is not pointing to any means of activism. All very consistent steps to ambitious activism, certainly.

* "These stories are so opposite of horrifying"

Sentence followed by a complete rewrite of the said stories, using deliberately misleading edulcoration (Stories 1 and 2), or showing the same kind of argumentation as in "oh because autism," which is well argued against in the main thread [1], instead of realizing that being that being "awful at asking women out" involves clumsiness rather than suicide blackmail (Story 3).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20993532

(Add.) I find it hard to read threads such as this one and not feel that tropes about computer people hold some truth, despite myself feeling close to that group for various reasons.

“And the assassins in rose tinted glasses

At the wrong end of the tunnel of light

Practitioners of paramount scorn

And those who'd rig moral compass rather than bridges”

Ever since I read these lyrics they’ve summed up precisely how I feel the world is recently.

Who is this "Selam G." who is the author of this? Is she actually a spokesperson on behalf of "women in the free software community and computer science in general"?

Maybe you missed the 4 or 5 self celebratory paragraphs at the end of the article.

> MIT grad, robotics engineer, mixed.

What does "mixed" mean in the author's bio? Is that relating to techinical accumen, race, or something else?

This article is predicated on lies. Was the original not libel? Mid-page there is a link to a Daily Beast article stating RMS claimed the victims were willing, which is something he did not do.

from teh article: "I would also like to clarify that in some headlines, including this Daily Beast one, Stallman is said to have defended Epstein, which is not technically true. Rather, Stallman was defending Marvin Minsky. I directly emailed and corrected reporters who used that language if I myself had given them any comments or information. I say this to show that I never intended to “inflate” anything, because there was absolutely no need to."

Have you actually read it?

I did, and that is true but not what I am talking about. The claim is about the victim's willingness, not who RMS defended.

Further do court documents and other testimony related to the Epstein investigation not agree with RMS's comments on Mr. Minsky? There is a statement that Minsky refused relations with the girl, perhaps due to realizing what was going on.

minsky should have refused purely because of her age imo. his morality comes into question for me if he only refused because epstein coerced the girl

It seems like he refused because of her association to Epstein (or perhaps just not being interested), and knew she was probably underaged and coerced despite her own coerced statements.

People are giving Mr. Minsky flak for not refusing the donation, but refusing before the wide publicity of the Epstein scandal probably would have landed him in hot water for some variation of "why did you not take the free money?" or "why are you accusing this upstanding donor of human trafficking and statutory rape?"

yeah, i don't understand outrage over taking the money at all tbh. did he obtain the money donated from sex trafficking?

this article is not about epstein of minsky at all but about a long history of creating a hostile environment for female computer scientists

Yeah, in the heads of people who are reading it this way. RMS is completely different. He creates a strange place for anybody. He slept in my (male) friend's apartment and the guy was telling us strange stories for weeks. It has absolutely nothing to do with molesting women. It's like writing that Jon "maddog" Hall was molesting men. I can't believe what I'm reading.


According to the interview posted to HN recently, RMS hasn’t written software in more than 20 years.

And I’m working with quite a few women who know how to code and stand up for themselves.

I’d say that in these discussions, I’ve seen WAY more angry neckbeards than angry feminists.

There is an astonishing amount of knee-jerk reacting in this thread.

I don't know which one is worse though..

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