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I'm normally 100% on board with condemning this Malthusian environment that has sprung up in the last couple years, but I don't believe that Richard Stallman is a complete victim in this scenario.

He has a long history of using forums meant for technology discussion to promote borderline (and that's generous) social opinions, and of being openly hostile to people who don't tow his line. In this instance he ridiculously downplayed the most egregious instances of sex trafficking of minors, by a horridly evil individual... who happened to donate almost a million dollars to him!

His previous comments about minors on his personal blog, which I don't even want to dignify with a description (you can do your own search), leads me to wonder what other connections than money he had with Epstein.

For all of us that don't worship Stallman - I consider him a net negative to the FOSS movement - this has been a long time coming. It would have been a deserved resignation in a normal social environment.




"His previous comments about minors on his personal blog, which I don't even want to dignify with a description (you can do your own search), leads me to wonder what other connections than money he had with Epstein."

Speculation, which would not be allowed in a court of law, is unfortunately a perfectly acceptable character assassination methodology.

And this kind of tar-and-feathering is precisely why we need official processes for this sort of thing. Official reprimands leading to termination if unfixed, like all civilized peoples do. This ensures that it's made crystal clear what's acceptable and what's not, with time to mend one's ways. The alternative is arbitrary terminations, which makes everyone insecure.


>Speculation, which would not be allowed in a court of law, is unfortunately a perfectly acceptable character assassination methodology.

Why are so many people obsessed with applying the same standards used in a court to real life?

If someone is a jerk, I don't have to maintain a chain-of-custody for the evidence I use to determine that person is a jerk, and I don't have to have sworn testimony from reliable witnesses to apply the jerk label, and I certainly don't need the opinions of a jury of said jerk's peers.

Here's a job-keeping pro-tip, free of charge, for everyone: Especially if you are a public figure, don't talk about child sex trafficking unless it is to criticize it or else you may be fired.


Because mobs are horrific and that's what you get when people base punishments on speculation.

> Especially if you are a public figure, don't talk about child sex trafficking unless it is to criticize it or else you may be fired.

Great. That's the kind of society I want to live in, one where I can't say anything for fear of a mob lynching me.


>That's the kind of society I want to live in, one where I can't say anything for fear of a mob lynching me.

I'm sure that's hyperbole because comparing being asked (I assume) to resign after downplaying child sex trafficking is not functionally or morally equivalent to lynching.

As far as watching what you say, that is the world:

1. As it has always existed.

2. It exists today.

3. Will always exist until the end of time itself.

And that will never, ever, change.

Don't conflate raging anonymously online with being able to say whatever you want in public.


Moral authoritarianism is quite the dangerous thing. It is at the root of every single 'evil' of times past. One has to keep in mind that these evils of times past of course did not see themselves, in general, as evils. Instead they were simply enforcing their world view which, from their perspective, was the 'right' one. It's much easier to do awful things to people when you convince yourself they deserve it.

To take one of the more innocuous examples from the past consider the Red Scares. It was fundamentally driven by people believing that they have the moral high ground against a certain view. Communism is bad and therefore it was okay to do bad things to people who held positive views of such. And it was simply 'common sense' that supporting communism in any way, shape, or form was an absolutely abhorrent thing to do. And I use that as an example only to avoid any rousing of emotion but the exact same logic drove the KKK, Nazis, and nearly every group, sinner and saint alike, throughout time. Moral authoritarianism is again, a very dangerous thing.

And I certainly do not agree with you on this was or will be the way of society. Words and actions are distinct. I think an ideal society would have no tolerance for intolerant actions but an unlimited tolerance of words. Indeed this is even what the actual quote, often egregiously bastardized and misused by the most intolerant of today's society, on the 'paradox of tolerance' fundamentally suggests. Even looking back now at the Red Scare we can generally see how quaint our intolerance was. There's no need to name and shame communists - the view itself is simply not supported by enough of society to matter. And if it does become supported by enough of society? Then we try it, almost certainly fail, and continue on our disjointed path "forwards" as always.


> There's no need to name and shame communists - the view itself is simply not supported by enough of society to matter.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

As Scott points out in https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/04/02/social-censorship-the-... censorship is mostly used against groups we think are dangerous (mostly because they actually have a fairly large amount of support). Someone advocating that going to church should be mandatory and divorce and blasphemy should be illegal will get eye rolls, not anger.


They used to accuse people of being communists, thus landing them on a blacklist and unable to find work.

I guess some things never change, including that people think such behavior is a perfectly good way to conduct a society.


>I guess some things never change, including that people think such behavior is a perfectly good way to conduct a society.

Many people seem to be complaining about this.

As far as I can tell, very few people are filming and posting publicly a video saying:

"My real name is $myActualName, I work at $employer, and I think it is acceptable for Richard Stallman to have said “I think it is morally absurd to define “rape” in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.”and he should face no consequences."

or

"My real name is $myActualName, I work at $employer, and I think it is acceptable for Richard Stallman to have said “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.” and he should face no consequences."

Instead they wave their hands and mutter about "free speech".


It seems perfectly consistent to me that someone worried about people being fired for controversial opinions would not give such an opinion non-anonymously. I don't see what point you're making.


I think the user you are responding to is attempting to undermine anything that can loosely be construed as a defense of Stallman. A bit of a dirty tactic, IMO, but the lines of battle have clearly been drawn.


Yeah this is like the authoritarians who claim that if Snowden really feared for his safety as a whistleblower, then he would be happy to be renditioned to a secret blacksite dungeon for punishment by the TLAs he has offended. Does not compute...


Give free speech and it will happen.


Feel free to believe anyone you meet, or merely hear about, is a jerk.

The question is--should being a jerk be a fireable offense?


"should being a jerk be a fireable offense?"

On its face... yes???


Here's another pro-tip: If you make dishonest or negligent accusations about another person, such that said person suffers materially you can probably* sued for defamation.

*IANAL


> Why are so many people obsessed with applying the same standards used in a court to real life?

Because IRL there's no attorney of defense.

You can just throw accusation in the air and somebody else get hurt.


> Speculation, which would not be allowed in a court of law,

Prosecution: "We think he knew this person was subject to coercion and we say this because X, Y, Z".

Defence: "We think he did not know this person was subject to coercion and we say this because we interpret X, Y, and Z differently."

These involve speculation about the mental state of the accused.


> who happened to donate almost a million dollars to him!

Is there any evidence of this? There is a big difference between the place he works at taking money and him taking money.

I don't think its right to hold an employee responsible for their employers actions.


>He has a long history of using forums meant for technology discussion to promote borderline (and that's generous) social opinions,

How often does he bring it up and how often is it in response to someone else saying something that is technically wrong?




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