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Stallman Still Heading the GNU Project (gnu.org)
266 points by rurban 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 574 comments



It leaves a bad taste in my mouth how quickly people will let one bad cluster of comments negate a man's entire life work. I have already outlined my opinions on this matter elsewhere but I still hope this incident doesn't ruin RMS.


It is also discomforting how suddenly people are trotting out years and years of evidence why Stallman shouldn't have held the role. A mob convened, Stallman disappears and there is a pile-on of people working quickly to expand why it was done with all sorts of rationalisations.

It is never appropriate for these sorts of controversies to play out over 1 week. If there are years of evidence of problems, there should be a few weeks of tying them all together before people resign. The knee-jerk reaction here over a mailing list comment is genuinely concerning.

And people keep quoting him while rearranging the words. We literally have a transcript here, people should be copying from it directly. No quoting of single words in a new sentence, that is just slack. :/


Do you have any reason to believe that RMS hadn’t been the subject of several co platings, over several years, including several warning/remedial/probationary periods wherein people were working with him to try and improve the behavior that caused at least some of the multiple complaints over multiple years?

In other words, what makes you think this process played out over 1 week, rather than this being the most recent of a long succession of events?

I am personally saddened by RMS’ departure, and also saddened that this “final straw” seems likely to be caused by Richard attempting to defend the memory of a long-time, now deceased friend. That said, I also know people who interact with him far more often than I, and they almost unanimously say it was past time. It makes me sad, but it doesn’t make me think it was hasty.


It is kind of obvious that this isn't due to multiple anythings over multiple years. The timing is far too coincidental.

There hasn't been enough time to work out what the actual community thinks about the current drama because it takes a month or two for word to percolate around a community; stable opinions over large groups don't form in a week. Even if it is a straw that broke the camels back there needs to be a few weeks of settling to work out if there is straw and where it landed.

People like to think they can make snap decisions about what is good and what is bad. It just happens that that instinct is wrong and what fuels mob violence and other destructive actions; there are strong links between good decisions, long timeframes and moderate attitudes. This isn't so urgent that it couldn't wait a month to let everyone breath and take stock. Then Stallman can resign if enough people still think it is appropriate.


I, and many other people, have disconnected from the FSF and GNU projects for years because of Stallman. Go look at GCC, you will find a bunch of PRs from me, which stopped. The reason I stopped was Stallman. Most people who I personally know who are closely involved in this stuff knew about the complaints about Stallman.

This recent event seems to have been what finally pushed this to the mainstream, but I can assure you people have been complaining to get rid of him for over a decade.


Was it controversial statements of Stallman’s that made you stop working with him, or was it because you feel he’s difficult to work with?

Unless I’ve misinterpreted the situation, it seems like he was forced to resign due to the former rather than the latter. And if the official reason is unrelated to the actual reason, that’s a rather poor case of governance.

If someone has been disliked due to poor interpersonal skills for years, it’s very weak when a politically-sensitive pretext is required to actually get rid of them. Better to take the fight head-on, and accept the outcome.


He was difficult to work with (although I never "worked with" him directly, was just in a project which he ran).

I was not bothered about this controversial public statements, but several women who I trust had very bad experiences with him in person. I'm not going to name any of these people because they (very reasonably) don't want to be in the public eye.

These two issues together caused significant issues, and I felt I could no longer support a project he ran.

I'm not sure what you mean by you should "take the fight head-on". It's easy to find many people, for years and years, who have said Stallman was actively harmful to the FSF and GNU, but they were generally ignored.


I don't get why you'd stop contributing to a software project because of the spokesperson of a related org. Was stallman a jerk to you personally? How would contributing to gcc be different with a different spokesperson for the fsf?


Stallman is the head of GNU, which in in charge of GCC. Stallman is (or was) officially "in charge" of GCC, he could (and would) veto changes to GCC he didn't want.

I didn't want to support software which was headed by Stallman.


What is your actual complaint? People have been complaining about taxes for years and years. That doesn't mean we should get rid of them.


Your analogy doesn’t work, because the general consensus is that there is no better alternative to taxation. It is a necessary evil - unlike Stallman, who, regardless of personal opinion, has others who are qualified to replace him.


How are the alternatives safer from the same complaints? I read on the internet that they beat up little old ladies.


That's not how I read your analogy. If the tax situation made him move countries, is that country better off without their contribution? Would resolving the tax situation make that country more desirable to contribute to?


I think that he does not talk about community as people who are around the world, but rather people working with him having to deal with him day to day. Those had their general opinions made long ago, whether pro-Stallman or anti-Stallman.


> stable opinions over large groups don't form in a week

We know very well how they form: years of false propaganda.

People still believes he's scared of plants.


This is hilarious, do you have a reference?


I do!

Thomas Lord, Arch creator and former FSF employee

> p.s.: In the closet-sized "office" Bushnell, McGrath, and I shared for a time we did have some spider plants as part of a running silly joke. They did not actually scare RMS away OF COURSE and he usually had helpful criticism and advice of our efforts, from my point of view.

https://archive.is/7qepC#selection-1591.1-1591.277


Ha!

I too felt uneasy about this. On one hand Stallman did something wrong on the other hand it smells like judgment by mob/hashtag/fashion, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, and downright repression of free speech. I have been thinking about it quite a bit, and this is my conclusion at this point:

• What Stallman did is wrong, it was the wrong place, the wrong time and regardless of him feeling that way he speaks from a place of authority (more details at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20992124)

• This one incident should not be sufficient for firing a "visiting scientist" and the head of an organization he himself founded.

• In the case of a repeat problematic behaviour it should be addressed as such. Both MIT and the FSF should have expressed their concerns years ago, followed by discussions and explanations of what constitute an acceptable behaviour and clear steps, ending in a dismissal, that would have been taken if his behaviour were not corrected.

Not addressing a problematic behaviour for years or decades is wrong. A quick firing for one incident, because of past issues that have never been addresses, is wrong. Putting pressure on someone to resign rather than dismiss them is a cop out for either lack of courage or lack of arguments, or both and is wrong. Caving under mob/fashion pressure is another cop out and is wrong.


"Past time"

The only thing that's past time is that more people start to realize the real bullies and harassers are the ones who post medium posts saying "Remove $person"... in which they misrepresent or outright lie, which others in the press then launder, and then act like this is the height of speaking truth to power. The same way that Coraline Ada has hundreds of tweets of yelling, berating and denigrating people, even though "she's the woman bringing civility to open source" (wired) and wants to enforce a code of conduct.

It's all a joke, except it has actually weakened the community, and given power and influence to people who mainly seem to care about themselves, no matter which bodies they have to step over.

Diversity is a farce and geeks are useful idiots who believed it was ever about anything but narcissism. What is happening now is justification after the fact. If the accusers were expected to live up to the same standards of conduct they demand from others, these people wouldn't be taken seriously.



> Do you have any reason to believe that RMS hadn’t been the subject of several co platings

Why it always resolve to a comply or die situation?

How many times people told you what to do, you didn't and in the end you were right?

> by Richard attempting to defend the memory of a long-time, now deceased friend

He wasn't even defending him, he was just saying "don't use a word that does not represent what really happened according to the sources".


That last sentence is what caused the outrage in the wider public. It was amplified by the manipulative post of Selam Jie Gano and the media that parroted it, but his original claim did hit the nerve (that it shouldn't be called sexual assault if no physical force was used in the sexual act).


Not all force is physical.


Actually, his claim was that it shouldn’t be called assault if no force or coercion was used by the older man, and the older man couldn’t be expected to know that his partner was being coerced by someone else.


That was not his claim.


> Selam Jie Gano

People should be outraged that a nobody working on automated vehicles for the US military (AKA drones) believes she on a higher moral ground than Stallman, that never hurt anybody.

People should be outraged that said nobody wrote "Remove Stallman and all the other toxic people in tech" like if "removing" people is ok, like she knows who they are, 'cause she's the ultimate judge, and as if building weapons is not toxic...

BTW

RMS has been much more brave and clear than that.

He wrote

    "if someone in csail says in this discussion group that Minsky was accused of sexual assault, a very serious accusation, and someone else in csail thinks that he was not, should the latter person refrain from saying so in this same discussion group out of concern that the conversation will leak and be misconstrued by the press?"

    The in stands for "science". The job of scientists is to evaluate evidence and seek truth. We have a social responsibility to do that as well. I hope that we scientists will never evade our social responsibility to seek and defend the truth out of fear that the press will misconstrue our search. That would not be a reputation I would like attached to my affiliation.

   I think the existence of a dispute about that supports my point that the term "sexual assault" is slippery, so we ought to use more concrete terms when accusing anyone.
He did what he believed was the right thing to do.

He was doing it to protect the movement and the protest from

a - leaks to the press

b - bad PR, if they used sexual assault people could spin it as "but he didn't assault her, it was consensual sex" like they usually do: they shoot the messenger or the form of the message to not address the real issue and divert the attention (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts)

c - he was UNDOUBTEDLY right! nobody is talking about the protest against Epstein-MIT involvement.

good job Selam, good job everybody


> working on automated vehicles for the US military

Somehow I missed this, so a person literally working on helping the government kill people was the one asking to remove RMS? Interestingly enough, such hypocrisy came up in all the deplatforming cases too, where they removed some relatively innocent stuff claiming it had bad impact on people, but ignored and keep ignoring all the weapons promoting content, war propaganda, etc. that literally causes death and destruction.


> Somehow I missed this, so a person literally working on helping the government kill people was the one asking to remove RMS?

Yep

https://www.linkedin.com/in/selam-gano-089895ba/


"Passionate about using engineering for a positive impact on the world." - well most of us think we are not the bad guy but the cognitive dissonance is strong here.


"Mission accomplished." Reminds me of the women who accused Assange. Then there is the witchhunt against Jacob Appelbaum. Sense a pattern?

Regardless of whether these allegations are true or false, there is a lesson to be learned here. The lesson here is that [some] men have a severe weakness related to their sexuality. I'd assume US HUMINT knows about this lesson, very well.


> Then there is the witchhunt against Jacob Appelbaum. Sense a pattern?

DJB too, see https://blog.cr.yp.to/20160607-dueprocess.html and https://eindhoven.cr.yp.to/false-statements-by-henry-de-vale...


> me of the women who accused Assange

There's a huge difference though.

Assange after he was accused of rape escaped from the process and started rambling about a “radical feminist conspiracy”

Stallman is not accused of anything, never escaped and if you write to him (he still answer to everybody) will ask you to support the FSF because it's important

And this is the man women and students should be afraid of...


> after he was accused of rape

Rape implies... rape. He is just accused of removing a condom.

> escaped from the process

Wasn't that due to the (rightful imo) fear of being sent to the US?


> He is just accused of removing a condom

1) That's rape and 2) he's accused of more than that.

Here's the case: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html

This sounds pretty rapey to me.

> As regards offence 1, AA said in her statement that she had offered the use of her apartment to Mr Assange from 11-14 August 2010 when she was away. She had returned on 13 August 2010 earlier than planned and then met him for the first time. They went out to dinner and returned to her apartment. As they drank tea, he started to fondle her leg which she welcomed. Everything happened fast. Mr Assange ripped off her clothes and at the same time broke her necklace. She tried to put her clothes on again, but Mr Assange had immediately removed them again. She had thought that she did not really want to continue, but it was too late to tell Mr Assange to stop as she had consented so far. Accordingly she let Mr Assange take off all her clothes. Thereafter they laid down on the bed naked with AA on her back and Mr Assange on top. Mr Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina, but she did not want him to do that as he was not using a condom. She therefore squeezed her legs together in order to avoid him penetrating her. She tried to reach several times for a condom which Mr Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without a condom. Mr Assange must have known it was a condom AA was reaching for and he had held her arms to stop her. After a while Mr Assange had asked AA what she was doing and why she was squeezing her legs together; AA told him she wanted him to put on a condom before he entered her. Mr Assange let go of AA's arms and put on a condom which AA found for him. AA felt a strong sense of unexpressed resistance on Mr Assange' s part against using a condom.


> That's rape

Legally in Sweden? Sure, but in everyday speech rape implies a lot of things which did not happen in the Assange case. I would say that Stallman's argument about sexual assault would apply perfectly here.


Legally in the UK. If Assange wants to use the "it's not rape in Sweden" defence the place to do that is in the courts, which he has spent considerable effort avoiding for the past decade.


> Rape implies... rape. He is just accused of removing a condom

Was Stallman right (again!) when he wrote

    "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,"
?

Of course he was!

According to Swedish law, that's rape.

Welcome to the rest of the world, where the US laws do not apply.

> Wasn't that due to the (rightful imo) fear of being sent to the US?

Still escaped and blamed "feminists"

Would Epstein be right to escape because US wanted to prosecute him on the account of trafficking young girls?


> Would Epstein be right to escape because US wanted to prosecute him on the account of trafficking young girls?

I think I’d argue that yes, from his perspective, in hindsight, that would probably have been a good idea.


Ok just so we're clear...

You're arguing that defending a statutory rapist isn't supporting pedophilia BUT working on the guidance systems for an autonomous ground vehicle is "help the government kill people"?


> You're arguing that defending a statutory rapist isn't supporting pedophilia

Wrong.

I'm saying that Stallman never defended a statutory rapist.

He tried to defend the protest from the backlash of using the wrong terms and a dead person from an accusation that is hard to prove anyway now that he's dead.

Statutory rape is just a safer option given the circumstances.

BTW defending a statutory rapist is not supporting pedophilia or any attorney who defended an alleged (there is no official accusation yet) statutory rapist was also supporting pedophilia?

> for an autonomous ground vehicle is "help the government kill people"?

That's what drones are for...

And I've never said that either.

I've only said that she works there.


[flagged]


> by using inaccurate, disparaging, and dismissive language to attack the character of a critic.

> Your comment reminds me of the people who come out in defense of the Catholic Church whenever someone claims they were sexually abused by a Priest.

Isn't this ironic?

You're using the same language of the weapon's builder to try to accuse me of defending child molesters.

Why are people like you constantly at war with the world?

It's not my fault if she is a nobody (she really is) that builds weapons for the US military (she really does) and if she distorted RMS emails to make it look he was defending a rapist (he wasn't). It's not even my fault if RMS never molested anybody (he really didn't), never raped anybody (he really didn't), never hurt anybody (he really didn't) and never committed a crime (he really didn't).

Looks like I'm defending the reputation of a good man after all.

I'm really sorry you have a problem with reality, I swear.

What would you think if someone leaked this post[1] you wrote with the title "TOXIC WHITE PRIVILEGED MAN SAYS KIDS ARE TERRORISTS"?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21074077


> You're using the same language of the weapon's builder to try to accuse me of defending child molesters.

Drawing parallels between the way you attack the character of someone rather than the merits of their argument is accusing you of defending child molesters? Are you implying Stallman himself is a child molester? I'm thoroughly confused.

It was my understanding that Stallman was imploring people to use a more accurate term in describing his friend's actions because he felt the other term invoked harsher connotations. How does that make him a child molester?

> It's not my fault if she is a nobody (she really is) that builds weapons for the US military (she really does)

What does any of that have to do with what she said? You're not arguing the merits of what she said but rather that we shouldn't listen to her because of her notoriety and career choice.


> > It's not my fault if she is a nobody (she really is) that builds weapons for the US military (she really does)

> What does any of that have to do with what she said?

Person with questionable morals [1] making moral judgement claims suggests that the whole thing was manufactured. I wouldn't even exclude a possibility that she received some money to publish the things that she did.

[1] as her career choice clearly shows she has no problem with wars, which are known to cause death, including death of children, actual rape of young girls, organ harvesting and pretty much anything awful you can think of in this world wars have


She worked on the guidance systems for an autonomous ground vehicle for the DoD that's basically a proof of concept at this point.

We're equating that to war monger?


As was the atomic bomb at one point in time. There may be exceptions for unintended uses of the technology you develop (a la Alfred Nobel), but there's not a lot of wiggle room when you work for the DoD.

You were hired to develop things that will eventually be used to kill people. That's the end goal of the job. Whether you make anything usable or not is somewhat beside the point, the intention is still there.


> war monger

war mongers become war mongers one drone at the time.


How many people were killed by tech that uses FSF code? Quite a lot I bet...


> I'm thoroughly confused.

You are indeed.

> Drawing parallels between the way you attack the character

I didn't attack the character, I only portayed the character for who she is.

No judgment attached, just the crude reality: she builds weapons for US military and uses a very aggressive and dehumanizing vocabulary.

I would never use "remove" when referring to another human being, alive or dead.

> It was my understanding that Stallman was imploring people to use a more accurate term in describing his friend's actions because he felt the other term invoked harsher connotations

He was concerned that the term "sexual assault" would be disputable by critics.

because legally and in layman's terms has a completely different connotations (people associate assault with physical violence, the law doesn't)

> What does any of that have to do with what she said?

I think it's interesting that a person who would like to "remove" other people ends up building weapons instead of schools for refugee kids.


Sorry, but what is wrong with working for the US military in the grand scheme of things? Would Russian or Chinese military be a preferred option?

Certainly seems to me to be far preferable to working for Facebook or Google or something like that.

Whether she is a nobody or not, it should not come as a surprise that for 99.(9)% of humanity, all of us here, as well as RMS are just as much nobodies.


> It's not even my fault if RMS never molested anybody (he really didn't), never raped anybody (he really didn't), never hurt anybody (he really didn't) and never committed a crime (he really didn't).

Not having committed a crime is your bar for "a good man"? Working for you must be pretty chill. Yeah, people can be unfit for their job even without having committed crimes (caught and found guilty, to be more precise). Especially in leadership roles.


> Not having committed a crime is your bar for "a good man"?

Usually, yes.

> people can be unfit for their job even without having committed crimes

But this is not the case.

> caught and found guilty, to be more precise

We're all innocent until proven guilty.

It applies to me, to you and to everybody else.

> Especially in leadership roles.

Take this as an unwanted advice: a leader is someone who would never fuck you in the arse to save theirs.

Stallman would never fuck you in the arse.

Proof is he's been fucked by those wanting to silence him, but has no bad feelings against who did it.

This is being fit for leadership roles in my book.


I don't disagree with any of that, I'm simply point out that your remarks about this woman's notoriety and career choice are ironic.

You're attacking her in much the say way the media is attacking Stallman when they attribute his appearance and proclivity for eating shit off his foot as clear evidence he's a pedophile.


> You're attacking her in much the say way

I'm not attacking her, but I understand why you think that.

Where do you think you might find sexism, misogynism, unsafety, threatening situations, in the US department of defence working with military personnel or in the office of RMS at MIT?

I think the odds are all in favour of the military, but this girl is happy to build drones for the military, while supporting the idea that RMS is a toxic man that need to be removed immediately.

Isn't that amusing?

If I didn't already know, I would have wanted to know about it!


Aren't instances of sexism, misogynism and threatening situations coming from RMS himself and going back decades numerous and well-documented at this point?


Nope.

And not even badly documented, let alone well documented.


> that it shouldn't be called sexual assault if no physical force was used in the sexual act

The fact Stallman doesn't understand what assault means, and then used his lack of understanding of the word assault to defend Minsky, is exactly why people are annoyed with him.

Assault does not require force or violence.


A. That was not what he argued.

B. One could quite reasonably object to the use of a term whose legal definition is very different from the everyday meaning or connotations.


Yes, it was waht he argued. Here's what he said.

> The injustice is in the word “assaulting”. The term “sexual assault” is so vague and slippery that it facilitates accusation inflation: taking claims that someone did X and leading people to think of it as Y, which is much worse than X.

> The accusation quoted is a clear example of inflation. The reference reports the claim that Minsky had sex with one of Epstein’s harem. (See https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/9/20798900/marvin-minsky-jef... records-unsealed.) Let’s presume that was true (I see no reason to disbelieve it).

> 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.

Read this last paragraph.

Now read an English definition of assault. English words have several meanings. Stallman is ignoring the every day English meaning of the word assault because he doesn't understand how English works.

> Assault:

> 1) violent physical or verbal attack

> 2) any act that causes someone to feel physically threatened, which is considered reckless or intentional, and which need not necessarily involve any physical violence

> 3) rape or attempted rape

I don't understand why you'd say this...

> One could quite reasonably object to the use of a term whose legal definition is very different from the everyday meaning or connotations.

The legal definition isn't different to the everyday meaning, but even if it is Stallman needs to understand which definition is being used before he launches into his rape-apology, and he made no effort to do that, did he?


> Assault does not require force or violence.

To the minds of the majority of people sure it does.


> The fact Stallman doesn't understand what assault means

he knows very well.

He meant, and it's obvious from the emails, that the term is slippery if used to accuse someone.

It would have been better something like "statutory rape"

because it's not disputable.


But assault in law and English does not require use of force, and if Stallman meant to say "let's call Minsky a statutory rapist" he could have said that. He didn't, he went on to say that we shouldn't define rape by age -- clearly trying to prevent people calling Minsky a rapist.


> trotting out years and years of evidence

I haven’t read of any evidence, just what sounds like rumor starting and spreading


Some of his previous comments on child sex issues are republished here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/famed-mit-computer-scientist-r...

Including gems such as

"I think that everyone age 14 or above ought to take part in sex, though not indiscriminately. (Some people are ready earlier.)”

And

“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.”

Plus

“There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.”

He has all of the sudden backtracked on his decades long-held opinion that sex between adults and children is ok less than two weeks ago:

https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...


He changed his opinion in 2016 actually, not two weeks ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Biograp...

> “There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.”

This is quoted out of content, here is the full quote: "There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children. [with a link to https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/03/paedophilia-...]

Granted, children may not dare say no to an older relative, or may not realize they could say no; in that case, even if they do not overtly object, the relationship may still feel imposed to them. That's not willing participation, it's imposed participation, a different issue."

He did not take the "There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children" statement out of his butt, it was the conclusion that he formed after reading this article.

But even then, I do not see how his opinions regarding paedophilia are relevant to the topic at hand.


So everything these days is a spectrum, except age of consent, which starts at 18 and not at 17 and 364 days, why?


Most rape laws do recognize a spectrum: in the teens, it is generally not rape if the two people are close enough in age.


That is relevant but does nothing to explain why say Sweden put the line at 16 while the US has it at 18. It also happens to be the exact opposite for driving a car, ie the age requirement is 18 while in the US it is 16.

Personally I find the age when the brain is fully developed to carry a bit more significance, ie around age 25. Before that the brain is still being assembled and yet we expect people to make life or death decisions while driving, serving the military, have correct impulse control and follow the law just as everyone else.


There are European countries where it's 14 too!


Because that's what the law says. You can't vote at 17 years and 364 days either. (Or drive at 15 years and 364 days.)

What would a "spectrum of consent" even look like? 'First base' at one age, second at another, etc.?

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_metaphors_for_sex


The law used also used to say it was illegal for gay people to marry and black people had to use separate bathrooms. That black people are worth 3/5 of a normal person. So don't even start with that "but it's the law!" drivel, we are talking about morality here.


It would look like romeo and juliet laws that allow consent between two teens close in age.


..but Romeo was over 18 and Juliet was like 13. That's statutory rape!


It's the letter of the law and that's why the above quoted position (or see below) is indefensible?

RMS: "I think that everyone age 14 or above ought to take part in sex, though not indiscriminately. (Some people are ready earlier.)”

Just because it's the letter of the law doesn't mean we are forbidden from discussing changing it.


If people's personal stories and experiences aren't "evidence," then indeed you should just look at his written words, which include such gems as taking a charitable stance toward pedophilia (recanted very recently, after maintaining it as a public position for some decades), his repeated public "emacs virgin" bit, his stated belief that people with down syndrome should be aborted, his habit of giving out "pleasure cards" to colleagues and people he's met at conferences.


A game of telephone takes place that distorts these stories by the time they get read by us. (Not to mention the memory distortions, my memory is probably not mch worse than anyone elses but I still notice myself misremembering things in favour of some narrative a lot)

Also, I can't speak for everyone, but I don't particulalry disagree with or think any of the things you list in your comment are fireable.


Not fireable, for a rank-and-file worker in an organization? Sure, I can see that.

Not fireable, for the public role of leader of an organization? They're held to higher standards of conduct, whether we like it or not;

holding forth in public on opinions that 1) run counter to mainstream society in a way that's going to piss off a lot of people and 2) have nothing to do with the organization are a distraction, and a sign that leader's losing the thread on what their organization goals are and how to accomplish that.

In short, you can lead a software advocacy organization, or you can publish your opinions on aborting fetuses with down syndrome and your skepticism about pedophilia harming children, but you can't do both for long. (Unless you're stallman, then you can do it for decades before someone says, "hey, this guy's making the free software movement look bad".)


Additionally, a lot of the "years and years of evidence" are sourceless rumours like the "suicide or date" threats.


> We literally have a transcript here, people should be copying from it directly.

Isn't that what he said in the first place?


People have brought up those previous comments of RMS' in the past but a lot of the community would not discuss them / reacted rather negatively to them. The news stories helped push all this out into the open.

I contend that someone who thinks that an adult should not be allowed to enter into contracts regarding software / be punished for doing so "If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs." yet thinks that a 10/11 year old should be allowed to pick their sex partners is something that should be openly discussed.


People shouldn't bring it up?

Just because they build up doesn't mean they're not legitimate grievances, and I don't see rms changing one bit.

Responses always seem out of proportion because media coverage creates attention and makes people reconsider longstanding issues. That might seem like a manufactured mob, but it isn't, it's just focusing all of the discontent that piled up over the years.

We need better feedback loops, sure. But we also need people that listen, and RMS would fail there already.

The one incident that got attention now stems from rms having absolutely no filter and no sense of what's appropriate to say at what time and additionally seemingly prioritising his dead friends honor over believing victims even if you want to argue him being just about technically correct by using specific wording (there is no fucking way you are oblivious to people being coerced into sex this visiting Epsteins Island, just none).

This is not a one off thing. When RMS does his church of emacs skit and keeps pointing at a young woman in the audience whenever he says the word virgin, when RMS asks someone their name, if they work at MIT and then if they'd like to date right away, when people literally cover their offices in plants because Stallman doesn't like them... this guy should have been told to be better or get the fuck out years ago, but instead because he's adored by nerds all over people put up with his childish insistence on doing things exactly his way, using his personal redefinition of words (fuck rms for shitting on singular they) and leaving his behavior unchallenged because you know he'll throw a huge tantrum if you don't.


> (there is no fucking way you are oblivious to people being coerced into sex this visiting Epsteins Island, just none).

That seems a particular American hangup.

If people would visit the mansion of a skin-magazine tycoon on invitation, and one of the many women around there would approach them, very few would assume this was a genuine romantic interest, but there would be little reason to doubt if they were being set up for blackmail instead of straight-up prostitution.

Whether you are revolted by prostitution, or whether you would find it inappropriate for an older man to sleep with a significantly younger woman doesn't matter.

> (fuck rms for shitting on singular they) [..] you know he'll throw a huge tantrum if you don't.

Terrible thing that, people throwing tantrums when others don't see things their way.


1. The point is that an integer person would know to deny, because you're potentially breaking the law in the one way where being oblivious doesn't matter and the "potentially" is quite likely.

2. I see no equivalence here. RMS will go out of his way to misgender people. He might not think that's a big deal, but that's no excuse. Watch any interview with the guy, even if he's talking to someone who does not subscribe to calling it "GNU/Linux" he will insist, every time, for it to be corrected. That's not just being insistent, that's actually - dare i say it - orwellian.

He also likes to draw the JBP "oh god no i have been misinterpreted" line. Like, when I say "Hacker news users are techbros." and someone asks me "why do you think all hacker news users are techbros", I can turn around and say I never said ALL I meant a very specific subset why are you misinterpreting my words you horrible horrible person aren't you supposed to be better this horrible tribalism. He does it in his per article twice (using the phrase "without inquiring if that's what I believe")


> 1. The point is that an integer person

Most people are irrational.

> Watch any interview with the guy

Interviews he's been invited to, where calling the operating system GNU has been stipulated beforehand.

rms is involved in GNU and has no involvement in "Linux". Not in the development of the kernel, nor in the philosophy behind the various "Linux" operating systems. What would you expect him to say about "Linux"?


I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: stallman isn't a pedant. he just uses the tool of pedantry to evade, play defense, or dodge critique; his goal doesn't seem to be clarity, but moving the goalposts when someone calls him out.

A pedant won't cleave to his own private definitions when they suit him ("You said drm, which I call digital restrictions management"), common language definitions when they suit him ("when someone says sexual assault, we hear assault and think violence"), and technical jargon when they suit him ("it's GNU/linux"). There's no seeking of understanding there, just someone being pushy with definitions however it suits them.


> Responses always seem out of proportion because media coverage creates attention and makes people reconsider longstanding issues.

Responses are out of proportion because the media hugely distorts and misleads on every single topic in service of the goal of getting more shares. They'll always try and give a view that is as interesting/outrageous/satisfying as possible, using phrasing and selective ommissions.

Then people hear those stories and relay the insinuations rather than the actual reported facts (news media is generally very good at conveying X while only literally stating Y, Vice was unusually crude and shoddy this time).

The post I am replying to is an excellent example of the end result of this game of telephone.

> believing victims

He didn't disbelieved them in the quote.

> there is no fucking way you are oblivious to people being coerced into sex this visiting Epsteins Island, just none

On what basis are you saying this?

> When RMS does his church of emacs skit and keeps pointing at a young woman in the audience whenever he says the word virgin

This is the kind of thing where it's very easy for stories and memories to get distorted.

> when people literally cover their offices in plants because Stallman doesn't like them

Yet another one of the hugely exaggerated rumours...


Heh, I think you just uncovered a bit of hidden psychology I hadn't realized before. The part about "people put up with his childish insistence on doing things exactly his way" probably comes off as aspirational for a ton of people without realizing it. In fact, stallman hits a lot of things I'd say are probably aspirational: considered as a programming god (despite not really being involved in the technical side of the industry for at least a few decades), the ability to say whatever you want and get a pass because of who you are, getting acclaim for being an inflexible curmudgeon instead of being told to get with the times or adapt your core ideas to a changing world...who wouldn't want that kind of pass in society?

Total speculation, but it makes me wonder if stallman is the geek's version of Steinbeck's "temporarily embarrassed millionaire"; that people want to see themselves not as members of a society, but just undiscovered genius misanthropes whose greatness hasn't yet been recognized.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


> being told to get with the times or adapt your core ideas to a changing world

Because getting with the times and adapting to a changing world require proprietary software and the dilution of privacy?

> genius misanthropes

Yes, rms the misanthrope...

Maybe stick to "kewl stealth mode startups", or at least try to make it less obvious you're just looking for excuses to dislike the man. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


No one is saying tear down everything he had ever done. All that's been said is that someone with a history of being aggressive, supporting of paedophilia, unable to determine appropriate times to debate, and lacking social graces wasn't the best person to lead an organization. RMS has had a long history of getting a pass for his actions because of his skill and passion, he was excused for behaviors that would get most people fired. Humans tend to act like this, a long buildup of frustration followed by quick action once a boiling point is reached. Look at most civil wars for instance. I think RMS made the right decision by stepping back and not letting the outrage fall onto the organizations he's part of. As is abundantly clear from the comments here, RMS will never lack for support regardless of what he does, so I don't think anyone needs to be concerned about him landing on his feet, he's going to be absolutely fine.


> All that's been said is that someone with a history of being aggressive, supporting of paedophilia, unable to determine appropriate times to debate, and lacking social graces wasn't the best person to lead an organization.

That doesn't sound like what happened at all.

More like he dared to challenge a witchhunt against someone with a tenuous connection to Epstein, and the witchhunt turned on him.


RMS has long been a controversial person, with a very abrasive personality. I think even had he been an angel he would have received the same result in today's cancel culture, but there's a lot of people who have looking to turn on him and just needed an excuse. Most people won't come to a bully's defense.


[flagged]


Is there any evidence Minsky was a pedophile? What I heard is that Minsky once attended an Epstein party where an underage woman came on to him (at Epstein's behest) and he refused. And Stallman's comments were about that, not defending Epstein.

But now you say "Stallman came out to defend the pedophiles", so you must have some evidence I haven't heard.


> But now you say "Stallman came out to defend the pedophiles", so you must have some evidence I haven't heard.

I believe people are referencing his long history of notes[0] supporting pedophelia such as this:

> 04 January 2013 (Pedophilia)

> There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.

> Granted, children may not dare say no to an older relative, or may not realize they could say no; in that case, even if they do not overtly object, the relationship may still feel imposed to them. That's not willing participation, it's imposed participation, a different issue.

[0] https://stallman.org/archives/2012-nov-feb.html


You shouldn't post that without also posting this:

> Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it.

> Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why.

https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...


I don't get why people think this is some killer defence of Stallman.

Most of us realise that fucking children is wrong because it's harmful to those children. We don't need to be told this.

He talks authoritatively about stuff he has no idea about. That combination of arrogance, ignorance, and stunning lack of sensitivity is pretty hard to take from someone who is supposed to be using language as a tool of their job.


> Most of us realise that fucking children is wrong because it's harmful to those children. We don't need to be told this.

Do you imagine you were born with that belief?

For most of human history, and in much of the world today, people believed otherwise, certainly about 17 year olds (the age in question here). It's not something people just know.

It's something people come to know either through careful thought (like Stallman) or simply because they accepted what they were told (the "most of us" you've described).


I was not born with those beliefs. Did Stallman make those comments (that the harms of incestual abuse can be avoided if condoms are used; that "willing" child abuse shouldn't be a crime) when he was a new-born child, or when he was a fully grown adult?

The point is that these comments have no relevance to his work; he doesn't know what he's talking about but doesn't realise his ignorance; he has no ability to empathise with other people; yet he makes those comments anyway.


That's great and I agree anyone who is not pro-pedophilia should surely be heartened by Stallman's change of view here, however, I will point out that this entry is from 2019 September 14.

That means these personal conversations and change of heart have come after the recent MIT mailing list posting and subsequent fallout.


It only means that he didn't publicly say so until this incident.


If that is the case — and I say that with a healthy dose of skepticism — don't you think that alone is problematic?


Have you actually read all the statements he posted publicly on his site? Because your comment glosses over almost everything he said, and how he said it, to make it seem as though he were some completely innocent, blameless party caught up in a shitstorm because he dared to voice a countering opinion.


You can't ignore the timing.

If he wasn't fired/forced to resign because of his comments about Minsky, why did it happen just after those comments?


Because those comments brought him to the attention of people who were not as familiar with his work. They then saw many comments about pedophilia and his behaviour towards women in the industry.

His comments about Minksy aren't enough to warrant the backlash. But his LONG history of poor behaviour absolutely is. He brought the spotlight ON HIMSELF by commenting on such a high profile case. That spotlight then listed all his flaws. Those flaws got him where he is today.


That's not what I saw. Instead I saw (and still see) people (in this very thread even) saying he "came out to defend the pedophiles". Media stories discussing his remarks about Minsky, with headlines vaguely connecting him to Epstein. The famous Selam G. hit piece mostly about (and misreading) his comments about Minksy. His past remarks and behavior are at most a footnote in these stories.

That said, I agree it's clear he made a lot of enemies with his past behavior and that certainly didn't help him at a time like this when he needs allies willing to stand against the mob and speak on his behalf.


Supporting pedophilia? How in the ever loving Christ did you come to that conclusion?


You should really look it up. He posted multiple prior blog posts on his website about it. There's a link someone provided further down in the chain. It surprised me as well when I learned of it, but he injected himself into that debate willingly and deliberately.


> I still hope this incident doesn't ruin RMS

Notice that, fortunately, he seems to be in good spirits and has not lost his sense of humor. Look at the top line on his website (stallman.org). He says "I may not be a good leader, but at least I'm a great speaker[1]. "

With the link pointing to a video of a comically bad speech of him (which is funny, because he is almost always a very good speaker indeed).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jskq3-lpQnE


It's really odd for him to link to Youtube. I wonder if someone else added it.

That part of the HTML doesn't seem to be written with auto-fill-mode either.


He should be using peertube which is GPL 3 and based on activitypub just like mastedon.

https://joinpeertube.org/en/

Full disclosure, I'm the developer of an android player for peertube. https://github.com/sschueller/peertube-android


He simply expects anyone who wants to keep their freedom to use youtube-dl, which is packaged in trisquel.


yes, looks suspicious, you mean he was hacked?

if that is the case, whomever managed to hack the "supreme hacker" deserves some sort of prize, doesn't it?


Why would you call him the "supreme hacker"? His claim to fame is his ideology, not necessarily his skill.


The man wrote the first versions of emacs, gcc, gdb, make and bison (a compiler compiler). He created the FSF and hired programmers to write other parts of GNU like glibc.

He also wrote the GPL which is a wicked legal hack.

Maybe he's no Knuth, Ritchie or Bellard, but a hacker he is. Certainly among the top 5 alive today.


When was his last commit to any of those projects? He's certainly an accomplished programmer, but then again, so is Bill Gates.


Gates didn't write the first versions of Excel and Word, and probably has 0 commits on the source of these projects. Not to disparage the abilities of Gates, but there is no useful comparison here to be made.

Last talk I saw of Stallman, to a very technical audience, he was asked this same question. If I recall correctly he said that he was working to steer the programming resources towards the most important parts for user freedom (e.g., free operating system for phones), but he did not contributed code directly, leaving this task to more talented younger people. He enjoyed programming a lot, and his coding mojo was mostly spent on emacs macros to automate his daily tasks. (this is just a recollection from a talk heard a few years ago, it may not be exact, but that was the spirit).


This kind of stuff is social lynching and should be treated as such.


People are not reacting the way they are because he has the wrong skin color; or, for that matter, any trait beyond his own direct control.

He's being treated the way he is because his actions and comments are insensitive at best and downright vulgar at worst, have been so for a long time, and people have finally had enough.

If you can't tell the difference, I don't know what to tell you.


When a mob lynches someone it's obvious they "had enough" of him. And maybe he even was guilty enough to deserve such a punishment. But we hardly ever think about this, to us a lynched person is always a victim. Why? Because nobody can be so guilty as to deny them a due process. A real justice where the person can face the accusers and defend himself, and be sure that the decision is made by a jury of impartial peers. People who "finally had enough" can only be the accusers in this scene. Where are the others?

Do you really think that insensitivity and vulgarity is worse than mob justice?


A lot of lynchings took place not just because the person had the wrong skin color or other immutable trait. Often the victim was seen as uppity or acting out. I think the parallel holds.

Edit to add: Some people have said that Stallman is nuroatypical. If that is the case then it could be very well that his actions and comments are from a trait beyond his control.


It's even worse then if he had the wrong skin color because at least that's real. He has been lynched because of straight up lies by the media.


From what I've understood, this is just the straw that broke the camel's back with Stallman. He's harassed and bothered dozens of women in and outside of MIT.


I keep seeing this response, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. If Stallman's past behavior was unacceptable, then he should have been fired for that.

The fact is, the reporting around the event that actually did get him fired was beyond awful and disingenuous. By throwing up your hands and saying "yeah maybe those articles were a crock of lies, but that's fine because he actually did do some shitty stuff before too" you're contributing to an environment in which it's that much harder to distinguish honest reporting from fabricated character assassination.

I think this [0] comment from Reddit does a good job refuting the "straw that broke the camel's back" argument:

"""

Amazing how much damage dishonest media coverage can do, even though it's both trivial to prove their misquotes false and we now have an witness further supporting Stallman's original argument. Summary of events:

In a recently unsealed deposition a woman testified that, at the age of 17, Epstein told her to have sex with Marvin Minsky. Minsky was a co-founder of the MIT Media Lab and pioneer in A.I. who died in 2016. Stallman argued on a mailing list (in response to a statement from a protest organizer accusing Minsky of sexual assault) that, while he condemned Epstein, Minsky likely did not know she was being coerced:

> 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.

Someone wrote a Medium blogpost called "Remove Richard Stallman" quoting the argument. Media outlets like Vice and The Daily Beast then lied and misquoted Stallman as saying that the woman was "entirely willing" (rather than pretending to be) and as "defending Epstein". Note the deposition doesn't say she had sex with Minsky, only that Epstein told her to do so. Since then physicist Greg Benford, who was present at the time, has stated that she propositioned Minsky and he turned her down:

> I know; I was there. Minsky turned her down. Told me about it. She saw us talking and didn’t approach me.

This seems like a complete validation of the distinction Stallman was making. If what Minsky knew doesn't matter, if there's no difference between "Minsky sexually assaulted a woman" and "Epstein told a 17-year-old to have sex with Minsky without his knowledge or consent", then why did he turn her down? We're supposed to consider a dead man a rapist for sex he didn't have because of something Epstein did without his knowledge, possibly even in a failed attempt to create blackmail material against him?

Despite this, Stallman has now been pressured to resign not just from MIT but from the Free Software Foundation that he founded. Despite (and sometimes because of) his eccentricities, I think Stallman was a very valuable voice in free-software, particularly as someone whose dedication to it as an ideal helped counterbalance corporate influence and the like. But if some journalists decide he should be out and are willing to tell lies about it, then apparently that's enough for him to be pushed out.

"""

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/d59efr/computer...


> a woman testified that, at the age of 17, Epstein told her to have sex with Marvin Minsky.

For fucks sake, this is not even an accusation to Minsky.

Take a minute to appreciate the fact that Minsky is being called a Rapist because somebody said that some person told another person to have sex with him. And he turned her down.


Stallman assumed that Minsky had sex with Giuffre.


So basically Stallman was found "guilty" on a semantic argument regarding a hypothetical situation based on an assumption? That's crazy.


Part of the problem is that Stallman didn't try to defend Minsky by pointing out that the allegation was unconfirmed and that we shouldn't assume guilt.

Instead, he said Minsky "probably" slept with the woman and then argued that this should not be considered sexual assault, even though at the very least it would have been statutory rape.

It's a bad look no matter how you spin it, and seems to indicate a kind of misogyny and treatment of women as sex objects. It seems to place him firmly in the toxic patriarchy which is no longer considered acceptable.

I saw a comment along the lines that Stallman is still living in the 1970s in that respect. That's a problem for a public figurehead today, unless of course they're a right-wing conservative.


Stallman wrote that statutory rape laws are morally absurd. You cannot possibly defend that. Age is an element in consent.


If I remember correctly he had two points against statutory rape. His first was that it's absurd that it is illegal for, say, a 20 year old to have sex with a 17 year old (in certain states). I would agree with this in that that situation isn't immoral, as the actual immorality should come from differences in the mental development of the two people. Of course this varies from person to person and is basically impossible to determine in actuality, so we set a certain cut off because its what we CAN do. The second point, which I also would agree with, is that it's ridiculous for it to be called rape when statutory rape and actual rape are very different things. I believe his grievance is with the name of statutory rape, specifically in cases where two individuals are quite close in age anyways. As is the case with a 17 and 20 year old. On the other hand I would say that a 20 year old and a 13 year old would be closer to rape because even if both parties say it is consensual, it actually can't be fully consensual due to the differences in mental development.

So I believe the problem comes down to these two very different situations sharing the same name. Maybe they don't carry the same punishment, I'm not sure, but I definitely don't agree with calling both of these situations the same name, especially when that name includes the word rape. There's a gravity there that I believe the situation with the 20 and 17 year old doesn't carry, but the situation with the 20 and 13 year old does.


Let’s look at Stallman’s actual words. Stallman said the most plausible explanation is that the child who Minsky abused was ‘entirely willing’.

Or, there is this quote:

“All I know she said about Minsky is that Epstein directed her to have sex with Minsky. That does not say whether Minsky knew that she was being coerced. it does not report what each said and did during their sexual encounter. We can imagine various scenarios.”

Or this one:

“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”

With all due respect to your argument, this is not a case of a 20 year old and a 17 year old. This is a case of a 73 year old esteemed researcher at an institution with undergraduate students having sex with a 17 year old in a country that defines such an age difference as statutory rape.

Stallman’s idea about how it’s absurd to define rape according to age or country is offensive in every way imaginable. Sovereign nations are allowed to set and enforce their own laws. Other sovereign nations are allowed to choose whether to extradite their citizens back to those nations to face their justice system. But the act of entering a country is an agreement that you will respect its sovereignty and its laws. If you argue against that, you’re effectively arguing against the entire basis of international law and international relations. That would be an interesting argument, but let’s talk about mineral rights instead of child sexual abuse.

As for age, countries around the world recognize that children cannot be expected to provide informed consent to engage in sexual activity. They argue that by statute, some children are not capable of consenting to sexual activity. These countries have tried to come up with policy to deal with how absolute differences in age don’t necessarily account for differences in maturity. Some countries will not enforce statutory rape laws if the age difference is slight. Other countries enforce their own laws differently to account for different situations. This is a case of a 56 year age difference involving a pedophile, an eminent researcher and a victim of child trafficking.

All of that aside, the fact is that a victim chose to come forward and make herself available to be deposed. During this deposition, the victim said that she was coerced into having sex with Minsky.

Minsky is dead. Why not believe the victim? What do we gain from pedantic arguments about the nature of international law and sexual abuse?

* Edited because my first version was poorly written and almost incomprehensible.


> Age is an element in consent.

Here's a list of the age of consent by nation worldwide: http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/age-of-consent-by...

So tell us, which value is the "real" age of consent and what the moral reasoning is that makes it and no other value the correct one?


It is defined by whatever country you are in. Richard Stallman does not get to rewrite sovereignty because his buddy did something fucking stupid. The moral reason is that sovereign nations get to set their own rules around the welfare of children. When you freely choose to enter a country, you agree to abide by their laws and not sexually abuse their definition of a child. If you have difficulty with that, please reflect upon your own moral compass, specifically in regards to child welfare.

Or here is another one. A 73 year old had sex with someone 56 years younger than him. This 73 year old is an educator at one of the top Universities in the world yet he still chose to engage without absolutely ensuring that she consented. The moral path is to look around, realize there is something seriously wrong with Epstein and his harem (Stallman’s word) and stay the hell away.


Not entirely:

> 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).


The real reference, which is available and downloadable from the internet to anybody who wants to read it don;t say the sex happened.

never, in the hundreds of pages of depositions.

Instead of talking about MIT that took money from Epstein, we're talking about Stallman that never did.


It seems a bit like Motte and Bailey Doctrine[1].

The motte is relatively easy to defend... Richard isn't the most charming guy and comes off as a creep, so he shouldn't be a leader. But it's not the most persuasive argument.

The bailey is hard to defend... the various misinterpretations of Richard's email. Despite these interpretations being wrong, they're emotionally persuasive. If someone uses logic against them, the antagonist can always retreat to the motte.

[1] https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Motte_and_bailey


I think in this case the Motte it self is indefensible in the end: RMS isn't the most charming guy and comes off as a creep: That's indeed not a persuasive argument, except, take into account that rather a large part of his job involves being a public advocate, and, well, either you teach the public not to get excited about someone who (literally, sometimes) puts his foot in his mouth, in which case, good luck to you, or, you sigh, complain about the tyranny of the masses... and fire him.

Is it fair? (And consider that I'm looking solely at the motte part; disregarding entirely this most recent event): Well, for most definitions of fair, it is not. Nevertheless, I don't think MIT, GNU, FSF, or any other entity should suffer significant damage just to chase the ideal of someone with RMS's peculiar ways gets to do the job of being an advocate of their organization.

It boils down to this: Is it acceptable to fire someone from a job based on something they are not really responsible for?

I think if the job description itself, prior to you taking it, makes clear that: Yes, you will be fired then – that it is fine.

The vast majority of clearly public facing jobs work like this. If you're the CEO and you do something rather upsetting, but not illegal, in a private setting that leaks out and which has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the company or on your ability to perform your job there... you still get fired: The board weighs the value of your presence in your C-level role vs. the next best candidate vs. the damage done to 'the brand' by leaving you there, and a swift decision is made.

It's hard to draw lines in the sand on this. Both the public-ness of your role as well as the severity of how upset the public is about the unrelated thing need to be taken into account.

Imagine some sales rep at a company has a sextape leaked from years ago. Is it fair to fire them? Probably not.

Imagine that same sales rep has a penis tattoo'd on their forehead. Is it fair to fire them? Probably yeah, and the reason is not really: "They will do a bad job at sales itself". The reason is: "Most of your job is selling the product, put a small part of it is simply reflecting on the company. And with that tattoo you're doing such an incredibly bad job at that last part, we dont even want to know how well you will be doing at the first: You're out".

My point is, for RMS? I estimate that he is on the 'his firing his justified' side of the line for virtually anybody's sense of fairness.


> I think if the job description itself, prior to you taking it

The job the description would pertain to didn't exist before he created it by filling it.

I don't think any of the more palatable audience-friendly "FOSS" luminaries are going to decline being flown business-class, and then ask for the price difference to be donated.

Open source opinion maker is a solid career path now, and will attract the sort of people interested in making careers.

rms has shown through example to be incorruptable. That's the only requirement, but it's hard to find. All the rest is nice-to-have.


That's a quite interesting method from a rhetorical point of view. Thanks for the link.


The other thing is that it's extremely obvious that the tech press doesn't hold their own to the same standards. For instance, there's this one Ars Technica journalist who'd been posting pro-pedophilia comments on their own forums and creeping their regulars out for years. They were quite happy to keep him on until he was arrested in an FBI sting for allegedly attempting to meet up to molest a 7 year old: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/peter-bright-charged-solicit... Even after his arrest, this didn't get a huge amount of press coverage.


Holy shit.


It’s not crazy or undesirable for one particular event to prompt an overdue re-evaluation of a long pattern of historical events and an appropriate response.


An event that happened and was publicly known over a decade ago, I don't see how it could have broken the camels back right now.


> An event that happened and was publicly known over a decade ago, I don't see how it could have broken the camels back right now.

You can see it if you assume that some (even most) of the people judging weren't part of the community at the time and might just have learned of it.


Uh, the world was different a decade ago?


What event are you referring to?


As an outsider, you could be right, you could be propagating a rumor or it’s made up. How do I make up my mind ?


> I keep seeing this response, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. If Stallman's past behavior was unacceptable, then he should have been fired for that.

Yes, it doesn't make a lot of sense that his previous unacceptable behavior has been tolerated. Pressure on him, should have been so much earlier.


How come none of that came into light before the leak of his emails? This is quite curious, don't you think? I've read the emails and from the looks of it he just says that there's not enough evidence to condemn someone for their alleged misconduct. I'm very skeptical about all these "revelations", this entire thing appears to be media manipulation. I recommend the book "Trust me, I'm lying", it's eye-opening.


> Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it. - RMS Quote https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...

You don't have to trust the media. RMS himself confirms that he was wrong in the past, at least regarding child abuse.


You are assuming that Aqua implies that Stallman publishing his personal opinions in his blog was the issue. While this might be true, for me at least the real revelations were posts like https://twitter.com/migueldeicaza/status/1173981287037751297 and https://twitter.com/jilliancyork/status/1173898047878598656 - which constitute actual unacceptable behaviour but can't easily be verified.


I'm sorry, but:

"I hosted rms many years ago in the 90’s, what was supposed to be hosting your hero for a ~3 day thing became a ~2 month nightmare."

Did Miguel ask him to leave? Or did he just sit around passive-aggressively for 3 whole months? Also, rms called Miguel "a traitor to the Free Software community" at some point, and now with the whole MIT business, he gets in with the twitter defamation league spouting off his grievances. That's pretty much beyond cowardly and into despicable territory.

Jillian's story is pretty much the entire problem in a nutshell:

"an older female colleague recommended at a whisper that I lock myself in my office."

"She later told me it was because he gets touchy"

"Over the years, I heard all sorts of things of this nature, and warned women who might not be in the know"

Maybe this older female colleague was told the same things at some point? Why is every single allegation hearsay from twitter?

"instructing them on how to properly make tea"

Yes, rms can be very particular about minor things. If you did not know even this, why are you writing about "things about rms others should know"?

Also, again EFF connections. Do they even want to pretend to be useful anymore, outside of cluelessly abusing people on twitter for kicks?


You are sorry about what? I myself said that these stories can't easily be verified. I only suggested an alternative understanding of Aqua's post to tutfbhuf


Sorry about not finding myself in agreement over what would be a "real revelation", but I might have misunderstood. My apologies.


What is the exact unacceptable behaviour that you linked to? (Sorry, navigating twitter sucks, I honestly am unsure what you're talking about). From the second link I get two things - second-hand tale that "he gets touchy" (hasn't ever happened to her directly I guess? Or we would've known). And first-hand tale that he abused organizers by instructing them how to make tea; she assumes it's because organizers are women, but from what I know RMS would abuse organizers regardless of gender. He was weird and hard to live with, much less please. Yes I can believe that (it's something that Miguel de Icaza apparently complains about). But this is not a crime!


The tea case and the de Icaza case might not be crimes but they are still unacceptable behaviour imo.


You don't have to like him to recognise injustice.

People are literally celebrating a "long overdue" injustice because they don't like the man, so "he had it coming". I don't know how can anyone not find this unsetting.


> You don't have to like him to recognise injustice.

I never said otherwise. If you look at my comment history you will see that I am against the injustice against RMS.


I'm sorry, but like I already stated, both tweets you linked were published after the initial story went viral. I'm not saying these people are lying, I'm saying I tend to take such revelations with a grain of salt after reading "trust me, I'm lying", I highly recommend it if you've got a few spare hours. In short, blogs, popular twitter accounts and so on tend to lie and spread misinformation in order to gain more followers. I don't know these people, I don't know if whatever they claim is credible, thus I don't automatically assume they speak the truth.


See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21099513

I certainly agree with you.


It seems to have been pretty much public knowledge in the circles that interacted with RMS. It's just that nobody cared enough to act.


I have interacted with RMS. He stayed at a friend's house, and I went to one of his lectures. Though I'm not a friend of the man, I know that what you're saying was not true, at least during the time that me and my friends met with him.

This type of rumor mongering is hurtful and should be opposed.


"He didn't harass women during the two days I interacted with him, therefore he has never done so" is not as strong a defense as you seem to think.


"I heard somebody say he harassed women, so he must have done so" is also not as strong an attack as you seem to think.


When did you stop beating your wife ?


> He didn't harass women during the two days I interacted with him, therefore he has never done so

Exactly, he's innocent until proven guilty, like everybody else.

You're implying that "I heard from someone that heard it from someone else, that heard it from their dad, that read it on a mailing list, 20 years ago, that he did, therefore ho did"


> It seems

seems does not qualify as evidence

> circles that interacted with RMS

Like Thomas Lord?

https://archive.is/7qepC


You don't there is enough mud to go around? MIT can do the Yogi Berra schtick by throwing Stallman out. But if so, it still does not automatically follow that it was the wrong thing to do.


> You don't there is enough mud to go around?

I think there is only mud, not based on any real issue with what Stallman said or did.

> does not automatically follow that it was the wrong thing to do.

It does.

FSF main goal was freedom and protecting fundamental liberties of each individual

Stallman main contribution to FSF was the GPL, a legal framework, FSF main contribution was pro bono legal support defending free software in court.

So, yeah, if FSF cannot defend its founder, most popular and most honorable member, it becomes basically useless, it follows it was the wrong thing to do.

Their reputation was based on trust, trust has been broken.


Did you read the entire comment? If so, can you address the core argument instead of quoting a single line out of context?


since The majority of people haven’t witnessed the unacceptable behavior, please provide some evidence otherwise it seems like mud slinging. This is the citation required meme equivalent


One, I am seriously disheartened even now people do the he said, she said routine.

Two, https://medium.com/@thomas.bushnell/a-reflection-on-the-depa...


What a disgusting, morally reprehensible take by Mr. Bushnell. He's arguing that Stallman should have known to shut up an just thrown Minsky under the bus, sort of like Bushnell does with Stallman in that article.


> RMS treated the problem as being “let’s make sure we don’t criticize Minsky unfairly”, when the problem was actually, “how can we come to terms with a history of MIT’s institutional neglect of its responsibilities toward women and its apparent complicity with Epstein’s crimes”.

> Minsky is also dead, and there’s plenty of time to discuss at leisure whatever questions there may be about his culpability.


Wikipedia states:

"Bushnell [..] is employed by Google LLC. He is a member of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church."

With all due respect to his employment and religious beliefs, that is not the sort of person to provide a better understanding of Stallman, in general or psychologically.


> With all due respect to his employment and religious beliefs, that is not the sort of person to provide a better understanding of Stallman, in general or psychologically.

No? FTA:

> But I’ll give you a personal take. By my reckoning, I worked for RMS longer than any other programmer.


The reports that he defended Epstein were false. The reports that he defended adults having sex with children were true. Stories that people used to whisper about started to show up in news articles.

The straw that broke the camel's back could be the wrong metaphor. Maybe it's more like the dam burst.


As far as I know, he publicly renounced his decades old opinion even before the last witch hunt began. The witch hunt was based on false claim. He never supported Epstein.


Stallman defended adults having sex with children in 2013.[1] He didn't say anything else about it until now, as far as I know.

[1] https://stallman.org/archives/2012-nov-feb.html#04_January_2...


In this post he just linked The Guardian article that described lack of solid empirical evidence.

Also note that it is a difference between an empirical claim and a moral claim. While empirical claim that some action almost always leads to negative outcome to others could be used as an argument for that action being immoral, it is still perfectly valid to attack the supporting empirical claim, while not attacking the moral claim.


The point is that his opinion wasn't decades old.


My point is that this Stallman's comment is not 'defending aduls havings sex with children', but statement about empirical facts.

There are Stallman's statements defending non-coercive sex with children, but they are older:

https://stallman.org/archives/2003-may-aug.html#28%20June%20...


> He didn't say anything else about it until now, as far as I know.

At least there is this one from 14th September, also on his site:

https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September...

" Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it.

Through personal conversations in recent years, I've learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why."


As far as I know, he publicly renounced his decades old opinion even before the last witch hunt began.

Citation needed. He expressed the same opinion in 2013 that he did in 2006 and 2003:

https://stallman.org/archives/2012-nov-feb.html#04_January_2...

https://stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html#05%20June%20...

https://stallman.org/archives/2003-may-aug.html#28%20June%20...


And withdrew it in 2016...


Good for him - where can I read up on that?


https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Biograp...

But even if he hadn't changed his opinion there would be nothing wrong with that imo.


The same place you linked to.


Could you narrow that down? I tried, but there's a lot of material to go through.

The stuff I did find was only tangentially related and not indicative of any changes in position, eg

https://stallman.org/archives/2016-jul-oct.html#16_September...

https://stallman.org/archives/2016-jul-oct.html#12_September...

https://stallman.org/archives/2016-jul-oct.html#15_July_2016...


Doesn't matter what metaphor you chose - he was fired for the wrong reasons. To exaggerate: if Trump were found to be helping out a Mexican immigrant, and after the huge scandal with his voter base he'd get impeached - I wouldn't celebrate, at all. Regardless what you think of him, a man needs to pay for his bad deeds, not for the good or neutral ones that just happened in the wrong political climate.


He wasn't fired. He resigned under pressure. He cited "a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations", not a single incident.


C'mon. Don't bend to falsehoods when it suits your argument. Very few people in such PR nightmares actually "resign", they're just allowed to save face by the company.


I said he resigned under pressure. I think MIT would have fired him but not the FSF. My argument is that he was pressured because of more than just one incident.


People are never fired from such positions they are asked to resign. Trying to repaint this as him willingly stepping down is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst.


That's just semantics, you know that, right?


He resigned from two independent organizations at the same time. Imagine if your previous boss told you to quit your job.


Parent poster explicitly said "under pressure". What more do you want?


Really? What's the difference between "fired" and "resigned under pressure"? How does it change one bit my original argument? In this instance, RMS was innocent. Doesn't matter if he was guilty in 999999 other instances(1), he was under immense pressure to resign _for this incident_. What happened to the US philosophy of freedom and liberty that inspired an entire world? I feel like it's completely gone now, they easily sacrifice what were formerly sacred principles, for well-intended but completely misguided reasons.

> It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.

(1) Which is yet to be proven, btw. We shouldn't take destroying a man's reputation so lightly. But well, what do I know. The mob must enjoy its victories, even when they're really defeats.


> I keep seeing this response, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. If Stallman's past behavior was unacceptable, then he should have been fired for that.

In human nature it's extremely common to tolerate things too long and then bail out when something minuscule happens later.

Not ideal but easy to understand.


It's also human nature to become murderously violent about various things, and to grab a club or bone and use it as a weapon to kill someone you don't like or because they have something you want. Humans managed to create "civlization" and "laws" and "police" to curb this negative part of human nature.

I don't see "human nature" as an acceptable excuse for anything at all.


The problem is that the evidence of individual women is fallible, and can be brushed off. The comments he made in the mailing list are in the public record and are therefore undeniable evidence, which serves to reinforce previous claims of abuse.

It may be a straw, but it's a very heavy straw, placed at just the right location


(I only want to wade in here on one narrow logical point, and avoid discussing the specifics of this case.)

> If Stallman's past behavior was unacceptable, then he should have been fired for that.

Indeed!

The fact that he wasn't fired for his past behaviour doesn't necessarily mean that his past behaviour was acceptable.

Not firing him for his past behaviour may just have been an error of judgement.

If I get away with (say) stealing once, that shouldn't mean I now have carte blanche to steal anything without consequence.


> If Stallman's past behavior was unacceptable, then he should have been fired for that.

He was! He was fired for all that, and for this most recent incident as well. He wasn't fired for a single incident alone, but for a series of incidents, of which this was the most recent.


>He's harassed and bothered dozens of women in and outside of MIT.

I also saw those accusations, but I didn't see any proof of the harassment except one girl that said Stallman asked her on a date. And bothering? you really think you can go for 60 years on this earth without bothering any person?


You forgot the most terrible accusation of all. He had a mattress in his office. Really, I've seen this fact listed among other examples of RMS misconduct.


Ah yes! the "Implications".

For me, the implication of a mattress in his office are that he might sleep there. Any other implications are in the dirty mind of the accusers.


RMS slept in his office for some time, in all these decades no one made anything out of it other than 'wow, how dedicated and odd that fellow is'. It wasn't some secret. And suddenly it gets pulled out of context by people who admit to having never met him as proof of something vague but nefarious. wtf.


I think the root of all of this is we use the same mental circuits when condemning sexual and hygienic misconduct. Someone called him creepy for publicly eating something from his foot - then in other circumstances the 'creepy' label was interpreted to be related to sex.


No, people have called him creepy for asking out MIT undergraduates and defending adults having sex with children.


> I believe the creepiness at MIT was not "asking undergraduates out" - it was threatening to kill himself of the undergraduate did not accept.

I've also done this, please don't get me fired. Well, I was 15 at the time, but perhaps still better socially adjusted than Stallman at 60.


I believe the creepiness at MIT was not "asking undergraduates out" - it was threatening to kill himself if the undergraduate did not accept.

If true, that is deeply disturbing behavior.


I agree. Some people dismiss it as a joke, though.


Which we know for a fact it was, seeing as the data didn't happen and RMS is still alive.


People are not perfectly consistent.

Not even RMS.

It seems more likely to me he made the threat legitimately, but chose not to follow through.

Do you have evidence for your assertion that it was a joke?

The woman who experienced it certainly didn't perceive it as one.


> It seems more likely to me he made the threat legitimately

If you genuinely think RMS was considering suicide over a date refusal, your likelyhood calibrations way off. He's weird, but he's not raving maniac. It is ok to exaggerate a little sometimes for the sake of argument, maybe, but really, there's bound of how far the credulity can be stretched.

> Do you have evidence for your assertion that it was a joke?

I just said it in my previous comment. Also, I've seen people. Virtually nobody, excepting gravely mentally ill people that are most likely already on heavy meds and being treated by psychiatrists, commits suicide over a date refusal from a random female.

> The woman who experienced it certainly didn't perceive it as one.

Not getting the joke is a common occurrence. I sometimes not get the jokes, even by professional comedians. And RMS never been a professional in this, so some rate of failure is expected. Making a huge deal out of it almost 40 years after it happened (to zero harm for anyone involved) is the insane part here. Especially as this seems to be the only documented episode of supposed myriads of harassment incidents RMS is supposedly famous for.


I clearly misspoke, for which I am sorry.

My perspective is that he made the threat in bad faith - trying to coerce the girl into going out with him, but without a truly deep depression and intention to kill himself. I expect there was and is at least some depression there - perhaps he really did consider killing himself but decided not to.

I am unfortunately very used to seeing people try to hide obnoxious behavior behind "it was just a joke, calm down," when people take offense instead of giving them what they want, so I very rarely find that explanation satisfactory.

There are other things feeding into my assessment that I haven't gone into - a story of him picking out one of the few women in a lecture hall as an "Emacs Virgin" and saying that in the Church of Emacs it is blessed to lose your virginity. Yeah, that clearly was a joke, but it was a tasteless one that gives a little too much insight into his perspective.

There's also the photo of his MIT office nameplate that said something like "Knight For Justice (also: hot ladies)" which, yes, is probably a joke, but reads like one of those "ha ha, only serious" jokes oldschool hackers are rather known for, and is once again a joke he absolutely shouldn't have been making (especially not from a position of power).

There are also the various hints on his website over the years that he was (and perhaps still is) single and frustrated by that. An anecdote about his official non-girlfriend stands out in my memory, as I recall.


> he made the threat in bad faith - trying to coerce the girl into going out with him,

It's not a "threat", since no reasonable people would take it seriously (just as no reasonable female would sue a suitor when he says "I am willing to give the whole world to you" but then refuses to give her mere $10000). If you ever been in a romantic relationship, you may know that courtship language involves some amount of flourish and exaggeration. Including worlds like "I can't live without you" and "you are the only thing my heart beats for" and so on. I could bring you a dozen examples from poetry, songs, etc. but I think you get my drift anyway.

Now, could the student in question genuinely misunderstand him and decide maybe he's genuinely suicidal? Maybe yes. People are weird. Maybe no, and she's misremembering or outright lying. Maybe the author of the article misunderstood or misquoted her (she's certainly motivated to do so as it's her only example of Stallman-female interaction over 30 year span which has anything objectionable at all, without it she's left with zero). There could be many options here. One option that is one of the least likely is that he genuinely "threatened" her - and it is obvious she didn't consider the threat seriously (otherwise she'd probably agree to a date and then call mental health services to report a suicidal person who's about to hurt himself). If somebody asked me to do something and I genuinely believed he'd kill himself if I didn't, I'd certainly not just say "no" and nonchalantly walk away.

> I am unfortunately very used to seeing people try to hide obnoxious behavior behind "it was just a joke, calm down,"

That happens. Many bad things happen. However, this has nothing to do with present case - Stallman is not Jesus sent to us to answer for the sins of the world. The only sins he has to answer for are his own, and so far the list is pretty thin.

> a story of him picking out one of the few women in a lecture hall as an "Emacs Virgin"

And? It may be not very tactful to single out a person (I am an introvert and can sympathize with hating being singled out) as a prop, but there's nothing sinister in it. Some social interactions aren't to everybody's liking, that happens. And the pearl-clutching over the word "virgin" is better left to a victorian era where the feet of the furniture were covered lest they suggest any dirty thoughts to anybody.

> is probably a joke

Probably? Seriously? Probably?

> a joke he absolutely shouldn't have been making (especially not from a position of power).

Why not? So, he declared himself a knight (people known - though often wrongly - for their chivalrous and courteous behavior towards females) for "hot ladies". And? What harm exactly did that do (and btw what terrible Power did Stallman have in MIT, except having his own office?)

> There are also the various hints on his website over the years that he was (and perhaps still is) single and frustrated by that

Oh horror. Now you really shocked me. He is single, but he doesn't want to remain single? What a pervert. And he dares to tell the word about the depth of this perversion - wanting to find a mate! I remember I've read in some depraved book (I am sorry, but I must confess to reading this clearly pornographic pamphlet for the sake of discussion - I was young and reckless back then): "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" - but I never thought I would encounter a real-life example of such a monstrous creature myself. Why didn't you say it from the start? That alone would be the proof of all allegations and more.


We obviously see things very differently and I don't know how to make any useful progress from here.

I will say that in my romantic relationships I have always striven to tell the truth - phrases like "I can't live without you" are not things I ever said. My wife would either laugh hysterically or be offended at my lack of connection to reality if I resorted to that sort of baseless hyperbole.

I freely acknowledge that we're unusual in that regard. It's a big part of what attracted us to each other.

Apart from that, I have little else of value to add to the conversation. It's become obvious our perspectives are strongly divergent, and while I understand yours, you're pushing me away from accepting your conclusions rather than encouraging me towards them.

For clarity's sake, I'll add that it's clear the media did in fact misrepresent Stallma terribly, and I wish they had not. Several publications summarized his statements about Epstein exactly wrong. Whether that was malicious or incompetence I can't know.

That does not materially change my perception of events (I never believed the misreports of what he said, as I went straight to the leaked email thread), nor of Stallman's character (he has always struck me as a pedantic literalist who espouses high ideals but is mean and rude to actual people who don't align with his ideals).

I don't know the man personally at all, so that perception should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. I might be entirely wrong.


> phrases like "I can't live without you" are not things I ever said

You are a unique human specimen that sets the example for all of us, the shining light, the city on the hill. However, even from the heights of your perfection you should be aware that average humans do engage in courtship which involves saying stuff like that, exaggerating, saying silly and pompous things, etc. If you read any literature, seen any movies, have any non-paragon-of-virtue friends, etc. That's how us, regular humans, flirt. Sometimes (obviously, there's no single script for it). Presenting it as some sinister "threat" is unfair and, frankly, insane.

> he has always struck me as a pedantic literalist who espouses high ideals but is mean and rude to actual people

Yes, Stallman can be mean and rude. I had an occasion to personally interact with him, and he was mean and rude to me, though it didn't matter much and I am not going to claim I was scarred for life - I only remember it because it involved Stallman, otherwise I shrugged it off. However, it's not and should not be a basis of unpersoning campaign and a pileup he was a target of, and I think he was treated very unjustly, and him being mean and rude sometimes does not justify such treatment. What was done to him was very wrong. That's the point.


"defending adults having sex with children" - this again - if I accuse you of having sex with children - then everyone who defends you is a creep? We don't know if Minsky had sex with Guiffre - from her deposition we only know that she was directed to seduce him that was (one of) Stallmans point.


Stallman's notes about pedophilia have nothing to do with Minsky and Giuffre.


So, wrongthink is what we are convicting him of? I disagree generally with his statement but reasonable people can disagree in a free society.


> asking out MIT undergraduates

Oh horror! How can a man be so depraved, so devoid of any common decency, so enthralled to his animalistic desires as to ask out a MIT undergraduate! Who'd even think such thing is possible in our enlightened time. We all thought we are way past MIT undergrads being asked out, but here we go again.


> people have called him creepy for asking out MIT undergraduates

So every male at MIT is creepy then.

> defending adults having sex with children.

He was just arguing about the science available at the moment and even links the study on his website (everything is still there, he is not hiding anything)


[flagged]


Surely you don't think it's ok to do this here?


What I think it doesn't matter.

He was arguing using the science of the time.

Darwin believed that "males are more evolutionarily advanced than females" and manyany anthropologists contemporary to Darwin concluded that "women's brains were analogous to those of animals," which had "overdeveloped" sense organs "to the detriment of the brain"

Should we judge them for being wrong at the time, without knowing it?


Remove them all then.

Where's the outrage when we need it?

aortega 19 days ago [flagged]

>> So every male at MIT is creepy then. >Well, yes.

This is exactly the problem here. You, and many like you, are basically demonizing all men in MIT. For you, all men are guilty of being men and thus they should be removed.

Its incredible that society tolerates such discrimination. This is beyond fascism.


> You, and many like you, are basically demonizing all men in MIT

I was just being sarcastic and you are just overreacting.

If asking a girl out is sexual assault, then all men are sexual predators.

It's true even for girls, they ask men out, it's 2019 and I'm 43, I've seen much worse in my life than "asking a girl out".

BTW, they can still say no, it's ok to say no.


Most men at MIT aren't asking out people less than half their age.


Most men at MIT are not RMS and nobody create legends on them.

Because nobody knows them.

But if it is creepy for RMS, it is for anyone else who did it.

Where is the outrage?

Half their age is perfectly legit if one is 25 and the other is 50.

You should be more precise.


And that happened in the 80s so RMS was around 30. So it's more like 30-year-old asking out 21-year-old.


I don't believe every highly-esteemed man (whether a professor or someone with another well-regarded position) is asking undergrads out.

I believe most of the men in positions of some power and acclaim at MIT aren't asking undergrads out, and yes, those that are shouldn't be in that position of power and/or acclaim.


He has never been a professor. And its certainly news for me that it is prohibited for males of highly regarded position to ask out females (which aren't dependent on them in professional or any other capacity and he's not doing it in a workplace or in other inappropriate environment).

> yes, those that are shouldn't be in that position of power and/or acclaim.

Why not? What's bad in asking a female student out? Is it some sort of crime for males to date females? Is it something only low-level males not occupying any positions allowed to do? It is bad if someone tries to use their power to coerce a female to a date, but if he just asks, and the female is not dependent on him in any way and is free to refuse if she doesn't find him attractive - what exactly is the problem here?


Yes. Next question.


> I don't believe every highly-esteemed man is asking undergrads out

Seriously?

Epstein was really well-esteemed.

Weinstein was very well-esteemed

Polansky was very well-esteemed

Ethan Zuckerman (MIT) was very well-esteemed

Stallman did nothing of the sort.

They are just legends built around a weird guy who comes out creepy when tries to be friendly.

And they started because he was not popular in college but usually right

People hate the outcasts that expose their faults in public

It ruins their projected image

It hurts their giant ego

BTW: I've been young and creepy sometimes to women, they've been creepy to me (one even stalked me and my girlfriend), most of the time we've been cool around each other.

"She said, he said" is a very bad way to evaluate a person in an objective way.

"They told me that one time" it's the beginning of everyone's life, when you are 66 and lived the life Stallman has lived, that one time, repeated over and over, becomes almost a truth.

It's like John Lennon saying "The best drummer in the world? Ringo is not even the best drummer in The Beatles"

Or Ozzy Osbourne eating bats

Or Van Halen's "no brown M&M's" rule


Is this to say, "RS sometimes slept at the office to get more done, but the mattress weirded some people out" or "RS had a mattress in his office, which is evidence he used it to put female colleagues through unsavory casting-couch situations"? I cannot tell.


Can't tell if you're being serious. Having a mattress in your office is weird but does not imply misconduct at at all.


Not only that, but anything that can happen on a mattress can happen on a couch. Lots of offices have couches.


Isn't he known for wearing IT conventions t-shirts, his fear of water and sleeping in his own office?

Plus the healthy snacks his feet provide


My personal favorite RMS faux pas is this: https://youtu.be/Rhj8sh1uiDY?t=98

This is the kind of fearless leader we need in the software world.


Two years ago or so, I met and spoke to people whose offices were down the hall from his at MIT. Their stories line up perfectly with the accusations against him. Just because you weren't aware of his awfulness doesn't mean it didn't happen.


Ok, but which accusations do you have in mind here? That he harassed woman, that he was creepy or rather general opinions about sex with minors? Because I am a bit confused of what means what.

I heard about advice given to some women to keep plants, so that he does not come. But that is not the same as story about Stallman harassing someone, it is story about people thinking he is creep, but no specific on anything he was supposed to do to women without plants (hope the difference is clear).


This is pure libel.

You are repeating defamatory rumours without a shred of evidence.


Please be specific about the stories. What exactly were you told?


He has harrassed (non-sexually, just aggressively) a close coworker of mine over several weeks. So I don't want to think how he might treat women.


What form did this harassament take?


Constant harassment via private mails while maintaining a civil facade on the mailing list. Personal aggression and threats of lawsuits.


Said who? The basic accusation was that he was creepy (which is not really an objective problem, much less an offence...). This was illustrated by things like him having a matress in his office and him allegedly (and drunkenly) hitting on a student back in the 80s in a very bad way. If you consider that the "viral" posts, which apparently triggered this, contained a warning of the like "if minors read this, please turn away, you might be shocked at the idea of a 17y/o having sex with an adult", you generally get the spirit of the whole thing. This has nothing to do with equality and freedom anymore, it's just about creating an "ideal" society (probably with procreation happening only after getting blessed by a priest).


This medium article talks about a few people (though mostly anonymous). https://medium.com/@selamie/remove-richard-stallman-appendix...

April Glaser on Twitter specifically talks about accusations against him: https://twitter.com/aprilaser/status/1174093253433380864

Here's the reality though, every woman who steps up and admits publicly is probably going to get harassed. Some fuckheads on the internet are going to bother her and harass them. I imagine the # of public complaints is going to be pretty low.


Ok, so I misjudged the post I answered to as equating "harassment" = "sexual harassment" (which there is no real indication for except for the "I'll kill myself"-episode which many also would not consider sexual harassment and which really depends on the circumstance 40a back...)? Also I'd really like to know how a bad joke ("if he's hitting on you, say you are a vi user") is indication of abusive/inappropriate behavior without producing a single real case of such?

Somehow the definition of harassment used by a wide variety of people seems to be "I don't like his opinion" if I judge from the linked twitter post... If it goes forward this way I could picture people rallying in front of libraries and burning a lot of books. Would someone please enlighten me how "Lolita" is any less worse than RMS-ramblings?

That then also explains paragraph 3, since when you "step up" claiming you got harassed and it turns out you just disagree with the offendees opinion/behavior at large, you are harassed again by people disagreeing with you... This is kind of brain-dead but apparently a certain kind of reality happening on this planet called "earth"...



yeah, I know why he was forced to resign, the creepiness only was the part spilling everything over. The US attitude to sexuality is apparently still stuck at the point, when the Mayflower landed in New England (at least for everything "heteronormative"). And that is definitively not a good thing...


Stallman never seemed like a regular guy to me. I’ve met people who are “neurally atypical” and they have weird/bad behaviour.

There was even a case in Melbourne where a slightly mentally impaired man was accused of sexual harassment because he’d try and be friendly to everyone and it came off wrong.

I’d like to think we’d have some amount of compassion for these people and help them function in society.


Telling someone you're going to kill yourself if they don't date you is clearly just trying to be friendly.

I too am autistic, and it does not excuse this behaviour. Yes people should have compassion and patience with neurodivergent people, and everyone has been with Stallman. This is not one incident, but a string of incidents that show an underlying pattern.


>Telling someone you're going to kill yourself if they don't date you is clearly just trying to be friendly.

Exactly, it just looks like a joke, banter to lighten the situation. It all depends on context, that we don't have.


The person he told it to reported him so clearly it wasn't received as a joke.


Indeed, but that might just be them thinking suicide (or threats of suicide) shouldn't be joked about.

People really should find and pass around a link to a full writeup of that event rather than relaying rumours.


when did she report him? 40 years later? My memory is already fading for interactions just 5 years back, much more drunken interactions...


> I too am autistic

So am I and I often come off as awkward with a list of misinterpretations to the point of having a "do not interact with this person as they won't understand" list to avoid it.

His behaviour is typical of someone with an foot on the spectrum and I don't see too much oddity in his behaviour. He's obsessed with meaning of words, comes off the wrong way, seemingly no social manners by most standards yet it's incredibly consistent which hints to different interpretations of social interaction.

His behaviour isn't "problematic" in this case, rather, it's correct in a desire for exactness.


> I too am autistic

I heard this a lot - people on the spectrum damning Stallman. But isn't it called a spectrum for a reason?


>> Telling someone you're going to kill yourself if they don't date you is clearly just trying to be friendly.

Given the number of movies where this happens, i'd be very surprised that did not happen in reality from time to time, and that it is considered unacceptable.


People also get shot in movies all the time, do you think that too should be acceptable behaviour?


The difference is that people who shoot others without a good reason would get punished even in the movie world. The creepy "romance" thing often ends up being rewarded in the movie world instead.

I think whether something is or isn't acceptable very much depends on the people involved. Though, I also find it unacceptable, just like you.


Most action heroes would spend years in prison had they done the same thing in real life. Movie "good reason" for shooting someone, beating someone or stealing a car would not cut it in real justice system at all.


> Telling someone you're going to kill yourself if they don't date you is clearly just trying to be friendly.

In fact I have strong compassion for those calling it an aggression.

their life must be miserable if they can't take a simple thing like that.

It happened to me more than one time, one of them stalked me, I never called them "aggresive bitches", they just had a few problems expressing emotions, that's it and I calmly explained to them why we couldn't be together.

If you really are autistic, you should know what it means trying to be like everybody else when you're different.


> He's harassed and bothered dozens of women in and outside of MIT.

In the ideal world any claim like this would be backed up with evidence.


First person accounts are evidence. Some have witnesses.


What I mean is that if you post that person X did Y on HN (or elsewhere), you attach links that prove this fact. In other words, [citation needed]


I've never heard anything like this. Can you provide more information please?


I have YEARS ago, at least a decade. Nothing horrible, just the usual like ignoring questions from women or something like that. But enough to not make me surprised in the least to hear more like that.



I don't see where that article mentions that "[h]e's harassed and bothered dozens of women in and outside of MIT."


* Thought police at work. This says bad things. Believe them. NOW * It's fascinating how this guy just posted the same unrelated link under two comments. Just like facebook trolls...


> He's harassed and bothered dozens of women in and outside of MIT.

No, he didn't.

Thomas Lord who worked with him says

> One remarkable thing about the FSF at that time, when we worked out of dinky spare offices on the campus of MIT, was the degree of participation by women. In the tiny society that was then the FSF, women were more prominent than I had seen in Silicon Valley, or acadamia prior. The general culture of inclusiveness and tolerance that RMS fostered meant that, at least when I was there alongside Bushnell, that social circle in and around the organization was feminized and all the stronger for it.

https://archive.is/7qepC#selection-1243.1-1359.221


> No, he didn't.

Of course he did (and does). It's well known. Here's HN from 11 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20979343

I have personally read, in the last few weeks, over a dozen statements by women who were driven out of FSF by Stallman.

I don't even move in those circles. There must be many more who don't feel like speaking up and getting harassed by all the neckbeards.

Richard Stallman, Knight for Justice - Also Hot Ladies

https://miro.medium.com/max/4080/1*lDSkAjF1958TpEafxuJsLg.jp...


> Of course he did (and does). It's well known. Here's HN from 11 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20979343

And I've personally spoken with 4 of them that say the exact opposite.

Drop some name please, accusations need proof.

> I don't even move in those circles

I do.

> Richard Stallman, Knight for Justice - Also Hot Ladies

Old joke, stupid sign, nothing severe, it's been there forever together with the sticker of Amnesty International (if you haven't noticed), nobody complained for ages, suddenly high paid engineers that without GCC wouldn't have the same high paid job complain that RMS makes them feel uncomfortable, even though they "don't even move in those circles"

Let's be serious, please don't make me quote Roger Murtaugh.


> And I've personally spoken with 4 of them that say the exact opposite.

The four that you know may not have attracted RMS' attention.

> Drop some name please, accusations need proof.

It's up to the alleged victims to go public, if they so wish, IMHO. (Though announcing un-sourced / anonymously-sourced claims isn't exactly a great thing either.)


Anonymous accusations should be treated as worthless for obvious reasons.


> The four that you know may not have attracted RMS' attention

so he can control himself.

He doesn't just throw himself at every woman that comes around.

Just like the rest of us...

> It's up to the alleged victims to go public

Fact is, I don't think they even exist.

Not because victims do no exist in general, but because at worse RMS has been weird or inappropriate, but dangerous, threatening, scary or violent?

It never happened.

I'm sure.


Yes, he did. There are other articles mentioned here that prove it.


> Yes, he did. There are other articles mentioned here that prove it.

Let's see them then.

I'm sure there are real testimonies of real people.


For general levels of complaints, I would recommend waiting for sociopolitical progress.

For the moment, I recommend we stick to just legal standards. (Such as if he drugged/raped someone, the way Cosby and Weinstein did.)

What did he do, exactly?


> Weinstein

Has he been convicted of something now?


In a same world a reply like that would be taken to court and litigated for the slander that it is.


In what sense do you think that his entire life’s work has been negated?


He has stepped down as head of the Free Software Foundation and his name is being dragged through the mud. There are many out there who will try their hardest to remove him from GNU as well.


I uninstalled gnu + linux and switched to windows.


Thug life! :-)

But why would you punish yourself for someone else's acts?


I realize this is a joke thread, but in all seriousness people completely stopped using ReiserFS after Hans Reiser was jailed for murder - despite the filesystem's great performance under some workloads (I believe it was best in breed for small files). I wonder if the effect would have been so dramatic if it hadn't literally been named after him - people aren't necessarily logical about these things.

Of course, that moment's hesitation when picking a filesystem in an installer menu is quite different from choosing an OS :)


Reiser3 was in maintenance mode and Reiser4 was unstable.[1]

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20150921073059/article.gmane.org...


Er, aren't all filesystems either "in maintenance mode" or "unstable"?


Sh*t, I'm using Btrfs which is not in maintenance mode.


Some are stable but continue to evolve.


I indeed can see myself boycotting a project on moral grounds if there is a decent alternative (and even without a decent alternative in some cases, I guess)


... perhaps it's time to learn some BSD?


But it wasn't the only comment right?



That article is so bizarre. The author repeatedly rephrased the claim that you can disagree with Stallman’s political beliefs and expressions while still supporting his beliefs about free software. Is anyone disputing that???


This author is the same idiot behind boycottnovell (https://web.archive.org/web/20070711171212/http://boycottnov...), a campaign against Miguel Icaza, Mono developers, and Novell, for developing Mono (a free and open source C# / .NET implementation), and later for generally existing (along with anything inspired by C#, logically, and anything resembling the Windows Registry).

Obviously all a conspiracy by the diabolical Bill Gates, who definitely has time for such important conspiracies, and his evil corporation M$, to "infiltrate" Gnooo Slash Linux and take over the world. Roy Schestowitz has yet to do anything positive for free software. But, rest assured, he probably doesn't have a real PhD.

Edit: To be fair, Mono was kind of shit at the time, for purely technical reasons, and it was threatening to be used in ridiculous places despite that. That didn't happen in the end, again for technical reasons. It has steadily improved since then, and Microsoft's position around the Mono project obviously changed for the better. That, and Microsoft really didn't have trouble suing people for using Linux anyway (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-samsung-elec-se...). So he's not exactly wrong, in broad strokes. Just terrible. In an alternate universe, perhaps Roy Schestowitz's army of neckbeards would be remembered for saving the day instead.


This (latest) RMS incident is the confluence of The Structure of Presidential Scandals and Outrage Culture.

The personal, character failings of public figures are tolerated until they run out of goodwill. Then a "scandal" occurs. Nothing new is actually discovered. We always knew about President Clinton's extra marital stuff. It just didn't matter, until it did.

I don't have anything useful to add about Outrage Culture. Along with everyone else, I'm still trying to figure it out. Closest analogy I can think of is candidate Gary Hart put his head in the lion's mouth one too many times.

--

My take on RMS is a little bit, um, unconventional. Having never met him, I imagine he's somewhere between neurotypical and an ultimatist and a square peg in a world of round holes. His pedantry regarding Minsky wasn't wrong, exactly. It was just unwittingly in bad taste. A common recurrence for RMS.

Unfortunately for RMS, this time it mattered. Per the bit about scandals above; public opinion towards RMS crossed some unmarked tipping point, and he doesn't have enough allies to help save his public image.

RMS will be fine.

And I'm actually okay with this kind of court of public opinion. I want our public figures to keep pace with the times, to adapt, to remain effective & relevant. If RMS can't or won't, then it's his time to sit down, and let someone more palatable serve as arrow catcher for a while (the job of the ultimatist).


If your dead friend gets accused of something in a wrong/misleading fassion it is in bad taste to defend them?

> I want our public figures to keep pace with the times, to adapt, to remain effective & relevant

No you really don't want your public figures to try and optimize for things that result in good public opinion, though outlining my reasoning for this would probably be around 2000 words, so not doable on a phone. (I started writing, then realized how big a topic that is)


Play in the mud, you're gonna get dirty.

RMS could have demanded an investigation. Wait for the firestorm to subside.

"you really don't want your public figures to try and optimize for things that result in good public opinion"

Ya. I really do. Progress marches on, social norms adapt.

Despite the recurring inevitable oversteer, currently manifesting as outrage culture, no way I want to go back in time.


Mea culpa. I imagined RMS to be an oblivious geek who can't seem to STFU. I was wrong. I regret the error.

My only excuse is that I really didn't want RMS to be a bad guy, like ESR.

Be wary of heroes. They'll disappoint you.


FWIW, there's some decent evidence that the Hart 'Monkey Business' thing was a set-up: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/11/was-gar...


> doesn't ruin RMS.

He's perfectly capable of doing that himself.

There was a time where his style of firebrand-like vitriol against proprietary software was crucial. But that time is over. GNU/Linux won, it won years ago.

GNU does not have the influence it once did. It is an organisation geared up to solve the problems of the early 90s.

The real crux is this, "computing" and free software is not the preserve of academia anymore. It should be for everyone. Which means getting rid of deliberately antagonistic behaviour.

It serves noone.

I want my children to follow in my footsteps, as I followed my dad. But they can't do that if we cling to these idols who bully, cajole and generally act like obnoxious arseholes. There is just no need anymore. It doesn't work, it doesn't make for better code.

Crucially it serves as an excuse to let abusers, psychopaths and other nasties continue to abuse people "because RMS, Jobs & Ballmer all did it"

No, that kind of behaviour has to stop.


>There was a time where his style of firebrand-like vitriol against proprietary software was crucial. But that time is over. GNU/Linux won, it won years ago.

What the fuck? What percentage of consumer computing devices in the world are running free software? Windows+OSX+iOS+Android account for >96% of market share. In what world, in what possible conception, did GNU/Linux "win"?

>GNU does not have the influence it once did. It is an organisation geared up to solve the problems of the early 90s.

Like: free phone OS, decentralization, federation and self-hosting, real-time voice and video chat, accessibility, an AI assistant. [1]

>cling to these idols who bully, cajole and generally act like obnoxious arseholes.

>Crucially it serves as an excuse to let abusers, psychopaths and other nasties continue to abuse people "because RMS, Jobs & Ballmer all did it"

Again, what the fuck, am I seriously missing something here, or when did Stallman ever "abuse" someone? How is he a "psychopath"? A "bully"? A "nastie" (what is this, 2nd grade)?

[1]: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/


So now RMS is abusing people? Citation, please?

I'm sorry, but being a rude and obnoxious person doesn't mean the local lynch mob gets to decide when you have to step down from the foundation you created in the name of ensuring human freedom for generations to come.

Linux has hardly "won". Most of my friends and coworkers use Mac or Windows. Your post is filled with short-sighted, opinionated nonsense.

RMS continues to fight the good fight despite the public turning on him so readily.


> I'm sorry, but being a rude and obnoxious person doesn't mean the local lynch mob gets to decide when you have to step down from the foundation you created in the name of ensuring human freedom for generations to come.

No, but considering that his is a position of mostly PR and management nowadays, the majority of the community can agree that having a rude and obnoxious person as their visible head is neither doing any favors to their external image nor helping them move forward internally.

Linux has won in the server (and others) by being the better technical product. Linux has lost the desktop war (and laptop, and mobile unless you count android) by being the inferior product in terms of UX, ease of use and in general ignoring everything that isn't pure technical areas. As the parent comment said, this was fine when tech was mostly isolated from mainstream users, but it doesn't cut it anymore. We need new kinds of people, and new visions, for new kinds of challenges.

This is not a judgement of him as a person or his former work, mind you. It's a judgement of the qualities that we'd hope for in a leader/public face and whether RMS fits the role nowadays.


> majority of the community can agree

I am unaware we voted on this topic.

Also Linux won on the server because it is free as in beer.


>But that time is over. GNU/Linux won, it won years ago.

Maybe if you get formal education or go to a boot camp to learn software development. The "future of computing" is in walled gardens like Chromebooks, iPads or Windows S. Not allowing software development on them is part of the added value. Google plans on getting rid of Linux and replace it with Fuchsia once it has matured.


> GNU/Linux won, it won years ago.

Not in any real sense. There is a lot of open source[1] software in use but the current state of computing doesn't have much to do with freedom.

Open Source may have won, Free Software hasn't.


Comparing RMS to Jobs and Ballmer is a joke. RMS is way more capable and he devoted his personal life for the sake of good. Jobs and Ballmer are just business people.


'Just business'? That is an understatment. Jobs' work redefined business in several product categories. That's not 'just business'. Jobs should be admired for his business skill, even though if you don't like the walled garden he put up.


> was a time where his style of firebrand-like vitriol against proprietary software was crucial. But that time is over

[citation needed]

Anyway, even if it was true, has him become disposable?

> want my children to follow in my footsteps, as I followed my dad

Maybe your dad wasn't such a great person for other people except you though.

Maybe I would prefer my kids being more like RMS than me or your dad or you.

What you want it's irrelevant.

> who bully, cajole and generally act like obnoxious arseholes

he's been bullied all of his life, because he never conformed to any norm.

And there are people like you keep doing that.

There's that too.


If, my dear lostjohnny, were to read those sentences as a whole, you would be able to grasp the point

I don't want my children to be in a workplace run my angry bullies. I don't want anyone's kids to be run by angry bullies. But then you knew that already, you're a clever sausage really.

> And there are people like you keep doing that.

are you seriously trying to gatekeep non-conformism.


RMS's problem is that he's too honest and anything involving women and rape is just not worth even commenting on at this point. His point was that a willing person shouldn't be considered raped based on the country they're in or the uptick from 17 to 18. I personally believe 25 is a better cutoff age for this.

I get his point, but we have to draw lines somewhere, even if they're imperfect. It's like saying speed limits don't stop all speeding, or gun laws don't prevent all gun violence. Of course not, but in both cases we have to try. We have to try to protect minors whose brains aren't fully developed as well, even if pedophiles don't like it.

RMS did walk back his comments after speaking with close friends of his on the subject, essentially agreeing with what I'm saying here.


in situations like this "one bad cluster of comments" isn't considered a mistake or a lapse in judgement but a symptom of what a person actually thinks. RMS more than likely did not form those opinions on the spot and then forgot he had them afterward. and RMS has a public history that is congruent with those opinions and how he presented them.

im sure it leaves a bad taste in a lot of mouths what the leader of GNU has done and how he thinks.


Yep. Damn thought police.


Yep, spot on. And as I said earlier, RMS's crime is that he doesn't condemn unequivocally and totally, (i.e. without judgment), what is perceived as unacceptable by the society.

RMS loves freedom more than many of us, that's why "consent" is so important to him (I guess).


Freedom ends where it restricts other people’s freedom and freedom doesn’t mean that there are no consequences. If you question that child rape should be punished, you have to live with the consequences.


I think something that I haven’t heard people say is that firing him only addresses the emotional reaction to the abuse that happened but may actually make the problem more common in the future.

Part of what gave Epistine the ability to do what he did was the fear people had of speaking about what they understood to be reality when they knew it would upset their coworkers or employers.

RMS’s lack of that fear (regardless of wether his ideas truly corresponded with reality) is what got him fired. This demonstrates that those fears aren’t unfounded and empowers certain kinds of extremely abusive people far more than any semantic argument about rape or pedophilia could.


Double standards leave a bad taste in my mouth.


Care to add something more substantial?


As a person that only knows RMS through his coding, what should I read to understand the context here? I'm not interested in reading foggy comments, tbh.


Men of vision never get the benefit of the doubt ;)


Which people specifically are you referring to?


It was just the last few drop needed to let the pot boil over. RMS has been criticized for years for being a child rape apologist.


It wasn't just a cluster of comments. Stallman not only harassed women and made them uncomfortable, he outright fired a transgender woman from the FSF for reporting her transphobic coworker who kept harassing her. Not to mention his refusal to respect the pronouns of trans, queer, and nonbinary folks.

It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people leap to the defense of people in positions of institutional and cultural power who behave in a way that disempowers and dehumanizes marginalized people.

See also https://mobile.twitter.com/_sagesharp_/status/11736371384133...


> Not to mention his refusal to respect the pronouns of trans, queer, and nonbinary folks.

I'm sorry, but this isn't a prerequisite for working in the software industry. You are not allowed to vilify someone over having an opinion about gender, just like you shouldn't fire someone for having a different opinion on it than you.

"Leah was at the time struggling with gender dysphoria and substance abuse. Since then, she has been managing these issues. She agrees that her behaviour was rash and is determined to find a unifying solution."

The people involved have moved on. The internet, however, is still trying to sling mud where there is none in an embarrassing display of social lynching and lack of loyalty to people who have done so much for human freedom.


I don't know anything about the RMS incident -- but I work for a public university system in California, and last time I had the mandatory every-other-year sexual harassment prevention training, it said it was un-lawful for me not to use a person's identified pronouns.


They're not being entirely honest with you. That's not what the law says. However, you are an at-will employee, and if they document that you make another employee uncomfortable for not respecting their preferred pronoun, you can be fired.

It's not un-lawful however. If you asked them during the training for a specific law and a pointer to why they thought that it was un-lawful, you'd see pretty quickly they didn't actually have the force of law behind them.

I've been through a lot of training both at UC and in industry and a bunch of what is said simply isn't true. WHen I challenged the instructors, it became pretty clear they were just reading a script without any understanding of the actual laws and rules behind what they were saying.


it is online training, and it does have lots of citations. I took it about 22 months ago.

"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has also addressed pronoun use with respect to transgender individuals in the workplace. In 2013, the EEOC held in Jameson v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120130992, 2013 WL 2368729 (May 21, 2013) that repeated, intentional misuse of a transgender employee’s new name and gender pronoun may constitute sex-based discrimination or harassment. It noted that “supervisors and coworkers should use the name and pronoun of the gender that the employee identifies with in employee records and in communications with and about the employee.” In its decision, the EEOC cited guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, which encourages federal employers to use pronouns appropriate to an employee’s expressed gender identity." -- https://www.natlawreview.com/article/he-saidshe-said-pronoun...


that's definitely not enough to say that it's unlawful.


> and last time I had the mandatory every-other-year sexual harassment prevention training, it said it was un-lawful for me not to use a person's identified pronouns.

The trainer probably wasn't a lawyer and certainly wasn't your lawyer and definitely wasn't being paid to give you legal advice. What they were telling you was what they expected you to internalize so that your behavior would keep your employer well on the safe side of the law, which includes avoiding behaviors which are not individually unlawful per se but which could easily, in combination with other factors, be part of a pattern that might support a claim of a hostile work environment.


on-line training. I'm pretty sure these are vetted by OGC. They usually do a good job of explaining all the new legislation and case law that have come up in the last two years.

https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/articles/prepar...

https://ogletree.com/insights/2016-03-21/the-new-california-...


In some places, people have been charged with hate speech crimes for this very thing. I am extremely opposed to this kind of authoritarian censorship masquerading as human decency. Why? Because of things like this: https://www.newsweek.com/gun-control-hate-crimes-house-bill-...

People aren't seeing the forest for the trees, while one by one prerequisite precedents are being established for a new wave of authoritarian control. In any specific context, it seems laughable-- how could the RMS snafu and authoritarian power creep possibly be connected? But it's just one data point among many.


I guess that it could be seen as employer discriminating on employee on basis of sex or something which could make the company liable, but on personal level First Amendment still applies and there is no way you could be prosecuted for that.


https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/may/fired-for-refusing-...

"""We were referred to a statement released by the school's attorney, which says: "Mr. Vlaming insisted on treating a transgender student differently than other students in the classroom, singling out the student on the basis of gender identity. In addition, Mr. Vlaming refused to comply with administrators' directives to follow division policies. During the public hearing before the school board, Mr. Vlaming again stated that he would not comply with these directives. Accordingly, the school board voted unanimously to terminate his employment. """

The fired individual does not have the monetary resources to fight this in the courts.


When I am performing my duties as a supervisor employed by the state, what do my personal first amendment rights have to do with anything?


> I'm sorry, but this isn't a prerequisite for working in the software industry. You are not allowed to vilify someone over having an opinion about gender, just like you shouldn't fire someone for having a different opinion on it than you.

Oh yes you are allowed to vilify someone for bullying LGBT folks. People who do this are literally attacking other people over who they are and what they cannot change. Just imagine it would be about the color of their skin. Gender identity or sexual/dating preferences are the same thing.

The IT industry must grow up and accept people who are not white, cis alpha males.


Attacking someone and stating your own opinion about gender are two wildly different things. Do not falsely equate them in order to villify RMS. What you are doing is called a Motte and Bailey. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Motte_and_bailey

Of course you're not supposed to bully anyone. That has nothing to do with this conversation.


If the IT industry only accepted alpha males it would be an industry empty of people.


Then you must agree that you are allowed to vilify someone for bullying autistic folks. After all people who do this are literally attacking other people over who they are and what they cannot change. Right? The IT industry must grow up and accept people who are not neurotypical.


does white mean something besides color of skin?


>Stallman not only harassed women

No proof of that.

>and made them uncomfortable

Not a crime.

>he outright fired a transgender woman from the FSF for reporting her transphobic coworker

No proof of that, no proof of the coworker being transphobic, also all of that is not a crime.

>See also https://mobile.twitter.com/_sagesharp_/status/11736371384133....

That's the same person that accused Linus Torvalds of harassment and made him quit. Coincidence?


>and made them uncomfortable

Not a crime.

I beg your pardon? Just because the police doesn't come after you (and depending how far he went, it might have been a literal crime), doesn't mean a behavior is acceptable.

Do you have an employed job? In most work places creating a "hostile work environment" is a very good reason (and rightfully so) to be fired.


But there's also reasonable levels of discomfort and comfort, otherwise it turns into weaponized fragility.

Also, Jesus, they literally classified asking someone out on a date as sexual harassment.


In a workplace environment, it is quite possible that there could be implied ramifications to accepting or not accepting a request for a date. And if the person being asked of it sees the request for a date as having an unspoken "or else..." tacked onto the end of it... well, why shouldn't that be sexual harassment?


Yes there are reasonable levels of discomfort, but at a decent work place, those cannot be set to high before HR should take actions.

And by my understanding, he certainly was way more direct than asking someone out for a date. Have you seen the "pleasure cards"?

I can testify of him harassing people privately over public discussions on mailing lists.


> Have you seen the "pleasure cards"?

Yes, having been asked "business or pleasure" countless times during his travel, his "pleasure card" is a nice pun on "business card". Of course, some might not like puns, so this reduces to "guy uses corny joke to introduce himself." I'm sure that never happened before.

https://fossforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/RMSleisure....

> I can testify of him harassing people privately over public discussions on mailing lists.

Taking disagreements off-list is now harassment instead of good form?

Feel free to reproduce exactly these harassing private exchanges here. I'm fairly sure rms wouldn't mind, so there is nothing stopping you from providing actual evidence for this particular accusation.


>Yes, having been asked "business or pleasure" countless times during his travel, his "pleasure card" is a nice pun on "business card".

That's the nerdiest joke that I ever heard.

BTW this is the first time I heard the pleasure card explanation. Poor choice for a joke.


Taking disagreements off-list is now harassment instead of good form?

It wasn't disagreement, but aggressive harassment including legal threads.


you sound hostile and are making me uncomfortable


> disempowers and dehumanizes marginalized people

That sounds terribly exaggerated. If this is the way to describe Stallman, what adjectives could be reserved to the much worse people out there?

You may not care about a random dude in the internet giving you an advice, but consider both sides of the coin and don't fall so quickly into manichaeism.


Just a few thoughts from and old guy who's baffled by some things in modern times...

I struggle with names at times...

And now pronouns? Uhhhh, I bet I screw it up more than 50% of the time. The differences in people (don't say god bless you you to some indians or muslims when they sneeze, for example) are more than I can keep track of at times. Does that make me a creep?

There was one guy his chose "The Great and Powerful <something>" for his pronoun. Yeah, I'll remember that...

At what point do you become a creep for not remembering? At what point do you become a target for the SJW hit squad?


I've had "SJW" thrown at me a few good times. I wouldn't ever call someone a creep for not remembering. However if you interact with someone who identifies as non-binary and they tell you they would like to be addressed as "they" and you make a point to use the biologically closest pronoun while you also make sure to let them know that you believe there's only two distinct sexes/genders. I would call you/think of you as a disrespectful human being. Nothing more nothing less.

But I you really try to remember, but can't overcome your programming (I do that often with my non-binary acquaintances, it's hard as fuck, but I guess I'm getting old as well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) then you are a human being that tries to be respectful. And that's a good thing! So take a look in the mirror and try to see which one you are and ignore those disrespectful human beings that would call you a creep for not remembering.


That's not respect, that's an overarching extension of individualism and an extension of the notion of "respecting my freedom" to "not doing anything that bothers me". This is a very dangerous and toxic ideology, so I'll very carefully avoid complying to it, thank you very much.

BTW as I have long blond hair I'm called madam quite often and learned not to be bothered by it though I'm a cis hetero white male. Furthermore it comes often from children, who speak the truth as everyone knows. So grow a spine and fight, don't nag everyone else to be nice. People aren't nice. The world isn't any more just than we make it. And lynching (even symbolically) isn't the way to get a just world. Victims aren't noble. Fighters are. See Malcolm X. MLK. Rosa Luxemburg. Daniel Guérin.


> learned not to be bothered by it

Have you ever been forced to use a women's bathroom because of your, probably fabulous, hair?


I wouldn't anyway because I know precisely why there are separate bathrooms for men and women: because men usually pee on the seat. In the case I would have to pee in women's toilet, I would sit down (because what you actually do is eventually respect, not your herd signalling, or empty words).

On the other hand, how many different toilets should there be in your world? Should non transgender women be allowed in women's toilets? That has been an actual question and an actual problem to solve in the world of infinitely exploded communities of precious snowflakes (in the very same order of absurdity, should veiled white women allowed in "coloured women only" meetings? what about transgender black women?).

As food for thought, if you believe that, as a white cis male, I'm a born oppressor, I've also been actually harassed, publicly humiliated, attacked and beaten for being "a fag" (you know, long blond hair), because homophobes don't really care about who you actually are, and also beaten for defending women harassed on the street (because machos/sexists are also generally violent).

In the global competition for victimhood, nobody can win. Who knows what humiliations RMS was subjected to for being ugly, fat, an asocial geek, etc. Maybe he used the power he has in some sets and circumstances in despicable ways. But so do the students at Evergreen, because that's just what human beings do. Being an aggressor or a victim is mostly circumstantial for most people.


> I've also been actually harassed, publicly humiliated, attacked and beaten for being "a fag"

Do you think that the person who looked at you and proceeded to call you a fag showed you respect?


Certainly not, but if had it been only this, I would hardly remember it, you know. Being insulted isn't the same thing as being harassed which is different from being beaten and is different from being raped, then all of this is also different when it's one-on-one and when it's done publicly: being insulted, spit on and beaten to the ground in front of many people isn't the same, either. Circumstances, again.


Yes of course context and circumstance matters but my point is that this "respect" thing that we are talking about requires a bit of empathy. And now that we have established that you have been clearly disrespected maybe you can go to your feelings that came when that happened, anger, fear, sadness I don't know and then imagine that the person you refer to by a pronoun that they don't relate to feel those feelings, even though you think that they shouldn't feel that way. Wouldn't it be respectful of you honor their wishes despite your opinion that this is a "very dangerous and toxic ideology" and an "overarching extension of individualism" (did you mean overreaching though?). Or do you just say "Fuck their feelings, I've been through worse, they should be glad it's 'only this'"?


Intentions matter. When someone calls me "madam", I know this bears generally no bad intent. Therefore I don't make any fuss about it.

I've worked for a doctor doing sex change treatments, a long time ago. I've seen people that suffered incredibly. Some of them looked like caricatures, but that was certainly not funny. I took, naturally, great care in calling them "sir" or "madam" as they expected (and it sometimes required actual effort, and it was poignant and upsetting just thinking of the looks these persons must have received back outdoors).

However I don't feel like wanting to be called some very special pronoun that nobody ever heard of because you're oh so special falls into the same category. I don't feel that people wanting to be in their own very special niche class of genre, race or whatever category is sane, good and healthy, or some form of progress. Happiness isn't finding some form of very individualistic achievement.


> I don't feel that people wanting to be in their own very special niche class of genre, race or whatever category is sane, good and healthy, or some form of progress. Happiness isn't finding some form of very individualistic achievement.

1) That's not a feeling, that's an opinion. 2) And really? Do you think you have the answer to how people should find "happiness". Then you should write one more book on the subject and become another self help millionaire. You seem appropriately sure of yourself so, go nuts!


Side note: this is how you look in my mind. https://dethklok.fandom.com/wiki/Skwisgaar_Skwigelf


Close enough.


Stallman has a post about how he refuses to use the word they because it's not traditionally correct English and has choses to invent his own word "per" to refer to someone without specifying gender.

This seems acceptable to me. Stallman has always been weird with word choice but I see no bad intent here.


> This seems acceptable to me

And to other's that seems like he doesn't respect the wishes of others and instead behaves in a way that is logically sound in his own mind. That's not a crime. Just a disrespectful way of behaving that generates antagonists instead of friends.

Side note: "per" is very funny to me as a swede since it's a super common traditionally(exclusively?) male name.


> respect the wishes of others

Please define "others". It should be a definition that is not only "transgender people". Could it be "all the people in the world that is not you"?

If so, it is impossible to please them all. Some will contradict each other. It will generate antagonists or you will be seen as rude whenever you want it or not.

So you may decide you will be siding and pleasing those "others" who are "right" (based on your personal preference only). But at the same time, not everyone who is "not right" is necessarily "wrong".

I'm not siding with anyone, and I won't tell if I use or not special pronouns. But today the discussion is about pronouns. Tomorrow, who knows? Up to where are you willing to bend?


And my wish is that you empty your wallet and gimme all your money. See? Now you're not respeting my wishes. Not a crime, but you're disrespecting me and antagonizing me!


Didn't Swedish add a new pronoun for gender neutral? I.e. exactly what RMS does?


No, not really. We added "hen" who is short for "han/hon" ("he/she"). Some people want "hen" as pronoun as well which I think is awkward. I've only met nb people here who wants to be called "den", I guess from english "they". That is really hard for my programming since "den" is commonly used to refer to inanimate objects. It seem so inhuman to me that I have a really hard time respecting that. I try though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


He and she (and apparently now they) are subject pronouns as are han/hon... What is hen if not a subject pronoun?


IANAL (linguist) so I'm sure you're right. My point is that hen wasn't promoted to use to refer to actual people but to eliminate the annoying "he/she". A construction which often was forgotten when referring to a profession which has a stereotypical gender. Ex: Doctors become "he" and nurses become "she". That was the problem "hen" tried to solve.


> That's not a crime. Just a disrespectful way of behaving that generates antagonists instead of friends.

That goes both ways though.


A person with lots of integrity wont change what they say easily. If they don't believe that there are more than two genders, then for them to use a third pronoun with a straight face they would have to rebuild their entire worldview around gender. Of course that would be a good thing, but doing that would take a lot of work and not something you can get them to do in the few seconds it takes for a conversation to get awkward.

I'd be more wary of the people with low integrity who just say what others want to hear, they change their speech but doesn't actually change their behavior and will still discriminate and undermine groups even when forced to change their speech pattern.

Stallman seems to me like a person with an extremely high level of integrity, if a normal person believe that voluntary pedophilia is fine they would just shut up and join the mob but not Stallman. He faced his world view head on and no longer believe that pedophilia is fine, and we can be pretty sure that he actually changed since he doesn't buckle to pressure. The same can not be said about most politicians and other conventional leaders.


> they would have to rebuild their entire worldview around gender

I don't really understand this. When I'm talking to an adopted child, I have no trouble calling their parents their parents, even though they're objectively guardians. When I'm dining with religious folks, I have no trouble saying "Amen" or some such phrase from their religion despite me being an atheist.

Saying something you don't objectively believe out of consideration for others' feelings is normal, and it's fairly basic manners.


> I'd be more wary of the people with low integrity who just say what others want to hear, they change their speech but doesn't actually change their behavior and will still discriminate and undermine groups even when forced to change their speech pattern.

Yep, they're the worst in my book as well.


That's just an ideology you subscribe to and fail to recognize that SJW may seem like creepy disrespectful totalitarian garbage by others who don't. You can't demand anyone to follow your ideology out of respect.


I think that respect is something earned and is not to be extended to everyone without distinction. If you think everyone should be called by their preferred pronouns, that's not respect.


> If you think everyone should be called by their preferred pronouns, that's not respect

How is that not respecting others?


Will you respect my pronouns if say my pronouns are God/God/Gods? Some people might tolerate it, but for most I doubt. zie,sie,ey,ve,tey,e,xe,ze,ne,shi, furries and similar try to use fae, plant, bun, star, void. And that's just few examples. Most people will reasonably draw a line somewhere. Some people just decide to draw line behind he/she and maybe also consider if the person appears vaguely male/female.

One could also make claim that choosing some ridiculous new pronoun is disrespectful of others. People were content with he/she for thousands of years and some could consider inventing new ones similar to 1984's Newspeak.


> One could also make claim that choosing some ridiculous new pronoun is disrespectful of others.

Of course, but that hypothetical person who put forward this claim doesn't subscribe to the generally accepted definition of respect so I don't see why we should discuss that person.


Is there an approved list of pronouns it is OK to choose from?


I don't understand where this question comes from?


Since you said a hypothetical person who wants to be called by a ridiculous pronoun doesn't share your definition of respect, I'm wondering if you have an opinion on which desired pronouns are repectable and which aren't.


i find getting called 'cis' quite disrespectful. offensive even. doubly so when light skin color, 'white', is used to generalize and demonize. hypocrisy is the worst.


> Since you said a hypothetical person who wants to be called by a ridiculous pronoun

Ok. Now I understand. Read my comment again. We're talking about hypotetical person A who claims that another hypothetical B person who wants to be called by a ridiculous pronoun is disrespectful.

A says that B is disrespectful.

I said that it is A who doesn't know what respect is.

Sorry that you got confused.


Do you think that there's any limit on what pronouns people can demand to be called? Can my pronoun be "intergalactic emperor/intergalactic emperor's/intergalactic emperor"? Can every person have their own unique set of pronouns? Can every person have more than one set of pronouns which they switch throughout the day depending on their fluid sense of gender?


No. Yes. Yes. Yes. ¯\(°_o)/¯


I think that's politeness. I respect people for some achievement, skill, or contribution, for example. Respect is what we extend to some, and politeness is what we extend to everyone. It might sound like an asinine distinction, but the choice of words really does matter in a discussion such as this where the whole point is what words we ought to use to refer to trans people.


From Wikipedia.

> Respect, also is called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important, or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities. And it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

My emphasis. I don't know if you define "respect" in your own way or you only care about people's feeling if they have a certain skill level or have achieved/contributed enough.


Honor, too, is something not extended equally.


i wouldn't think you are being disrespectful for disagreeing that there are only two sexes. even if you were, then big whoop. you don't have to respect me. sometimes it seems like it's an endless boo-hoo until we're all winston smiths, scared to even think (and the thought of that really offends me).


WRT the "don't say god bless you" thing, I'm not really sure how that fits into what I'm saying, and that feels kind of like a straw man -- likewise with the "one guy" and their pronoun -- most queer and trans folks don't have pronouns like that. They are usually either people who were gendered as men or women most of their lives, who decided that they want to go by "she" or "he" respectively later in life, or people who aren't comfortable with either, and prefer "they".

I haven't met someone yet who has preferences outside of that. But you know what? If I met one, it would cost me virtually nothing to respect their preferences and make them feel seen.

And to be clear -- it's absolutely fine (usually) to make mistakes, so long as you're making an effort to be respectful. It's not ideal to not remember someone's pronouns (and again, 99% of the time when it's different than what you'd expect, it's either "he", "she", or "they"), but it's also usually not the end of the world -- most people I know, myself included, are fine if you say "oops! my bad".

Intentions go a long way.


When is it not fine to make mistakes? You say that intentions go a long way (towards something), which makes it sound like it all depends on how this mistake is received by the transgender person. If there is no objective rule on how to acceptably address trans people, why should we enforce an imaginary rule?


>> WRT the "don't say god bless you" thing, I'm not really sure how that fits into what I'm saying, and that feels kind of like a straw man -- likewise with the "one guy" and their pronoun -- most queer and trans folks don't have pronouns like that. They are usually either people who were gendered as men or women most of their lives, who decided that they want to go by "she" or "he" respectively later in life, or people who aren't comfortable with either, and prefer "they".

I thought I covered that in 2 ways...

1) Random thoughts from an old guy

2) I was giving an example of the differences between people.

I have been chastised in the past for saying bless you to some people. I've kind of trained myself now to say "Maay the diety of your choice bless you" in some cirumstances but I also get chastised for that. I've also been chastised for remaining silent. So, what choice do I make here to not be "creepy".

For whatever it's worth.


>I've kind of trained myself now to say "Maay the diety of your choice bless you" in some cirumstances but I also get chastised for that.

I always say "gesundheit", which is normal in German (it translates to "health"). As a non-religious person, I don't understand why religious people always want to push religion on everyone around them.

The other thing you can do is just not say anything at all when someone sneezes. Asian cultures don't have this practice at all.


It's not really pushing religion as it is an act of kindness. I don't really understand why someone would find it offensive for wishing them better health as it's the intention that counts rather than what faith you hold.

I'm not religious at all and I still say "bless you" since it's from the culture I grew up with of wishing others well. If anyone finds that offensive then they certainly have more issues than I do.


>I don't really understand why someone would find it offensive for wishing them better health

You're not just wishing them better health; you're wishing that your preferred deity magically give them better health. So you're pushing your faith in that deity on that person.

>I'm not religious at all and I still say "bless you" since it's from the culture I grew up

The culture I grew up in (America, specifically the South) does the same thing. It also has other great things in its "culture", like murdering black people with nooses during the Jim Crow days, and generally being intolerant of people who are different. "The culture I grew up in" is not a good excuse for bad behavior, and that includes pushing religion on people.


It's hardly bad behaviour to wish someone well and it's never been. One shouldn't have to add "and if you do not follow the same then interpret your deity (if any)" to a conversation as the recipent may interpret under their prefered deity as they wish. It's rather sad that even an act of kindness is now seen as bad behaviour simply from refusal to accept that we have different ways of showing it.

As for culture, sure, every single one is at some point guilty of crimes against humanity such as in my country [1], [2], etc and we must be able to look past those things as otherwise it's impossible to change for the better.

We will be different, have different beliefs, different sexuality, different colours of skin, and different languages to convey our thoughts. If we continue to see even an act of kindness as hostile then I don't have much hope people will ever get over differences. It shouldn't be different if they're Christian, Sunni, or any else and extend their greeting in their way to you along with their own way of wishing you well. What matters most is the intention rather than if they're from the same faith as you.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilisation_in_Sw... [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer_crisis


>the recipent may interpret under their prefered deity as they wish

This may come as a shock to you, but there's a lot of people in the world who don't have any "preferred deity", and really don't appreciate religious people trying to push their myths on them.

>It's rather sad that even an act of kindness is now seen as bad behaviour simply from refusal to accept that we have different ways of showing it.

This reminds me of Christians who want to give food to starving people, but only if they sit and listen to some stupid sermon trying to get them to convert.

If you want to be kind, then don't tie your "act of kindness" to your belief system in an attempt to convert others to it.

This is generally an American problem too. Other cultures, even when they do have a religion, don't really care about pushing it on others. Even in Europe, most modern-day Christians there seem to keep their religion very private (hence why Germans say "gesundheit" when someone sneezes, even though Germany is traditionally a Christian country).


'none' is in the set of prefered presented in the text you quoted and in the example disclaimer.

Well I live in Europe as I'm Swedish; in the UK it's common to say "bless you" while in Sweden we usually say "prosit" (the two I've spent a significant portion of my life in). The former would even be from those not following Christian traditions but rather as stated before. This seems to reflect the trend in quite a few others in Europe such as Spain, Ireland, Wales (UK), etc.

Again, most of it isn't an attempt at "converting" or even some other hidden motive. It may be different in other parts of the world but from the places I've lived in Europe it's been as I've stated.


Apparently the neovictorian age has come and just like in the original version, etiquette rules are escalating into a fierce arms race.


> he outright fired a transgender woman from the FSF for reporting her transphobic coworker who kept harassing her

Would you mind providing a citation for this? I am legitimately curious, Leah for example retracted their comments on the issue.

> Not to mention his refusal to respect the pronouns of trans, queer, and nonbinary folks.

Please elaborate. This is the first time that I hear of such an accusation.

> See also https://mobile.twitter.com/_sagesharp_/status/11736371384133....

I don't see anything wrong there. What is wrong with believing that victimless crimes should be legal? Also, asking someone on a date is harassment now? What?


As far as I know, Stallman respects "he", "she", and a genderless pronoun he made up. He refuses to respect singular "they".[1]

[1] https://stallman.org/articles/genderless-pronouns.html


> he made up

He says that he took it from "Marge Piercy's book Woman on the Edge of Time"

> He refuses to respect singular "they".

He says "As for \"they\", if you are plural by nature — for instance, if you are a colonial organism or a group mind, or if you wish to be known for having multiple personalities — I will use that plural pronoun to refer to you.", which seems fair to me.


He made up "perse".

Singular "they" is common English. Not respecting it seems unfair to me.


You're talking about the guy who, in the email thread that "ended" him, complained that he can't read a link because the site doesn't work with OSS technologies.

He's extreme in following his dogma. If he believes "they" is plural in nature, he will refuse to use that as a singular - and that is not because he disrespects you, but because he thinks "this is the right thing to do".

If you believe it's fair to have a particular personality that requires other persons to call you "they".... doesn't it follow that it's fair to have a particular personality that makes you feel very bad about "misusing English"? It's really two sides of the same coin, if you believe a person has the right to decide what pronouns he's comfortable being called, you must also believe a person has the right to decide how he uses a particular pronoun. The essential thing here is that RMS doesn't avoid "they" out of disrespect, but out of his own particular weirdness/ peculiarity... something that we should be able to respect.


Unfair to whom? And why do you think that it is unfair? Is it just because it is popular?


It's not behavior that should be exhibited by a leader/evangelist for a cause.


I think that you posted this to the wrong post by mistake.


Then said woman apologies and blamed drugs and a 'tough personal time' for lashing out at free software:

https://libreboot.org/news/unity.html


and, look at LibrePlanet mailing list archives and you'll see the same person is now a staunch defender of RMS and highly critical of people criticizing him now.


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