Hi @shusha, just read your introduction and found it very interesting.
Let me present myself: I'm can be described in several ways, but for sure I'm father of three wonderful daughters I love most and I'm a hacker.
Why I annoy you, you ask?
In your introduction you mention topics I care a lot: programming as expression (see http://www.tesio.it/2019/06/03/what-is-informatics.html ), epistemology, data (you find a lot in my site), politics ( see http://www.tesio.it/2020/09/03/not_all_hackers_are_americans.html ) and so on...
I would like to know your take about this: https://qoto.org/@Vectorfield/106028146945688229
Not much about the attacks against RMS and FSF (unless you want to talk about that too, obviously), but about the epistemic approach that @Vectorfield described and that, as far as I can say, describe quite well the activists I've talked with.
To be fair, they argue that "manifacturing" truths is what the hegemonic class ("the whites", "the males", "the straights"... curiously, never "the rich") do all the time with marketing and all other forms of propaganda, so they perceive themselves as fighting back on the same ground.
They argue that people won't try to understand long explanations or deep and complex models of reality anyway, so trying to argue with facts won't change things for the better.
Yet models that misdescribe reality on purpose, an epistemology not based on the search for truth but in the search for changes, is doomed to be abused by the oppressors who have better means and more resources to meld the public opinion (and even turn it to a weapon to enforce their own interests, as RMS story shows)
Anyway, sorry for this wall of text linking several other wall of texts.
If you'd like to talk about this, I'd like to access your perspective (dialogue is always a way to access and understand perspectives that are preclused to us by our limits).
Otherwise... just let me say nice to meet you! 😉
hey @Shamar, I finally found time to read the thread. phew... first: thanks to @Vectorfield for his exhausting overview of traditions of critical thinking. second: what I observer is a shifting of argument from a very specific problem (sexism in free software communities) to a very distant position of reflection (the history of critical thinking in general). And I belive this is a significant move, an attempt to restore a position of oversight, to escape the messiness of struggle. And I tend to be with Haraway here, and her distrust of what she calls the "god-perspective", the disembodied perspective from above and its claim of oversight, which is normative because it enables this exact shifting of focus away from the struggle, to other discourses, and we end up talking about universalist concepts of truth (like standpoint theory never happened - even in discussing standpoint theory).
And let me put two things straight: the shift away from the struggle is the tendency of the whole thread, and starts well before @Vectorfield and @Shamar joined the discussion. And second: I am not a philosopher, my knowledge of the traditions of thinking is limited, this is why enjoyed the excourse by @Vectorfield very much.
As a father of 3 daughters, I think I understand your perspective.
But one of the issues of this whole story is that the struggle you are talking about, has been misdirected toward a man who was not sexist, mysogin or transphobic at all... just weird.
It's a long story, and I do not want to annoy you if you don't care about the details, but well known feminists and transpeople (and even several women that I personally know and know #RMS by decades) have either signed the letter in his defence or publicly wrote against this attack to his person.
I could provide you a few link but you find most interesting ones https://stallmansupport.org/articles-in-support-of-richard-stallman.html
You can trust my words or not, but you can easily check that even the attackers have retracted some their accusations to reduce the legal risks for the signers https://rms-open-letter.github.io/appendix
So here is the thing: the alligations against Stallman are false.
And yet, they managed to force him to resign from FSF 2 years ago and now that he is coming back, they raised this new campaign again.
And if you look at the organizations that signed the harrassing letter early, you will notice how many have BigTech among their platinum sponsors (Google in particular)
So ultimately the struggle of women and trans working in IT (and in #FreeSoftware in particular) has been weaponized to target a single man.
Now I'm happy to stay on the struggle, but here we have to ask which one?
The one strumentalized and weaponized or the one of the victim of such attack?
I'd argue: both!
But in this hatred climate it's very difficult to talk with the people whose suffering has been weaponized.
And this is heart-breaking.
And dangerous, I think.
Because it won't fix problems, but hide them.
Anyway... thanks for your link, I'll read as soon as possible.
And if you want to talk about the struggles of women in tech and how they could be addressed, I'm very interested.
I forgot to say: all of this is why people look for more general explainations of what is going on.
Because in this case, checking sources or looking for evidence or even "following the money" was very easy. And yet, three thousand people joined the mob against a single man.
Which is an autistic hacker, but that doesn't matter much.
Why this happened?
Can it be prevented in the future?
It's difficult to look for answers to these questions without going beyond the case in point.
At least for me.
But I'd really welcome you insight about them!
dear @Shamar, I believe there are two different struggles involved here:
first - economic interests in a community and practice of freedom (as in free software).
second: the struggle about a sane and safe community for everybody, which has been structured around merits only for a very long time.
I think both struggles are grounded in a tension between product and community. Let me explain:
first: I think that the power war is about corporate interests, which has never been shy in using any means - now they use a conflict in the community (struggle 2) to divide it, in order to consolidate power.
It is the dilemma of FLOSS, that its achievements are being used to amass immense profit and power by the platform industry. In commons theory, this is called "enclosure" and means the exploitation of "free" resources. free means "owned by no one" (and economic theory knows only two types of ownership: state and private) - even if in fact, these resources are maintained by informal communities. this is the case in land-grabbing from indigenous communities around the world, and I think in a way also in FLOSS.
It also points to another aspect in FLOSS: I was inspired by feminist activists to read the FSM as a feminist manifesto - because it addresses exploitation and offers a way to change it. And indeed, if you look at it that way, it is all about protecting a social practice (of programming). But the solution it takes, in form of the GPL, is acting on the level of the product of that social practice, not the social practice itself. This mindset of valuing the product over the social practice is also alive in the principle of meritocracy.
And this leads us to the second struggle, which is the struggle for a less toxic community.
I have read the statement from RMS https://www.fsf.org/news/rms-addresses-the-free-software-community and wondered if this is the first time he openly speaks about his condition.
I have been myself part of a local DIY community with a leading figure in the spectrum for long enough to see the toxic fallout on the community. Autism is not an autist's fault, but it is highly problematic for a community if not openly acknowledged: tone-deafness gets normalized, becomes common culture, and of course this happens at the expense of those that have been taking shit for centuries, basically everybody not white cis male.
So, what becomes apparent for me, is that the social dimension of FS practice has been dramatically undervalued on a systemic level for a long time.
And it is basically this neglect, which is now blowing up in a bizare power war.
Very interesting perspective, @shusha.
I think that looking at the #FreeSoftware Manifest as a feminist document is a slightly projective of your own culture, but your criticism is very clever and I think that @ondiz and @mcp_ might like it a lot.
In fact, I think that #RMS missed the point of Free Software (🤦♂️ 🤷♂️ ), but not because of his condition (and btw it's well known he is autistic since he was a kid) but because of the influence of his mother-culture: he grown up in the USA in the middle of Cold War.
So he slightly misinterpreted the nascent #hacker movement (and his misunderstanding got spread in a powerful global feedback loop).
He founded Free Software on the value of #freedom instead of the value of #curiosity, which is in fact more fundamental: the reason while freedom alone is not enough, and you need #communion (protection from enclosures) and #candour (honest sharing of one's perspective).
Hackers are ALL about acquiring more knowledge.
A sort of modern #philosophers... but more hungry.
As such we NEED to share what we learn or create, so that other can build on top of it, and teach us what they learn in exchange.
And OBVIOUSLY, you need freedom to explore and hack (even because, it's since Icarus that people of power are scared by hackers http://www.tesio.it/2020/09/03/not_all_hackers_are_americans.html )
Hackers are weird but they are not born weird: we become weird (one way or another) because we are too curious and we slowly move outside the mainstream.
But the reason we do so, is not because we are evil, just because we want to learn more, more deeply, we struggle for (some kind of) knowledge, we care about aspects most people do not give a shit and so on.
Thus, by design, we are interested in EVERY perspective we do not have access to, the farthest from the mainstream, the better.
That's why an autistic like Stallman might feel at home.
And why no hacker would attack other people for what they think or say (as long as they do not lie), just for what they do.
More likely, we are going to engage in endless debates, trying to understand the others' perspective and trying to explain the other our own, different, perspective on the matter (something that to non-hackers looks like people trying to outsmart each other, while we are just trying to understand in a very direct and effective communication protocol).
But you are very correct on this: "it is all about protecting a social practice (of programming). But the solution it takes, in form of the GPL, is acting on the level of the product of that social practice, not the social practice itself"
I think I could not explain it better than this.
Even with a strong copyleft, there are way to NOT give back to the community the knowledge they ought to obtain (think of the cloud and software as a service).
Also, the Free Software movement never cared about EXTENDING the hacking community (in part, due to the elitism and focus on product and meritocracy that #ESR spread thanks to O'Reilly, that poisoned what was not elitist at all)
Indeed another criticism I have over Stallman is that he didn't focus on teaching people how to program and kept Free Software simple enough to be readable for everybody.
So this is something that, IMO, we should fix in Free Software.
And for sure, this is NOT the direction that corporations want the Free Software to take.
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