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Re: State of the GNUnion 2020

From: Samuel Thibault
Subject: Re: State of the GNUnion 2020
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 14:45:02 +0100
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170609 (1.8.3)

Dmitry Gutov, le jeu. 20 févr. 2020 15:31:17 +0200, a ecrit:
> On 20.02.2020 14:41, Samuel Thibault wrote:
> > > Okay, sure. But going back to Eli's point, the development activity of
> > > individual projects is determined by individual project's members, and is
> > > rarely affected by the actions of the leadership.
> > 
> > The activity by itself, yes, but the choice of where to start a new
> > project, or starting contributing an existing project, leadership does
> > have a lot of importance.
> What kind of choice? Contributors come and go, largely depending on their
> own needs and interests.

Yes, but also, and I believe most likely, depending on their knowledge
of project places (github vs gitlabs vs savannah) and the contact they
get with the people there. The GNU project is less and less known
compared to other free software platforms, so it'll get less and less

> > > And it's a more difficult endeavor (think Mozilla-type initiatives) than
> > > just releasing a document saying "hi all we don't discriminate and accept
> > > everyone", which is basically stating the already obvious.
> > 
> >  From seeing the discussions here, it doesn't seem so obvious :/
> Really? For all the shouting and stomping of feet, I haven't seen here any
> one email stating or even implying that the gender or the race of a
> contributor is somehow important, or that we'd turn somebody away because of
> it.

Sure, the contrary was explicitly said indeed. But anything one can
bring about not only acknowledging it, but also making efforts on
inclusiveness is mostly rejected with arguments like "it's too hard to
take care when writing something on a mailing list".

> On the flip side, an argument is made that your initiative might make GNU
> more exclusionary because of the extra conditions on what it takes to be a
> part of it.

At some point you have to exclude some people in order to include other
people, yes.  We can see that in various communities: when somebody is
having a toxic behavior and does not changes behavior even after strong
warnings, one has to exclude that person, because otherwise that person
will make a lot other people fly away.  Not taking the steps to exclude
the toxic person does mean excluding people that can not stand the toxic
behavior, even if that latter exclusion is not explicit.

That seems to be the ground of what some people do not understand here:
full inclusiveness can not work, there will always be some people you
will be excluding one way or the other, voluntarily or not.  Making sure
that the choice of who you exclude gets written down seems important to


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