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feeling intimidated for endorsing the GNU social contract

From: Mark Galassi
Subject: feeling intimidated for endorsing the GNU social contract
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2020 11:36:16 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)

Dear GNU maintainers,

I wrote to endorse the GNU social contract and received an email which
made me feel insulted and intimidated (this one said "F*** you", so not
much risk of misinterpreting the language).  I also got a sequence of
replied from people telling me I was wrong to do so.  These seem to be
canned replies that are sent to other people who endorse it.  They did
not make me feel as intimidated, but it still seems like a strange

I wrote the following to the list last week but it got rejected by
moderation for being "off topic".  Since this list seems to have a lot
of traffic which is a soul-search on how we should interact, I think it
must have been rejected by mistake by an overworked moderator, which is

Here it is with my suggestion for the moderators.  I also now realize
that part of the response had to do with the bizarre "hangout" mailing
list that was created to get some postings to many people on this list
without going through this list.

= = =

A while ago there was a discussion of moderation on this mailing list,
but I lost track of what was happening.

A person responded to my endorsement of the social contract (which I had
misspelled as social construct - ooops).  This person wrote back to me
and the list saying:

> F*** you and your illconceived campaign to destroy GNU

> And f*** that mailing list run by a theif and a bully

[they had the full swear word in there; I replaced part of it with *s so
that we don't vent it too much and end up in search results for hostility]

I don't see clear information about moderation, and don't know right now
how to write to the moderators directly (the page doesn't give
moderator addresses).

I feel that this mailing list has people who get really hostile and
insult people like me who have dedicated their lives to being GNU
contributors (in my case since 1985).

I will not get turned off of the good work for GNU by this specific
insult targeted at me, but I can see that in the future I might get
dispirited, and I know new people who have decided to not get in to the
internals like this.

I would like to remind everyone that Richard has said quite clearly that
everyone who contributes to GNU should be treated as acting in good

I would suggest that the moderators of this list set something up to
avoid the trolling.  Even if they block such a response to the whole
list, it still goes directly to the person posting.  Some weird other
addresses were also added.

I won't post the person's name here, but moderators: if you want I can
share the details with you directly.  Email me directly if you would
like to work on this and need my help.

I would like to point out something rather nice that happened on the
gnu-community-private list (I'm just quoting a snippet, and I replaced
the person's name since that is a private list).  Clearly this poster
had a disagreement with others and questioned their good faith, but then
realized that s/he should not have, and wrote a very nice email.

The snippet:

    aPoster> It was wrong for me to ask people to leave this community. I
    aPoster> apologize, and take back my above suggestion.

(my reply below: )

aPoster, it is nice to see that you have the character to post this kind of

I hope that when people back off from a hurried possibly hostile
statement (although this one was much milder than a lot of what we see
on this list) they will always know that the silent majority praises it.

The first thing I did when I saw aPoster's adjustment was to go and
re-read all of their previous emails to make sure that I had paid
attention to their points.

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