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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Questions about Google+

From: Dave Rolek
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Questions about Google+
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:39:16 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.2.0

On 04/28/2016 03:06 AM, Alexander Berntsen wrote:
On 28/04/16 03:38, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
> Finally: could you justify a free software project that promotes
> software freedom prominently linking to and using a G+ profile for
> the project?
That depends on its intent and purpose. If Google+ (or Facebook, or
any other thing like that) is used to advertise the project, then I
don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. I consider it similarly to
releasing free software to proprietary environments like Microsoft
Windows. It's about reaching people. Preaching to the converted is
largely ineffective.

As long as Google+ isn't the only (main) way of obtaining information
on the project, I think it's fine. Just like I think it's fine for
free software projects to be sold on Steam or Google Play Store, as
long as it's available elsewhere too. The people who don't like
Google+/Steam/whatever, i.e. the converted, will not obtain it from
there anyway. But the people who use Google+/Steam/whatever, would
likely not even have heard of the project if it weren't there.

Maybe the project can limit the information on Google+ by primarily
posting small updates with links to the full story, which is available
on their free website?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently myself.
I think there needs to be a careful balance between outreach and using nonfree software.

When I talk personally with people, I find that virtually everyone has an interest in the values of free/libre software, but the biggest difficulties come due to lock-in that has "accumulated" over the years.  So I'm all in favor of making it easier for people to switch to free software :).
However, we must be mindful that if we make a nonfree environment too convenient (here: to follow us on social media) - noticeably more than our free environments - we may find that we are *contributing to* lock-in indirectly.  (The network effect[0] here is unfortunately reinforcing, i.e. a "positive network externality".)

I think Alexander's suggestion for small updates on the nonfree social media (with link to full story) might work fairly well.  Has anyone done something like that and can comment on it?

I don't have a good solution yet, but those are my thoughts currently.



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