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Re: Support RMS

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: Support RMS
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 23:55:33 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0.6 (2021-03-06)

Hello Thomas, the debate will end when people have exchanged enough,
your email and story is valuable for better understanding. I have
asked Deb for something like that.

* Thomas Lord <> [2021-04-14 23:23]:
> The raising of voices in conversation does not have a context
> independent or culturally universal emotional valence. For
> some it is normal and expected.  For some it borders on a
> taboo.

That I got to know in East Africa, as if there is danger, emergency,
urgency, there will be shouting, and some people instead of getting
alert and acting faster will be prone to rather leave thinking solely
for their own feelings. But that other people suffered for their
actions or lack of actions, who cares... In Europe, in various
organization where it was clear what is the purpose we are doing, we
may shout on each other as much as we want, and we achieve goals,
alter we go swimming together. Shouting is not necessarily in all
contexts bad, and depends from person to person.

>   Here is a story that might help: Long ago, in the very early
>   days of the FSF, I was an employee and there was more or less
>   one person handling most of the operational day to day
>   corporate business. One day, I had done something that
>   (understandably) pissed RMS off.  You see: after a brief chat
>   with a board member other than RMS, I unilaterally decided to
>   work remotely.

I can totally understand, but I would never do so too slightly, I
would look into purposes of the organization, did I do something that
was aligned with to me well known purposes? If so, I would retract it,
and keep doing actions aligned with purposes of the group I said to

But would I do something that was aligned with purposes of
organization, or even with my own purposes, but it comes into conflict
with organizational purposes, then I would like to tell it in
transparent and would speak with proper person or staff responsible
for that matter. Not with everybody.

>   I packed up and moved several states away, almost overnight, to be
>   near my sweetheart (who is now my wife - it's a very romantic
>   story, in retrospect).  I did not notify RMS I was doing this.  It
>   upset him.  He called and yelled.  I was very distressed by this -

In each organization there are people. Though we work under pretense
of legal entities such as foundations and companies, we are people who
have relations between each other. When person leaves suddenly it is
negatively impacting the organization, and whoever welcomed you will
also feel or could feel sudden distrust for no good reason. I don't
say it is true or not, but those could be feelings.

I have employed people and offered them best opportunities in life,
and yet, for silly reason, one of girls wanted to go home, and this
pulled the other one. It impacts life of everybody, they lose the job
for rash decisions and so on. Other few times, some people said they
go to visit family while in reality they just wanted to depart without
saying clearly good bye.

Those are few examples from my real life. I know how it is when people
incorrectly end up their relations. This also applies in private life.

We shall remember that handling people is no easy task and upsets are
in just every organization in the world, we are not Theresa, but even
Mother Theresa was getting upset.

Judging person's emotional upset out of the context is what is
wrong. If we wish to talk about RMS, let us have clear story like this
one, to understand the context and what really happened. 

>   I didn't expect it at all.  I sought and received consel -- very
>   good consel -- from that woman who was running the day to day
>   business.  "Just hang up on him if he gets like that," she
>   advised.  Later I understood this could be generalized: walk away,
>   if need be.  One can also really productively engage, sometimes,
>   also, just by yelling back if you have something relevant and
>   coherent to say.  As an older person now, I realize that part of
>   RMS' reputation comes from him being actually a better and more
>   dynamic conversationalist than most people have ever met -- and
>   yes, that can be hard to come to grip with at first.

I know some people who would be upset and yell on me, and I have not
reacted that way, rather listened, understood what happened, and if it
was really me, I would turn new page. Somehow, due to parents raising
me that way, I always assumed that people with which I work with are
of good faith, and worthy to understand, so I have not been putting
much attention if somebody shouted or not, rather listened to
understand what is wrong. As an apprentice I had people who clearly
had problems expressing themselves proper for my educational level
at the time. The key to any upsets is to talk about it.

>   This doesn't mean that RMS or anyone has free reign to be a
>   constant holy terror, always screaming and yelling, but that
>   is not what I ever saw RMS do and is not what any of the
>   complainers have said he does.  Raised voices among
>   friends and allies typify some cultural backgrounds --
>   including mine, ironically enough.  It can, when in those
>   cultural contexts, a bit creepy if someone does not communicate
>   this way.  One asks: what is that quiet person hiding from
>   us?

Thank you for bringing up story about character of RMS.

>   Interruption is a similarly culturally variable communication
>   style.  In some cultures I mix in, it is expected and is often
>   a sign of engagement with what one is saying - silence comes
>   off as rude / checked out. In other cultures, the opposite --
>   interruption is not allowed.  In a multi-cultural world, we
>   should all be tolerant and flexible in our communication
>   styles.  (RMS, meanwhile, is being made to do the limbo by
>   people who think they get to define the One True Civil
>   Converstation Style.  Flexibility in style is a two-way
>   street, chums.)


>   Lastly, neither Deb nor any of us is qualified to assess
>   whether or not a single person, RMS in this case,
>   "drives people away from the movement" on balance.
>   That's an incredibly arrogant assertion that centers
>   one own cultural expectations and projects them onto
>   an entire planet of people.  Can we end the pointless
>   debate of such assertions once and for all?

That is what is generalization, as when brought up in that way it just
creates negativity. Thank you for expressing yourself in specific


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