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Old 09-30-2019, 05:00 PM   #1
Lysander666
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Richard Stallman's resignation, Part II


OK, so the last thread was closed. We should recall the following advice when discussing this topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
I'd encourage everyone who isn't clear to read my recent posts in General, then read the LQ rules. Really think about statements like "Challenge others' points of view and opinions, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully ... without insult and personal attack. Differing opinions is one of the things that make this site great."...which are not just platitudes but core to our ethos. Then read the thread in question; every post of it. I've just done so again, wondering if I reacted too quickly or too harshly. I don't think I have. I'm a huge proponent of free speech and open debate, but there has to be a line. I understand that line is grey, and for every person who thinks we're too lenient there is someone who thinks we're too strict.

Finally, if the topic is one members would like to discuss then feel free to start a new thread. The thread was in no way closed because of the subject matter. Do note, I have made very clear what the expectations for General are. The new thread would be very much subject to those guidelines. If you'd like to participate in General, and at LQ more broadly, please do keep them in mind.

--jeremy
So, this has to be discussed... respectfully. And I hope that one or two bad apples don't spoil "the whole damn bunch" [thanks, GnR].

What we know so far:

Quote:
Richard Stallman posted a new update today on his personal site. "I want to respond to the misleading media coverage of messages I posted about Marvin Minsky's association with Jeffrey Epstein. The coverage totally mischaracterised my statements. Headlines say that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've called him a "serial rapist", and said he deserved to be imprisoned. But many people now believe I defended him -- and other inaccurate claims -- and feel a real hurt because of what they believe I said.

I'm sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the misunderstanding."

On MIT's internal Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) listerv, Stallman had seen the description of a protest of Marvin Minsky which said Minsky was "accused of assaulting" one of Epstein's victims. Stallman argued that "the most plausible scenario" is that "she presented herself to him as entirely willing" -- even if she was coerced by Epstein into doing so -- whereas the phrase "assaulting" implies the use of force or violence, faciliating what he calls "accusation inflation... Whatever conduct you want to criticize, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism."

An angry MIT alumni who was forwarded the email then "started emailing reporters -- local and national, news sites, newspapers, radio stations" -- and then not receiving quick enough responses, published it herself in a Medium essay titled "Remove Richard Stallman. And everyone else horrible in tech." And then leaked the whole thread to Vice.
https://news.slashdot.org/story/19/0...-marvin-minsky

Also, since that succinct synopsis from Slashdot, Stallman has also resigned from the FSF.

Further developments include the rumour [though it does look likely] that Stallman's page was vandalised by the FSF before he managed to move it to a GNU Project server.

http://techrights.org/2019/09/29/fsf-defaced-rms/

Hopefully we can discuss and document the developments of this important topic whilst keeping it happily afloat. What does this situation say for free software? How did we [and that's a very collective 'we'] end up here? Where do we expect this to go?

The last notable comment was from jsbjsb001. I do not believe this comment treads over the rules of this forum but is part and parcel of what this very sensitive topic signifies:

Quote:
I think what's happening here is part of the "larger campaign", a "new world order" if you will. And it looks like FSF has been infected with the same "virus", I would call this "virus" "human malware". It seems to me this "larger campaign" is basically where it's not about "free software" (or whatever the original goals were) anymore, it's basically a "political agenda", think the "#MeToo" movement... In other words, it's about being "politically correct" and taking the "right political position". So if you're not "outraged" about "guilt by association", then you're someone who is on the wrong side of the "political fence", and you're "one of the abusers", therefore, you supposedly "support" the abuse of women etc.

It's fairly obvious to me what's really going on here, and it's sad the same "virus" that's infected society has found it's way to the FSF. You've really gotta ask yourself; who's next?

It's a sad day alright...
If this is speculative, so be it. Speculation is fine if it doesn't harm anyone, I posit. I think execution is the main point here, rather than content.

Last edited by Lysander666; 09-30-2019 at 05:03 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 05:05 PM   #2
ChuangTzu
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Well done. Let the open discussions and continue.

Perhaps, LQ or techrights would interview Stallman, surely this is pertinent "breaking news" within the *nix/FOSS/FLOSS ecosystem.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 05:33 PM   #3
snowday
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I will try to keep this neutral and factual out of respect to jeremy and this community.

I've worked at a couple of universities, and here are my thoughts within that context: Sexual assault is a HUGE issue on college campuses in 2019. Consent is a MAJOR topic of conversation on college campuses in 2019.

Students want to feel safe on campus. Parents want to feel their children are safe on campus. Administrators will bend over backward to create the impression that their campus is safe and welcoming. This is especially true in STEM fields that have traditionally been seen as a "boys club."

Here are 4 facts about Richard Stallman as I understand the situation: 1) He is 66 years old, obese, and has hygiene issues. 2) He is homeless and (until recently) slept in his office on MIT campus. 3) He has made statements that seem to support pedophilia. 4) His definitions of "sexual assault" and "consent" are non-standard and controversial.

I believe MIT made the right decision to terminate his employment. Students (and their parents who are footing the bill) do not want to encounter large, unkempt, sexually controversial people roaming the halls of an academic building at all hours.

I've never met the guy and hope he works through this rough patch. But I can't help but thinking: If he'd rented an apartment like a normal adult, and kept his mouth shut about pedophilia and sexual assault, he wouldn't be in this mess. He has nobody to blame but himself.

Last edited by snowday; 09-30-2019 at 05:41 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 06:09 PM   #4
Ser Olmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
I've worked at a couple of universities, and here are my thoughts within that context: Sexual assault is a HUGE issue on college campuses in 2019. Consent is a MAJOR topic of conversation on college campuses in 2019.

Students want to feel safe on campus. Parents want to feel their children are safe on campus. Administrators will bend over backward to create the impression that their campus is safe and welcoming. This is especially true in STEM fields that have traditionally been seen as a "boys club."
AFAIK, no accusations of sexual misconduct of any kind has been leveled against Stallman.

The problem with being overly "welcoming" is that it may slide towards accommodating unreasonable demands. Unless a real threat of some kind can objectively be said to exist, someone feeling "unsafe" is purely a personal issue they have to deal with.

(And I don't really get this "boys' club" reference that keeps getting mentioned in relation to STEM.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
Here are 4 facts about Richard Stallman as I understand the situation: 1) He is 66 years old, obese, and has hygiene issues.
His age and weight is well known. I don't think it's reasonable for anyone to feel unsafe around older people or the obese.

As for "hygiene issues", I can't really comment. But unless he's contagious or radioactive, I don't really see an issue. Sure, it's unpleasant to be around someone if, say, they're oblivious to their body odor, but either you tell them, you leave, or you just put up with it. After all, that's how things are done in the Real World.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
2) He is homeless and (until recently) slept in his office on MIT campus.
That's between him and MIT.

Just like students with filthy hair and dirty clothes living together in a small apartment that looks like a pigsty is an issue between them and the landlord.

(Students with questionable hygiene and grooming practices are common enough that it's a stereotype, so if we don't like unkempt people roaming the halls, that might be a good place to start.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
3)He has made statements that seem to support pedophilia.
If they only "seemed to" support something objectionable, then I guess he can clarify the issue if he hasn't already done so, and we can all just move on. (Also, citation?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
4) His definitions of "sexual assault" and "consent" are non-standard and controversial.
Can you provide a source for this?

I read his statement about Minsky, and there's literally nothing objectionable there. Unless you find men hooking up with women at parties to be objectionable in general, which many do, but that's not the subject of the conversation.

To me it looks like Stallman is being subjected to a smear campaign. Being an eccentric, he sure is an easy target.

Last edited by Ser Olmy; 09-30-2019 at 06:19 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 06:47 PM   #5
cynwulf
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I also concur with jsb in that there is pressure on public figures and media to condemn a certain person, act, ideology, thought, belief, etc or be accused along with them. This really equates to "guilty until proven innocent" and the sentence has begun before the trial has even started. This becomes "viral" and then it's "ok" to condemn that individual (because "everyone else is").

This is a dangerous slippery slope to be on and not so different to lynch mob or witch hunt mentality. Those pointing the finger can perhaps never conceive that the finger may one day be pointing at them.

In short - "thought crime", as described by Orwell in that book. But really there is no thought crime, unless aided and abetted by complicit journalism and a rabid mob of the outraged. And as we've seen with this case, that's how it works - divide and conquer.

snowday really just makes the point that Stallman did not have the right looks, attitude or personality (or billionaire donor status) for MIT - and in fact they're probably quite correct in their assessment. We now live in a world where marketing and PR count for everything and few if any big organisations will risk their reputation to stick by an accused, innocent or otherwise, and will almost always put their own image and interests first.

Last edited by cynwulf; 09-30-2019 at 06:50 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 06:56 PM   #6
snowday
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
That's between him and MIT.
/thread
 
Old 09-30-2019, 07:02 PM   #7
ChuangTzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
I will try to keep this neutral and factual out of respect to jeremy and this community.

I've worked at a couple of universities, and here are my thoughts within that context: Sexual assault is a HUGE issue on college campuses in 2019. Consent is a MAJOR topic of conversation on college campuses in 2019.

Students want to feel safe on campus. Parents want to feel their children are safe on campus. Administrators will bend over backward to create the impression that their campus is safe and welcoming. This is especially true in STEM fields that have traditionally been seen as a "boys club."

Here are 4 facts about Richard Stallman as I understand the situation: 1) He is 66 years old, obese, and has hygiene issues. 2) He is homeless and (until recently) slept in his office on MIT campus. 3) He has made statements that seem to support pedophilia. 4) His definitions of "sexual assault" and "consent" are non-standard and controversial.

I believe MIT made the right decision to terminate his employment. Students (and their parents who are footing the bill) do not want to encounter large, unkempt, sexually controversial people roaming the halls of an academic building at all hours.

I've never met the guy and hope he works through this rough patch. But I can't help but thinking: If he'd rented an apartment like a normal adult, and kept his mouth shut about pedophilia and sexual assault, he wouldn't be in this mess. He has nobody to blame but himself.
You prove the fallacy in your own words... he says, he believes.... First provide links to where he says it explicitly, not heresay or third person. Also, speaking and believing are not crimes...actions are what violates the law. Someone can believe they are Jesus, Buddha etc... but unless they commit actual crimes their beliefs are not criminal. This is what is so dangerous about cultural marxism acting through political correctness. Who is to determine what is PC, when its a constantly changing compass? Imagine if someone came up with a rule that having snow in your name was illegal because it was offensive to those who only know sunshine and tropical temperatures. Ludicrous right?

Shall people be named conspirators of crimes just because they are related to someone, work with someone, were friends with someone, attended class once with someone who did commit a crime? Innocent until proven guilty is the name of the law in the USA, and it was put in place to have the burden of proof lay at the feet of the accusers/state etc... Stallman could sue MIT and FSF for unlawful termination, slander, libel etc... and then sue the news agencies for the same. Who is investigating the person that started the accusations, what about his site/server being hacked etc...? Who had the most to gain from Stallmans fall/removal? Follow that trail and it could uncover many things.

But as long as you push the: well he was fat, said mean things, said things that offended me, said things I don't agree with, picked his toes and ate his scabs blah blah, then you are pushing the same agenda that so far has taken him down.

PS: You would think the PC movement and cultural marxists would support Stallmans choice to identify as a hermit. I guess they are not an included minority/special interest group yet in their agenda.
#SupportTheHermitHobbit

Last edited by ChuangTzu; 09-30-2019 at 07:16 PM.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 07:03 PM   #8
Ser Olmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
/thread
Not really, because you were the one who raised it as an issue. MIT did not.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 07:30 PM   #9
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How safe is GNU itself, in the sense of the software? All this talk about the FSF, yet Mr Stallman says he is still the "Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project." The gnu.org page has FSF all over it (even saying (C) 1996-2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc. at the bottom). It sounds like we also need to follow the money INTO the FSF and out the other side. Who's getting paid to do what?
 
Old 09-30-2019, 08:31 PM   #10
astrogeek
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As so aptly said by ChuangTzu:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuangTzu View Post
But as long as you push the: well he was fat, said mean things, said things that offended me, said things I don't agree with, picked his toes and ate his scabs blah blah, then you are pushing the same agenda that so far has taken him down.
Snowday, you have repeatedly* accused RMS of being a pedophile, which is simple slander in the absence of some very strong evidence to support that accusation.

Although Stallman himself is not a member here at LQ as far as I know, I would consider that in itself a violation of the prohibition in the LQ Rules against personal attacks on "others":

Quote:
Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated.
As near as I can find after exhaustive search, Richard Stallman has made two comments which are construed to illustrate his support for paedophilia:

The first in 2003 expressed his "skepticism" of certain claims about specific cases of pedophilia.

The second in 2006 stated there was little evidence to support those same claims.

I agree those were awkward, stupid statements, but neither is remotely evidence that he is, himself, a pedophile, nor that he is in any way affiliated with pedophelia.

Neither do I find even a single person claiming to have been so victimized by Richard Stallman, no past or pending legal actions naming him as a pedophile, and no class actions to that effect, such as there for the some youth organizations, numerous athletic programs and institutions and religious organizations.

Even so, he recentry retracted those earlier statements and made known that his opinion of those cases has now changed.

Unless you yourself have never been wrong or had a change of mind, then please at least give the man the respect due someone who has had a change of mind and publicly admitted their own error.

Please reconsider and do not further participate in the lynching of an innocent man by again baselessly accusing him of the act of, or close associations with, pedophilia.

All statements here are my own, not endorsed by LQ.


* I stand corrected per ntubski's post below. One direct accusation only, others insinuate his outright support for, or close association with, pedophilia (still a bit of a stretch of what RMS actually said, IMO).

Last edited by astrogeek; 10-01-2019 at 01:20 AM. Reason: typos, spelling
 
Old 09-30-2019, 09:54 PM   #11
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuangTzu View Post
Perhaps, LQ or techrights would interview Stallman, surely this is pertinent "breaking news" within the *nix/FOSS/FLOSS ecosystem.
Not LQ probably, unless Jeremey renames the site to GNU/Linuxquestions.org

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
He is homeless and (until recently) slept in his office on MIT campus.
Can't remember where I read this, but AFAIK, he has had his own apartment and no longer sleeps in his office for many years now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrogeek View Post
Snowday, you have repeatedly accused RMS of being a pedophile,
Repeatedly? I only see the the one time in the previous thread.
 
Old 09-30-2019, 10:20 PM   #12
orbea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
But I can't help but thinking: If he'd rented an apartment like a normal adult, and kept his mouth shut about pedophilia and sexual assault, he wouldn't be in this mess. He has nobody to blame but himself.
You make a lot of good points about why this has spiraled so far out of control, but I disagree with this point a lot. There was a lot of willing effort done to bring this about with intentionally misleading headlines and people conspiring against him behind closed doors. Suggesting he or any other victim of slander only has himself to blame is just as bad as blaming victims of any other forum of abuse. In retrospect maybe he could of done things that might of made this better, but would you tell any of Epstein's victims that they should of been smarter and only have themselves to blame? I would hope not.
 
Old 10-01-2019, 12:55 AM   #13
Turbocapitalist
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One of the reasons the trolls are now out and provoking in full violation of LQ rules appears to be to as a distraction from Bill Gates' involvement with Epstein. If they can take the heat off of Bill and put it on RMS then they get a twofer.

Even casual investigation of MIT investors donors shows that there were close ties, unlike with RMS who is at least two degrees of separation from Epstein.

Bill Gates made donations to MIT through Jeffrey Epstein —here are all of the tech mogul's connections to the financier

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates Now Has His Own Jeffrey Epstein Problem

Thousands of Child Rape Photos Traded Out of Bill Gates’ Mansion

Microsoft Peter is a Pedophile, Arrested Without Bail

And of course it also weakens Free and Open Source Software so that it will be easier for M$ to fight it and its leaders.
 
Old 10-01-2019, 03:13 AM   #14
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While I'm still not clear on why the last thread was closed; I would like to apologize to you Lysander666 if my post in your other Stallman thread was a part of the reason why it was closed. I'd also like to apologize to Jeremy and anyone else who may have been offended by it. It was not meant to offend anyone, nor by "human malware" was I referring to any one person. I was referring to what cynwulf describes in post #5. That said, I do maintain the point I made in the same post in the other thread, and that is quoted in post #1 of this thread.

I would also like to make it clear that; I don't agree with everything RMS says, but I believe this issue is far bigger than just one person. I'd also like to say that I do NOT support any kind of abuse of any gender, but by the same token, I don't support people being accused in the absence of hard evidence either. And orbea in post #12 makes a very good point along those same lines. And with all respect to Jeremy, if we can't discuss this subject at this forum, well that would be a real shame. I will also say that I do believe Jeremy when he says that he didn't close the other thread because of the topic being discussed.

I'll also say that I do personally know what it's like to be abused as a child, including sexually abused. I can honestly say it's something you don't just forget, and it stays with you. I'm not going to go into details, but it's not something to be playing games over, and that isn't fair to those who have suffered that kind of abuse. So snowday, I also find your comments in post #3 to be quite bizarre and off-base in more than just one instance.

All of that said, I don't wish to be a reason for this thread to be considered for closure, so I'll try and "zip my lip" for at least the time being...
 
Old 10-01-2019, 04:12 AM   #15
Lysander666
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post

Here are 4 facts about Richard Stallman as I understand the situation: 1) He is 66 years old, obese, and has hygiene issues. 2) He is homeless and (until recently) slept in his office on MIT campus. 3) He has made statements that seem to support pedophilia. 4) His definitions of "sexual assault" and "consent" are non-standard and controversial.
I personally don't understand why consent is being made such a big issue in universities in the way that it is. Several unis run consent workshops which are compulsory for all undergrads and master's students [but the research students get let off scot-free, maybe we're considered beyond help] but I don't really know why. When I was an undergrad in the late '90s there was no such thing as a consent workshop, we just 'got on with things' with no issue. Maybe one or two people unfortunately found themselves at the wrong end of a situation and now there are workshops with tote bags, badges, schedules, speeches and God knows what else from the relevant Virtue Signalling Department. But maybe the unis have to cover their own backs and that's what this is really about, one less area for them to get sued.

Do not think, snowday, from my quoting you that I am taking issue with your post, since I'm sure your thinking is not localised purely to just you, you likely echo the thoughts - or very similar thoughts - to many others out there. That's why they are worthy of discussion but also why they are worrying.

What Stallman has not cottoned onto is that 'free speech' is, for better or worse, becoming a modern-day myth. Just look around you. Everything is watched and everything is logged and one can easily be pulled up on it to further another's ambitions. Those who express certain opinions that they used to be able to can one day pay penance for them. In the UK we are no longer a democracy or even an oligarchy, we are what's called in China 'meizhi' - under the rule of the media. One of the best - or probably the best - comment on this matter was said to me on 4chan of all places [also no longer a bastion of free speech] about ten years ago:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Always assume that everything you say and do is being recorded somewhere and can be used against you to your detriment.
Stallman is an advocate for free speech more than most people, and the exact above has happened to him because we are living in a self-serviant society where people think like Daily Mail readers whether they realise it or not. If people can further their own ends [*cough Selam G*] by inaccurate sensationalism, then the truth doesn't matter. If RMS is not careful, he will end up hanging himself by his own rope.

Those people who have, in snowday's words, "non-standard and controversial" views are indeed easy targets. If one has any view which can be interpreted as racist or sexist then they can be used as a stepping stone. As Douglas Murray aptly said, these days one only has to have one view which vaguely could be interpreted as being right of centre, and then it's a sheer drop from there to being labelled a Nazi, whereas on the other side you can run and run and run and keep going, and the associations of your opinions never involve the Gulag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Post
While I'm still not clear on why the last thread was closed; I would like to apologize to you Lysander666 if my post in your other Stallman thread was a part of the reason why it was closed. I'd also like to apologize to Jeremy and anyone else who may have been offended by it. It was not meant to offend anyone, nor by "human malware" was I referring to any one person. I was referring to what cynwulf describes in post #5. That said, I do maintain the point I made in the same post in the other thread, and that is quoted in post #1 of this thread.
Absolutely no need to apologise to me, at least, the reason why I included your quote in the OP is because I wholeheartedly agree with it. It cuts to the quick of what this very important issue is about. This is not just about RMS or LQ, it goes way beyond that. RMS's situation is a microcosmic representation of what is happening to our society and culture in the West.

Last edited by Lysander666; 10-01-2019 at 04:30 AM.
 
  


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