The following text is an unmodified copy of now removed issue #2250 on rms-open-letter.github.io repository. The text claims multiple violations of different policies, codes of conduct and other documents in creation, content and support of the “Open letter to remove Richard M. Stallman from all leadership positions”. The issue has not been addressed.
To All Contributors,
This repository, its contents, and the manner of its usage through social media by the Author/Owner, identified as Molly de Blanc (in the course of her official duties and representing the GNOME Foundation and edX), is currently in wanton violation of:
Github's Acceptable Use Policy
Github's Community Guidelines
Github's Terms of Service
The FSFe Code of Conduct
The GNOME Foundation's Code of Conduct
Various US State and Federal Laws (brief citations below)
In the interest of justice, I will:
Attempt to give a brief overview of the most important of these violations so that changes can be made to the repository contents and other online behaviour to no longer violate these various organizational codes of conduct, policies, and laws.
I will then close with a statement on the ethical disposition of this effort. I am sure that no one involved would want to be engaging in illegal, malicious, or otherwise prohibited actions and I view this as an opportunity to correct them.
I leave it to the maintainers and author to make a decision on how to move forward, but am considering funding oppositional support if this complaint is ignored, silenced, or otherwise attempted to be obfuscated without redress. Please expect escalation if that is the intent of the responder.
The following is a list of applicable Acceptable Use Policies being violated:
Compliance with Laws and Regulations
Content Restrictionsa. Is unlawful or promotes unlawful activities.b. is libelous, defamatory, or fraudulentc. is discriminatory or abusive toward any individual or groupd. is or contains false, inaccurate, or intentionally deceptive information that is likely to adversely affect the public interest
Conduct Restrictions:a. [While using the service, under no circumstances will you…] harass, abuse, threaten, or incite violence towards any individual or group, including our employees, officers, and agents or other users.b. Post off-topic content, or interact with platform features in a way that significantly or repeatedly disrupts the experience of others.
Spam and Inauthentic Activity on Githuba. [Prohibited activities include…] using Github as a platform for propagating abuse on other platforms.
For disposition context, also see:
(What is not allowed…)
Hate speech and discriminationa. While it is not forbidden to broach topics such as age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of experience, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation, we do not tolerate speech that attacks a person or group of people on the basis of who they are. Just realize that when approached in an aggressive or insulting manner, these (and other) sensitive topics can make others feel unwelcome, or perhaps even unsafe. While there’s always the potential for misunderstandings, we expect our community members to remain respectful and civil when discussing sensitive topics.
Bullying and Harassmenta. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment. This means any habitual badgering or intimidation targeted at a specific person or group of people. In general, if your actions are unwanted and you continue to engage in them, there’s a good chance you are headed into bullying or harassment territory.
Misinformation and Disinformationa. You may not post content that presents a distorted view of reality, whether it is inaccurate or false (misinformation) or is intentionally deceptive (disinformation) where such content is likely to result in harm to the public or to interfere with fair and equal opportunities for all to participate in public life. For example, we do not allow content that may put the well-being of groups of people at risk or limit their ability to take part in a free and open society. We encourage active participation in the expression of ideas, perspectives, and experiences and may not be in a position to dispute personal accounts or observations. We generally allow parody and satire that is in line with our Acceptable Use Polices, and we consider context to be important in how information is received and understood; therefore, it may be appropriate to clarify your intentions via disclaimers or other means, as well as the source(s) of your information.
*Note: I have personally witnessed the Gnome Foundation’s well earned reputation for not enforcing their Code of Conduct, as well as its seemingly deliberate gaping holes that allow for situations involving cyber-bullying, smear campaigns, orchestrated harassment, et al, but these do apply:
Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following.
Influencing or encouraging inappropriate behavior. If you influence or encourage another person to violate the Code of Conduct, you may face the same consequences as if you had violated the Code of Conduct.
US Law here is divided into State and Federal scopes.
While most states have laws on the books for cyber-bullying, smear campaigns, orchestrated harassment, et al– their citation, verbage, scope varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so, it is well advised to seek counsel. There are potentially two jurisdictions at play – the state in which the offender was in when the crime was committed and the state in which the victim lives for interstate criminal activity. In some cases, interstate criminal activity online is treated as a felony.
As the target of this campaign is in the state of California, at minimum the following laws apply when applied to a California state jurisdiction:
Federal laws apply provided the potential defendent is not willing to defect from the United States. Some of the obvious ones are:
The actions that are referred to in the content of this repo are a matter of public record and are easily proven to be largely materially false, and when not materially false – of an easily researched false light. It is easily justified to assert that this is by design, for a corporate interest, and in any case is in violation of not just this platform’s code of conduct, terms of service, acceptable use policies – but is in violation of those for almost every platform and organization the author represents – and if that isn’t enough for correction – the behaviour of the author in usage of this content hosted in the repository constitutes material and clearly defined breaches of state and federal law in that it uses the defamation presented here to continue to harass and damage its victim in public life, in working life, and at home.
Compounding this, the author has demonstrated just that intent by her activity on other social media platforms, encouraging group participation and even sponsoring/coordinating the development of translations of the damaging content into other languages to pull from an international community of collaborators.
An appropriate rectification would be:
Removal of the libelous, damaging, harassing, and provably criminal content in its entirety from all public platforms.
Resignation of the author (Molly De Blanc) from the FSF and any related organizations, including the GNOME Foundation, the closure of her github account, and token restoration of dignity to the target of her smear campaign documented by this repository.
Self-banishment from the open-source community until the presumed defendant has furnished documented proof that she is receiving psychiatric treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or has passed an evaluation or screening for the disorder by a qualified licensed practitioner, so that others in her community are not also damaged by these types of classically “cluster-B”-associated campaigns.
I look forward to seeing this handled appropriately, as I have seen this type of campaign before, and it usually takes several years (sometimes up to 20) to see justice come from them due to the damaging and cascading social effects that the dehumanization a smear campaign causes to its targets. Of all cases I’ve seen, almost all of them do eventually find justice, though.
Respectfully and Seriously,
Author: Chris Punches (@cmpunches,
Silo group). License: “Please feel free to share unmodified”.
Web-archive link: https://github.com/rms-open-letter/rms-open-letter.github.io/issues/2250
rms gnu fsf free-software defamation harassment